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02/27/16 - Dungeness Dike Eagles

It’s eagle season, and one of the best places for spotting them is along the Dungeness Dike off of Towne Road in Sequim. It’s not a long walk, but it pays to keep your eyes on the sky and tree tops. The trail roughly follows the Dungeness River and borders a broad open pasture. Sometimes we see eagles flying high. Sometimes we see them perched on tree tops or flying above the river. There is a cluster of trees towards the south end of the fields that they particularly like. On our last visit, there were at least a dozen eagles perched there.

How many eagles can you see in this picture? Click for a better image.

There’s one.

How many here?

Two eagles

This one is easy.

Another eagle

Did we mention that they like tree tops?

There are also some pretty views of the river and its side channels.

Another view

Keywords: dungeness, eagle


02/13/16 - Good Sand and Good Tides

A few posts back we noted that the good winter tides have returned at Dungeness Spit. Now the good sand is coming back. There are still a few rocky stretches but a lot more sand has been deposited which makes the spit a lot easier for walking. There are some good mid-day tides coming up on the 25th, 26th and 27th, so if you’ve been meaning to get out to the lighthouse, this may be good time to start planning.

The view out on a wintry day

The view back - Click for a better view of the mountains.

The view from above on the walkway down to the spit

Some driftwood

An eagle perched

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle, tides, winter


01/30/16 - Eagle Season

The eagles have been gathering along the Dungeness River. The last time we took the Dungeness Dike walk that starts off Towne Road the trees were full of eagles.

One eagle posing - click for a close up

Another eagle

Yet another eagle

Keywords: dungeness, eagle


02/27/15 - It Fell Off A Ship

We were out hiking on Dungeness Spit when we saw an unusual piece of driftwood up ahead. It still had most of its bark on and it had an unusual shape. As we approached we realized that it was a bunch of logs tied together with steel cables. They were pretty big logs too. Presumably it was a shipment of some sort that found its way into the water. It's a long way from being proper driftwood. It was probably going to get washed out with the next tide for some aging.

That curiosity aside, the real high point of our hike was seeing a young eagle perched on a log with a crystalline view of the mountains in the background.


A strange parcel

Viewed up close

Recently marked

The spit and the mountains

A young bald eagle

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle


01/28/15 - Third Beach

Now that we are getting the good winter tides, we decided to check out Third Beach out near La Push. Our last visit out this way was to Second Beach which features a lovely forest walk from the trailhead near the highway down to a wild crescent of beach adorned with rocks, sea stacks and tide pools. Third Beach is similar, but the forest walk is longer, over a mile before the descent. There are long level stretches where the rain forest forms almost a dry bog, very wet, but all the moisture absorbed by the rampant vegetation. Then there is the 200 plus foot descent to the beach.

The trailhead is near a stream that runs out to the sea here. There are glimpses of the sea stacks and ocean as one approaches. Then comes the wall of driftwood. Usually the wood is bare and aged, but this year we've had storms so there were a few freshly fallen trees in the heap. It was an easy clamber as clambering goes, and in a few minutes we were on the gritty sand. We headed left, to the east - the beach faces south - where we could see a row sea stacks, but first we had to cross the stream. It was deep and the current was fast moving, so we waded across down towards the sea where the flow widened.

From here it was easy going. As we approached the headland, we could see a waterfall splashing down the rocks. We paused to check out the rocks and tide pools and then continued. Despite the region's reputation for grayness, the sun was brilliant. We checked the bluffs for eagles but saw none. The bluffs behind Third Beach aren't as high as those at Second Beach, and there is a headland trail that leads to beaches south for those walking to Oil City, that is, other people, not us.

Walking on sand, even relatively well packed sand is tiring. When we got back to the trailhead, we saved our energy for the climb out rather than exploring the west end of the beach. Third Beach is a bit more of a workout than Second Beach, but just as rewarding.


A glimpse of the sea stacks, artfully framed a la the Northwest School

The driftwood barricade: Take it one log at a time.

The rushing stream: We waded down by the sea.

Rocks and sea stacks

Another view: Look carefully and you might see the waterfall.

Alders on the bluffs

Here you can definitely see the waterfall.

The view west, our return

A last glimpse

A spot of mud with a thoughtfully placed plank

Brilliant rainforest

Keywords: third beach, tides, winter, waterfall, eagle


01/17/15 - Marymere Falls

We were out at Barnes Creek and checked out Marymere Falls. Often in the winter the falls are surrounded by an array of ice crystals in spectacular patterns, but we've been having a warm winter, so all we saw were the falls. We took a slow motion video with our phone camera. Click on the picture of the falls to play it.

We took the usual Marymere Falls circuit, no climb up to Storm King for us today, but we did wander a bit up Barnes Creek proper and enjoyed the views of the creek and the walk through the forest. We went as far as a little waterfall right along the trail.


A bald eagle perching en route to Barnes Creek

Click the image for a slow motion view of Marymere Falls.

Sunny day

A little waterfall

Water below

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, winter, waterfall, eagle


10/04/14 - Hobart Harbor and the Waters Around Bruny Island

We spent our day in Hobart on the water out on a Seafood Seduction tour. Our guide was Robert Pennicott who took us out on one of his faster boats to raid the wild waters south of town and eat what we could find and then some. It was quite a cruise with choppy water and high sea cliffs along the way. We passed by his old house, where he began his nautical career after convincing his parents to buy him his first boat and setting up a seafood business to pay for it. We also passed by his old elementary school which had an excellent view of the water which was probably more useful for his future career than whatever was on the blackboard.

We stopped by an oyster farm and grabbed a bag of local oysters, then stopped to check out a salmon farm surrounded by a cloud of seagulls and one curious looking seal. Then we anchored off a private island where Robert and his daughter Mia set out to catch us the rest of our dinner. She grabbed a bunch of spiny sea urchins and he came back with some wonderful abalone. The sea urchins we ate raw, the abalone with garlic, ginger and spicy chile peppers. A few lobsters who had "just come along for the ride" joined our feast and were quite delicious.


The cliffs

More cliffs and choppy water

One of the sea caves

A salmon farm

Watching for escapees

Where we anchored for lunch

Our host and hostess preparing to catch dinner

A sea urchin

A sea eagle

Abalone

Our lobster friends

Keywords: australia, eagle


07/07/14 - Farmers' Market Update

Here's another photo update on the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. Now that it is summer, the market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10AM to 2PM, and there are all sorts of wonderful vegetables, berries, fish, meat, bread, sausages and now cider on sale.

River Run Farm has great potatoes and oversized napa cabbage.

Eaglemount Wine and Cider with their wares from Port Townsend

Eaglemount Wine and Cider

Johnston Farm with all sorts of peas and greens, but no oats

Berries at Spring Rain Farm from Chimacum

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, port angeles, eagle, spring rain


05/08/14 - Seen In Port Angeles Harbor

We often take the Olympic Discovery Trail west from the Morse Creek parking lot. It's about a mile from the parking lot down to the water. Perhaps another half mile west there are a few rocks out in the Strait favored by the local river otters. There was one out there today, enjoying his catch of the day. While we were watching we noticed an eagle flying low. It dived towards the otter who slid off the rock into the water. The eagle resumed his course west. As soon as the coast was clear, the otter returned to the rock with his fish in his mouth.

Also of note were the snails. We often see slugs along this trail. This is the Pacific Northwest, one of the great slug habitats of the continent, but we see snails much less rarely.


The view from the trail

One of the local river otters, dining al fresco

Either a snail or a shell collecting slug

Keywords: morse creek, otters, slugs, eagle


04/30/13 - The Dungeness Dike

The Dungeness Dike Trail has its trailhead along a pretty stretch of Towne Road, not far from the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse. It's a pretty tame walk, but it offers spectacular mountain views. The trail follows the river, as it is a dike, and there are side trails that lead down to the river proper. We saw a few adult bald eagles flying around the fields, possibly a mated pair, and, by the river, we saw a group of three young bald eagles who posed for photos.

It's like something produced by the Swiss National Tourist Board.

Welcome to Switzerland.

The Dungeness Dike Trail

The Dungeness River

Two young eagles

A third young eagle

Another view of the river

The blue sky

California poppies

Keywords: dungeness dike trail, spring, birds, eagle


02/22/13 - Morse Creek West

We often drive out to Morse Creek and park near the old railroad bridge. From there, we walk west towards Port Angeles. It's maybe a mile down to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and depending on time and energy, we'll walk for another mile or two towards town. Lately, we haven't been getting as far, but we have been seeing some amazing things.

Indian plum blossoms

Mount Baker framed by dark cloud and water

One of the many eagles

Keywords: morse creek, mount baker, port angeles, eagle


01/31/13 - Dungeness Spit - Let The Good Tides Roll

We're having some good tides at Dungeness Spit this winter. For example, there was a low tide below three feet around 12:30 today, and there was a lot of sand on the beach which made for easy walking. We saw a few eagles, a number of sea birds and the usual assortment of kelpies, that is, blobs of kelp that look like sea birds. There is another round of good tides coming up in mid-February, around Valentine's Day in fact, so we'll be watching our tide tables and hoping for good weather.









Keywords: birds, dungeness, dungeness spit, tides, winter, eagle


07/28/12 - Cape Alava

We went back to Cape Alava and took a long walk, but we didn't do the full nine mile loop. We had intended to. Cape Alava is a two hour or so drive from Port Angeles, so we always try to spend a full day there, hiking as much as we can. People tend to think that Seattle is on the west coast, but then, you have to drive another three hours west to get to Port Angeles. By the time you've driven another two hours west, you expect to be on the ocean, but at Cape Alava there is another hour's walk.

It's a beautiful walk through forest and meadows. Back until the 1980s, it was a walk through mud. Then the park service put in a boardwalk, but more recently they've been replacing the boardwalk with a gravel aggregate. The trail is lined with salal and ferns and skunk cabbage and every other type of northwest rain forest plant. If you pay attention, you'll see some big old trees that rival any in the Hoh. The meadow is old grassland with the grasses going to seed and a few pacific dogwood blossoms still showing.

The beach itself is at the end of the earth. We made our way down and were pleasantly surprised. The waters of the Pacific were still a fair ways off, but we were on the water's edge following a good path of sand, stones and dried out seaweed. We headed south towards Sand Point, but all too soon the trail dissolved into large rocks and small stones decorated with wet seaweed. It was rough going, and we were more tired than we had thought. We gave up well before the first headland.

So, we stopped and ate our lunch and watched the eagles on the rocks. We explored a bit, but the trail ahead was rough going, more than we could take for the hour or so it would take. We weren't even sure we could make it around the headland. Sometimes you have to accept your limits, so we made our way back to the car for a seven mile hike, rather than the full nine plus. All told, it was a good day's outing, and it was great to see the Pacific Ocean at Cape Alava again.


Through the woods

Across the meadows

Still some pacific dogwood in bloom

View from the beach

Half decent footing on the beach at first

But it got rougher

And even rougher

Eagles on a rock

Reflected sea stack

The headland

The Ozette River

Keywords: cape alava, trails, eagle


01/31/12 - Very High Tides at Dungeness Spit

The winter storms a few weeks back led to very high tides at the Dungeness Spit. We looked at our tide table and saw a seven foot tide, falling, so we imagined a narrow beach, but a passable one. When we got down to the beach we saw something else, no beach at all. The stormy weather had brought in an extra foot or two of water.

So, instead of a hike along the spit, we walked along the bluffs, and things were different here as well. We had noticed some serious erosion on our last visit, but it appears that an entire chunk of the old trail has collapsed into the strait, and a new trail has been routed inland.

So, on one nature walk, we were reminded of both the beauty and the power of nature.


The view back south

The view out on the spit - You can see how little beach there was.

Another view out

Another view of the spit, or what's left of it

The eagles don't seem to be bothered.

Some frost on the ground.

The new trail a safe distance back from the crumbling bluffs

A view of the mountains from the bluffs

They have a fence closing off the old trail, and it's just as well.

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides, weather, winter, eagle


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