Sunday, November 4, 2012

Upper Ellinor via Big Creek

It’s been ten days since my last hike and I had to really force myself to get out on this day.  I’m sick again and I’m taking Iron and anti-biotics, they have opposite effects on my digestive system so it should all balance out.  Right?   I woke up at 6am but stayed in bed until 8am.  I almost talked myself out of hiking, but I remembered that I need to lose weight and I need to shatter records.  I finally managed to drag myself out of the house at about 9am.  

My goal for the day was to hike the Big Creek trail up to the over look and back.  I also wanted to do some mushroom investigating.   (there is nothing out there!) I hit the trail at 10am and it was raining a little bit.  

 The outhouse at Big Creek camp had no toilet paper.  Also noticed that they are getting ready to do some clearing to put in a camp host campsite and some other campsites near the road at Big Creek campground.  I don’t think the new campsites will be very nice since they are not really in the trees.   I wonder if Big Creek is getting overloaded with campers since Lilliwaup campground is now permanently closed?
 I should have hiked on Friday but I was coerced into staying home and hiking in the rain today instead L  I put my gaiters on at the trail head and I wore my new water proof boots.  This is my third hike in my new boots; I hope they stay waterproof for a while.  

 Before long I had to put on my rain coat.  I did not feel good today, but I kept hiking in the hopes that I would catch my second wind.  As I headed up, It started to rain a bit harder but my legs stayed dry with just polypro underwear and a convertible pants over them.  My legs must have been generating a lot of heat as I climbed.

I used some orange duct tape to mark the spot where I missed the sign the last time I did this hike.  At that time the sign was completely buried in the snow and I went way out of my way by a lot when I missed my turn.  Hopefully that won’t happen to me again.

Old Hericium with teeth worn off
When I reached the overlook I decided to keep going up and up into the beautiful forest.  As I got near the benches on the windy ridge near the upper trail the wind began to howl. But I know from experience that the wind always howls in this spot so I just turned up my music an ignored it.

  (The always windy ridge?)

Perhaps I could summit today?  Had all the snow melted?    Not far before the junction of the upper and lower trail I ran into one hiker coming down, he said the summit was snow free.  Nice!  I was maybe going to summit.  I had just enough time.

 I set 3pm as my turn around time so I could avoid hiking out in the dark.  By the time I reached the upper trail I was getting pretty tired and was having doubts about summiting. It would be 14 miles round trip to summit Ellinor from Big Creek and I was not feeling good today.  I knew I had the endurance for it, but I was feeling ill.  I was surprised to see a large unpicked Hericium in plain sight on such a popular trail. 
  A large group of Olympians passed me on their way down.  A flock of camp robber jays was following them down the hill and singing.  The Olympians smelled like greeners.  An elusive mix of perhaps pot, B.O., mushrooms and sour krout.  I’m not sure what that smell is but I’ve actually learned to like it.
I was getting more and more tired and the rain began to really pelt me.  At about 4,500 feet I decided that I needed to stop and the minute I stopped my guts decided to unleash their fury.  So perhaps it was actually my guts that made me stop.  It was not pretty, but I had enough TP to deal with it, just barely enough. 

After that I felt a bit better but it was really raining hard so I put on my rain pants and had my lunch break .  At lunch time I tested out my new Caldera style cone.  I have a Heineken can pot that I have taken backpacking in the past.  The can pot system was a mistake, as it was too unstable in the field. I’ve been using my ever new titanium pot for the last 4 years instead.  Last night I bought some aluminum roof flashing and made a caldera style cone for my can pot.  The cone works great, it adds stability to my can pot and its fast and efficient with my Mossy Mom variation of the cat can stove.   The Heineken pot system is ¼ pound lighter than my ever new pot system and is now more stable.   I had hot chocolate and hot spaghetti for lunch.  All that hot food made me feel better.  It was a cold wet day and hot food made all the difference.  Too bad my gloves turned out to not be waterproof though. 

My lunch spot

At 2:30pm I headed back down the trail.  With a belly full of hot food, music blasting in my ears and an all downhill hike I felt pretty good.  I was back down to the lookout before I knew it.  I paused at the look out.  My legs were tired and I needed a break.  I think I left the look out at 3:45.   The big hemlock is leaning even more, but it has not fallen yet.
On the hike down I noticed a caulflower mushroom stump.  I only ever find stumps of these anymore.  I wonder if commercial pickers are getting all of them?

Road bridge over Big Creek
When I got back down to where I could see the road I decided to cut ½ mile off my hike but going down the old trail to the road.  The old trail was made when the bridge on the trail washed out and it allowed hikers to use the bridge on the road.  The trail bridge has been re-built a long ways from the old bridge and the trail winds in and out an extra ½ mile thanks to the new bridge location.  I was very tired and I was so happy when I saw how much mileage I had saved by walking down the road.  I reached my car at about 5:00; sun set was at 6:00pm.

I was able to drive home in the daylight.  This was my last hike before the fall back and I can’t get out of my house before 8:30am so I expect to be doing a lot of hiking in the dark until the days get longer. 
This hike wiped me out but is sure felt good to be hiking with Patches again.  I’ve been hiking in the park and climbing mountains where Patches cannot go.  Patches is very sore today, I don’t know how many more seasons she has in her.

Only one blow down on the entire route
Thanks to the Mount Rose trail crew for keeping up this beautiful trail system.  It looks like lots of work had been done on the upper trail since I was last up there.  There in one blow down consisting of two rotten snags on the connector trail just before it meets the lower trail.

11.5 miles with 3,500 feet elevation gain
Start of this hike

Mount Rose trail crew has done an oustanding job on this trail system

I put the orange tape there, this sign was buried in snow the last time I was here and I missed my turn.

Junction of Lower Ellinor Trail and
Ellinor connector trail.  Goat closure sign is laying on log

Junction of Upper and Lower Ellinor trail

Another junction of upper and lower Ellinor trail

Oyster mushroom on alder

Hypholoma fasiculare

Gomphidius subroseus

Hylocomnium splendens moss on the outhouse

Great Northwestern Salamander on the trail
This bathroom in Hoodsport is open to the public again.  I really like this bathroom!


1 comment:

Jake Morrison said...

Looks like another wet and windy day in the Olympics.