Friday, November 20, 2015

October 10th camping trip report.

The Last Bluff Creek Trip of The Season

I left Orick around noon and took Bald Hills Rd to Weitchpec. On the way to camp I stopped at Big Bar campground/boat launch on the Klamath River to let my dog swim for a bit. After some swimming and sun we headed up to Orleans and on to Bluff Creek. We arrived at Louse Camp around 4pm and the Maple Trees were turning yellow and red which made the creek and the fairy pond look really pretty so I took a lot of photos. There were a few tents up but nobody was around. Robert, Rowdy and Mike Meraz had hiked into Deer Lick Lake around 3pm and removed the camera at the lake. They didn't have a key to the lock so they just removed the whole camera and hiked out. Robert cast a few bear tracks around the lake.

Somebody left us a present on the picnic table at Louse Camp.

My ride in left about 6pm and left me alone in camp until the guys got back from Deer Lick. They showed up around 6:30 and it started to rain a bit, it was pretty cold as well. We all waterproofed camp and setup a shelter over the picnic table. We opened some beer and hung out around the campfire after the rain stopped around 8pm. Steve showed up with his friend Mike W around 9pm. Mike W is a notable skeptic and a Patterson-Gimlin film researcher. He was a really cool guy and he joined in the campfire conversation with ease. Rowdy brought some wine and fancy 22oz bottle of craft beer so we had a good time talking Bigfoot around the fire. I was getting married the following weekend so it was a bit on a Bigfoot bachelor party. I was told they had hired patty to provide the night entertainment but she didn't show up. C'est la vie!

Kipp has been teaching me how to take a proper selfie.
The next morning we headed out to the film site. We had been meaning to do some trail maintenance down there for a while so we brought a chainsaw to clear some of the logs from the historic trail. Over time the historic trail had become overgrown, forcing people to boonie-crash through the alder thickets. By maintaining the historic trail we hope to keep people from trampling all over the place.We cleared about 300' of trail from large fallen alder logs and arranged the logs on either side of the trail. This way we hope to minimize damage to the forest. After about 300' the trail merges with the social trails and heads toward the end of the gravel bar. This is the "ankle breaker" segment that trails up the rockslide a bit. From there you need to just hike up the creek 1/4 mile to the filmsite.

Copying data to our mobile unit.
After working on the trail we headed to the PG filmsite to service the cameras. This took a long time. We removed a few of the cameras in July to diagnose malfunctions so there were only three left running at the filmsite. The "North Site" camera, the "South Site" camera, and the newly installed "Razorback camera" which was a brand new Bushnell Aggressor installed during the July trip. We had packed in four cameras to install at the film site: two Bushnell Essential cams, a Moultrie A5, and the Moultrie Panoramic 150. This brought us back up to seven camera running at the film site for the winter.

Film site cameras:

Razorback Camera: A 2015 Bushnell Aggressor overlooking the gravel bar just to the west of the filmsite.

2) The North Site Camera: On the the north end of the PG film site between Patty and the big tree in frame 352.

3) The South Site Camera: Bolted to an alder on the cutbank above the trail on the south side of the filmsite looking north.

4) The West Site Camera: This is a new camera location we are trying out. It's on a tree on the west side of the film site looking east toward patty at frame 352.
The film site looking west, we stash our gear he while we work.
5) The East Site Camera: We tried this position a couple years ago and it was pretty successful. It's on the East side of the site looking west.

The Creek Camera: We reinstalled the panoramic camera in a new position. Hopefully it will get better shots than it did last year.

7) The Bowling Alley Camera: Rowdy installed this camera looking out over the bowling alley. We used an A5 to test this position. Battery life is only three months on this camera.

The Rocky Plug, location of the Marten sighting
A motley Crew! From left to right:
Steven Streufert, Robert Leiterman, Jamie Wayne, Rowdy Kelley
We took a long time to installed the cameras and it was approaching 5:00 when we started to hike out. Mike W had been working with Robert and Steve taking measurements to confirm some of his sun angle calculations. This took up a bit of time but was worth it. Once we got to the bat boxes Rowdy had to leave to head home. Mike W, Steve, Robert, and I continued west to the Plug and MK Davis site. It was starting to get dark at this point. We installed a new camera at the plug looking downstream. This camera is a gamble, we might lose it if the creek floods but the shots will be awesome. We repositioned the Plug camera with negative angle  to look down on the gravel bar where we caught the Humboldt Marten. We serviced the west plug camera as well and fortified the bear box. Unfortunately after reviewing video from this camera (back at camp) we found that the shot angle was crap and looks down the creek where nothing is likely to walk to trigger it. Robert and Steve went to service the MK Davis site camera. When they came back Robert wasn't sure he had set it right since it was a new camera with different settings menu. At this point it was approaching 7pm and getting dark. We thought it best that Steve and Mike W hike out ahead of Robert and I while we hiked back to the MK Davis site to check the settings on the camera. I inputted the proper settings and we started to hike out. This is when we noticed that we were at the location of the famous MK Davis "croucher" video. I took a short video on my iPhone to poke fun at the absurdity of MK Davis's claims.

When we finally got to the trucks it was about 8pm and pitch dark. When we got back to Louse Camp we were called out by Mike Meraz for taking so long and not checking in. We had kinda forgotten about him and he thought we had died since it had been dark for hours and we weren't responding on the radio. We are going to work on a better emergency plan for next time to better stay in communication.

We hung out at camp for a while and reviewed the camera footage. We caught some cool stuff. I'll post it below when I get around to uploading it all. Steve and Mike W headed out about midnight leaving just myself, Robert, and Mike Meraz. In the morning Mike headed out early and Robert and I headed out around noon after we cleaned up camp. We drove over the Bald Hills and he dropped me off in Orick about 2:30pm on Monday. Overall it was a very productive trip. We were more focused on doing work and camera maintenance instead of "squatching" so the trip felt a bit rushed, but it felt good to get everything done before the rains hit.

Watch for the Videos Soon!

The Portal to SOHA at Louse Camp...