Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mount Walker, Ranger Bruce and the Olympic Mountain Summit Register.

All three volcanoes could be see from the South viewpoint.  There was in interesting low inversion
that made the distant views better and made Seattle skyscrapers just barely stick out of the fog
My first hike of 2014.  I did not hike much over the winter break with my daughter at home and the interference of Christmas and New Years day.  We had a lot of rain this week, nearby Aberdeen is under water.  I did not really want to go out and get my feet wet, plus there was something I needed to grab on Mount Walker, so I headed for the rain shadow where the trail was sure to be dry.

I rode the bus as usual; I see no reason to drive all the way up there and back when the bus will get me there in almost the same amount of time.  The bus dropped me off at the Walker Mountain Antique store at 9:30.  I felt strong hiking up and that was a surprise, since I was quite groggy from lack of sleep the night before.  I made it to the top from the bus stop in one hour and forty five minutes.

Patches was kind of bad on the bus, she wanted to hike and she did not want to sit on the floor

There was one car at the gate when I started (I wonder why they don’t put the gate at the trailhead?) and two people who were on the way down passed me when I went up, so I figured I had the top to myself.  I know that no one else rode the bus up there. 

Why don't they put the gate at the trail head?

When I got to the top I was surprised to see a man up at the North Viewpoint.  He was in the area of the summit register that I had come to get.  Something about him seemed familiar, but I ignored him and started taking pictures of Mount Constance.  Suddenly the man yelled “Patches is that you!”  I spun around and looked at the man again.

“Bruce?” I said?
“Yes”. He said

It was Ranger Bruce and he was there to retrieve the summit register too. 

Bruce did not know that it was well hidden and could not be found without getting directions from the person who placed it there.  I convinced Bruce to stand in front of me so I could snap his picture with the Mountains in the back ground and then we went to search for the register.  The register was buried and not in the normal easy to find geocaching way, it was buried in dirt rather than pieces of bark or piles of sticks or rocks like.

Ranger Bruce
I offered the register to Bruce but he said I should take it, so I did and then Bruce and I both went to the other view point where I like to have my lunch.  We had a nice conversation about trails and then a couple joined us at the view point and they knew some secrets that a certain trail crew seems to be telling to everyone, so I was able to talk to them about that and learn a little bit more.

The Olympic Mountain Travelling summit register
The couple left while Bruce and I were still trying to talk the hind legs off a donkey.  At 1:30 Bruce decided to head back and at that point I left too.  Bruce opted to hike down the road while I opted to go down the trail.  I made it back down to the gate at about 2:20 and the couple that I had seen on the summit were still there in their car.  They wanted more info about secret stuff.  Since they were going to Olympia, I boldly asked them if they would give me a lift home and they did.  Thanks! 

On the way home the woman got a cell phone call informing her that her aunt had just died so that was sad and it put a damper on things, but still it was  a pleasant ride and it was nice to get home a few minutes early and not have to fight with bus drivers about Patches.

I don’t want a cell phone.  I don’t want to be out on a nice hike somewhere and get phone calls about crisis situations at home.  I can’t do anything about a home crisis while I am in the mountains.  So if someone dies while I am out hiking I’ll just have wait until I get home to find out about it.

I did not take many pictures because I spent so much time hiking and there is nothing much to take pictures of up there anyway.

The trail is in good shape other than one large downed tree about half way up.  There was no snow.

 5 miles with 2,100 feet elevation gain.

Large tree down across the trail about half way up
North view point, Quilcene is under the clouds

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