Monday, February 10, 2014

Mount Walker, same driver, much better ride

I donned all my rain gear and walked to the bus stop in the rain.

When I first saw that I was going to have the same driver that delivered the bus ride from hell, I almost changed my  mind and went home.  But what was waiting for me at home? 

A grumpy anxiety ridden spouse who was terrified at the start of another work week, my computer terminal, carpel tunnel syndrome and stir craziness.  I decided to risk another bus ride with this driver.  I was glad that I did not have Patches, at least I would not have to worry about her throwing up.
The driver drove much better this time. The first time he went over the center line I yelled in feigned shock, "What was that?" "Did we go over the center line?"

Maybe that helped the driver to keep it between the lines. He knew I was paying attention and might protest if he went over the center line again!  And that was that, he never did go over the center line again, except at the bridges where buses have to go over the center line.
It was raining everywhere except at Mount Walker, it seemed. It was raining in Brinnon and every place south that my bus travelled through.  I was prepared for a soggy cold  hike.   But when the bus came around the corner near Walker Pass, I could see that Mount Walker was basking in the sun!

I got off the bus and took a picture of the blue sky.  A woman in a truck pulled up and asked me if I wanted a ride as soon as I was done taking that picture.  I told her I was just going to Mount Walker.  Then I began my road walk to the trail head, then it started to rain hard and I had to put my rain coat back on.  But the rain soon stopped and a rainbow came out and  it was dry and sunny all day.
I made it to the top in just one hour and twenty five minutes, that has got to be a record for me.  That was two miles and two thousand feet elevation gain in one  hour and  twenty five minutes.  Perhaps listening to music on my MP3 player helped me.
Once on top I saw the the city of Quilcene was in a little blue hole with clouds swirling all around it.  It looked like Quilcene would be swallowed up by clouds in just a matter of minutes.  I headed to the other lookout to have my lunch.  There were a few boot tracks in the 1/4 inch of snow on the road, but I did not see anyone all day long.
At the South lookout the clouds had everything socked in but then they parted a bit and put on an interesting show of swirling clouds and peek-a-boo views of mountains and the highway.
I went back to the North lookout and saw that Quilcene was still in the sun.  The same line of clouds that looked like they were going to swallow the city were there.  But the clouds were moving Northwest, just skirting past the city.  Maybe some of the peaks closer to the coast were blocking the clouds.
At 1pm I headed back down towards the bus stop.  I walked thought the old closed campground across the highway and then up the elbo creek trail and then down to my bus stop.  
 I got back down too early as usual, but I was much more frightened than usual while waiting for the bus.   My PTSD was in overdrive.  I hid in the woods while I waited for the bus.  But I was too confused to be sure when the bus would come.  No matter that I had ridden this bus several times already.  I knew it was good that I had gone hiking, I can't imagine how bad I would have been if I had stayed home.  I would have been much less frightened if Patches had been with me, but I left her home since I did not want to subject bus loads of people to the wet dog smell.  At least it was nice and dry if a bit cold where I waited for the bus.
When the bus came it was so warm and wonderful and safe.  Then the bus dropped me off in the pouring rain in Brinnon.  Was Quilcene the only dry place on the peninsula on this day?  I took shelter under the awning of the Brinnon store and waited for Mason Transit to come get me.
When the bus arrived it was the same driver who is always on that run in the after noon.  It was Lisa!  Lisa is my favorite driver of all.  Lisa told me she had news for me.  I panicked, I know that no news is good news.  What horrible thing had happened?  Was I kicked off of dial a ride?  Was Patches no longer allowed on the bus?  What was the horrible news? 
 I weakly sat down and asked her "is it good news or bad news?"
Lisa said "well I guess it depends on you and how you feel about it"
The news was that she was no longer going to be on that run.  She was moving to dial-a-ride.  Well that is sort of good news for me actually, she will probably be driving me home on my dial-a-ride adventures next week.  But I also liked the other driver who used to drive me home.  Anyway, it was not the horrifying news that I expected.
Lisa the bus driver told me that it had been raining all day in Mason County.  I could see that the Skokomish river was way up since morning and everything looked soaking wet in town.

I really made the right call to go to Quilcene!
6 miles with 2050 feet elevation gain.

Looking at the bus I just got off while sitting on the next bus at the Brinnon store

Jefferson transit

Blue sky when I got off the bus

Sunny in Quilcene raining everywhere else


On top in just one hour and 25 minutes!

Lunch view of swirling clouds at the South lookout

rolling hills and soft clouds at the North lookout

North lookout

Homalothecium Mega Moss

Isothecium moss

A perfect campsite

Raining in Brinnon changing buses on the way home

Hand bills at the Brinnon Store

Track and elevation.. took the Elbow trail back to the bus stop

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