10 de marzo de 2012

Downtown Shelton

I still have a cold and am not up to doing a big hike this week so I walked around town. It was raining very lightly when I walked out my door at about 11:30 am. The Bank of America was my goal but on the way I found some nice cushion mosses on the ledge at the Cornerstone building. The Cornerstone building is next to the food bank and folks were starting to line up on the sidewalk to wait for food. I made them a bit nervous with my camera so I only took a few pictures of the moss before I left.

I really wanted to go to the Bank of America and check out all then neat mosses I saw growing on the ledge, but when I got to the BOA I saw it was open and I’ve already been told off once for taking pictures there so I gave it a pass.
After leaving BOA I headed over to the Shelton history museum to take a look at the Atrichum undulatum that I found there last week. Then I saw something that blew me away and I wondered why I had not seen it the last time I was at the museum. What I saw was a large carpet of Marchantia polymorpha.

Marchantia was covering most of the flowerbeds on the west side of the building. I found both gemme cups and budding antheridiophore. I spent some time admiring this liverwort, taking pictures of it and looking at it with my hand lens and this attracted the attention of a senior citizen whom I recognize by sight but not by name. She recognized me too. I think she is a volunteer at the museum.

She wanted to know what I was up to, my behavior seemed quite puzzling to her. So told her I was studying bryophytes and I showed her my prized liverwort and she said “oh a moss” I told her it was close to a moss but it was actually a liverwort and it was the first time I have ever found it. She seemed to be happy for me. She then gently advised me “well if you want to find that you should go to the rain forest”. I explained to her that I had been looking for it in the forest, but it turns out that this liverwort is a greenhouse weed and that is why I never found it in the forest. So we both had a good laugh about that in the now pouring rain. The rain was really starting to come down at this point so we parted ways and I headed back home with my prize.

Ingresado el 10 de marzo de 2012 por mossy mossy | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de marzo de 2012

My Front Yard

The stress of finals week has hit me and I was too sick to get out into the woods this week, so I stumbled out into my front yard and got to know some of the mosses in my yard just a little bit better.

I love the Dicranum that grows on my old Douglas-fir stump, so I took a picture of it first. Then I moved over to my camellia bushes and took a picture of the psudeoscleropodum moss growing there. Then I stumbled into my driveway and took a picture of the bryum argentium growing in my car. On the way back in I took a picture of a mystery moss growing on cinder rocks under my rhody.

The air was cold and the sky was overcast. People outside where playing football and whooping it up in Spanish. Then the rains came, I went inside and the soccer players went home.

Now my fingers itch from touching my yard shrub that I have named Jabba the Hut. I don’t know what it is but I need to get someone to cut half of it down because it caught on fire last year and the top half is dead and unsightly. But whenever I touch that shrub I get a rash.

It was nice to meet some of the mosses in my yard this quarter, there are still many mosses in my yard that I have not identified. It might be a fun project to survey my entire yard and record what bryophytes I find.

Ingresado el 05 de marzo de 2012 por mossy mossy | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de febrero de 2012

Lower Lena Lake

I had very a good, albeit wet and cold hike. I started my hike about about 10:30 on Friday morning and my car was the only car at the trail head. You never seen that in the summer. Lena is a nightmare zoo in the summer so I never go there in the summer. Lena is best on a rainy winter weekday.

As I got near the lake I smelled campfire smoke and this really surprised me since there were no cars at the trail head! Soon a group of two men passed me, they were headed downhill. I asked them if they had someone to pick them up since there were no cars at the trail head and they said they did. But they really did not seem like they wanted to talk much. They did however ask me if there was snow at the trail head. Then a minute later a younger man with a rifle passed me and he was a little more talkative. He said they camped for 4 nights and he had forgotten to pack a tarp so they had a cold wet time.

I walked up to the big rock and looked at the view for a few minutes and then I kept hiking. I still had lots of energy at that point and I was hoping to find the hunters(?) left over fire. I walked all the way to the other side of the lake without seeing the fire and just as I was deciding to head up the Brothers trail I saw the coals at the last campsite on the lake. So I stopped and took my lunch there. I was able to quickly restart the fire with the coals. I only used scraps that were on the ground.

Lunch would have been a rather miserable cold affair if not for that nice little fire. I brewed two cups of water for tea over the fire at ate my lunch there with a nice view of snow covered Lena Lake. Someone had left behind several full cans of food and very recently. Probably the same folks who left me the wonderful coals. I did my part and packed all the food out, it was a rather heavy load but it was all downhill and my daypack has a frame, so it was all good. I figured getting that free food would help make up for the $49 worth of gas that I had to put into my Jeep before the start of my hike.

When I was done with my hike I found a ticket on my Jeep. I had the proper parking pass on my dash but the ranger must have been looking for the giant yellow NW forest pass hang tag. I have a much better pass than that. I have an Interagency Pass and it was displayed on my dash.

Maybe the ranger who wrote me a ticket is the same one who mistook my neighbor's raspberry plant for a marijuana plant?

I noticed a lack of conocephalum at Lena Lake, I think that was due to the substrate being rock rather than soil. I noticed what I think is the robust form of Rytidiadelphus moss starting at 1,000 feet. I saw one thalloid liverwort near the lake that I could not ID and it was too small to ethically sample. The only conocephalum I saw was near the lake.

Ingresado el 26 de febrero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de febrero de 2012

Lower South Fork Skokomish with a dog

I left my home in Mason County at about 9am and headed for the Skok in my Jeep. It was raining when I left my house but the air felt unseasonably warm.

The drive was totally eventful until the very end. Just when I thought I was going to have the entire forest to myself I saw a car parked at the trail head and a forest ranger truck driving towards me. We never used to have rangers in this area, but now I see one almost every time I go out and I see their foot prints in the snow when the walk around my Jeep. They are looking for Guatemalans and they can pull over anyone for no reason at all because this is near the Canadian border. But they are not looking for Canadians! The ranger did not pull me over and there was no snow so I don’t know if he checked out my Jeep while I was on my hike.

I parked at the Lebar trailhead and started my hike. I always start at Lebar so I can avoid the switchbacks on the lower trail head. I like to warm up before I start doing switchbacks! I made a bee line for the area where I was told that I could find Marchantia polymorpha, at first all I could find was the great scented liverwort. Eventually however I did fine a complex thalloid liverwort that was different from the great scented liverwort. It was growing on a steep, wet west facing slope. There was not much of it and I could not see any reproductive structures with my naked eye. I picked a tiny bit of it and then did see a reproductive structure come out of the plant, it was black and kind of cone shaped.

Further down the trail in the Maple flats area I found a ribbon thalloid liverwort on a mature maple tree. The further down the trail but in the same area I found a red-tipped leafy liverwort on a fallen big leaf maple tree. The liverwort was about 35 feet up the maple tree before it fell.

Then later about 5 miles from the trail head I found another complex thalloid liverwort growing on a steep East facing clay bank. It may be the same complex thalloid that I found before, but there was a lot more of it so I was able to take a larger sample.
I had my lunch at the river, my lunch was dehydrated soup made of chicken, homegrown parsnips and old dehydrated chanterelles. My lunch was not enough to fill me up but I still had to share it with my dog. As I stopped for lunch it began to rain very hard so I put my rain pants on before I started cooking.

After lunch I found a bunch of winter chanterelles in the spot where I normally find summer chanterelles. They were growing in glittering wood moss or step moss. It was nice to be able to ID the moss that grows in this spot that I refer as chanterelle heaven. There were so many of them that I was able to almost fill my lunch pot with them in spite of their small size.

I hiked out on the 2353 road and thus made a big 11 mile loop. While hiking out on the road I found a huge clump of Usnea longissima that had fallen out of a tree. I put it back up into a tree but probably not as high up as it would have liked to have been. On the road I also found a Stereocalun spp lichen with apothecia. I’ve never seen one of those with apothecia before. Before I got on the road found a stick that had both Lobaria pulmonaria and Lobaria oregana on it, I’ve never seen those growing side by side before. They were on a conifer stick. I saw several piles of scat on the road, one of them had big bones in it, so I think it belonged to a mountain lion.

I finished my hike at about 4pm and I stopped at the lower trail head to use the facilities. I was surprised to find the same car was still at the trail head and was even a little worried. I walked almost the entire length of the trail and never saw these people. They had left one of their windows rolled down and the car was getting wet on the inside. On their dash they had a printed up guide for the trail, so I think they must be unfamiliar with the area. Three times on my hike I smelled marijuana smoke and thought I must be near the people in the car, but I never saw them so maybe it actually smelled a real skunk or even a stinky bear. I found someone’s trail maintenance tool on the trail and will try to find the owner.

In total, I hiked 11 miles and gained about 1,100 feet in elevation. After the first 9 miles I was really wet and tired and ready for t his hike to end. My pants, shirt and socks got wet in spite of all my new waterproof gear, but at least I did not get soaked. My drive home was uneventful other than seeing a white 4X4 driving way too fast on the 23 road near the trail head. I got home about ½ hour before it got dark. After I parked I noticed that oil is dripping out of my Jeep. I better put more oil in it before I take it out again.

After I had been home for about ½ hour my daughter noticed that my dog was shivering. She had not warmed up after the hike like I did because she could not take her wet coat off.

Ingresado el 18 de febrero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de febrero de 2012

Goldsborough creek

After leaving the McDonald’s play land on a dreary Saturday afternoon, I drove myself and my little daughter over to the Goldsborough creek trail. We arrived at the trail head at 1:15.

I was hoping to find tabloid liverworts next to a little stream that joins up with Goldsborough, but did not have any luck. It had been raining off and on all day and the air was quite cold. We saw a bunch of large dicranum cushions growing on live Douglas-fir bases. I think that Dicranum prefers Douglas-fir. A rough looking rytidiadelphus moss was carpeting the ground in many places.

A large volume of Lobaria pulmonaria was on the ground due to the recent ice storm. Several trees had fallen both across the trail and into the river. We also found step moss and the liverwort plants porella and frullania.

I took samples of a stringy moss growing on a maple tree that I think is an isothecium and a sample of a moss with a tiny gametophyte and tons of spores that was growing on a rotten cotton wood log. I also grabbed a tiny Othotrichum moss of the cement wall near the Jr. High Apartments on this trip out.

While looking at moss I spotted what I thought might be a geocache but was probably trash so I ignored it. Then my daughter spotted it too and she insisted that it was a geocache, so we took it out of it's hole under a stump and found out that it was indeed a geocache. We opened up the cache and logged our find on geocaching.com.

What surprised me the most was the number of homeless camps we found. We found three old abandoned camps; one of them had housed children. My child asked me why they left their stuff behind and I did not have an answer for her. Maybe the owners went to jail or were kicked out in the night or maybe they moved on to a warmer climate for the winter. I can tell that times are hard because I can’t walk any of the trails in the city now without stumbling onto abandoned campsites. The only exception is Shelton Creek where there is an active campsite. This is not a nice climate to live outdoors in during February.

We walked past the train tracks.Wewandered along the creek until my little daughter got too cold. I did not realize that she was still small enough to get really cold really fast. We had to rush back to the car because she was so cold. One the way back it started raining but we found an abandoned Dora the Explored umbrella to use. I thought my daughter would be excited about the umbrella but she does not like Dora anymore. “Dora is for babies” she said. OK so she is growing up even if she still gets cold way too fast.

Before we turned around one empty logging train went by us while leaving the air fouled stinking, horrible diesel fumes. The train did not blast its earsplitting horn like it normally does when it crosses the trail.

We did not find anything of interest on the way back to the car due to having to walk so fast. Once we got home I drew a hot bath for my duaghter so she could warm up fast.

Ingresado el 11 de febrero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 9 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de febrero de 2012

Dry Creek Trail

I left my home in Mason County at about 10:00am and arrived at the Dry Creek trailhead at about 11PM. Before I could leave my house I had to put two quarts of oil in my Jeep. While I was putting oil in my Jeep I noticed that exhaust smoke was coming out from under my Jeep, so looked under it to see what the problem is. I found that my muffler is cracked in half; I probably caught it on a rock when I was driving over a wash out on the way to the Mildred Lakes trails a few months ago. I’ll get the muffler fixed later, no big hurry, it’s kind of fun having a Jeep that sounds like a muscle car.

It was a bright sunny winter day but the wind was blowing so the air in town was clean in spite of the cold.

The drive to the trail was uneventful other than the sighting of a Springer Spaniel in a car in front of me and a Sherriff jay walking across the freeway in Hoodsport.

Right at the start of my hike I began to recognize some mosses at least to genus. This is the first time I have hiked here since I started my moss class, and what a difference that class has made already. I found many of the same mosses that grow in Olympia, but the mosses here were bigger and prettier and better. The glittering wood moss, or step moss had huge fronds and covered very large areas. At the base of almost every stream I found the great-scented liverwort. I was looking for a different liverwort that I have never seen before and I did not find it, but I found many huge patches of the great scented liverwort. I also saw huge fluffy lumps of the Rhytidiadelphus moss and I think I saw some Dendroalisia moss. Badge moss was everywhere too along with huge patches of male and female Leucoleptis moss plants.

I saw all the usual lichens, peltigeras, fairy vomits, platismata glaucas, cladonias, ochrolechia and so on. In one spot the fairy vomit lichen was growing over the top of a porella liverwort. I found huge pretty crustose lichen on a rock near Lake Cushman; I took several pictures of it with snowy Mount Lincoln in the background. I also found a few little brown mushrooms and some winter oyster mushrooms that were still hanging on. I did not see any animal tracks in the snow, but I did see elk scat everywhere. The ice storm we had two weeks ago must have drove the elk down lower than usual.

The trail was free of snow until 1,500 feet and then there was enough snow to prompt me to put on my gaiters so I could keep the snow out of my boots. I walked for about 2.5 miles until I reached dry creek. The creek was low enough to ford today, but I did not cross it, instead I turned around and looked for a lunch spot. I decided not to eat lunch at the creek because the woods were dark and cold and I wanted to be in the sun.

I ended up hiking all the way back to Lake Cushman before I had lunch. The lake level is much lower than it used to be and now one can walk among the stumps of the trees that were cut down before they put in the damn, and mosses have started to colonize the silt and stumps. I collected two mosses from what used to be the lake bed. I’m sure that one of the mosses is an aquatic moss. I don’t know what the other moss is, but it is taking over the entire old lake bed and it is even growing on the old stumps. This moss does not look like any of the mosses in the nearby forest but I don’t have that good of an eye for moss yet, so this moss could have come from the nearby forest.

I found two old roads under what used to be the lake. I saw these roads the last time I hiked here too and I thought they were old logging roads. But now I think they are too narrow to have been old logging roads. I think they may actually be traces of the original roads that went out to staircase the Mount Rose lodge before the damn was put in.
Some people had been camping on the lake bed when I started my hike but they had left before I got back to my Jeep.

Two other people passed me on the trail, I think this was the first time I have ever seen someone else on this trail, but I don’t normally hike on Saturdays. The people who passed me were hiking up the trail when I was hiking back down the trail. I bet they wonder what happened to me since they did not see me on the way out but my Jeep was still at the trail head. They must have parked next to me at the start of their hike and they must have wondered why my car was still at the trail head when they were done hiking. I doubt they would have noticed me having my lunch way off the trail. When I got back to my Jeep there was no one parked next to me that is how I know that the people who passed me on the trail had finished their hike before I did.

On the drive out I stopped at Cushman falls to look for liverworts but all I found there was more of the great scented liverwort and not the liverwort I was looking for. The great scented liverwort only seems to live at the base of year round streams, while the peltigera lichen is happy to grow near seasonal streams or several feet away from year round streams. Whenever I saw a peltigeria I knew that I was looking in the wrong place to find a liverwort. The peltigera was a brown one and I think it was peltigera mebranacea, I saw a lot of it on this hike.

I think I hiked about 5 miles, my GPS(r) batteries went dead so I don’t have a track log for my exact mileage, but I know that I put 18,884 steps on my daughter’s pokewalker. I don’t think that pokewalkers are very accurate though. I got back to my Jeep at about 4:30 and I got home right before it got dark.

Ingresado el 05 de febrero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 13 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de febrero de 2012

FS-2353 Skokomish logging road

I took my Jeep broken locks and all, because there was sure to be lots of snow in the Mountains. I was not sure where to hike, I had several ideas but I ended up going up FS road 2353. The kind of strange thing is that I parked at the Lower South Fork Skokomish trailhead but completely ignored the trail and headed up the locked logging road instead. I guess I wanted to be out in the open and not in the claustrophobic forest today. Also I was worried about keeping my footing on the trail in the snow. I’ve hiked that trail in the snow but it was not real easy to tell where the trail was.

Winter has become my favorite hiking season. All the roads that are behind wildlife gate become trails in the winter. It is also much easier to find solitude in the winter. Getting to the trail head was a bit tricky, the snow on the road was not too deep but it was wet and icy. I stopped and let a hummer pass me in the hopes that it would flatten the snow that was hitting my front differential. I know I dragged my front differential in the snow a few times. I wonder how much dragging a differential can tolerate?

I brought my snow shoes with me but I could tell that I was not going to need them so I left them in my Jeep. The snow was very crusty and easy to walk on until I reached about 1,800 feet. I wish I had thought to bring my gaiters.

My goal was an over look that I had seen only once before when I was headed down this road after doing a big loop. I was not sure where the over look was. I passed a couple overlooks and went about 4 miles and reached 2,000 feet before I decided to turn back. The snow was starting to get into my boots and the going was getting tough and a big switch back loomed above me.

I was happy to find a thalliod liverwort on this hike. This is my first discovery of the “great scented liverwort”. I had it pointed out to me last week, but this time I found it on my own. I was keeping a sharp eye out for such a thing and had an idea of where to look for them. I also found a new to me leafy liverwort and a semi aquatic moss. The only fungal thing I found was a sneaky little lichen.

I thought I had found black moss then I looked at it under my hand lens and discovered that whatever it was looked rather fungal. Was it a tiny complex thalloid liverwort or was it a fungus? I looked around for more and soon found a well grown rosette of the same stuff and it looked a lot like lichen. I took a micro photograph of it and in the photograph I saw apothecia. Ah ha! It was tiny lichen growing in the moss. I keyed it out to

I thought "What is this funny black moss?" So I looked at it under my hand lens and it looked fungal. Very strange. Then a few feet away I found a very nicely grown clump of the same stuff with apothecia on it, so knew it was lichen. I took a bit home to key out and the key took me to Massalongia. If this is massalongia I guess it is very well grown. But that would not be surprising since fungi do grow very well in this area.

At my turn around spot I brewed a cup of tea and that is all I had to eat on my hike so I was pretty hungry on the hike back. But on the way back I got quite a surprise! A cougar had crossed our tracks and walked down the road along side our tracks (but going in the opposite direction) for about 1/10th of a mile while Patches and I were out hiking! Oh my, this meant that there was a cougar on the road ahead of us. Would we catch up to it or would it hide? I’ve never seen a cougar in the Olympics but I often seen their tracks. It was not surprising to see cougar tracks here as there were deer tracks ever where and we even saw a deer today. Cougars eat deer so where there are deer, there are cougars.

I also saw some small canine track and some rabbit tracks. Hiking in the snow is fun because I get to see the tracks of all the animals that have passed the same way.

When I got back to my Jeep I cooked my lunch on the hood. Maybe not the smartest thing to do but it did not hurt the paint and the hood was just warm to the touch when I moved my stove. My lunch was dehydrated chicken soup with parsnips and onions. Yes you can dehydrate soup. It was actually more of a stew than a soup when I put it in the dehydrator.

On the drive out I saw all kinds of activity. The guy who had been cutting fire wood near where I parked was parked down the road with his truck so full that I wonder if his springs broke. I saw a pickup truck that had been hauling snowmobiles blocking the road. The driver had to get in his truck and move for me. He had chains on his truck but his tires were spinning like crazy. He looked angry as I pass him. I wonder if he was angry at having to move or angry with his truck and jealous of my snow tires? Further down the road I saw two men in orange ball caps, one with a Christmas tree in his hand. As I got closer I saw he was actually carrying a load of brush. He was Guatemalan and he seemed really surprised when I gave him a friendly wave. Guatemalans are at the very bottom of the pecking order, despised by both rednecks and Mexicans they have to spend the day in knee deep snow cutting salal for a living. They are tribal people who have been pushed off their ancestral lands by the forces of capitalism.

It must be really bad in Guatemala for them to want to come here to pick brush in the snow from dawn until dusk. They are mostly Mayan Indians. They are a very long way from home… Last year a Guatemalan brush picked was shot and killed by a bear hunter and the bear hunter fled the scene. He was later caught and no charges were pressed against him. I guess it’s ok to murder Guatemalans. The only repercussion of the entire ordeal was that Guatemalan brush pickers now wear orange hats so they won’t be mistaken for bears.

Even further down the road I had to pass a van that was going way to slow and sliding all over the place. I also saw two cars parked at the road that goes to the high steel bridge. Then when I got down to the fish hatchery I saw a big convoy of 4 wheelers. One of them had a Jeep like mine except that it was lifted way up.

While I was gone my husband worried about me because there was a scanner call on the 23 line for someone in a red jeep that was having a medical emergency. I sent my husband lots of SPOT messages today but that seemed to worry him even more…. Or so he said. When I got home he was sound asleep and the house was a mess. I woke him up by putting the dog in the bedroom after I had given her a bath.
I only brought my point and shoot camera today so I don’t having any stunning landscape photos but I took some nice Macros and an underwater shot. My pack felt so light without my DSLR in it that I thought I must have forgotten something at home.

Ingresado el 01 de febrero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de enero de 2012

Gone Fishing

Today I decided to go for a nature walk in a sticking little logging town . I brought a medium sized child with me. It was very sunny and cold outside and the smell of wood smoke hung thick in the air. Our walk was along a road but it has been so long since they paved the road that it might be fair to call it a trail for now.

The official Washington Air Quality Advisory notice said our air quality was 80 or "moderate". They claim that it is safe for children to breathe when the air quality is 100 or below. It felt like the air quality was getting worse as we walked and it might well be at 100 by now.

On our walk my daughter found some cold mud puddles and began fishing with a maple stick. She caught lots of fish, each of which I was required to identify. In this order she caught the following types of "fish": Douglas-fir, Scot’s broom, 2x6 Douglas-fir, wire, and finally a “way too big to take home fish”.

The forest looks much thinner since the ice storm, fallen branches and fallen trees that have been bucked up into fire wood can be seen everywhere. Some power lines are still hanging low. Some small snow pockets remained where they were insulated by a thick mat of recently fallen Douglas-fir twigs and needles. Other than that all the snow is gone.

I saw a lot of different mosses and some I could even identify to genus. I think I saw polytrichum, buckiella and dendrolasia. I found lots of cute little moss cushions growing on a cement wall. My daughter excitedly pointed out the ones with sporophytes. I noticed that the same moss at the top of the wall was wet and green while the moss growing on the sides of the wall was dark and dry. Additionally the moss on the top of the wall was growing in mats while the same moss on the side of the wall was growing in cushions.

All of the different mosses on the top of the wall were generally producing more sporophytes than the mosses on the side of the wall.

As we headed back home two yappy canis lupis came out and half heartedly threatend to kill us. I menaced them with a giant piece of Lobaria pulmonaria found under a nearby maple tree. I think it was working, but then the owner of the canis lupis came and called them off before I could find out if they really were afraid of Lobaria.

My daughter brought home a way too big to come in the house "stick bug". The stick bug was giant with smooth reddish bark that made it look very much like an Acer macrophyllum maple sapling.

Ingresado el 28 de enero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de enero de 2012

Brrrr...

I put on my rubber boots and wandered outside and heard the sounds of melting snow and ice crashing out of the trees. It was raining pretty hard so I brought my waterproof camera with me. I went out back where the row of ornamental eastern sugar maples grow on railroad ave in shelton. All kinds of wondeful lichens grow on sugar maples.

I saw that the same moss that fell out of a nearby liliac bush, likes to grow on these sugar maples too. I took pictures of moss and lichens until I could no longer use my fingers.

Ingresado el 20 de enero de 2012 por mossy mossy | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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