Saturday, June 29, 2013

Copper Creek trail on a hot day

Still a bit under the weather but needed to get out and hike!  Lots of stress this week, dealing red tape galore. 
Patches is about to be registered as a potentially dangerous dog.  She was tied to a fence at the school with my daughter nearby, when some kids started teasing her.  One grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and twisted her head around, so Patches bit her.  It’s not really fair to Patches and the animal control officer never even asked for our side of the story or even looked at Patches before making her decision.  I adopted Patches from the same agency that now says she is a potentially dangerous dog.
I think Patches is still allowed to roam free when hiking, but she cannot be free at all in the city limits.  If she can’t roam free while hiking I think she may as well be put down.  A Springer spaniel is not a dog that can be cooped up all the time, they need room to run.  Springer Spaniels also have a reputation for dominance aggression, so I’m not saying that Patches is innocent here.

I decided to hike with my friend Stan, he’s getting into shape and I’m feeling ill so Copper Creek sounded like a good option.  The weather forecast was HOT.  Copper Creek Trail stays low in a valley next to a creek and then it climbs up out of the heat, so it seemed like a good option on a hot day.

The forest was very wet from the recent heavy rains and thunderstorms, but at the same time it was hot.  It felt almost like hiking in Central America with the heat and the humidity.
We were shocked to find that the causeway gate was open!  That was not expected!  The culvert over Copper Creek has been reinforced a bit.  I think the Elk Creek culvert is still washed out, as the wild life gate before Elk Creek was shut.  The road was very nice and smooth all the way to the wild life gate.
We hiked slowly with me being sick and my friend having been off the trail for a few weeks and the heat.  Also with the days being so long we did not have to worry about running out of daylight.  The valley where the trail runs near the creek is beautiful.  I must go back and do photography there when the light it right.  Perhaps I will camp there so I can catch the sweet light on both ends of the day.
Mosquitoes were out in force and when I stopped they swarmed me.  This is a bad year for mosquitoes.  I applied 100% Deet and that did the trick. 
We took the loop in the counter-clockwise direction so we could find the cache and hit the top first.  The only view point is just after the summit and that is where we stopped for lunch, but we did not stop for long.  We left our lunch spot and explored the way trail that goes up lightening peak.   The way trail seems to get a lot of use and even some maintenance.  Neither of us have the skill to climb lightening peak, we were just hoping to find a nicer place to have lunch, and we did. 

We had our lunch on  a bed of nice soft pipe cleaner (Rytidiopsus robusta)  moss.  There was a view of Lake Cushman, Mount Lincoln and Mount Cruiser.

On the way back down we saw two rough skinned newts and two western toads.

We had the trail to ourselves all day long.
6 miles with 2,500 feet elevation gain 
Bunch berry, a type of dogwood

Old growth hemlock

Clavaria vermicularis mushrooms

What way?


Old growth snag lit up nicely

Summit rock of Mount Rose is in the red circle, click to enlarge

Pacific coralrood orchid depends on a mushroom (fungi) for it's energy needs

Mycena mushrooms


Loving my newish lens.  This is zoomed all the way in on Lake Cushman and the road next to
it from near the top of the Copper Creek Trail

Fungi left this black pattern in this rotten wood

The dog vomit slime mold Fuligo septica is not a fungi

Lepadozia Reptans liverwort with sporophytes

Lepodozia reptans leaf

Lepodozia repthans one elator and two spores

Lepodozia reptans stem

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 2013 short term review:

Gossamer Gear Gorilla  2013 short term review:

I’ve now taken my Gorilla Pack on 18 hikes and carried 129 miles, so I think it’s time for a short term gear review.  I've also done about 1 mile of bushwacking through slide alder and devils club with this pack so far.

No rips or tears in the mesh and I've done
some bushwacking with this pack.
I really like this pack.  I think my favorite thing is how well it rides.  I have not yet taken this pack on an overnighter but I have loaded it up with all my overnight gear and felt it would be comfortable.  I’m going to escape and do a backpacking trip with the pack just as soon as I can get away.

I also like the hip belt pockets.  I use one pocket to keep my car keys in.  Now I don’t have to dig for my car gets at the end of my hikes.  Without a hip belt pocket I always bury my keys in a deep secure place in my pack and then when my hike is over I have to dig and dig just to find my keys when all I want to do it sit down or go to the bathroom or put my dog in the Jeep.  No more, with the keys in the hip belt pocket I can get them out fast and have my car open in no time.  One problem though, twice I have left one of the pockets unzipped.  Luckily nothing fell out when I did that.  I hope I can remember to keep them zipped up so I don’t lose my stuff. 

I’ve been using one pocket for my car keys and my satellite messenger and the other pocket for collecting moss samples or holding my point and shoot or my IPod.  Moss samples ride safely in my little hip pocket and the envelopes I keep them in are easy to reach.

I have not been using the top pocket on the pack at all.  At first I thought I would use it to hole my car keys but I found that it was awkward to get into my pack with my car keys dragging the top down when it was open. 

I have not yet used to pack to carry snow shoes but I have used the ice axe loop and found that it works well and I like that it is positioned on the side of the pack instead of in the middle.  If it was in the middle it would make it harder to get into the front mesh pocket.

The hip belt clip seems to be very sturdy, I had been worried that it would break but my worries seem to have been unfounded.

My one complaint about this pack.  I have to clip four sets of little clips together in order to close the top all the way.  I miss the old purse string closure sometimes.  I wonder if I could close the pack securely but only clipping the outer clips and the two drawstring clips.  It’s not a big deal but it’s more fiddly than I would like.  But, on the plus side with all the exterior pockets I don’t have to get into my pack very often.


I finally got to take this pack on an overnight trip.  I went out for three nights with my daughter.  The pack carried beautifully!  I'll never go back to my old normal weight backpack.   Having a pack that fits right makes all the difference I think. 

We went about 15 miles in total and my total pack weight was about 30 pounds.  I carried all the food for 2 people for 3 days, so 6 days worth of food for one person. 

Full trip report from the hike is here:

It was a good pack until it broke and I could not get Gossamer Gear to help me repair it.  I do not recommend GG equipment due to the poor customer service that GG is getting famous for.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Rose for Graduation

I did not feel too well when I woke up, but I pushed myself to go out.  I thought hiking would make me feel better, but it did not.  2.5 hours up and about the same down.

7 miles with 3,500 feet elevation gain.

Licensed to be a dog


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Didymodon recurvirostris Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostre

Didymodon recurvirostris aka Bryoerythrophyllum recurvirostre
Slightly pappilose cells

Whole leaf stacked panorama, Abaxial view

Archegonial head

recurved margin

Monday, June 10, 2013

Copper Mountain attempt II

Wagon Wheel Lake, the prettiest I have ever seen it
I read that the Pennisula Wilderness Club was going up Mount Copper.  Last year I tried to go up Mount Copper but got lost in the fog and ran out of time.  Click here to read about my last attempt to climb CopperA trip up there with the PWC of Kitsap County sounded great.  I was a member of the PWC before I got exiled to Jefferson County.  It looked like 7:30 was the time to meet at the trail head, but I was not sure.  7:30 could have been the time to meet for the Kitsap County carpool.

I woke up at 5:30 and was at the trail head by 7:20,  but  no one was at the trailhead so I figured that 7:30 must have been the carpool meet up time.  At 7:40 I left a note on the trail head sign to inform the others, if they arrived that I was on the trail and getting a head start.  I was not having a high energy day, so I was glad to get a head start.  I had not completly recovered from doing Mount Rose just two days before, I had been suffering from sinus issues last week and my intestines were giving me fits.   To put it briefly, I was not in top hiking form.
I spotted a dear peeking up at me though the woods, I don't know how I spotted it.  I tried to take a good picture of it but that was difficult in the dark woods.
  I was gaining about 900 feet an hour as I headed up the trail, I was not feeling good and I was moving slow.   After I had gained about 3,000 feet I had a sudden attack of intestinal issues but I decided to put it off.  Just then a voice from down below yelled “hello!”.  It was Doug Savage from the meet up group.  I had heard of  Doug many times when I was a member of the PWC and it was nice to finally meet him. 

Doug told me that everyone else who was hoping to come had bailed and he had not been up Copper Mountain in 20 years.  He said given the fog, that he would be just as happy to go to the ridge above the lake..  But I really wanted to go up Copper and I had my  GPS with a topo map and some experience in the area, so we agreed to try for Copper.   Doug had started out an hour and ten minutes later than I had, so he was rather puffed from catching up to me.  We stopped at the lake to have a snack before we began bushwhacking.

Doug wanted to go the long way around the lake, I did not think that was the best way, but I let him convince me to go that way anyway.  We had to climb over a lot of brush and it was a longer route around the lake, but it was not too bad.  We headed up the ridge towards the long side hilling section.  I had the flags that I found on my last trip up way pointed in my GPS and we used those waypoints for guidance.
Working our way around the lake
To get through the snow-covered steep side hilling section we got out our ice axes and Doug gave me some advice on how to use my ice axe.  I only knew how to use my axe for self arrest, I had no idea how to use it for self belay.  Wow, what a different it made to use an ice axe here instead  of trekking poles.  My axe saved me from falling several times.  I’m so happy to have this new knowledge.

Sidehilling off trail

Soon we reached the saddle where I had turned back last time.  Everything was enveloped in fog.  We could not see the summit.  We sat down on a lovely lichen covered rock to look at the map and the climbing guide.  We saw some tracks in the snow, they were contouring below the summit but it was hard to tell where the tracks ended in the fog.  Where did the tracks go up, we wondered.

Doug reads the map while sitting on a lovely lichen covered rock.
The name of the lichen is  Rhizocarpon geographicum
common name "Map Lichen" The map lichen is of
no use for navigation, it simply looks like a coloful  map print
Doug decided to head straight up the snow chute on the right and into the notch.  The chute was steep but not too scary since there was a very nice run out below us if one of us were to fall.  When we reached the top of the notch the route was unclear.  I thought maybe we should contour below the ridge onto the south side.  Doug did not like that route, he thought the route was straight up the rock and onto a ledge.  It looked doable to me but I did not want to do 500 feet of that!  After going up just a few feet Doug said he was done.  The rock wall was forcing him to the edge and it was scary.  I tried the same route and agreed.  So that is where we turned around.  Just 500 feet short of the summit.  

We stopped here

The trip down was fast, Doug flew down the snow section, I took my time trying to keep my footing.  I think a Glissade might have been nice to try there.  In no time we were back down to the lake where we took about a ten minute break before we headed back down the steep trail.

I do not like the Wagon Wheel Lake trail, it is steep and viewless and the forest is less than stellar. The lake is not that great either.  Oh well at least it’s a good work out.
I felt rushed most of the day, so my pictures are not so great and I did not know it, but I had left my camera set to manual focus after taking pictures of the deer at the start of the trail.  All of my pictures are a little out of focus as a result.

9.6 miles 4,400 feet elevation gain

Thrashing through slide alder and devils club on the lake shore

Wagon Wheel lake was just  2/3rds of the hike

Ice Axe time

Lunch time view

On the saddle where I stopped last time

Working towards the notch to the right

Extreme for a hike but not for a climb


Friday, June 7, 2013

Mount Rose, up the long route, looking for a GPS

Mount Rose has a tiny summit and lots of ticks

Well, I finally got a chance to hike this week.  I could not hike over the weekend due to being out of town and in a city.  I could not hike Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday due to legal battles.  I could hike on Thursday, but I had to cancel my dental appointment to do it.  I had a filling fall out two years ago and I can never find the time to see the dentist.

Thursday morning I woke up at 4am with a sinus headache or a migraine.  I took a sip of homemade ginger ale in the hope that the sugar and alcohol would help with my headache.  I woke up again at about 5:30 and was totally disoriented I could not remember if I had a reason to even get up this morning, school was over, life was over, there was nothing left.  I think I woke up in the middle of a panic attack!    I woke up again at 7:20 when my alarm went off, and then I remembered that school was not over, life was not over and it was hiking day.
I still had a headache plus nausea, great.  I decided to try to hike anyway.  But first I had to get my daughter off to school.  She did not want to wake up.  It took a lot of effort to get her moving and when I finally had her dressed and ready it was 8:20.  Then she wanted to drive her to school, so I gave her a ride.  I knew I was going to get off to a late start and I had a limited amount of time to hike.  As usual I had to race with a train to drive my little one to school.  About every other day a train blocks the route to her school and makes the school bus even later, that is why I drive her to school.

I thought I had avoided all the trains so I headed down the street below Kneeland Park only to see a HUGE long logging train come right at me and covering my next intersection on highway 3.  So I whipped a U turn and drove as fast as I could to the train track crossing on 7th that was not yet blocked.  I beat the train and the train gates.  But, I had to drive up and down the hill, wasting time and gas to do it. I got her dropped off and was finally on my way to the trail at about 8:40.

I stopped at Hoodsport to use the fancy new bathrooms. Every step I took towards the bathroom made my head throb. Uh oh.. How was I going to do Mount Rose with my head throbbing? I went into IGA and bought a cup of coffee and a Dove bar to help with my headache. The clerk who rung up my order said she had a headache too and she thought it was a sinus headache from all the pollen in the air.

 I got caught behind a slow moving car on 119 but I thought, it’s such a short distance that going 5MPH slower will not really make me lose too much time.  If I was going 100 miles then going 5mph slower would cost me some time.  I stayed behind the slow moving car until 3 other cars got stuck behind me and then I passed it.  I forgot what a relief it is to not have to look at a car.  It’s almost worth passing someone just to not have to look at them.

I made it to the trailhead at about 9:40 and I was able to start hiking right away as I had eaten breakfast at home.  Normally I eat breakfast at the trail head.  Breakfast is oatmeal with milk sugar and raisins.  I cook it at home and then eat it at the trail head since my stomach rebels against food first thing in the morning.

I  decided to hike up the long way and down the short way.  Someone had lost a GPS on the long route and I was hoping to find it and return it to them.  I was mindful of the time but I knew I did not really have to race.  It was quite warm and I was not feeling very good, so I was glad I did not have to race.

I reached what I call “one hour rock” after 1 hour and 8 minutes, so I was a little slower than usual but not by  too much.  I took pictures of a snail and slug before I reached the rock.  I did not stop to take pictures of millipedes even though I saw two of them.  I’ve gone off millipedes as they remind me of someone. 

It seemed to take a long time to reach hose camp and I was really sweating by the time I got there.  I turned right up the long route and searched for the lost GPS at both creek crossings with bridges.  No luck, the GPS was gone.  Most of the snow on the long route has melted.  The first snow started just below the ridge.  I got out my trekking poles once I hit the snow.  I also glanced at my watch and saw I was making really poor time.  I was only going to be able to have a ½ hour lunch break instead of my usual hour and I still might risk not getting home in time.  I had to be back to my car by 3pm and I figured it would take me 2 hours to go down the short route at a comfortable rate, as it takes me 2.5 hours to go down the long route.   That made 1pm my mandatory turnaround time.   I like having knees that work, so I won’t race down a hill like Mount Rose.

I finally reached the summit rock at 12:30.  There were purple penstemon flowers blooming on the summit. There were no clouds in the sky but still the view was a bit hazy.  I could see all the volcanoes from the summit.  I can’t remember the last time that happened. I was very warm on the summit rock so I did not boil water for coffee.  I took my vinacafe and shook it up in my water bottle and made a nice cold coffee.  I poured water onto the summit rock for Patches to drink and I fed her a whole bag of dog treats.

For lunch I had three roma tomatoes, sunflower seeds and a little bag of M and M’s.  ½ hour was a short lunch break for  me, but not having to boil water saved me some time and I did not feel as rushed as I thought I would.

At 1pm I headed back down the hill, pausing to take pictures.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve gone down the short route, so it all felt new to me.  I can do Mount Rose over and over again in the spring and it feels different every time thanks to the plants that come up at different times and the changing snow levels.  I made better time than expected coming down and was back to my car by 2:30.  So it only took me 1.5 hours to go down the short route at a pace that does not kill my knees.

I felt pretty good as long as I was hiking.  After I got home the headache and nausea hit twice as hard and I had to go to bed.  Now it’s the next day and I still feel sick.  I paid the price for getting out, it is worth it!

7 miles 3,500 feet elevation gain
Snail without a shell

Snail with a shell

Mean Goat on the Mountain

One hour rock

Green stuff

Orchids or mychoheterotrophs

Ptilidium californicum  liverwort on the ridge

The mountain through the haze

Penstemon on the summit rock

 Pack on the summit before it fell apart

Houses on the other side of the lake.  Are they boat in only?

If I was this tree I could spend my entire life on the summit of
Moun Rose

Forest near summit

Forest near the summit lightening peak in back left

Who needs a stairstep machine

Forest on the short route

snake in the moss.  I walked around this snake.  Fat
female garter snakes will bite.
I did not know I lost my lens cap until I found it on the way back down