Monday, July 27, 2009

Gladys Divide and Flap Jack Lakes

Roasting at Staircase Campground in Summer, aka purgatory

Legs and trees

First Jr. Ranger Badge

Boardwalk on the Flapjack trail

Tall Trees

Madeline Bridge

Fork in the trail

The cross in the upper left corner caught my eye

Flapjack Lake

My first sighting of Black Slime Mold

Flowers above the Lakes

Tarn below the Divide

At this point, in a hike I have never done before, I like to pause and wonder what the view will be like. I know the view is coming so I tease myself for a moment by pausing.

Gladys Divide and my pack

Yep I made it!

I took the family camping at Staircase and I went hiking. I did not want to stay at Staircase, but my kiddo wanted to go camping, so for her sake I suffered with the crowds and noise. God, I hate the front country in the summer. I’m not going back to Staircase until AFTER they lock the gate for the winter. Anyway, my kiddo had a good time and she got her first Jr. Ranger Badge.

A ranger suggested that I hike to Wagon Wheel Lake :shakehead: instead of hiking to Gladys Divide. But, I’ve been to Wagon wheel Lake and I know better. I’m even a little bit miffed that the ranger tried so hard to get me to do Wagon Wheel instead of Gladys. But he seemed like a nice guy so I’ll try not to hold it against him. :)

I started my hike at 6:30 AM and finished at 6:30 PM. The hike up to Flapjack lakes was easy for me, but I was getting hot so I jumped in the lake with all my clothes on. When I got out of the lake a swarm of blood sucking bugs tried to eat me. :eek: To avoid being eaten I sat in the lake with just my head sticking out of the water. I felt very refreshed after my dunk in that cold lake. When I was done swimming I got away from the area as fast as I could.

I had plenty of energy left to go for the Gladys Divide, 1,100 feet and one mile up the trail. The divide was great! There was just enough of a breeze on the divide to keep all the bugs away. I cooked up a big meaty protein filled lunch while I was soaking up the views. I decided not to diet at all on this hike because I was a bit concerned about the high mileage and I wanted to enjoy my first visit to the divide.

I always hike alone, but when I was on the divide, I felt a little bit creeped out being all alone and so far from the trail head. There was no reason for it though, the hike out was uneventful.

On the way down I stopped and dunked myself in the Lake again. My clothes had completely dried out from my first dunking. I was completely dry again well before my hike was over.

Just before the divide I saw two deer and just before the finish of my hike I saw two grouse. Horseflies circled me and started following me several times but I managed to scare them off with my trekking poles.

When I got back down to the campground my family was not in our site. My family was down at the river trying to keep cool. I joined them and I jumped in the river before going back to camp.

GPS Totals from campsite to campsite

18.5 Miles RT
4,300 Feet Elevation Gain

View from the Divide

The needle in the Sawtooth Range

The needle

Penstemon on the divide

A hole near the needle

Grouse on the Skokomish trail

Trail Junction

Lower Flap Jack Lake

Flapjack Lakes were very cold and that was a good thing.

Cimatic Climax Forest of Mountain Hemlock


Elevation profile log

Track log

GPS totals
Campsite to Campsite 18.6 miles
Elevation gain 4,300

Shoe miles 130 (holes are forming on the heel area in the inside of the shoes

Black Slime Mold

Black Slime Mold

Staircase in summer, aka purgatory

Staircase was a zoo this weekend, people, cars, drums, rangers driving past every 1/2 hour. My stinking dog . Sheesh.. I'm beginning to re-think my position on the Dosewallips road. I'm looking forward to backpacking and I'm not going back Staircase until the gate is locked for the winter!

We paid $15.00 just to get in the gate, and for what?

Don't look at the next one if you are eating.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dosewallips / Lake Constance Fire

A local ranger has given me the GPS coordinates of the fire I saw last week when I was on Mount Jupiter. The Constance Lake trail has been closed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mount Jupiter, Angry Hiker style

I was hoping today’s trip up Mount Jupiter would be better then my last trip. On my last trip I hiked in rain all day and did not get to see any views. Today the weather looked good, so I went for it.

I almost missed the turn up Mount Jupiter road, I had to pull off to the right of the highway and turn around to go back to turn on to Mount Jupiter road. As I headed up the nasty dirt road in my jeep I remembered that my Jeep brakes better in 4 wheel drive so just as I was about to go around a corner I stopped and shifted into 4 wheel drive. Just then 3 ultra cool baby boomer joggers / dog walkers came around the corner. I was glad that my Jeep was completely stopped and they should have been glad too. But they gave me dirty looks. They had that baby boomer sense of entitlement and they thought they owned the road.

Do you know the type of people I am talking about? Rich late-life joggers in their baby boomer jogging uniforms complete with severe hair cuts and a sense of entitlement. Clearly these old bats felt that they owned the road. I smiled at them in spite of their foul attitudes. One tenth of a mile later when I was traveling at a speed of between 15-20 MPH, I came upon another ultra cool baby boomer jogger woman and she was nastier than the first three. She signaled for me to slow down while giving me dirty looks. I was not traveling at an excessive speed and I found her carry-on to be rather offensive, but still, I slowed down and smiled at her. Maybe I should have run her off the road instead. She was the same type of person who would have run me off the trail while insisting that I “talk to her horse”.

Finally, I finished running the gauntlet of ultra cool rich bitch baby boomer joggers and I arrived at the clear-cut forest that marks the start of the trail. There were signs everywhere with lists of rules such as no wood cutting, no littering, pack it out, no motorcycles. I found it rather ironic that these signs had been posted by a logging company. The logging company certainly did some wood cutting but at least they packed it all out. Yep, they packed it all the way out to the bank.

At the trail head I donned a 35 pound pack and put on my hiking boots. I need to break my feet into my old hiking boots for the climb up Mount Adams. I only recently found my hiking boots moldering away in my ex-husbands shed. I never hike in boots, but I will need to wear them on Mount Adams because my ultra-light crampons will not stay attached to my trail runners. I plan to carry 30 pounds, 4000 feet up to Lunch Counter on Mound Adams. I knew that I would gain about 4000 feet in elevation on Mount Jupiter so I considered this to be a training hike.

I was glad to see that the over mature, decadent old growth that once thrived here had all been cut down and replaced with an nice uniform stand of 3 inch tall
Douglas-fir. The trail starts in a clear-cut forest, and one can see old growth stumps scattered among the remains of the second growth stumps. The second growth was less then half the size of the old growth when it got cut down. In the midst of all this carnage third growth Douglas-fir have spouted. One has to wonder if these trees will be cut down when they are half as large as the second growth was. I loved sustained uh I mean sustainable logging. My heartfelt thanks to Pope and Talbot, um I mean Olympic Resource Company. In addition to viewing the carnage, on the lower parts of this trail the observant hiker is also rewarded by hearing the sounds of motor boats on the Hood Canal and cars on highway 101 below.

There was one car at the trailhead when I got there and another car arrived just after I started hiking, once the solo male hiker who pulled in behind me had passed me on the trail, I knew it would be ok to let my rescue bird dog get some much needed exercise. But about 3 miles up the trail I was passed by a baby boomer jogger; she warned me that she was coming up behind me. I did not realize it at the time, but her warning was really a statement telling me to get the hell off her trail. I also did not realize she was jogger because she was not wearing the right uniform. Instead of jumping off the trail for her, I made a quick grab for my dog. I don’t let my dog run around to sniff and slobber on people. The jogger woman seemed pretty friendly and she told me that the husband was behind her. I kept my dog on her leash until the husband was well past me. Then I knew my dog would be free to roam for a couple of hours because I would not run into anyone else for quite a while.

(The rare Olympic Ground Cone)



One of the Jupiter Lakes

At first the trail is fairly level and it feels like most of the elevation is gained in the final two miles. The last two miles are on an open ridge with some exposure and a narrow trail tread. There are peek-a-boo views of the Duckabush and Dosewallips Valley all along the upper ridgeline. There are also peek-a-boo views of Seattle, the Puget Sound and the Jupiter lakes.

Before I reached the ridgeline the hiker whose car was at the trial head when I arrived passed me. I called my dog and leashed her before we met up. She was an older woman, maybe a baby boomer, but not a super kewl rich bitch baby-boomer. She probably had money but she was more of grandmotherly type. She fell in love with my dog. Hell I think she liked my dog more then I do. In fact I know she liked my dog more than I like my dog. We had a brief chat about road conditions and my dog before she headed back down to her car. She must have gotten a really early start.

At 3,800 feet the trail crosses past the Douglas-fir line and into Brothers Wilderness. There is a medium campsite located at the start of the wilderness. I stopped there to rest and munch on a bagel. This left me with just one bagel to eat for lunch on the summit and nothing to eat on the way down. I need to start packing more food for my day hikes, but I also need to lose some weight.

Near the summit

It was hot on the open ridge and my dog started panting a bit too much so I searched until I found a place where she could sit down and cool off. As I said, the trail on the upper ridge is very narrow so it took some searching for me to find a good spot to rest. Once I found a spot I tied my dog to a tree and gave her some water. I also poured some ice water onto her back.

While I was there resting and waiting for my dog to cool down, I decided to trail test my portable plastic penis. I will need to bring my portable plastic penis on my Adams hike,it allows me to pee standing up. (was that a comma splice?) The ability to just turn my back to the crowds and pee will be most welcome on the upper slopes of Adams, where there is no tree cover. Just as I was finishing up, the jogger woman came barreling down on me for a second time. She had already summited and she said she was a bit pissed off at her husband for spending his summit time yakking away on a cell phone. I told her to hold on while I buttoned my pants but she did not slow down at all, instead she told me not to be embarrassed because she had just “done the same thing”. She said she also had a portable plastic penis and that it was “the backcountry way”. She warned me that her husband was coming up behind her. Sure enough, her husband arrived, so I quickly grabbed my shoes and used them to cover up my portable plastic penis. It was lying on the ground next to my baggie of toilet paper and it was modesty that made me want to cover it up with my shoes.

When the jogger dude passed my dog, who was tied up well off the trail, she snarled at him. She can read people pretty well and she did not like him. The man, as he passed me made a snide remark that I did not quite catch but it sounded something like, “it would be better if you got all the way off the trail”. But as he was making his remark his wife was yelling back to him and me, something about men not having balls. I think she was trying to embarrass him after he had pissed her off by yakking on his cell phone. I told the man that I had to rest there because my dog was too hot. The woman continued to yell stuff that I did not fully understand but I took it to be friendly yelling. It was all very confusing and I did not fully realize what had transpired until I got back to the trailhead and saw the nasty comment the man made in the register. The comment said “if dogs can run free why I can’t?” Okaaaaaaaaay, number one, my dog was not running free, she was leashed both times he passed me, number two, mister baby boomer jogger dude does not own the entire mountain, number three Mount Jupiter is an insane place to jog. One tine slip on the upper ridge and you're dead meat. I did not fully realize they were jogging until I saw this note. It never entered my mind that they were jogging on Mount Jupiter. I had no idea that people would jog on such and exposed and narrow trail. Perhaps if they had been wearing ultra cool baby boomer jogging suits I would have realized they were joggers. But they were from Forks, so they probably didn’t know how to dress up properly. Perhaps they should take some fashion tips from the folks in Aberdeen. Forks is one of the few towns that a Sheltonian can look down on. That B.S kind of put a damper on my mood as I drove back but more on that later.

Up the Duckabush

Summit Dog

Campsite on the Summit

Goats on the next peak over

Forest Fire above Dosewallips

A few flowers on the upper ridge



Shortly before the summit I started to feel dizzy and headachy. I wondered if I was dehydrated but I had drunk over 3 liters of water on the way up. Also I was peeing too often to be dehydrated, so I guess it was a combination of fatigue and altitude that was getting to me. I took two “vitamin I” pills and that helped some. Perhaps it was an MSG headache; I still have a headache today.

The solo male hiker that had passed me on the way up passed me again about ½ mile before the summit. He was a likable dog-neutral person. I leashed my dog and held her off to the side while letting him pass by us. He was the last hiker I saw; I only saw 4 hikers today, but that was more then I expected. I would never want to take my dog on a busy hiking trail.

The bear grass and rhodies had all just finished blossoming. I wish I had made it up to Mount Jupiter a few weeks earlier so I could have enjoyed the flower show. The bear grass must have put on quite a display. The only place I have ever seen more bear grass was in Glacier National Park.

I summited 7 long hours after I left the trailhead. I had to hike slower then I wanted to because my dog was panting and I did not want her to overheat. The last thing I wanted to do was try to carry my dog out! It was 4 pm when I reached the summit and I decided to stay up there until 5pm. If I left at 5pm that would give me 4 hours to hike out and get back down to the 101 before dark. The view from the summit was very nice. I could see Mount Duckabush, Seattle and some of the Cascade volcanoes. There is room to pitch a one person tent on the summit.

A forest fire look out used to stand on the summit of Mount Jupiter and while I was on the summit I spotted a forest fire. The fire was high on a ridge above the Dosewallips River. When I got home, I called the Brinnon Fire department. The fire department told me that the fire had been smoldering for two weeks and Olympic National Park was not going to fight the fire. Looking at my topo map I believe the fire is near Lake Constance.

I brewed tea and had a scanty lunch of one half of a bagel on the summit. I kept my dog tied to a tree for the entire hour. She did not like being tied up but enjoyed a can of dog food and a bowl of water while she was tied up. Four Mountain goats looked on while I ate my lunch and soaked in the views. The Mountain goats were on a nearby peak. To my way of thinking the Mountain goats were exactly where they should be. They were on a near by peak where I could see them well but they were too far away to threaten me or beg for my lunch.

Before I hiked out I dumped 25 pounds of water on the ground and put my trail running shoes on. Wow, it felt good to be hiking in shoes instead of boots! Still, the hike out drug on and on and on. It is always the same for me, once I get to about the 12 mile mark on any hike; the hike starts to feel like a death march. This time the death March feeling came at 11.67 miles. I guess I’m lucky the death march feeling did not come earlier, as essentially I had done a 6.5 mile back pack followed by a 6.5 mile day hike.

I finished my hike at the right time to catch the “sweet light” in the lower forest and the clear-cut forest. The lower forest looks like excellent mushroom habitat and saprophytic plats abounded. Strangely I have not seen any candy cane plant this year. I wonder what effect that will have on the mushroom season?

The drive back down to the 101 was a bit hairy. I thought I missed my turn and was going to end up lost on a power line road in the dark. Just as I was beginning to feel lost I came upon a car with two flat tires. One of the flat tires had almost fallen off the wheel. I wonder how this car got two flats? Did the ultra rich joggers slash the cars tires because they thought the driver was going too fast on the way to the trail head? Where was the driver? Maybe she was in the woods with her throat slashed as a punishment for daring to drive up the road.

After I passed the stranded car a chipmunk decided to force my Jeep to come to a complete stop. It was a stand off, and the chipmunk was winning! The chipmunk stood in the middle of the road daring me to try to continue driving down her road. A baby boomer chipmunk?

GPS totals
13.5 miles round trip
4,400 total ascent (calculated by adding the total ascent
and total descent from my GPS and dividing it by two.)
112 shoe miles

Other times I've blogged this hike:
July 19, 2007

The sweet light

Elevation Totals that don't match but should

GPS totals

Elevation Profile

Track Log