Rough-skinned Newts and Brummit Valley

I took a break from the Cascades, hung a left, and headed west into the Coast Range looking for rough-skinned newts and waterfalls.

I did not really prepare much for this trip, just had a point on the GPS where two waterfalls should be and took off.  Along the way, I came across a pool and poked around to see what was inside.  I found a bunch of very curious rough skinned newts.

I think the first one was my best shot I had all day and it was totally luck.  I couldn't see what was on the screen while the camera was in the water and the water itself was the approximate temperature of liquid nitrogen.  It was so cold it hurt.

These stupid Nikons won't let you take Macro shots while using the Sunset setting.  I use Sunset because it tends to maintain the green of the real environment.  If anyone knows how to hack the firmware of a Nikon camera, let me know...

This one came up from a few feet away.  I don't know if it was the metallic orange or what, but I did not expect this behavior.  Some kept their distance, some fled, others charged.

I kept thinking as they came up to the camera that one would chomp on my finger.  The fact they do not have teeth did not make me feel any better about it.

It is interesting how their legs puff out in the water to the shape of paddles.

I thought there might be a newt throwdown, but these two drifted back apart after this.

There were a few different colored examples on display in this pond.  Some were much darker, some the typical brown and orange, others were lighter.  The tan one above hiding in the center is of the latter category.

These are really cool animals and I will definitely make it a point to go back to that pond and take more than 20 minutes.  I did come back later, but the sun was covered by thin clouds and the wind had picked up.  Both prevented me from being able to see in the water unless I was standing a ways off and from an angle.

The rest of the time, I was managing to get lost and misdirected on the criss-crossing, unmarked roads of the Coast Range.  The GPS was going crazy and the maps were wrong.  Typical for the mountains on this side of the valley.

On the hike down to the falls, there was a large mushroom:

At first, the path led to an overgrown, gently sloping continuation of an old logging road.  This turned into a fairly large game trail that had been repeatedly plowed by elk.  It was steep, but not vertical.  Yet.

This was just before things started getting too steep for comfort and I turned back.  Just below was exposed rock and I could see nothing after that.  Whatever dirt there was had dropped off considerably.  There may be a viable way into these falls, but this was not it.

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