Thursday, April 26, 2012

Behind the wildlife gates.. on the Skok

7 miles with about 200 feet of ups and downs on the closed road to the Upper South Fork Skok.  Did not take many pictures today.

Found Sphagnum moss in the ditch!

Sphagnum grows in the ditch

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bald Eagle attacks goose on North Fork Skokomish

I went about 4 miles down the trail and then turned around due to snow. It was slippery snow that was not fun to walk on and I had a heavy pack today.

When I was hiking back to my car I found out that there was an off leash dog on the trail. The dog rushed to sniff my crotch and I accidentally stepped on its toes as I was not expecting to be rushed. I politely mentioned that dogs are not allowed on the trail. The group with the dog claimed that the ranger saw them and did not say anything. Well I'm guessing that they were not on the trail when the ranger saw them. They continued hiking. I smelled something that reminded me of skunk cabbage after they left.

On my drive out I saw something big and brown thrashing in the river. I stopped to see what it was and to take pictures of what ever it was. It turned out to be a bald eagle sitting on a goose, the goose had a mate that was honking at the eagle. The eagle saw me and flew away and the goose maybe got to live for another day. I had no idea that a bald eagle would attack anything as big and mean as a goose.

7.5 miles 750 feet elevation gain

Eagle on goose

Goose escapes as eagle flies away

Fairy lichen

Lobaria oregana lichen (Only seems to live in old growth forests)

Lunch spot

Peltigera lichen

Rhizomnium moss

Rhytidiopsis Robusta

a route log not a track log

Snakeskin liverwort


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Update on my Forest Service Ticket

I see that the Forest Service in Quicene visits this blog, so the forest service should know what they did to me!

The time before last when I hiked Lena, Ranger Sommers or Summers wrote a ticket and put it on my Jeep for "no proof of northwest forest pass".  My LIFETIME INTERAGENCY PASS was clearly displayed on my dash.  So my intention was to appeal.  But no dice, the court date and the ticket were sent to my terminally ill spouse who is on oxygen.  I guess this is because his name is on the vehicle registration.  Well obviously my spouse is in no condition to miss a day of work and go to Tacoma to fight my undeserved parking ticket.   So I had to pay the damn $55.00 fine in spite of having a LIFETIME INTERAGENCY PASS.

Thanks a lot blind forest ranger.  Next time look for the LIFETIME INTERAGENCY PASS.  It's blue and it's shaped like a credit card and your lovely (I mean it, he is a nice man) volunteer at Hoodsport does not have any hang tags nor has he ever heard of a hang tag for that pass.

Also a court has just ruled that the NW forest pass is not authorized.

 I should have gotten a reward for hiking up to Lena in the pouring rain on a Monday in April, not a ticket.

There were some suspicious looking folks at the lake who were very evasive and had no car at the trail head.  What ever they were doing, they got away with it.

My last solo hike up the Dosewallips road

Before I left my house I discussed with my husband if it would be safe for me to do the Dose.  A guy out there was acting a bit like a stalker and I was worried about my safety.  We agreed that I would be safe since after all I know where the guy lives and could track him down pretty easy if he tried anything and he must know that.  So I left for the Dose but I really hoped that I would not run into this man again.
I started my hike at about 9:30 am and saw there was a forest service truck parked at the trailhead.  Then I saw that forest service worker and she turned out to be a former classmate of mine, that was nice.   She was sent to find out where the snow was.  Well for $55.00 I'll be happy to tell the forest service where the snow starts.  That's the price of my undeserved parking ticket due to the ranger not seeing my clearly displayed LIFETIME INTERAGENCY PASS.  OK OK the road is free of snow all the way to the ranger station.

 I hiked slow but steady taking pictures of plants to upload to a botany website.  I reached my lunch spot at about 1pm; I left my lunch spot at about 2pm.  I wanted to stay longer but it was cold and I was getting cold.
I saw the biggest healthiest Conocephalum conicum ever today.  I also found a Letharia lichen.  I was quite surprised by that since I did not know that Letharia grew west of the Cascade crest.
Big healthy snake skin liverwort growing on soil over rock male reproductive parts are black

Big healthy female snake skin liver wort (Conocephalum conicum)

Letharia vulpina in the rain forest, what a surprise!

I walked back even slower, I was tired after only sleeping a few hours a night for the last two nights and I was enjoying being in nature.  At about 5:30 I was 2 miles from my Jeep and then the man on the bike that I did not want to see arrived.  He took “no” for an answer but he did not take it well and I did not feel safe until I got back to my Jeep. 

He said I ruined his bike ride and he turned around and exchanged some angry words with me and then he abandoned his bike ride and returned to the trail head.  The next two miles of my hike did not feel safe at all.  The man is a lunatic, was he going to turn around again and call me more names or maybe even something worse?  Clearly this is a man who does like it when someone sets a boundary with him.  My husband wishes I had not thrown away this guys email address, my husband would like to have a word with this guy "who sexually harasses my wife on the trail".
I won’t be back to the Dose without an escort or a weapon.  
I finished up my hike at about 6:30.
12 miles, 1,100 feet elevation gain,
 Once while on Mount Rose, I met a woman of color who liked to hike solo in the Olympics, but she had to quit hiking alone because folks were leaving racist death threats on her car.  It's only due to my white privilege that I can hike alone in the Olympics.

12 miles, 1,100 feet elevation gain

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lower South Fork Skokomish Loop

I hit the trail at about 11pm and finished up at some point later in time I did my usual loop, but this time I did it in the opposite direction and started with the road walk.  The first time I did this as a loop including the road was when the trail was so covered with fallen trees that travel was difficult.  Walking out via the road was much easier.   I only do this trail in the six months out of the year that the wildlife gates are shut, that would be most of the winter.  I don’t hike this trail at all in the summer because it is too crowded with people and covered in horse poop.  I might stop doing the road walk but again it was nice to see all the moss growing in the road cut.
I’m glad I ended this with the trail walk.  The start of the trail has some beautiful old-growth, by going out via the trail I got to finish my hike almost in the old growth.  I’ve been wearing my mp3 player on my hikes ever since the winter when I decided to hike in the capitol forest.  Noise cancelling headphones and music with a fast beat made it easier to travel 14 miles amid the sound of gun shots.  Today I took the mp3 player off for the last couple of miles and I’m glad I did.  It was nice to really immerse myself in nature.  Without the music I could hear the woodpeckers, but I could also hear the air planes, so it was a trade off.  There is just no escaping the noise of airplanes anywhere.
I took the last mile really slow and got some good pictures of a banana slug by getting on the ground and using my prime lens and my external flash.  It rained off and on for most of my hike; the hardest rain was at lunch time.  The rain stopped for the last mile of my hike and the sun came out and it was really nice.  Someone was camping in the flats but their tent was blown over.  It think I saw the camper wandering around in the woods behind me, they way he was wandering made me wonder what he was up to until I saw the tent and then I figured he was the camper.
I saw lots of trilliums and banana slugs.  I also saw Apometzgeria pubescens and I saw HUGE sporophyte on Peelia neesiana.  The Conocephalum had some of its cone shaped things sticking up too.  I saw huge brown cup fungi too.
Brush picker vans tailgated me as I drove out, that’s never happened before.  I pulled over and let them by.  I drove my car since my Jeep is still in the shop; my mechanic is having trouble finding the right locks for it.  I forgot that the road is mostly paved and the dirt section is in great shape right now, so there is no need to take my Jeep out there.
Right as I reached the main trail after leaving the road, I ran into a couple who had hand lenses on.   I knew they must be botanists.  I asked about their hand lenses and found out that they are fellow botany students at my college and one of them is taking a class with the professor who I am doing a contract with this quarter.
My legs feel like I did more than ten miles since I took it so slow and spent so much time looking at moss and taking pictures.  I think I finished my hike at what time?  My left knee hurts as much as usual.  My ankle brace did not catch me at all today, so I still think my ankle is getting stronger but doubt I will ever be able to hike without a brace again.
10 miles 500 feet elevation gain

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Apometzgeria pubescens

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Huge cup fungi

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very tall sporophyte on Pellia neesiana

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Pretty moss taken through my 10X hand lens
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Big leaf maple seedling in the middle of the road

Monday, April 9, 2012

The United States of America vs My Spouse

The idiotic forest service sent the court date for *MY*  Lena Lake parking ticket to my husband and they spelled his last name wrong.   The ranger did not see my LIFETIME INTERAGENCY ACCESS PASSS on the dash so he put a ticket on my Jeep for not having a NWforest pass.   Since my spouse's name is the first name the on Jeep registration I guess that means the ticket is now his.

Do I write the preliminary motion to dismiss in my name or in his misspelled name??
I guess I will have him write it in his misspelled name.  It should be easy to fight considering the fact that he did not even park there.

Me and my spouse sure are going to have a fun conversation when he gets home tonight.  I really wish they had written the ticket in my name this is going to totally freak out my spouse.

I may just have to pay the ticket even though I have a pass since it would cost my spouse a day of work and make him sick to go to court. So a big FU to the Ranger for not seeing my pass and then sending a ticket to my terminally ill husband. Thanks a lot!  I guess it was raining too hard for him/her to actually get out of their truck and look for my pass before they printed the ticket.

Screw it, I'm just going to pay the undeserved ticket.  $55 is not worth the stress.   BTW for just $10.00 my spouse could also have a lifetime interagency pass.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

South Mountain

I was manic as hell when I woke up and I knew that I needed to hike, but first I had to go to an Equinox egg hunt and then I was being pressured to go to Wal-mart to buy equinox bunny stuff. 

 But I refused to be pressured or guilt tripped.  I needed to hike, so I did.  I hit the trail / road at 1:30 and walked right up the mountain, it was practically a stroll.  Wow I’m in better shape than I thought, or I was just manic.  

There was a sign at the bottom saying the road was closed due to truck traffic M-F and Simpson was putting in new logging roads.  The road was plowed up to 2,000 feet so I carried my snow shoes until I reached the parked plow then I put them and my gaiters on.  The snow was nice and hard and I could have done it without snowshoes but the added traction of my snowshoe crampons was greatly appreciated.

Northern Alligator lizard aobut to lose its forest

I don’t know what time I summited, but the signs all warning of radio frequencies kept me from staying on the summit for long.  The summit was sunny and very windy.  The view was good but not perfectly clear.  I could see the ocean and the cascade volcanoes and the Hood canal. I could not see Mount Hood; sometimes I can see Mount Hood from the summit.

Going down I had a huge hikers high and feared I had not hiked enough to kill the beast but then I sobered right up when I saw that trees well above 2,000 feet marked with logging numbers.  The numbers that log truck drivers use to tell each other where they are on the road.  No doubt, Simpson intends to log all of South Mountain.   How very sad.  I said goodbye to a few of the trees.  I might have even hugged one.  My friends will be dead soon.
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This tree above 2,500 feet is marked for logging

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This mud will run off into the salmon creek below

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Skokomish Valley

Frullania liverwort with Ochrolechia lichen

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Ellinor, Washington, Pershing complex in back Prospect ridge or Cushman hill in front

Will this ant hill survive logging?  The ants were very active in the sunlight in spite of the snow all around the mound.

It’s not a pretty hike up South Mountain but after the next round of logging it’s just going to be butt ugly.  I hate capitalism and what it does do to our planet.  But I sure do like my car and my new snowshoes.  
I started to feel tired on the way down so maybe I was not in such good shape after all. 
I finished up my hike at about 7pm, nice timing as the sun was due to set at 7:30.  I drove in my car because my Jeep is in the shop.  My car did fine on that road, I might take my car there from now on as it gets much better fuel economy.  After I got home I rested a few minutes and then headed off to Wal-mart to buy the Equinox stuff.  Wal-mart was crowded with last minute equinox shoppers.

About 3 miles on snowshoes and 5 miles with snowshoes on my back. Still manic as hell, but I suppose the hike took the edge off a bit. I hope I can sleep tonight.
8 miles 2,400 feet elevation gain.

That shiny thing on the horizon is the ocean and Grays Harbor