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SWWASAS

Gifford Pinchot Encounter April 21, 2015

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SWWASAS

Field work today in GPNF. Thought it would be sunny above the fog in the valleys but the fog went all the way up. Spooky to not be able to see 20 yards because of fog when I first started out. I knew the area well so not afraid of getting lost. I little leery at first but then I realized that if I could not see, BF could not see either. In other words one or the other of us might blunder into each other. Somehow that was comforting. I figure that is one of the few instances where we are on equal footing both avoiding and seeing each other. One of those days that only people who have been in the PNW can understand. Humidity 100% and it was raining from the trees. No where else, just under the trees. Then above the snow line started snowing off and on. I about flipped out when I heard a whoop from the butte above me. Got behind a tree and got my video camera ready for an encounter as that is how one of my encounters started with a whoop. But then above I saw a guy on a mountain bike tearing downhill. I used the tree as a barrier and about scared him to death when he came around and saw me standing there. Two others were behind him but I warned them I was there because the first guy nearly crashed when he saw me. Light snow off and on and rather pleasant but nothing of interest. Hard to see very far. One of my objectives was to look at the woods in that area and figure out what to hide a camera in that would best fit into the natural environment. I am going to hollow out a piece of wood and make look like a small tree stump. That seems to be the best way to hide the camera in that area. Rocks were few and far between in that area so I discarded plans to use a fake rock. It would be too obvious in that area as there are very few large rocks.

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BigTreeWalker

Just curious, what elevation is the snow level at now?

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SWWASAS

Patches about 2000 but covering the ground at about 2100 feet. At least that was yesterday afternoon. It was snowing when I left the 2000 level.

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bipedalist
BFF Patron

Will be 1500 ft. this weekend...... gotta scoot.  

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daveedoe

good time to go look for some tracks, before the snow level rises. plenty of mud this year! Might be good this summer to find prints in the dried out mud.

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SWWASAS

I wish we had some clear days so I could go out in some areas that do not have human presence and look for tracks from the air. You cannot tell what size they are but at least you know there has been activity in an area. In the winter with snow cover, if you look far enough from the trailheads then there is no way without some serious snow shoeing for humans to get out there. You can tell if they are footprints or snowshoe prints if you fly low enough. Snowmobiles are not allowed most places. I noticed a truck at the trailhead the other day that was interesting. Had three different antennas like some sort of government vehicle and a radio, but did not have government plates. Was there when I got there and there when I left. Whoever was there was way out someplace. Wonder what they were doing? Mine where the only human tracks other than the bicycles on the trail I was on but there are some blocked off logging roads in the area too.

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BigTreeWalker

If, and it's a big if, we get some clear weather, the east side of St Helens would be a good area to check out. Rd 25 is closed by a slide to the north and gates closed to the south. That leaves around 20 miles of closed road over Elk Pass and all of Rd 99 if the Wakepish Snow Park can't be accessed. Just a thought.

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Cryptic Megafauna

I think fir scaring animals off I'm going for an Air horn. Came upon an inquisitive decent sized black bear this summer who was stalking my backtrack. Had a mental communication when I sensed something around and since I had a camera sent out a thought that we could go Hollywood :keeporder: He was standing in that exact spot when I came back by, maybe 20 feet or so, way to close.  I told him to hold it as I set up the shot and once we looked at each other I had to shoo him back before he got to "curious" (predatory response) He bolted of a bit and I sweet talked him for another shot, he stopped and looked back and after I took the photo I had to get gruff again. Tried it once more for good effect. Would not recommend it. I did get an icy tendril around the heart, just letting me know what the stakes might have been. So next time I bring the air horn, hope it can be effective.

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joebeelart

Fascinating discussion, from the first post. I need to understand infrasound; which I don't.

The raven wing sound is fairly easy to hear. Just find an area where ravens are flying and put out white bread {or something} on a piece of aluminum foil {preferably near a drop-off of some kind} and stand real still. The ravens will swoop in and ****** it. I've treated visitors to this several times.

A bookmark most people should have: Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology: Macaulay Library of natural history sounds

{~80,000 last count}.

http://macaulaylibrary.org/

More fun than watching TV series shows, mostly.

Also, I don't get the ribbon on top. What doing wrong. PM please.

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SWWASAS

If, and it's a big if, we get some clear weather, the east side of St Helens would be a good area to check out. Rd 25 is closed by a slide to the north and gates closed to the south. That leaves around 20 miles of closed road over Elk Pass and all of Rd 99 if the Wakepish Snow Park can't be accessed. Just a thought.

Good plan I will do that. Might be April before we get a sunny day the way it looks.

The thing that still bothers me about my raven chuffing recording when I return to that location is that if you look in the direction the sound came from at the location it is dense small trees on a downslope towards where the truck was parked with not much in the way of a clear flight path where I was hearing the sound coming from. You cannot throw a rock in that direction without hitting a tree. The day I returned with BTW the raven flew right down the old logging road at us then turned around a flew out. We watched it do that and it produced the chuffing noise when it made the hard turn when it saw us and turned around. Yes the sounds I heard and recorded are similar, but I just cannot figure out how a raven could fly through that maze of small trees in a straight line. The bearing of the noise did not change but originated from one location. Since it was also downslope a flight down slope would have resulted in a bearing shift in the vertical direction. So if is was a raven it could only have produced the sound by flying directly at me when it produced the sound as it did when BTW was there. The recorder was in my truck, the door was open, and the recording really was not representative of the volume I heard standing outside the truck. I know the raven explanation is most likely from the recording data I have as evidence but I still cannot shake the feeling that it was not that but just the third demonstration put on by the BF I first provoked by urinating earlier. I think it is one of those things I will never be sure about.

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SWWASAS

I got to get me some snow shoes and get into the winter back country. Pretty hard to get around without leaving footprints in the winter. Better yet maybe cross country skis. I used to do that a lot in California. My gear is all so old that they don't even make boots with bindings like that any more.

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SWWASAS

Out in the field yesterday. On Kloochmans Butte in Eastern Clark County. Not looking for BF (well sort of) but hoping to get another view of the cougar I had the encounter with a few months ago. This Butte is the last ridge just West of Silverstar Mountain. Totally alone out there. No cars at the trailhead and I did not see another person all day. Found some recent elk tracks which surprised me as have not seen them up there before.

Here is a picture of Silverstar from where I was. Silverstar was where that picture of the BF in the Snow field was taken a few years ago.

post-23549-0-80114500-1453227482_thumb.j

Wider view

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Good view of Mt St Helens off to the North.

post-23549-0-95166900-1453227643_thumb.j

Patches of snow where I was but mostly clear. Good temperature for hiking. Not too cold.

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BigTreeWalker

Quite a difference from last year with no snow. That last picture appears there's lots of clear-cutting going on. Hard to get into those areas anymore. Were you on state land or the edge of the NF? Have you done any flying or were the east winds to much on the clear days a couple weeks ago?

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daveedoe

In the first picture, I enlarged it and I see an airplane just a bit left of center just above the ridge top. The plane must be east of SS, I wondered if you had seen it. Maybe a commuter flight heading to Seattle from PDX. Good pictures, what a difference from last year for sure

Edited by daveedoe

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