Wednesday, January 31, 2007

South Mountain

My first time up South Mountain, it's close to home and has a gorgeous summit. A clear 360 degree view. It's a good hike for a winter day and not far from home. 8.2 miles with 2,480 feet elevation gain.

I placed a terracache on the summit. Maybe I will put a geocache up there next time.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Green Mountain Part III

Today I hiked to the Lost Mountain and Lost Valley Geocache with one of my Terracaching sponsors. Our actual goal was his Terracache. The views from the cache site were very nice. We walked 10.6 miles on logging roads. My two year old came along for the ride.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Green Mountain part II

I left my house around 10:30 but a truck had cut me all the way off right in downtown Shelton and I had to follow it for miles. I was stuck behind a slow moving truck all the way to Belfair. I tried not to let it upset me. I arrived at the trail head sometime after 11:00 am and I immediately began my hike. My first goal was to reach a terracache.

I walked almost straight up through a clear cut from the parking lot and did not follow any trails but I did walk on a logging road for the last .10 of a mile.

I was surprised at how far down the hill the cache was and was a little worried about scrambling around on the wet rocks while all alone. I took off my pack left it on the ground when my GSP said I was 20 feet away.

The terracache was nice and dry and up in a tree. It was up rather high in a tree, at first I wondered how I was going to climb the tree to get it but then I saw the little black rope. There are no fallen trees in the area.

The Cache did not really want to come down even after I untied the knot. I had to tug on it a few times before gravity started working. I put the cache back up as high as it was and secured it well. I did not take or leave anything.

After I left the terracache and retrieved my backpack I went on to the Olympic Panorama Geocache by Super 88. It was too cloudy to see the view from either cache.

After getting that cache I walked back down the logging road past the terra cache and then found a trail. I followed the trail in an Easterly direction and expected to come out near the bats in the belfry geocache but very rudely and abruptly that trail turned into a clear cut. Trees had all been fallen across the trail and it was impossible for me to proceed.

It took me a while to decide what to do, going on was out of the question. The road GM6 was just 2 tenths of a mile below me but I did not want to do that much bushwhacking and I could hear a creek running down there. Turning around was not an attractive option because the extra mileage would ruin my chances of going after the Lost Creek Geocache and the rescue terracache.

I had no choice but to turn around though. I found a trail running down the hill 1/2 mile after I turned around and I followed it almost all the way down to the parking lot. Once at the bottom I changed course and went to the bridge across Gold Creek that is near the Gold Creek trailhead.

There were three women on horses blocking the trail and they had no intention of moving. They were also only 20 feet from stage one of the Lost Valley Geocache (not to be confused with the lost creek geocache). I
realized the horsewomen were going to be there for a while and they were ignoring me so I decided to return the favor and ignore them while looking for stage one.

I found stage one and entered the Coordinates into my GPS then proceeded past the horse women who were still blocking the trail. I had to walk off the trail and way too close to one of the horses (potentially) kicking feet. I was pretty annoyed with the horsewomen and when one of them said to me "we were wondering what you were doing"

I answered "I bet you are" and kept right on going, this really miffed the horsewomen.

One of them yelled "That was a question" and the others yelled other stuff to try to get my attention but I just kept on going. They were outraged that little ole pedestrian me did not answer their royal demands. I figured it was really none of their business and if they did not have the time to move over so I could pass by I certainly did not have the time to stop and explain geocaching to them.

The next way point was a mile down the trail so off I went but I could not find it. My GPS was pointing me to a swamp and I was not about to walk in a swamp. My GPS also said I was only 2 miles from the rescue terracache and the lost creek cache so I decided to at least start walking towards them to see if they really were only 2 miles away.

At this point it was 3pm and I had not stopped to eat lunch yet. I walked until my GPS said that caches were .20 of a mile away but I did not believe my GPS and I was started to get too hungry to think correctly so I stopped and ate a power bar while pondering my map. I was not sure if the road I was on was going to swing far enough to the right and was afraid that I might have to go bushwhacking. I was tired and I had already walked over seven miles and the sun was going to set in two hours and I was 3 miles from the trailhead.

I decided to turn back and my GPS told me I would be back at the trail head by about 4:00, the sun was going to set at 4:59. I went ahead and stopped to cook my lunch and drink my tea right next to the pretty little beaver damn on the GM-6 road.

I gulped down my tea and carried my lunch with me while it continued to simmer in it's homemade insulated container. As I passed the bridge where way point one of the Lost Valley cache was I checked it to be sure that the horsewomen had not disturbed it. They had not touched it, I was not surprised as they would have had to of climbed down off their high horses to reach it.

I got back to the trailhead at 4:30 and sat to eat my lunch but it was cold so I got some fuel out of my car and cooked it some more on a bench beside the trail map sign.

Lunch was dehydrated fried rice with dehydrated veggies and king boletes. My lunch tasted really good. I had hiked 10.6 miles on only two power bars a cup of tea and some hard candy.

My cell phone did not work at the trailhead and I needed to let my husband know I was done as it was getting dark and he might start to worry.

I left the trail head about 5:15 and I drove in to Belfair where my cell phone works and was able to call my husband from there to let him know I was done. Before I left Belfair I used a Starbucks coupon at the Starbucks drive-through and got a free large mocha with a shot of peppermint.

Traffic was heavy on the way back home, I was caught up in commuter hour. I got home at about 6:15. I did not have as much trouble getting up out of my car as I thought I would have after such a hike. I must be getting into better shape.

My husband was standing in the driveway waiting for me. While I was out the cat had scratched our 2 year old and he had to take her to the doctor. she is going to be find. Amazingly the house was clean! Normally the house is a disaster area when I get home from hiking and I have all kinds of house work to do. I guess all my threats to divorce him are starting to have an effect.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Green Mountain a rather strange day

I was still ill on my normal hiking day last week but I did feel better today so I decided to take a short 2 mile round trip hike to a terracache on Green Mountain with my tot. Well I got confused right away because the map in my GPS has the road in the wrong place and that cost me 1.75 miles. Then I found the right trail but knew I could not get a jogging stroller up that trail so I decided to give up on the terracache and go for a 4 mile round trip hike to a geocache. But I read the directions for one cache while following my GPS to a different cache and did not realize my mistake til I got home. After I had walked for 4 miles and was still .50 of mile away from the cache and 600 feet below it I decided it was time to turn around. The days are still short and I only had two hours of daylight left.

I ended up pushing the jogging stroller with my 35 pound tot in it 9.5 miles and I did not find any geocaches or terracaches. But I can say that I seem to be over my illness. 9.5 miles with 700 feet elevation gain while pushing a stroller. Today's hike is a 12 on the hike difficulty calculator but the calculator does not give me any credit for pushing a stroller.

I will be going back to Green Mountain so I can get those caches and more importantly so I can actually see the view from the summit. I never made it to the summit or a view point. I have a map of the mountain now and I know where I went wrong, I also know that I can't get up those trails with a jogging stroller. Bushwacking with a jogging stroller is easier than rolling up some of the trails I saw today!

I want to take my SO to see the lower road that I walked on it was very pretty as it followed a wetland with beaver damns.

I'm very tired so there are probably lots of typos and grammar problems and spelling problems here for me to work out later.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Making an assault on the mountain.

I once sat on the moraine of blue glacier. From there it looked like a short walk to the summit of Mount Olympus. Not the one in Greece, the one in Washington state. The highest peak in Olympic National Park was named because a European who spotted it thought it was a good place for the gods of the "new world" to live.

The "new world" was turtle island and "Mount Olympus" was home to the thunderbird, not Zeus.

Anyway, I'd like to climb Mount Olympus but I don't know how to climb mountains. Should I take a mountaineering class and learn how to rope up and travel on glaciers so I can "make an assault" on the mountain?

Should I do it the zen way and sit on the moraine for a few days while sipping cups of tea and then suddenly get up and just walk up the beautiful mountain without a care?

I can't afford mountaineering classes and I would much rather be one with the mountain then "make an assault" on the mountain. But I'm too chicken to just walk right up the thing.

Maybe folks who classify mountain climbing as "making an assault' on the mountain are actually more scared then I am. Why else would they see the mountain as an enemy target?

Does the mountain notice when one makes and assault on it? Is the mountain kinder to those who are at one with it? Can one be at one with the mountain while climbing with a group? Is the mountain so mighty that it is foolish to even imagine being at one with it?

The ancient Quillayute take on it is thus:

"Thunderbird's home is a cave in the Olympic Mountains, and he wants no one to come near it. If hunters get close enough so he can smell them, he makes thunder noise, and he rolls ice out of his cave. The ice rolls down the mountainside, and when it reaches a rocky place, it breaks into many pieces. The pieces rattle as they roll farther down into the valley.

All the hunters are so afraid of Thunderbird and his noise and rolling ice that they never stay long near his home. No one ever sleeps near his cave."

In recent years the gods certainly have not favored the Quillayute people. Even though it is quite out of place I can not resist mentioning here that Quillayute men are uncommonly handsome.

I try to find information on being at one with a mountain on Google and all I get is a bunch of new age crystal waving money grubbing websites where people pay money to be one with the mountain. Hmmmmm

For now I guess I'll just have to be one with the mountain while I look up at the summit from the moraine. I respect it too much to climb it alone.

But who knows, maybe someday I can make it up alone if I buy a "Thunderbird Ice Axe"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Not this week

   I am sick with a fever this week so had to skip hiking.  I don't
 even feel well enough to go to the store and buy new hiking shoes.
 Not well enough to go shoe shopping, that's really
saying something.

  I wonder who the Mount Rose Trail Crew is.  I suspect they are
from Shelton or Olympia.  Who ever they are they fixed the Lena
Lake trail.  I wonder if they are able to work on the Mount Rose
trail this winter with the road being closed.    I think they are the
same group that turned Mount Ellinor into a walk instead of a
technical climb.

I wonder if they are the same group who saw my SO cutting
switchbacks on Mount Ellinor about two years ago.  I had my
baby in a baby backpack and my SO tried to race me down the
hill by cutting switchbacks.   Even with my carrying a baby and
not cutting switchbacks I beat him down the hill.   He really needs
to quit smoking.   Anyway the group that witnessed this gave my
SO and I dirty looks as they passed us by.   Don't blame me!
 I tried to teach him not to cut switch backs.. damned furriners.. :)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Gold Mountain

(Golden Leaves on Gold Mountain)

I was wondering where to go hiking this week with so many of the major entrance points to Olympic National Park closed and most of the Olympic peaks snowed in. and came to the rescue.

(me at the highpoint and the geocache)

There is a geocache and a terracache on top of Gold Mountain.

I got up at 7am and was showered and out the door by 7:45. I arrived at the starting point at 5 minutes to 8 and finished my hike at 2pm. I spent about one hour cooking and eating lunch and I took a 20 minute break to enjoy the view on the way down.

The last 1/4 of a mile that I drove my car was very rough and my poor little car bottomed out twice. I also stopped and removed debris from the road a couple of times. I managed to drive back out at the end of my hike without bottoming out my little car.

The weather prediction was 45 degrees with 100% chance of rain, not nice hiking weather at all! But the prediction was wrong. There was not a drop of rain and by afternoon some of the fog cleared so I could see the views.

I walked up the road to the cache via the locked gate at the end of Minard road. There are no issues with the Bremerton watershed here. Only the property to the right of the road is off limits. Just stay on the road here and you will be fine. Several cars passed me as I hiked up and everyone in the passing cars smiled and waved at me.

This was a fun hike with some views of the Olympic Mountains to the west. The forest is a mix of, second growth, third growth and fresh clear cuts. Some of the second growth is pretty and the clear cuts provide a view to the Olympics.

(The Olympics)

Here are some stats for my hike up. Total ascent 1,400 feet, Total Descent 1,552 feet ( I know they should be the same), Average moving speed 2.5 MPH, Total time spend moving 3 hours 17 minutes, Total time stopped 1 hour 17 minutes, Total time 4 hours 34 minutes, Total distance 8.4 miles.

I used this website to help me project waypoints for my hike and I'm glad that I did. There were a couple of spots that confused me a bit but with the help of the waypoints I got, I did not take any wrong turns.