Saturday, October 6, 2007

Dry Creek Trail

(that gravel road is the trail)

Now that the wildlife gates are shut I'm shifting my hiking activities up to the North Fork Skokomish and beyond.

Dry Creek trail is a nice one but only if you put some effort into it. I think it's a shame that the latest and greatest Olympic trail guide tells people to eat lunch and turn around at the 4 mile mark. For the first 4-5 miles this trail bites.

For the first mile you have to hike down a gravel road that is lined with houses, no trespassing signs and giant stumps. For the next three miles you hike along an old logging road that is lined with alder trees and more giant stumps. The forest here must have been spectacular before the City of Tacoma pillaged it. At the 4 mile mark you have to ford "Dry" Creek. Dry creek is not dry, I think it was named after nearby by Dry Mountain. It is here that the trail guide tells people to turn around because the creek ford is "hazardous" It is not a river it's just creek even in the rainy season. I see nothing dangerous about wading across it.

After you cross the creek the next 1/2 mile or so of the trail is still lined with stumps. At about 4 1/2 miles the trail reaches what must have been the douglas fir line and that is where the stumps are replaced by actual living breathing trees. The forest here is very nice and I think that the forest up on the ridge top is climax old growth forest, it is all hemlock and cedar but it's also at 3,400 feet so the trees are not huge but they are nice.

Once over the ridge the trail drops down to the over logged South fork Skokomish drainage then it turns into a decommissioned logging road and then ends at a logging road that is rough enough to bottom out my Jeep. The road is also locked up way back behind a wild life gate. So both ends of the trail have been ruined by logging, one end logged by the city of Tacoma and the other logged by Simpson. But the ridge line in the middle was spared and it is very lovely.

I ate my lunch on the ridge top and turned around. I started hiking at about 10am and finished up at about 5pm.    (The first time I hiked this trail it was was covered in deep snow and I had to hike out in the dark.) It rained for the entire time but I did not get cold or wet and I really enjoyed my hike. My total mileage for the day was 12.9 with 2,600 feet elevation gain. I had the trail entirely to myself.

My knee did not give me any problems but my shoes did. I seem to have worn out the tread on my hiking shoes already and I was slipping around way too much. I think I bought these shoes in April. April was not that long ago but I did hike a lot of miles this summer so I guess I won't complain.

My class at Evergreen went to the Lower South Fork Skokomish trail yesterday and what a herd we are. If you want to avoid a mob I'd say avoid that trail on Fridays until December 14th. We scoured every square inch of the first mile of trail for mushrooms on the way in and on the way out. Our assignment was to spend 2-3 hours measuring trees. I've got a ton of math to do now so I can figure out the Basal Area of the trees then I get to write a scientific paper all about the measurements I took. I really enjoyed my hike today and it was nice to just go be in the woods without having to measure trees.

I found a mushroom that smells very strongly like almond extract. I think it's a "gray almond waxy cap" (Hygrophorus agathosmus) what do you think it is?? It smells so nice but it tastes bland. I only nibbled a little bit of it raw and spit it out.

My first blog of this trail

This smells so nice! But tastes so bland.

That's Mount Rose in the fog

Tacoma's tribute to Mason County and the Twana people.

Tiny Salamander

My ridge top lunch spot

a cluster of mycoheterotrophs

There were some nice fat blue berries here

Taken from the causeway

Pigs ears

another mycoheterotroph

possibly a shrimp russula

A real prize!

Elevation profile

Track log

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