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SWWASAS

Sw Washington Field Work 2016

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SWWASAS

Interesting collection of items you found. I would surmise that they were all together and the bag and pillow carried or dragged up to where you found. I'm like you though, it seems like an odd collection of stuff to be up there, especially the kayak. Unless someone stole it from a camp closer to the river and stashed it up there for later retrieval. Still odd. Those thorny bushes you mentioned, if that's what I see in the edges of your photos are salmon berry bushes.

Was the track on a slight incline? Just wondering because it looks like something slipped enough to rip the grass out of it. Since it looks pretty grassy around it.

I might mention too that sometimes items on USGS maps are approximate locations. Sometimes it says that sometimes it doesn't. There is a trail on the east side of Mt St Helens that the USGS map says goes through a certain area. It misses the actual location by quite a ways. Going by the map it would lead you over a cliff, around a marsh and back up the cliff again to the top. It does go around the marsh but it stays on the ridge. :)

The tip of the tape measure is uphill.    I would guess about a 5 degree incline.     The whole area was very wet.   I was wading through shallow water about 2 inches deep and much of it was muddy in the area I found the print.     This print was the only one that was not definitely elk.     It could have been an elk print that slipped but that does not explain the straight front and the striations that suggest claws or toes.    Pebbles can create that sort of striations but the ground was not at all rocky.     The pillow being further away is interesting.    If it had been covered by the substantial set of tarps over the kayak it would have been kept dry.    That it had been taken further in, was interesting too.    I would love to suggest BF but quite honestly nothing could have traversed that trail without leaving footprints.   BF may be clever about that but something would need a hoverboard to transit the area without leaving prints.    Then again,   there were no human prints around the kayak,   so it had to have been left some time ago when the ground was dry and prints were not left.    Something could have investigated what was under the tarps and found the pillow and sleeping bag and carried it further up trail.      The bag appeared intact but was open on the end that the pillow was sticking out.    I suppose a bear could have grabbed the pillow, since it could have been filled with feathers, then carried it along for a while before dropping it.   But I really did not notice any damage to the pillow or bag which usually happens when a bear messes with something.     Speaking of bears just saw the Revenant yesterday.   So glad grizzlies are not in my part of Washington. 

Here is a picture of the trail.    The plants with the thorns are on the left in the foreground.    They have a blond beige bark.     You can see that this road or fire lane is very overgrown.    In another 15 or 20 years all traces of it will be gone.   I might take a machete in there if I go back to clear out the trail.    To the North the plants were very thick and not much of a trail through them.  

 

 

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daveedoe

definitely salmon berry, should be some good berries on those plants by the end of May. 

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SWWASAS

Sounds like you already know where I was.    Will check it out when there are berries.     I had heard that drug dealers will booby trap their stuff so I gingerly used my hiking pole to uncover the kayak.     The river in that area is not navigable that I know of.   I know further down stream the kayakers run the river but never seen them up that high.    I wonder if I should ask the Sheriff Department if someone reported a kayak stolen?    Have not have good luck talking to Skamania County Sheriff Department.    When they were looking for the naked girl,  I found that tripod and they blew me off.  I still have that in a plastic bag with the big muddy fingerprints on it. 

Edited by SWWASASQUATCHPROJECT

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BigTreeWalker

Yep, salmon berries. They are very prolific in the lower elevation forests around here. Okay to eat if you don't mind the seeds. Thanks for the info on the print. From the size it could have been a bear that happened to slip there enough to make a print. That area's probably been soggy since October.

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SWWASAS

Well since I have a berry allergy I will not get into them myself.     They like a blackberry with all the included seeds?    I looked and the NA used to mix them with salmon   rue and have sort of a fishy treat.   Just guessing all the nearby bear and BF know that place.    Might be a good place to set up a Plotwatcherr on the ridgeline above.     The ridge just to the East is quite steep sided with all sorts of exposed aggregate falling out of it.   I spent a lot of time looking for bones washing out of it since it is a mixture of ash and river rock.    Sure a lot closer in than Indian Heaven if you want to get pictures of animals that eat berries.  

 

I just thought about a controlled experiment.    We conjecture that BF bones do not last long in forest soil heavy with down leaves,  fur needles, and all the other organic material.     I wonder what would happen to a bone buried in volcanic ash that forms the Lahar East of Mt St Helens?      I may take a bone control sample out into the ash flow and bury it so I can see what happens to it over time.   Dig it up once a year when I am in that area.   See how fast it degrades.  I have not tested the PH of that ash.   I suspect it is alkaline but I might be wrong.   Certainly sulfur compounds could make it acidic.   I will have to order some PH test strips and find out.   Why guess and conjecture with all this stuff when we can test it?   Wonder if you can get in trouble for burying bones in the Monument?    Somehow I would not be surprised if that is true.        

Edited by SWWASASQUATCHPROJECT

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Kiwakwe

That sounds like a good plan with the bones, it would be great to have some definitive info on that. Always enjoy the updates, thanks for posting them.

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BigTreeWalker

Good idea Randy. Doing experiments is how it should be. And who knows how the governmental bureaucracy looks at anything. :)

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SWWASAS

Speaking of experiments,  I still have not developed the soil density tester I have thought out  and mentioned before but not built the hardware.    It may have preceded your membership BTW so I will cover it again there.       Basically a spring loaded plunger in a tube with calibrations representative of force required to press it into the soil.       Probably a 1.5 or 2 inch PVC pipe as a case with a stiff spring loaded plunger inside,   .    Calibrate it by loading weight on the plunger.      The when you find a footprint,  you press the meter into the soil next to the footprint in several places to the same depth as the footprint,  get the readings,  then  use butcher paper or tracing paper to get the outline of the footprint.   Document the footprint and cast as you normally do, then take your readings and the tracing home,   compute the area of the footprint, and use an average of the meter readings taken around the print to calculate the force required to make that size imprint that deep into the soil.      If you calibrate the thing based on your own human footprint and weight, it should be representative of a BF.     Most of our weight estimates of BF are guesses based on our experience with other humans.     He weighs 250 or he weighs 300 so BF must weigh 800. .    But BF most likely has a different bone structure and based on its appearance, I would guess that it has very dense and robust skeleton.   Skeletal differences are a big difference in the comparative weigh of male and female humans.     That with the massive musculature,  and I think our weight estimates of BF may be way off.      I know it will be an approximation but one based on science rather than guess.     We need more science and less guess.    

Edited by SWWASASQUATCHPROJECT

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BigTreeWalker

I agree, weight estimates get us nowhere. The only reason hunters can come up with a rough estimate of a game animal's weight is because they have probably taken an animal of similar size. A tool to test soil surface density would be useful. Kind of like a spring scale for measuring fish weights. I noticed that you said pressed into the soil and not stomped in. Unless an animal is running, the depth of the track is determined, as you state, by soil density; the weight of the animal and the surface area of the foot.

I have done a like experiment to determine the weight of a cougar by its track. I didn't have a meter. So I used my weight and my heel print which was just slightly smaller than the cougar track. It was a fresh track from earlier in the morning. I stepped down my full weight on my heel. The depth of both tracks were equivalent. I weigh 200 lbs with my daypack. Since quadrapeds keep at least two feet on the ground at any time when walking and the surface area of the track being slightly bigger, it weighed over 200 lbs. Since the maximum average weight of a male cougar is 220 lbs, it would have been wrong to double what I found. Even at what I discovered, it was a very big cougar. By doing this experiment I also discovered that there are other dynamic forces at play here. The problem is that we don't know the weight transfer between each foot. So we still end up with an estimate. Without this information our estimates will probably always come out on the high side. I will say though that our estimates will probably come closer with a biped as opposed to a quadraped.

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SWWASAS

Patty has two feet on the ground at least part of the time.    The rear leg is on the ground far longer than humans normally walk.       So there is some weight distribution issues there too.    I looked into commercial soil density meters but they are not exactly portable.    For our use something simple would give us a ball park figure to determine weight.     As someone mentioned when I first advocated this meter idea, even a small pebble could make a big difference in a reading.   That is why I suggested taking several readings near the footprint and averaging them.     But I will look into the meter idea. 

 

I want to fly another idea I thought about last time I was walking in the woods.   Anyone have any ideas please pipe up.   I want to be able to get a game camera or plot watcher high in trees.     That serves two objectives.    Get it out of the line of sight of camera shy BF and high enough where it has a good field of view.     In particular I want to observe stretches of river during summer months to get BF coming to water.     Even though I plan on disguising the camera,   I want it higher than a BF can reach and out of the reach of humans that may notice it.      Large mature Doug Fir seems to have few limbs on the lower half of the tree.    I really do not want to climb 20 or 30 feet into trees at my age.   I certainly do not want to haul an extension ladder out into the woods.    I thought about using a cross bow and shooting a line into a tree but while securing something might be possible, getting it down would be problematic.   Another idea I had was a larger drone capable of lifting a camera attached to a couple of hooks and just hooking onto an accessible limb.    Getting it down might be harder than putting it up with this method too and a large drone is very expensive.   A very long pole that breaks down into sections might be an option.     3 or 4 ten foot sections might be transportable, assembled then used  to get the camera into the tree.    Too high and the camera is up into the branches which would block the camera view.    It could be that a BF would not notice an IR illuminator if it is overhead like that.    They do have brow ridges and may not notice it or assume it is star light, and airplane,  something not threatening, or maybe their UFO transport is arriving early that night (just kidding to get the skeptics riled up) .    Anyway anyone have any other ideas about this?  

Edited by SWWASASQUATCHPROJECT

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BigTreeWalker

I think it's a good idea and I have also given it a lot of thought. And yes I have considered taking a lightweight ladder into the woods. But I don't really like that idea either. So I am still brainstorming on that one.

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SWWASAS

I have seen a ladder someplace that folds up into something about 3ft Square. I think it was about a 12 foot ladder. That would barely get something above eye level for an adult BF. Mountain climbing rope gear could be used if there was some way to fix the top of the rope up high in the tree. I just don't want to go with the leather belt around the tree and the spikes on your legs. I think I mentioned picking up a logger that was 100 feet up and his leather belt around the tree failed. I think he cut it in two with the chain saw. He was the nearly the limpest human I picked up as an ambulance attendant. The limpest was a sky diver whose parachute did not open.

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Kiwakwe

The ladder you mentioned is most likely the Extend and Climb. I ordered a 12' version years ago for a similar situation, I lugged it in a top load army surplus duffle, a pack frame would be better. there is a 15.5' ladder that weighs 36lbs. Can't speak for current production but the unit I have is really well made and functions smoothly. http://xtendandclimb.com/

 

Launching a throw rope with bow or weighted end then pulling up and over a climbing rope, securing the tail at ground level and using 2 prussic knots, one for foot, one at web harness or "chair" is a lightweight way to go if you're feeling spry. Any climbing shop could instruct I'm sure.

 

Oddly, When I've mounted my camera at 12'-14' up and angled downward, It fired like mad with nothing on it the majority of times.

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joebeelart

Sometimes hawks follow hikers looking for small game the hiker might flush.  I remember vividly the first time I saw a red tail hit a rabbit I flushed.  That glyph is really interesting.  Thom Cantrell and his partner from B.C. have done a huge amount of work on glyphs.  They should do a documentary.  All in all, a great discussion. 

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SWWASAS

I have shown the picture of the glyph to Thom Cantrell.     He ways it means there are two BF in the area and they like me.    Not sure how he knows that but hope it is true.     Sadly I don't think they are around any more.    

 

In that vein got out my USGS maps and started looking for places along waterways I have not explored.    Trying to figure out where the group I was having contact with moved.      Found an abandoned logging road East of my former research area and checked it out yesterday afternoon.   It is just West of Silverstar Mountain.   The mountain was towering over me just to the East.        Forest gated off so parked and hiked in.    Road has not been used for a very long time.   Down trees across it in many places and brush growing in the middle of the road.    When I got in a ways there was a sign indicating it was a privately owned timber farm.     No houses around and the sign just said respect the property without reference to tresspassing.     The creek was fast running and down hill towards my truck.   No footprints of anything.     I started hearing a whistling sound intermittently.     It should be on my recorder which was on my pack and running.     I will download that later today.     I think it a bird but have no idea what bird.     I have heard them before near my house.   Maybe someone will recognize the bird call.     Anyway climbed the hill and followed one spur of the road to the end.    Not even any deer footprints in the area.   Kind of strange for a wooded area with running water.    

 

As I hiked out a shooter on the ridge above me started shooting again.    I had driven past them coming in.     The road makes a big loop around the drainage.      I was hearing a whoosh before the boom of the gun.    The whoosh coming about a half second prior to hearing the gun discharge.     I interpreted that as hearing the flight of the bullet before hearing the report of the gun going off.     Nothing was hitting near me that I could hear..   But it was concerning that the shooter was shooting down hill towards a road below on the other side of the canyon.  In other words he was shooting towards me.   It was a rifle so suspect that the bullet was traveling twice the speed of sound.    Does that make sense to you gun people out there?   Have you been where you were nearer the bullet than the gun and heard such a whoosh sound?     

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