Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight — Time to make a climb.

Register here?

Not any more. No more pencils, no more paper cards, no information. The Park Service has recently entered the 20th century.

This way out. Or, um...

I didn't meet the person who gnawed this off at ground level. Maybe he was watching from the bushes, or resting his teeth.

Trillium? I think, sans blossom.

Someone took a bite out of this too. There's a whole lot of that going around.


Or footlog-with-railing. Over the Gray Wolf River. There is a camping area here, but, as with most such places, it is salted with assorted human detritus and likely to attract night-creepers and biters, as well as backpackers. I avoid such.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight — Continued tromping along gloomy trails.

Trail, yes. Gloomy, yes. Wonderful-fine, yes.

High up above the Gray Wolf River, going upstream.


And/or footlog. Your call what to call it. It works the same no matter which name you use.


That stuff on the ground? Salal. Kind of crinkly and stiff. Always clean and decent. An all-around nice shrub.


Approaching the confluence of the Gray Wolf River, Cameron Creek, and Grand Creek, which is where I turned right and began to climb.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight — Sleepy time and beyond.

Snooze shack.

I used one of those two-ounce emergency space blankets for a tarp. I'm glad there was no rain. Too short. Otherwise it worked OK. Kept in enough heat, blocked the overnight down-slope breeze. Did the job.

More dimness.

Yeah, so the next day had a cloudy morning. The photos give you an idea of the actual gloom. I happen to like gloom. It looked like what you see here. Gloomy.

Relevant detail.

Looking down, this is what I saw. A lot of the plants have waxy leaves. I'm not sure why, but since there isn't much dust in these northwest forests, the leaves often look preternaturally clean.


If you want to call it that. Every now and then there will be a long stretch of forest with little undergrowth and lots of dead trees. I happen to like it.

The same, with moss.

There are whole hillsides full of moss. This year has been dry, including the moss. But it's still green. I also like green.


I.e., pointy at the top and bushy below. This is possibly a hemlock. More green on green and quiet. I was alone for almost all of the trip. Just like this — only me and the trees.

See that?

That's the trail down there. In case. In case you wondered.

But, to be honest, not much else was going on. Which was fine.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight — Some structural details.

Bridge over Gray Wolf River.

Nice bridge. Better than wading. I waded the river the first time through, back in 2003, because I didn't know that there was a bridge — kinda too lazy/too smart to follow a side trail and check upstream for a bridge. The river nearly took me.

Bridge deck.

For those who find themselves thrilled by such. Anyway, it was a nice angle for a shot. I'm trying to remember to look for nice angles. I think this is one. It's a photo of a bridge, as seen from one end.

First you see it, then you get to it, then you walk across it and then you do other stuff. And so on. Pretty easy, overall, if you think to look for the bridge. That's important.

Thrashing waters.

This is a pretty boring shot as photographs go. At least I think so, but then again, what else would I photograph? At least you can see water, and moss, and ferns, and then imagine what water and moss and ferns would be like. It's actually about what you'd expect.

Cliff Wall.

I used to work with a guy named Cliff, but he wasn't Cliff Wall. Despite that he was pretty nice.

I saw him a few years later in a class for naughty people. My two colleagues and my boss were there because none of us got along with him (this was after he threatened me when no one was around and he thought he could get away with it, my boss did).

Cliff was there too that day. He'd said something bad to his boss. I was on Cliff's side. He was a lifer of a state employee but not a bad guy. I'm sure his boss deserved it, whatever it was.

This cliff was about as you see. Rock. Alongside the river, and interesting insofar as it went. For the most part it just stood there, which is also fine.

More busy water.

A lot of the Gray Wolf River is like this. I tend to like it, but not for putting myself into. That's why I took a photo of it instead of sticking my head down in there, which seemed like a decent idea at the time. Still does.

Trail. Dim. As evening comes.

True to form things began to get dark before I found a place to sleep. This tends to induce suspense, if not outright panic, and is one of my signature moves.

Come around next time to see what happened next. Something did, as far as I can recall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight — Wherein vascular plants are encountered.

I see Paris. I see France. I see various under-plants.

Strangely, at this moment, I have nothing to say.

I am squeakless.


Circa 1600, from French rhododendron and directly from Latin rhododendron, from Greek rhododendron, literally "rose-tree," from rhodon "rose".

Yeah. A flower. They grow wild here. On bushes. Go figure.

Rhododendron leaves.

Sometimes, when you look at them, they make sense.


Also known as a heap of stones. Though in this case I'll take gentle exception to that characterization.

How about you?

Another rhododendron.

Once you've seen one, you've seen one, unless you've seen more. For a guy from the High Plains, this is a deal. A big deal. On the High Plains there is not a thing such as this. Any where.

And now, The End. For today.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight — The story begins.

A brief update.

I'm going to do this in segments — a series of posts a few images at a time.

So hang on. It will be a ride. Not a wild ride, but a sort of slow tumble.

Deer Park

It begins this way. It looks like this.

A few steps east. Over there it looks like this.

And although in general I'm not a fan of east, in this case it works. I like it, I like this east. This east, right here.

South. And then there is south.

And if you look closely, you'll see, you'll realize that direction means something, and in this case it means what you see here. I have been there. Me. I. There. Here.

This means something, to me if not to you. But even if it means nothing to you, welcome. Come in. You are welcome to come in. To come in and look.

But first, some hiking.

Hiking often gets in the way. Landscape gets in the way of hiking. Planning gets in the way of experience. I have done that. I have done all of it.

Still, in some way, it works.


Southeast? Is there potential there? One wonders. One wonders what. What would happen if one went there.

I did.

And a thing happened.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gray Wolf Overnight

Placeholder for now, more later as soon as I can swing it.

Got some images from a low-key two-day and one-night trip to explore an area that's vague on the map, and to check out a new pack I made.

For now I have just the one image, which pretty well stands in for the meaning of life, so it ain't that bad overall. Eh?

And, on the off chance that someone somewhere in the world actually reads this blog, I was on the edges of Olympic National Park and of the Buckhorn Wilderness.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fresh, July 5

 The Atlantic:  2015 Audubon Photography Awards.  The National Audubon Society was kind enough to share some of this year's winners and runners-up with us.  Read this...

 Pasatiempo:  Book Review: "Backpacking With the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as a Spiritual Practice".  Reading a potentially dangerous book in a landscape perceived to be dangerous can be doubly hazardous. The place heightens the vulnerability occasioned by the text.  Read this...

 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:  Twenty years on, revisiting the Appalachian Trail.  We are there to mark the 20th anniversary of a seven-month, end-to-end through hike of the AT by journalists from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and four other Eastern newspapers. But first there is yoga.  Read this...

 Backpacking Bongos:  Should a trail map have the trail marked? Not according to Routebuddy!  Not only do you not receive what you paid for, the subsequent customer service makes everything feel ten times worse.  Read this...

 Outdoor Herbivore Blog:  Avoiding Dishes in the Backwoods: Cooking Bag Pot Liners.  Cooking liners are rated for super high temperatures (up to 400 degrees F), so does that make them safer for hot foods?  Read this...

 The Adventure Junkies:  Backpacking Essentials: 41 Hiking Tips For Beginners.  To help out first-time hikers we've compiled a list of tips inspired from questions asked by our readers, advice given to us by other hikers, and our own experience.  Read this...

 Lady on a Rock:  Climbing Mount Russell: The Beast.  Once upon a very beautiful summer day, Dan and I attempted this peak...and knew we must come back another day.  Read this...

 Cesar And The Woods:  All of Cesar's Ultralight Shelter Systems: Full Reviews, Comparisons, and Analyses.  What follows is a long reflection on my choice of fully enclosed backpacking shelters, with a breakdown of specifications, pros/cons, comparisons, applications, etc.  Read this...

 DNTO:  Mac Hollan: The Wolf.  Mac was an experienced cyclist but nothing could have prepared him for what happened on this trip!  Read this...

 Lens Culture:  The Last Stand.  My great grandfather and great uncle, in providing for their families, felled many of the actual trees whose remnants you now see in these photographs.  Read this...

 The Hiking Life:  Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter.  By choosing to 'go lighter' you are essentially making a conscious decision to adopt an...uncluttered approach.  Read this...

 The Huckleberry Hiker:  Two More People Injured By Bison In Yellowstone.  Before the girl could react, the bison charged her and tossed her in the air.  Read this...

 Austin-Travis County EMS:  Hiking Safety Tips.  Carry a small amount of cash for emergency purchases...Wear reflective material...Do not approach homeless encampments or hostile people engaged in illegal activities.  Read this...

 National Geographic:  Photographing the Revival of the American Mountain Man.  Dozens of rugged-looking men mill around an encampment. They tether their horses and mules to trees. They wear animal skins.  Read this...

 As It Happens:  Hiker's dog saved his life when they were hit by lightning.  The charge went through both of our bodies, and that was how he passed.  Read this...

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