Sunday, July 28, 2013

Salmon La Sac

We are off in the early morning to Salmon La Sac which is a Nation Forest Service campground North of the town of Roslyn.  It is where we began our hike up Cooper River early last week.  We may be out of cell range and that would mean no blogs until we return to civilization.

Don't worry we have to be back in Tacoma for a couple of doctors appointments on Wednesday.

Salmon La Sac River in the early morning.
See you when we return to the www.

Lynx, Bobcat or Cougar?.....That is the Question

It's Sunday afternoon here at Circle 8 Ranch.  Most of our fellow square dancers are pulling out and heading home today.  We have no place to go, we are home.

Terri is driving into Des Moines to a friends wedding reception today.  Her traveling companions over the last 20 years are both going to be at Jevlin's brothers reception.  The two Terri's and Jev have a lot of talking to catch-up on. Terri and Terri are both retired from the county and Jev worked with them until she moved to Arizona.

As we were sitting outside yesterday and I had the opportunity to get a professional opinion on the paw prints we crossed on Fridays hike.

Terri pointing at her find.

I had gone out on the web and identified the print as a cat.  But which one was still in question.  Bob Boweman a fellow square dancer and a hunter for more decades than I've been around was sitting outside tending to Pilot the wonder dog.  I took my computer over to ask his opinion as to which cat it was?  The options were Lynx, Bobcat or Cougar/Mountain Lion.

First he told me that Lynx was out because their territory was further North in the cascades.  That narrowed the choices to Bobcat or Cougar. 

Bob explained that although Bobcats are smaller than Cougars they had larger feet which allowed them to hunt in the snow.  After a quick look at my photo Bob said, "It's a Cougar".  He explained that a Cougar walks with it's claws retracted so they don't become dull and worn.

Bob's best words of wisdom were, "If the Cougar was nearby he would have heard us first and would have been long gone by the time we got anywhere near him."

I came back to the motorhome to tell Terri the good news.  She was still not convinced and asked how many people had been killed by Cougars in this state?   I was off to the web for an answer.  A quick search of the states wildlife site produced the answer.  One person in the last twenty years was killed.  What I didn't tell Terri was that 9 people had been attacked. 

I mean how bad could a cat scratch be?

We are headed back up to Salmon La Sac with the motorhome on Monday morning for a couple of days of camping in the National Park.  I'm just going to sit around and rest today.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ruth Richardson's Rock

Not nearly as much to write about today.  We square danced last night and this morning.  We'll be at it again tonight after a potluck dinner.  Dancing will go on till 10:00 followed by an after-party.

Sunday will start with a pancake breakfast up in the dance hall followed by more dancing.

So instead of boring you with photos of square dancing I'll show you a few shots from our hike yesterday.  I can only show so many photos due to downloading time.  Yesterday I had to choose from 81 shots after I had edited out the ones I didn't like.

Our first view of Mirror Lake from the Pacific Crest Trail.
A big rock in the forest, 10 or 12 feet tall.
When Terri and I saw the rock we both said, "We should bring that back for Ruth."  The story behind it goes like this:  Ruth and Russ Richardson were walking a hunting trail when Ruth saw a bowl shaped rock that she just had to have.  The problem was it was no small rock, it was 25 pounds according to Russ's telling of the tale.  It fit into his backpack, but just barely.  The problem was they were several miles from camp if you can believe Russ's telling of the story.  Being the good husband he carried it back to camp for her.
It may have been worth it for Russ.  He loves telling the story.
Russ, you should bring your chain saw when you go to get the "Big Rock" for Ruth.  There's a pretty good size tree leaning up against Ruth's rock. 
So much for today, we're off to dance.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Off to Hike to Mirror Lake

We were up by 6:30am, and I cooked a breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast.  I knew we were going to need extra fuel for today's hike to Mirror Lake.  By 7:30am we had our lunches packed, our backpacks loaded and were off for an adventure.

The drive to the trailhead was over an hour.  It wasn't that far but the last 7.1 miles were on a rutted dirt road that kept our speed under 10MPH most of the time.  Up until that stretch of road we were on the old road to Stampead Pass.

We arrived at our parking area at 8:44am, which was at the bottom of an old logging road.  It was impassable so we walked up the steep hill for a half mile to get to the trailhead.

No signage, just a pile of rocks to welcome us to the start of our hike.  We hiked a winding uphill trail for a half mile until we reached Cottonwood Lake, the first of 3 lakes we would see today.

There were dozens of small streams to cross and great views with each turn.

Along our hikes we've seen many paw prints on the trails.  Today Terri saw a very fresh print and asked what it was?  I told her it was too small for a bear and to big for a raccoon.  I didn't know for sure but now that I'm sitting in my easy chair my guess is that it was some kind of cat.

We were the first ones on the trail this morning so I guess it wasn't hungry yet.  We'll start carrying our bear spray from now on.

We  came to the Pacific Crest Trail so I knew we were getting close to Mirror Lake.

Around a bend in the trail and there it was, Mirror Lake.  As we walked the perimeter of the lake we could look down into the crystal clear water and see rocks and logs a clear as if they were on the surface.

We stopped for a break and had a granola bar and some water.  After our break we continued South on the Pacific Crest Trail.  I had read about a waterfall from the outflow of the lake and wanted to go on the trail until we could see it.

I climbed down the falls to sit on a rock in the middle of the flow while Terri kept watch from a sitting rock up above.  The falls came to an abrupt edge and the flow went down to someplace I couldn't see below.

Our view from this location looked down onto a lake in the valley.  It was time to turn around and head back.

Russ and Terri resting on the shore of Mirror Lake.
Todays hike: 4.5 miles -  8:44am to 12:00 noon
I'll end today's blog with my two favorite photos from today.  My favorite wildflower, the Trillium.  And of course, a dead tree shot.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Sign We Are Famous.....Almost

As we drove up the road next to Lake Cle Elum I had my eyes pealed and looking hard.  I knew what I was looking for but I had no idea where it was.  I wanted to be able to prove that I was almost famous.

The tale begins almost 60 years ago when I was a little kid.  My mothers' uncle owned a dude ranch on the lake.  I can still remember the lodge with every kind of stuffed animal a kid could imagine.  Elk, moose, mountain sheep, deer, you name it and it was there.  Including the big bear skin rug.

Of course they had lots of horses and livestock on the ranch.  It was a fascinating place for a kid.  I'm sure we camped there because my family loved to camp in our tent.  I can still smell the canvas of that old tent in the sun.  Mom and Dad usually slept outside the tent in their mummy bags.  Mom liked seeing the stars.

Well back to the story after my drifting off in fond memories.

I don't remember how many years they had the dude ranch and I have no idea of what became of the ranch or uncle Kenneth.  It's just one of those faded memories that is no longer complete.

And now for the rest of the story.  My mothers' maiden name was Wadsworth and her uncle was Kenneth Wadsworth.  And the picture below proves I am almost famous.

The famous Russ Ranger in all his glory.  Almost.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It Was One Foot In Front of the Other

Today we were awake and up before sunrise.  I asked Terri what she thought about heading up to Salmon La Sac for an early morning hike.  We took off around 6:30 and were at the trailhead by 7:30.  We stopped at the bridge over the Salmon La Sac River and made a quick tour of the  campgrounds there.
The highlight of Terri's day.

Here's a few shots from the bridge over the river.  The sun is just starting to hit the tops of the trees.

We drove a half mile up a dirt road to the trailhead for 3 hiking paths.  We randomly choose trail 1311 which follows the canyon that Cooper River flows through.

These are few shots of the river at the beginning of the hike.  I could tell by all the descending rapids that the hike was going to have a fairly steep elevation gain.  That proved to be true when the trail was 300-400 feet above the river.  For the next two miles we could only hear or catch a small pieces of the river far below.

 Terri could hardly wait to get her feet into the river.

After 2 1/2 miles we could hear the river getting closer to the trail and we began to descend to find a great spot for our mid-hike rest.

That's me yawning beside the river.  I should just be getting up. 
 I thought we were retired.

Terri soaking her feet in the ice cold river at last.

Time for a little rest riverside.  Terri said she could have fallen asleep right on that rock.  Just don't turn over in your sleep.

The hike back was easier with all the downhill trail.  We were back to the car by 11:00 after a 5 mile / 3 1/2 hour morning hike.  I'm glad we started early because by 11:00 it was already in the low 80's.

On the drive back we stopped in Roslyn and had sandwiches for lunch.  We walked all 2 blocks of the town.

Square dance friends Russ & Ruth Richardson arrived at Circle 8 while we were hiking.  We went into Cle Elum with them this evening for some great Mexican food.   It was a very good dinner.  We are back home tonight to write the blog and for Terri to read.

It was another very good day for the Rangers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cleaning the Great Outdoors Since 2013

 Here I am bare footed and hard at work.

Terri laughed at me when she saw me vacuuming the great outdoors.  We had just spent 3 hours giving the interior of the motorhome a thorough cleaning.  The only logical thing to do next was to clean-up the indoor/outdoor carpet.  So of course the best solution was to vacuum the "Great Outdoors".

When we were finished with our chores it was time for a road trip.  One of our favorite places in Washington is the Teanaway Valley.  It's on the way over Blewett Pass. 

Along the way we stopped at several National Forest Service campgrounds to see where we could spend a couple days next week.  Our best find was a campground along the Swauk Creek.

We continued our drive over Blewett Pass and noticed a sign that said "Old Blewett Pass Road.  I told Terri if we see the other end of the road when we get over the summit we should take it on the way back.

We continue to follow our rule to randomly turn left or right off any road we're traveling on.  We have learned that we love being lost, so today was a great day to be lost.  We did a few dirt roads and a quick detour to the town of Liberty.  Several dozen people still live there.  There is not a single painted house in the whole town.  Just aged unpainted wood.  It was a neat place to see.

After wandering for a few hours we made it over the summit.  I had my eyes peeled for where the Old Blewett Road rejoined the new highway.  I had studied the map and it looked like it was still passable.  The map gave a warning that it was an extremely windy road with a summit of 4,100 feet.

Well they weren't kidding.  At one time it had been a two lane road, now time and vegetation had most of it down to one lane.  At one point Terri said, "I just hit 20 MPH".  Most of the road was only safe at 5-15 MPH, with dozens of switchbacks and hairpin turns being completely blind curves.
This was a typical view along the road.  The mountains going straight up on our right side and straight down on the other side.

Needless to say, we loved it.

This was  a wide spot in the old road so I asked Terri to pull over so I could take a few photos.

We never saw a single vehicle on the whole road.  That was a good thing because most of the time there was only room for one car.  And today it was us.

What a great day!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not Very Captivating

A short post tonight because I'm tired.  We drove back over the pass to deliver Roseta and Jake back home.  I had a few medical things to take care of in Tacoma. While I was out in the car doing the grocery shopping for the next week Terri stayed behind at Tamra and Robby's house and did the laundry from the last couple of weeks.

Not very exciting but I guess we have to take care of business every now and then. 

Two quick photos of our adorable grandchildren this morning before we headed out.  Home, to the home on wheels, by 8:00 pm.

Perhaps a little more excitement in tomorrows blog.  I can't always be captivating.

I checked the stats on my Blog tonight and I have reached 1,003 page views.  Who would think?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fun, Fun, Fun in the Sun

Today was a day of fun in the sun.  The kids swam the whole day.  Terri and I were in and out several times during the day.  The lake was warm enough that we could stay for a fairly long time before getting out and taking a sun break like Jake in this photo.

Grandma and Roseta swimming together.  If Terri can stay in the water for so long it must be warm.

By the afternoon, Roseta was swimming past the end of the dock and out into the lake.  Jake could swim anywhere he wanted to and he got faster as the day went along.  By later in the day I let him swim around the dock without his life vest.  The kid is a fish.

Speak of fish this is a picture of what happens when you start feeding the ducks.  There are a couple dozen trout right under these two ducks.  The kids loved feeding the fish.  The ducks would come racing to the dock if they thought there was going to be food.

A warning.  Never go near Jake when he's in the water.  You will be splashed.

We had another great picnic dinner and finished the night with an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.  I rate "Chipwrecked" with 5 stars. Very, very funny.  At least to all us kids.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

More Swimming, More Sun & More Dancing

Another beautiful day in the mountains.  It's in the mid 80's and clear skies.  After dancing this morning, 80-90 dancers gathered in the grass meadow for a pot luck lunch.  That was followed with an afternoon of swimming and paddling.  The kids enjoyed themselves and made new friends for several hours.  Terri and I spent most of our time in the shade of the trees down at the dock.

Roseta practiced her swimming and then gave lessons to a young friend.  It was the blind leading the blinder.  But they enjoyed themselves.

Jake swam all over the lake.  The kid must be part fish.  Speaking of fish the lake is full of trout and you can see them by the hundreds as you row around the lake.

They have a fish food dispenser and the kiddos love feeding the fish. It's an epic battle between the 3 resident ducks and the swarm of trout once you throw a few pieces of food into the lake.  The food doesn't sink very fast so the trout are coming to the surface to try to beat the ducks to the food. 

The largest Rainbow trout I saw today was over 16 inches and he came right out of the water to get to the food first.  He didn't get big by being shy.

After swimming, it was time for some paddle boating.  Four or five kids aboard and off they went.  The lake is crystal clear so you can see to the bottom anywhere in the lake.

We'll be dancing more tonight after dinner.  The kids all hang out on the lawn or at picnic tables that are just outside the dance hall.  We'll bring a laptop tonight so they can watch an outdoor movie in the dark while we dance.

So far we like retirement.