Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tunnel Creek

Gas is cheap and my Jeep is kind of sort of running again until the next time it breaks down.  Thanks to Phil my Jeep even has high beams now. The night before this hike I decided to go to Tunnel Creek.  Rain showers were in the forecast all week.  I decided that the best plan to avoid the rain was to get high enough that the rain would be snow.  Tunnel Creek sounded good.  I’ve only hiked Tunnel Creek three times before, with the first time being so long ago that I barely remember it.

My alarm clock went off and it was time to hike.  But I had a headache and I was groggy from taking an extra half of a quarter of a pill to go to sleep after 1AM.  Maybe I should just go back to sleep, yep back to sleep, so I hit the snooze button and slept for ten more minutes.  Then I decided it was too late to go hiking.  But wait, the last time I did this trail I did not start my hike until 10:40, so it was not too late to hike.

I was tired, needed to make good time and did not want any drama, so I did not tell anyone I was leaving. I got out of bed, made myself a coffee and slipped out the front door with Patches.    My Jeep started and that is always a good sign.    I ate some almonds for breakfast during my drive.  When I reached Brinnon I saw that the bus I normally take there had just arrived and it was waiting to go back to Mason County.

I passed Mount Walker and that always feels strange as it was my designated northern limit for a day hike until I realized that it was my unconscious limit and then I shattered that limit.  I turned up Penny Creek road and sailed past the stated address of the guy I bought my home from.  It looks like a trailer that the gravel pit boss works out of; I rather doubt that anyone actually lives there.

I hit the trail at 9:55, a full 45 minutes earlier than the last time I did this hike.  There was no snow on my drive but there were some big rocks in the road and some mostly cut out fallen trees to drive around.

I was tired and it took forever to reach the shelter.  Then I realized that the shelter is actually near the end of the hike.  After the shelter the route begins to really climb.  I opted not to carry any water at all on this hike to make up for the weight of my umbrella and boots.  My umbrella was packed so I could keep my camera dry.  My boots were to keep my feet warm.

I reached the top and then stopped for tea.  Soon it began to snow. GOOD!  I was hoping for snow and it had been looking like the promised showers were not coming.  But they did come.  Finally some snow.  I wish winter would come.  Patches picked up a dozen ticks on our last hike.  YUCK.  January is supposed to be the safe time of year to hike the old roads, the ticks were supposed to be hibernating.

Patches stayed pretty warm in her yellow feed store coat that is one size too big.  She only shivered a tiny bit and that may have been because she wanted my food.  I fed her three Cliff bars.  She drew Oatmeal raisin flavor for this hike and she does not care for those.  She would rather that I poison her with M &M’s.

Chocolate is mildly poison for dogs but Patches is not concerned about that.  Next time I get a deal on expired Cliff Bars at 4 for $1.00 I buy her the peanut butter ones, she loves those.  I think Cliff bars are dogfood, so I try not to eat them for any price.

I enjoyed the view for a bit but then I remembered that I was wanted at the Elks Club at 6PM in Shelton.  They wanted me to volunteer to take some pictures for them.

So I packed up and headed down the hill in the snow.  By the time I reached the shelter the snow had turned to rain.  The rain soon eased off and I was able to hike out without getting too wet.  I wore my rain coat and pants but did not need my hood.

Shelter from the rain on the way back

On the hike out I had plenty of time to think and I decided to quit thinking about becoming a wedding photographer and to actually do it.  So who wants a wedding on the cheap by a first time wedding photographer?

I raced back home and made it to the Elks club with a half hour to spare.

I saw no one else on the trail all day long and that’s the way I like it.  Still, it might be awhile before I go back, it’s a fair amount of work and a long drive for not much of a view.

My Jeep rolled over to 199,000 miles on the drive home.

7.5 miles with 2,600 feet elevation gain

Hiking out with a light frosting of snow

Harrison Lake

Hookeria lucens moss with sporophytes

Same date, same place, last year

Snow showers at the end of lunch

Not much snow for 5,000 feet in February. 

Track and elevation from the last time I did this hike.


Salal said...

I feel the same way about clif bars. Way too much soy.

Mossy Mom said...

I get sick of them fast, too much sugar for me. I need to find a savory bar that is not loaded with MSG.