One of the challenges of camping/backpacking in the Olympic National Park is keeping food away from mice, jays and ground squirrels or chipmunks. While the park requires bear-proof containers or elaborate hanging rituals to keep food away from the black bears, the same containers also protect your food from the smaller critters like the Townsend’s Chipmunk shown here. (in some areas raccoons and crows are even bigger pests)
Critters on the Trail
These two photos were from the same hike, the same day. Below shows hiking the Hayden Pass Trail (in Olympic National Park) … and you can see a momma bear and cub crossing the hillside just below the large rock outcrop. On the other side of the pass we had an Olympic Marmot on the trail … and we were very glad it was a marmot and not a momma bear and cub. (neither bear nor marmot attacked)
From Worst to Best
These photos are from a long ago hike. One of the toughest days I have had backpacking … the “off trail” traverse from Appleton Pass to Cat Basin in the Olympic National Park. As we struggled across the side hill, the clouds came in and our visibility dropped. While we were on the sidehill, there was no real chance of losing our way, since we could just keep the uphill side to our right, until we ran into the Cat Basin Trail that comes in from the High Divide. We were tired and set up camp in a small flat spot above the trail. We were sorta miserable and thought the spot was one of the worse we had camped in. But in the morning, the cloud was gone and we were looking directly down into Cat Basin and a herd of a hundred or so Olympic Elk. It went from one of the worse camps we had to one of the best … in a few hours.
This young buck was not shy, because it has lived its life in the National Park, where there isn’t any hunting allowed … so humans aren’t recognized as ‘the enemy’.
Port Townsend has a large deer population. Or, a large population of normal size deer.
This one spends his days hanging out in one of the cemeteries, eating flowers off the graves. And there aren’t any natural predators (except cars) in town, so the population keeps expanding. Hard to see how a natural balance will be established.