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Archive for September 11th, 2006

Destination: Weather Station
Starting Location: Cougar Creek Trail
Today’s Miles: 33.40
Trip Miles: 2318.50
Cougar Creek Trail (2348.8, 5780) to Weather Station (2382.2, 3950) ascent (5597) descent (7500)

Given that we needed long miles to prevent another dry camp I left early as I am the slowest. A very light dew had set in and when that happens the trail dust picks up micro droplets of water. It’s not wet & the moisture is very light but it is there & if you look closely you can tell if tracks have broken through & thus how old they are. So as I am walking I see an elk track and it is post dew. I follow it a bit and somehow just know it is really fresh. I slow my pace to a crawl and notice a slight breeze on my face. Good, the wind is blowing my scent the opposite direction. And there she was – 400-500 lbs of elk about 50 feet in front of me. She turned, saw me, paused and bolted. When she did the whole forest exploded and I counted 9 elk crashing all around me. I will never forget this feeling. Seeing habituated elk in our national parks like Glacier & Yellowstone is really neat, but seeing them in the true wild where they are super spooky & fear man is a totally different experience. Later in the day I heard another elk running. They sound like a horse they are so big. I so wanted to see an elk – thank you.
Now Washington knows how to fragment habitat & denude mountainsides. The clear cuts in this section are massive & the road network comprehensive. Unfortunately this isolates the good habitats from each other & furthers the problem by creating easy access to us humanoids. The clear cuts then create vacuums & nature abhors a vacuum & so it fills it with dozens of trees per square meter thus setting up a weak over crowded forest. But the return on investment for the share holders likely exceeded expectation. I hope they sell versus gift their share to the grand kids because the future returns are going to suck. We are so focused on immediate gratification in this country. It will be our demise

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