Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend Near the Skagit

It was an eventful weekend. I went up near Concrete to go trailing with Brian McConnell and some members of the tracking team.

I got to:
-Follow the trail of a pair of elk around for several hours
-Get eaten by mosquitoes
-Get eaten by flies
-See some black slugs copulating (Just learned from the wiki article that they were used in Sweden for axle grease. A much better use for them than mine which is so I can avoid eating my home grown veggies)
-Follow a couple of bear trails
-Touch the still warm insides of a next recently occupied by thrushes
-Get my first ever bee sting - it reminded me a lot of a nettle sting, though a bit more potent. Somehow the bee made it up my pant leg and near the top of the inside of my underwear before I got her out - fortunately the sting occurred on my knee!
-Sleep on a mountainside
-Follow another bear trail for several hours
-Discover that at least one bear really likes the brush - particularly it enjoyed going through thick patches of devil's club. At one point we were trying to figure out where it had crossed the creek, having lost its trail shortly before. Hugh decided he knew where to find it - he figured it would be in the thickest patch of devil's club around and he was right! And that was near the beginning of our travels through devil's club
-Find out what it is like to crawl through thick patches of devil's club on all fours somewhat like a bear, turns out bears can fit through pretty small places - I don't think I've ever had as many devil's club thorns in my head before
-See where the bear had knocked over and eaten on large chunks of devil's club
-Oh, yeah - last and probably least (as far as size is concerned) - got to see/walk through/get dripped on by/accidentally taste/etc. a profusion of spit bug froth.

All in all a great way to spend a summer weekend in Washington.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Before seeing the porcupine in the previous post, we went out to Hanford Reach. We'd planned to go tracking there, but the wind was quite brisk - blowing sand and tumbleweeds all over the place. So instead we had a nice drive around and on the way back stopped to appreciate the storm and take this video.

My friend who lived in the south most of her life and so is more familiar with such things tells me that there is a funnel cloud behind us that shows up in the a few bits of the video. Guess we were lucky the storm didn't get even more exciting.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Saturday night while heading to our camping spot at Frenchmen's Coulee we heard shifting rocks in front of us. In the half-moon light, after a couple of minutes watching and listening, I was able to make out the shape of ... a porcupine? It was hard to be certain: when I looked directly at it its shape disappeared - I could only see it in my peripheral vision. When it had been quite for several minutes, we investigated with a flashlight and were able to confirm a smallish porcupine, now huddled behind a small boulder.

In the morning we spent a few hours exploring in the morning light. We each went back to investigate the spot of the sighting, though I did not see too much evidence of its passing. I thought it may have come down from the edge of the adjacent cliff band, so up the scree I climbed. There was certainly porcupine sign there - under overhangs, behind masses of vine brambles and out in the open - but no obvious sign of regular habitation. Shawn explored further down the canyon though and found a couple of porcupine sized holes overflowing with scat.

On our way back out, in almost the exact same spot we again encountered the porcupine again. I guess he had the bad luck to be heading out and back in at the opposite times as we did.