Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dosewallips on Christmas Eve

11 miles 1,100 feet elevation gain 6.25 hours (one hour for lunch)

My spouse was not very pleased when I told him that I wanted to go hiking in Christmas Eve, so I promised him that I would get home early.   I went to bed with the plan to get up and go the first time I woke up at a reasonable hour to hike.  I’m a very light sleeper, so I knew this plan would work.   Well I woke up at 12:30, that was too early, and then I woke up again at 1:30 that was still too early.  Then I woke up at 6:20 and it was time to go.  6:30 is what time the Simpson trains start running, so that is probably what woke me up. 
On my way to the Dosewallips I had a good startle.  I was just outside of Brinnon when good sized herd of elk decided to cross the road in front of me.  I had to slam on the brakes and for a second I did not think I was going to be able to stop on time.  It looked like I was going to hit three elk at once!  But I managed to stop on time and I did not even skid my studded snow tires in the rain.    But there I was, stopped on a blind curve on highway 101 in the dark.  I turned on my hazard lights and hoped that no one would come up behind me before the elk had finished crossing.  What I think was the Bull elk stood in the middle of the road giving me the stink eye while waiting for his herd to cross.  I wish I that gotten out my camera sooner to take a picture of him.   But I did get my camera out in time to take a few pictures of the other elk from the middle of the road.  It was dark and I had my prime lens so the view was narrow and the F-stop was very high. Once I thought all the elk had crossed I started to pull away, but my starting up made several more elk jump out of the bushes.  Finally after the last of the elk had crossed I pulled up to a pull out and hooked up my external flash so I could take a few more pictures at F4 instead of F2.8.  The whole incident was both exciting and scary.  It certainly woke me up!

The dirt road to the trail was icy and I had to shift into 4-wheel drive because my tires were spinning.  I'm really glad that I took my Subaru and not my Escort station wagon.  I hit the trail at 8:20 and hoped to be back to my Jeep uh I mean Subaru by 2:30 so I would have two hours to drive back before the sun set.  I came close to my goal.  I finished up at 2:45 and got home before dark.  My spouse was glad that I got home so early and he does not seem to be upset that I went hiking today.
Hiking in the morning light made a pleasant change, I must start forcing myself to get up earlier. As I hiked in I could hear rocks falling into the river from a washout on the opposite bank.  On the way out I could hear that the rocks were still falling at a steady clip so I took a video of them falling.

For lunch I had stuffed grape leaves, homemade fettuccini alfredo and jasmine tea.  Not a bad lunch at all!  I warmed up the alfredo in my cook pot and was glad I did.  Having a warm tummy full of food felt very nice!
The weather was almost perfect, there was no rain but it was a bit overcast and gloomy.  It felt quite gloomy and cold at the campground where I had my lunch.  I had the trail all to myself today.  Patches started limping on the way out; I hope her knee problem has not come back.
Upon getting home and looking at my photos I noticed that one of the elk had a collar on it. Maybe they were not elk at all; maybe they were Santa’s reindeer!

These sword ferns died in the fire but the moss survived

Dog or cougar?



reindeer in Brinnon


Hot noodles

Cladonia lichen


Fall oyster mushroom Panellus serotinus


lichens and fungi and moss,  oh my!

The only other car at the trail head

Not very accurate, no way I hiked over 3MPH but nice clear picture anyway

Lunch break

dosewallips washout

Now entering the police state of ONP, watch out for
fungi stomping jobsworth rangers

This is a nice trail now, I hope they never find the money
to re-open this as a road

Sounds of rockfall on the far shore

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