Newer Entries  Older Entries

09/10/14 - Elderberries

We forgot to mention that we saw some elderberries on the drive down from Hurricane Hill. There are two trees right near the road. We've been watching them. First there were the flowers. Now, the berries are ripe.

Elderberries

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill


08/29/14 - Hurricane Hill

We were up at Hurricane Hill, and already we can see the end of summer. Most of the flowers have passed, though there are still some harebells and yarrow. The grasses are turning brown and gold, sometimes with a bit of red. The light is different, more muted.

Late summer colors

A golden marmot

A resting deer

More gold in the grasses

The green valley

More late summer color

Even more late summer color

The side spur path

More grasses

Butterflies

Clouds and mountains

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, summer


07/24/14 - Obstruction Point, Just the Flowers

The glacier lilies and phlox may be passing, and the lupine a bit off their peak, but otherwise, this has been the most amazing year for high country flowers. We won't even bother with captions; we don't even know the names of most of these. They're just beautiful. We'll let the pictures do the talking.











Keywords: flowers, high country, obstruction point


07/23/14 - Obstruction Point Revisited

Obstruction Point Road opened a bit over a week ago, so we ventured out from Hurricane Ridge. It's a one and a half lane unpaved road, so we drove carefully to the parking lot at the edge of the high wilderness. Most of the snow on the trail had melted, so we made it all the way to where the trail drops off for the descent towards Grand Lake. Here, there was some snow on the trail, but otherwise, it was easy going.

The high country here is wild and austere with dusty trails, cracked rocks and a profusion of wild flowers. There was some phlox and a few glacier lilies left, but there were so many flowers that we'll have to have a separate post just for them. Some years, the alpine lakes in the valleys below are covered with snow, but this year, the snows have melted early, so they are all full of water and almost like distant mirrors.


The view down the staircase

The last few glacier lilies

A last bit of phlox

One of the seasonal lakes

More lakes - the one on the left with icebergs



The mountains

More mountains

Melting snow

The trail

Keywords: flowers, high country, obstruction point, trails


07/15/14 - Klahane Ridge

The theme of our last climb was critters. This week it is flowers. To be honest, we didn't really see many critters this trip. The sky was crystalline, and the day was warm. The marmots, and even the chipmunks, were most likely avoiding the heat of the day. The flowers have no such desire or option, so they were out in full force. We have never seen so much larkspur out on the hillside. The paintbrush was glorious in shades of red and orange. There were shooting stars, turks cap lilies and bog orchids about. Maybe the lupines were a bit disappointing, but the full profusion more than compensated for it.

Crystalline sky and just a bit of snow left, looking north

We really need to get a flower identification book. You'd think someone would write an app.

The view south with even more crystalline sky

Paintbrush

Another mystery plant

Larkspur

Mixing it up

Shooting stars

This one blooms in the understory

Bog orchids

A slender bog orchid - It's a whole other type.

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge


07/01/14 - Klahane Ridge Again

We panted and wheezed, but we made it up to Klahane Ridge again. The phlox and glaicer lilies are passing, but the next round of flowers is just coming out. Our theme this post is critters. It wasn't as busy as Hurricane Hill, but there were four, or perhaps five, mountain goats on the crags above us, and at least one marmot about on the ridge itself. The young stag we saw on our last climb was still enjoying the local vegetation, but the real surprise was the black bear we saw. We only saw it because a fellow climber pointed it out, just a black dot below us on the hillside. This is the kind of luck we plan for, so we had or binoculars and modestly priced ultrazoom point and shoot camera handy.

Mountain goats on a misty ridge

The land is green.

Mist at the ridge

But, great visibility - That's Mount Baker.

Looking down to the north

Our marmot friend

Looking up

The young stag

The violets are brilliant this year.

A black bear at a safe distance

Toad lilies

Keywords: flowers, animals, klahane ridge, mountain goats


06/26/14 - The Critters of Hurricane Hill

The flowers are near their peak on Hurricane Hill. The phlox may even be a touch past its peak, though its scent lingers. The lupines are blooming, as are the western wallflowers, glacier lilies, rock larkspur, avalanche lilies and yarrows. The marmots are out and active, as are the deer. There was also a mountain goat wandering about. The park service seems to have fitted this one with a collar. These can be dangerous animals, so we kept our distance.

While we were exploring, clouds and mist were rising in the north, and by the time we were heading back, they had engulfed the top of Hurricane Hill. Through the mists we could see a blue lake forming from the melted snow and a golden marmot cooling him or herself on the snow.

This was a great day for the flowers and for critter spotting on Hurricane Hill, but our real surprise was on the drive out. Driving through the parking lot, we saw a mother bear with two cubs scampering along Sunrise Ridge. We didn't have time to take a photograph, but those were the first bears of the season.


The scenery

One of the many golden marmots

Western Wallflower and some phlox

Phlox and the mists

Marmot of the mist

Clouds from the north

Another view

A mountain goat

Even closer

Glacier lilies

Larkspur and paintbrush

Keywords: animals, flowers, hurricane hill, marmots


06/05/14 - Klahane Ridge Report

We still aren't sure how we did it, but we managed to climb up the Switchback Trail and get all the way up to Klahane Ridge. We were sure that this was as early in the season we had ever managed the climb, but we actually did make it to the ridge on May 29th back in 2005, so it has been a while.

This is always an exhausting hike, but the sense of the mountain and the spectacular views always make it worth the effort. This time that effort included having to clamber over a few remaining mounds of snow. The trail starts among trees in the ghost forest, then emerges onto the lush hill side. Most of the flowers have yet to bloom, though there was plenty of richly scented phlox and a lot of golden glacier lilies.

As we climbed, the distant rocky ridges overhead drew closer, and our view expanded. At around 1000 feet above the parking lot, Sunrise Point no longer blocks the view of glacier covered Mount Olympus and its cousins. The sky is wide and sparkling. Of course, at the ridge, the view is panoramic with the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, and everything else in creation, it seems, distantly visible.

We saw one lone marmot as we approached the ridge, but he or she - a matter primarily of interest to another marmot - dodged under a tree and some rocks. If we want to see marmots, we'll head back to Hurricane Hill. The high country is open. It looks like an early season.


The white stuff in the foreground is phlox. The white stuff in the background is snow.

The view

Mount Angeles

There were fields of richly scented phlox.

Phlox and more view

The view north of the strait

More phlox

The Olympic Mountains

Rocky fingers and lush green slopes

A glacier lily

This is a carnivorous plant growing not far from the parking lot. Click to enlarge the image and you can see the trapped insects.

Keywords: flowers, high country, klahane ridge


06/02/14 - Hurricane Hill Trail Report

The Hurricane Hill Trail is open. On slow days, we have been heading up to Hurricane Ridge to watch the snow melt and glacier lilies blossom. Usually this time of year, there are ten foot high ramparts of snow at the far end of the parking lot. This year, the area was almost snow free, so it was only a small surprise that the road to the Hurricane Hill trailhead was open. The big surprise was that the trail was relatively free of snow. There were some patches and a long stretch, a section of the trail shaded by evergreens was still covered. Still, we made it to the summit.

The trail is open early. We usually don't make it to the top of the hill until late June or even early July, but this year is different. The alpine flowers are already coming out, and not just the glacier lilies. The trail is scented with phlox. The paintbrush is out and the lupines are starting to bloom. Even the marmots are up and about. If you are planning a trip to Hurricane Ridge, it might make sense to plan to come early. The high country can be hard country, so it pays to sieze the day.


The trail is quite clear here.

This shaded corridor is the most snow covered part of the trail, but passable.

The views are spectacular.

A view from the summit

Another high country view

Lupines

Phlox

A marmot

Another marmot

Bachelors, out grazing

Paintbrush

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, marmots


05/26/14 - Lake Angeles Trail in Bloom

The trilliums are passing, but the Oregon grape is in bloom along with the pacific dogwood, tiarella and a few other flowers. This is the second wave, but it is coming right along. We've made it past the half way point to the lake, but we have a good bit of getting in shape ahead of us. Still, the high country beckons, so next time, excelsior.

We aren't sure what this is, but it's pretty.

Some latter day trilliums

Mahonia aka Oregon grape

Wild water at the crossing

More wild water

Pacific dogwood

... and more dogwood

Tiarella

... and more tiarella

New growth on the salal almost looks like flowers.

A sylvan collage

Keywords: flowers, high country, oregon, trillium


05/19/14 - Hurricane Ridge - Spring Report

We drove up to Hurricane Ridge today to watch the snow melt and see if any flowers were in bloom. The road is completely clear, save for the usual runaway rocks. There was lupine in bloom at one of the lookouts, and as we approached the ridge proper, the first phlox of the season was in bloom.

The snow is melting rapidly on the ridge. There were 57 inches of snow at the official snow stake, but there were plenty of clear patches, and there was less snow than we expected on the continuation of the road towards Hurricane Hill. Usually this time of year, there are eight or ten foot high ramparts, but this year they were much reduced. We wandered down the road a bit towards Hurricane Hill, and we're guessing that they'll open the road earlier than usual this year.

Then we explored the parking lot and found them, glacier lilies. The first few were just buds with a touch of yellow, but a few were starting to open. The Hurricane Ridge flower season has begun.


Some mountains

Sunrise Peak

Melting snow

No ramparts here

The road to Hurricane Hill

Glacier lilies

Another glacier lily

A glacier lily starting to bloom

Yet another glacier lily

We aren't sure what this is, but it looks interesting.

Clouds and fog

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge


03/31/14 - Late Currants

The currant blossoms are late this year, but better late than never.

Currants in bloom on the trail west of Morse Creek

Keywords: morse creek, flowers


11/11/13 - Seattle Conservatory

Whenever we climb up to Volunteer Park we make a point of checking out the conservatory.

Something like a pineapple

More exotics

Flowers

Fruits

Orchids

The reflecting pool at Volunteer Park

A community garden

Keywords: flowers, seattle


09/25/13 - Hurricane Hill - After the Equinox

Obstruction Point Road has already closed and the weather has been changeable. Instead of the usual September sun, our skies seem to be visitors from October. We hiked the Hurricane Hill Trail on a quiet day and watched Mount Olympus fuss with its wreath of clouds before vanishing. The marmots were out, but turning darker and browner for winter. Only their hindquarters were golden. We saw only a handful of flowers, dried yarrow, a few harebells, and the like. Instead we saw fall foliage with the grasses turning golden and leaves turning red and brown.

Golden fields and misty mountains

One of five marmots we saw

Another marmot in closeup - not very golden

A view

A misty view and changing colors

Mount Angeles

To the north, a touch of blue

The first bit of snow, near the summit

A band of gold

A mushroom

Last of the flowers

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, obstruction point, weather, winter


09/12/13 - Klahane Ridge - Late in the Season

We were up on Klahane Ridge a few days ago. Summer is over. The lupines are long gone. In fact, there were only a handful of flowers left here and there. The hanging gardens are shutting down for the winter. It seems so soon.

View of Port Angeles

The Olympic Mountains

Along the ridge

More mountains

Towards Mount Angeles - Look closely, and you can see some lingering snow.

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge


07/31/13 - Obstruction Point

They just opened the road to Obstruction Point, so we drove out to take a short stroll. As it turned out, we hiked all the way to the "rim", the start of the big descent to Grand Lake. There was much less snow on the trail than usual, despite the early road opening. There was still some phlox and lots of lupines, and, if you looked carefully, you could see a few avalanche and glacier lilies about.

The lakes in the valley have already filled, and at least one of the tarns has already dried out. Still, there are patches of snow and a host of late season flowers including pink and red paintbrush, yarrows and hampers of dirty sock plant.

We weren't sure we could make the climb from the parking lot to the plateau, but it turned out we could. We double dog dared each other at the staircase and descended warily, expecting a hard climb back up. Then, how could we not cross the meadows and check out the view of the valley where the melting snow fills seasonal lakes for our entertainment. From there, we were called to climb a bit higher and continue down the trail. We made our way to the rim. Grand Lake beckoned, but enough was enough. We slowly and ever so regretfully made our way back to our car.


Heather and sky

Heidi country

Mountains and valleys

Phlox

Lupines

Melting snow along the ridge

More melting snow

Flowers, lots of these

More melting snow, more mountains

Paintbrush

Lakes, or perhaps tarns

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point


07/18/13 - Hurricane Hill in Season

Hurricane Hill is in season. Even the roses and corn lilies are out. The hills are thick with marmots, and the scenery is spectacular. If you can't reach us at home, we'll be hiking the trails.

A marmot surrounded by dirty sock plant

A buck on the snow

A marmot beating the heat

Melting snow

A rock garden

The mountains

The snow really does melt faster on the sunny side.

A mountain plover

Pasque flowers and corn lilies - yes corn lilies

One of the first roses

More mountains and flowers

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, trails


07/11/13 - Klahane Ridge - To The Top

We made it to the top of Klahane Ridge the other day. As usual, it was a serious hike, but we pushed ourselves onward and made it to the ridge. The view north was cloudy, but the view south was spectacular. We rested a bit, and while we sat, we could watch the clouds to the north getting thicker and thicker. We rested longer, and then the clouds thinned and parted giving us a fairly good view north.

The lower reaches of the trail are lined with lupines, larkspur, paintbrush, turk's cap lilies and a host of others. The upper reaches are scented by patches of phlox. The middle range of the trail has yet to blossom, and the trailsides lined with green. We'll have to climb again and see how the alpine summer progresses.


Imagine our disappointment. This was the view north.

Luckily the south view was fairly good.

Snow patches and lifting clouds

Mount Angeles

Phlox

Fields of phlox scenting the air.

The crags

A very green trail with flowers to come

Snow melting and feeding a stream

Flowers

and more flowers

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, summer, trails


07/04/13 - Back to Hurricane Hill

Yes, we've already been back to Hurricane Hill - twice in fact. It is really beautiful up there. There weren't as many marmots this time, but we did see some other wonderful things.

The snow melt lake is forming below the peak.

The mountains - well, what can we say?

Green shoots

An early corn lily

We saw a mountain goat on a rocky hill side, at a good safe distance.

A marmot

The snow is melting quickly.

Glacier lilies blooming by the melting snow

Avalanche lilies growing in the shade

A little rock garden

Lupines

Keywords: hurricane hill, marmots, flowers


Newer Entries  Older Entries