Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Elbo Creek by new car

A hike and a  geocache.  My friend was eager to drive his brand new car and get a geocache on Buck Mountain.  The plan was for him to drop me off at the Elbo Creek trail while he drove up to get the Buck Mountain Cache.  He would pick me up at the top of the Elbo Creek trail after he found the cache.
Our plans were changed when we found the road up Buck Mountain was washed out just 2 miles from highway 101. 

We decided to go for a geocache on the Elbo Creek trail instead.  The cache was just a little ways from the trail head.  Once we found the cache my friend hiked with me for a bit but then he turned around.  He was tired after hiking up tick bite hill the day before.

He’s not really into hiking and I’m not really into caching but we somehow make it work anyway, well most of the time anyway.  He decided to turn around and wait for me in his car while I hiked up to my usual lunch spot.

So I did my little hike.  I was a little bit sick but I went pretty fast since I was fresh after not getting in much hiking the week before.  My knee felt good too.  My knee has been really frightening me lately but it felt good all during this hike.

I was shocked to find a Morel mushroom on this trail.  Morels just don’t grow in undisturbed Olympic forests.  This was my first ever find of a morel in the Olympics.

When I got back down to the trail head I found my friend sleeping in his car.  I wish I felt safe to sleep like that with my feet hanging out of a car parked on the side of the road.  My PTSD would never allow me to do such a thing.

I’m still sick today.  I really want to plant my garden but I’m too ill to get it done.  I won’t be doing much if any traveling this summer as my husband is very ill and he cannot be left alone for long anymore.

4 miles with 1,800 feet elevation gain.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fir Lake and a secret trail

I was a bit under the weather for a week and then Aunt Flo decided to visit, so have not done much hiking this month.  Home life has been stressful since my spouse is very ill.

Back to Fir lake for some solitude before the start of hiking season.  There were a couple of cars parked on the road.  Now I know who is stealing firewood and how they are getting away with it.    Someone with the job of driving a grader needs to steal firewood to make ends meet?

The hike was uneventful other than a few new bryophyte finds I made.  I found Plagiochila and a couple of unknowns.  The unknowns are waiting in the fridge until I have the energy to ID them.

On the way back I decided to try to figure out where the occupants of the second parked car had gone.  Patches led the way.  She found their trail instantly. I followed her and together we discovered a secret trail.  Good dog!  The trail used to be signposted, so it was not always a secret trail.

The trail leads to a big river where I found the remains of a trailer.  Very strange, as this was well upriver of any human habitation. I also found a chair.  I’m going to take my daughter there on an overnight trip the next chance I get to sneak out of the house.  It’s an interesting area and it always makes me happy to find a new old secret trail.

10.5 miles with 1,100 feet elevation gain.

Devils club budding

Massive erosion

Uknown liverwort that I will ID later

on the "secret trail"

"secret" trail

Canis domesticus

Pellia liverwort with sporophytes

Plagiochila porelloides(?) liverwort

Saturday, April 11, 2015

MLD Duomid one night review and Bat Camp

We just took our Duomid on it's first overnight trip. I don't think it's going to work for us. I'll continue to take my giant tarp tent for trips with my daughter. The Duomid will be great for solo trips but it's just too small for the two of us, especially if it rains. The person on the out side will get drenched unless they move all the way over when the door it opened. I put my daughter on the inside but she tracks dirt onto my stuff, she's not a neat freak like me. The entry way to our tarp tent and the fact that it has a floor makes it a cleaner option for camping with my daughter.

My favorite thing about the Duomid is how fast it pitches.  I only wish I could pitch it with my normal trekking pole.  My normal pole is too short even with the pole extender.  For solo trips I will probably figure out a way to pitch the mid with two of my poles lashed together.  I don't feel like buying new poles just so I can pitch my tarp with them.

We started our hike at about 3pm since the days are long and we were there for the night action there was no reason to get off to an early start.  There were a lot of families with young children on the trail but we left them all behind at the bridge.  The families were all out doing the loop.

We were happy to find bat camp unoccupied when we arrived.   We opted for bat camp as that is my daughter's favorite. I brought two external flash units in hopes of getting some good pictures of bats over the river in the dark.  I set one up on a tripod that I packed in and the other on a tripod that I improvised from sticks and Velcro.  The bats never came, so no pictures of bats.

We had a nice campfire.  I'm not a big one for campfires while backpacking but my daughter loves them.  She begged me to make a fire.  I told her I would if she gathered all the wood.  She did a great job of gathering wood and starting the fire was easier than I expected it to be, so we had a nice fire.

I slept very poorly startling several times, so I was able to keep the fire stoked all night long.  My daughter rolled into me and woke me up a few times since space in the Duomid was so cramped I could feel every move she made.  I was plenty warm with my sleeping bag and two pads.  On Z-rest and one Prorest.  The ground sheet that I packed was too short so I used trash compactor bags to lengthen it.   What I had packed as a ground sheet for us was really just long enough to go under our tarp tent and not long enough for our bodies.

We really needed two ground sheets, one each so we could get way from each other a little but.  But with the Duomid being so small that might not have helped.  I tried zipping up the Duomid twice to see exactly how much room we would have and both times condensation immediately formed.  We really did not have much room to stretch out even with two ground sheets as the amount of space at the back and front was not as big as it seemed   The back and front stretch out but the corners do not so the corners are th limit of the living space.  All night I felt like my sleeping bag was going to end up in the dirt and that kept me away too.  I want to keep my fancy sleeping bag clean as every time you wash your bag it looses some insulation value.

 I woke up at 6:30 with a kink in my neck and a bad knee.  My knee kept locking up until I was up and warmed up.  I stoked the fire up and made two cups of coffee before my daughter woke up.  When she woke up we had breakfast of Nido and granola.  

I did not cook dinner the night before because I had packed two ham sandwiches for lunch that were still uneaten at dinner time.  My daughter really wanted me to cook dinner on my alcohol stove with my little cook pot. She said it was part of the backpacking tradition.  She wanted burnt cabbage and fish.

We hiked out at about 10am.  We might have left sooner but we got into a power struggle over who was going to pick up toilet paper that my daughter had left near the campsite.  She wanted to leave and I told her we were not leaving until the paper was picked up.  She insisted that the paper was not hers.  I knew it was hers but I told her I did not care who it belonged to, it needed to be picked up.  In the end we both picked up one piece of it with sticks and put it on the campfire.  With that task finished we poured water over our dwindling fire and hiked out.

My knee was hurting so I took it slow.  I did not get as many nice pictures on this trip as I was hoping to.  I took a bunch of pictures of moss that intended to focus stack but my camera had reverted to basic .jpg so I probably will not be able to stack them.  I wish my camera defaulted to .RAW.

A few miles with very little elevation gain to our sekrit camp.  Next time we will bring the giant tarp tent.

Hypnum circinale focus stacked

focus stacked Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus