September 2010October 2010 November 2010

10/28 - Just Grousing

We often see blue grouse in the drainage ditch on the side of the road. They seem to like these ditches, but we know that they actually live all over the North Olympic Peninsula. In the summer they are out in the alpine fields, but in the winter they head lower to the forests where it is nearly impossible to spot them. We say nearly, because we saw these two grouse right on the Lake Angeles trail. They are most likely mother and chick, and they were quite unperturbed by our arrival, use of the flash and animated conversation.

Grouse always remind us of Walt Kelley, he of Pogo fame. Kelley always said that the mongoose is a singular animal, because no one could say two of them. Is the plural "mongoose", "mongooses" or "mongeese"? We wonder the same about grouse. Is it "grouse" - as we've used here, "grouses", or "grice"?

The trail

A grouse - slightly blurred - They kept moving.

Another blurred grouse, or possibly the Loch Angeles monster

Keywords: grouse, lake angeles

10/26 - Speaking of Winter

We were just talking about winter on Hurricane Ridge, and its seems the snows have followed. The webcam at the ridge has been a bit hard to decipher lately with rain drops and white outs, but now things have settled enough to make out the fallen snow. There's quite a bit. The Hurricane Ridge weather station says that there's been about 20 inches which looks about right.

The first snow on Hurricane Ridge

Keywords: hurricane ridge, weather, winter

10/23 - Wild Sky at Hurricane Hill

Winter is teasing Hurricane Ridge even now. There's already a touch of snow on the lodge roof and a fair bit more fresh on the distant mountain tops. There's still a lot of autumn color, but now that is starting to fade. We started our latest hike with the mountains shrouded in white cloud and a light sleet, but the clouds parted and swirled. The sky was gray, nearly black, then white, then gray again, then blue. It was quite a show. It made up for the lack of marmots, now sensibly drowsing, we presume. It won't be long before the dominant shade is white, and getting to Hurricane Hill will require skis or snowshoes, so this might be a good time to say goodbye to autumn.

An unprepossessing sky

Autumn colors

Light and mist

Quickly moving shadows

Harvest gold - it looks better here than on one's refrigerator

Early snow

More autumn color

More wild sky

The glow of the sun

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, marmots, winter

10/20 - New Bridge at Barnes Creek

If you've been to Marymere Falls lately, you'll remember that the foot bridge over Barnes Creek was starting to go. The log itself was twisting and the surface matting, necessary for traction, rusting away.

Well, that old bridge is gone, and a new metal truss bridge now spans Barnes Creek. It is quite a change from the old one. The walk from the parking area to Marymere Falls always reminds of Adventure Land. There's the tunnel under the road, the forest full of great trees, the little beach by the river side, a bridge over the creek and another with a view of the falls, then the crazy twisting pathway up among the tree roots to the falls themselves. It's not a particularly long walk, but there's a lot of outdoorsy stuff packed into it.

The new bridge and its proud construction team.

The bridge as seen from the little beach

Tree roots holding up the mountainside

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls

10/08 - Obstruction Point

This may be our last trip to Obstruction Point this season. It's October, so it might snow any day. The signs of autumn are obvious now. Most of the great fields of snow have melted, and most of the flowers are gone. Parts of the trail remind us of Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars with brilliant red foliage at our feet.

Obstruction Point also seems to be chock full of marmots, particularly in the Marmot Meadow perhaps a half mile before the parking area. Interestingly, this seems to be a bad year for the red algae or bacteria, or perhaps archaea, that mottle the melting snow fields. This year they are still almost white.


Welcome to Barsoom

Red Planet Earth

More Red Planet

The lakes

Melting snow

This looked rather Christmassy. Everyone seems to be jumping the gun this year.

A reminder of summer

One of our marmot friends

Keywords: autumn, flowers, marmots, obstruction point

10/07 - Spruce Railroad Trail Paving Update

We attended the park's open forum on the paving of the Spruce Railroad Trail. It was a pretty diverse group attending, with bicyclists, hikers, equestrians, park people, county people, and many we couldn't place by sight. The park is doing an Environmental Assessment. Those words are capitalized because it has a precise legal meaning, but it comes down to figuring out how much asphalt to pour. Right now, the trail is dirt, mud in season. The country proposes eight feet of asphalt and another two to four feet of gravel right along the lake on the little ledge carved out when the railroad was built. That doesn't leave much room for anything else.

We looked and listened to the various proposals the park is considering. These range from no changes to pouring as much asphalt as the ledge will bear, presumably a fair bit since it was designed for a working railroad. We couldn't help thinking of an article in that classic National Lampoon parody of a Sunday newspaper, the Dacron, Ohio Republican Democrat, home of a major asphalt producer.

We love their plan for Quaint Town.

Keywords: spruce railroad, art

10/04 - Klahane Ridge

The Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge is always a challenge, but the views are always worth it. The colors have been changing a bit, and there are only a few alpine flowers left. Like Hurricane Hill, Klahane Ridge is chock full of marmots this year. We saw at least two of them out catching a few rays and enjoying the view, an inspiration for us Kalebergs.

There's just a bit of snow left.

Some scenery

More scenery

An alpine meadow, a magic carpet

There is nothing like a good rock in the foreground to set off the vista in the background.

Safety orange

Can you spot the marmot?

Another marmot

A well camouflaged marmot

A bit of paintbrush remained

As did a few asters

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, klahane ridge, marmots, kale

10/02 - Sightings

Hurricane Hill is chock full of marmots lately. They seem to be all over the place. Could it be that the park service has removed those coyotes, or is it just the year of the marmot? (They aren't all golden anymore either, possibly due to the high price of gold.)

We also saw a helicopter by the road side. They've been moving some old logs up from near Lake Dawn to Lake Angeles as part of the restoration effort. There probably wasn't a place to land at the pick up site, and we know there isn't one up at Lake Angeles, so they used one of the overlook pullouts.

Sorry, we have no action shots. The last time we saw one of these working helicopters it almost dumped a ton of gravel on us out towards Cape Alava, so it's probably just as well.

Keywords: hurricane hill, lake angeles, marmots, flying

September 2010October 2010 November 2010