Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Free Beer at 4 Stream plus my Hat and an Elk Collar

Patches was down with an eye infection so I decided to take a hike in the park and look for my hat.  I was tired and did not want to hike to the end of the trail, I vowed to turn around as soon as my hat was found.  I did not find my hat before I reached the end of the trail, but I did find it on the way back down.

One the way down I made a half hearted effort at finding the old O'neil trail markers and I ended up in the 4 stream campground instead.

I had lunch on the riverbank and then did some off trail exploring on the way back.  There was a trail that Ranger Bruce said went nowhere, but I had to find out for myself that it went nowhere.    Ranger Bruce was wrong, the trail led to free beer! When the trail ended I brush crashed along the base of the hill parallel to the river.

I found some elk bones and then I found an old pull tab Rainier beer can, then I found and empty bush beer can, then I found a full beer can.  then I found more elk bones near the first ones and then I found an elk radio collar.  There was no one at the ranger station so I took the collar home and called fish and wild life.  They want me to deliver the collar to Montesano or Olympia.  That is probably not happening.  Perhaps I will take it back out to Staircase the next time I go.  My Jeep is in the shop again and my good car is pushing 100,000 miles.

I came out behind the ranger residence and stumbled onto the old hydro trail where the rangers stashed their whiskey bottles.  The trail is not marked anymore so I've not been down it in a while.  I wandered up to the very end of the hydro trail.  Everyone should go explore this secret trail lined with whiskey bottles.

I had a fun day of off trail exploring, trails are boring, brush crashing is where it's at.  I did not see anyone else all day long and that's the way I like it.

7.5 miles with 1,200 feet elevation gain.

Colonel Saunders bottle cap on the hydro trail, it's a mystery

Elk radio collar

Copper Mountain from 4 stream

Free beer!


secret  trail to the dam

water strainer for the generator

staircase generator house

Where I found my hat

old bottles on the secret hydro trail

coffee on the banks of the Skok with my new purple titanium cup

Track and elevation log

A little grove of  Noble fir trees off trail

Patches elk collar is too big

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More off trail exploring in the Cushman area

We did about 16 miles hiking and biking. 8 on bike and 8 on foot.  Some of the biking was actually pushing bikes up hill so I'm going to count 2 miles of the biking as hiking miles.

So 10 miles with some elevation gain.  My body feels like I did closer to 14 miles of hiking though plus I'm sore in places that don't normally get sore just from hiking.  I got a work out for sure.

I have a new camera lens, but I did not bring it for this hike.

5 photo panorama

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lake West

I'm pretty sure these instructions are just for men.
This is the High Steel Bridge, it's getting popular I guess.
I've never seen so much fresh graffiti there before.
Maybe it is carry over from the Vance Creek Bridge.

5 miles 300 feet elevation gain

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gear Shop

Lena Lake Olympic Mountain Summit Register and an Out of Control Dog

I’ve been bored a lot since I finished college.  Most days if I’m not hiking or taking photo’s I am bored.  I did not feel good this morning but I went hiking anyway to fight off the boredom.  At least gas prices are very low at the moment.  At this rate they might go below $2.00 per gallon.

I needed to move the Olympic Mountain Travelling summit register to another summit but it is January and most summits will be inaccessible to all but mountain climbers soon.  So I needed to find a nice low place the put the cache.  I had many options but in the end I opted for a super popular trail.  I did not want to advertise any of my special spots and on this hike I got a good reminder of why I don’t like crowded trails.
When I started my hike at about 9:30 there was one other car at the trail head.  I felt pretty good as I had stopped and got a cup of coffee in Hoodsport.  Too bad the price had gone up by almost ten percent to celebrate the New Year.  My COLA this year was 1.2 percent but a cup of coffee at Hoodsport coffee when up by 10%.  My COLA never actually keeps up with inflation.  I’ll downsize and from now on I will order the small instead of the medium drip to make up for it.

I made good time getting to the lake. Okay not really, I stopped and took a lot of pictures but I was hiking strong.  When I got to lunch rock I saw two women there eating.   The lake had a lot of logs in it and it was green rather than blue.  One woman commented it was the first time she had seen the lake any color other than blue.

 The sun was shining in my eyes so I quickly left the rock and headed for the farthest away campsite on the lake.  The campsite was in mixed sun and shade.  I wanted to sit in the sun, but I did not want the sun in my eyes, so I sat in the shade.

I made a cup of tea and I cooked my lunch there.  I gave Patches two Cliff bars but she refused to eat them.  Patches has figured out that Cliff bars are dog food and being a dog she naturally does not want to eat dog food, she wants to eat human food.  I get Cliff bars 4 for a dollar at an expired food store, so I have been feeding them to Patches on all my hikes in an effort to trick her into thinking she is getting human food.  I don’t like Cliff bars, they are too sweet and the texture gets boring.  Patches ignored her Cliff bars and begged for my lunch.

Patches ignores the Cliff bar at her feet and begs for my lunch

Patches was in luck, I felt queasy and was only able to finish half of my lunch.  I felt a little bit sick all day.  I was light headed and dizzy whenever I stood up too fast, but I attributed that to a recent loss of blood.  While I was eating lunch I realized there was more than that going on, I had some sort of bug.
I did not find many things to take pictures up of the way up or at my lunch break.  I had really been hoping to be able to take some nice pictures, but it was not to be.

One the way back down I passed a few hikers.  Whenever we see other hiker on the trail Patches stops and takes a couple of steps towards me so I can grab her collar or put her on her leash.  I did not train her to do that, she figured it out on her own since I always leash her when I see other hikers coming.
On this occasion I grabbed Patches collar as a woman came into view.  She looked at us and said

“Oh you have one too”

I said “yes, and she’s not very friendly” as an off leash dog that looked like a greyhound came into sight.

The dog, upon seeing Patches rushed headlong at us.  The dog was not on a leash, the dog’s leash was in the owners hand.  At the sight of a dog rushing at her Patches growled and then the dog started barking and snarling and lunging as if it was going to attack.  I was scared, since I was holding Patches right next to me I thought the dog was going after me.

 I was holding Patches collar with one hand, I yelled “whoa!” and with my free hand I positioned my trekking pole between Patches and the other dog.  That made the other dog even more enraged and I was sure it was going break through my trekking poles and lunge at me or Paches.  The woman was chasing her dog but she was unable to catch her out of control vicious off leash animal.

  The horrible beast suddenly moved to my side so I repositioned my poles to my side and the woman yelled “Go!” at her dog but I was not sure if she was yelling at me or her dog, the dog ran past us and the woman went around us chasing her dog and mumbling an apology as she left.

I was not happy, this incident triggered my PTSD.  I hike to sooth my PTSD but this hike had now made my PTSD worse.  I had a huge shot of adrenaline and I was shaking.  I wished that I had yelled at the woman or the dog, yelling would have gotten some of the adrenaline out of my system.  But it had all happed too fast and I had been unable to say anything other than “Whoa!”

Patches in the car with her rock
At that point my hike was pretty much ruined but I still had three miles to go, so I hoped that in those three miles I would calm down a bit.

 I felt a bit better at the end of my hike but I was still frazzled and so was Patches it turned out.   Patches she did something she has never done before, she took home a rock. She likes to carry and then bury rocks that I accidentally kick loose. But today I think she was afraid to bury her rock on the trail with another dog being there, so she took it home instead.

I ended up driving all the way out to 101 before I realized that my emergency brake was on.  This experience reminded me of why I like solitude on the trail.  It’s too common to have bad experiences with other people and dogs on popular trails.  Even when the popular trail is not crowded it still seems to bring out a certain type of people who lack proper trail etiquette.  I’m glad I did not put the trail register in one of my special places and then post about it.  The internet has a way of ruining trails, just look at what happened to the Vance Creek Bridge as an example.  One tweet sent out the hoards from the city and soon it was all shut down.  All hell is about to break loose near Lake Cushman for the same reason.

When I got back down to my car I was surprised to find five other cars there, that is a lot of cars for a winter weekday.  The WTA recently advertised Lower Lena Lake as the place to go in the winter on their website maybe that is why it was so crowded there today.

Patches and I will be hiking in much more obscure places for the next few weeks and I won’t be sharing my track logs.

7 miles 1,300 feet elevation.

A tree stuck the bridge

Steaming logs

Cob web

View from lunch rock

Lunch time