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

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