Saturday, May 5, 2012

Trillium Galore, and Some Snow

Sue and I headed out this morning to hike up the North Fork Skokomish River in the Olympics.  It was a bit cool and lightly overcast but looked promising.  We were a bit late getting away from the house and didn't get to the trailhead at Staircase until about 9:30.  And for the first time ever we pulled into an empty parking lot; although 3 other cars followed us into the lot, a group of 11 younger folks.

Our goal was to make it up as far as Camp Pleasant, nearly 7 miles up the trail, eat lunch and then wander on back to the car.  All looked well for the first 4 miles.  But then we hit Spike Camp and found the snow.  The next mile and a half was patchy snow with the last mile and a half almost continuous snow of about 2-3 foot deep.  Most of the snow was fairly soft which resulted in some post-holing and a lot of slow travel.

In addition to the snow, the trail had seen no maintenance so far so there were a lot of trees and branches on or across the trail.  I threw off most of what I could lift, but were was still a lot of stuff that I couldn't handle, including one tree over 4' in diameter and a number of massive blowdowns that we had to fight through or around.  In the end we came just short of Camp Pleasant because of a blowdown that was just too big an obstacle.

The highlight of the trip for me, beside being in the woods with my love, were the flowers, primarily the trillium.  I probably saw more trillium today than I have the rest of my life combined.  They were thick in places, at least until the snow started and then they disappeared.  There were also a few yellow violets and an occasional random flower, but the trillium stole the show today.

All in all it was a seven and a half hour trip up and back with few people, cool but dry, lots of snow, lots of trillium, and a good time in the woods with the wife.  Over all, a pretty good day.

Western Wake Robin ?
The mighty Banana Slug out on the prowl
Great White Trillium ?
Turning pink as it ages
Bracken Fern Fiddleheads
Obstacles in the trail
Several times there were pairs of trillium growing together
Clumps of trillium
Here's a triple shot
A trillium bouquet
Walking in the snow around Spike Camp
The fall above Madeline Creek bridge
Skunk Cabbage just getting started
Quite a bit of elk prints and poop
Shelf Fungus
Another trillium boquet
The first creek crossing with a few extra obstacles
Quite a few yellow violets as well
Some of the rocks on the drive out were covered with a little yellow flower