Friday, August 31, 2007

Mount Muller Loop

On Tuesday I did the Mount Muller Loop. I first learned of this fairly new loop trail a couple of years ago. A group of women from an internet hiking board wanted to do the loop as a backpacking trip. I wanted to join in but they never answered my messages asking to join. I'm not sure what happened there.

Mount Muller caught my attention again this winter when I saw that it has a terracache hidden on it. I really like terracaching. With terracaching you get points based on how hard the cache is to find and all caches are rated by cache finders. Caches with low ratings get archived. Terracaches tend to be much higher quality then geocaches.

The Terracache on Mount Muller has been there for almost a year with no finders. I knew that Terracache would be worth a lot of points when it was finally found. But Mount Muller is a long way from home and I did not feel like doing it as a day hike starting from home.

For our last camping trip of the summer I chose to go to nearby Klahoya Campground so I could finally do the Mount Muller loop and grab that Terrache. There is also a Geocache on Mount Muller.

I hit the trail head at about 7 am and started my hike up in the clockwise direction. The trail climbs to the summit ridge in 3.5 miles according to the signs. The climb up was very easy for me as I am in good shape at the moment.

I found the Terracache on the ridge, but it was totally exposed. The Terracache was full of great swag but I had nothing to trade so I signed the log and then re-hid the cache much better then I found it.

Next the trail followed the ridge 2,000 some feet above highway 101 for about 5 miles. The ridge walk was very nice with great views of Mount Olympus, Crescent Lake and the sourrounding hills. Some of the ridge is covered with damp woods and the woods yielded an amazing variety of mushrooms. I was in mushroom hunters heaven!

I found a huge king bolete on the ridge and I carried it in my hand for 9 miles just so I could show it to my daughter. It was full of maggots but I wanted my ten year old to see it, she gets as excited about mushrooms as I do.

I took my luch near the summit of Mount Muller and grabbed the nearby Geocache. The Geocache was soggy so I spread out it's contents to dry in the sun while I ate my lunch. For lunch I had two stale powerbars (on sale at Safeway) and a hot cup of tea.

After leaving the ridge the trail goes back into the forest. Once at the bottom of the Mountain the trail turns back towards the trail head and is level for the next 3 miles. This level section has been maligned as "payment for the ridgewalk" by a local author. Well that author must not be a mushroom hunter. I found so many lobster mushrooms on the lower section that I had to leave some behind. I was afraid I would go over the one gallon limit for any one species of mushroom in the forest. I also nearly got my limit of Chanterelles.

I finished up my hike at about 4PM and drove back to Camp Klahoya. Although this hike really wore me out at the end I really enjoyed it. At only 3,700 feet the rideline felt alpine, the views were sweeping, the trail was well maintained the mushrooms were stupendous, I got a geocache and I got a first to find on a Terracache. What more could a cache hunting, mushroom loving hiker ask for?

Mount Muller Loop is said to be 12.8 miles long with 3,200 feet elevation gain. My GPS recorded it as about 10.5 miles. Using the official stat's this hike rates a "23" on the Hike Difficulty Calculator.

Candy Stipe and Yellow Corals tell of another mushroom nearby

This terracache was totally exposed


A great year for berries

Slippery Jack Bolete

Perhaps a King Bolete

A stale old King with a fresh young button

Lake Cresent sparkles below

Yellow liquid coming off Lobster Mushrooms

My lunch spot on Mount Muller

Track Log this trail is listed as 13 miles long and it felt like it.

Elevation Profile log

Coral Mushroom

Finally a grouse sits still for a picture

Huge Bolete (maybe bitter bolete)

Huge old maggot infested King I carried for 9 miles

Lovely Klohoya Camp

Three pretty Polypores

Admirable Boletes (we think)

Bitter Bolete

Drying out this Geocache's contents

Chanterelle Buttons

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Pond of the False Prophet

Pond of the False Prophet

Local views only today

The Mountain Goat branch of the Monday Hikers were going up to LOTA so I decided to join them.  I left early so I could get a head start on them.  My hike started at 8:30 and I made it to the lake before the Mountain Goats could catch up with me.   I had a hot cup of tea at the lake (5,000 feet)  and headed down before the Goats arrived because it was wet and windy up there.
I lost the trail for a bit on the way up, I think I inadvertently headed the way to go up Mount Stone but eventually I figured out where I was.   I did not have any route finding problems the first time I did this hike.

It was cold at the lake but warmer down below. On the way back down I was able to take off one layer when I reached 4,000 feet and was back down to shorts and T-shirt by the 3,000 foot level.
But where were the Mountain Goats?  I guess they decided not to come.
Oh well I had a nice hike anyway and took the time to take a lot of pictures on the way down.

It gave me a psychological boost to think I was not
on the trail alone.  Sometimes I feel nervous about hiking alone.
I did not intend to ever hike this trail alone again after seeing what it
was like year before last.    I’m glad I got to see the trail again anyway
and I would hike it alone again now.

I wonder where they hiked?  They carpooled from Poulsbo and Bremerton, since
I live down here in the bowels of Mason County carpooling from those spots would have
been silly.  I drove to the trail head  alone and missed out on something somewhere.
I need to give those folks my phone number I guess.

Fall mushrooms are out!  I saw my first Chanterelle and Fly Agaric of the Season.  There
was a marmot just above the lake and I flushed out two grouse at the same time.  I wish those darn grouse would sit still and let me get close enough for a picture.
I smelled a bear in the meadow below the headwall.  I also heard some noise in the bushes at the same time.
I did not see the bear though.

On  my Enchanted Valley back pack earlier this year I learned that bears smell like bear poop.
I’m stiff and sore after taking two weeks off hiking and then jumping right back into the frying
pan with this tough tough hike.  6.3 miles round trip with 3,800 feet elevation gain.  This is a
rough trail with limited to no maintenance.   A bit of rock climbing is required in one spot.  As usual the Park and Forest Service Exaggerate about the difficulty on the trail head sign.  They even go so far as to warn against wearing “tennis shoes” on the way down.  Some how I survived the trip down in my tennis shoes.
This hike rates a “31″ on the Hike difficulty calculator

At 3:30 I reached the trail head and my faithful little car.  

Click on any of the images to make them larger

Should have crossed here.

Lake of Angels with permanent snowfields

Elevation profile log

Track Log

Oops I wore the wrong shoes

This tree knows what happened to Carl Putven

Lots of wildflowers on display

Fly Agaric- Alice in Wonderland Mushroom

The trail down

Hold on tight!

Muddy mucky cold black mud

Post hike muddy shoes and cold waterlogged feet.

The pond of the false prophet is  a frog heaven at times.

They almost match, good day for the GPS

The following is from the Mason County Historical Society, which states the below information is from Vivian Boerger from Mildred Putven, daughter-in-law of Carl Putven. All the records spell Putvin with an “e” instead of an “i”.

“…There is a historical marker near grave site. It says “Near here is grave of Carl , pioneer, trapper and explorer b Sept 4, 1892 – January 10, 1913.”
Carl Putven lived with his wife and half brother and young son in a cabin in the meadows above the grave site. (Up what is now known as Putven Trail.) Carl had gone out for supplies and apparently stopped along the trail on the way home. He was found frozen to death sitting by the trail, the supplies in his pack. His family started to pack his body out but it was too difficult, so they buried him near the present site. A railroad track was put through the area where the grave was and the grave was moved nearby to its present site.
…Marietta Putven – mother of Carl married _ Moody in 1915.

Carl’s father had drowned while the family lived on Camano Island. Marietta Putven was born in Lower Lake, CA. Her parents were C.P. Stanton and Alice Floder. Carl’s wife’s name was Ada Richards and she was born in VA.”

Lake of Angels

Looking down on the Valley that sits above the head wall

Lake of the Angels