Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

There's always a weekend in spring where we start thinking summer has come!.  Lines at REI go out the door, there's a crush at Greenlake, people start yoga and mow lawns, dogs that haven't seen the light of day in months are dragged out to parks and people spend ages trying on sunglasses they'll lose in a drawer next week when winter returns.

Last Saturday was that weekend: sunshine and temperatures in the 70s lured me out for a hike with Wren.  We went to Boulder River Trail up near Darrington.  At 9.45am parking was already packed and we had to navigate the potholed road where piles of sawdust still lay by the lengths of freshly sawn trees that had fallen over the trail, a reminder of recent storms. Driving up from Seattle we also passed the Oso Landslide site.  In the early fog and cool it was deserted and we stopped a moment to reflect on how small we are against geologic scale and how the flag of a nation feels like a vanity against the carving and calving of the earth's surface.

The Oso Gate Memorial
Oso Landslide where 43 died March 22, 2014
We started up the trail unsure how far we'd go. At first, Wren was concerned about the cliffs to the right of the path. He said he wasn't worried about himself but was worried Beezle could fall off.  I told him Beezle would take care of himself because he had four legs.  Then I looked over the edge and wondered if I was right.

Beezle does not like bridges.  If he has a chance to walk over a log or walk under it he always takes the low road.  This bridge was no exception. Wren says "I got a real fright.  I thought Beezle would go down into the river and be stuck there and not come up".  He did come up.

Along the way we passed the downed trees and snags. Some huge trees had splintered on the path while others blocked the way entirely and had steps sawn in them where we had to carry Beezle. At every crossing people would pause and ooh and aah at how cute and small Beezle was and what a distance he was walking.

The full Boulder Creek hike was 9 miles.  We made it the whole way (Wren was running downhill on the way home).  He was thankful when I stopped looking at every mushroom (because the same species kept recurring). Beezle had run out of steam 3/4 of the way alone and only continued out of desperation and fear of being left in the woods with wild dogs and fern fronds to eat.

On the way home we ate snacks from Grocery Outlet and stopped at Cabelas to buy Wren a knife.  He has been whittling and cutting cheese with it ever since.

There were birds nest fungi on every surface and at every angle.

Wren surveys the remains of a recently fallen tree across the trail.

There were many spring fungi out, and particular abundance of this ascomycete which is
a species of pseudoplectania (vogesiaca or nigrella)

lichenomphalia umbellifera symbiotically associated
with green green alga Coccomyxa on rotting logs.

Birds nest fungi.

A foraging pug who wanted to eat our pear but was chased away by Beezle
(who does not eat pear)

A cone shape in a twig circle.

Welcome to the Woods

Some things don't need a caption.

We walked 9 miles in total (a fellow hiker had a GPS). It took us 6 hours and Wren
was largely responsible for us keeping going to the end of the trail before turning back.
I was still the next day - he was not.  Beezle looks at me with dread when I say "Walkies".