Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fir Lake

Snow overed Lake with Chapel Peak and the inlet stream in the background.

After tossing and turning for half the night I woke up tired and with a headache. But I needed to hike for the sake of my mental health, so off I went. I decided to go for the Lake because I expected to get complete solitude there. I was right, I had the lake and the trail all to myself. I’ve come to value solitude over everything else. Solitude combined with old growth is the ultimate for me. There is some old growth at the Lake but some of it has been cut too. I did not realize that some of it had been cut, but this time I saw the stumps.

On the way to the trail head I had to stop at the hardware store to get some denatured alcohol for my stove and while I was in the store my dog tried to get into the smore fixings on the front seat but she failed. Waiting in line a the cash registers was almost more then I could bear. They are so slow in that store, the name change from Lumberman’s to what ever it is called now did not speed up the service.

I have been to the Lake one other time, it was last fall and it rained for my entire hike. The fall colors were nice but I was tired of the rain by the time I got back to my car. This time the sun was out but snow made travel difficult. Last Winter I tried to go to Pine Lake but had to turn back due to the snow.

The snow was not as deep this time but I almost turned back 3 miles short of the lake. The going was very tough with snow and brush covering most of the route. In the summer the brush will be gone because the brush is actually just young alder trees that have been bent over under the burden of snow.

Most of the route was snow covered and I was sinking about 5 inches with almost every step. Many times I would suddenly sink to my knee and have to catch myself with my hands. In some places the snow and brush combined to make booby traps but I did not get caught in any of them. The last ½ mile was a bit steep and the snow was very deep. I could only take about ten steps before I had to rest, I was not out of breath but my legs were too weak to continue.

When I got to the lake I took a long lunch break and did some sun bathing. Yes sunbathing on the beach of a snow covered lake. The sunlight and the breeze felt so nice.

I would have stayed for hours but I had forgotten to pack enough food for the trip. The only food I had was my lunch and it was small. I normally eat several power bars in addiction to my lunch when I go on an all day hike. I had to share a bit of my lunch with my dog since I had also forgotten to bring the dog food from the Jeep. On the way back I got hungry after just .10 of a mile and I knew it was going to be a long time before I got food. I ate quite a few snowballs to calm my stomach. Each bite of snow ball gave a bit of relief as it hit my stomach. I got so hungry that for a second I caught my self thinking that the dog food in my Jeep might taste yummy. I had no food for myself in the Jeep.

When I got back to the Jeep I was very jealous that my dog had food and I did not. But my dog did not want her dog food; she only wanted to beg for my tea. Then suddenly I remembered that I had all the fixings for s'mores in my Jeep. In my Jeep I had a 10 pack of full sized Hershey bars, a bag of marshmallows and 2/3 of a box of graham crackers. Oh and three hotdogs that had been in the Jeep since last week. I ignored the crackers and marshmallows but scarfed down two chocolate bars and drank half a thermos of tea as I drove home. I tossed the hotdogs out into the woods when my dog was not looking.

I think this is the longest ten miles I have ever hiked. I am going to be very tired and sore tomorrow but it was worth it. I started my hike at about 11:30 and finished at about 7:45. I got back just before sunset. It took me 3 hours to walk 5 miles down hill on the way back, that is how rough this trail was. Normally I go 3MPH when going downhills on the way back.

I again got to see the thinning that the Forest Service did up here. I looks better then to old style clear-cuts but still I wish they would find a way to manage trees that did not involve the use of a chainsaw.

The last three times in a row that I have been on the Forest Service 23 road I have seen the Ranger. This is really odd because I had never once in all my travels seen a ranger in the Skokomish area. There is only one Ranger for all for all of the Hood Canal. I wonder why the Ranger is suddenly spending so much time in my neck of the woods. I suspect it has to do with a recent collaboration between the forest service and home land security. I’ve read that they are cracking down hard on brush pickers. I really hate to see that, life in Guatemala is pure hell thanks to U.S. companies like Dole. I don’t blame the Guatemalans for coming here. To them picking salal in knee deep snow from dusk till dawn is a better life then what they had back home.

If this is poorly written is for a reason. I’m manic and I’m absolutely exhausted. Seeing my doctor week before last sent my head spinning. The cure is still worse then the disease.

10 miles with 900 feet elevation gain.

Old Growth Stump on the shore of the Lake

I saw the shot guns shells from Jan 2008 that had been used to shoot down a tree in front of my Jeep. I was worried that my Jeep would get broken into here but it was fine. There was a Volvo tractor parked about 1/2 of a mile from the Gate, I don't know what type of work it has been doing.

I don't have a lot of pictures to upload because I also brought my black and white film camera and took a lot of my pictures with it. I hope I got some good artistic shots. I don't know when I will develop the film, I'll probaby be too tired to do it tomorrow.

Other times I have blogged This Lake
January 06, 2008
Fir Lake Almost
September 30, 2007
Fir Lake

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