Monday, November 28, 2005

Mount Ellinor Chute Flats from Big Creek

Mount Ellinor Chute Flats from Big Creek
Campground Upper Loop completing the loop on the way back. Also looped through the upper Ellinor trail head on the way down.

Too tired to write about it! 12 miles 3520 feet gain. That's a "24" on the "Hike Difficulty Calculator"

My husband after reading the Forest Service PDF file on Mount Ellinor insisted that I take my ice axe with me. I told him I was not going to go anywhere near the areas that would require an ice axe. Just to make him happy I carried the damn thing.. :) Oh well at least it looks kewl to pack around an ice axe, not that anyone else saw me. I also carried my damn cell phone to make my husband happy. I was able to call him from the connecter trail and I talked to him for about 1/4 of a mile.

He was worried about me going up Ellinor because a guy named Bill got lost on the Ellinor trail months ago and had to have search and rescue come get him. We listened to the Search and Rescue operations on my scanner. It took a VERY LONG TIME for Olympic Mountain Rescue to reach him and just as long for them to get him down from the mountain. The call first came in to the local police at about 1pm and they did not have him off the mountain until after we woke up the next morning around 9 am.

Bill got lost in 1/4 inch of snow and hiked down the wrong side of the mountain. From what I could tell listening along and looking at my map he was on the other side of Mount Rose when they found him!

Not long ago, we had a mission to Mt Ellinor to find
a lost hiker. The man had gone to the top while
ignoring the weather signs of the incoming clouds.
Long story short, he made it to the top, but then the
weather socked in and started to rain and snow. On
the way down he lost his way. We were out in the
thick of it. I do not think that any of us were
completely dry after spending the night out there.

All these mushrooms are frozen solid. From Top to Bottom, Frozen Chanterelle (C. formosus), Frozen Fall "oyster" mushrooms (Panellus serotinus), Frozen Witches Butter (Tremella mesenterica)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

This is a short intepretive trail that is open only in November. The purpose of the trail is to view chum salmon spawning. We went the first weekend in November and got rained on and soaked through but saw very few salmon. We were too early to see the bulk of the run and the river was too high and muddy to see what was running. Today we went again and we were too late to see the bulk of the run. My toddler enjoyed looking at all the dead fish but my 8 year old was threatening to throw up from the stench of rotting salmon.

Then we carried on to the Capital Forest. Well perhaps it was the Capital Forest, I'm not having much luck actually finding the place! I can see what I think is the forest, I even found a street called Capital Forest Dr. But I can't seem to find the entrance points to the forest. I wish I could find better directions.

What ever we found it was kind of nice, it was a board walk running around a wet land area that had been logged over perhaps 50 years ago. We admired the old growth stumps and hunted for mushrooms. Gee I can't even remember the name of it. Ok I found it on google, it was Mclane Creek Centennial Demonstration Forest. It was part of the Capitol Forest. I'll have to do some more exploring in the Capital Forest but the fact that it is also for mountain bikes and ORV's coupled with the fact that I live just as close to Olympic National Park makes me slow in going to explore it. What could possibly be better then Olympic National Park?

Capital Forest is closed to ORV's and bikes from November 1st to March 31st so this would be the time of year to hike it.

I know where I am going to hike this week and I'm excited about it. I'd rather hike on my usual day but there is an 80% chance of rain that day so I will wait until Wednesday with it's 30% chance of rain. I'm going high and don't want to be in a blizzard!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Matsutake Hunting Failures

This morning our breakfast consisted of Zeller's boletus, Fall Oysters, a taste of delicious milkcaps and leftover turkey.

With high hopes I set out with my two daughters for an area where I remember seeing Candy Stipe plant this summer. My husband stayed home to nurse a fever. Well I don't like driving in the snow so I did not go where I intended. I knew there might be snow. I have only seen Candy stipe plant in the mountains.

Much to my oldest daughter's pleasure on the way down the mountain I found some earthstars. They are not edible as far as I know but they are interesting to look at.

We decided to look around in the lower parts of the National Forest since the upper parts were just too hard to get the stroller into. We walked down some roads and found nothing. The baby screamed and screamed about being forced to sit in her stroller. We caught the attention of a park Ranger and he asked us what we were doing. He did not know much about mushrooms but he thought the mushroom season was over.

The ranger was busily pursuing some dirt bikers and at first he thought we were with them. The ranger bid us farewell and we carried on down the road to our parking spot and I let the baby out of the stroller and had a cup of coffee while watching the show of the ranger backing up and down and then up a dirt road trying to catch the motor cyclists . Finally he did catch them, my oldest daughter and I had a good laugh! The ranger just wanted them to slow down a bit because they were tearing up the forest too much. When he was done talking to them he drove past us and waved to us.

We tried another spot in the National Forest but still had no luck so we gave up and went back to yesterday's spot. We had only explored half of yesterday's spot. Still no Matsutake but we did bring home a few Chanterelle and Elfin Saddles.

It was a bit cold today and the baby wet herself more then her diaper could hold so she was even colder. At the car I changed her clothes and her diaper then put her in her car seat and draped my down jacket over her and put my hat on her head. She really thought it was cool to "wear" mama's coat!

I'm pretty tired, I walked most of the day and was pushing a baby stroller the entire time. We only had a few scraps of turkey with us so we were all famished by the time we got home. At home we feasted on thanksgiving left overs. I just had a piece of pumpkin pie for desert and am now thinking about the cranberry sauce.

I don't know where I will hike next week. I'll stay at a lower elevation if I want to gather mushrooms but maybe I will decide to play in the snow and hike up a local 3,500 foot mountain.

Tomorrow the plan is to sleep in and stay home until my husband wakes up and if he feels well enough we will all go to the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail . If he does not feel well enough I guess I could stay home and feed him what's left of the matsutake soup.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hood Canal

I went on a mushroom hunt with my 8 year old today. My husband was kind enough to babysit most of the day. It was raining too hard to take the baby. I hope to go mushroom hunting again tomorrow with both girls.

I found one older matsutake and one that had been chewed on by something. We also found what I think are Oyster Mushrooms (first picture) and we found what I think are lactarius deliciosus (second picture). We are hoping to eat the unknown ones but are waiting on spore prints and email verification before we give them a try.

I got to give my new rain gear a good test on Thanksgiving day and it worked out well. But my boots are still not waterproof. I am going to return my boots to REI in December when I have to go to Tacoma anyway.

We were tip toeing through a park that had a sign in the entrance that said "no mushroom picking" I tend to ignore signs like that. If I obeyed a no trespassing sign in my neighbor hood I never would have found my prized chanterelle spot. The spot is on public enough land but the bridge to get to it is on private land.

Anyway while tip toeing through the Russulales I spotted another human doing the same. She showed no fear so I also showed no fear. She said to me "We are crazy huh?" (Because we were out in the rain and cold) I said yep.. She then peered into my daughters basket that was filled with all kinds of mystery mushrooms.. she basically picks every new mushroom type she finds and then take to them home to try to identify.

I asked this person "having any luck?"

She said "I only found one old one."

So she knew that we knew that she knew that we were, that is we all knew that we were there for one reason only. That reason was matsutake.

Thanks to Irene on Usenet I think I have these narrowed down a bit more. The oysters are Panellus serotinus as I had suspected. The milk cap is probably L. deliciosus var. olivaceosordidus

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lower South Fork Skokomish

I was able to get out early again today. I woke up at 6am nursed the baby and said goodbye to my husband. I did not waste anytime eating breakfast or making coffee. In the future I am going to brew a pot of coffee and take a thermos full with me in the car to save money.

I stopped for Gas at AM/PM where the prices are pretty good. They also charge $1.79 for Clif Bar so I passed those up and had a Tiger's Milk Bar for breakfast. I've not had them before and they taste pretty good but are probably a waste of money. May as well buy a Snickers bar for half the price.

I was on the trail by 7:30 am. The first mile of this trail goes through some amazing old growth and it was a bit primeval in the morning fog at twilight.

I hiked to camp comfort and back with a lot of little side trips for a total hike of about 9 miles. I found TONS of a certain kind of mushroom but they had all been hit by frost and were worthless. Maybe next year I'll got a little bit earlier and get them. I only saw two other people on the trail but they did not see me. I was off the trail looking at mushrooms.

No sign of any Matsutake on this trail. Too bad my head was filled with visions of bags full of Mastutakes all night.

This was my first hike since my Grandma died four days ago. I did not take a lunch break because as soon as I sat down I started thinking of my Granmda and it made me too sad.

After I hiked back to the trail head I drove up to Lebar Horse Camp 1/2 mile up the road. On the side of the road I found a large pile of Chum Salmon. They had been stripped of their eggs and dumped. They must have been dumped very recently as there was very little stench. Perhaps this is what the local ndns do with the Chum now instead of dumping them in the Hood Canal. I took the time to light a smudge stick of sage and blessed the salmon. I don't know if it made the salmon feel better but it made me feel better!

The chum were too far gone at the time of harvest to have edible flesh but still I hate to see this slaughter and stripping of eggs.

Ok now my thoughts are on Thanksgiving dinner and how I am going to burn it off, but first I have to cook it. I'll need to do a strenuous hike next week perhaps a turkey burn? This one would do the trick:

Nov. 29, Sat. - Marmot Pass Turkey Burn (S) (USGS or GT
Tyler Peak; CC
Buckhorn Wilderness) 10.4 mi. RT. 3500 gain.
Come on out after Thanksgiving
and burn off that food before it
changes your belt size. Meet 8:30 a.m. at
Quilcene RS.

I wonder how much snow there is on Marmot Pass right now? I'd like to join the mountaineers but it's rather expensive and I really enjoy my solo hikes. With two busy children to take care of the rest of the week it's vital to my mental health to go solo. It's the only time I can hear myself think!

Monday, November 21, 2005


I went for a walk in the woods near my house and three hours later came home with two pounds of chanterelles. They were in the same woods as my normal patch but in a different spot. They were all in the same spot. I did not find any Matsutake and never have found any there.

Tomorrow I go hiking. Mushrooming will be central to the hike I've decided. I'll be hiking in old growth but in the National Forest rather then the National Park.

I'm really missing my grandma but feel that her spirit is with me. I think she is glad to be free of her crippled body. She suffered from an extremely crooked spine (She thinks she may have had a mild case of polio, there was a polio epidemic in Idaho where she lived when she was a child.) and somehow managed to give birth to and raise 5 children while working full time to support her family. Yeah she was grumpy sometimes but she was in a lot of pain.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My First Matzutake Find

The title says it all. I'm ecstatic! I hunted for 2 hours with my daughter and as we were making our way back to the car I found them! These sell for $100 a pound in Japan. I took them to a local mushroom buyer for identification and he wanted to buy them. I'm keeping these, I've never eaten one and would never buy one in the store at $40.00 per pound. My husband is putting one of them in a pasta dish.

I want to go matzi hunting now that I know what they look like. The buyer gave me some tips on where to find them and he pays $10.00 per pound for them. Have to go it's time for dinner!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Goodbye Grandma

Dr. Chris Kane's surgery killed my Grandma. I'm pissed and very sad all at once. My Aunt's and Uncles have not started bickering yet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

North Fork Skokomish

The baby woke me up at 5 am and wanted milk. I could not fall back to sleep after that so I decided to get up and get ready for my hike. I left my house at 7:15 am and was on the trail by 8:15. I love living so close to the Olympic Mountains!

Trail head sign post

I saw a small raccoon crossing the road about a mile from the trail head and three deer at the trail head. That was all the wildlife I saw. I could hear the elk calling to each other in the distance and I saw lots of elk tracks but I did not see the elk. It is unusual for me to not see elk there this time of year.

Usually on the weekdays in the Fall I have the trail all to myself but there were other people on the trail today, maybe that is why I did not see the elk. I think it was lack of rain that drew the people out on this day.

I felt good and was hiking in fine form, 2.5 miles an hour while stopping to take pictures and look at mushrooms. I stopped for lunch at big log camp and spent a relaxing hour and fifteen minutes cooking and eating lunch and taking picture of the area. Lunch was bean thread noodles with sausage, eggs and shaggy mane mushrooms. I tossed in two chanterelles that I picked on the trail down to the campground. I sipped on hot cocoa while I was waiting for lunch to finish cooking.

Big log is the campground with the sheltering cedar tree that I posted about a week or two ago. You can see it in the background of my "picnic table". While I was big log something told me I was not alone on the trail.

I was feeling really good on the hike back, in my own head space, looking at mushrooms and enjoying the day when I was startled by two backpackers about three miles from the trail head. They had spent the night at camp pleasant and they were wanting a ride to Hoodsport tomorrow or Big Creek campground that day. I offered them a ride if "we were at the trail head at the same time". I wish I had not offered them a ride though, it changed my head space. I went from gathering mushrooms and looking at mushrooms to thinking about meeting them and re-running my conversation with them over and over and over in my mind.

In the end they decided they did not want a ride. They were time and headspace wasters.

Not a drop of rain all day and almost no water was running down the trail. My new rain gear only went a long for the ride as dead weight in my pack. There were several dayhikers on the trail near the trail head. I missed my solitude but I still got to be alone for a few hours so it was an ok hike.

I'm glad that I started off so early in the morning. I got home before my oldest got home from school so my husband did not have to babysit her at all. I was also off the trail early enough that I could drink coffee. I can't drink coffee after 6pm if I want to sleep at night. I'm going to try to get an early start on my next hike too. I already know where I am going, it's not as nice as the North Fork of the Skok but it is in the national forest where the mushroom picking limit is much higher and it's closer to home.

Bolete buttons in the snow

I'm not going to make the mistake of stopping at the 76 station on 101 just north of Shelton. The first time I went there the clerk was not at all friendly but I gave them another chance on this trip. They were just as unfriendly and they charge an astronomical $1.79 for a cliff bar.

I might start buying them by the case. I'd be better of preparing stuff to eat at home but I never have high calorie food just sitting around the house and I do need a lot of calories when I am hiking. I burn about 400 calories per hour when I am day hiking and even more when I am backpacking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I had a good hike today

I had a good hike today but I'm pretty tired did 11 miles.

It did not rain and I did not have to step in any water so I did not get to test out my new gear.
Got some Chaterelles.

Saw some big tracks in the ice, I don't know what they are though.

Monday, November 14, 2005

New Rain Gear!

They are here! My new rain coat and pants are here! They were sitting on the door-step when we got home from visiting Grandma in the hospital. I get to test them out in the morning but there is only a 40% chance of rain for tomorrow's hike. I think I will leave the umbrella at home. UPS did pretty good this time, they only sent my package 20 miles in the wrong direction and right past my house before they got around to delivering it.

I also got a tube of "Sno-Seal" beeswax to treat my boots with. I hope my gortex boots will be waterproof again. I'll test them out tomorrow for sure. If I do a low land hike I'm certain to run into parts of the trail with water running down then. At any rate my boots look better now that they have been treated. They went from black to grey with use and now with the sno-seal they are black again. REI has encouraged me to bring or mail my boots in to get them exchanged for new non-leaky boots. I'm going to hold off on that until December 6th when I will be going to Tacoma anyway. I don't want to pay to mail them in and then wait for weeks for the mail to bring me new boots.

Here is a picture of some chanterelles I got from my secret patch yesterday.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Chuck the filter and just stick your face into the water

The outfit that I ordered my new day pack from has no record of me ordering anything from them and my credit card has not been charged. Something must have gone wrong with the online order form. Maybe I failed to push the final button to finalize the deal.

I don't think I will re-order it. Instead I will use my Wally World pack a bit longer. I spent a fair amount of time modifying my Wally-World pack. I trimmed excessively long straps, cut off the sternum strap and added an ice axe loop. I also took off all the labels that were not embroidered to the fabric of the pack. I cut off the daisy chain and added a hip belt. End result was a cheap and lightweight day pack.

The new pack I was going to buy was a Golite "Dawn" it only weighs 14 ounces and is made of silnylon. Silnylon is waterproof. My current pack soaks up water and gets heavy at times. But I'm kind of attached to my old pack after all the work I put into it.

My pack has three zippered pockets and I had trouble remembering what pocket I had put things in. I seem to have developed a system now and usually know what pocket things are in.

Extra clothes in a silnylon stuff sack go in the main compartment. Food and cooking utensils go in the middle pocket. My wallet, keys, toilet paper and first aid kit go in the smallest pocket.

(I just ordered a hip pack from Dancing Light Gear to store my camera and T.P. in.)

I keep a small piece of tyvek in the hydration bladder compartment.

Most of the time I do not pack a water bottle or a water filter. Why on earth would one need to lug a water bottle through the rain forest? I drink directly out of the rivers and streams in Olympic National Park and Forest. This practice has not made me ill. It is slowly coming to light that most cases of back country stomach complaints have more to do with camp hygiene then the purity of the drinking water.

The single, most effective way to avoid illness is to wash your hands often with soap and water.

Giardia is a big business for water filter manufacturers though. Signs at each trail head warn of the dreaded Giardia and imply that you must filter, boil or treat your water to avoid catching Giardia.

What the signs fail to mention is that the majority of cases of Giardia are to be found in day care centers with children who are not toilet trained. Also not mentioned is that Iodine does not kill giardia cysts.

I might have ingested giardia on one trip. I was backpacking on the ocean beaches and treating my water with iodine. I would not drink water directly out of a stream on the beach! Two week later myself and my daughter came down with diarrhea that took months to resolve.

I will carry my water filter and lots of fresh water from home if I hike on the ocean beaches again. I will not drink water straight out of just any stream. I only do this when I am in the National Park where there are no major campgrounds, logging operations, cow pastures, housing developments or other industrial activities upstream.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New Rain Gear

My rain gear has made it to Seattle. It's due to be here on Tuesday. But you never know with UPS they could send it hundreds of miles in the wrong direction only to send it right back to Seattle or past Seattle or who knows where.

Nov 12, 2005 4:19 A.M.

I don't know where my new backpack is. I am so sick of spam that I did not give the online company that I bought it from a real email address.

I feel safe ordering things online with my credit cards. Credit cards give you protection that you don't have with a cash transaction. On eBay it's a good idea to use credit cards because if the item does not arrive you can do a charge back.

The only way that I know of to cancel an AOL subscription is to cancel the credit card that you signed up with or do a charge back. Unless things have changed if you sign up for AOL and allow them to debit your checking account you may actually have to change banks when it's time to unsubscribe.

See fifty ways to leave AOL :

I wanted to "hike" to my secret chanterelle patch today but cleaning my 8 year-olds room took up most of the day light hours. Maybe I can go tomorrow but I also have to visit an ill relative tomorrow.

My 84 year-0ld maternal grandmother lost her husband of 58 years this August, she also lost her last living sibling two weeks ago. Last night she broke her leg. She should never have been living alone in her health. She had to wait a full hour for someone to find her after she fell. She is in the hospital tonight and I will call her soon.

We have a family member who never quite grew up and always depended on Grandma and Grandpa for her and her children's financial needs. She would blow her money on expensive food and other stuff that she would have nothing to show for afterwards. She had no incentive to spend responsibly because she could always mooch of Grandma and Grandpa.

Well where the hell is she now? She is not living with Grandma and taking care of her. Nope, she's living in the house that Grandma and Grandpa bought her and working as a toilet cleaner for the State Park System. Everyone expected that she would be the one to move in with Grandma and take care of her, if only as a convenient way to take over Grandma's house and then keep it after she dies. But she has not lived up to expectations. Will she rush in to put Grandma in a nursing home and then move into her house?

Back to more pleasant thoughts. Grandma and Grandpa used to take me to the ocean every summer and they took me razor clam digging a few times. Grandma and Grandpa rewarded me with my very own clam shovel for digging my first limit. I was only 8 years old but I did it all by myself. My uncle coached me but I did all the work. Grandpa painted the shovel handle red and painted my name on it in white letters. The paint has all worn away but I still have that shovel.

She is my last living Grand-Parent. With one notable exception I had wonderful grandparents and I feel very lucky to have gotten to know all of them. My parents are members of the me generation, their generation (in general) did not take much interest in their kids. The me generation created a generation of latch key kids who had to grow up real fast. The me generation went out in pursuit of money at the cost of their children. The me generation made a lot more money then their parents did. The parents of the me generation fought world war II and lived through the depression.

The me generation went to Vietnam, invented "free love" got stoned and high a lot and then went out and made their fortunes. Where have all the hippies gone? There are some left but most of them have turned to levels of consumerism never seen before in the history of this country.

My generation is doing a better job of child-rearing. Yes these are all generalizations but in my case they really fit. I was made a ward of the court at the tender age of 16 and turned out onto the street at the age of 18. Somehow I was expected to make my way in the world with almost no help and in the middle of the recessions of the 80's. Well I've not lived up to the expectations of my parents but I'm happy. I stay at home and take care of my kids and I take them places and do thing with them. Sure my Dad (I was raised by my Dad and his wife) took me lots of places when I was a kid but it was always about him and what fish he could catch there.

My parents idea of taking care of my Grandparents seems to be to quibble about who is responsible, then take over power of attorney so all their assets can be hidden and then plunk them into a state run nursing home until they die. Death comes quickly for Medicaid patients once their primary insurance runs out. My step grandma died only 3 months after running out of money.

I wonder if my parents who turned me out at the age of 16 and raised me as a latch key kid and dumped their own parents into nursing homes actually expect me to take care of them in their old age??

Time will tell.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

North Fork Quinault River Trail

North Fork Quinault River Trail
Since my new raincoat and pants have not arrived yet I decided to take an umbrella with me. I figured I could stay reasonably dry by combining my umbrella with my leaky rain gear. Since I am a Seattle native this took a bit of a mental adjustment. Tourists and wimps carry umbrellas, Seattle natives tough it out, or so they say.

 Well I have to admit the umbrella was a good addition and I might carry one even after my new rain coat and pants have arrived. The umbrella allowed me to take pictures without getting my camera wet.

It's a 2.5 hour drive to the North Fork Quinault Trail head from my house and the days are really getting short. So I got up at 6:00am nursed the baby for half an hour, had a cup of coffee, read my email and then left the house at five minutes to seven. I arrived at the trail head at 9:30 and started out at about 9:40.

Mine was the only car at the trail head and the trail head ranger station was locked up for the season. There was no register at the trail head either. I enjoy hiking alone but there is a such thing as too much solitude.

2.5 miles into my hike I spotted a small heard of elk. The bull was quite large but very skittish compared to the bull elk at the North Fork of the Skokomish herd.

This was a wet muddy hike, I had to cross several small streams the trail was a creek in some place and a mud puddle in other places. In a few places the trail was actually a trail.

My goal was to hike to half way house for a ten mile round trip journey. But about 4 miles down the trail I came to an un-crossable stream. I might have tried crossing it if I was not hiking alone. Thanks to the unexpected shortening of my hike back I had time to take lots of pictures.

I found an old elk skeleton next to the trail. A bunch of mushrooms were coming up right were I suppose the elk had laid in it's death.

There were a few Chanterelle mushrooms on the sides of the trail but they were mostly way too soggy and past their prime to bother picking. I spotted three new to me mushroom types. Lions mane, Chicken of the Woods and Bear's Head. Lions and chickens and bears oh my! I picked some of the Chicken of the woods but when I got home I found out it was too far gone to eat.

Also when I got home I read that Lion's Manes and Bear's Head's are very good to eat but these mushrooms were so beautiful that I could not bear to pick them. So I had picked the poison one and left the tasty ones in the woods.

Chicken of the Woods
For lunch I sat down next to the Chicken of the woods and made myself a cup of hot chocolate and boiled up some instant noodles. I put three of the freshest chanterelles I could find in my noodles. They were yummy!

I tried to rig up my umbrella to the top of my trekking pole so I could sit under it while I ate and it sort of worked. I may work on this system some more before my next hike.

Before I left the house I did a hasty job of trying to fix my leaky boot. I did not get to find out if it worked. On one of the first stream crossings I took a mis-step and got water over the top of my left boot. I did manage to keep my right foot dry for most of the hike though.

Since it had been raining steadily all day the little streams that I crossed on the way out had all grown in size and boulder hopping across them on the trip back was out of the question. I plowed right through them without trying to stay dry. I may as well have worn my running shoes. I normally hike in "trail running" shoes but I wore my boots in the hopes of keeping my feet dry. I think my boots weigh 20 pounds each when they are wet.

I stopped by the Northshore grocery store on the way home and bought possibly the weakest cup of coffee I have ever had. I had to stop again in Aberdeen to get some real coffee.

My husband who had been watching the kids all day was grateful when I arrived at home and could take over the child rearing responsibilities.

Someday I want to go back to the Quinault rain forest but I will wait until the days are longer so I have more time to explore.

Note 08/28/09
I see that going back to college has improved my spelling and grammar. Looking back at these old posts is a bit painful; I may have to run all of them through a spell checker.

Two significant things happened during this hike that I did not realize until later. First I took a picture of a Lions mane mushroom while I was on this hike and that picture took first place in a mushroom photo contest. Second, I discovered that MSG is the source of my Migraines. The noodles I ate on this hike gave me a migraine five minutes after I ate them.

Monday, November 7, 2005

One More Wet Wet Hike

One More Wet Wet Hike

On my last hike all my rain gear failed and new rain gear is on the way. Yes I sold my car so I could buy rain gear. I went to Olympia to buy new rain gear. I had my toddler and my eight year old in tow, shopping with the two of them is was a nightmare that day. The first store I took them to did not have what I wanted or as it turned out what I thought I wanted. Nevertheless I had a headache before I left the store.

(mushrooms growing out of moss growing out of a tree)

My eight year old released my toddler (20 months) from her stroller and they were running around the store squealing. Outdoor stores are not exactly child friendly places so this made me a bit nervous. But with the prices they charge I decided not to let it get to me too much. Still I had a headache caused by having to constantly discipline them while trying to try on rain gear.

This first store had poked big holes in all it's merchandise by inserting plastic anti-theft devices in it. The last thing I want in my rain gear is giant holes. Also all the rain clothes were designed to make me feel fat and short. I'm not fat or short but I could stand to lose ten pounds and I'm 1/2 inch shorter then the average woman. I left the store feeling decidedly short and fat.

On to the second store, through the rain soaked streets of Olympia during a torrential November downpour. Since none of us had rain gear I really should have driven to the next store. But it's always a hard call as to what is easier, walking several blocks in the rain or putting the baby in the car-seat, driving to the destination and then taking baby out of car seat. Keep in mind that baby sometimes fights going into her seat and then screams for 1/2 hour after she is put in it. Baby was in a fighting mood that day too.

By the time we made it to the second store we were all soaking dripping wet and the kids immediately started their usual carry on. After about two hours (well maybe a half hour but it felt like two hours) of insanity I had picked out what I felt was very nice rain gear and was actually pretty excited about it.

Before I could check out I had to nurse the baby so I sat on a bench made out of a snow board and the two of us got down to business. When she was done I put her in her stroller while she screamed her guts out totally enraged and being forced to sit . The check out clerk was understanding though . When she rung it all up total was $335.00 DANG!!

(Lions Mane Mushroom)
But as luck with have it when I pulled out my wallet much to my horror and embarrassment I found that all of my credit cards were at home. The clerk said they would hold my gear for me for one day. It would have been 40 miles round trip to drive home, get my credit cards and return to the store.

I found all the same gear online for $80 less but now I have to wait a week for it to come. I'm a hiking addict , I must hike every week so that means I must take one more wet wet hike.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

The Subaru Crowd

I see them on all the popular trails. Mostly they are older women with severe hair cuts, trekking poles, khaki colored convertible pants, platypus hydration bladders and Subaru outbacks or Foresters. They eat things like Waldorf salad and feta cheese that they purchased at the local way too expensive organic food co-op.

They don't like hikers who don't wear their hiking uniform. They tend to hike as fast as they can and only spend 10 minutes eating lunch after bagging a peak. They are in a big race and out to prove that they are not little old ladies.

I think I really upset a group of them on my last hike. There they were in their neat hiking uniforms and on a very serious hike. But it was an easy hike so there I was with 25 pounds of toddler on my back and no trekking poles, (I like my trekking poles but I don't bring them along unless I'm going to be gaining and losing about 1000 feet per mile) my shirt was a lacy purple thing but it was synthetic. My hydration bladder hose was hidden because my toddler would not stop tearing the bite valve off.

Ah but perhaps my worst offence was bringing along two second grade girls. One had stuffed animals dangling from her backpack and the other was carrying a bright pink lunch box in her hand. Neither were wearing a hiking uniform.

The hiker snobs wanted to think that they were on a serious hike but my crew kinda ruined that image. One of them asked me (in an incredulous tone of voice) if I was going ALL the way the top .

Hell it was only 6 miles round trip with very little elevation gain and switchbacks so gentle that you could see down three levels. Lower Lena Lake for those of you familiar with ONF.

No need for trekking poles or hiker uniforms on this hike.

Are these snobs a global phenom or is it mostly a Pacific Northwest thing?

A Cold Wet Hike

I wanted to hike in Quinault today but was worried about the coming storm so I headed out to the North Fork Skokomish again.

About 1.5 miles into the hike it started to snow. About two inches of snow fell and it was real pretty but it was already melting by the time I turned around. I hiked to "Big Log" camp. There was a huge live ceder that was hollow at the base. I was able to sit comfortably inside this living tree. It was a good place take off my rain coat and re-arrange my clothing layers.
Every piece of waterproof gear that I have failed today.. : One of my gortex boots leaked, my cheap rain jacket (my precip jacket is in for warranty repair) leaked bad, my Rain pants leaked and my waterproof gloves leaked.

The picture on the left shows the creek running down the trail. This is a common occurrence in November in Olympic National Park.

Maybe Seabury Blair was right when he said that in the Pacific Northwest Gortex will keep you about as dry as a wet sponge.

I really can't afford new rain gear so maybe you'll see seeing me hiking down the trail in my bright yellow rubber fishing pants next week.

I had the trail entirely to myself, but I did count 22 elk not far from the Ranger Station. Also there were some animal tracks in the snow on one of the foot bridges.