Sunday, February 17, 2013

Notch pass east to Bark Shanty

I woke up from a nightmare.  I was all packed up so I tried to shake off the nightmare and I put my socks on.  As I was putting my socks on Patches started whining and creeping closer and closer.  How did she know it was hiking day? 

 I had to put Patches in the car early so I would not trip over her while I was making the final perparations for my hike.  I left the house at 8:20pm and blew right past the am/pm where I wanted to get gas, so I was stuck getting gas at Twin Totems or the Hoodsport IGA.  Bummer, that cost me $3.77 a gallon.  But I saved over $10.00 in gas by taking my car instead of my Jeep.  I had been told I could drive all the way to the trail head in a passenger car.

Trachybryum megaptilum, about to be moved back to
(Thanks to David Wagner for the ID)

I had a very hard time finding the Notch Pass trailhead the road is unmarked and very rough for a small car.  I actually drove straight to the trailhead on the first try but I did not see it and turned around when the road got too rough to drive and then I passed the trailhead again without seeing it.  I think I was so focused on not bottoming out my car that I could not see the trail.  Also I was expecting the trail to be at the end of the road but it’s actually on the side of the road and there is only room to park one car.  The topo map in my GPS is old and it showed the original trail starting in a much different place at a “U” right on the 27 road.

Trailhead is at N47 49.590 W122 56.323
Eventually I drove back to the same spot and found the trailhead and began my hike at 11am.  11am was a much later start than I was hoping for. I knew I was going to have to make good time all day if I wanted to make it back before dark.

The trail headed straight up and continued up without a break all the way to the pass.  I got too hot hiking up in the rain and I got to thinking.  My raincoat is making me hot, but why am I wearing a raincoat?  What is it that I am trying to keep dry?  My skin is waterproof so it does not need to be kept dry when I am too hot.  The only thing I was trying to keep dry was my clothes.  Well that seemed silly and I knew I had the trail all to myself so I stripped down from the waist up and then put my raincoat back on over my bare torso.  Ahhhh that was much better, I was able to unzip my rain coat most of the way so I got plenty of ventilation and I was able to keep cool.  At the same time I could have zipped it up real quick if anyone came down the trail.  The front pack for my camera covered up the most sinful parts of my chest anyway.  You know those nasty bits that provide sustenance for the entire human race for the first six months of their life.  That’s some nasty shit!  Got to keep that covered up.

The trail was bare until right before the pass then suddenly there was deep snow, but at least the rain had stopped.  The pass is marked by an old logging road, the road was snow covered.  The trail continued on the other side of the road.  On the other side of the road the snow was deep, there were trees over the trail and route finding was slightly challenging.  This part of the trail traverses a nasty little gully.  It was a good thing that I put my gaitors on at the pass because on the way down the other side the snow was very deep.  I did a lot of postholing to my knees and  I thought about turning back, but I pushed on knowing that the snow would not last for long as I was now going to drop elevation fast. 

 The trail came out and crossed another road; I think this second road is one of the main roads.  This road too was covered in snow but it had one set of monster truck tracks on it.  At this point one must turn right and follow the road for about 300 feet and then rejoin the trail on the left.  The trail on the other side of the road was dead easy to hike on because it was actually an old logging road. 

The road that marks the  pass, the going was rough after this
 After about 1/10th of mile the trail diverged from the old logging road and became a proper trail again.  As the trail drops closer and closer the Big Quilcene River the scenery gets better and better.  Eventually the trail crosses the Big Quilcene River on a new looking bridge.  There on the other side of the bridge I found a marker that said I was no on the Quilcene river trail.  I turned left at the junction and headed for “Bark Shanty”.  The topo map in my GPS is very old and it showed Bark Shanty as a shelter.  I was surprised to find that bark shanty was nothing more than a sign where a shelter had once stood.

Did I really hike 8 miles for this?

I reached Bark Shanty at 2:10pm and I knew I had to turn around between 2:30 and 3pm if I wanted to make it out before dark.  Today I did want to make it out before dark.  I brewed a cup of hot chocolate with coffee, milk and sugar in it and took in the scenery.  Someone had left garbage at the campsite but it was not too bad.  At 2:45 I began to pack up to go and just then two hikers arrived.  They were surprised to see me and asked what trail I had hiked in on.  I tried to explain to them but I’m not sure if they ever understood me. 

I started my hike back to the car at 3pm.  The route through the snow and fallen trees was much easier for me on the way back since I knew I was not going to lose the trail.  I reached the pass at 4:45, the sun was going to set at 5:30 and I was 2 miles from my car.  But those two miles were all downhill, so I knew I would make it out before dark.  I hiked well on the way down because I was feeling good.  The guides say this hike gains 3,000 feet but I think it was closer to 2,700 feet.  As I was heading down the quiet of the forest was destroyed by gunfire.  I really hoped that no one was shooting at my car!   I made it back to my car at 5:40, just after sunset but before dark.  My car was fine.

The drive out:

I drove my car into a ditch on the way back out.  The road is so muddy that my front right tire just slid right into the ditch.  Luckily the ditch was not too deep and I was able to back my car out of the ditch on the first try.  My car is covered with mud now.

8 miles with 2,700 feet total elevation gain on this up and down route.

This is an up and down route

Hundreds of years?  Maybe tens of thousands of years.. or maybe not at all..

Driving out I stopped to admire the reflections in the puddles.


Buckeilla undulatum moss I probably spelled it wrong

Dendrolosia moss

Dicranum moss sporophytes

Beautiful new bridge hooks Notch Pass trail with Big Quilcene trail

Misty forest

Isothecium moss catches the sweet light just after lunch

Holy tree and rain drops

A quick hot mocha in the snow
My complete kitchen with fuel and water bottle
My hand lens just happens to be in the picture

Honk if you like conks!

Hypnum moss Sporophytes

Hypnum moss Sporophytes

Liverworty goodness.. perhaps Ricardia species in the circle

Lobaria oregana with aptothecia (the round orange dots)
This lichen is old growth associated

1 comment:

Joe Hendricks said...

Thanks for the fun trip report and the one on
I love this hike.
And I am amazed your car survived that trailhead road, LOL
- Joe