Monday, March 31, 2014

Big Creek

Big Creek Campground Logging Plan

I went up Big Creek today. Half of the loop is closed until 2015 and there is only enough parking for 2 cars.  But they are done logging already I think, so it's not too noisy.

They are expanding the Big Creek Campground.

Parking is at the start of this track log.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gear Review: La Sportiva Omega GTX Hiking Boot

Gear Review: La Sportiva Omega GTX Hiking Boot

I bought these boots on sale at REI.  The day after they came I saw that the price online had been reduced by $50.  I called REI and they credited my $50 back because they have a 30 day price guarantee on all their stuff.

I've had these boots since last fall, it is now spring and I have put a fair amount miles on these boots, generally hiking twice a week.  This week the right boot started to leak, but it's not the fault of the boot.  It is starting to leak where my ankle brace is rubbing it.  The left boot is still perfectly watertight. 

Boot is starting to leak where my ankle brace rubs.
I did this test by filling the boot with water and
then watching for seeping on the outside of the boot.

I took a 13.5 mile hike on a day when over an inch of rain fell and my left foot stayed bone dry.  I have never had gortex boots stay water proof for this long before.  Normally I can only get about three months out of gortex boots before they leak.

Warming my toes with a teabag.
 I can only do this with truly waterproof boots
These are good sturdy boots over all.  The only weak spot I have found is the stitching on the side of the foot.  Some of the stitches have worn off now.  I should have put some goop over them when they were newer, but it's not too late.

I'm going to keep wearing these boots but with a little goop or silicone over the spot where the right boot is leaking. 

I don't think you will want to wear these boots in a lot of scree due to that seam, but these boots are perfect for soggy valley hikes in the Olympics.

The toe box is a little bit more narrow that I like, but my feet have adjusted.

I maybe should have gotten a larger size.  These are size 42 and my toe sometimes hits the front of the boot when I go down steep hills.

I like how you can tighten the ankle laces separately from the ones over the top of your foot that really cuts down on toe jamming.

I picked these boots because they offered the balance between weight and durability that I wanted.  Come summer time I'll be hiking in running shoes.

REI does not carry them anymore but you can buy them on by clicking this link:
La Sportiva Men's Omega GTX Hiking Boot,Grey/Rust,44.5 EU/11 M US and I might make 50 cents off the transaction.. :)

A Soak on the North Fork of the Skok

I started hiking at about a quarter to 10, finished up at about 6pm.  It was wet, wet, wet.  My right boot leaked around my ankle brace but my left foot stayed dry.  I was never really warm enough on this hike.  It was cold up there!  Maybe I should pack one more layer for day hikes.

I sloshed my way to Camp Pleasant and back.  I had the trail mostly to myself. 

Hypothermia weather a high of 55F and
over an inch of rain

My new pack is great!  I like having no hip belt.  With no hip belt I can just shrug my pack off anywhere.  There is also no sternum strap.  I don't need a sternum strap because the tops of the shoulder pads are only two inches apart.  The pack fits me!  I designed it for an 18 inch torso. 

Also with no hip belt I can comfortably carry stuff in the pockets of my rain coat, so I'm not missing having hip belt pockets.

The new beefy elastic on the outside pockets did the trick and the tougher thread on the pad holder pockets is holing up well in spite of having thinner elastic.

I ate my lunch under my tarp.  Lunch would have been miserable with out the tarp today.

13.5 miles with 800 feet elevation gain 1,700 calories burned, 4 cups of tea drank.

Boiling water at lunch time under a tarp at Camp Pleasant

Kindbergia and Rhytidiadelphus loreus moss

Rhizomnium moss (Dr. Calabria's favorite)

My pack grew some Lobaria oregana lichens!

Alder bud

My hand made pack

Ranger Bruce waz here!

Moss and lichens paint a landscape  or trees and clouds on this rock

Lobaria, but what kind?  Maybe pulmonaria or maybe that other kind
that I have never seen yet?

Tea time number 4 with the river mosses

River moss with sporophytes Scouleria aquatica

Muddy and wet trail

Ranger Davis was no where in sight
so I made it across safely

Elk butt fur

Mossy rock in a tree

Tea bag to wamer.. later the right boot leaked
was the tea bag to blame?

Tea time number one

My pack

My pack

Wet trail

The start

Lunch time
Some microscopic pictures of mosses that grow on river rocks in the Olympics

Scouleria aquatica

 Scouleria aquatica




Racomitrium aciculare - Codriophorus aciculare

Apex at 400x

Whole leaf at 40X

leaf tip at 100x

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dosewallips, no snow

We were short on time so we only went as far as horse camp on the Dosewallips River road.  We saw no snow, what a change from last time!  Four cars were at the trail head, it must be time for me to switch to my summer routes for solitude.

This was the first voyage with my new daypack.  The design is solid, the mesh is not.  I will have to replace the mesh at some point, but I'm not sure how to make that pretty on a pack that is already sewn.    I could rip all the main seams on the pack and sew them all back together again as there is still room to take the seams in a bit.    But if I'm going to do that, it might be just as easy to make a whole new pack.

I might cannibalize the mesh and some of the dyneema from my old daypack.

9.5 miles round trip
800 Feet elevation gain
1,200 calories

First trip with my home made pack
Now with beefy elastic at the tops of the pockets

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Urban "hiking" in Seattle

Thanks to Mason Transit and the Ferry System I can take my daughter to Seattle for just $12.00 round trip.  I wish I had learned that Mason Transit goes to the Bremerton Ferry terminal years ago.  With this new knowledge getting to Seattle is easy!

feeding seagulls on the ferry

My grandparents met on the Carlise II
 For this trip  to Seattle money was tight so we did not do anything special in Seattle, we just walked around.

 We started at the ferry terminal and made a long ascending traverse up to Broadway via the switchbacks down town.  Once we hit the Summit ave we went one more block to Belmont ave and looked at my old apartment building.  Then we headed up to Broadway where we slogged to the far end and turned around at Roy street.

One of the three Seattle apartments I lived in

My first alma mater where I got my GED and my A.A. degree

 After that we made the fairly straight forward traverse from Capitol Hill to First Hill via Broadway.

Once we were on First Hill it was time for what we though would be the crux of our hike, the scary down climb!  We down climbed Yesler ave via Yesler Terrace and we ended up in China town.

 In China town we had lunch and walked in circles for a while.

 Then we made a hair raising slog through Pioneer square.. sheesh.. that place has not changed at all!  Don't use the out house there! You have been warned.  Pioneer Square was the crux of the hike for sure.

Then after that horror show it was back down to the ferry terminal to wait for our boat to take us back.  We got home at 8:10  pm.

 It's a really long day and we were exhausted.  Plus our lungs were full of exhaust smoke. 

Still, it's fun to visit my old stomping grounds once in a while.

When I lived in Seattle I walked and skateboarded all over the place nearly every day.  I know Seattle better than I know the town I'm living in now.

6 miles round trip with 200 feet elevation gain.

Marchantia polymorpha liverwort at Swedish Hospital

Sea Lions and Comorants

Me 25 years ago

Acrobatic Seagull
Hitch hiking to Portland on  I-5
I just knew their sign would say "Portland" even
before I zoomed in on it.  The hiker on the left looks familiar