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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSun Apr 26, 2009 10:00 pm 
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Desert yesterday, lush forest today.  Whadda state we live in, hey? up.gif

Beaver Lake, Mtn Loop (D'town side)
One of the many interesting things about the Beaver Lake trail is that there are no beavers, and there is no lake.

There were once beavers there, but they moved out.  Packed up and left behind only a swampy area.  It's a very pretty trail, though, and I always enjoy it early season because of the skunk cabbage extravaganza there.

However, there are some washouts, notably the gigantic one from (I think 1990?).  The trail ends here officially - but 2003 and 2006 created more washouts.  They're get aroundable - but the coolest thing is that the lack of terrain next to the trail opened up some bodacious views - of Mt. Pugh and Bedal.  Absolutely gorgeous.

The lighting today was a tough act to handle.
Beaver Lake sunlit trail
Beaver Lake sunlit trail
Beaver Lake trail washout
Beaver Lake trail washout
Beaver Lake crummy shot, but just to show the view
Beaver Lake crummy shot, but just to show the view
Beaver Lake bright trees on the Sauk River
Beaver Lake bright trees on the Sauk River
Beaver Lake skunk cabbage1
Beaver Lake skunk cabbage1
Beaver Lake spring leaves on the Sauk
Beaver Lake spring leaves on the Sauk

JimK directed me downslope to get a shot of some trillium he espied (he's gimpy, so he made me his photo lackey for anything requiring a descent).  Absolutely wonderful trilliumscape. 
Beaver Lake hidden trillium2
Beaver Lake hidden trillium2

Old Sauk
We drove over to the Old Sauk trail, a sure-fire hit.  I have never been bored on this trail;  spring, summer, winter and fall each have their specialness on this trail, and each time I'm here, I find something wonderful. I saw more trillium on this trail than I have ever seen anywhere.  But they mostly single stalks - dotted throughout the forest - some hidden, some standing tall in the open.  A quiet, unassuming beauty - they looked like stars dotted all over the forest floor.  Jim found some clusters of trillium - one was a cluster of 5, one of 4, one of nearly 8.  We felt like we were in a Sesame Street episode.  See a cluster and stop to count:  1-2-3-4.  See another and stop:  1-2-3-4-5-6.  And so on.

There is always a breeze or light wind along the Sauk River here.  Watching the long tendrils of silvery lichen swaying in the breeze opposite the river is a very beautiful sight.
Old Sauk forest scene
Old Sauk forest scene
Old Sauk hiker1
Old Sauk hiker1

The awesome find of today for me was - turkey tails!  I found these blue ones on a dead log laying alongside the trail.  They were moist and cool to touch - I only touched one to see if it was a new cluster, and was careful to not touch any more.  I was stunned by the vividness of the blue color of some of the bands.  I don't know anything about turkey tail fugus, but you can bet after seeing this gorgeous array, I'll be reading up on them.

Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus 1
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus 1
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus 2
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus 2
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus3
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus3
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus4
Old Sauk blue turkey tail fungus4
Old Sauk whole lotta turkeys settin on a log
Old Sauk whole lotta turkeys settin on a log

On the way out, I stopped to listen to a varied thrush, when a hummingbird began to dive-bomb me.  I must have been close to a nest - he was not only whirring at me, but clucking and making a wierd racket.  I started to move away, when I tripped and stumbled off the trail.  Good thing, too.  I found more turkey tail fungus, of another color.  I shot some photos while the poor little hummingbird was freaking out.  I felt very bad upsetting him, so only took a few photos.
Old Sauk orange turkey tail fungus1
Old Sauk orange turkey tail fungus1
Old Sauk orange turkey tail fungus2
Old Sauk orange turkey tail fungus2
Old Sauk orange turkey tail fungus3
Old Sauk orange turkey tail fungus3

I can't believe how lucky I am to have seen these beautiful things.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Hulksmash
Cleaning up.



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 7118 | TRs
Location: Arlington
Hulksmash
Cleaning up.
PostSun Apr 26, 2009 10:47 pm 
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lol.gif  I was disappointed the first time i discovered there was no lake, or beavers along that trail huh.gif   It's still a nice little trail. up.gif  up.gif


Those turkey tails are amazing.

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"Bears couldn't care less about us....we smell bad and don't taste too good. Bugs on the other hand see us as vending machines." - WetDog

Albuterol! it's the 11th essential
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goats gone wild
Mr. Goat



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 2525 | TRs
Location: Vampireville
goats gone wild
Mr. Goat
PostSun Apr 26, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Wow, the spectrum of color in the fungi is amazing.   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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.....leaving me wanting to return over and over in what ever capacity that may be, even if one day my knees are too old and I can only see the mountains from my porch.

Jason Hummel
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostMon Apr 27, 2009 10:21 am 
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I did a quick google check on turkey tails and the website I looked at said these babies bloom beginning in May and can live several years.  I don’t know how fast they grow, but I’m assuming these recently budded because of their rich color and moist texture.  Usually I see them when they’re a bit drier and covered with dirt.  I bet if I were standing next to that log full of the blue ones when they bloomed, I would have heard them pop out.  I bet it looked and sounded like a cartoon would make them sound, if someone made a cartoon of turkey tail fungus flipping out of a log.  Sorta like cards being shuffled.

The scientific name is “trimetes versicolor.”  I certainly know where they got the “versicolor” part of that name.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Schroder
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 5012 | TRs
Location: on the beach
Schroder
Member
PostMon Apr 27, 2009 10:24 am 
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Hulksmash wrote:
lol.gif  I was disappointed the first time i discovered there was no lake, or beavers along that trail huh.gif   It's still a nice little trail. up.gif  up.gif

Like Monte Cristo Lakes - they used to be there
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostMon Apr 27, 2009 10:25 am 
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Oh my god, I can't belive it. lol.gif

There's a false turkey tail fungus as well!

There's a false everything in the mountains and woodlands!   huh.gif

Now I don't know what I have photos of.  True turkeys or false ones!  dizzy.gif

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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JimK
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Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5381 | TRs
Location: Ballard
JimK
Member
PostTue Apr 28, 2009 7:38 pm 
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Sunday On The Sauk With Quark

After a long day at Swakane Canyon the day before, Kim wanted to get out again. My sore knee was not feeling too bad Sunday morning so I joined her. Downhills are what is hurting my knee so we planned a few river walks with little elevation change. I had never been on the Beaver Lake Trail. I had done part of the Old Sauk from the south end but that was nearly 20 years ago. Much of the trail I walked has since fallen into the  Sauk River. The trail keeps getting rebuilt farther inland.

We had an unusually late start, not leaving Seattle until 9:00 am. Driving by Mt. Higgins we stopped along the NF Stillaguamish River. Kim knows all the good spots to view the river.  We drove into Darrington then south on the Mountain Loop Highway (MLH) to the White Chuck River. Last year we drove over Gold Mountain to reach the White Chuck Bench Trail. Since then the new bridge to the boat launch is in place. We drove across so I could see the new bridge. Just opposite the bridge on the west side of the MLH is the trailhead for Beaver Lake.

NF Stillaguamish River
NF Stillaguamish River

Kim explained that there are no longer any beavers and the lake is really just a marshy area now. The trail follows the Sauk River. It is only about 1 1/2 miles to the "lake". So short I never took the time to visit. The trail is full of old trees, moss, and has skunk cabbage in the spring. We timed it perfectly. The route is along an old railroad grade. The river is nearby on the right and the left is lower than the grade. The result is lots of water on the left side. This is perfect for the proliferation of skunk cabbage. The began early and kept on going.

Beaver Lake Trail
Beaver Lake Trail
Sauk Beach
Sauk Beach

We took one detour to the gaging station and a small sandy beach along the river. A few steps off the grade and the moss covered everything. We saw a few trillium here. That was another hallmark of this day. We also saw violets and bleeding hearts. Lots to photograph so we made very slow progress.  Kim mentioned several washouts. We came to a big one and I didn't like the drop to river level but decided to give it a go. My knee was not very happy but it was not too bad. The route now sidehills just above river then climbs steeply back to the grade.

Mossy Log
Mossy Log
Unfurling Fern
Unfurling Fern
Moss Tree
Moss Tree
Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage
Twin Skunks
Twin Skunks
Violet
Violet
Close Up Skunk
Close Up Skunk
Every Shade Of Green
Every Shade Of Green
Mt. Pugh Over Sauk
Mt. Pugh Over Sauk
First Washout
First Washout

Buried several feet deep were the old railroad rails, now partly exposed and hanging in mid air. Neat to see some of the history revealed. We continued to another washout. This one created an opening looking down the river and up to Bedal and Sloan Peaks. Kim said the view was not there until the forest fell into the river. The route went inland around the washout but where it again dropped to river level I called it quits. I'm trying not to mess up my knee more before it can heal. We went back to the start of this washout and stopped for lunch. We had hiked about one mile and it was already after 1:00 pm.

Leafing Trees
Leafing Trees
Colorful Leaves
Colorful Leaves
Bedal Peak
Bedal Peak

The lunch spot was great. The river flowed by and the peaks came in and out of the clouds. Across the river the trees were leafing out in varying shades of green. A really pretty spot. Another group came by and continued on to the lake. As we were packing up another group came by. The boy was about 12 and the woman was likely his grandmother. She had a polished wooden hiking staff and another pole. She mentioned her bad hips and wanted to know if the trail became difficult. Kim and I did a double take. She had already crossed the first washout, side hilling on loose dirt just above the roaring river. Then she had to climb up a 6 feet step with no hand holds. I'm 6' 4" and had a tough time. Grandma wanted to know if this gentle trail ever got hard. We figured she was scoping out Sloan Peak for a morning jaunt on Monday.

Big Leaf
Big Leaf

On the way back Kim ran into an old friend from trail maintenance trips. I'm never surprised when she runs into someone she knows on a trail in this area. With two whole miles in the book we headed on to trip number two. A short drive down the MLH brought us to the north trailhead of the Old Sauk Trail. This lot had half a dozen cars or more. The first thing we noticed was the lack of flowers. Soon we saw trillium. Then came the violets and bleeding hearts. In fact, I have never seen so many trillium on any trail ever. There were singles then doubles then triples and even clumps of five, six, or seven. They all seemed to be right near their peak.

The trail is usually near the river. At first it is near a wide dry channel. The real river is far away. During the 100 week floods of 2003 and 2006 the river filled an amazingly wide swath. Even during the spring snow thaw it's just a fraction of it's flood size. In places we could see parts of the old trail that would disappear over the edge where it had washed away. The trail is in very good shape. A little mud but  generally dry and logged out.

Old Sauk River View
Old Sauk River View

This trail is moss covered from end to end. It covers the ground and stumps and hangs from the trees. In places it gets even more impressive. A true temperate rain forest. We hiked about 2 1/2 miles getting near to the south end. We stopped at another viewpoint along the river. Kim pointed out a place where the bank on the opposite side had collapsed. A big white cliff is there now. Coincidently, or not, on this side of the river the area above and inland of the river is silt covered. Did it come from the big washout across and upstream?

Hanging Ferns
Hanging Ferns
Land Of Moss
Land Of Moss
Kim Viewing Washout
Kim Viewing Washout

On the way back Kim pointed out a log covered in turkey tail fungus. The semi circle shape looks like a turkey's tail. The colors are amazing. Red, blue, orange, and many more. I don't recall ever seeing such a bright blue in nature. The hike back was much faster. My knee was feeling it and I sped up to get the last mile done. There were no summits to reach this day. No lakes either. Still, a couple river walks in mossy forest with lots of spring wildflowers was a treat. Kim has done these trails many times and I can see why.

Turkey Tail Fungus
Turkey Tail Fungus
Another Turkey Tail
Another Turkey Tail
One Of Many Trillium
One Of Many Trillium
Looking Down River
Looking Down River
Reflection
Reflection

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Hiking Northwest
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6161 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Apr 28, 2009 10:24 pm 
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"Land Of Moss" is nice  up.gif
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostWed Apr 29, 2009 6:53 am 
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I have dimples on my elbow.  huh.gif

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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