The Kaleberg Journal - May 2019


05/19 - Again, to the Altair Bridge

We have been turning this into a regular walk, starting at Madison Falls and heading, by way of the detour, to the Altair Bridge over the Elwha. The columbines are gone and the trilliums and dogwood almost past, but the tiarella is now in bloom as are other late spring blossoms.

As usual, we stopped to soak our feet in the river. A bit later, we had to step to the side of the trail to let a mule team get by. The park service people and animals were heading out to do trail work. The mules were new to the area and a bit skittish. We did our best to keep them calm.

The river is still pretty high, so the park service might just be waiting for it to go down, but we're guessing that they won't be setting up the temporary bridges the way they did last year. Despite this, we'll be back in a week or two to follow the spring progression and we'll let you know the latest.


The Elwha as seen from the Altair Bridge

Another view of the Elwha

Yet another view

The river is so high that the river branch that cut the road has flooded. The gap may grow.

The forest detour

Tiarella

Elderberry flower buds

Another tiarella

Stinky bob on an old maple tree

A mushroom

The Elwha from the bank

An entire forest growing on a tree

A fading trillium

Paintbrush

More tiarella

More of the forest trail

Across the river, lupines in bloom

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium


05/16 - Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill Trail is open. It is still being rebuilt, so it is only open about half the time. Check the park web page and scroll down to the calendar before you head up expecting to take this hike. Note that the trail is ALWAYS closed on Wednesdays. Also note that the road is closed at the second picnic area, so the trailhead is now an additional ten minute walk from parking.

That said, the view from the trail is as beautiful as ever. Most of the trail is free of snow, and the snow is melting rapidly. The glacier lilies are out as is the phlox, so keep your nose peeled for that latter flower's wonderful scent. There were many marmots about which was a nice treat. We didn't quite make it to the summit, so that's for our next try. We had a long winter this year, so it's great that the high country is finally open again.


The Olympic Mountains

Phlox

A view from the trail

More of the mountains

A late winter scene

One of the many marmots

Another mountain view

Another marmot

A marmot in a field of delicious, to a marmot, spring flowers

The marmot by the trailside

That marmot checking us out

That marmot again offering us a closeup

A bit of snow on a shady stretch of trail

More spring flowers

Some of the trail work, a stone retaining wall where the trail has been widened

More phlox

Glacier lilies

Glacier lilies in closeup

Goodbye to the mountains

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, marmots, spring


05/14 - Russian Easter

We held our Russian Easter party again. That meant pelmeni, home made sausage, grilled lamb loin, smoked salmon and blini with salmon roe and butter and more butter. There was also champagne and the Defense of Moscow. Once again, the Monster Napoleon was on the march, and once again Moscow was defended by fire, ironically ignited by means of French brandy. It was an excellent defense, so there was lots of Moscow / baked Alaska left for all present.

The spread

Champagne

Moscow, sometime before 1812

Keywords: russian easter


05/06 - To the Altair Bridge

We've been slowly reclaiming the Elwha, hiking farther along now disused section of Olympic Hot Springs Road. This time we made it all the way to the Altair Bridge, sort of a breakthrough for us. The bridge is still there. It's just farther away. It was great seeing the view of the Elwha from the bridge again, and we're hoping to go farther, perhaps to dam site overlook. Meanwhile, we'll enjoy the river and the flowers.

Along the detour

Paintbrush

Flowers

An orchid

Mahonia

Trilliums

More flowers

The view of the Elwha from the Altair Bridge

The view in the other direction

Skunk cabbage

One of the Elwha's new branches

A view of the old Elwha campground

Another orchid

Tiarella

More flowers

Forest

Dogwood

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring


The Kaleberg Journal - April 2019


04/27 - Little River Trail and Trilliums

We headed up Black Diamond Road recently and took the Little River Trail for a ways. It's a wonderful forest trail, and right now it is at peak trillium. They are everywhere along the trail, brightening the rich greens and dark browns of the forest.

The trail starts with a descent to a bridge over the river, but for a fair way it is just gentle up and down and pretty easy going. There are ferns and salal and, here and there, some rather large trees. The trail follows the river, and eventually runs along it. We even stopped to soak our feet for a bit. The water was icy.

The real treat was peak trillium. The forest floor seemed to be lined with them, and they were all in full white bloom. Some were alone, and some were in clusters. We'd walk along and remark that we hadn't seen a trillium in a bit, and, as if in response to our concern, there would be another series of them.

This isn't a heavily used trail, but it is a pretty one, and it's in great shape for hiking. And, if we haven't already mentioned it a few times, there are lots of trilliums.


A stretch of the trail

A trillium

Another stretch of the trail

A trillium cluster

Yet another trillium

The Little River

Another cluster of trilliums

More of the trail

We soaked our feet at that little massage waterfall

A trillium almost in bloom

A close cluster - Maybe we need to invent a term for these.

Mushrooms

The trail again

The river again

More mushrooms

The trail is easy going.

Did we mention trillium clusters?

Twisted trees by the trail

The trail through the forest

Keywords: trillium


04/25 - Lake Angeles Trail and Trilliums

We've been getting back into shape, and that means climbing the Lake Angeles Trail. It's a great training trail in that it heads up steeply for 2400', but even shorter climbs offer a wonderful forest hike. To our surprise, the first trilliums were in bloom, mainly along the lower reaches of the trail. We didn't make it much past the foot bridge over the stream about 720' above the trail head, but we heard reports from other hikers that the lake was accessible. That gives us something to work towards, though it may be a while.

One of the trilliums

Lingering snow

The foot bridge

More snow in the shadows

The trail

Dramatic lighting on the trail

Another look along the way

Second growth forest

Another trillium

Yet another

and yet another

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium


04/15 - Spring Flowers on the Elwha Detour

We finally followed the Elwha detour from where it leaves Olympic Hot Springs Road about a half mile past Madison Falls to where it rejoins the road past the old Elwha campground. It's a 250 foot or so climb, but it goes through forest, and the forest is full of columbines, trilliums and other spring flowers.

The detour trail heads up past a work area at the end of the service road and then heads higher to a junction with the Cascade Rock trail. There are glimpses of the Elwha along the way as it follows the ridge past the washout. After the junction the trail goes down a bit, then up a bit, then slowly descends behind the old campground. There is a sturdy tributary of the Elwha running between the trail and the collapsed campground pavilion.

The trail lets out a bit past the washout but before the ranger station and work area. It took us about 45 minutes from Madison Falls, so it would be another 15 or 20 minutes to the Altair bridge. We didn't make it that far, at least not this time.


A perfect place for columbines

Columbines

and more

and more

and even more



Other spring flowers

The trail ahead

One of the many trilliums

and a pair, overlapping,

and another

and yet more

Skunk cabbage, a sure sign of spring

The old campground pavilion across the new Elwha channel

More of the trail

We forget what this is called

Mysterious rock overhangs and mysterious caves

A glimpse of the high country

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium


04/09 - First Trillium of the Season

It has been a long hard winter. The signs of spring have been late in coming, but yesterday, while walking down to the Dungeness Spit, we saw our first trillium of the year. It may be coming slowly, but spring is on its way.

Keywords: dungeness spit, spring, trillium


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