August 2009September 2009 October 2009

09/29 - First Snow at Hurricane Ridge

We checked the webcam at Hurricane Ridge this morning, and look, there's the first dusting of snow. The seasons are changing.

Webcam photo of the first snow at Hurricane Ridge

Keywords: hurricane ridge, winter

09/28 - Fall Color in the High Country

Autumn is a great time to explore the high country of Olympic National Park. If nothing else, the colors can be spectacular. The alpine flowers peak early in the summer, but then the vegetation dries and withers. In the fall the foliage gets a second chance with its brilliant autumn colors.

We drove out to Obstruction Point to see if this year's dry spell would deprive us of our anticipated reds and golds. As it turned out, we had no reason to worry. The trail crossed quite a few patches of bright red. It was like walking the Field of Mars.

We also had a great marmot sighting. One of the little guys was right by the road. We just had to stop and roll down our window for an amazing close up view. All told, 2009 has been a great year for marmot watching.

One of our local golden marmots

The same guy, on the lookout

Some scenery

More scenery

Lingering snow

Bright red

More autumn color

One of those garden show rock gardens

The trail through the Field of Mars

Keywords: autumn, flowers, high country, marmots, obstruction point

09/24 - Lake Angeles Trail Salamander

Olympic salamanders are all over the place. We ran into this little feller on the Lake Angeles trail. Unlike slugs, salamanders can be pretty hard to spot, and it seems that every other twig looks something like a slug or salamander. Still, it pays to watch where one steps on the trail.

We love the crazy geometric background

Keywords: lake angeles, salamander

09/23 - The Elderberry Bushes of Hurricane Ridge Road

There are two elderberry bushes along Hurricane Ridge Road, just past the twelve mile marker. They can be tricky to spot, but right now they are in bloom. That means they are covered with grape-like pale blue berries. They are easiest to spot on the way back down from the ridge, but there is an awful lot of distracting scenery. We look for them every year, and this year they are in top form.

Keywords: hurricane ridge, autumn

09/22 - Klahane Ridge and the End of Summer

The summer flowers are gone on Klahane Ridge, but the trail still beckons in the fall. The views are as spectacular as ever, and the thinning vegetation makes it easier to spot wildlife. We saw one of the marmots that lives in the rocks near the crest of the ridge. We wanted a photo with him in the classic marmot pose, but the poor guy just wanted to eat what greens were left. This mean we took eight photos of him with his head down, but we snared a passable shot on the ninth try.

This is either a marmot or Sasquatch Junior on a bad hair day.

Amazing views

Clouds from the sea

Keywords: klahane ridge, autumn, marmots

09/16 - Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach is perhaps a two hour drive from Port Angeles. We haven't been there in fifteen years. For some reason, Second Beach and Rialto Beach, which are closer, keep getting in the way. A few days ago we set out to remedy this and visited Ruby Beach again. It was a gray day, as so many are around here, but the beach was as beautiful as ever. It gets its name from the garnet in the sand there.

Ruby Beach isn't the longest beach in the area. We spent about half an hour exploring. Still, it is one of the gems of Olympic National Park.

The view from the trail down to the beach

The river and seastacks

The view south

The forest meets the sea

The view north

Wild seastacks and driftwood

Abbey Island with its light house

The rain forest

A sunnier view of the scene

Keywords: ruby beach, beaches

09/15 - Filet of Beef Lucien Tenderet

It looks like the monster from outer space, but it's just an escapee from Kaleberg Labs. That's our filet of beef lucien tenderet, beef tenderloin stuffed with morels, pistachios and dry cured black olives. It's an amazing dish. Did we mention it's wrapped in bacon? We'll admit it's pretty lurid. We got our recipe from mad scientist Alice Waters in her original Chez Panisse cookbook. We too remember the 80s.

The menace from the oven

Keywords: food, recipe, kale

09/13 - The Hoh Rain Forest

The sign at the Rain Forest Cafe on the road to the Hoh Rain Forest says "When you see rain, think of us." So, now that the fall rainy season has started, we've been thinking of the Hoh Rain Forest. Of course, we chose a nice sunny day and hiked up to Five Mile Island for a picnic. We were well rewarded. The forest was as beautiful as ever, and the river as wild.

Our picnic spot with a view of the mountains to the east

The wild forest

Friendly, but most likely toxic, mushrooms

A bit of autumn color

One of the streams

Keywords: autumn, hoh rain forest

09/09 - Deer Park

We finally made it out to Deer Park after having spent years in terror of the drive. We frequently take the twisty road up to Whiskey Bend and zip along Obstruction Point Road with its vertiginous drop offs. Unfortunately, our guide book provided Deer Park Road with a much more dire description. It was a bit off the mark. Deer Park Road is no worse than the road to Whiskey Bend. It is unpaved, one and a half lanes wide, twisty and has poor visibility, but it is quite passable. We now know.

Unfortunately, we chose a rather drizzly day, so our vistas from Deer Park and Blue Mountain, which towers over the campground, were limited. Still, the clouds added drama, as did our worry about fog on the road back. A number of trails start from Deer Park. We explored the trail towards Slab Camp and the little nature walk, a half mile loop, to the summit of Blue Mountain. We only saw so much, but now we have to come back, and this time we won't be quite so worried about the drive.

Keywords: deer park

09/07 - Marine Traffic

Have you ever been watching the strait and wondering what all those ships are? You can tell they are container ships, or ferries, or tankers, but even with a telescope you can only find out so much. For an answer there's a Greek web site, in English, that can tell you a lot more. It's at It's a Google Map, so it's easy to navigate. Just click on a ship to find out more about it including its registry, pictures, and its route. It has world wide cover if you want to broaden your horizons. All told, it's a great internet time waster.

It's a Google Map

Keywords: science

09/06 - A Visitor On Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit provides cheap day care for seal moms. It sounds like they are awful mothers. They drop their pups off on the spit and spend the day fishing. But, they come back in the evening to feed and take care of their little ones. We saw this little seal on the spit near the one mile mark, and he, or she, took all of us tourists in stride.

We should also note that the beach on Dungeness Spit is nice and sandy and good for hiking, even when the low tide is relatively high (around plus three feet). Needless to say, the views of the strait, the sky and the mountains are as spectacular as ever.


More cute

Even more cute

The view south

The view north

Keywords: dungeness spit

09/03 - Some Seattle Sights

We were in Seattle recently and took some pictures.

The Space Needle in the morning fog

Seattle alley

The Space Needle from Volunteer Park

One of the water lilies

The greenhouse at Volunteer Park

Keywords: seattle

09/02 - Sad News About Quinn's

We have sad news about one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle, the place we once considered "meat heaven", Quinn's. They always seemed a bit out of place serving serious food in a beer and burger neighborhood, but now they fit right in. Unfortunately, we no longer do. Good bye to all that, and by "that" we mean marrow bones, tongue hash, crepinette and all of our favorites there.

Keywords: seattle, restaurants

09/01 - Front Seat To Seattle

One of the nice things about flying in little airplanes is that you don't need a lot of special skills to sit in the front seat. That means even a Kaleberg can get the advantages of a wonderful cockpit view as you can see in a these photos. It was a cloudy day, but that gave everything a quintessential Northwestern look.

Rule One - Mitts off!

Blue tones and mountains

Ediz Spit and lens flare

The propeller is too fast for our camera.

More mountains and cloud

Keywords: seattle, flying, kale

August 2009September 2009 October 2009