Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vincent Hill, Skokomish River Hunting Camp

I’m pretty depressed about getting a ticket in McCleary and I really had to force myself to get out of the house and into the woods this morning.  Once I got out there and had my lunch and got away from the logging noises I felt much better. 

My plan was to go to Haven Lake but Green Diamond aka Simpson has the road red dotted and the gate is open with trucks going down it.  I was hoping that the gate was shut and I could hike up the road.  On to plan “B”, I decided to hike up Vincent hill.  I started up Vincent hill but changed my mind due to all the logging noise.  The road to the High Steel Bridge is being clear cut and there is logging on both sides of the bridge.  I know from experience that the top of Vincent is not pleasant when logging is going on so I went for plan “C”.  

For awhile I’ve been looking for a way to get down to the banks of the Skok near the High Steel Bridge.  There is no safe way to the river from the bridge but my topo maps show what looks like a safe route from the road up Vincent.  Right where I parked I saw some chanterelles and a sign saying a permit was required to pick mushrooms by ONF. That is a lie, a permit is only required for commercial harvest, not for all picking.

I followed the logging road and looked for a way down to the river but the way looked too steep so I kept following the road.  Eventually the road turned into a trail and I knew I was headed somewhere good.  I was right. 

Campsite where I had lunch

The trail took me to a beautiful campsite on the banks of the Skok.  The river was big and pretty and loud enough to drown out the logging noises.  I took my lunch at the campsite.  Lunch was hot chocolate from a mix I make and a smoked turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce.  Patches had a pouch of dog food and some bits of my turkey.  The campsite was so flat and devoid of stumps that I think a building must have been located there.  Maybe it was the sight of an old trail shelter from before most of the Skokomish river trail being destroyed by logging.  There were several hunting stands and blinds on the other side of the river.

After lunch I followed a trail that runs alongside the river.  I wondered if the original Skokomish River trail ran here?  The trail used to start down by the old gas station in the Skokomish Valley but was logged all the way up to the current location of the trial head.  But what about this area between Simpson land and the new trail head?  Shouldn’t the trail be rebuilt here?
After I wandered down the trail always I crossed a national forest boundary and soon I came upon a campsite.  This campsite was not quite as nice as the first one but it was still wild and scenic.  I kept going now mostly bushwhacking on a faint trail until the river went into a narrow gorge.  The gorge looked impassable and I felt like I had a pretty good hike at this point.  I stopped and took pictures of a water fall and Patches whined the entire time.  I also wandered out onto a rock / sand bar in the river and took pictures of moss.

As I headed back to my Jeep I noticed that the logging sounds were quieting down.  The workers must have been going home for the day.  I was right; one worker tailgated me as I drove home.  I let them by as soon as there was room to.  Then I stopped and took some pictures of the logging. 

I’m glad I made it out today, I’m less depressed now.  I’m ready to go see some old growth on my next hiking after seeing so much logging today.  I took my prime lens with me after finding it in my daughter's room.  It's her favorite lens, so she always has it.  I like the pictures this lens takes but am frustrated by it's narrow angle.

5 miles (8 Kilometers) with 350 feet elevation gain
Blinding my dog

Second campsight

Candlesnuff fungus

Chanterelles for the plucking

Fairy vomit lichen with Dicranum moss

Fomitopsis pinacola "Red belted conk"

Hunters stand

Where I turned around

Old growth stump left by Simpson aka Green Diamond

Scleropodium moss

Shoes are the best hiking boots

Strange offering left at campsite along with a cross

Clear cutting by Green Diamond aka Simpson

Cut and then wasted wood via Simpson, at
least it was not burned

This and other machines are the reason
for the loss of logging jobs

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