Sunday, January 27, 2013


The head is not really buried, the elk was on its side

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 stats

P value of .03 shows that longer hikes tend to involve more elevtion gain while R squared value says that the length of the hike does not predict the elevation gain.

algae, lichen and moss oh my!

White: Very Low Algae, Moss, Lichen and Fungus Growth
Yellow: Low Algae, Moss, Lichen and Fungus Growth
Blue: Moderate Algae, Moss, Lichen and Fungus Growth
Red: Severe Algae, Moss, Lichen and Fungus Growth

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vulpicida canadensis lichen made of algae and fungi

Vulpicida canadensis grows mostly east of the Cascades so I have never seen it before.  I was excited to discover it at Hydro Cushman park.  There is actually quite a lot of it there.  This lichen is bright yellow.  Even the medulla (middle bits) of the lichen are yellow.  The yellow color of the fungal hyphea (this lichen is made of a fungus and an algae) is yellow and that makes it easier to see.  Unfortunately the lichen disintegrated when I put KOH on it.  But that made the algae easier to see. has a lot of great lichen photos for sale.  Remember, just because it's on the Internet that does  not mean it's free!

This image is created by user Jason Hollinger (jason) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.

Algae surrounded by see through fungal hyphea (the filaments are fungal hyphea)
Cross section of lichen apothecia (basically a lichen flower) showing
spores inside of asci
Close up of ascus with spores in it
Fungal hyphea their natural color in the middle of the lichen
This is a colony of bacteria that was living in the lichen.  Scientists do not know for sure what these particular non-photosynthetic bacteria do in lichens.  Are they harmful, helpful or indifferent for the lichen?  Nearly all lichens have them.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

South Mountain Inversion

Inversion layer forms a wall
Headed up South Mountain to get some exercise and to get up into the sun.  It worked.  The inversion layer is really low.  At home there was fog, clouds and stale air but at the South Mountain the sky was blue and the air was fresh.   South Mountain is a very ugly slog on Green Diamond aka Simpson lands.  But the view at the top almost makes the slog worth it.  With 2,400 feet elevation gain in 8 miles round trip, it's a pretty good winter time work out too.

The gate was above the inversion and we had blue skies for the entire hike.  We headed back down just before the sun set.  Niether of us wanted to go back into the clouds and the smog, so we drug it out as long as we could.

The snow started about 1/2 way up and it was compacted and a bit icy.  I wore my hiking crampons, my partner work his microspikes.  There was a warm summery breeze coming off the snow, it was amazing.

The summit was windy and cold as usual but it was also sunny.  The ugly cities and most of the ugly clear cuts were below the clouds, but the mountain tops and the ocean were in view.  That's just how I like it.

On the way down the sun was very low and briefly it hit the inversion layer just right so I was able to get the shot above.  F8 and be there!  Well actually it was 1/30 sec;   f/7.1;   ISO 400.  I had to take a lot of shots to get one that was not too blurry with that slow shutter speed.

8 miles with 2,400 feet elevation gain

Mount Adams and the guy wires holding up the radio tower
Mount Rose in the middle is dwarfed by Mount Copper on the left and Pershing on the right
Sun sets over the pacific ocean
Oh dear
Snowy container on the summit
Summit Shack
really low inversion layer
scary sign

Matching coats

Patches begging for my lunch
New camera
What's wrong with this picture?
Orange band on horizon is the Pacific Ocean

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My microscope and sourkrout

This is the microscope that I use. At the price it seems like a steal. It makes me wonder if name brand microscopes are over priced

Below is a video I made with this microscope yesterday. This video shows yeasts and bacteria in my home made raw sour krout. I can't ID the bacteria but they could be Lactobacillus. Several kinds of bacteria come and go in the process of making sour krout. This Krout was fermented for about one week.  These are so called "probiotics" that are supposed to be good for you.

 Magnification is x2,000 the large roundish things are yeast, the smaller rod shaped things swimming in the background are bacteria.  Click on the picture of the microscope above to view it on

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Algea in lichens

My microscope, click for details
I spent the better part of the day dissecting lichens and looking at their algea.  Here are a few pictures from today:

Algea from Cladonia sp x2000

Algea from Lobaria pulmonaria probably Trebouxia sp
Filimentous green algea from my fish tank
cross section of Evernia prunastri shows algal layer probably Trebouxia sp
Algea from Evernia prunastri probably Trebouxia sp
Hyphea from Evernia prunastri with algea probably Trebouxia sp
bumps on hyphea could be part of haustoria

Cross section of Lobaria pulmonaria
ascospores in ascus from crustose lichen probably Ochrolechia sp
algea from same crustose lichen
Bumpy hyphea on Evernia prunastri

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Big Creek / Lower Ellinor

This bullet riddled tree is about to fall
Once again I did not really want to go hiking this morning but I forced myself out the door anyway.  I’m still on anti-biotics for a sinus infection.  I forced myself out because hiking is good for me and helps me to lose weight.  There is still a lot of snow in the Olympics so I had to pick a trail that starts out on a paved and plowed road.  I picked Big Creek, but was not excited about it.  I figured it would be a horrible slog and I wound not find much to take pictures of. I was partly correct, there was not much to take pictures of but it did not turn out to be a slog.  I parked across the street from the campground since the entrance to the campground was plowed shut.

I started my hike at about 10:10.  There was snow in the parking area but the snow has consolidated and there was no post holing or slogging on this hike.  I carried my snow shoes on my back all the way up to the look out.  At the lookout I had hot coffee and lunch.  The sun was shining bright at first and it felt quite warm in spite of the snow and cold.  Then the sun went behind a cloud and it got cold fast, so I packed up.

After leaving the lookout I headed up to the lower Ellinor trailhead to check out the road conditions.  The road is covered and snow and the only recent travelers up the road were on skis and snow shoes.  No cars have been up the road in a while.  I walked down the road about one quarter of a mile and then I turned right onto and old logging road that connects with the trail.  Thus I made a small loop.

Once I got back onto the trail I put on my snowshoes as a traction aid. I did not need any flotation but the trail was icy and I was heading down hill and I was getting tired.  I was so happy after I put my snow shoes on, they made it so much easier to walk on the ice and it felt good to have them off my back.  My snowshoes kept me from slipping and falling on the ice, but, ironically I fell down once due to tripping over my snowshoes.  I fell kind of hard and landed on my bad knee.  I feel okay now, but I suspect that my knee will hurt in the morning.

I took my snow shoes off when the trail leveled out near Big Creek.  About one mile from the trailhead I got really tired and just sat down in the middle of the trail and ate some pepperoni.  It’s not like me to bonk like that, but it happened.  Maybe my lunch coffee had worn off at that point, but the amount of coffee I has was so small that I’d be surprised if it was enough to make me bonk.

Anyway I got back up and kept hiking only taking one more break.  When I got back down near the road I took the old trail down that was made when the bridge was out.  By taking the old trail down I saved myself a mile of hiking and made another nice little loop.  There was a loop on both ends of my hike today. 

A lot of trees have fallen down over the trail near the recent clear cut logging on adjacent private property.  The trees on the edge of the clear cut succumbed due to loss of buffering from the wind and other edge effects.  It’s a real shame. 

7 miles with 1,800 feet elevation gain

Big Creek trail head
Track and elevation log
These fell thanks to near by logging
lunch time
Patches the wonder dog
Crustose lichen
Icy bridge
snowy bridge
start of connection trail
Bunny tracks