Patches was down with an eye infection so I decided to take a hike in the park and look for my hat. I was tired and did not want to hike to the end of the trail, I vowed to turn around as soon as my hat was found. I did not find my hat before I reached the end of the trail, but I did find it on the way back down.
One the way down I made a half hearted effort at finding the old O'neil trail markers and I ended up in the 4 stream campground instead.
I had lunch on the riverbank and then did some off trail exploring on the way back. There was a trail that Ranger Bruce said went nowhere, but I had to find out for myself that it went nowhere. Ranger Bruce was wrong, the trail led to free beer! When the trail ended I brush crashed along the base of the hill parallel to the river.
I found some elk bones and then I found an old pull tab Rainier beer can, then I found and empty bush beer can, then I found a full beer can. then I found more elk bones near the first ones and then I found an elk radio collar. There was no one at the ranger station so I took the collar home and called fish and wild life. They want me to deliver the collar to Montesano or Olympia. That is probably not happening. Perhaps I will take it back out to Staircase the next time I go. My Jeep is in the shop again and my good car is pushing 100,000 miles.
I came out behind the ranger residence and stumbled onto the old hydro trail where the rangers stashed their whiskey bottles. The trail is not marked anymore so I've not been down it in a while. I wandered up to the very end of the hydro trail. Everyone should go explore this secret trail lined with whiskey bottles.
I had a fun day of off trail exploring, trails are boring, brush crashing is where it's at. I did not see anyone else all day long and that's the way I like it.
7.5 miles with 1,200 feet elevation gain.
|Colonel Saunders bottle cap on the hydro trail, it's a mystery|
|Elk radio collar|
|Copper Mountain from 4 stream|
|secret trail to the dam|
|water strainer for the generator|
|staircase generator house|
|Where I found my hat|
|old bottles on the secret hydro trail|
|coffee on the banks of the Skok with my new purple titanium cup|
|Track and elevation log|
|A little grove of Noble fir trees off trail|
|Patches elk collar is too big|