Sunday, January 25, 2009

Staircase again

I forget how much this cookset weighs but it is pretty darn light the stove weighs about one ounce. It worked just find at home tonight but I had trouble with it today.My stove would not light today. In the cold weather it seems to need a cigarette lighter or a match to get it going and all I had today was my sparker. I think the heat from the cigarette lighter is needed to get the fuel to evaporate enough to light. Good thing I had packed a cold lunch and only wanted to make a hot cup of tea.

View from the bridge looking downstream

15 miles on my new shoes

Lots of people out today. A truck came barreling down the road. Home owners on the other side of the causeway must have a key to the gate this year. I thought they were going to hit my dog. I flashed back to when my dog was hit by a car in front of my eyes and in the exact same circumstance when I in grade school. A quad also came down on me at a very high rate of speed road and left exhaust fumes in it's wake. This was not a very relaxing hike.

I was manic as hell and I needed some time to myself, I have a huge stressful event coming up next week. I can't say that walking 12 miles subdued my mania at all but at least it gave me something to do that did not get me in trouble.

The road was a frigging zoo two running vehicles were sitting at the gate with many more parked. No way to avoid breathing cigarette smoke from the truck in the middle of the road both the passenger and the driver were hanging cigarettes out their windows. They were also running an air compressor to pump up their tires.

There was a light dusting of snow at Staircase and again at the start of the road but most of the road was free of snow. All kinds of Elk sign but no elk with all the noise on the road.

There have been no new landslides or washouts on the road in spite of our recent rain on snow event. I hope this will make the forest service decide to open the road to all cars next winter so I can hike on the trails instead of the road. Of course doggie would have to stay home if I were to hike the trails.

12.25 miles with 180 feet elevation gain.

I took some pictures but can not upload then right now. We have been reduced to dial up Internet service at home so I'm blogging at Safeway but don't have my pictures with me.

Glad to put this "trailhead" behind me (I left without drinking a cup of tea from my thermos and I forgot to turn my GPS off) I was going to place a geocache here but not with all these muggles around!

A homeless person named Brad who seems to have "schizophrenia" is sitting next to me and yelling at his voices. I don't mind that, but I would like him to stop burping. Oh great, now he just farted in my direction. I ignored the burping but did voice my displeasure about the fart. I'm sure he is doing all of this for attention. I guess it won't be long until Safeway starts calling the police on him to have him removed. I know his full name, I hear it on the Police scanner every week. He is a convicted felon, I don't think it is right for someone who is as crazy as he is to be a convicted of a felony.

Potlatch State Park has been logged again. I wonder how much money the State is going to make for this log truck load of healthy douglas-fir?

I'm back home and have found an internet connection and it is the fastest I have ever seen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Rain on Snow Event

Ecorover added a comment asking if we could send all our lowland snow over their way to the Rockies to which I answered:

We just sent it all to the Ocean and all at once so now we have major flooding. I'm sorry we can't send it East. Another rain on snow event! Is this going to happen every year now? I live a few blocks from a river but my home is not in a 100 year flood plain. My home is considered to be safe from flooding but still I worry because I am in a valley and near a river.

I wanted to hike today but I have a sinus infection that is getting better with treatment but is still dragging me down. I was all packed to hike but just did not feel up to it. It would have been interesting to see all the new storm damage.

Future Prediction

Monday, January 5, 2009

Vance Creek Bridge and More in the Snow

(Skokomish Valley with snow and fog)

Wandering around in the snow. Today I had hoped to drive to the high steel bridge and then snowshoe up to the top of Grisdale hill. That would have been 4 miles round trip, plenty of mileage for a snowshoe hike. The 23 road had been grated and was in good shape all the way to the turn off for the evacuation route. The evacuation route takes a road that goes south from the 23 and winds its way down to the Simpson 800 line.
The 800 line goes out to Shelton-Matlock road.

The 23 had been grated past the evacuation turn off but not as well or not as recently. I was worried that my Jeep would high center on the snow in the middle of the road so I turned back and decided to walk to the Vance Creek Bridge instead.

 It was about two miles round trip to get to the bridge. The way was bit treacherous with snow covered gullies and snow bridges to navigate. I was glad that I had my snowshoes on, but others had recently made the trek in regular shoes so it can be done. I did not walk out onto the bridge. I have walked all the way across the bridge in the past and it was very scary for me. I found my 500th geocache next to this bridge in September of 2006, as far as I know the cache is still there. There is also a multi-geocache near this bridge that is called “psycho vertigo” I have not found that cache and I probably never will.

After I left the bridge I wandered down a side road that goes south from the road to the bridge. There in a short distance I found a nice viewpoint that looked down onto the Vance Creek Valley and up to South Mountain. There I brewed my tea and shared a power bar with my dog while enjoying the view.

(Vance Creek Valley)

When I got back to my jeep I was not ready to go home yet, so I parked near the 8100 line that I normally use to walk to Lake West, but instead of going to Lake west I went up a steep logging road until I found myself at a very nice view point that overlooked the snow covered Skokomish Valley. To the East I could see the cascade crest and I was able to make out Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens.

I did not want to back track so I made took an off road route back down to the road. I went over an area that was probably logged and replanted about 8 years ago. Normally this would be very hard place to walk but the snow covered up most of the slash and stumps and made it a fun little adventure. Once I made it back down to the 8100 line I decided to head home.

On the way out I noticed that the piles of Salal I saw the last time I walked that road were still there. What a shame that so much Salal got wasted. I wonder what happened to cause this? Maybe the pickers got deported. ICE had been parking in the Skokomish Valley and detaining and deporting brush pickers. When these wage earners get deported the women and children who are left behind really suffer.

A lot of snow was expected in the mountains today, but I was only in the foothills. I think I only walked 3 miles but I feel like I hiked much further. For me snowshoeing one mile feels like hiking about 3 miles.

(New shoes in old snowshoes)

I wore my new shoes today and it was very nice to have dry feet. Right now it is snowing at sea level and two inches have accumulated. I am glad that I did not stay out for too long today. The snow is supposed to turn to rain at sea level but 1 foot of snow is expected to pile up in the Olympic Mountains tonight.

3 miles on my new hiking shoes.

Wasted Salal

Vance Creek Bridge
( "At over 800 feet long and standing more than 300 feet tall, it's one of the largest logging railroad bridges ever built and is officially recognized as the tallest railroad bridge in America." -

Both Track logs for the day

My Off trail route down

Profile for walk to the Vance Creek Bridge

Profile for my walk near Lake West

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Rain Gear

After three years my raincoat is starting to de-laminate on the hood and around the collar. Also one of the Velcro straps that holds the sleeve shut near the wrist is coming off. I sewed it back on.

My pants that I bought at the same time de-laminated on April 17, 2007 and I had them replaced under warranty. They are starting to fall apart at the belt. The hole that the belt comes out of near the buckle has torn on both sides and allows the buckle to go all the way into my pants where I can not reach. I just finished sewing up both of those holes. I had been using baby diaper pins to keep the belt from pulling through.

My first blog post was about my need for new rain gear. Then the same month I blogged about my new rain gear.

I guess things have come full circle because I am once again blogging about my need for rain gear. Well not really, I am hoping to try to keep using this stuff for a while because I just used a bottle of Nikwax on it. I found the bottle of Nikwax out in the garage. It was after using that bottle of wax that I realized my coat is delaminated. I think that Nikwax is a real splurge and I very rarely buy the stuff. I think it is massively overpriced, does not last long and is un-necessary. But it is really fun to see the water just bead up and run off my rain gear. I think I have only bought the stuff two times. I wish I had a recipe to make my own I am certain that it would be cheaper. Maybe with the depression now in full swing they will have to lower the price of the stuff.