Friday, February 24, 2012

Tree poachers and a blind Ranger at Lower Lena Lake

8 miles with 1,400 feet elevation gain.  GPS(r) says I went 9 but I know it's wrong..

My new spot messenger has stopped working already.  I'm going to send it in for warranty repair.  If they do not repair it for free I am not going to renew my subscription that runs out in March.

I finally got to see the "hazard trees" that the forest service was cutting down the last time I tried to hike at Lena.

When I was done with my hike today I found a ticket on my Jeep.  I had the proper parking pass on my dash but the ranger must have been looking for the giant yellow NW forest pass hang tag.  I have a much better pass than that. I have the Interagency Lifetime Pass  and it was displayed on my dash. 

Maybe the ranger who wrote me a ticket is the same one who mistook my neighbor's raspberry plant for a marijuana plant??  The plant was in the neighbors car in their drive way in the city when  forest service ranger called in that he saw a "16" plant (16 is the code they use for drugs on the police scanner) on my block and was going to talk to the homeowner.. I saw it all go down, it took place just 50 feet from my raspberry patch.  Good thing the ranger did not see all my raspberries!!!

My parking ticket, my GPS(r) and my parking pass

I have to go to court in Tacoma to fight it, or just pay it even though I have a valid pass and it was clearly displayed.  What a PITA!  I bet I get a parking ticket from the city of Tacoma while I am in court fighting my  ticket.  My last name starts with  a letter close to "Z", that means I'll be there all day fighting my ticket. 

Next time I park at a FS trail head I'll put up some LED lights on my pass, It's  hard to know just exactly how blind that ranger is.  I know that Lena is one of their favorite places to write tickets, so I made damn sure that I displayed my pass.
The worst part of this for me is that I went hiking in order to calm down.  I'm way too wound up this week and hiking calms me down.  But getting this ticket left me more wound up than I was when I started.  So much for enjoying our national forests..

Other than all that bullshit I had very a good, albiet wet and cold hike.  I started my hike about about 10:30 and my car was the only car at the trail head.  You never seen that in the summer.  Lena is a nightmare zoo in the summer so I never go there in the summer.  Lena is best on a rainy winter weekday.  But I did run into 3 men on the trail (at least one with a rifle).  They did not have a car at the trail head and they were not much interested in talking to me.

As I got near the lake I smelled campfire smoke and this really surprised me since there were no cars at the trail head!  Soon a group of two men passed me, they were headed downhill.  I asked them if they had someone to pick them up since there were no cars at the trail head and they said they did.    But they really did not seem like they wanted to talk much.  They did however ask me if there was snow at the trail head.   Then a minute later a younger man with a rifle passed me and he was a little more talkative.  He said they camped for 4 nights and he had forgotten to pack a tarp so they had a cold wet time.
I walked up to the big rock and looked at the view for a few minutes and then I kept hiking.  I still had lots of energy at that point and I was hoping to find the hunters(?)  left over fire.  I walked all the way to the other side of the lake without seeing the fire and just as I was deciding to head up the Brothers trail I saw the coals at the last campsite on the lake.  So I stopped and took my lunch there.  I was able to quickly restart the fire with the coals.  I only used scraps that were on the ground but some of them were green because the hunters had cut them down.
Lunch would have been a rather miserable cold affair if not for that nice little fire.  I brewed two cups of water for tea over the fire at ate my lunch there with a nice view of snow covered Lena Lake.  Someone had left behind several full cans of food and very recently.  Probably the same folks who left me the wonderful coals.  I did my part and packed all the food out, it was a rather heavy load but it was all downhill and my daypack has a frame, so it was all good.  I figured getting that free food would help make up for the $49 worth of gas that I had to put into my Jeep  before the start of my hike.
Really???  Who packs like this?? Not seasoned hikers, that's for sure. Hunters
just might pack this way though.  I took all this home with me.

 My Jeep got 15MPG on it's last tank.  I only drive it to the trail head and back or when there is snow in town or when I need to haul a load of manure around.  It's too big of a gas hog to use any other time.

This trail had a lot less Conecephulum conicum than I expected, perhaps it was due to the rock rather than soil substrate.  I found one thalloid liverwort that was not conocephelum but there was too little of it to ethically sample, so I may never know what it was.

Mystery thalloid liverwort, perhaps Pellia or Anuera

Maybe robustis
I think I found Rhytidiadelphus robustus on the trail.  The first time I spotted it I was at 1,000 feet and that would make sense as this is not a sea level moss, it's more of a subalpine moss.  The higher I got in elevation the more of it I saw.  I also found what I think is and Atrichum and those are on the test so I need to learn them.
I started heading back sometime around 2pm but I took my time and paused for a bit on Lunch rock.  When I was on the rock huge snow flakes starting falling onto the lake and onto me.  The view was stunning.  I've never seen it snow at Lena before.  I've walked there in the snow a few times but I've never seen it snowing like this.  It was a neat sight.. the snow flakes were great big wet Western Washing style clumps, but they were the biggest I have ever seen, and they were sticking.  Without my DSLR I could not fully capture the scene, but that's OK because my DSLR would have been ruined in this weather.
Point and shoot pano with 4 date stamps

I  made it back down to the trail head at exactly 4:17,   I know this because the hunters(?)  were all at the trail head huddled under a tarp trying to stay warm and they asked me what time it was.  They were still waiting for their ride home and they declined any assistance from me.  They were huddled around a tiny little campstove and must have been there for several hours waiting for their ride.    They looked pretty miserable.

I was very pissed off about my undeserved parking ticket and let out more than a few explatives when I saw it and I must have made one hell of a rooster tail in the mud as I pulled away from the trail head.    I'm sure the hunters(?)  found that to be very entertaining.  I would have asked them to come witness my parking pass if they had not been so anti-social.  When I was a few miles from the trail head a SUV passed me headed in the other direction, that must have been the hunters ride home.  The SUV driver slammed on the brakes when they saw my Jeep.  What a strange day in the woods this was...

8 miles with 1,400 feet elevation gain. GPS(r) says I went 9 but I know it's wrong..

That's the way I like it!


A Scapania liverwort 

Baby stalagtites

My lunch time view

Pilophorus acicularis

I added scraps of fallen as in downed green and wet wood to these coals and got enough
heat out of it to boil two cups of water for tea.  But my lungs still hurt from the smoke.

Usnea longissima

Mystery Dicranum with sporophytes

Hyclomnium splendens moss with fresh snow

The only type of  basidomycete that I saw today

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm done IDing everything from my last hike and I got some surprises.  I did not find any Marchantia, what I thought was Marchantia keyed out as Pellia neesiana.

Pellia neesiana female plant

Cross section

84um cells

Pellia neesiana male plant
Pellia neesiana
I also found Apometzgeria pubescens, it keyed out to Metzgeria but I was not completely satisfied with that because it was too hairy.  It had hair over all of the dorsal surface, not just on the margin and the midrib.  Some more researching in a different book took me to the slightly controversial genus ApometzgeriaApometzgeria has only one species and it fits this liverwort quite well.

Apometzgeria pubescens

Apometzgeria pubescens

Apometzgeria pubescens

Apometzgeria pubescens thallus cross section

I also found Scapania undulata:

Scapania undulata

Scapania undulata
Dorsal and ventral lobe still attached (I was lucky!) Scapania undulata

Teeth on the ventral lobe Scapania undulata

1000 times magnification of oil bodies in cells Scapania undulata
 I also found Lepidozia reptans , I found it before in my petri dish, but this time I found it in the wild. 
Lepidozia reptans

Lepidozia reptans
Lastly, when I got home I found an unlobed liverwort in my petri dish.  I think I have found this same liverwort twice now.  I don't know what it is.  It might need reproductive parts for me to ID it.  I had fun taking pictures of it anyway.  I shined light down onto my compound scope so I could get a better picture of this:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lower South Fork Skokomish in the Rain

I went hiking in the rainforest and got rained on.
11 miles 1,100 feet elevation gain

I found a trailworkers tool on the trail.  Describe it and it's yours.  I assume it was lost before the snow fell, based on the age of the work that had been done with it.
A new liverwort to ID

I left my home at about 9am and headed for the Skok in my Jeep.  It was raining when I left my house but the air felt unseasonably warm.  The drive was totally eventful until the very end.  Just when I thought I was going to have the entire forest to myself I saw a car parked at the trail head and a forest ranger truck driving towards me.   We never used to have rangers in this area, but now I see one almost every time I go out and I see their foot prints in the snow when they walk around my Jeep.  They are looking for Guatemalans and they can pull over anyone for no reason at all because this is near the Canadian border.  But they are not looking for Canadians!  The ranger did not pull me over and there was no snow so I don’t know if he checked out my Jeep while I was on my hike.
I parked at the Lebar trailhead and started my hike.  I always start at Lebar so I can avoid the switchbacks on the lower trail head.   I like to warm up before I start doing switchbacks!   I made a bee line for the area where I was told that I could find Marchantia polymorpha, at first all I could find was the great scented liverwort.  Eventually however I did find a complex thalloid liverwort that was different from the great scented liverwort.  It was growing on a steep, wet west facing slope.  There was not much of it and I could not see any reproductive structures with my naked eye.  I picked a tiny bit of it and then did see a reproductive structure come out of the plant, it was black and kind of cone shaped.

Further down the trail in the Maple flats area I found a ribbon thalloid liverwort on a mature maple tree.  It looked like moss but under the hand lens it showed to be solid and not leafy.  Then further down the trail but in the same area I found a red-tipped leafy liverwort on a fallen big leaf maple tree.  The liverwort was about 35 feet up the maple tree before it fell.  I think it's a Scapania.
Then later about 5 miles from the trail head I found another complex thalloid liverwort growing on a steep East facing clay bank.  It may be the same complex thalloid that I found before, but there was a lot more of it so I was able to take a larger sample.
I had my lunch at the river, my lunch was dehydrated soup made of chicken, homegrown parsnips and old dehydrated chanterelles.  My lunch was not enough to fill me up but I still had to share it with my dog.  As I stopped for lunch it began to rain very hard so I put my rain pants on before I started cooking.

After lunch I found a bunch of winter chanterelles in the spot where I normally find fall chanterelles.  They were growing in glittering wood moss or step moss.  It was nice to be able to ID the moss that grows in this spot that I refer as chanterelle heaven.  There were so many of chanterelles here that I was able to almost fill my lunch pot with them in spite of their small size.
I hiked out on the 2353 road and thus made a big 11 mile loop.  While hiking out on the road I found a huge clump of Usnea longissima that had fallen out of a tree.  I put it back up into a tree but probably not as high up as it would have liked to have been.  On the road I also found a Stereocalun spp lichen with apothecia.  I’ve never seen one of those with apothecia before. 

 Before I got on the road found a stick that had both Lobaria pulmonaria and Lobaria oregana on it, I’ve never seen those growing side by side before.  They were on a conifer stick.  I saw several piles of scat on the road, one of them had big bones in it, so I think it belonged to a mountain lion.
I finished my hike at about 4pm and I stopped at the lower trail head to use the facilities.  I was surprised to find the same car was still at the trail head and was even a little worried.  I walked almost the entire length of the trail and never saw these people.  They had left one of their windows rolled down and the car was getting wet on the inside.  On their dash they had a printed up guide for the trail, so I think they must be unfamiliar with the area.  Three times on my hike I smelled marijuana smoke and thought I must be near the people in the car, but I never saw them so maybe it actually smelled a real skunk or even a stinky bear.  I found someone’s trail maintenance tool on the trail and will try to find the owner.
  In total, I hiked 11 miles and gained about 1,100 feet in elevation.  After the first 9 miles I was really wet and tired and ready for t his hike to end.  My pants, shirt and socks got wet in spite of all my new waterproof gear, but at least I did not get soaked.

My drive home was uneventful other than seeing a white 4X4 driving way too fast on the 23 road near the trail head.   I got home about ½ hour before it got dark.  After I parked I noticed that oil is dripping out of my Jeep.  I better put more oil in it before I take it out again.  After I had been home for about ½ hour my daughter noticed that my dog was shivering.  She had not warmed up after the hike like I did because she could not take off her wet coat and replace it with a dry one.  I warmed her up in the bathtub and she seems fine now other than being tired and grumpy.
11 miles 1,100 feet elevation gain

Ribbon like thalloid liverwort

Ribbon like thalloid liverwort, looks like moss

complex thalloid liverowort where I was told to look for Marchantia

complex thalloid liverowort where I was told to look for Marchantia

Yellowfoot or winter chanterelle

One of my favorite to eat and now I know that glittering wood moss is the name of it's friend

Usnea longissima

Stereoculon spp lichen with apothecia

Pilophorus acicularis

Lots of junk left here

Second complex thalloid liverwort much further down the trail

Second complex thalloid liverwort much further down the trail, with reproductive part emerging

Second complex thalloid liverwort much further down the trail

Porella navicularis

Conocephelum conicum female parts

Conocephelum conicum female parts

Conocephelum conicum male parts

Lobaria pulmonaria with Lobaria oregana on either side of it

An aquatic liverwort?

Cougar scat?

Recent storm damage, I found lots of nice liverworts and moss on this tree

It's lichens that give alder bark its pretty colors

A bit of lingering snow

Mossy tree or should I say bryophytey?

Not sure what this was about

Car with window down, front seat getting soaked