Sunday, January 27, 2013


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

Trailhead at start of hike
The weather was forecast to be rain and showers all day, so I left my big camera at home and packed my little waterproof camera instead.  My partner opted out of hiking with me due to the rainy forecast.  But Patches the wonder dog was more than happy to go hiking.  I left the house around 9 with Dosewallips as my goal.  When I passed Duckabush I pulled off the road, thought about it for a minute and then turned around and went up the Duckabush Valley road.  Duckabush is closer to home, the trail head is closer to the highway and after about 3 miles it’s a trail walk rather than a road hike.    Also I felt too tired to slog all the way to the Dosewallips ranger station in the snow. I had been told there was a lot of snow on that road.

There was some snow on the road to the Duckabush trail and I was glad to be in my high clearance vehicle.   The road was icy too, my studded snow tires helped with the ice.

I reached the trailhead at about 10 am and was surprised to find 4 other cars at the trailhead.  Since I only had my forest pass and not my hang tag I put an extra note on my windshield to point out my pass to rangers.  I got a ticket the last time I displayed my pass on my dash like I am supposed to do.  The ranger for whatever reason did not see my pass and the ticket was sent to my spouse, so I had no choice but to pay the $55.   My spouse is far too ill to miss going to work to go to court and fight a ticket that is not even his!  I also made a point of parking in a way that would force the ranger to get out of their truck to  check for my pass, instead of just sitting in their truck and writing a ticket.  It seemed to work, I did not have a ticket waiting for me at the end of my hike.

My KTS crampons
My goal for the day was 5 mile camp.  About 3 miles down the trail I put on my hiking crampons for extra traction.   All the high creeks where I nearly drown my dog last time were  bone dry today.   When I reached the overlook rock with the best view I wanted to stop there.  But, I checked my GPS and I had only gained 1,200 feet at that point.  I needed a better work out than that so I got up and headed up the hill in spite of being tired and really just wanting to turn around and go home.  I stopped again at the highest rock that is on the trail.  The view was all fog, so it made no difference what rock I stopped at.  I decided I would take a break there, have a coffee, eat half my lunch and decide if I wanted to move on.

As I was taking my break, returning backpackers stopped and talked to me.  There was one couple and there was a group of three men.  One of the men is another local blogger who just started blogging recently.   He owns the same camera as I do and he is  a great photographer.  His group had spent the night at 5 mile camp and wanted to lighten their loads for the hike out so they kept offering me and my dog yummy food.  Patches was in heaven.  I liked it too, but I’m trying to lose weight so I did not take too much food.  Here is his blog post with a picture of Patches.

The group told me they had found a dead elk in the snow .  Hearing about the dead elk, I made up my mind to push on.  At this point it was late enough that I know the decision to push on would mean that I would be hiking out in the dark.
 I checked my head lamp and then packed up and pushed on toward the camp.  The trail was covered in deep snow on the other side of big hump and right at 5 mile camp the trail turned to ice.  I was really glad to have my hiking crampons with me!  I made my way down the steep icy slope to camp 5 and I stayed there for about ten minutes looking for the elk but did not see it. I knew I was going to be hiking out in the dark so I did not spend too much time looking for the elk. Then on the way back out I saw the elk about 500 feet off the trail. 

 How on earth did I pass that elk without seeing it the first time?  The elk was lying on its side with three feet sticking out of the snow.  Its head was turned towards its back.  Maybe it had a broken neck.  I think the elk either fell off the cliff above or some snow and ice fell off the cliff and landed on the elk.   The area around the elk was too icy to walk on, so maybe the elk simply slipped and fell.  The elk looked really healthy.   It made me, sad I had followed that elk’s track and seen its piles of scat for my entire hike.  To think that its life had just ended was a bit sad.  The elk had beautiful antlers.  I’m sure someone is going to want to there and get those antlers legal or not.

View opened up on the way out
My hike back up the hill went well.  It seemed to take less effort to climb up Big Hump the second time.  As I reached the overlook rocks again, I saw that the views had opened up and I planned on taking pictures at the best spot.  But when I got to the best spot I found a tent pitched there and there was a man and a woman in the tent so I kept going, not wanting to disturb their campsite.  What a beautiful spot to camp in though..

When I got back down to the bottom of big hump I decided to eat the other half of my lunch and have one more cup of coffee before it got too dark to cook.  I sipped my coffee as I hiked since the daylight was turning to twilight.  The sun set at 5:02 and it got good at dark at about 5:30 but I did not need my headlamp until 5:55 when the snow ended.  Without the bright white snow it was harder to see the trail.  I ended up hiking about 1.5 miles by headlamp.  Each time I hike by headlamp it gets a little bit less scary.  Still I would not want to hike by headlamp without Patches to protect me.

Trailhead at end of hike
I finished my hike at 6:45 pm.  I stopped in Hoodsport to see if provolone was still on sale at the IGA and it was so I bought a pound of it.  I never shopped at IGAe at all before Marcus started working there.  But now I like to go in and say hi to Marcus and talk about hiking after my hikes.  But Marcus is not allowed to talk about hiking while at work; how strange considering so many hikers go through Hoodsport and most hikers have a lot of money.  You would think the IGA would like hikers to stop in and buy stuff and Marcus sure draws them in.  They should be happy that Marcus draws hikers in and they should not give me dirty looks for buying cheese.
There was no rain all day long, so I could have brought my big camera with me.  It was nice to not have the extra weight of my big camera though.

10 miles with 2,400 feet total elevation gain on this up and down hike.  It felt like a lot more. 

Up and down route

Dry creek where we struggled to cross last time

pacific fuzzwort

Nephroma resupinatum

Nephroma resupinatum

Nephroma resupinatum
Asci, some with spores, subhymenium turns blue with iodine

Nephroma resupinatum
Ascus with 8 septate spores

Not bad for a point and shoot camera 3 image pano to get the exposure right

View during Lunch

Hiking in the dark and the snow

tea waiting for me at the trail head
The car at the trail head


No comments: