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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rare Sight

Yesterday was one of those beautiful Spring days.  All week the dreary rain and clouds made the weekend look unpromising.  I had land trust duties to attend to.  Cleaning up junk.

It may not sound like the way to spend a bright Spring morning but a small group got together and set to work on a heavily impacted unit with the Nisqually Land Trust , Wilcox Flats.

This parcel came to the Land trust at pennies on the pound.  Originally platted for over 40 homes, a series of floods quickly showed developers that this was a flood zone with great power.  These floods brought down river a mountain of tires and house debris.  They also wiped out a few houses already build.

You would not know such devastation happened 20 years ago.  Trees have grown up the land looks healed.  Close up,however it is a different story.

The soil has a thick layer of sand in many areas.  Sand is a trick soil to plant in this region but certain areas of planting are doing well.  Shore Pine is taking hold and growing well.  Elk, however are making sure the Shore Pines of a certain size must be worthy of growing to maturity.  Established trees about five to eight feet high are fine scratching posts.  The Elk rub them for grooming and territory marking.  Many of these trees have bark stripped off and branches broken.  Those which completely snap off will eventually return to the soil but others have a sort of bonsai look to them.

We tackled a mound that had litter at the base and pretty quickly established that the mound was largely household junk.  It looks like they had established a burn pile and a garbage pile and eventually pushed them together.

There were large number of toothbrushes and combs, cosmetics and medicine bottles.  Tons of broken bottles and left over stuff from a workshop.We could have kept going like mad archaeologists but since the mound was well covered over by soils we smoothed over the area we cleaned an will likely let nature hide the rest.

Over on a side channel of the river the  tires present a bigger challenge.  many of the tires that were left up on land have already bee cleared by several work parties.  Now tires which line the channel must be got at.

The shrubs, the fallen trees and the water all equal a challenging task.  Tires line this channel at all levels and we were able to get about a dozen taken out.  It was a trek out to the water from the staging area so folks had to run the tires through the woods on what can barely be called a trail.

Dig the tire out of the bank

Bring it back and up the fallen tree

Toss it down to me

I pick it up out of the water and roll it up the bank and down to the staging area for the woods runners.

You cannot complain about doing work like this with nice people.  Sunny day , singing birds and a fun discovery.

Beaver skull

Molars, not something you see everyday.

It is going to take a strong group from the military base to get at the tires that are in deeper water along the bank.  I suggested ropes tied to the tires which those on shore could haul in.  Chris said it was a good reason to finally get hip waders.


  1. Hi Marti. First off, thanks for the link today on why Beech and Oak trees keep their leaves longer than other deciduous trees. It was most helpful.
    This land trust work looks very interesting and I can see how it could be viewed from an archaeological perspective. In the future someone will be enthused with 'find'.
    And that Beaver skull. A first for me.
    Again, thanks.

  2. Excellent post, good work, and nice find.

  3. Congratulations on the new camera. Exciting! If you do look for the Candystick at Hoypus it's on the left, just along the trail as you come into the area where all the Western Coralroot grows in the woods. Hope to see you at Rainier this weekend.

  4. Coming home from the gorge and Dog Mountain - Phantoms but just starting to bloom. Now Red Top and Blewett and the montanums.

  5. We are off to Alaska in a couple weeks, Kodiak, Anchorage and Denali. Hoping to see some new orchids there.

  6. Thanks for the comments on the montanums, Marti. We saw and photographed them at the two locations we've gotten from you, both in BP. The albino was at the RT location but not along the road - they were up the hill at the right of the roadside plants where there are a lot more of them growing.

  7. Love the beaver skull! I'd never seen one.

  8. Glad you made it to RT. Did you do the OBR as well? There are lots of mountains up there also on both sides of the road. Hope you were able to get some pictures.

  9. Interesting post and find. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you will share some of your adventures here soon again.

  10. Are you back from your SA trip or haven't you gone yet? Eagerly awaiting photos.

    In any case thanks for the visit and I've included one of the blurred "photos" as you suggested.

  11. I'd be so antsy I wouldn't be able to get anything done waiting for the date I was to leave. So eager to hear of your trip.

  12. Spring seems a long time away now. Thanks for the visit and nice to hear from you again. On another note, if you haven't tried snowshoeing you must give it a go. It's easy and extends the hiking season over the winter months.

  13. Nice you made it to Washington Park. We did the Bowman Beach to Rosario Beach trail and found a few Calypsos in bud, but not much else. We intended to go to Sharpe Park and Washington Park but got rained out.

  14. Glad you made it to OFP (our favorite park). If you want a location on the nivea, let me know. The Grass Widows must be about finished, though I am not sure of that. They were blooming a week ago in eastern Washington and they are usually earlier here, but perhaps they are just scarce as a result of last year's drought.

  15. Oh, and by the way, we've found Pass Island to be the best place for Grass Widows.

  16. Miss your regular posts, Marti. What are you looking for at Colockum this time of the year and where exactly do you go?

  17. Hard, but rewarding work. It is amazing what nature can cover up...