Thursday, December 30, 2010

Steel Creek Aborted, Brown Creek Nature Trail

Finally everything came together and after weeks of being homebound, I was able to go hiking today.  Well, almost everything came together; I've come down with a cold, but I was able to get out. Since I'm ill,  I decided to take it easy and just ride my bike instead of hiking.   My goal was the site of the old steel creek shelter near the Skokomish River.  It was to be a 17 mile round trip bike ride down a closed logging road, with only 1,000 feet of elevation gain.  But it was not to be.   There was too much snow on the road, I was glad to have studded snow tires and 4 wheel drive well before I reached my parking area.  Still I attempted to ride my bike a bit, the snow was not slick, but it was too deep and biking was too much work.

So I had to come up with a new plan.  I did not want to hike in my biking shoes, in the snow, without poles and on my weak ankle.   I wished that I had packed my snowshoes and trekking poles so I could go for a hike.  Then I remembered that the nearby Skokomish river trail was open to both hiking and biking, so I decided to bike it for the first time ever.  I've hiked this trail dozens of times but never biked it.    I knew there would be less snow on the trail than there was on the road. As it turned out there was hardly any snow on the trail, but  I only made it about 1 mile down the trail before I decided I was just too ill to go very far today.  I stopped right before going down a long hill that I knew I would have to push my bike up on the way back.  I was not up for pushing my big up that hill, so I took a long break and then rode back to my Jeep and put my bike away.  When I was putting my bike away I discovered that a piece of cloth was wrapped around the crankshaft, that must have made peddling harder than usual.

It was time for a new plan.  It was a beautiful clear day and the air at home was filthy but the air in the mountains was clear and clean, so I decided to stay in the mountians, even if I could not hike.  I drove to the nearby Brown Creek Campground and parked in my favorite campsite and sat by the river to relax.  But I could not relax, I needed my sketch pad (or a beer) if I was going to sit still.  I did not have my sketch pad, but I had my camera.  Sooooo I decided to wander around the campground a bit and take pictures.   Then I remembered that there is a nice little trail in the campground.  It's called the Brown Creek Nature trail, it is level and only one mile long.  The trail is so easy that maybe even my husband could have walked it today.  I took him on this trail about two years ago and I have a geocache hidden on this trail.

It was cold and the days are getting short so I only went around the loop trail one time before I decided to go head back and see if I could get some good pictures of the mountain in the alpenglow.  There is a spot on the 23 line,  that I always want to stop and take pictures from, when I am returning from hiking, but I never do, because I'm either too tired or, it's to late.  I decided to head for that spot and take some pictures of stumps and mountains.  There were many handy stumps to use as tripods while taking pictures of the mountain.  I'm pretty happy with the results, the sky was VERY clear and I had my new polarizing filter;  I really like the polarizer.    Strange, how the sky was so clear while the air was so foul  down below at home. Today was that clear winter day that all landscape photographers long for.  So anyway I did not get to do much hiking, but the day was not a total loss, because I took some pictures that made me happy.
I hope I feel better by Sunday because I have a mega geocaching adventure planned.

I guess I went about 3 miles today, certainly not enough to bother adding to my excel charts.  I'm calling it a year. 

My totals for the year:  I  got out 28 times, hiked 269 miles and gained 55,953 feet in elevation.  My average hike was 9.5 miles with 2,000 feet elevation gain.

My turn around point on the Skok trail

View at turn around point

Patchy snow on the Skokomish River trail

Brown Creek Nature Trail

Frozen Miners Lettuce Brown Creek Nature Trail

Moss covered tree exploding with light

Frozen sword ferns

Moss, Patches and snow on the Brown Creek Nature Trail

The Mountain looms over the Skokomish River Valley

Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 So far graphs

 So far this year I have gotten out 28 times, hiked 269 miles and gained 55,953 feet in elevation
 My average hike was 9.5  miles with 2,000 feet elevation gain.

 The was no correlation between the steepness of the hike and the length of the hike.   My foot is almost healed now and my ankle is relatively stable, so I hope to get out one more time this year.

Last year I got out 28 times hiked 272 miles and gained 70,000 feet in elevation.  I'm surprised that the numbers are so similar between this year and last year. I was injured all summer and all of last month so I feel like I hiked less this year.  One contributing factor is my bike riding.  This years totals have maybe 10-10 miles of bike riding included in them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Foot burn

I got a bad burn on my foot. I hope to be hiking again in about 5 days. Picture of the burn is here if you really want to see it. I burned it 12 days ago.

Dec. 20 Update:

It's now been nearly 21 days since my injury.  The burnt skin has finally fallen off and been replaced with new skin.  I'm ready to hike again but now my puppy has a broken leg and the kids are home on winter break and my husband is quite ill so I'm still homebound.  I hope to be back out on the trail next week.

New skin just in time for the solar new year

Monday, December 6, 2010

New hiking buddy

I guess two dogs are better than one, especially in the dark.  Or I can leave one dog at home to play with the kids and take one dog hiking. Like patches, this springer came to me from a neighbor who did not have time for a puppy.