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

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