Where are the Elk on this Stormy Day?


Elk are large animals with good-sized whitish rumps or “wapiti”, which is also the Indian name for elk. Clear-cuts and forest fires provide necessary food for these magnificent creatures.

On a cool, rainy mid-Winter day, I drove northwest to the town of Kalama. After obtaining a fresh cup of hot coffee, I headed up the Kalama River for ten-plus miles to the 6300 Road.

In less than one mile a locked gate at the entrance to Weyerhaeuser’s forest land west of Mt. St. Helens was reached.

For the next five hours logging roads were my hiking trails as I looked for elk in the upper Gobar Creek drainage.

At higher elevations the cold winds and heavy rainfall made for miserable hiking conditions.

During the entire outing, I spotted a glimpse of one cow elk and several ravens searching for food. I came to the conclusion the elk (deer, birds and small animals) were much smarter than your humble scribe. They apparently were all hunkered down underneath the forest canopy waiting for the storm to move on.

For a dark, gloomy, rainy day, it turned out to be an interesting outing – – – 11 miles in length with 2,200 feet of elevation gain.

A very stormy day

A very dark and stormy day

Colorful bark of Red Alders

Colorful bark of Red Alders

Gobar Creek (I've caught many steelhead below this stretch of water over the years)

Gobar Creek (I’ve caught many steelhead below this stretch of water over the years)

Ferns and moss brightening the day

Ferns, lichen and moss brightening the day

In a rain forest, roads that aren't maintained tend to disappear quickly

In a rain forest, roads that aren’t maintained tend to disappear quickly

Trailhead

Returning to the trailhead

 

 

Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: ,

2 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing John. There is often a rare beauty on a dreary, rainy day in the mountains.

    Tom

    >

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