Friday, January 9, 2015

Lena Lake Olympic Mountain Summit Register and an Out of Control Dog

I’ve been bored a lot since I finished college.  Most days if I’m not hiking or taking photo’s I am bored.  I did not feel good this morning but I went hiking anyway to fight off the boredom.  At least gas prices are very low at the moment.  At this rate they might go below $2.00 per gallon.

I needed to move the Olympic Mountain Travelling summit register to another summit but it is January and most summits will be inaccessible to all but mountain climbers soon.  So I needed to find a nice low place the put the cache.  I had many options but in the end I opted for a super popular trail.  I did not want to advertise any of my special spots and on this hike I got a good reminder of why I don’t like crowded trails.
When I started my hike at about 9:30 there was one other car at the trail head.  I felt pretty good as I had stopped and got a cup of coffee in Hoodsport.  Too bad the price had gone up by almost ten percent to celebrate the New Year.  My COLA this year was 1.2 percent but a cup of coffee at Hoodsport coffee when up by 10%.  My COLA never actually keeps up with inflation.  I’ll downsize and from now on I will order the small instead of the medium drip to make up for it.

I made good time getting to the lake. Okay not really, I stopped and took a lot of pictures but I was hiking strong.  When I got to lunch rock I saw two women there eating.   The lake had a lot of logs in it and it was green rather than blue.  One woman commented it was the first time she had seen the lake any color other than blue.

 The sun was shining in my eyes so I quickly left the rock and headed for the farthest away campsite on the lake.  The campsite was in mixed sun and shade.  I wanted to sit in the sun, but I did not want the sun in my eyes, so I sat in the shade.

I made a cup of tea and I cooked my lunch there.  I gave Patches two Cliff bars but she refused to eat them.  Patches has figured out that Cliff bars are dog food and being a dog she naturally does not want to eat dog food, she wants to eat human food.  I get Cliff bars 4 for a dollar at an expired food store, so I have been feeding them to Patches on all my hikes in an effort to trick her into thinking she is getting human food.  I don’t like Cliff bars, they are too sweet and the texture gets boring.  Patches ignored her Cliff bars and begged for my lunch.

Patches ignores the Cliff bar at her feet and begs for my lunch

Patches was in luck, I felt queasy and was only able to finish half of my lunch.  I felt a little bit sick all day.  I was light headed and dizzy whenever I stood up too fast, but I attributed that to a recent loss of blood.  While I was eating lunch I realized there was more than that going on, I had some sort of bug.
I did not find many things to take pictures up of the way up or at my lunch break.  I had really been hoping to be able to take some nice pictures, but it was not to be.

One the way back down I passed a few hikers.  Whenever we see other hiker on the trail Patches stops and takes a couple of steps towards me so I can grab her collar or put her on her leash.  I did not train her to do that, she figured it out on her own since I always leash her when I see other hikers coming.
On this occasion I grabbed Patches collar as a woman came into view.  She looked at us and said

“Oh you have one too”

I said “yes, and she’s not very friendly” as an off leash dog that looked like a greyhound came into sight.

The dog, upon seeing Patches rushed headlong at us.  The dog was not on a leash, the dog’s leash was in the owners hand.  At the sight of a dog rushing at her Patches growled and then the dog started barking and snarling and lunging as if it was going to attack.  I was scared, since I was holding Patches right next to me I thought the dog was going after me.

 I was holding Patches collar with one hand, I yelled “whoa!” and with my free hand I positioned my trekking pole between Patches and the other dog.  That made the other dog even more enraged and I was sure it was going break through my trekking poles and lunge at me or Paches.  The woman was chasing her dog but she was unable to catch her out of control vicious off leash animal.

  The horrible beast suddenly moved to my side so I repositioned my poles to my side and the woman yelled “Go!” at her dog but I was not sure if she was yelling at me or her dog, the dog ran past us and the woman went around us chasing her dog and mumbling an apology as she left.

I was not happy, this incident triggered my PTSD.  I hike to sooth my PTSD but this hike had now made my PTSD worse.  I had a huge shot of adrenaline and I was shaking.  I wished that I had yelled at the woman or the dog, yelling would have gotten some of the adrenaline out of my system.  But it had all happed too fast and I had been unable to say anything other than “Whoa!”

Patches in the car with her rock
At that point my hike was pretty much ruined but I still had three miles to go, so I hoped that in those three miles I would calm down a bit.

 I felt a bit better at the end of my hike but I was still frazzled and so was Patches it turned out.   Patches she did something she has never done before, she took home a rock. She likes to carry and then bury rocks that I accidentally kick loose. But today I think she was afraid to bury her rock on the trail with another dog being there, so she took it home instead.

I ended up driving all the way out to 101 before I realized that my emergency brake was on.  This experience reminded me of why I like solitude on the trail.  It’s too common to have bad experiences with other people and dogs on popular trails.  Even when the popular trail is not crowded it still seems to bring out a certain type of people who lack proper trail etiquette.  I’m glad I did not put the trail register in one of my special places and then post about it.  The internet has a way of ruining trails, just look at what happened to the Vance Creek Bridge as an example.  One tweet sent out the hoards from the city and soon it was all shut down.  All hell is about to break loose near Lake Cushman for the same reason.

When I got back down to my car I was surprised to find five other cars there, that is a lot of cars for a winter weekday.  The WTA recently advertised Lower Lena Lake as the place to go in the winter on their website maybe that is why it was so crowded there today.

Patches and I will be hiking in much more obscure places for the next few weeks and I won’t be sharing my track logs.

7 miles 1,300 feet elevation.

A tree stuck the bridge

Steaming logs

Cob web

View from lunch rock

Lunch time

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