Stormy weather, I was depressed at the start of this hike and now, this trail is haunted. But this is also one of my favorite trails and I’ve not been on it yet this year and the gate is about to shut, so I went. I was hoping to find mushrooms and I was not disappointed.
On the long drive in, a friendly, lonely dog appeared on the road, I thought maybe
it was lost but it turned out to belong to a backhoe driver who was busy
tilling up an old road, cutting down trees and spreading weed seeds. That‘s called decommissioning a road and they
lie and tell us it’s good for the river. Strange that he left his dog to roam the road
while he worked.
I started my hike at about 9:30, my goal for the day was an unnamed hill that overlooks an unnamed lake. This hill is near Chapel Peak. After I reached the saddle between the Wynoochee and the Skokomish I left the trail and turned south up the ridge. I bushwhacked through blueberries and old growth trees. I was afraid that I might disturb a yellow jacket nest somewhere on my route so I walked cautiously while listening for buzzing wasps.After gaining several hundred feet, a cliff appeared before me, darn it, that cliff was supposed to be a hill. I’m not a rock climber; I’m a hill climber, so I thought I was done. Still decided to walk around the cliff and try to find a way up.
To my surprise I did
find a route up. The route was a little scary but not exposed. I had to do some scrambling and in one spot
there was not much of anything to hold on to. (There were also two king boletus in that
spot) I got almost to the top only to
find that the top was a knife edge. I
could have climbed up the knife edge, it looked like an easy scramble, but
there was way too much exposure. One slip
and I would have been dead. But in the
mood I was in, so depressed, I could have just thrown myself off the cliff and
been done with it all. Not really, but
it did enter my mind for a fraction of a second.
Anyway I decided to stop just short of the top of the rock
and I headed back down the ridge towards the trail. But I started to go down the wrong ridge, the
terrain was too steep, nothing looked familiar, I was a bit frightened.
|Something (not me) took a bite of this poison panther mushroom|
|As high as Patches got|
|The top of the 50 foot high cliff, it could be suicide to go up there, so I turned back|
|Found my reading glasses here|
When I got back down to the trail I was relieved to be back on easy footing, but then the depression returned. I realized that the adrenaline of traveling off trail alone and rock climbing had made me forget that I was depressed pretty much the entire time I was off trail.
At this point it was 1:30 pm and I still had time to go to the lake, the lake could be a my consolation prize since I could not bag the hill. I remembered that this trail always kicks my ass and I wondered if I was making the right choice as I dropped down to the Wynoochee side.
I kept thinking about how I would have to climb back up to the ridge and I had just hiked two days before and this was tough hike even without the bushwhacking side trip. So I worried all the way down to the lake. I pushed myself to go down fast and my ankles did not appreciate that at all.
I made it to the lake in good time. I walked around the lake and thought about
trying to bushwhack to another lake but decided I was out of time. I took about a ten minute lunch break. I was so happy to know that I had remembered
to pack stove fuel so I could make tea.
Then I was disappointed to find that I had packed no tea…sigh.. No caffeine
boost for me.
|A ghost at the lake|
|bears head mushroom off trail.|
I decapitated it
I made it back down to the trail head a little after 6pm. When I got back out to 101 the 101 was closed and I had to take a huge detour through Union, but my Jeep was not smoking so maybe the extra miles with low oil did not hurt it. From Union I could see the sun setting behind the Olympics, it was really pretty. Also there was a huge full moon hanging low in the sky and glowing orange.
I made a video trip report too and it is posted above, It's not as moody as this post and it will be of interest to mushroom hunters.
8.5 miles with 3000 feet total elevation gain on this up and down route.
|Two King Boletes in the Crux of my climb|
|A cross near the crux|
|These mushrooms came in on the straw used for road decommissioning|
this is proof that the straw does bring in weeds.
|I was going to rip down this sign but then|
I saw that it had useful information on it
|Wormy King Bolete|