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

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