Monday, November 30, 2020

Day 78: A dull and uneventful day....

August 26: I woke up and hit the trail a little after 8:00 in the morning. The trail began with a long, steep descent to the Dosewallips River. Or rather near the river--the trail itself stayed above the steep canyon that the river snaked down and I wouldn't actually see the river itself through the trees until near the end of the day despite spending most of the day practically a stone's throw away from it.

The steep downhill to the Dosewallips River was a bit overgrown (as seen here) and had a few blowdowns (not seen here) that I had to navigate.

The steep trail down to the river valley had several blowdowns that required scrambling to get around and sections were overgrown, but nothing super bad. More of an annoyance than a problem. But once I hit the Dosewallips River trail, the trail was in great condition.

And once I reached the valley bottom, the trail was mostly flat. Technically, it followed the river upstream, but so gradually that it was barely noticeable. For the rest of the day, the trail was essentially flat for all intents and in very good condition.

But I saw absolutely nobody on the trail. One hour passed. Then another. Then another. Finally, a little before noon, a jogger came up from behind me--the first person I had seen in nearly 24 hours. And it wasn't even a backpacker, but just someone out for a run! 

He asked if there were any good viewpoints or some sort of good point to turn around before he returned to the trailhead where he started, but nothing on my map suggested anything of interest anytime soon. Just a lot of trees in the bottom of a steep valley. He jogged on passed me.

I saw him again about a half hour later jogging back in the opposite direction.

"Any nice viewpoints up ahead?" I asked.

"Nothing," he said, a little disappointed. At least it wasn't a busy, crowded trail, even if there was nothing particularly remarkable about it. A nice walk (or for him, jog) in the woods. =)


I took a break at the Deception Creek campsite and was eating a Clif Bar when several people with a caravan of horses arrived. And given the trail tools the horses carried and the helmets that looked suspiciously like the ones given out by the Washington Trails Association (WTA), I asked if they were with the WTA.

Indeed, they were, part of a backcountry response crew to log out a bunch of blowdowns ahead. Blowdowns?! Say it isn't so!

But fortunately for me, the blowdowns weren't along the route I was following, but a side trail up one of the intersecting trails. As far as they knew, the trail ahead where I would be traveling today was in good shape.

They also took a short break at the campsite, and I chatted with a couple of the WTA people for 5 or 10 minutes, sharing our war stories. I was curious how things might have changed for the work party due to the pandemic. None of them were wearing face masks, but while walking down the trail, they tended to space out. But that would happen before the pandemic as well. I told them I was hiking the PNT, which they had heard of, but they weren't exactly sure of its route through the area.

They ended up stopping to camp wild in the woods away from the established campsites, and I continued onward alone. I was a little envious that they had permission to camp away from the established campsites. I wanted to hike and camp wherever it best suited me rather than follow the strict permit system I had.

It wasn't until fairly late in the day that I started seeing regular old backpackers like myself on the trail, and then they were everywhere!

I arrived at my campsite at Dose Meadows a little after 5:00 in the afternoon, and the camp was filled with at least a dozen people spread all over the place. I took an empty site behind some trees with a nice view of the meadow and surrounding mountains and laid out to cowboy camp. I was a little surprised that the site wasn't taken already because it was quite nice and most of the others were camped in dark corners under thick trees, but another nearby camper told me that someone had been camped where I was and hadn't left until a half hour earlier. It was available only because they left after everyone else had already arrived.

That explains it, then, and I was glad for the lucky break. =)

And that was it for the day. I had covered about 12 miles, which was a fairly easy 12 miles. A largely dull and uneventful day!

The steep downhill slope had seemingly hundreds of switchbacks!

My suspicions that a PNT hiker left the "scary leaves" on the trail grew even more when I continued to find them on the trail today. Only a PNT hiker would likely hike from the Tubal Cain trailhead to the Dosewallips River trail! There was a PNT hiker somewhere ahead of me....

I couldn't figure out what that purple thing on the leaf was. Was it even alive?! Was it a weird animal poop? (It didn't move. At all.)

Home, sweet home!

View from my campsite

1 comment:

Pat said...

In honor of Thanksgiving this Wild Turkey poop factoid appeared- Male turkey poop tends to be elongated or J-shaped, while the female's is like a spiral blob, more or less similar to a snail's shell.