|Lake near a Christmas Tree farm|
The weather forecast was miserable, up to 1.5 inches of rain and I was tired and grumpy. I forced myself out the door at about 10pm and I headed up the Skokomish Valley. There was then minute delay for bridgework. I turned off my car engine just in time for the flag to wave me on to go, so I started up my engine and the flagger immediately switched the sign to stop. It was just one of those days.
As I drove up the valley it dawned on me that the Skokomish river was probably going to flood and I would not be able to drive out the way I came in. I had about 1/8th of a tank of gas, so maybe that would be enough to get me out via the evacuation route. I was tailgated and there were log trucks passing in the other direction. I drove down a road that was too bumpy for my car, I remembered my Jeep getting a flat tire on the same road. I had not planned on driving the road but there was so much traffic that hiking it did not appeal. I got to the end of the road and prepared to hike in a foul mood. Then I discovered that the little trickle that I cross to get to the other side was a raging creek. Okay that was enough, I did not want to get trapped up there in a flood and I did not want to wade in up to my neck. I decided to cancel my hike.
During the drive out I remembered the little lakes north of town that I had been looking at on Google earth. I had yet to visit them because doing so would not be a real hike. I was saving it as a in between hikes hike. But today it would be my only chance to hike so I went for it.
I enjoyed exploring the maze and old and new roads. I obeyed all the posted signs but I still might have been in places where I was not allowed. It was hard to tell. I did my best to obey the law. I found the that little lakes on Google Earth were quite large and beautiful.
I pitched my tarp for lunch at Clear Lake. The rain was really pounding down, but no worries under my magical cuben fiber tarp. I sat under my tarp and sipped hot coffee and ate cheese and crackers with my buddy Patches. Life was good!
For my coffee I used water that I had funneled from my tarp. I won't even drink filtered water this close to Shelton. Shelton has at least two big open toxic waste sites that the city won't close. One of them is a Lake and the other is a landfill. The city also just recently turned down grants to find out about other sources of pollution! With so much pollution known and unknown I won't be drinking any surface water in Shelton.
After lunch I poked around and found a few more lakes and I was turned back by a flooded road. Patches wandered back a bit to sniff out a carcass and the next thing I knew she was leaving me. I called her back but she did not hear me, she is getting deaf, I think.
Well she always finds me and it was getting late so I started to find my way out. But Patches never did catch up. I went back to where I lost saw her and wondered what to do. Would I stay there in the dark in this strange place and risk getting lost getting out? Sunset was just on half hour away. I doubted that Patches would survive there overnight if she got lost. She had been shivering a little bit at lunch time in spite of having two thin dog coats on. I walked around in circles for bit to keep warm while trying to decide what to do. Patches had never done this before. Is she getting senile?
Suddenly Patches appeared where I had last seen her and she seemed happy to find me. On the hike out she wandered off a bit but I forced her to stay close. I've never had to worry about Patches not staying with me before. I think she is losing some of her common sense along with her hearing and her sight.
I'm going to have to start treating her more like a normal dog and less like the super hero hiker that I know she really is.
6.5 miles with 150 feet elevation gain
I'll go back on a dry day and take some nice pictures. I only had my waterproof point and shoot camera for this underwater hike.
|A ten minute delay in each direction|
|Half underwater half above, both just as wet|
|A black hole of biodiversity|
|Under a mudpuddle|
|Nice set up. It was not posted.|