Friday, October 18, 2013

Elbo Creek By Bus

About two weeks ago I did Mount Walker by Bus

I'm Still looking for ways to save money and keep hiking, so I decided to do another bus trip.  This time I took the same buses one would take to get to Mount Walker, but I went to the Elbo Creek trail. 

I almost did not get to go on this hike, as I had confused the times in my mind.  I was going to leave my house at 8:30 to catch the 8:05 bus.  Whoops.. I caught my mistake at 7:45 and headed out the door with my 9 year old daughter.  My daughter did a great job of getting ready fast, but only after I convinced her that I was not going to miss my hike over a couple of dog hairs on her shirt. 

I walked my daughter to her friend’s house that is on the way to my bus stop.  Her friend is a 9 year old boy who is left alone a lot.  This boy can be trusted to shut the doors and lock up the house after himself.  My daughter who is the same age cannot be trusted to do the same.  Since I don’t trust my daughter  to leave the house alone and my bus leaves way before she needs to leave the house to go to school, I drop her off at a friend’s house. 

  But no dice today, the friend was not home when we got there.  We had rushed out the door and towards the bus stop only to find the friend was not home.  Oh no!  My hike was on the line, my bus was leaving soon.  Now what?

 I remembered that my daughter had another friend who lives on the same street as my bus stop so I rushed her down the street and had her run ahead and knock on her other  friend’s door.  Time was running out, would this new plan work?

My little daughter knocked on the door and her little friend answered the door while I waited on the sidewalk.  The friend’s mother was in the shower but she came out and I explained my situation to her and  asked her if my daughter could walk to the school bus stop with her daughter.  She said yes.  YES! 

My hike was on.  I told my daughter that after school she was to go to the home of the friend whose house we went to first.  Since it was an early release day for her, she was going to get home from school way before I could get home from my hike.   With my daughter sorted out, I went to my bus stop and waited.  I felt I had done a good job of getting my daughter taken care of for the day and I could hike without guilt.

Waiting for the bus from Shelton to Brinnon
My bus arrived right on time and whisked me to Brinnon where another bus was already waiting to whisk me to the trail head. 

Changing buses in Brinnon in the Morning

Elbo Creek trail 9:40 am
I arrived at the trail head at 9:30. Taking the bus only takes 20 minutes more than it would take me to drive my broken down oil geyser of a Jeep, if I made no stops at all along the way.  I always stop somewhere on a trip that long too.

They say that statistically the most dangerous part of a hike is the drive home.  Not the hike, the drive home when you are tired and it might be dark.  I'm happy to leave the driving to Mason Transit so I can avoid the most dangerous part of my hike.

I’ve never been on the Elbo creek trail so I was a bit happy to be exploring a new trail even though I did not expect much from it.  I had never felt it was worth the gas to drive all the way to Quilcene to explore this trail.
  Elbo creek is not very exciting, it goes through skinny second growth, the forest is very closed in and the freeway can be heard at all times.  But if one has the time they could hike all the way up to Buck Mountain from the Elbo creek trail.

The advantages of Elbo Creek over Mount walker are: Solitude, no road walking down 101 to get to the trail head from the bus stop and a wilder trail.  The advantage of Mount Walker is a nicer view at the top, bigger trees to look at a well maintained trail and outhouses on the top.

I went about 2.5 miles up the Elbo creek trail until it came out onto a road and then I road walked to a clearing where I know that some folks like  to have lunch.  But, I did not want to have my lunch on a logging road, so at 12:10 pm I  headed back for the trail and a little view point in the forest. 

My mandatory turnaround time was 12:30, that would give me 3 hours to hike up and 2.5 hours to hike down.  Well I did not need to turn around quite as soon after all, as it only took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to hike down even with stopping to pick mushrooms and look at liverworts.   I found Hookeria moss and Riccardia liverworts I also found one Matsutake, several Helvella and a few milk caps.   I found the Matsutake while I was making the video.  It looked like a Russula, but when I picked it up and sniffed it I knew it was a Matsutake.  SCORE!

  I made it back down to the trail head at 2 pm and had 50 minutes to kill before my bus came.  To pass the time I wandered down the trail on the other side of the road and then I went to a creek and got some water and boiled up some tea.  While I had my tea I inventoried my mushrooms and counted my calories for the day.

The gasket on my Sawyer Squeeze filter failed on my Mildred Lakes hike but I found replacement gaskets at a local hardware store for 45 cents and my filter is working again.

Honey Mushrooms
I found a lot of Helvella mushrooms on the trail.  There are warnings that these contain rocket fuel.  I don’t believe the warnings. !  I think that Helvella has been implicated simply because its cap bears a superficial resemblance to Gyrometra.   Gyromitra does contain a poison that is found in rocket fuel.   I eat Helvella, but I will not eat Gyrometra.   Rocket fuel has never been proven to be in Helvella and Helvella is not even in the same genus as GryromitraI! I only eat about ten Helvella a year.

My Jefferson transit bus arrived promptly at 2:55 pm and whisked me to Brinnon where I had to wait about ten minutes before I could transfer to Mason Transit.  There was a homeless woman with a 9 month old baby who transferred with me, she was on her way to Olympia and had no place to stay there, and she was very talkative and friendly.  I hope she found a place to stay in Olympia last night.

Riding Mason transit is so different from my early experiences of riding the cold unfriendly buses in Seattle.  On a Mason transit bus the people all know each other and all chat with each other.  Even the bus drivers are chatty.  Riding the bus in Mason County is a bit of a social event and is hardly ever boring.   

Another thing about Mason Transit that is different it that there is no logical way to know what side of the road to wait for your bus to pick you up.  The bus had set stops and it goes to all of them zig zagging across the road.  If you want to go to a different stop that is right on the road you have to call ahead. 
A gorilla on the bus
One last thing about Mason Transit that is different, if your ride is in the county you don’t have to pay a fare!  The ride to Brinnon is out of county so I had to pay the reduced fare of 50 cents.  The total cost for my transportation on this hike was $2.00 in bus fares.  This trip is about 100 miles round trip, so I saved about $28 in gas and wear and tear on my car by taking the bus instead of driving my economy car.

When I got home my daughter and my dikaryotic partner were both at home.  It turned out that my daughter’s friend had moved away and she could not go to his house after school.  How odd, as my daughter swore that her friend knew she was coming in the morning.  Perhaps she had fibbed to me.  But all’s well that ends well.

6.5 miles with 2,100 feet elevation gain from bus to bus

Mount Walker from Elbo Creek trail head

Hookeria moss

A gorilla on the trail

The center of this Peltigera lichen turned green when
I dripped water onto it,  it was very dry here.

Lunch view

Road at the top

Having tea at the trail head while waiting for the bus

Tourist season is over in Brinnon

Brinnon store
I did not have to burn any gas today

Track and elevation log


andrewmarie2007 said...

I have lived in quilcene for 10 years and jefferson county fo over 20 didnt even know about this one. Ive been on a rediscover the olympics trip lately used to spend alot of time up there as a kid and have missed them terribly. Ive been thinking of trying to locate wildcat lake. sounds like an interesting trip to a very old abandoned trail. nice reports :)

Mossy Mom said...

I think this trail was abandoned for a long time and was only recently re-opened.