The following is a prelude to Episode 4 Video of 14 Days of Wonderland. If you want to watch the video click here or read and click the link at the bottom of this chapter.
Video Synopsis: Mushrooms and Lake Swimming continuing into day two at Forest Lake and a trek along Huckleberry Creek looking for fungi as well as a refreshing swim in Forest Lake. Runtime 7:28
Bob and Wendy arrived at Forest Lake ahead of the rest of us on the first day at this camp. They had met up with a man who had commandeered our already reserved camp spot complete with personal outdoor toilet, bear pole and fresh-running Huckleberry Creek for our water source.
He was compliant about picking up and leaving and did not know that you needed a permit to stay at all backcountry camps in Mt. Rainier. There was some discussion later with some friends of mine who said you used to be able to camp any where, no permit at least 1/4 mile off trail. I’m still uncertain about that one because there is quite the process to get permits and it is an extremely protected area. In an emergency, I read if that is the case and only the case.
Regardless, Bob and Wendy are a delightful, fun couple. Bob an avid cyclist and bicycle attorney and I hit it off quickly. I bike pretty much all summer every where. Wendy, a former high school art teacher and I also hit it off quickly. I am a retired elementary teacher. Both Bob and Wendy spent two nights with us at Forest Lake.
As we learn more about each other and had said our good-byes to Sheli at Sunrise, I find Wendy absolutely loves shelf fungi and really any mushroom or fungi for that matter. Wendy takes photo ops with fungi any time she can. With that being said, Forest Lake was just the ticket for her.
On day two we rise, get our breakfast, hang our extra items on the bear pole, and head down Huckleberry Creek Trail. We learn from Shannon at the end of the creek and at the park boundary may have been one of the original entrances to Mt. Rainier National Park. I do know there is an old patrol cabin on the forest service entrance side but I am still researching this being a well used entrance for the north side.
As we continue downhill 4-5 or so miles we break to have lunch and decide to head back. The trail had become very overgrown and with many blown branches and logs to cross. Which could be one of the reasons it was a less desirable area for the park to try to maintain and the effort that goes along with it.
With all the snapped off trees however, this is where the lovely shelf fungus loves to grow and some of those had even blown down and were the size of our hands and as big as our heads. Many times there were families of shelf fungi living together in little colonies. I’m sure there is a botanist out there that just studies the shelf fungus. They are prolific in the wet forests of Washington State and growing up here, I’ve seen all sorts of creative projects made out of them. I guess they are even edible.
After returning to camp, we take a much needed swim in Forest Lake, dunk our heads, cool our feet and then are treated to the most delicious coconut cream desert Shannon makes.
Shannon and Lisa walk Carrie back to Sunrise for a glorious sunset as we say our sad good-byes to Carrie.
We complete the evening with forest spa and yoga.
Episode 4 Video of 14 Days of Wonderland.