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07/08/18 - Klahane Ridge - Flowers

It's still early in the season on Klahane Ridge. The lupines are back. The phlox is passing. Here are some pictures.

Western wallflower

Lupines

Not sure, but it's pretty neat

This is likely a chipping sparrow.

Paintbrush

Toad lily or chocolate lily, take your pick.

Bloodwort

Shooting stars

Bog orchid and friends

Just a bog orchid

Cow parsnip, ox parsley?

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge


06/30/18 - Obstruction Point - Flora and Fauna

The drive to Obstruction Point has its hairy moments along with its spectacular scenery. In the forested areas, where one cannot see the mountains, the forest floor is covered with avalanche lilies this time of year. In the fields as one approaches the point, there are marmots out foraging.

One of the marmots with glacier lilies

Glacier lilies up close

Early flowers

More blossoms

A little bird by the trail side

Phlox

Avalanche lilies

Glacier lilies

A view from the road

Another marmot

Pasque flowers

Keywords: marmots, obstruction point, flowers


05/27/18 - Hurricane Hill - First Ascent

This time we made it to the top of Hurricane Hill. Most of the snow has melted, except for a long stretch between the bench and the "hamper". All sorts of flowers are starting to bloom: glacier lilies, yarrows, violets and avalanche lilies. The lupines are getting ready. Spring is here. We even saw some marmots.

Phirst phlox

Glacier lilies and others

One of the marmots

Another marmot

One of the views

That lake to the north of the peak

More flowers

Grasses in bloom

Yarrow

An assemblage with phlox

An avalanche lily

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, spring


05/20/18 - Hurricane Hill - First Look

Despite the delays on Hurricane Ridge Road, we made our way up to the Hurricane Hill trailhead. There was still a lot of snow, but some of the trail was clear. The sky was blue and the view of the distant mountains was crystalline. Only the bravest plants, or those lucky enough to have an especially warm microclimate, were out and in bloom, but we could see signs of alpine spring.

Stay tuned. We'll be back, road construction or not.


Snow on the trail - still passable

More snow on the trail

Someone getting a head start

Melting snow on the mountain

The Olympic Range in its majesty

Another gorgeous view

Paintbrush getting out in front

Keywords: hurricane hill, spring, flowers


03/21/18 - Cherry Blossom Special

We had been following the action on the webcam. The buds were starting to open. It was too much to resist. We Kalebergs just had to be in the quad where it happens, so we headed into Seattle, up to the University of Washington and onto the quad where the cherry trees were at peak blossom. These were big old trees, gnarly and dark with a cloud of pale pink flowers about them. The quad was full of people there to enjoy the blossoms and the late start of spring.

Cherry blossoms

More cherry blossoms and admirers

Admirers and cherry blossoms

An old gnarled branch

More CBs

CBs

Dark bark

Another branch

More CBs

Did we mention cherry blossoms?

I guess we did mention cherry blossoms.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring


02/26/18 - Winter Garden at the Seattle Arboretum

We've been having a bit of winter weather. Even in Seattle, there was snow on the ground, and the temperature seemed to be stuck on much too cold. So, we dropped by the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden in the Arboretum. Here, there was snow on the ground, but there were also flowers in bloom. There were all sorts of witch hazel, some scentless, some spicy, some sweet, and there were hellebores and a few hardy cherry blossoms. We're sure that spring is out lurking somewhere, but until winter ends, we'll make the best of it.

Cherry blossoms

A rhododendron

A snowy scene



WItch hazel

Another witch hazel

Brightly colored grasses

Cyclamen in the snow

Azaleas

At least the pond wasn't frozen.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring, weather, winter


08/20/17 - Hurricane Hill as Summer Passes

The summer is passing. More gold and brown are creeping into the colors of the high country. We hiked the Hurricane Hill Trail again and saw a bit of drama, two young marmots were attacked by a hawk. They were unharmed, but one tends to thing that these things are just staged for nature documentaries. Not true.

We also ran into the team planning to rebuild the trail. The Hurricane Hill Trail is heavily used in season, and it has been showing signs of wear. We're hoping they don't have to close the trail for too long. We've been having a lot of trail and road closures lately.


Summer colors

Still plenty of green

Mountains in late summer

Another view

The view to the north

Clouds add drama.

A silky sky

Late summer flowers

The season

Yet another view

The trail planning team at work

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


07/31/17 - Obstruction Point

We made another visit to Obstruction Point to see how the season has been progressing. The snows have continued to melt and more flowers have come into bloom.

Flowers and mountains - That's why we come out here.

A view down

Lupines

More lupines

The trail as it goes

More flowers

The less shy of two birds

A seasonal lake

Another seasonal lake aforming

Even more flowers

Another seasonal alpine lake

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point


07/20/17 - Klahane Ridge Again

Our three favorite high country trails are the Hurricane Hill Trail, the Lilian Ridge Trail out of Obstruction Point and the Klahane Ridge Trail via the Switchback Trail. This season, the last of those of three keeps calling us back. We've been watching the flowers, with more and more lupines appearing as the phlox starts to fade. We've been watching the mountain goats, carefully, as there seem to be a lot of them. There were over a dozen on our descent. We didn't stop for photos. We wanted to keep an eye on them and be ready to react.

We made it up past the ridge overlook and followed the trail leading to Lake Angeles. The "rooms", areas carpeted with alpine flowers and divided by crags, were a trip back to early in the season. Only a few flowers had blossomed, though we expect more when we answer the call of Klahane Ridge again.


A view from the ascent

As we approached the ridge

A mountain goat and her kid

Another view of them

A view of the Olympic Mountains

One of the alpine "rooms"

The end of our hike, lingering snow

Phlox, probably at its peak - It's a pity there isn't HTML to capture the scent.

Lupines, a great year

Blood wort

Bog orchid

Keywords: flowers, high country, klahane ridge, mountain goats, trails


07/12/17 - Obstruction Point

All of Obstruction Point Road is now open, so we drove out to the end and took a little stroll. The air was high and thin. There was still a little snow to deal with on the trail, but otherwise the going was easy. The fields and hillsides are full of flowers. The distant mountains are covered with snow, but it is melting and the seasonal alpine lakes are forming. It was a magnificent hike, one we hope to repeat soon.

Melting snow on the trail

There were lots of lupines this year.

Mountains in the distance



Glacier lilies

More flowers

One of the alpine lakes

Even more flowers

Spring is here.

An avalanche across the way

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point


07/05/17 - Goat Patrol - Klahane Ridge Edition

After two failed attempts, we made it up to Klahane Ridge, and even a bit beyond. Just about all of the snow has melted, and the wildflowers are out in force. The view from the ridge was spectacular. We continued on the trail a bit to check out the alpine gardens. There, the snow was still melting, and we turned around when walking in the snow became a problem.

On the way up to the ridge, we saw a mountain goat with a kid. We thought this was a great mountain goat sighting, but on our way there were at least a dozen mountain goats grazing on the trail. We made a bit of noise and they moved aside rather nonchalantly. None of them seemed particularly agitated which was good given that they have rather sharp looking antlers.


Mother and child

From the distance

High country

Flowers

Mountains with rocks in the foreground

More flowers

The view north with a Mount Baker visible - Click the image for a better view.

Mountain goats on our way down

The trail

More mountain goats

More mountains

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, mountain goats


06/19/17 - Hurricane Hill - Critters

We've been getting up to Hurricane Hill to watch the snow melt, enjoy the views, gawk at the flowers and do some wildlife spotting. Hurricane Hill is great place for seeing all sorts of animals: marmots, bears, hares, deer and even mountain goats. Well, we didn't see any mountain goats this time, but we saw just about everything else.

The scene

A black bear ...

... from a safe distance

One of the marmots, not Marmot Rock

Melting snow

More snow on the north face

Another marmot

Yet another marmot

A snowshoe hare

Phlox

The lupines are back; we missed them last year.

Keywords: animals, flowers, hurricane hill, marmots


06/15/17 - Lake Angeles Trail

The Lake Angeles Trail is great for a workout. It's only a ten minute drive from town, so it's often our fallback for exercise when we don't have a lot of time. On our last trip we got to experience the season with trilliums both ready to open and already with pods having bloomed some time ago. The Pacific dogwood was like this too, with both slightly green early flowers as well as white ones in full bloom.

The bridge on the Lake Angeles Trail

White water

Water under the bridge

Early Pacific dogwood

Pacific dogwood in full bloom

An early trillium

A late season trillium

More water

And even more water

Keywords: flowers, lake angeles, trillium


07/29/16 - Obstruction Point

We waited for a sunny day before heading out to Obstruction Point. We really did not want to be caught on the road out in the fog. We were well rewarded with spectacular high country views, alpine flowers and the return of the alpine lakes, even now filling with melting snow. It is always an otherworldly experience, a journey to the top of the world and another clime.

The trail

One of the views - the Olympic range

Another view

A seasonal lake

Glacier lily - It’s still early spring out there.

Some lupines, nice to see

Another seasonal lake

A lake and melting snow

Yet another view of the mountains

Another lake and melting snow

Phlox, a sign of spring

Keywords: flowers, high country, obstruction point


07/19/16 - Hurricane Hill - Fog and Goats

We recently climbed Hurricane Hill on a cloudy, changeable day. At one moment there was sun, blue sky and a fantastic view of the distant mountains, at another one was walking in a cloud barely able to see a few hundred feet. If nothing else, there was variety. There were also mountain goats. We saw them from the summit. They were along the north face of the ridge, at least ten including a number of kids.

This may or may not have been the same group of goats we encountered on Klahane Ridge. Apparently, the goat population has been growing, and the ranger we talked to noted that there was a goat census in progress. She also asked if we had thrown any rocks at them. We hadn’t, but we’ll carry a sling shot in the case of any problems in the future.


A sunny view

An odd flower season

Fog rolling in, or perhaps out, or even both

Mountain goats

A close up - Ultra-zoom is great!

Fog and goats, as promised in this post’s title

Fogs, goats and bonus snow

Two kids tussling

More rolling fog

Another cloudy view

Bright flowers

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, mountain goats


07/05/16 - Hurricane Hill - The Fifth of July

We took advantage of the cloudy weather to hike up to Hurricane Hill. The distant mountains at times were obscure and at others clear, so the view changed as we walked. Now and then a bright ray of sun would illuminate a field of snow on a mountain top, then the clouds would move and hide the entire range from us.

This has been a magnificent year for larkspur. It loves the rocky mountain soil, but this year seems to have been perfect for it. The wall flowers and phlox are passing, but there were roses blooming, dirty sock plant, paintbrush and a host of other flowers. After last year’s drought left the lupines shrunken, we feared the worst this year. There were lupines out, but it looks like it is still early in their season. The corn lilies on our favorite side spur have grown larger, but are not yet in bloom.

Not everyone likes the trail in gray weather. There is always the risk of fog and rain, and the view can be limited. There is nothing like the crystalline view of the distant Olympics on a bright sunny day, but the clouds add depth and give a greater sense of the sheer majesty of the view.


A view of the mountains

A seasonal lake

Corn lilies

A misty field

Lupines

Last bit of phlox

Paintbrush

Witch’s hair

Hair of the mountain goat

Larkspur

Roses

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, weather


06/10/16 - Volunteer Park Conservatory

One of our favorite places in Seattle is the Volunteer Park Conservatory. We missed it on our last few visits. It closes at four, and sometimes it is closed when they are updating the plants on display. This last trip, however, we had the perfect spring conservatory experience. Everything seemed to be in bloom.

The Conservatory

Berries

A flower

Carnivorous …

… and friends

Also in bloom

Even the cactus

Another cactus …

… and another

An orchid display

An orchid close up

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring


05/20/16 - Hurricane Hill Flowers, Marmots and a Bear

The wildflower season progresses up at Hurricane Hill. The hillsides are covered with phlox. The wallflowers are out, and the glacier lilies are blooming. The marmots are out as well. We saw at least four of them including two younger ones sparring. On our way back down from the summit we saw a black bear eating ferociously along the hillside below. It was close enough for us to see its black mane, but far enough for comfort. They say black bears are the little ones, but they are not that little.

One of the amazing views

A golden marmot amidst the phlox

Another marmot

Snow still covers the north face.

The hills are alive.

A wallflower and friends

More flowers

Another marmot reminding us to stay off his or her lawn

Two young marmots sparring

The black bear at the limit of our telephoto lens

More flowers

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots


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