Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fir Lake

The trail with big trees starting to show up

There was loads of bear scat full of blueberries


Whooly Chanterelles filled with water


Today was the last day to drive to the trailhead until May. The wildlife gate shuts tomorrow. I was almost glad that the rain was coming down in buckets, I knew that fall was here and was tired of dreading the start of the rains.

Actually I don't mind the rain too much. I prefer sunny days, but I don't let rain stop me from hiking. Even in the winter and in the rain you get more light outdoors then you get in your home. If you have SAD you should try to get outside as much as you can in the winter.

The forest around Pine Lake is amazing. The "trail" to it is boring, it's just an old logging road that has been converted to a trail. I will go back in the summer when it will be warm enough to spend some time at the lake without getting hypthermia.

My knee is still bothering me some but this was an easy hike only 6 miles roundtrip with only 600 feet elevation gain. Next week I want to do something tougher so I can keep my conditioning.

I've finished my first week of college and it turns out my class will be taking several field trips to the Lower South Fork Skokomish!

A climax forest of hemlock

Logging waste dumped down the hill

Looking up

Pine Lake

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Skokomish Upper South Fork

My last hike of the summer.

Today is the Fall Equinox. I've got a cold, my knees hurt, hunters are lurking in the woods, the wildlife gates are about to slam shut, the bugs are gone, there is a chill in the air and the mushrooms are blooming.

After hurting my knee on the Church Creek Trail I had to take it easy this week and do a level hike. Deciding where to do my level hike was easy. Next week the wild life gate will close and access to the Upper South Fork Skok, Church Creek, The Dry Creek Extension and the upper end of the Dry Creek Trail will be shut down for six months. It was time to rescue that travel bug from my Upper South Fork Geocache to prevent it from being stranded there until next May!

There were more cars at the trailhead then I have ever seen here before and I soon learned why. A WTA trail crew was on the trail. They cleared the trail all the way up to six ridge pass. Thank you! Two members of the WTA crew recognized me as "Pest" on the NW Hikers forum.

I started my hike at around 9am and finished up at about 2pm. I forgot my lunch at home so I was good and hungry by the time I got home.

I hiked to startup creek then brewed my tea and turned around. Today's mileage was 8 with only 1,100 feet elevation gain. My knee did quite well and I intend to go on a tougher hike next week.

I did not see as many mushrooms as I had hoped to see but I did find a really nice "Bears head" that I took a few pictures of. I intended to pick half of it when I passed it again on the way back to the car. I was going to leave the other half so it could continue growing and sporulating.

But on my way back to my car I was horrified to discover that someone picked it. I know who must have picked it, I passed the offender just after I finished lunch. I guess she was desperate for chanterelles as every orange mushroom near the trail had been pulled up or kicked over. It was rather disappointing to see the damage she caused. But in spite of her efforts I did find some chanterelles that she missed.

My husband cooked dinner and fried up the chanterelles the moment I walked in the door. The chanterelles were nice but I really wanted to eat that bears head. Lesson learned, pick all mushrooms the first time through. I've never had this happen before so I felt safe leaving it to pick on my way back.

I had a great summer, I went on lots of fun hikes and I really got to explore the South Flank. My $1,400 Christmas Jeep ran like a top. I had a blast driving all the back roads in the Skokomish Drainage. I went on some long tough hikes and I got into really good shape.

But fall is here the high country is about to close down for the winter and the wild-life gates are about to slam shut.

Next week I go back to college. I'm going to take a course called "Temperate Rainforests" and I'll get to play in the woods every Friday as part my class work. I've already done some of the reading and I see that all my experiences hiking and cutting firewood (when I was a child) will give me an edge at the start. I already know a lot of the stuff we are going to learn the first week.

I hope you all had a nice summer too!

Chicken of the Woods

Old Growth Canopy

The Skok is small up here in the fall

Giant Red Russula
(someone kicked this over after I took the picture)

Giant Red Russula Gills

Giant Red Russula Gills. I took great efforts to take this picture
without plucking the mushroom. But someone kicked it over after I
I passed it the first time.

Brewing tea

A nice conk

Dyers Polypore

Avalanche Chute

Doug fir

Bears head that someone else picked before I did.

I was horrified, I tell you horrified to discover this where the
Bearshead had been.

Hypholoma used to be Naematoloma . . . now it's Hypholoma
This one is poison no matter what you call it

Giant Purple Cort

Mmmmmm Old Growth!

Elevation Profile

Track Log

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tapinella atrotomentosa old name (Paxillus atrotomentosus)

Above is one mushroom that I have cut in half.

I had no idea what these were but Usenet came to the rescue.

This is a large mushroom I found growing in masses on a rotten conifer stump in Western Washington. The spore print is brown. The stem is lateral and has a velvety coating. The flesh is thick and white but maybe has some violet tints. Caps were up to 10 inches across.

"Velvet Rollrim - Paxillus atrotomentosus (=Tapinella atrotomentosa).

This was a tricky one for me because my key just kept sending me to the Cort family. At one point it sent me to the Pholiota family. I actually thought of looking in the Paxillus family but did not.

This is the second time I have found a Paxillus. Last fall I found some Paxillus involutus growing in a lawn with some Leccinum scabrum (Birch Boletes) but they were orange and not growing on wood and I was able to key them out very quickly.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Church Creek Trail

The Church Creek trail used to be much longer but logging destroyed the lower section of the trail.  The trail used to go from the Sastop Lakes to South fork of the Skokomish.  There was a shelter where the trail met up with the Skokomish river.  The shelter is still there and remnant of the trail leads to it.

This end of the trail is behind a wildlife gate and inaccessible from from October 1st to April 1st unless you want to hoof it or bike it several miles to reach the trail head.

I don't know if the Satsop end of the trail is behind a wildlife gate.

The Scaly Chanterelle (Gompus floccosus)
Lovely to look at but not so good to eat.
Many are made ill by it. I love finding these because they are so
pretty, but the presence of these usually seems to mean there will be no
edible Chaterelle (Chanterellus cibarius) other then the yellow foots (Cantharellus tubaeformis)

I often find scaley chanterelles in the same areas as Pigs Ears (Gomphus clavatus)
Pigs ears are also lovely to look at but usually full of maggots. I've tried
them once and did not like them.  I left the ones I found today

Total Ascent and Descent were off today. I wish My GPS had an option use my loaded topo map to get elevation info. Barometric altimeters like the one in my GPS change their readings with the weather.

This tall living tree's bark was riddled with woodpecker holes.

One tiny Tricholoma, I should have left it to grow.

A puple cort (we think)

Honey mushrooms growing out of the side of a living tree.
These were too wormy to bother picking.

Upper Satsop Lake

Bear Tracks

A clump of brown mushrooms

This Mature forest was once slated for logging but is now in a roadless area. If Bush had gotten
his way on the roadless issues I have no doubt that these trees would now be in a saw mill and this the trail would be gone.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Matsutake Glut On the Alaska Highway

Matsutake or Pines are selling for only $2.00 per pound.   Here is a pile of Pines that a buyer discarded as junk because they were not perfect buttons.

In Japanese Matsi=Pine Take=Mushroom

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Giant Lepotia??

What the heck is this thing? We are almost sure it is a parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) but we seem to be getting a gray spore print and my book says they are only known to Arizona and the South West. We are not going to eat it even though it smells good. It stains reddish at first and then brown.

Click on the images to enlarge them

We asked an expert at the college and he answered:
"Chlorophyllum (Lepiota) rachodes complex, probably Chlorophyllum (Lepiota)

These are considered to be quite tasty but they do upset some people's stomachs. These were too old to bother with so we still won't eat them.

Searching on Chlorophyllum brunneum" yielded this information Yeesh, no wonder we were confused. In fact this reminds me of a song:

Used to be called Hypholoma
but they couldn’t leave it alone-a
they changed the name to Naematoloma,
Then back to Hypho-lo-ma
Nuf to make a mycologist groan-a

That and many more are on the CD "Fungal Boogie"

OH! OH oh! I see they have new CD out. Kewl new music to drive to the shroom hunting spots by.

We spent the day doing back to school stuff. Bought back to school shoes for both of us. Yep I'm going back to school this fall. I'm finally going to get the BA degree that I went for in 1989. Ninety seven of my credits transferred so I'm off to a good running start.

We wandered around campus some today. My GPS said we walked over six miles but I'm not sure I believe it. We walked down to the beach and back in search of mushrooms. I've never had much luck hunting for mushrooms in the woods there.

I'm not sure how much going to college is going to impact my hiking but I hope to be able to stay with my hiking.   If I get the class that I want in winter quarter I will go hiking and backpacking as part of my studies.