Thursday, March 4, 2021

Big Creek and Lower Ellinor


Insomnia struck again and I had been fretting that I would not be able to find the time to hike this week.  Every non-rainy day was booked with single appointment in the middle of the day.  But when I could not go back to sleep after waking up at 5am, I realized I had time for a hike.

I packed up and headed for Big Creek.  This time I decided to wait until it was light before I hit the trail.  I parked up at the trail head just before sunrise and took my time putting on my boots and gaiters and scrolling on my phone.

I had a good hike up to the lookout with pure solitude, but I just had to go and ruin my solitude by heading up to the beautiful forest at the lower trail head.  It was so pretty up there though with the snow and the fog. It was so pretty and I was having fun taking photos, but then a very loud group came by.  I was off trail so they did not see me.  They were so loud and the stayed loud for.  Every time I thought they were gone they started making noise again.  Oh well.

Back down on the lower trail a guy saw me coming up behind him and he would not let me pass him.  He kept looking back and going faster and faster.  But he was so slow that even walking I was going faster than he was running.  It was so annoying, if he had just let me pass him I could have been rid of him instead of having to look at him for the next ten minutes.  Finally I said to the guy "why don't you just let me pass you".  He said he was about to take a side trail ( a side trail that used to be semi-secret) I wondered what that had to do with anything.   A  moment or two after I passed him I realized he might have just been trying to avoid being within six feet of me due to COVID.

I made it back down by 11am in plenty of time to take my kid to the dentist and to attend an online grief group.

I made a video of this hike but I'm not sure if it will get edited and uploaded since my computer is about to be shipped off to New Zealand and my wrist is hurting me.  I'll be working on my lap top for a few months until I am reunited with my shipping container. 

6 miles 2,000 feet elevation gain.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Back to Big Log

I had a fun hike up to Big Log camp last week.  There was a lot of snow and I took my time, so I got caught in the dark.

It was fully dark when I got back to the bridge and I could see fresh cougar tracks in the snow under the bridge.  I could not quite make out the object that the tracks were surrounding.  

I made it that last mile back to my car quickly after seeing those tracks and noting the warning sign about a cougar at the beginning of my hike.  

This was my first hike with my new mirrorless camera.  The camera has in body image stabilization and I was able to take some good waterfall shots just hand held.  Shots with a tripod like the one at the top of this post look better, but the hand held ones were okay too.

10 miles 

Hand held shot


Friday, February 5, 2021

Jackpot Lake


The weather forecast called for cold and rain.  It seemed a good day to stay close to home and hike a logging road.  It is easy to carry an umbrella on a logging road.

The walk to the lake was fast but very soggy.  I somehow managed to keep my feet dry on the walk in though.

At the lake I was confused.  Somehow I had forgotten what side of the trail the lake was on.  How could I forget something like that?  No problem though as the lake is visible from the trail.

So far I’ve had solitude on this hike every time except for one when I saw some motorcycles.

I took a long lunch break after pitching my tarp over a log.  I like to find logs to sit on that are surrounded by trees that I can hang my tarp from.  It can be a challenge to find a perfect spot to both sit and pitch a tarp.

The spot I found was not quit perfect, but I was able to use my umbrella to provide full protection from the rain under my log bench.  Without the umbrella my feet might not have been covered.

I put a little bit of Patches ashes in the lake even though Patches never came to this lake with me.  She loved lakes and she loved hiking in the Olympics so it seemed a good place to put a bit of her ashes.

I also hid a geocache near my lunch spot.  Since I am leaving soon I am trying to get rid of all my ammo cans by turning them into geocaches. I can also clear out odds and end in my house by turning them into geocache swag.

I will put all of my geocaches up for adoption after I leave.

I love sitting under a tarp in the rain while sipping hot coffee and watching the lake.  There were some ducks on the lake and an eagle in a tree watching them.

4 miles with no elevation gain

Monday, January 25, 2021

Big Creek Sunrise

 I used to hike this trail up to the overlook quite often in the winter.  It was my go to winter hike.  But then the trail started to get crowded and I quit coming.  The last time I drove past this trail head the parking lot was full and there were cars parked up and down the side of the road.  I miss this hike, but I hate crowds even more.  

I've thought about hiking earlier or later in the day, later in the day is bad this time of year unless I want to hike out in the dark.  Early in the day is hard for me always because I am a night owl.

I've had so much trouble sleeping lately due to the excitement of my upcoming move. Last night I was tossing and turning as usual up and down up and down.  Sciatica a mysterious new shoulder paid made it hard for me to get comfortable.  

At 6:30 am I decided to quit trying to sleep and instead go hiking.   I jumped up and packed my back quickly, normally I pack the night before, but this hike had not been planned at all.  I calculated how much time I had to get to the trail head before the sun rose, did I have enough time.  I checked my watch again and it was actually 5:30, so I had plenty of time to beat the sun and the crowds to the trail head.  

The weather forecast was for rain starting at noon so I packed my rain gear.  I also called and cancelled a medical appointment I had for the afternoon.  I put my boots and gaiters on in the house so I would not have to do that in the dark at the trail head.  I walked out to my car or tried to but my gate was frozen shut.  No problem I poured a bit of my coffee over the gate latch and it opened right up.  

My car was frozen and my bike was still in my car.  I had to take time to scrape the windows and put my bike back in the house.  The roads were icy too so I would have to drive slow.  Also I was almost out of gas, so I had to stop to get gas too.

With all of that, I still made it to the trail head and started my hike at 6:30.  It was still quite dark and I had to hike by headlamp.  I don't like hiking alone in the dark, I find it scary, but I also hate crowds and by starting my hike in the dark I was sure to avoid the crowds.  The parking lot was all mine of course.  As I plodded up the trail I tried not to think about cougars too much.  I've heard that they are most active at dawn and dusk, I tried not to think about that.  Instead I thought about how the only animal caused fatality in the history of Olympic National Park was caused not by a cougar or a bear, but by a goat.

45 minutes into my hike it was light enough to turn my headlamp off and to take some pictures.  The light from the rising sun was interesting.  It was nice to be able to take photos in the sweet light.  I was quite surprised that there was no deep snow on my route, there should have been some this time of year.  Honestly I would have been find without my gaiters, that is how little snow there was. 

I made it to my turn around point at 8:30 and I was not ready for lunch yet so I had a cup of coffee.  The sun had come out full and bright and the trees and the ground were frosted with snow, the view was lovely, there was no sign of the rain that was coming. 

  While I was at at the lookout I realized I still had plenty of time for my medical appointment so I called an uncancelled my appointment.  Next I headed for the lower Ellinor trail head to see what the road conditions where.  I knew that if I turned back by ten am I would have plenty of time to hike back to my car and drive to my appointments.  

I saw one car with a couple getting out and getting ready to start hiking at the lower trailhead so I did not linger.  I headed back to the overlook and then back down to my car.  I only saw one other hiker on the trail all day, it was great!

6 miles with 2,000 feet elevation gain. 

Since rain had been in the forecast I only brought a little camera for this hike. 

The rising sun lights up little patches of the forest with Orange

I was lucky this gal hung around so long so I could get an okay shot with my 18 mm lens

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Lake Slimy Egg


I don't ever post the real name of this lake or directions for this hike.  I will post them soon though. This hike is not a secret, but still I don't like to advertise it.

This was my first time going by bike. I wanted to place a geocache and not have to carry it on my back and I wanted to sleep in, so taking the bike was the answer. 

At the the start of this hike and bike I was hurting.  Sciatica is back, but exercise helps.  By the end of the hike I was in much less pain.

I had a nice long break at the lake since I was on my bike and had plenty of time to ride out.  Some ATV riders destroyed the serenity of the the lake for a good 15 minutes before they even arrived.   When they saw me they must have been surprised though ATV's are not allowed here and on the way out they were much, much quieter.  I was glad that they made less noise.  

I was nearly run over by a brush picker van as I rode out, they were going way too fast and did not slow down at all as they passed me on the narrow gravel road.  I've never had someone pass me at that speed on a dirt road before.  I shouted a choice expletive at them but doubt they heard me.

After I got back to my car I saw an identical van stop to unlock the gate and go out.  I don't know if these were the same ones who nearly ran me over or not.

They waved as they drove off, maybe they know me from around town.  

I forgot to pack noodles but I realized that before I left the car so I grabbed a can of oysters out of my car and had them instead.  It was cold at the lake so I heated them up over my pop can stove.  I drank three hot cuppas while I was at the lake so I could stay warm enough to be able to linger there.