Melanie and I decided to hike an old favorite of ours, the Lower Salal trail, returning down the Hemlock trail, making for a really nice 5.4-mile loop, with 1,200 feet of elevation gain and loss. Slowly but surely, I'm recovering from that pesky back injury. Although the distance isn't a problem, this was the first time I've tried to navigate that much elevation.
|Trees shrouded in dense fog|
We drove to the trailhead in the fog and noted that it was projected to lift sometime around 11:00, but it only begin to clear around almost noon. It didn't really matter, since we knew the trail well and were able to enjoy being outdoors and have fog instead of rain for a change. It was thick enough, however, to make me wear my raincoat for warmth much longer than I would have otherwise.
|Tree covered in moss|
There was no shortage of beautiful green moss to admire, on trees and rocks and turning what would otherwise be simple brown to myriad shades of green. We didn't see many mushrooms, a few here and there, but occasionally we did find some real beauties.
|Turkey tail mushroom|
I remember learning that this particular kind of fungus has medicinal properties, so I had to look it up and share (from Healthline):
While there is an abundance of mushrooms with medicinal properties, one of the most well-known is Trametes versicolor, also known as Coriolus versicolor. Commonly called turkey tail due to its striking colors, Trametes versicolor has been used around the world for centuries to treat various conditions. Perhaps the most impressive quality of the turkey tail mushroom is its ability to enhance the health of your immune system.
Apparently it is often used to treat certain cancers. In any event, it sure is delightful to see in its natural state. As we hiked along, we approached a place Mel has called the "under-over spot," and we discovered that one of the logs has fallen.Now I guess it has changed to the "under-slip sideways" spot.
|The changing forest floor|
If you look to the right of the big heavily rooted tree, you can see a log lying on its side next to the round rock. That is the log that has fallen, and I suspect that next time we come here, it will be moved to the side or will have been cut into pieces. It falls right across the trail at the moment. We slipped sideways to get around it, but some enterprising (and probably younger) hikers had just walked across the top of it.
|A favorite stand of trees|
Little by little, the fog began to lift, and as we made our way back to the trailhead via the Hemlock trail, we enjoyed the return even more than the beginning of the day. We also had to navigate another change in the trail.
We saw this when we started out, and not knowing the condition of the trail, we of course had to take a look. At one point the water must have gone all the way across the trail, but now it's just a bit of a nuisance to cross it, no problem if you have waterproof footgear, which we did. But it looks as if the waterfall must have grown quite large and uprooted several trees in its wake.
Just a few feet away from that sign is what's left of the waterfall today, with lots of downed trees and some water across the trail, but nothing much otherwise. I think the trail crews have quite a lot to accomplish in the area, so I look forward to seeing what the area might look like in the near future. It was fun to be out in the woods today, checking out what's the same and what's changed, and to feel pretty good after our workout. I hope the other Senior Trailblazers had as much fun on Blanchard Mountain as we did in the Chuckanuts!