Forum Index > Trip Reports > Short Smokey hike to Da Klagwats - 13 sep 2020
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kitya
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 9:23 pm 
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6 years ago me and Cookie attempted Da Klagwats in spring, but at that time we only made it to the Stujack Pass saddle. The ridge from there is very narrow to the summit and me and Cookie were not comfortable doing it in snow. Since than I always kind of wanted to return and visit the actual summit during snow free season, but since it is such a popular and also short and hot hike, I didn't find a good opportunity to do so, since I don't really like crowds. Finally today stars aligned: due to heavy unhealthy smoke in the area I figured not many people would venture out. As I arrived at the trailhead I was happy to realize that my gambit paid off. First time this summer there was no traffic on mountain loop hwy and there were no other cars at the trailhead! However, I also felt very sad, at the last moment I decided not take Cookie with me due to concern about smoke effects on her health. I don't really know though. Do dogs suffer from smoke the same way we do? Would you take your dog on smokey hike? As I hiked the trail (perfectly maintained) I was thinking about her and missed her all the time. My first time hiking without Cookie in many-many years!

One other upside of smoke is that it also kept temperature cooler than it would be otherwise and going up was actually pleasant. Also wildlife was out and about absolutely everywhere. I don't know if wildlife was particularly abundant because of smoke, absence of humans or lack of Cookie, but squirrels, chipmunks, pika and birds were everywhere. The smokey color also made it great lighting for portraits. I stopped on the trail to take some photos of a grouse. As I was focused taking photos of one grouse, two other grouse walked one by one between my legs!


As I was crossing the little basin just below the summit, the marmots went crazy. Marmots, obviously, are well known for their ability to loudly whistle, but I have never ever heard so many whistle at such intense pitch at the same time. Pika too! That was insanely loud. I first thought they are doing all this sounds because of me and tried to talk to them and explain that I'm vegan and mean them no harm. Just as was talking to marmots, I finally realized they are not focusing on me at all. Another predator was coming out of a small rocky cave at the same time. I didn't really know what animal it is, but marmots clearly know very-very well and they were not amused at all. The predator though is insanely cute. Like a ferret, but really-really huge for a ferret. Is it a marten? Thankfully nobody got hurt.


Pikas


Chipmunks:


And, marmots everywhere:


I also found a sparassis (AKA cauliflower) mushroom. It is one of the most tasty wild mushrooms around here!


Also many various boletes and russulas, but all way too dry to be of much interest


While I didn't get wide views, surprisingly I could still make out a little bit of Dakobed and even Kulshan! However it was really hard to breathe too and my eyes started to water a lot from all the smoke, so I walked down as fast as I could.

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awilsondc
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 9:57 pm 
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When did you turn into a wildlife photographer kitya?!?  Wow!  Great shots!  Yeah, I think that's a marten... All that smoke looks yucky, otherwise looks like another great trip!
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jacksonwaxenflaxen
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 10:00 pm 
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Great pictures! The mystery predator looks like an American Marten, but I'm no expert. If someone else is, please correct me.
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fourteen410
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 10:53 pm 
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I believe that is a marten, how lucky!

kitya wrote:
Do dogs suffer from smoke the same way we do? Would you take your dog on smokey hike?

A couple of years ago, I took Pebbles on a hike to Fisher Lake. The smoke wasn't too bad at the start, but by the time we got to the lake, it was so thick that we couldn't see the other side. On the way back, Pebbles kept lying down and refusing to move. I was ready to carry her, but we were able to coax her along for short spurts. Once we got home to cleaner air, she was back to normal. I haven't taken her out in smoky areas ever since. So anecdotally, I'd say that yes, smoke does affect dogs.

PS - if you consider 11 miles to be a short hike, I'm afraid to know what a normal hike is  lol.gif
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSun Sep 13, 2020 11:28 pm 
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I've never seen that name used before.  I learned something new today.  I've been up there several times, hardly seen any critters at all.  You hit the mother lode!  That's wonderful.  Concur, that is a marten.
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kitya
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PostMon Sep 14, 2020 6:14 am 
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awilsondc wrote:
When did you turn into a wildlife photographer kitya?!?  Wow!  Great shots!  Yeah, I think that's a marten... All that smoke looks yucky, otherwise looks like another great trip!

Thank you! I'm not a wildlife photographer. Sadly I'm not patient enough! But I love seeing wildlife and I take photos (mostly of marmots) when I see them smile.gif I never follow wildlife if they decide they don't want photos taken and the distance is actually pretty large, because I take 400mm lens on all hikes!

fourteen410 wrote:
A couple of years ago, I took Pebbles on a hike to Fisher Lake. The smoke wasn't too bad at the start, but by the time we got to the lake, it was so thick that we couldn't see the other side. On the way back, Pebbles kept lying down and refusing to move. I was ready to carry her, but we were able to coax her along for short spurts. Once we got home to cleaner air, she was back to normal. I haven't taken her out in smoky areas ever since. So anecdotally, I'd say that yes, smoke does affect dogs.

Poor Pebbles! How heavy is she? I don't mind to carry Cookie and I frequently do, but I don't want her to feel ill.

I often find that the hikes I'm most unsure about, like when weather was bad or there is too much smoke, turn out most special. I don't know why this one had so much wildlife. 6 years ago on the same trail I didn't meet any creature. Smoke was painful to breathe, but also made colors beautiful.

With Cookie we often start at sunrise and get back to the trailhead by sunset or after sunset. So hikes get pretty long in summer (20-30-40 miles sometimes, depending on how easy the terrain is), but shorter in winter smile.gif
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Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Sep 14, 2020 8:26 pm 
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kitya wrote:
a marten

Martens are really cool!  They also can be found in unusual places, or at least what we might consider unusual. I mentioned in the "Animals in Unexpected Places" O.P. that once we saw one on the very summit of Shuksan.

Did you notice the interesting stone privy on top? I think it is a little south of the summit.... hole with view!

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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kitya
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PostTue Sep 15, 2020 8:16 am 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Martens are really cool!  They also can be found in unusual places, or at least what we might consider unusual. I mentioned in the "Animals in Unexpected Places" O.P. that once we saw one on the very summit of Shuksan.

Did you notice the interesting stone privy on top? I think it is a little south of the summit.... hole with view!

Wow! Summit of Shuksan! That is some climbing marten! Did you have a photo?

No, i didn't find a privy! I was quite intent to go back asap though, due to smoke and also spending time with marmots is better than at the summit smile.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Short Smokey hike to Da Klagwats - 13 sep 2020
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