Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Clear Lake - An underwater hike

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.

No comments: