The Kaleberg Journal - June 2018

06/20 - Second Beach - Starfish

Yes, there were starfish at Second Beach. There were lots of them out at the seastack, and we even found one on the beach. There used to be more, but more recently there were none. It's really good to see them back.

Starfish waiting out the low tide

Another starfish

Another starfish hunkering down

A view from the seastack

Another starfish lying low

More starfish

Starfish and anemones

More starfish and anemones

Yet another starfish

A starfish on the beach

A view of the beach

Keywords: second beach

06/19 - Second Beach - To The Seastack

Now and then there are really low tides out at Second Beach. A low tide below three feet is perfect for walking the beach, but a zero or negative low tide is perfect for exploring the seastack. We took advantage of a recent really low tide and braved the half hour construction delay along Lake Crescent. We lucked out and found a parking spot and made our way through the woods and down to Second Beach.

We were in time for the really low tide. We made our way south along the beach and were soon on a spit of beach heading towards the seastack. Sometimes it is possible to get to the seastack dry shod, but we had to wade for a bit, but we did it. We made it out to the seastack, and we had a pleasant surprise. There were starfish there, waiting out the low tide.

The 3/4 mile trail through the forest to Second Beach

Beach mist

Driftwood, sea mist and our goal ahead

More driftwood and sea mist

The seastack

Some of the caves on the seastack

The caves we explored

A view of the beach

Caves of the seastack

A view from the south end of Second Beach

Another view from the south

Keywords: second beach

06/14 - Can I Ride The Mules?

Olympic Hot Springs Road is still closed at Madison Falls. The mules have been relocated from their usual home at the start of Whiskey Bend Road to right past the end of the road. Clearly, we are not the only ones following the mules' progress. Others are curious about them too, so curious in fact that the park service has been asking the question that seems to be haunting everyone, "Can I ride the mules?" In brief, the answer is no. That isn't the question we tend to ask. We're more likely to ask if there has been any progress towards getting the road or a replacement for it opened.

Can I Ride the Mules?

Mule Camp is on the left.

A tiger lily

Where the river meets the road

Another view of the river

Keywords: elwha

The Kaleberg Journal - May 2018

05/27 - Hurricane Hill - First Ascent

This time we made it to the top of Hurricane Hill. Most of the snow has melted, except for a long stretch between the bench and the "hamper". All sorts of flowers are starting to bloom: glacier lilies, yarrows, violets and avalanche lilies. The lupines are getting ready. Spring is here. We even saw some marmots.

Phirst phlox

Glacier lilies and others

One of the marmots

Another marmot

One of the views

That lake to the north of the peak

More flowers

Grasses in bloom


An assemblage with phlox

An avalanche lily

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, spring

05/25 - Elwha River Update

We drove out to Madison Falls, the current end of Olympic Hot Springs Road. We took our usual walk along the Elwha, past the relocated mule camp, over the temporary bridge, and down to the latest washout where the Elwha meets the road. The Elwha won, as you can see in the pictures.

The park is making the best of the situation. They can't conjure a road from nowhere. Along with many of our favorite trails, there's a park ranger station and work area cut off by the river. There is a temporary trail around the wash out, and while it isn't suitable for cars, it is apparently human and mule friendly. We saw a group of laden mules taking the route.

The river is as beautiful as ever, but the trails out of Whiskey Bend and to Olympic Hot Springs are still inaccessible. This will probably be the situation for some time.

You can see two branches of the Elwha crossing the road here.

Elwha versus Road; Elwha wins.

The park service mules in action

The Elwha

Another view of the Elwha

An artfully framed view of the Elwha

White water

Madison Falls, worth the two minute walk

Upper Madison Falls

Snow covered mountains

A last look at the Elwha

Keywords: elwha, olympic hot springs, spring, trails

05/22 - Russian Easter

We held our annual celebration of Russian Easter with lots of champagne, lots of butter, lots of buckwheat pancakes and the traditional burning of Moscow, as represented by a huge baked Alaska decorated with onion domes, to save it from the monster Napoleon.

Home made sausage

French made champagne

The spread

The domes of Moscow

Sorry, Napoleon was too quick for us; no photos of the helpless city this year

Keywords: russian easter

05/20 - Hurricane Hill - First Look

Despite the delays on Hurricane Ridge Road, we made our way up to the Hurricane Hill trailhead. There was still a lot of snow, but some of the trail was clear. The sky was blue and the view of the distant mountains was crystalline. Only the bravest plants, or those lucky enough to have an especially warm microclimate, were out and in bloom, but we could see signs of alpine spring.

Stay tuned. We'll be back, road construction or not.

Snow on the trail - still passable

More snow on the trail

Someone getting a head start

Melting snow on the mountain

The Olympic Range in its majesty

Another gorgeous view

Paintbrush getting out in front

Keywords: hurricane hill, spring, flowers

05/17 - Sol Duc Falls And Beyond

We braved the construction on Route 101 along Lake Crescent and were pleased to only be delayed perhaps twenty minutes on our way west. Our goal was the Sol Duc Falls trailhead where we made our way first to the falls, in full spring rush, and then onward and upwards to the bridge over Canyon Creek. We almost climbed 1000'. Deer Lake was another 600' or so, but we had climbed all we could.

There was no snow on the trail, though we did see patches of snow in the woods. We did see lots of trilliums and lots of running water in the Sol Duc River, in Canyon Creek and seeping from the rocks and pooling on the trail. It's a beautiful but tiring trail. We returned to the car happy but exhausted. We encountered another twenty minute delay on the way back, but we considered the extra time on the road well worth it.

Sol Duc Falls

A trillium

A curtain of drips

Some unmelted snow

Another trillium, artfully arranged

Canyon Creek

A double header

Canyon Creek again

A minor waterway

The forest

Even more trilliums

Keywords: lake crescent, sol duc, spring, trillium

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