Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mildred Lakes Aborted

I got off to an early start because the days are getting short and I had a tough hiked planned.  It was tougher then I expected.  I kept losing the trail.  I wasted so much time searching for the trail that I knew I had to turn back before the lakes.   Stupid orange ribbons led me astray.  I ignored the damn ribbons on the way back to the car and I only lost the trail once.

I made it to Huckleberry creek and lost the trail.  I mean really lost the trail, I just could not find it so I turned back.  After I turned back I found the trail but then lost it again thanks to a misleading orange ribbon.  Why the Fuck was that ribbon there? Anyway I found the route but by the time I found it I decided it was too late.  It was 11:30 and turn around time was only 1 hour away.  I still had to gain 1000 feet even though the lakes were only .60 of a mile away by crow.  I looked back at the trail to my car and up to the trail to the lakes.  My car had more appeal then the lakes did.

The only possible way I could have made it to the lakes and back before dark would be to hike like superwoman and never lose the trail.  I knew from the guidebooks that the trail is really bad beyond the river and I was not feeling like superwoman after all of my wandering around lost.

Damn those orange ribbons. The striped ribbons were great and the red ribbons were OK but the orange ribbons were misleading and should be torn down.

According to my GPS I hiked 6.29 miles and my TOTAL elevation gain was 2,100 feet.

I'll try again in the summer when the days are longer.

I made it back to my car at 1:45, 4 hours up and 1 hour 15 minutes down.

On my drive out I saw a van parked on the side of the road near the icicles.   A Mom and Dad had parked there to let there kids out.  The kids were destroying the beautiful icicles.  I would not have allowed my kids to do such a thing.  It's destructive and thoughtless.  Maybe they were type who think mother nature is there just for them to exploit.

On the way back home I stopped and walked on the Hamma Hamma Beaver Pond Trail.  It is a lovely little trail that I'm sure my family would enjoy hiking.  Just over 1 mile long with only 200 feet of elevation gain.  On the Beaver trail I found a cauliflower mushroom that was frozen solid.
I don't know if they thaw well so I left it alone.   I found a 20-30 pound cauliflower in Oregon this year so I've had my fill of them .  I saw several frozen bears heads on the Mildred Lakes trail as well.

The only mushrooms I brought home today were a couple of huge hedgehogs. It's been a great mushroom year and I'm getting burned out on eating mushrooms.

My aborted track log

Trail head sign

My aborted elevation profile

It was cold today

This may as well have been the ridge between me and the lake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Steepness vs. Miles

This graph shows a slight relationship between the length of my hikes and how steep they were in terms of feet gained per mile.

Now if I toss out my beach hikes and valley hikes the relationship between steepness and miles is strong

The shortest and steepest hike (dot in the upper left) is Mount Ellinor from the Upper trailhead. The longest flattest hike is Big Creek (Quinault) to about 1 mile past the steel bridge.

Now if I only keep the hikes where I gained over 3,000 feet in elevation ( Duckabush to 6 mile
Mount Muller Loop, Mount Rose, Mount Jupiter, Putvin to Lake of Angels and Camp Muir)
I get an extremely strong relationship.  Proving you can "prove" just about anything with statistics.

Annual Skokomish Salmon Kill

The chum run has reached it's peak and the Skok flooded last Friday leaving these salmon stranded when it receded. The river floods with every heavy rain because the channel is filled with sediment thanks to all the logging and logging roads upstream. Ninty percent of the South Fork Skokomish river drainage has been logged. Almost all of it by Simpson during the 100 year "sustained" yield agreement between Simpson and the Forest Service.

"Research published by Montgomery and S. ChereƩ Stover in the Journal of Hydrology shows that the amount of water carried by the Skokomish hasn't changed appreciably, but the river's main channel has gotten 5 to 6 feet shallower since the early 1960s because of sedimentation. "

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fun with stats

I've been learning how to use Excel to make graphs and do statistics this quarter. So far this year I have gone on 31 day hikes and on my dayhikes I have hiked 282 miles and climbed 67,454 feet. My Average dayhike was 9.1 miles with
2175 feet elevation gain.

I'm not done yet, there is still over a month left this year. I have also hiked 32 miles on a backpacking trip this year and I've gone on several 1-2 miles hikes with my family. No wonder I go through so many shoes!

The R Squared Value is .016 showing there is no relationship between the length of my hikes
in miles and the elevation gain in feet.

Looking at the chart the dot that shows the highest elevation gain represents my hike up to Camp Muir. The dot that show the highest combined mileage and elevation gain represents Mount Jupiter.

My hikes on Rialto Beach and Dungeness spit were of the lowest elevation gain.
My hikes to Camp Muir, Lake of Angels and Mount Jupiter had the highest elevation gains.

Just a fun little bar graph.

This shows that Mount Ellinor is the steepest in terms of elevation gain in feet per mile and Rialto Beach was the least steep. This graph reflects elevation change from trail head to end of hike and does not take into account ups and downs in the trail.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Brothers Campground

Lena Lake from Lunch Rock

I woke up for the umpteenth time last night but this time was different. This time my neck did not hurt and it was actually morning. Not just any morning, it was hiking morning! My neck has been hurting since my field trip, I think its mostly stress. The pain reached its peak last night after I argued with my husband.

I arrived at the trail head at 9:00 am. I enjoyed looking at the Hood Canal on the way up. Most trails south of the Hama Hama have been closed until April 1st so I made the trip North to the Brothers trail. The Brothers are the most distinctive peak in the Olympics when viewed from Seattle. I used to look at them from the window of my downtown apartment, I did not know their names back then but I often wondered what it would be like to sit up on one of those peaks. Finally 10 years after I moved out of that apartment I got my chance to find out. I've been on the summit of Mount Buckhorn but not on the summit of the Brothers.

I saw an amazing sight at the trail head. I could not believe my eyes! There was no one parked at the Lena Lake trail head. I don't think I've ever witnessed that sight before. The days are getting short and I had just seven hours of daylight to work with so I gave myself 4 hours to hike up and 3 hours to hike down I decided that at 1:00 I would turn around no matter where I was.

The lower trail is not my favorite hike but the lake is pretty. I've never been very far up the Brother's trail so my goal today was to hike to where the brothers trail ends at base of the Brothers climbing route. I had to hustle a little bit to make it up there and back before dark.

I made it to the Brothers camp at 12:40, that gave me only 20 minutes to have lunch. I brewed up a tea and drank it there and cooked my lunch but carried it down to the lake before I ate it.

I was amazed to find a certain type of mushroom on the trail. This trail is so busy with hikers that I assumed that particular mushroom would not make my list. Well there it was. In fact someone had picked it and then left it. They must not of known what it was.

Other mushrooms I spotted today were chanterelles all past their prime and tons of yellow foot chanterelles but I did not have the time to pick them. I also found but did not pick shrimp russula, russula brevipes, pigs ears and witches butter.

My best find of the day was a large bears head fungus. It is starting to yellow but I think it will still be good.

I did not see anyone else on the trail until I got back down to lunch rock. I think the weather forcast kept hikers away this weekend.

I made it back down to my car at 4:00 on the dot, sunset was at 4:30 . I try to get off the trail 1/2 hour before sunset so I timed it just right. Today's
Stats: 13.2 miles and 2,400 feet elevation gain. I'm tired but I enjoyed my hike.

As an added bonus today my husband actually cleaned the house while I was gone. Normally he does not pick up after himself and I have a load of housework to do when I get home from hiking.

Bears Head Fungus

I did not go high enough to see the burn

A big grill for the back country.

Area Overview

One way profile

One way Track Log

The barometric pressure changed so the elevation log is not symmetrical

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Giant Pie Crust Mushroom

 Just when I think I've see it all another mushroom comes along to wow me.  Mycology is a fun hobby full of surprises.

I don't know what this one is yet.  I found it on campus, this was the biggest of the lot.   They were growing on rotting leaves.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Field Trip from Hell

I just got back from a field trip with my forest ecology class and for the entire duration of the trip I could not see the forest for the measuring tape.

I'm ill and exhausted and I'm in a foul mood. I won't have the energy to go hiking this weekend. My husband is also in a foul mood and he won't be willing to watch the kids while I hike.

I've managed to hike almost every weekend since the term started.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A new trail at an old Carnage Site?

Another $50,000 will go to the County for planning the Camp Govey Backcountry Trail. Mason County will use this grant to create a master plan for a trail on Green Diamond Resource Company forest land........

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Big Creek to Upper Ellinor

 Forest Service Winter-Time Greeting

Oh yeah, fall is here and winter is coming up fast. I'm back into my fall hiking routine. It goes like this: Wake up see what time it is, oh yeah its hiking day! I spring out of bed then tip toe around the house so as not to wake my toddler so my husband can hopefully sleep in a bit.

Brew a cup and a thermos full of mate tea, head out the car with my pack, thermos and trekking poles. Start the car, scrape ice off the windows, get in the car, try not to slam the door, turn on the head lights and the heater, drive up the Hood Canal, park at the trail head. Next I wrap my thermos in a blanket, warm up my GPS, lock the car and start walking in the dark. I love it!

I don't believe in big foot, but there in the dark on The Big Creek Trail I heard a really loud animal in the bushes. I'm well used to hearing herds of elk and I've even heard a couple of bears run away from me. But this animal was stomping, it was so loud! I left the trail to try to get a look at it but I did not get to see it.

What ever it was, I think I scared it off the trail and it walked a little ways off the trail and then stopped but when I left the trail to try to get a look it started walking / stomping off again. It was so loud it was really weird. Maybe it was a wounded elk or deer dragging it's self through the bushes, or maybe it was Bigfoot.

Last night I went to the mall and could barely walk, I'm amazed that I was able to hike so well today. I have my annual September to April sinus infection but I've not hiked in two weeks and I need to get out there so I can stay in shape.

My plan was to hike up the Big Creek Trail to the Ellinor Connector Trail and eat my lunch and the little overlook with a bench and a view of Hood Canal. Not a big work out, but maybe enough for a sick day. But, I flew right past the overlook and soon was overtaken by Greg from the WTA. Greg was summit bound. I followed Greg until almost all the way to the upper trailhead then I gave up on keeping up. Greg also started at the Big Creek Campground and for both of us this was the first time we had ever seen another soul on the Ellinor Connector trail.

I made it all the way up to the junction with the Upper Ellinor trail and I could hear the mobs from Olympia. I turned around there and then I found something that caught my eye. A pink ribbon tied to a stump. Hmmm, I wonder what that ribbon is marking.

As I approached the ribbon I saw another ribbon and I realized I was on a side trail of some sort. At that point I got out my GPS and I decided that I had found a route to Mount Rose. But now at home looking at my topo I think what I found was a trace of an old trail. My topo shows a trail going in the same direction as the ribbons. That trail intercepts the main trail somewhere near the little campsite you can see Seattle from.

Oh what a lovely forest it is up there on the Lower Ellinor trail and on parts of the Ellinor Connector trail. It is a climax old growth forest of Hemlock with all kinds of saprophytes. I don't think it has any protections, what a shame. I felt privileged to be able to see this forest again before the snow gets too deep. There was no snow on my trail today. It's just a tiny ridge that for what ever reason was spared while the forest all around was clear cut. I wonder if it could be added to the Mount Skokomish Wilderness.

A lot of people did not get the message that the Forest Service to Staircase is closed , so they tried to go to Staircase and had to turn around and go to Big Creek instead. Luckily for me the mob all stayed on the lower loop and of course the Upper Ellinor Trail, so I got to be alone for most of the day.

I think us hikers should mob the Forest Service Hood Canal office and demand access to OUR LANDS!!

I needed to be alone today. Dealing with spoilt brats at Evergreen during the day and then going home to my own kids at night is doing my head in.

They are not all spoiled brats at Evergreen but the few ones that are spoiled really get on my nerves. Too bad I can't bend them over my knee and give them a sound spanking.

I found a load of Chanterelles today but they were well off the trail. The Big Creek trail is picked over and over picked. I found a couple of Matsutake down by Hoodsport. I also brought home a shrimp russula and an elfin saddle.

In College this week I got to use Melzer's Reagent to dye mushroom spores with. I am enjoying my time in the microscope lab. All Next week we go on a field trip and I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it. Cramped up in a van for a four hour trip to Oregon with a load of 19 year old screaming pot heads, is not my idea of a good time. I'll try to ride in a van with some adults in it. There are plenty of mature adults in my forest ecology class, I need to seek them out.

I've been told that the only free time we get on field trips is when we eat. This is to keep the kids in line. If they get bored they might get alcohol poisoning. Holy shit, I signed up for 16 credits that means 16 hours a week. I did not sign my life away when I paid my tuition, I better get some free time!

Today’s Stat's 10 miles with 2,800 feet elevation gain.

I took the confluence trail and I also went off trail a couple of times so that made this hike longer then normal.

Lower Ellinor Forest in the fog

Chopped up King Boletes from last week


Possible Kings we found in Downtown Oly last week. What ever they were they sure tasted good.

Track Log

Elevation Profile Log

Lower Ellinor Forest in the Fog

Some mushrooms