Monte Pugh en Otoño

Took a jaunt up Mount Pugh 23SEP2018…

Trail was in quite good condition, with perhaps only a couple minor obstacles.

Ran into a few parties along the way; maybe ten humans and a dog in total.

Light snow started after the knife ridge, at about 6100′.

At the summit there was an inch or so of snow, and a vista socked in by water vapor.

Views began to give way on the trip down, when the cloud level finally rose a couple thousand feet off ground level.

Fall colors were in abundance.

Besides the humans and their canine, a few pikas were the only wildlife to note.

☆☆☆☆Klick for more pics!☆☆☆☆

Fungus Debriefing #2


Happened upon a handful of Lion’s Mane mushrooms while hiking around the Mountain Loop…

As I passed each one, I thought “I’ll grab it on the way down, save them some trail beating”.

On the way back down, all but a pair had been cut!

*welp… you snooze you lose I guess!

I’d seen a couple patches of little chantrelle buds in a few places, but missed them in darkness that had fallen upon our return trip.

Before the dusk started to settle in, I spied a King Bolete that looked ok, but upon closer inspection was pretty wormy.


Roamed around the flanks of Bessemer Mountain for most of the day in a fruitless search…

Only one tiny chantrelle was discovered amongst a forest full of little orange wannabes.

Some few odd specimens of boletes and dead wood loving polypores were collected for further examination.

We followed a trail up from the CCC road that turned out to be a backwoods downhill bike track.

It was clear a lot of work was put into the course’s construction, but it’s current state suggests that the zenith of it’s use may have passed.

•••••••••••••••••MORE PICS•••••••••••••••••

Fungus Debriefing #1

2018SEP16: The preceding weeks brought some rain to the western mountains, a good sign to the savvy mushroomer.

Vine maple leaves were beginning to turn; reds and yellows. Sometimes the clash of colors appeared like a still life wildfire burning up the hillsides.

Manic weather dumped a few solid sheets of rain before ebbing into a mixed nebula of moisture. A benevolent window opened up later in the day, seemingly rewarding all those who rode it out.

My first finds were some soggy lobster mushrooms; not impressive, but at least I knew they were out there.

“Missed ’em by a week!”

This was a repeating phrase I heard in my head as I started the hike to another area I knew to be productive in the past.

When I got there I immediately ran into more soggy lobsters poking up out of the duff.

“Told ya, missed em by a week!”

Not far away, at the base of a young Douglas fir, I spotted a large cauliflower mushroom. The outer lobes seemed clean and free of infestation.

Harvesting only the choicest parts of the big mushroom, I thought it best to leave much of the fungal mass remaining to do it’s thing.

After that it seemed my luck took a little upturn and I scared up a few lobsters in prime shape. I also discovered a pair of chantrelles; one yellow and one white.

No big wildlife sightings, but the ruffed grouse were abundant.

More pics: Fungus Debriefing


LOC: A-1,2

Coulee City Pioneer Cemetery

Coulee City is not the same settlement that it was at it’s founding early in the twentieth century. A time traveler from our time would instantly notice at least one glaring difference: back then, the town wasn’t on the shores of a giant lake!


The earliest interments at the site pre-date the town and are thought to date as far back as 1889, though burial records do not exist from that era.

Coulee City was founded in May of 1907, by that time the graveyard had been in use for close to two decades, yet had still not been recorded with county government.

Known burials took place over a 30 year period spanning 1895 to 1924, but after the 1920s the graveyard went disused. By some accounts it was an issue with the water table causing subsidence problems when graves would flood, others claim it was abandoned because the rocky soil was just too tough to dig.

Decades of neglect passed by until the 1970s, when a band of volunteers formed to bring the forgotten graveyard back from the brink. Their laudable efforts culminated in the official dedication of the cemetery on Memorial Day of 1976.

Almost 90 years after it’s unofficial founding, the graveyard was finally recorded with the county and given a name.


Since the great volunteer effort of ’76, maintenance at Coulee City Pioneer Cemetery has been sporadic.

Tumbleweeds pile up and the weeds and grasses grow tall enough to obscure many of the remaining markers.

The open spaciousness of the plot tells of the monuments that have vanished to time, while the stones that continue to weather-on might remind visitors of the grit and tenacity of those who settled these Scablands.


Coulee City is along the US-2, roughly in the center of Washington State, on the south shores of Banks Lake.

Just northeast of the tiny berg one can find the cemetery, though you might have to drive by a few times until you notice it.

Parking is limited to the roadside, but traffic is sparse.



More pictures: Coulee City Pioneer Cemetery

Coulee City, Grant County, WA, USA

Fat Bike Diaries #4

MILE 80.80801

Replaced the fluckin flat and patched it up for a spare. A pair of pinholes were the source of the leak. Drunken scoundrels breaking their beer bottles in Japanese Gulch!

I also used this downtime to construct some mud flaps out of an old corrugated plastic sign. How will they work? ¡Vamos a ver!

MILE 81.818181

Followed a DNR road into the Tomtits (tee hee!) looking for a way up Mount Sultan. It started out easy enough, then the road took a turn for the steep!

So steep as it were, that the grade was fortified with staggered concrete slabs. Someone could get going suicidally fast down that hill.

A second even longer section of the slabs were waiting after the first. Beyond that second monstrous push, the road again became ridable.

Didn’t get to the top, but got a better look at the combination of twists and turns that it might take to get up there.

At one point I encountered a chain link gate blocking a bridge which spans Youngs Creek.

Eintritt Verboten!

Oh yeah… the mud flaps did alright, but admittedly there wasn’t too much mud to flap.


Thought I’d drop in at Ravensdale Retreat since I had some shopping to do in the area.

Startled an elk toward the east end of the park!

The trails were wet enough to really give the mud flaps a run around. They did ok, but needed a few adjustments. I also tried to form the front flap around the wheel a bit more for aesthetic reasons. Fancy Schmanzy!

I guess I could paint them, but I kinda like the raw “Post-consumercalyptic utilitarian” look.

MILE 100

After much procrastination I decided to leave the house, er, the garden rather. Always a tough call during the spring; Garden? Adventure? Time is ticking buddy! You only live once!

Whoa, shit! Father Time has been drinking and is swinging the belt around!

So after that brief hallucination, I decided to go to McDonald Mountain. I’d made it most the way last winter, being turned back by snow that was just too deep for the Alloymule.

Some new squeeking became evident on the trudge up the hill and before long it was all I could focus on. Good in a way perhaps, to distract the mind from the uphill slogging…

I passed one couple that were hiking down the hill, after that I had the rest of the mountain to myself…

This gave me plenty of time to contemplate the best pushing techniques, and whether or not I was really pushing a bike at all, and not just some simulated bike in some simulated universe!

At the top there’s a radio tower, it seems real, but I mean, what is really real in a simulation, ya?

If you go a little above and beyond the simulated radio tower, a trail will lead you along a beautifully rendered ridge to an incredibly detailed representation of a clearcut, or least it was in May of ’18…

Someone had skilfully programmed a pair of benches out of the logging slash which gives you a place to rest your bones and look over at the “big probably unreal mountain”.

¡Bien hecho, amigo!

Wow, what a view. I wonder how far the world is rendered beyond my field of view… I could have sworn I packed a sandwich… How did this bench really get here?

I could sit here and try to crack life’s toughest nuts, but I’d better be getting down the mountain to get back to:

•Crippling wage labor simulator 2018•

…too bleak?

Read on, dood: Fat Bike Diaries #5

Back up, bruh: Fat Bike Diaries #3

Fat tire bike Diaries #3


Rode the stretch from the Carbon River entrance of Mt.Rainier to Ipsut Ranger Station.

Got some comments on the Alloy Mule from a few people along the way.

“My, what big tires you have!”

At the Ipsut end of the road, a sort of rough looking fella rolled up on a BMX, smoking a cigarette. We briefly talked about hikes that start from that point. “So you planning on stashing your bike and hiking up further?”

Glad my plan was just riding back to the parking lot. Kinda got a vibe, ya know?

MILE 45.6

Lately I’ve been riding in the woods east of Maple Valley, WA. Lotsa old roads to explore, but lotsa private property too.

MILE 73.272

I took the Alloymule most of the way up McDonald Mountain until the March snow turned me back at the 3000′ level.

Difficult to pedal in the deeper snow (>1′), but possible! Probably could have let some air out of the tires to see if that helped. Next time!

Mostly pushed the bike up the mountain, but coming down made up for it, what a hoot! Though I’m thinking it’d be even more of a hoot with a suspension system.

MILE 81 1/2

Even with well inflated tires, those sloping curbs can still catch the casual suburban rider by surprise now and again, as I am occasionally reminded during rides around the neighborhood.

MILE 89.111

Took another ride down Japanese Gulch with J bird on a slightly damp day.

The front wheel REALLY sprays up a lot of mud when it’s wet out, I need some kind of mud guards.

We coasted all the way down to the shores of the Sound, and since the tide was out, rode along the beach for a bit before heading back up the gulch.

On the way back up the gulch we did a little exploring and found a clandestine track in the woods…

Someone built a bridge spanning a couple ramps using a burnt out cedar log as the deck. I slowed down as I rolled over, admiring the use of local materials…

…then I lost my balance and crushed “the boys” on the top bar, before falling a few feet down below into a medley of sticks and sword ferns.

Several minutes of controlled breathing were needed to recover from the devastating testicular blow. Yowza.

MILE 98.89898

I was gonna go for a ride, but discovered The Alloy Mule sitting on its front rim. Musta been all the broken beer bottles under the rail bridge at Japanese Gulch.

Instead I gotta change a flucking flat!

Buckeye Mine


In 1898 copper bearing minerals were found perched in a narrow canyon not far from the now defunct settlement of Halford, WA. Eight years later in 1906, the Buckeye Claims, as they were known, were surveyed for patent.

Much improvement had been done in that short time; bunkhouses, cookhouses and barns had been constructed on the site, in addition to trails, bridges and three tunnels totaling about 1500′ in length.

Then as now, access to the Buckeye is a little remote, which required any ore wrested from the claim to be carried out to the nearest railroad depot by miner or by mule.

Despite the hardships of transport, and difficulties involved in driving tunnels through the Buckeye’s particularly hard rock, work continued. However, the miners discovered only dwindling amounts of unspectacular ore as they chased the vein through the mountain.

These less than stellar mineral showings coupled with a tunneling cost of $25/ft (about $650 in 2018 usd) had conspired to halt further diggings at the claim by 1907, with the vast majority of the Buckeye’s hard won ore ending up in the tailing dump.


Scattered chunks of iron pipe and metal debris can be seen here and there on the way up the steep gully, as well as tell tale ore samples amongst the rock.

Most relics and such, including the ore cart mentioned in DWHM #1, have long disappeared from this site

The tunnels house cart tracks and ventilation piping throughout, with one drift in the back used as a store room for now decaying timbers.

One of the more memorable features of the Buckeye’s tunnels is a high pressure jet of water literally screaming out of a crack in the wall.

Honestly it’s a little unsettling at first, as you hear it before you see it. “W…t…f… is that?!?”

Around the adit one can see metal bars set into the cliffs which once supported a timber roof to protect the miners from whatever might come tumbling down the gully.

A quick peek inside the adit reveals it to be a widened chamber perhaps a dozen feet back and about five feet wide. The remains of a wooden platform are set in the mud.

Just outside, you’ll notice a narrow ledge leading off toward the gap in the cliffs, where the miners dumped their ore carts into the gulch.

This narrow cliff could easily dump your ore cart into the gulch as well. Stay out, stay alive!


The journey to the Buckeye begins in the vicinity of the popular Lake Serene Trail.

Follow the trail to a junction with the old forest service road 6020 at about 1200′ elevation, a little before the Bridal Veil fork. This road, or what’s left of it leads to an old BPA powerline road which skirts the long east arm of Philadelphia Mountain.

The BPA road can also be accessed from the Index River Sites, but it is a private community with strict access rules. Know before you go!

Just uphill of the Index River Sites, where the BPA road meets the 6020, the road will climb steeply to a gate. From here you’ll travel eastward and up and down a lot of hills, but at least it’s a navigable road!

If you can get a mountain bike out here, that’s the way to travel imho.

After about three miles from the gate, you’ll see the rusting hulk of an ancient jeep at the top of yet another down hill section.

Luckily this is the last hill.

At the bottom, an old road can be found leading off toward the mountain where you’ll be looking for a…


At the base of Buckeye Gulch is the remains of a clandestine backwoods campsite known by some as the “Meth Camp.” This eyesore is probably one of the best clues that you’re on the right track.

An absolute cacophony of debris are strewn around; cookware, coolers, tarps, clothes, children’s toys…? Gradually the forest is burying the mess with duff, but it ain’t going anywhere soon.

An earlier adventurer shares his impression:

“I first saw the camp back in ’08; wasn’t as bad as it is now but I still thought a meth lab blew up. Got up past that ugly scramble to the mine and the freakin’ ore cart was gone. Tweakers jacked it I bet!”

-Davey Leghorn, enthusiast

So what was really going on at the Meth Camp? Was it actually a deep woods drug den? A mountain meth mill? A tweaker-fest in the timber?!?

Old maps suggest that the area may have been the site of some of the aforementioned bunkhouses, cookhouses and barns that supported operations at the Buckeye.

It’s unlikely that Meth Camp ever served as any kind of alpine amphetamine (ah)peration, however the true details remain shrouded in mystery…

Which really, might be for the best.


If you’ve found “Meth Camp” then all that’s left is to head up the gulch…

At first it’s not too bad, heading up through comparably light brush via the canyon’s main drainage channel, which by late spring may be running dry.

Eventually you’ll break out into open talus and have a good view up the canyon, which you’ll notice gets very narrow. As you approach the squeeze you’ll notice the lightly vegetated ore dump appearing on the canyon’s western wall.

Where the steep granite walls pinch together, you’ll find yourself faced with a scramble up a 15-20′ wall of wedged boulders. This will turn some people back, and rightly so. You’re now a very long way from a hospital. Especially with a compound fracture!

Just above the scramble, you’ll find the adit of the Buckeye No.5 blasted into the center of the canyon, which forks steeply beyond this point.


  • 10mi+- (16km) rt
  • Travel time could be significantly reduced by riding a mountain bike.
  • The gully contains a scramble up a steep boulder jam that is sometimes also waterfall.
  • Potential rock fall danger while traveling in the canyon. Got a helmet?
  • Off trail travel and routefinding skills and equipment a must.

•¤•¤•¤•¤•¤HAPPY TRAILS!¤•¤•¤•¤•¤•


Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997

More pictures: Buckeye Mine Pics


This information is for historical purposes only.

Klahhane Crash Landing

While perusing the Internet one day, I happened to read about a small plane crash that had occurred somewhere along Klahhane Ridge on 03MAY2018. So of course, I had to go have a look…


Eleven days later I made the drive out to Port Angeles and headed for the ridgetops.

There was still some snow to contend with along the “Switchback Trail” up to the top of the ridge, but a solidly stomped path led the way until I began to ascend untrammled snow more directly uphill.

On the way up I was preoccupied with speculation on where the wreck might be. This is steep, rugged terrain! It probably wasn’t going to be easy to find this thing!

However, as luck would have it, just as I was leaning into the last few steps up to the ridgeline I heard the unmistakable phump, phump, phump of a helicopter.

Atop the ridge, I stood on the lip of a brilliant, ivory bowl overlooking the Strait of Joey De Fuca. The iconic orange paint of a Coast Guard helicopter immediately caught my eye against the glaring bright of the snow.

The chopper was just lifting off from the alpine slopes as I set down my bag for a brief respite. I quickly noticed the crumpled Cessna not far away from where the chopper left the ground.

The helicopter initially left in the direction of the water, but gained altitude as it turned around and flew over top of me. I waved and watched as they circled westward around the rocky summit of Mt.Angeles before heading north toward the guard station at Ediz Hook.

A boot path across the snowy field passed near the downed aircraft. Just off the trail, an FAA sign warned against approaching within 50yds of the “active investigation site”.

Immediately I was struck by the name “Rite Bros” emblazoned on the rudder. Ironic enough.

According to the article, the pilot, who was flying alone, survived the early morning crash landing and climbed to the ridge top, where he was airlifted out.

I, on the other hand will be walking back, since I seem to have missed the last helicopter!

At this point, who knows how long the wreck of the “Rite Flyer” will sit atop Klahhane Ridge. I guess until someone gets it down from there, ’cause it certainly ain’t flying out on it’s own!

Maybe they should just leave it up there, after all it makes for an interesting hiking destination!

Happy Trails!


Fat Bike Diaries #2


After getting all spun out on that case of Gravity Bullseye Monster I got in Fat Bike Diaries #1, I had a compulsion to take the bike to the desert, I dunno, maybe kinda like a Jim Morrison thing but without the drugs… well mostly.

So I drove out to an area near Wanapum marked as “dunes” on the map. I parked at a wide pull off and rode down a dirt road, breaking off at an old, sandy motorcycle scar which led in the direction of the dunes.

The stretch of sand was stitched together with sage and tumbleweed, but had some open runs to ride. The sun was setting on the diminutive dunes, casting mystically purple shadows.

This is exactly why I wanted to visit the desert!

Near the edge of the wind blown sands, I began to follow a set of tracks. It could have been a spirit animal or something, but was probably just a normal deer.

The tracks wove gently between the clumps of grass and shrub and continued down into a draw, the golden grains splashed pink with dwindling sunrays.

I feel like maybe I should have followed the footprints, but I didn’t. Maybe I was getting a little antsy; the sound of motorcycles vaguely in the distance was kind of giving me a Mad Max meets Deliverance vibe, I’ll admit.

The desert man… Jim knew something man, Jim knew… man!


That night I camped at Frenchman Coulee. During the evening I was surprised to see a tall, basalt spire inexplicably illuminated against the night sky.

Oh, it’s people night climbing, not some gigantic horrifying apparition coming to kill me!

Back to sleep.

First thing in the morning I drove back to George to grab a cup of coffee and something deep fried for breakfast.

Jo-jo’s: The Breakfast of champions

From there I drove out to the Quincy Lakes recreation area. The morning was a little chilly, and the parking lot was completely deserted… my steering wheel was greasy with JoJo juice.

The sunrise over Quincy Lake was warming. The sun rays felt good on my face as I tossed pebbles onto the thin ice covering the shallows.

I’d seen a mine symbol on my map just above Judith Pool, so I took a northwest course toward “H” Lake following paths of various quality to make my way.

The mine was a shallow hole cut into some very fractured and unstable material. I saw a few odd bluish specks of mineral, but had no idea what they were mining here.

From the mine I went a little further along the path to an overlook of Judith Pool and the Ancient Lakes.

On the way back I followed a different path, which turned out to be a much more direct route to the main Quincy Lakes Road.

When I got to the Dusty Lake Trail I decided I needed to do some more exploring so I carried my bike down the steep trail and was able to ride to a good overlook of El Lago Dusty.

From there trails wound through the dry grass leading me around the various lakes and ponds. Trails became faint or non existent in places only to reappear in others.

Glad I got my quantum physics badge back in the scouts!

Aiming myself in the direction of the road eventually got me there, which led back to the parking lot, which was still empty.

I took a minute to reflect on what everybody else was missing out on. Then was saddened when I realized all the great stuff I might be missing out on…

Welp, back to Shree’s Truck Stop at George for more coffee and deep fried wedges of startchy delight! Least I won’t miss out on cardiovascular disease.

MILE 29.6

The sun was high by the time I had returned to Frenchman Coulee.

I rode out towards a big sand dune south of the road leading down to the boat launch.

The sandy trail was a good test for the 4″ tires, and they did well! I had no trouble reaching the dunes on the massive tread.

The big dune is piled against a basalt cliff like the bridge of a nose. From just about where the nostril tops would be it fans out widely. It really bears no semblance to a face, or a nose at all, however.

A pair of trail runners appeared upon the enormous sandy pile shortly after my arrival. One of the two made a Rocky-esque ascent of the tallest part of the gritty behemoth, at the top, she even raised her fists in triumph.

I waved and smiled and whispered to myself through my teeth “gawdammit, I was gonna do that!

The guy looked over toward me and totally didn’t yell “Yeah?! Well you snooze, you lose bike boy!” but it would have been really funny if he did.

They stretched and checked all their watches, and phones and sandy plugs, and merrily ambled off into the horizon. Now it was MY turn to climb the granular golem! It’s steeper than it looks!

From the dune I noticed a faint trail leading up to a narrow notch that led onto the cliffs. I followed it up, carrying the bike part of the way. At the top I continued eastward.

A faint trail was traceable, though often obscured by dried overgrowth. When I finally lost the trail, I contoured the hills, continuing east.

The bike does surprisingly well across the dried grassland of the plateau! Like riding an alloy mule!

I found my way to an ATV road, which literally ended in a lake. Across the water I could see the other side of the road. Oh yeah, ford it!? That didn’t always work out so good on the Oregon Trail if I remember correctly!

I rode the alloy mule around the pond instead, and happened upon a much newer looking road, which I followed. Didn’t take long to see it was heading in my direction.

The road ended up popping out at the top of the Frenchman Coulee road, from which point I triumphantly coasted down to the wide bench which overlooks the waterfall.

A trail winds narrowly along the cliffs down to the falls, it’s uneven and rocky, with a nasty plunge if you really screwed the pooch. I enjoyed having the extra wide tires on this thin track!

At the falls I took time for climbing around and taking pictures. I even discovered a riding lawn mower lodged between some rocks and the cascading waters. Maybe best not to top off the water bottle here.

From there a sandy trail led away into the sage. The grainy grade gives way to a rough and rocky surface in lockstep with the descent of the roadway above.

This rocky old jeep trail eventually gets close enough to the Coulee road that I was able to hop off, preferring the sun baked asphalt.

The car was parked only a short, smooth ride away.

While it was only 6.5mi, I gotta say, it felt like a lot more in the best way.

Now the call of hot truck stop coffee was taking me back to George before the long haul back to Sea Town. Better grab some Jo Jo’s while I’m at it. They are kind of a local delicacy…

Still here? I’ll be damned. Welp, might as well hunker down then and read Fat Bike Diaries #3

The Fat Bike Diaries #1

“Gravity Bullseye Monster”

No, not the methamphetamine charged energy drink only available from the mysterious corners of the Darknet or self proclaimed micro states floating in international waters, I’m talking ’bout my new “fat bike”!

What’s a fat bike, you ask… Well, it’s basically a mountain bike with huge tires…

In this case 4 inch wide trail tearing, holy f#!÷&ing $#!+ ripping, vulcanized fury!!!

Sorry, that was the other Gravity Bullseye Monster talking…

A case of these things showed up a couple days after the bike, must have been a mix up! I thought they banned this stuff in the states… Oh well, down the hatch!


The bike was simple to assemble and required very little tuning to get it running nice. I’d never ridden a bike with tires so wide, and some differences became immediately apparent…

PROTIP: You know those suburban curbs that are gently curved? They will try and throw your ass right off one of these things if you’ve got the tires too low! Watch out!

Aside from almost getting curb hurled, it was a pretty enjoyable first ride, but jeez, lugging those big wheels around is a real ‘b’!

Then, when I got home and pumped the tires up to the correct pressure…

it was like riding a whole different bike! Much, much more fun, and no lugging!

Protip: Correctly inflate your tires.


Took the bike to Japanese Gulch to ride with my friend J-Bird. It did awesome on the trails!

We got down to the access road along the ballast, which is basically a long mixed gravel hill which parallels a railroad spur.

J-Bird pulls away so fast that it’s clear to me that he no longer has any regard for his life. I’m timidly feathering my brakes as he disappears around the next bend like a low flying cruise missle.

I was taking a slightly more sane approach, and it was going just fine for me. That is until I started into a patch of really chunky, loose rock. Suddenly it was as if I was riding a mechanical bull hurtling downhill in a shopping cart.

I knew I was screwed, so I ditched before being tossed a dozen feet down the railroad embankment.

The crash landing left me a crumpled mess of man, bike and rocks, but better off than at the bottom of the ditch. As I began to unfurl from the wreck, I smiled and waved at a woman and her dog, who were gawking from a short distance away.

“No, really! I’m doing this for fun!”

The rest of the ride went better, except that my right pedal started twisting out of its thread, most likely due to my mechanical ineptitude. When we got back I was able to reset it, however it had suffered some damage to the threading.

Oh well, what are ya gonna do?

Think I’ll crack open another can of Gravity Bullseye Monster and work on the pedal for ten hours… man, these things are good… so much energy! Gonna go disassemble the shed and count the nails!

Tune in next time for The Fat Bike Diaries #2