Pinnacle and Bear Lake, WA

I went here a couple of weeks ago now but thought I should still mention it. This is a wondrous hike that starts off pretty mellow as it connects to bear lake very early on, this lake unfortunately from what I could see could not really be fished. The lake was very shallow and very warm at the time I was there and I saw now sign of fish as I went bush wacking around. So I continued on unknowingly I was going on a must more intense hike than I thought it was! However, I was really excited to see that the trail was not pristine as it keeps the yuppiest of the yuppys out. The trail gained some serious elevation on switchbacks that were heavily rooted and washed out, and a couple times there were false trails leading off to who knows where. Eventually you get to the top of the switchbacks and see some amazing views before seeing Hempel Lake on the right below you then moving on to some beautiful meadows, I definitely startled some bunnies chowing down on the sweet low grasses. Eventually you reach a large tarn, and at first I wasn’t sure if this was indeed the lake! I moved on and found that now it wasn’t, but that little tarn was pretty darn cute! (hyuk hyuk). In the tarn I saw some salamanders, many birds and various aquatic inverts. Oh by the way I should have mentioned that chacos are a must for this trip, waterproof boots if your so inclined or any shoes you don’t mind soaking with mud (I stepped into some mud, found it was a hole then had to pull my legs out- knee high caked with mud). Anyway the destination of Pinnacle lake was reached and the trip was totally nothing in beauty compared with that of the lake, beautiful and serene, clear and quiet, with views far outreaching. Also you get to see a pretty cool side of Mount Pilchuck and its spires. At this point it started raining and got pretty chilly, I ate my lunch and drank my beer, considered fishing but my fleece wasn’t warm enough to stick around long. When I was done I marched back down the mountain sad to leave early but happy to return again. Funny though when I reached the bottom the rain cleared up and the sun came out, so that was nice. This is a great hike, dont underestimate it though come prepared with more food and water then you need. Thankfully it was pretty clean other than the pet poop bags I saw every once in a while. If you bring a pet and you pick up its poop and put it in the bag TAKE OUT THE BAG. I know you say “well ill leave it here and get it on my way out”, I say “put it in your bag now, its in a bag, itll be okay”

Tangent ahead

For you who may not know anything about me I am going to school and it seems the more I learn about environmental conservation the more I just feel overwhelmed by the problems and helpless to solve them, as if you see a person bleeding out and you cannot get to them to put pressure on the wounds but there are so many people standing RIGHT THERE who refuse to help or just don’t see the person. That is how I feel almost everyday looking at humans and our impact. The only reason I mention this is when I say “Get off the couch and get out there” or something to that effect, I dont just mean get physical activity I mean learn about nature, appreciate it so when it comes to making decisions about its fate you are educated. Thanks for reading.

Get up and get educated!

-Leah

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” -Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

A Little More Volunteering

 It is very easy to become connected to your environment, with one click of the mouse you can find yourself at your county’s page for volunteer opportunities or maybe your states Department of Game and Fish. There are amazing things to be discovered out there, like for me, Mount Saint Helens. I signed up to do some scotch broom removal from an elk habitat area below Mount Saint Helens (MSH) , not really knowing what to expect. Surprisingly I also had a friend decide that a weekend outside of manual labor sounded good to him too! So away we went, a 5 hour drive later we were in an area of WA that we had never seen with beautifully replanted (for future timber cuts unfortunately) firs and pines and large striking mountains. We stayed overnight then went to work the next day using pectoral muscles you never thought to exist while using lobbers for 8 hours then spraying the stumps with an herbicide. It was hard work but I don’t think I have ever had such a good lunch spot. Standing on the banks of the Toutle River it looked like pictures I had seen of Denali. Wonderous would be the word I would use actually, it made me feel so small and complete to be out there in the rebirth of this new earth. I would have never even though to go here if it had not been for this opportunity and if you would so desire this event is held by Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife about three times a year and a very funny and amazing couple Rodger and Mona host a camp for the folks wishing to stay overnight, be prepared Rodger brings Fireball.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/

I guess my overall point is that we often dont know what is out there to protect. We hear about issues on the news or via word of mouth (that may or may not be true) so how do we really know the importance of conservation/management without seeing the lands with out own eyes. So we should all get out there, help each other out to whatever capacity you can and it will help everyone. Get up, sign up, Get out there!

Bye for now – Leah

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” -Aldo Leopold