Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rose, Dry Creek, Copper Creek, Ralph's Cave Road

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Glowing moss on the Copper Creek Trail

Last night I had a hard time deciding where I would hike today.  There is a lot of snow and I’m getting a bit bored with Dry Creek and the Lower South Fork Skokomish.   I wanted to do South Mountain but it was too cloudy for a view up there today.  I also wanted to do the Dosewallips today, but frankly I’m a bit frightened by the behavior of a man I’ve seen on the trail out there.  I think he does that trail on his bike pretty much every day, he’s a big guy, and he's made it clear that he wants to have sex with me. It just does not feel safe for me to be there anymore.

So in the end I decided to combine hiking and geocaching and hit more than one trail.  I started out on Mount Rose.  I hiked one mile up (900 feet) up Mount Rose to 1,900 feet and got a find on a geocache there.  After I found the cache I really wanted to hike further up Rose.  I knew that I would not want to try to summit Rose in the snow alone but I like the idea of hiking up high enough to get into the nice snow.  But when I found the snow at 2,000 feet the snow was patchy and slippery and nasty.  Also it was getting cold, ice pellets were falling out of the sky.  I knew I would be very miserable if I kept going up Rose, so I headed back down to my warm dry jeep. 

There was a brush picker on Rose, he was working his way straight up the mountain and he was up quite high for a brush picker.  There was no car at the trail head so I thought I had the trail to myself.  The brush picker surprised me.  It’s always a bit awkward when I run into brush pickers because a few of them are undocumented workers and they are scared.  I always holler out “hola” and that seems to calm them down a bit.  I’ve actually had the experience of having brush pickers run away crashing into the woods when they saw me.

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My route up and down Rose

After I got back down to my Jeep I tried to find a geocache on the road near the trail head but my GPS wanted me 100 feet up a cliff so I gave up on finding that cache.   But I did enjoy looking at all the bryophytes growing on the rock wall next to the road.

Next I went for a geocache just ½ mile down the same road.  This cache was in a dry cave and the cave faces water so I was tempted to go back to my Jeep and look for my flashlight so I could search for a certain type of moss.  But the rock was not very mossy and my hand lens was covered with fog and rain.  Perhaps I will return one day to look at that spot in the dark and see if anything glows in there.

After that I parked at the causeway and hiked in one mile so I could hide a geocache on ONF end of the Shady Lane nature trail.  I got a note from a ranger saying that it was OK back in 2007 but never got around to actually placing a cache there.  I had to cross a high creek to get there and I did not even try to keep my feet dry, it was easier just to wade through it.  Once the cache was placed I decided to head up the road but the snow got deep so I had to put on my snow shoes.  That would have been fine except for all the fallen logs on the trail.  It’s not real easy to climb over twisted tangles of fallen logs in snowshoes.  On this road I found the most interesting rock that was covered will all sorts of lichens, liverworts and mosses.  I could not get a good picture of it due to the rain.

I did not want to traverse over all the stuff in snowshoes so  I turned back and decided to head up the Copper Creek trail.  I left my snowshoes on and re crossed the creek while wearing them.  Wow snowshoes don’t just float on the snow, they float in creeks too, and that’s not such a good thing.

I headed up the Copper Creek trail and stopped where the trail diverges from the creek.  At that point the trail turns into a staircase and it’s not easy to walk up a staircase in snow shoes when the snow is just patchy and not solid.  So I stopped there and brewed up my tea and shared a candy bar with my dog.  I took off my snowshoes before I headed back down the trail. 

One the way back down the trail the light was hitting the moss in a way that made it glow, it was beautiful but hard to capture with my water covered lens.
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Dry Creek, Copper Creek, Shady Lane Road loop hike

After I left the Copper Creek trail I was still not ready to end my hike so I headed up the Dry Creek trail.  I walked down that trail about 3/4th of mile and then cut down to the lake bed  where I turned around and walked back among the stumps until I reached the bridge.  I found the elk heard was hanging out in the stumpy valley and walking on the moss.  Moss is about all that grows in the stumpy valley, so I’m not sure what the elk eat there.   Patches is a good smart dog, she stays well away from the elk and so do I.  She did however almost run away after she flushed two geese.  She is a bird dog after all.

  When I got up on the causeway bridge I could see that the park ranger was watching me again, but not from bear gulch, this time he was parked about ¼ of a mile past bear gulch.  I gave him the bird a few times, but it seems that he was not using binoculars so I got away with it. 

The last time I hiked here the watched me until I was done crossing the bridge and then he drove past my Jeep while I was getting in it and then he turned around and parked to watch me and glare at me on my drive out.   He recognized my Jeep because he called it in during his mushroom stomping tantrum last fall.  This time he stayed parked, hopefully he's getting bored with me.

As usual I had a huge hikers high on the causeway bridge. Why do I always get afflicted with hikers high when I am on the bridge?  Maybe I’m just happy to see my Jeep?  I don’t know... I could not possibly be seeing/feeling God among all those stumps could I?   Sometimes I like to play the "drums" on the bridge's metal guard rail with my trekking poles as I walk by it.  I’m always wearing my noise reducing headphones when I do that, so I don’t know, but I bet the sound is very, very, loud and probably carries throughout the valley.   I hope I did not startle the poor elk with my guard rail drum playing today.  Maybe I startled the ranger though.

My stitched up finger hurt from the cold and I was not able to keep my bandage clean or dry.  But I think no harm was done since if it was not a joint wound I could have taken the stitches out today.  Since it is near the joint the Doctor told me to leave my stitches in for ten days instead of the usual seven.

7.5 miles with 2,000 feet elevation gain

Everytime I edit this page more of those diamond shapes things show up.  Oh well, they are kind of decorative.
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Copper Creek

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Huge stump, picture can not do it justice

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More elk in the stumps on a carpet of Climacium dendroides

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Moss is covering this new bridge already!

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Setting down my pack poles and GPS (r) to look for the geocache

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My hiking buddy

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Patches has suddenly become afraid of these bridges.  But a sign says new bridges will be coming in soon.

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Dry Creek register has been too wet to sign for months now..

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Tea time on the Copper Creek Trail

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This stump was used as a diving board, but the lake level has changed.  All the green stuff on the ground is
Climacium dendroides moss.  Mount Rose and Copper Mountian are in the background

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