Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dry Creek from the North, Lost my Spot Messenger

Is this an old logging road or rail line under Lake Cushman?

8 miles with 800 feet elevation gain on nothing but a power bar and a  few pieces of chocolate.
Link to Buy a SPOT

I don't like outdoor gear that floats, I like gear that sinks when you drop it in a river. I spent quite a bit of time looking for my SPOT in the very small area I lost it in. The only logical conclusion seems to be that it fell off of my rain coat when I shook it out near the river before I put it back on. I guess it did not like it's river ride.. the message it was sending when I lost it never got sent..
New bridge over causeway, I hiked back on the lake shore and climbed up to the road from under the bridge

I got the little one off to school but she may have missed the first bus, it was quite a fight to get her moving, then I decided it was sunny enough that I was going hiking in spite of my not feeling too well. As I was driving towards Lake Cushman I saw a rainbow and a bald eagle, good signs I thought. The lake looked dreary and clouds were moving in, I wished I had left my good camera at home as it was mostly going to be dead weight on this hike. I want a waterproof camera.

Gloomy weather
I wanted to get a geocache on Mount Rose but it was only a one mile hike and I wanted to hike more than a mile, so I thought I would hike dry creek and if I felt good after that hike I would go for the cache on Mount Rose.

I could not decide if I should go for the top of dry creek, the campsite on the ridge, or just settle for reaching the creek. I was not feeling too good, I was really clumsy and a red tide was threatening to move in fast.

So I parked at the causeway and started my hike at a casual rate in the rain. This was to be my first hike in my new rain gear and what a difference my new rain gear made!   I love my new rain gear!
I’m just fine with hiking in the rain again. I was dry at the end of the day in spite of never being able to take my rain pants off due to the constant rain. I wore my gaiters all day too. I figured the gaiters would help keep my feet dry on the small stream crossings and I might be running in to snow if I made it to the top.

The trail was quite wet and the little water fall that is normally just a trickle that I can’t even fill my water bottle with, was a torrent that would have soaked me, if I did not have rain gear on when I passed it. I made it to the river at about noon and knew that my hike had ended. 
Dry Creek was the wettest I have ever seen it. It was too fast and too deep to risk crossing and I was feeling really and clumsy tripping over everything. Today was not a good day to try a scary river crossing. I also was pretty sure that Patches would not be able to make the creek crossing. Indeed she stayed on the bank with me and did not even try to swim in the creek. Normally Patches jumps into every body of water she sees, but she knew better than to take on Dry Creek today.  See the video of the creek below and turn up the volume to get the full effect:

Too fast and high to risk crossing Dry Creek today

I have a good sense of river depths and speeds due to spending so much of my child-hood playing in a local river. I trust that I know when a river is safe to cross. Today dry creek was not safe. Dry Creek is never actually dry; it takes its name from nearby Dry Mountain. Dry Mountain is very dry, so dry that I had to pack water up it when I climbed it. I don’t normally pack any water at all in the Olympics; I just drink from the streams as I pass them.

On the way back out the top of Mount Rose was lit up by the setting sun. I tried to hurry down the trail so I could get to the bridge on time to take pictures of it. But then I got a better idea, I bushwhacked straight down to the dry bed of Lake Cushman and walked back on the lake bed. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to walk among the stumps before. I must go back and take pictures of those stumps in better light. I found an old logging road under Lake Cushman that cabin owners have been using to reach their cabins. 

I sure would love to have a key to the bridge gate. I hope they open up the gate for hikers this summer. All the trail heads and trail head parking is behind the locked gate where hikers cannot reach it!
By walking back on the lake bed I was able to avoid seeing all the horrible no trespassing signs that line the lower trail and I don’t think I was trespassing because I stayed well away from the cabins on what used to be the lake shore. All the docks have been left high and dry since they started releasing more water over the damn and moss is starting to grow on the stumps on the upstream side of the lake.

The river North Fork Skokomish was interesting, it was flowing very fast and the bank was lined with the roots of the stumps of the trees that had been cut before the dam was put in. These stumps are very old but they did not rot because they were under water. The ones that are now exposed will start rotting and already have moss and grass growing out of them.

I climbed back up onto the road by scrambling up the rocks that were put in when the causeway bridge was repaired. It was a little scary to do that when I was having such a clumsy day, but I made it up ok. When I got to my car I was too tired to think of doing anymore hiking so I drove to Staircase, called my husband and then drove home.  

The closest phone to where my car was parked was at Staircase ranger station and I knew I needed to call my husband quickly because he would be worried about my lack of SPOT messages.  I got in and out of Staircase as quickly as I could because I did not want to run into Ranger Davis and be accused of all kinds of crazy shit for a third time.  If that ranger were not such an ass I would have filed a lost and found report on my SPOT messanger while I was at the ranger station.

Speaking of Ranger Davis, I saw quite a few mushrooms for Janary.. there were chanterelles, winter oysters and quite a few other fungi that I can not identify.  I also saw fairy vomit lichen and I think I found my first liverwort.  I did not pick any mushrooms because I had not brought anything to carry mushrooms in.

Today I am quite tired and I have a headache. Maybe I did not drink enough water on my hike.
All I ate during the hike was one power bar and some small pieces of chocolate and all I drank was one bottle of tea. I probably ran a big enough a calorie deficit to lose half a pound of belly fat today.
8.5 miles with 800 feet elevation gain. I walked an extra half mile trying to find my SPOT.

This is where the trail crosses Dry Creek,  I had to turn around here

Stumps are going to rot, moss is moving in

High and dry dock

A liverwort I think

Stump "growing" out of nurse log at the bottom of Lake Cushman

North Fork Skok now in it's channel but eroding away at roots of stumps cut when dam was put in

Saw this on my drive in.. taken with full zoom in the rain in a running car

The trail

Saw this on the drive in too

I hope the WTA comes back and finishes this bridge

Hypogymnia species lichen

"Fairy vomit" lichen

Fall Oyster mushroom, edible but does not taste good


La Bete Poilue said...

Maybe your Spot will itself call for help and be rescued!

Mossy Mom said...

I wish it could.. It would have had a very rough ride down "Dry Creek" though. It was in send mode when I lost it and that message never got sent.