Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hunting without a permit on Crawford Mountain

Teasel with a hover fly at the parking area

Crawford Mountain is just outside of Tenino and south east of Olympia.  It is owned by Weyerhouser.  The mountain was popular with geocachers but that has just changed...

Weyerhaeuser will be closing open general public access to the Vail Tree farm which includes Crawford Mtn. Beginning August 1, 2013, there are only two authorized ways to travel on these lands.

1) Purchase a $150 recreational permit, which covers Aug. 1 - Dec. 31, allowing for keyed access to the gate for motorized access. This permit is subject to closure for fire and logging.

2) Bid for a year 'round group recreational permit. These are expensive and unfortunately the bid process closes in late June. The annual period runs from Aug 1 to July 31 and again is subject to closure for fire and logging.

For more Weyerhaeuser information:

Phone: 360-446-2704

I wanted to see this place before public access is shut off to all but the well-to-do by the new permit system. Timber companies were given a lot of land and got other lands on the cheap and pay a much reduced agricultural tax rate. The justification for the low tax rate is that tree farms provide sport and recreational opportunities.

With each cache owner’s permission we removed 21 caches from the tree farm as probably no one will want to pay $150 to access the land for just a few months each year at the peak of hunting season, for the sake of geocaching. It’s probably not even safe to be geocaching at that time of year in such a popular hunting ground.

 12 miles with 1,200 feet elevation gain.  I'll count six of these mile as hiking miles since we pushed our bikes most of the way up.

Starting at the gate with a trailer to haul the caches out in

Nice second growth on DNR land behind the gate

our star on top of the mountain

checking off caches as they are removed

Bagged our limit of caches

Track and elevation log

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mount Rose Loop in the Heat

The protozoa known as "Dog vomit slime mold"  creeps along on a bed
of  Broom Moss (Dicranum) and Pixi cup lichens (Cladonia).  This is not a fungi, it's a mass of
protoplasm filled with little one celled creatures, or something like that.

Manic and barely able to sleep, I did not know if I could do this hike, but a hike was exactly what I needed. I only slept 6 hours the night before. Normally I sleep about 10 hours a night.

I started my hike at 8:15, it took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to summit.  That counts the 20 minutes I lost funneling a little trickle of water into two bottles. 

45 minutes from home, on a road that a car can handle.. Hoards of people, off leash dogs and aggro goats, water tastes like piss. It's better to climb Ellinor if you want solitude.

Trail is in great shape, no blowdowns to climb over, the crew has been up there for sure! Time up 3 hours and 15 minutes counting 20 minutes to collect water. Robert from Oly is training for Baker and did it in two hours.

How about making a trail up Copper Mountain that starts outside the park?

All water on the short route is dried up.. both streams on the long route are running. Pack lots of water up if you take the short route, unless you want to resort to extreme measures.   The water up there tastes like pee too.

I spent about 1/2 hour on the summit then I headed back down.  I took another break in the beautiful forest on the long loop.  After I sat still for a while wood peckers came and pecked on a branch over Patches head and kept dropping bark onto her, but she barely noticed as she was being eaten alive by flies.  I put some Deet on her and that helped.  It was so cool in the forest that I was able to put my light jacket on and not get bitten too much.

7 miles 3,500 feet elevation gain

Big bird nest

Spider webs catch the morning light

camp where I hung out with woodpeckers

One hour rock

Monday, July 22, 2013

Old road to Mount Tebo

Salsify is a Mediterranean native but it has spread everywhere.
This Salsify is waiting to be destroyed by a bulldozer.

Word is that this road will be decommissioned this year.  Once a road is decommissioned hiking down it is miserable, so I thought I would see where this road goes before it is destroyed.  During the winter this road is much prettier and there is water ever where.  But, as we learned, during the summer water is scarce and this road it hot and dry.  I expected to find Tetraplodon moss as it was almost the perfect habitat for it.   But I did not find any, I think it gets too dry for Tetraplodon here. 

We hiked to the end of the road and then back.  There was one really nice view, but it was hot and we were out of water so we went to Lebar for Lunch and a quick dip in the cold waters.  We found a nice shady spot to have lunch but there were too many bugs.  So up went the tarp tent with its bug netting and we were able to eat our lunch without being eaten for lunch by the bugs.  We saw mosquitoes, black flies and giant deer flies.
The road was not very exciting but still I am unhappy to see it destroyed.  Flowers have popped up everywhere and there is stone crop in the middle of the road.  When they destroy the road they will churn up all the streams and kill all the vegetation on or near the road.   They will make the road slant in a way that will make it very difficult to walk on and they will add whoop de doos every 50 feet.   Then  when they  are all done, they will spread a layer of hay filled with weed seeds over the old road bed.   Greenwashing at its best!
I took a bunch of pictures so I can show before and after pictures.  My goal is to highlight the destruction caused by road decommissioning.
5.5 miles with 800 feet elevation gain

Bonfire moss Funaria hygrometrica in an old campfire pit.  This
was a nice place to car camp

Garter snake waits to be crushed by the coming heavy machinery

Paint brush and moss wait to be killed by the decommissioning process

There is a pile of wasted old growth hemlock at the end of every
high country logging road in this area thanks to Simpson and the 100
year sustained steal

Road has already  decommissioned its self

At the turn off to go up mount tebo a pretty meadow waits to be destroyed by the decommissioning process

Stone crop and other succulents grow in the middle of the road.
 They will be killed by the decommissioning process

Before they can start decommission work  they will have to install a culvert here. 
Later they will rip out the very same culvert, all at taxpayer expense.

This old growth Hemlock tree will serve as a good reference point after the destruction
if it is not destroyed in the process

This and other old logging roads naturally decommission themselves.
Let's spend the money feeding all the hungry children in Shelton instead!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

First sighting of the liverwort Rivulariella gemmipara in Washington state

I sent my specimin of Rivulariella gemmipara  to David Wagner and he confirmed that it is indeed Rivulariella gemmipara. This is the first sighting of it in Washington state and the only sighting of it between Oregon and Alaska.  David Wagner is going to write this up and publish it.  I will be a co-author.. Yay!  I'm getting published.  Here are my pictures of Rivulariella gemmipara found near the pond of the false prophet last week.

in it's habitat


whole stem 40x

whole leaf 40x

more gemmea

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summit Lake - Cascades

Summit Lake

As far as I knew Summit Lake was just outside the capitol forest and not much of a hiking destination.  Ah, but there is another Summit Lake in the Clearwater wilderness near Mount Rainer.  I rarely venture out of my beloved Olympics due to the cost of gas and family obligations and my dislike of driving in heavy traffic.  Today I did not have to drive and I had wonderful company to hike with.

Hookeria moss grows in big patches next to the trail
We started our hike about two hours earlier than I normally leave my house and this was after a two hour drive!  The road to the trail head was rather rough but people were making it up there in their cars.  I however, would not choose to subject my car to that kind of punishment.  Jeff donned a pair of flip flops for the hike.  I wore boots because I was expecting lots of snow.

The trailhead is at 4,400 feet and the hiked topped out at 5,770 feet.  It felt strange to have to do so little work to reach such a high elevation.  I’m so used to the Olympics that though they are not very tall, rise straight out of the sea and don’t have many roads going through them.    With just a few exceptions, to reach 5,700 feet in the Olympics you really have to work! 

I’m not used to this kind of elevation and I could really feel the effects of the thin air during the last bit of the climb.  Once we reached the lake we climbed up to a rocky knob above the lake to eat lunch and take in the views. 

What a view it was!  We could see the Olympics, and Cascades, Seattle and Tacoma.  Jeff said that when the light is right you can also see the ocean from up there.   I don’t recall ever looking down onto Tacoma and knowing it.  I think Tacoma is hidden behind Green and Gold Mountain (in Kitsap County) from my normal vantage points in the SE Olympics. 

We saw seas of avalanche lilies.   Green Usnea and black Bryoria lichens coated the old growth hemlocks, I think I saw some Letharia lichens too.  I found a large patch of Hookeria moss.  I also found some yet to be ID’ed aquatic liverworts.  I found a large patch of what I think will turn out to be the  Lophozia incisa liverwort.  It certainly was interesting to go look at bryophytes in a new area.

After lunch we made a circle around the lake and then we quickly hiked back down to the trail head.   At the trail head cold beers were passed around.  What a fun little tradition to have a beer at the end of the hike!  On the way home I was treated to chips and an ice cream cone.  It was a very pleasant day!

When I got home I was  greeted by  two sinks full of dishes, a hungry child, a broken dryer and a clogged toilet.  All the problems other than the broken dryer were quickly resolved.  Now I’m ready for a nap!
The temperature at sea level is 85 degrees.
6.5 miles with 1,300 feet elevation gain
I'll add more pictures after my nap

Slime mold

Glacier lilly

Map Lichen