Thursday, July 3, 2014

North Fork Skokomish to 9 stream

North fork Skokomish to 9 stream
Bat at Slide Camp
We went backpacking in Olympic National Park for a change. Olympic National Park is a vast area that has been set aside just for the enjoyment of folks who have the means to afford the entrance and camping fees.
I was hoping to get an annual backpacking pass but no dice, they don't sell them at Staircase, and so I had to pay the nightly fee instead. I was not too happy about that. But, if I catch the bus next time instead of driving, that will make up for the extra cost.
We started on the four stream trail and somehow I missed the bridge, I did not see the arrow on the sign... hmmmm we back tracked to the bridge and all was well. Just before camp we crossed paths with a ranger. She was a youngish woman, she was polite and efficient and the encounter was pleasant.  She asked to see my permit.
My daughter was dragging at first, then I gave her an mp3 player and I could not keep up with her!  Then the battery went dead.  I need to get a solar charger so she can always have music.
We hiked into Big Log camp. I wanted to show my daughter the hollow tree there, but first I had to find it, it had been chopped down! Oh no! But wait, I was on the wrong path. I just did not recognize the place without a blanket of snow. The big cedar is still there and my daughter wanted to sleep in it.
I wanted to sleep in the tree too but, I pitched the tarp tent because I also wanted to sleep without being eaten alive by mosquitoes. In the evening I discovered that there is a water fall at big log camp. I think maybe the water level of the creek is too high for waterfall viewing in the winter.
The next morning we packed up and left camp at about 9am with nine stream as our goal. As a day hiker, I've never been past camp Pleasant, so I was looking forward to seeing new areas. I was not disappointed; the area after camp pleasant was very nice, probably nicer than anything before the bridge over the Skokomish at the start of the six ridge trail.
When we reached nine steam it was very hot and we were tired and we wanted to swim, but a big man with a big knife came running up to us and asked us where we were going. This frightened me. What was with this guy?

We found a very poor campsite at nine stream and we waited there hoping that the guy was just lunching there and would move along soon so we could take the spot he was in. But no, he was there for the duration and he began to pitch his tent.
Crossing 9 stream on the scary bridge
So we went up the trail a bit and we were trying to decide what campsite to take, none of them were perfect. Only one was on the water and it was too hot and sunny there, we would be sure to get sun burned in that site. There was a very nice site away from the water, but my daughter had lost her water bottle so we only had the capacity carry one quart of water, not enough to even cook dinner with.
We were still deciding where to camp when the same ranger we saw the day before showed up with my daughter's water bottle in her hand. She had found the bottle and was going to haul it out. The day before she found my daughter's deet and had already hauled it out. With two water bottles the decision to take the camp away from the river was easy.
Couple from Chicago
That evening we met the man with the huge knife and found out that he was okay, he was just a noob who never thought it might be alarming for a lone women with a child to be approached in such a way ten miles from a trailhead.

He had never been backpacking before, so he brought canned chili, bear spray,  a big knife and probably a bunch of other silly stuff "just in case". Okay, okay, sometimes I pack bear spray too, but it's not for the bears..
That night we sat at the campfire with the noob and with a couple who had flown in from Chicago just to hike at ONP on their 3 year wedding anniversary.  Must be nice!  We yogied some TP off off the nice couple from Chigaco in the morning.

I did not sleep very well, my duaghter kept rolling over onto me an in the night and waking me up.
The next morning  we hiked out at about 9am and soon the couple from Chicago passed us. We were tired so we stopped and took a 5 hour lunch break at Camp Pleasant. Then at about 4pm we packed up and hiked in to Spike camp, but Spike camp was just awful with mosquitoes and no pretty water source. We also checked out the campsites near Madeline creek before we checked out Spike camp and found them to be very poor.
On the way to spike camp we ran into an older couple who were headed for big log. The man so was overloaded with stuff that he could not stand up straight. He wanted to know if I had been to Flap Jack lakes and if the way was steep. I told him that yes it was steep and he looked to be a bit overloaded for the hike.   I suggested he do a day hike to the lakes.  He suggested that we camp at Slide camp rather than Spike camp.
Exhausted, we stumbled onward and finally found slide camp and the best campsite ever. Such a pretty campsite! I had never set foot in slide camp before because it's too close to the trail head for me to want to bother with it.  We had it all to ourselves, it was probably the best night of our trip.  I slept well and the campsite was so pretty and we go to eat all the food.
We saw a flock of bats at bed time and there were ducks on the water.  On the way out at about ten the next morning we saw the same ranger heading in without a pack but with a pick axe.    We told her that my daughter had now lost her water bottle cap.
I’m really happy with our ULA packs.  At first I thought my circuit was not big enough for the job, but I think it will be okay as long as I carry the tarp tent in the outside pocket.  Since I am cooking for two my cook pot is a bit bulky, so the tent has to go on the outside. 

On this trip I carried all the breakfast and dinner and my daughter carried all the lunch stuff.

My base packweight is around 15 pounds.  New foods we tried that worked out well, boxed sweet potatoe soup 2 for a buck  from the expired food store.  I  dehydrated the soup and then we had it with rice noodles.  We also packed a big bag of chips.  One dinner was a no cook meal of home made dehydrated split pea soup that we dipped corn chips into.  It was VERY filling.
I planned the food perfectly and we had no food at all by the time we hiked back to the car.   I’ll pack more food next time.

I'd like to get the dial-a-ride to drop us off at the South Fork Skok and pick us up a the North Fork Skok so I can do a loop.
19 miles with 1,300 feet elevation gain
Things my daughter lost in this trip:
Water bottle
Water bottle cap
Empty nutella jar
Highlights of the trip:
Bats at slide camp
Cool breeze at Eight Stream Bridge
Camp Pleasant
Slime molds
Low points of the trip:
Knife wielding maniac (an exaggeration)
Camping fees
Things I wish I had brought with me:
Mosquito head nets
A cotton cloth
Hand lens
More TP
More Coffee
More wine
Big heavy horrible camera that takes great pictures
Silnylon water bladder for dry camps
My inflatable sleeping pad
Things I will leave behind next time:
Big heavy horrible camera that takes great pictures
One of my extra shirts
One of my daughters extra coats
A Japanese painting showing a misty mountain with trees on it

Slime mold on the prowl at night

Butterfree palace before Camp Pleasant

Big banana slug and baby banans slug 
with Ryidiadelphus loreus moss

Camp Pleasant

Ripe berries between Camp Pleasant and Nine Stream

Dinner at nine steam was two boxed of dehydrated sweet
potato soup with rice noodles and two tablespoons
of veggie oil.  I forgot to pack the meat but it tasted
great anway!

The Skok near nine stream, I really need my
big camera for these kinds of shots

Our campsite at nine stream

8 stream, we ate tortillas with nutella on them both times we crossed
as there was a nice cool breeze here, it was a pleasant place to stop

Lunch at Camp pleasant with tent caterpillars

View at Slide Camp

Moon rise and sunset at Slide Camp

Slide camp

Slide camp bat

Our tarp at Slide camp

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