Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Walker Mountain and the bus ride from hell

We took the bus, this time I convinced a friend to ride the bus with me.   People who own cars can be very nervous about riding the bus and my friend was nervous.  We boarded the bus at the Shelton transit center at 8:05am and began our trip up the Hood Canal.  The bus ride up the Hood Canal is usually wonderful; I had told my friend about all the wild life we would see along the way.
Too bad this trip was nothing like I had promised.  This trip turned out to be the bus ride from hell.  Okay, not quite hell for me, but only because I’ve rode buses in  third world countries.  It was certainly hell by  North American standards. 

 The driver kept going over the center line on highway 101, and I don’t mean just once or twice.  No, she went over the center line at least once a mile.  It was a 40 mile bus ride, so that means she went over the center line at least 40 times.  She crossed the center line right in front of a logging truck at one point.  But that’s not all; she also crept up onto the same car and then suddenly slammed on the brakes to keep from rear ending the car several times.  She also took her eyes of the road and drove with one hand while she fiddled with her purse.  

 Her driving was so bad that I and my friend both felt like we were going to throw up and Patches did throw up.  I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride, except for that fact that it was not fun.  I love roller coaster rides, but I could not wait for this bus ride to end.

When we got to Brinnon and everyone was off the bus, the bus driver rushed into the outhouse.  Perhaps she had made herself nauseous too.

My poor friend who has not been on a bus in ages and had nothing to compare this too, thought this is what bus rides were supposed to be like.  When we transferred to the Jefferson Transit bus in Brinnon  he found out that not all bus rides are the same.  The Jefferson Transit ride was nice and smooth, the driver was good.  It was a normal bus ride.  My friend was much relieved that the second bus ride was not the same as that hellish never ending ride to Brinnon.

Our pleasant ride back to Brinnon

We got off of the Jefferson Transit bus at Walker Mountain antiques and walked up  to the gated entrance to Walker Mountain.  There we saw two car loads of happy chatty hikers preparing to take off up the mountain.  It was then that I remembered the Monday Hikers were to be here today. 

This was a problem because I wanted to let Patches run off leash.  I inquired of the group of hikers and they confirmed that yes, they were the Monday hikers (the hiker division, not the mountain goat division)  and another car load was on the way.  They seemed like a very nice group of people and I did not want to inflict my dog upon them, so we opted to turn back and hike up the Elbow Creek trail instead.
The hike was nice and quiet and uneventful .  I found some patchy snow at 2,900 feet.  We got a nice workout and Patches got to run free without disturbing anyone.
The bus ride home on Mason Transit was nice and smooth just like it should be.  The driver never once went over the center line or took her eyes of the road or tailgated.  The driver even pulled over one time to get some distance between her bus and a car that had a wobbly tire.  She was a good defensive driver.   

I’m not sure what to do about my bus ride from hell.  That first driver should not be on the road, but turning her in could make me all kinds of enemies in this small town.  Then again, how will I feel if she drives head on into a school bus and kills a bunch of people?  She needs to retire; I hope that someone else notices  before it’s too late.

Update: I've decided to do nothing.  Maybe the driver was just having a bad day?

5.5 miles with 2,950 elevation gain, 1,279 calories burned
Calories burned is based on http://hikingscience.blogspot.com/p/calculate-calories-burned_22.html

Track and elevation log including getting off the bus
and backtracking to elbo creek

Fording the mighty river

Time for a drink

Moss is the only water filter I use

Lichens and moss

Looks like a white fungi is taking over this peltigera lichen

My friend hanging on for dear life, expecting this ride to be the same
(this was one of the nice rides, so there was no need)

Patches hydrates at 2,800 feet

I want to come back and camp here

The forest on the ridge

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