Friday, September 20, 2013

Feeling Moody on Church Creek Sept 2013

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.

psychoactive mushroom
Amanita muscaria
I had car issues on my drive.  I’ve spent $1200 on my Jeep this summer and have only driven it three times.  It should be good to go now, but it started smoking and burning oil on the way to the trail.  When I reached the trail I checked the oil level and it was low.  The oil was changed and “all the oil leaks fixed” just 300 miles ago.  I’m getting disgusted with my Jeep.  I was miles from the closest place to get oil, so was worried about the drive home.   

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.

Devil's Club
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.

Something (not me)  took a bite of this poison panther mushroom
 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.
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
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.

Found my reading glasses here
  It would be so easy to get lost here.  I had a track log in my GPS and it helped me find my way down the correct ridge.  I lost my reading glasses in the bushwhack up, but knew I had a chance of finding them if I took the EXACT same route down.  Luck was with me, I found my glasses and a plastic bag that had fallen out of my pack.  I’m going to buy some ribbons so I can have ribbon track to follow back from now on.  I don’t want to put all my faith into my GPS.

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.
inlet stream
King Bolete

  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.

A ghost at the lake
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.

bears head mushroom off  trail.
I decapitated it
At about 2:40 I headed back up the trail towards my Jeep that may or may not seize up on the drive home due to low oil.  It turned out that had worried about the hike back out for no real reason . I had no trouble at all climbing back up.. I was so  mired in my obsessive depressive thought processes that I did not really care what my body was doing.  Also, I was in much better condition  than I thought.

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.

Haunted tree

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



Joan said...

Enjoyed your video and seeing how you harvest those boletus. Liked that trick with putting it up on the stick when you weren't going to take it.

Sometimes I go bushwacking alone just so I get that adrenaline and don't have to think about anything else.

Mossy Mom said...

Bushwacking is really fun, I'm going to get a roll of ribbon so I can do more of it..