Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Within the Blast Zone of Mt. St. Helens - Coldwater Lake

Ranger points to the location of our camp at Coldwater Lake near Mt. St. Helens

In September of 1968, my brother and I camped at Spirit Lake and then scrambled-climbed to the top of Mt Saint Helens. This was before the eruption in 1980.

Mt. St. Helens from Spirit Lake in 1968
Today I headed out to the mountain again, but this time it was to improve the trails near Coldwater Lake. I volunteered for a week with the Washington Trail Association. 

Saturday, July 16
It was a three hour drive from home, and I arrived 45 minutes early. However, as luck would have it, I couldn't find the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center! I drove up and down the highway, but the one likely road was gated. So I did the next best thing and waited at the boat launch, knowing that at some point the group would show up there to have our gear and food loaded on a boat to be ferried up the lake. Another lady also showed up and we both waited. Finally the Forest Service arrived and said there was a person at the gated road letting WTA folks in!  So we drove back up the road and, sure enough, Claire, our group leader, was at the gate. I was quite relieved!  We carpooled to the boat launch, ate lunch, and headed up the Lakeside Trail. 

The group loads the boat at Coldwater Lake. The boat ferried our packs, tools and food to our camp at the far end of the lake.

It was an easy four mile walk, especially since I didn't have to carry my pack. The wildflowers were incredible! There were fields of flowers everywhere. It took me just over an hour to get to our campsite. 

Wild flowers abound as I walked up the trail along Coldwater Lake

I helped Owen set up the cook tent. And then Claire arrived and said, "Um, we can't set our tent up on the beach." Oops...

We started to set up the cook tent on the beach. WRONG. We had to move it into the woods.

So, down came the cook tent, and we moved it to a spot nestled in the brush near a crystal clear stream. Everyone pitched in and helped set up. I cleared some brush around the tent and helped organize the kitchen. 

Toni fixes spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. She did a great job!
The great treat on this trip is that we have a dedicated cook! Toni will cook most of our meals. She even brought some of her own goodies!

We got our sump and latrine dug. These groups always dig a latrine when there are no outhouses or restrooms available. Here is what the latrine looks like. The logs are used as a seat. It actually works quite well.

Our latrine with logs as a toilet seat!

We had a wonderful dinner with an appetizer, green salad with oranges, spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread, and strawberries with whipped cream and chocolate bites! Wow!

After dinner, everyone pitched in to wash dishes. When done, the water is taken to the sump where the plastic tubs are rinsed. Here is a video where Owen explains the process.

I headed to bed just before nine. I think this will be a really fun group to work with this week!

Sunday, July 17
I didn't sleep well. It took forever to fall asleep, possibly because I was listening to the coyotes in the distance.

We had breakfast burritos. Toni is a good cook!

After doing dishes, Claire and Owen talked about tool safety as well as safety on the trail. 

Claire goes over tool safety. She is holding a McLeod which is used to scrape and rake the trail.

Owen talks about tool safety when carrying and using loppers.

We hiked to the connector trail to the South Coldwater trail. 

We worked on the Coldwater trail #230.

We spent the day removing brush and repairing the trail tread. We ate lunch while sitting on the bridge over Coldwater Creek. 

Lunch time on the bridge over Coldwater Creek.

While there, an enormous Blue Heron flew up the creek and buzzed the bridge. We saw several hikers, and it's always a pleasure to hear their "thank you's" for doing trail work. It makes it all worth while!

I took a "before" and "after" photo of part of the trail. It was really, really overgrown with brush.

What the trail looked like before our work.
What the trail looked like after clearing the brush and repairing the tread.

We stopped at 2:30 and were back to camp by 3. I took a bird bath and washed my shirt. It is so nice to have a second shirt to change into.

I decided to rest in my tent to get away from the flies, ants and mosquitos. 

My tent was nestled under the trees in a meadow of wildflowers.

I probably would have taken a dip in the lake, except I forgot my towel. Darn!

Toni fixed salmon, asparagus, and Mediterranean couscous. For dessert she surprised us with a raspberry cheesecake!

I helped wash dishes and I gave everyone a couple of new riddles to think about.

Monday, July 18
I expected thunder showers last night, but we had none. Instead, there was a light drizzle, enough to wet down the bushes and make everything drippy.

We had oatmeal for breakfast and headed out to continue removing brush from the trail. I cut in a water diversion channel and graded the tread. 

Water had run down the trail and washed out a hole. We dug a channel for the water and re-graded the trail tread. I didn't get an "after" shot - darn!
As we moved up the trail, we came to some really brushy areas. It is amazing how much better the trail looks after we are done. By midday, the clouds collected and we got rain. My pants, shoes and shirt are wet, but I was warm as long as I kept working. 

We quit by 2:30 and were back to camp by 3. It had stopped raining, but no sun breaks yet. 

Chris and Rich hung wet clothes on their clothes line.

My WTA hard hat is covered in dirt and mud from digging along the trail in wet weather!

I changed into my dry shirt and wore my down jacket. I finally decided to lay down for a bit, and managed to poke a hole in my air mattress!  I used my repair kit, but didn't have the clear tape. So far it seems to be holding. 

I helped cook pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. Toni also cooked peppers, onions, fried potatoes and carrots. For dessert we had chocolate ice cream bars.

Pulled pork sandwiches with baked beans, along with fried onions, peppers, potatoes and carrots. Yummy!

By bedtime the sky appears to be clearing.

Tuesday, July 19
I slept well last night. Plus, my air mattress leak apparently is fixed!

We had scrambled eggs with sun dried tomatoes, sausage, and toast.

We headed to the trail shortly after 8. I did some tread work and others pruned and cleared brush. We got to a nice viewpoint and took our break and lunch there. 

Lunch break - left to right - Chris, Toni, Owen (near), Claire (away), Trista (hidden by bush)

I finished lunch early and took twenty minutes to hike up the trail. It's brush all the way to the top!

We quit at 2:30. We all are excited to have a day off tomorrow. I haven't decided where I am going to hike. I'd like to get a glimpse of Mt Saint Helens, but I don't know if that would be possible.

We had Pad Thai for dinner with a fresh green salad. Dessert was cheesecake and chocolate tapioca pudding.

We talked for an hour after dinner, telling stories. 

Rich talked about how the body changes as you get older. The nose and ears all get bigger, which led us to compare him to Mr Potato Head!

We talked about a beaver that Chris had seen in the lake. As it neared the shore it went under water and didn't come up. Someone suggested that it must have drowned. Claire said you'd have to punch the drowned beaver to rescue it. Just then, Owen lowered the back of his camp chair and, as luck would have it, dunked his head in the water carrying bucket that was behind him! We all erupted in a roar of laughter!

This certainly is my kind of group!

Wednesday, July 20

It was a mostly sunny day so I decided to head towards Harry's Ridge, a little over 8 miles away. 

Map showing Coldwater Lake in relationship to Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake.
I was headed to Harry's Ridge just west of Spirit Lake

I left camp at 6. The trail climbed steadily. As I got above the tree line, it was fun to see all the wildflowers. The jagged rock peaks added to the wonder. 

Above the tree line near Mt. St. Helens

I saw a large herd of elk in the distance. I could hear their hooves clicking on the rocks as they disappeared over the ridge.

At one spot the trail passes through a rock arch!

The trail passes through a rock arch!

There were fantastic views of Mt Saint Helens. I could see St Helens Lake, as well as Spirit Lake. In the distance I could see Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.

My first view of Mt. St. Helens

Another beautiful view of Mt. St. Helens

St. Helens Lake - lots of dead trees floating in the lake.

Spirit Lake. Mt. Rainier in the distance

I found a lovely spot for lunch and watched the clouds move around the mountain. 

On the way back to camp, I noticed a radio repeater tower on Coldwater mountain. The repeaters are used to relay radio messages from isolated areas. Claire had a radio that could call out for help if needed.
Radio repeater tower on Coldwater mountain

There is beautiful ground cover along the way, as well as beautiful flowers.

Lots of ground cover growing in the rocks

A chipmunk chided me for invading his territory.

A chipmunk checks me out from his log hideout.
As I headed down the trail, a red hat was hanging on a log. Apparently someone had lost it during their 100 mile marathon run on the Cascade Crest Trail.

Cascade Crest Trail 100 mile Marathon Run - I can't imagine running 100 miles over these hills!

I returned to camp by 11:30. My shoes were damp from all the brush alongside the trail. 

I noticed the zipper on my mosquito netting is not working correctly. It would zip, but the zipper would not hold the net together. I used safety pins to hold the netting shut. I think it's time to look for a new tent.

Tonight was steak night, and Toni did a great job. Antipasto salad, pan fried broccoli with pasta and Meyer lemon cookies for dessert.

It is a calm evening. The lake and mountains are beautiful. 

The mountains towered over our campsite.

Thursday, July 21
We had clear skies last night and it was almost a full moon! 

We had almost a full moon last night. It was starting to set when I got up at 5AM.
You can see the blue tent tarp over our eating area

However, it was a bit cooler at night, and with little or no breeze, I had condensation on the inside of my tent.

We had French toast and bacon for breakfast, and then headed out to do more brushing on the trail. It is a longer hike now to get to the worksite, so we all get a workout before we even start working!

I used a McCloud and it really clears the brush quickly. We made a lot of progress, completing 3 long switchbacks. 

Typical working scenario for clearing brush. Chris and Trista use loppers; Claire is using a grub hoe.

For some reason the horseflies were out in force, buzzing around but fortunately not biting. Towards the end of the day we found a perfectly built birds nest.

We got back to camp a little before 3, and everyone headed to the beach for a swim. The water was just the right temperature to be refreshing! I washed my shirt and pants, which I dried in the warm breeze.

The water was warm and felt great after a long day of trail work.

A beautiful day for a swim in Coldwater Lake

We had pork tacos for dinner with real guacamole, sour cream, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, etc. They were delicious!

After dinner, Rich showed us how to tie a "munter" knot and a Prussic knot. 

Munter knot

He teaches knot tying for the Mountaineers and has a fixed line in the stairwell of his house. He uses a lawn mower as a weight on a hillside to show the effectiveness of his knots.

Friday, July 22
Rain! The wind came up sometime after midnight and then I heard raindrops hitting the tent. By 5 there was still a drizzle.

After egg McMuffins for breakfast, we headed for the trail. My feet were wet immediately. I'm thinking that waterproof boots might be a good investment. 

Rain-soaked bushes ensure that you are going to get wet while working on the trail in the brush!

It rained-drizzled all morning. I couldn't wear my raincoat because I was too hot wearing it. We ended up finishing another long switchback and headed to camp around 1:30. I changed into a dry shirt and wore my flannel and raincoat. My pants got damp under my rain pants, so I crawled into my sleeping bag. It feels so good to be toasty warm!

The skies seem to be clearing, but I think the weather is just teasing us.

For dinner, Toni fixed chicken with pan roasted potatoes, carrots and mushrooms, topped with gravy. In addition, we had a garden salad. What a yummy meal !

Several times, we've been visited by a "jumping" buddy as we sat near our cook tent. The bunny will come out of the woods, sit for a moment, then realize that we're there, and jump in the air before running off!

A little bunny often visited our campsite.

We started doing the double wash of the Tupperware containers, in preparation for leaving tomorrow. I went through three pairs of sox this evening trying to dry out my shoes. Hopefully they will dry a little bit tonight so I won't have wet feet on my hike out tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23
It didn't rain last night, thank goodness! I got up just before 5 and packed up my tent.

I got out the Tupperware that was washed last night. Trista and I hand dried them with towels. Toni fixed a delightful breakfast of quesadillas with bacon, topped with fresh avocado, sour cream, salsa and fresh tomatoes. We also had sausage links.

I helped wash all of the dishes (twice) and then closed down the latrine and sump. Everyone worked together to breakdown camp and move everything to the beach where the Forest Service boat will pick it up at 10:30.

We all posed for a group picture before heading up the lake on our hike out. 

Left to right - Front - Chris, Toni, Claire
Left to right - Back - Rich, Trista, Owen, Bob

Everyone is heading back up the lake, walking through fields of flowers!

I arrived at the boat launch in time to meet the boat arriving with our gear.

This has been a wonderful trip. 

We made a huge difference in the trail that we worked on. 
I am so thankful to have met everyone on this trip and hope to work with them sometime again. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Week in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Pete Lake

Pete Lake
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness lies in the Central Cascades Region in Washington State. It has some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the state.

I recently was lucky enough to participate in a week-long "volunteer vacation" with the Washington Trails Association (WTA), working to improve the trails near Pete Lake.

Saturday, July 2
I am always worried about getting to a new trailhead on time. Google maps said it would take two hours to get to the Pete Lake trail head from my house. However, I knew that my truck wouldn't go the speed limit, so I gave myself three hours. Traffic was heavy on I-90, but moved steadily. I arrived forty minutes early, and found that the parking lot was packed! I finally found a spot to park alongside the road. As I drove in, I saw Jim, who I met on the Lake Chelan trip, and, as I was walking to the trail head, I saw Claire arriving with a WTA intern named Alex. Soon I saw Steven, who I met on the Ipsut Creek trip. So out of the seven people in our work party, there were only two that I haven't met before!

While waiting for everyone to gather, I watched the Forest Service take our tools and food via horseback up the trail.
Pack horses heading up the trail with our tools, equipment and food
Pete Lake, 4 miles away. The PCT is only 8 miles away!

We all signed in, and headed up the trail. The trail was easy to walk, although I was rather warm in the sunshine. The four miles to Pete Lake went quickly, and I arrived in an hour and forty minutes. I talked with the rangers for a bit before they headed back down the trail. 

Our camp area at Pete Lake. The horses were tied to trees as they were unloaded.

Since the rest of the group had not yet arrived, I set up my tent. There were people everywhere, but we had a reserved campsite which, amazingly, was still empty. 

I helped set up and organize the cook tent. Others dug a hole for our sump water, another dug a latrine that our group will use during the week. We hung up the water for the hand washing station as well as the water filtering station. Paul headed to the lake to fill our water buckets.

Our cook tent is set up
Claire gave a summary of the activities for the week, and an outline of our daily schedule. I volunteered to cook spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. 

Our first dinner - Spaghetti, meatballs and warm garlic bread. Yum!

This will be an interesting week, since there is no picnic table. We ended up sitting on some of the coolers, which worked OK. After dinner, we did our normal dish washing which included washing, rinsing twice and then a bleach rinse.

After each cooked meal, we thoroughly wash all of the dishes. We only had a little table as our work surface.
The mosquitos are a bit of a pest, so I headed to bed before eight. I can hear young children crying in the distance, but smile because I can hear the songs of the same birds that I came to love while hiking the PCT last year.

Last night, I heard coyotes howling nearby and several owls!

Sunday, July 3
I heard Stephen get up at 4:45. He gets up early to make coffee and hot water. I rolled out at 5:15 and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my lunch.

I started breakfast at 6 - French toast and bacon. Claire went over tool safety before we split into two work teams. 

Claire reviews the tools we will be using and emphasizes safety
Each tool is reviewed: how it is used, how to carry it, how to safely store it alongside the trail

One group improved the trail over a stream bed. I went with the group that hiked about a mile and a half down the trail to where a tree root ball had left a huge hole in the trail. 

Claire surveys the work site. We needed to restore the trail.

Steve places rocks in the hole on a bench dug so that the rocks would not shift over time.

We had to dig out mineral soil from the root ball and then gather large rocks to build a rock retaining wall. Steve spent and hour placing the first row of stones. We then decided we had enough stones to fill the entire hole, so we filled it up and spread a good layer of soil on top. It looks really nice.

Steve and Alex adding rocks to the hole

Bob helps to fill the hole too

We added mineral soil on top. It looks really like a trail again!

Back at camp we had Gatorade and chips.

Resting after a long day. Gatorade and chips hit the spot.

For dinner we had chicken tacos with all the fixings. A lot of people who were camped in the campground went home today, so it was much quieter. Everyone were in their tents by 8:30 after a satisfying day of working on the trail. 

Monday, July 4
It seems odd that I am out in the woods again on the Fourth of July. But really I enjoy the quiet and peacefulness of the forest. 

We had two American flags flying for the Fourth of July!

I helped make sausage McMuffins and headed out to the trail at 7:30. I did not sleep well last night. There were some teenagers camped near the lake who partied until midnight. In addition, my right shoulder has been aching at night. I told Claire that I needed to watch what I did today. I ended up doing brushing all morning. It was hard work and my shoulder still ached. After lunch I helped with tread work and dug out roots. By two I was getting incredibly cold and headed back to camp a half hour early. I felt bad quitting early but I had no more energy.

I rested in my tent for two hours and then helped cook salmon, asparagus and basil pasta. It turned out great.
The salmon has been seasoned and I cut lemon wedges. The salmon was roasted on the griddle with butter and garlic.

I headed to bed before 8 and took pain medication for my aching shoulder.

Tuesday, July 5
It was so nice to have a quiet camp last night. I slept well, especially since I took Aleve to keep the ache in my shoulder in check. I was up by 5:15. Stephen had the water and coffee going. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my lunch.

I fixed blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs with onions and bacon for breakfast.

We did stretching exercises before heading up the trail. 

Steven led the stretching exercises. 

Alex, Claire and Steve all getting limber.

Jim, Steve and Stephen cut a large log out of the trail. There was a large snow pile under the bark debris. 
The log has been cut. You can see the snow under the bark in the lower right of the picture.

Steven shoveled some into our water carrying bags to supplement our freezer ice. 

The rest of the group worked on creating a new switchback. We had to dig out rocks and roots. 

Steve digs out rocks from the roots

Alex works on the upper part of the switchback, digging out roots and rocks

Jim works to place rocks alongside the trail to hold the dirt that will be added later.

Then we dug mineral soil to finish the tread. We had one huge rock that we moved into place along the trail to hold the soil in place. It took almost twenty minutes to move the rock into place. I created a speeded-up video showing how much effort it takes to move these giant rocks.

I helped fix pulled pork sandwiches for dinner with baked beans and a garden salad.

Wednesday, July 6
Today is our day off. We can stay around camp, go hiking or do whatever we want. The best part is that it was blue skies and sunshine!

I decided to walk up to Lemah meadows and walk up the PCT. I packed a PB&J sandwich and left camp at 6:30. It was an easy hike and I suspected that the trail was the same one that I camped beside last year on my PCT hike. Sure enough I spotted my old campsite. 

Beautiful old tree on the way to Lemah meadows

This is my camp site where I camped a little over a year ago on my through hike of the PCT

Since it only took me 40 minutes to get to the PCT, I decided to head towards Spectacle Lake. The first river had a wooden bridge and the second had a log that was easy to cross.

The first stream crossing on the PCT has a wooden bridge

The second stream crossing on the PCT has a foot bridge. At the narrow end there was a make-shift rail to hold onto.

The problem was that there we a jillion logs across the trail. Over, under and around was the order of the day. 

On the way to Spectacle Lake, the PCT passes through a burnt forest. There were many logs fallen over the trail.

I passed a beautiful waterfall on a wooden bridge and then climbed 20 switchbacks to the Spectacle Lake trail. 

It was an easy half mile to the lake. Of course the lake was fantastic. I was the only one there!

First view of Spectacle Lake with mountains all around

Spectacle Lake

At the shore of Spectacle Lake

On the way back I met Steven and Paul.

Paul and Steven headed up the PCT to Spectacle Lake

They were making good time, but had taken another trail where they had to wade across one of the rivers. I also met the church group girls who were also headed to the lake.

I made it back to camp by 12:10. The afternoon was warm, so I washed my dirty shirt and pants. I also took a sponge bath. I took a short nap and then helped cook steak, broccoli and mashed potatoes. Others made a veggie salad.

Paul found a small limb on a tree that he carved to look like a little creature. I think he did a great job!

Paul's carving looks like a little critter peaking over the log!

Tomorrow we hope to finish the tread work on the Waptus Pass trail and then log out some of the fallen trees on the trail from Pete Lake to the river ford.

Stephen counted 175 trees down across the trail on his way up to Spectacle Lake!

Thursday, July 7
I had weird dreams last night. I wonder if they are because I have been taking pain medication for my shoulder pain?

I helped fix eggs, sausage and English muffins for breakfast. After a few stretching exercises, we split into two teams. Jim, Steven and Steve hiked up the lake to start sawing out trees from across the trail. 

Using a two-person cross-cut saw to remove a tree that was blocking the trail

Claire, Paul, Alex and I headed up the Waptus Pass trail to finish the trail switchback. We finished setting the rocks alongside the trail and then gathered stones to fill next to the larger rocks. We then filled bags with mineral soil to level and shape the grade. Paul spent several hours digging out a large tree root. We also widened the turn to accommodate horse traffic. We finally finished at noon. 

Lower end of the new switch back. The huge rock was placed next to the tree on the right of the trail.

Looking down the trail. The trail was filled with mineral soil to smooth it out

The upper section of the switch back. We made the turn wider so that horses could navigate it more easily.

Alex packing down some of the dirt

After lunch we headed up the trail. Claire had another cross cut saw. Jim's team had already cleared 8 trees. I helped cut the ninth.

When a saw starts to bind, we used an axe to cut away the wood down to the bottom of the saw cut to relieve the stress.

For dinner we had Couscous with chicken, onions, peppers and Marsala sauce. We also had a garden salad. I fixed warm peaches topped with fresh blueberries.

Of course, we amuse ourselves by trying to flip whipped cream up in the air and catch it in our mouth. Alex did OK.

It started raining after dinner, but it was dry under our tarp. 

The tarp kept us dry during the many rain showers

We took extra precautions with food storage since we heard that a bear had come into the Waptus Lake campground, which is just over the ridge from us.

Friday, July 8
The last day of the volunteer vacation is always bitter sweet. It's sad to realize that its almost over and I will be leaving good friends. It's sweet in that there is a real feeling of accomplishment and I will be able to return to family and friends tomorrow.

It lightly rained all night, but was clearing by morning. 

There are breaks in the morning clouds over Pete Lake

The water in Pete Lake is crystal clear and cold

Checking out the lake in the early morning light

Pete Lake and clearing skies. One of the mountain peaks starts to come out of the fog

Sun filters through the trees. I just love being here.

I fixed a large pan of bacon and eggs for breakfast. We then headed up the trail to cut logs out of the trail. I worked with Jim, Steve, and Alex. Jim is a good teacher and explains why we are cutting in certain places, and what may happen as we saw the log. I really enjoyed today's work. We managed to clear the trail of logs all the way to the ford of Lemah creek. One tree across the trail had a yellow jacket nest in it. We flagged the trail and left the tree. I felt this was one of the most successful days ever on the outing. 

This tree fell right into the trail tread. We made two cuts and rolled it to the side

Steve and Alex on the now cleared trail

Alex and Steven are half-way through. Jim is giving them instructions on how to procede.

The trail has been cleared and cleaned
Claire made the last cut of the day to clear a log out of the way.

We had chili for dinner with quesadillas and salad.

A large group of Boy Scouts who are camped nearby. We gave them our extra chili, but they are rather noisy tonight.

Saturday, July 9
It rained fairly hard all night, so we all had wet tents to pack up this morning. After breakfast, we all pitched in to break down camp. One of the tasks was to wash all of the cooking equipment and plates, making sure everything was washed twice and dried. It took over an hour to finish.

We also had to pack the metal panniers, making sure that pairs of them were within one pound of each other. We used a portable scale to weigh each pannier and then had to adjust the weights as needed. They needed to be equal in weight so that the pack horses would have a balanced load on the way out. The horses arrived before everything was packed. We finally finished at 11:30 and headed back to the trailhead.

On the way out, we got a lot of "thank you's" from folks heading up the trail. It really made me feel proud to be making a difference with a WTA work crew!

Packing up the panniers, making sure pairs of them were equal in weight

We had extra carrots, so the horses and mules got a special treat!

Loading up the horses with the panniers

During the course of our week in the woods, we shared riddles with each other. It was fun trying to solve them as we worked.

Give me a common word that has the letters "UFA" together. This one drove me to distraction. It's harder than you think. With enough clues from Steve, I finally got it.

There is a room with an incandescent light bulb hanging from the ceiling. There is one door into the room which is closed. There are no windows, and when the light is on in the room, no light can be seen under or around the door. Outside the room are three light switches, which are all in the "off" position. You can only open the door once to see if the light is on. How can you determine which switch controls the light?  I guess this was one of the interview questions at Microsoft. They want people who are problem solvers. I can't imagine being put on the spot during an interview to try to figure this one out. 

There is a room with four walls, a ceiling and floor, but no windows. There is a chair and a mirror on the wall. How do you get out of the room? No one could possibly solve this one. You look in the mirror to see what you saw. You used the saw to cut the chair in half. Two halves make and hole, and you use the hole to crawl out. OMG!

There is a blue magical mirror. A moose can pass through, but not an elk. Geese can fly through, but not ducks. You can put your feet through, but not your hand. Give examples of other things that can and cannot pass through. With enough examples, this one becomes easy to solve.
A man lives in a fifty story building on the top floor. When it rains, he takes his umbrella and upon returning uses the elevator to return to his room. If he forgets his umbrella, he can only ride to the tenth floor and then has to take the stairs the rest of the way. When the man goes walking, he takes his trekking pole and rides the elevator to the fiftieth floor upon returning. The day he forgot his trekking pole, he could only ride to the tenth floor. Explain why sometimes he can ride the elevator all the way to the top, where other times he can only ride to the tenth floor. This one didn't seem to be logical, but after asking enough questions, someone finally got it. 

Two men go into a bar and order the same drink, whiskey on the rocks. The first man got a phone call and had to leave, so he gulps down his drink and leaves. The second man has time to kill, so he lingers over his drink and chitchats with the bartender. An hour later he keels over dead. An autopsy revealed that his drink was poisoned. Why didn't the first man die as well? I had heard this one before, but didn't remember the answer until someone else got it.