For more on Lake Crescent, see our Spruce Railroad Trail and Barnes Creek web pages.
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02/18/11 - Changing Weather at Lake Crescent

We went for a walk on the Spruce Railroad Trail. We started in sunlight, but as we made our way west the skies darkened, and mists blew in. By the time we started back the rains had come, and our rain gear was put to the test. We were a bit wet by the time we made it back to the trailhead, but the scenery made it worth it.

One of those big spooky maples not far from the trailhead

The view west with cloudy skies blowing in

Storm King with its pronounced snow line

Our special bonus surprise waterfall, in action

The view east with the last bit of sunny sky visible towards Lake Sutherland

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, waterfall


01/23/11 - The Special Bonus Surprise Waterfall Is Back

Our special bonus surprise waterfall is back, thanks to all the rain we've been having this winter. It flows down what we call the Cliffs of Neurosis. They're like the Cliffs of Insanity in the Princess Bride, but not quite so high. Usually, the area is quite dry, but during the rainy season there is often a bit of a flow. This year there wasn't as much of a stream as some winters, but it's nice to see we're having a properly wet winter.

It's a bit hard to see, but there is a stream flowing down the rock face.

Mount Storm King with a bit of snow

A sunny winter day

Keywords: lake crescent, surprise waterfall, winter, waterfall


09/30/10 - Save The Spruce Railroad Trail

We are leaving this post up here at the top of our site because we want to get the word about the proposed changes out as best we can. Scroll down a bit for our usual updates.

The Spruce Railroad Trail is in danger. The park service and the county are seriously considering a plan to eliminate the existing wilderness trail and replacing it with a twelve foot wide, sturdily paved transportation corridor relegating its traditional users - hikers, joggers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders - to a three foot wide unpaved margin. Basically, they want to turn it into an urban bike path with some accomodation for the rest of us.

If you explore the Spruce Railroad Trail now, you get a true national park experience, with ferns, salal, mosses, and sometimes salamanders lapping at your feet. You can stop by the trail side an picnic or just rest on a rock or log. The trail has a soft surface which makes for easier hiking and jogging. The proposed transportation corridor eliminates all of this. It uses most of the right of way, eliminating a lot of the vegetation and natural diversity. It will be paved, changing the scent and atmosphere, and increasing runoff into Lake Crescent.


The current trail, and one of the wider sections

The proposed "improved" version
If you want to find out more, you can check the park's web site and the section on the proposed transportation corridor.

The plan is still open for public comment, but not for much longer. They've been rather quiet about it given its impact. There was a small notice on the cluttered bulletin board at the trailhead, but little else. You can:



Keywords: lake crescent, port angeles, salamander, spruce railroad


07/06/10 - Wild Roses

This is the season of the wild roses.

Wild roses at Lake Crescent on the Spruce Railroad Trail

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, flowers


04/23/10 - Shadow Mountain Telephone Booth

The telephone system seems to enter a time warp out near Lake Crescent. It's easy not to notice, but if you look carefully at one of the many telephone cable warning markers along East Beach Road, you'll see that they have good, old fashioned Bell System logos. There's none of that Qwisp, or Quaker, or Qwest stuff they put on our phone bills these days. The Bell System was a telephone system. Qwest was a breakfast cereal.

There are even a few markers, and some curious equipment, right along the Spruce Railroad Trail. You probably haven't noticed it because there is awful a lot of distracting beautiful scenery. Still, it is time warp country. Check out this telephone booth at Shadow Mountain. That's the store along route 101 that sells gasoline, hot dogs, books of ghost stories, and just about everything else. We suppose that Sasquatch uses it when he comes out of the woods and changes into his civvies. As we said, it's time warp country.


They have just about everything else, so why not a phone booth?

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, science


03/14/10 - Sunrise at Lake Crescent

It was quite a sunrise Saturday morning looking east over Lake Crescent, at least according to these images from the park service webcam. That's the moon rising along with the sun. Obviously, the sun couldn't have been that bright a the time, or the moon wouldn't be visible. It's definitely worth checking in on the various webcams now and then.

The morning gloaming

Sunrise and moonrise

Good morning!

Keywords: lake crescent, atmosphere, science


02/24/10 - Lake Crescent in Mist and Cloud

The Spruce Railroad Trail is a different trail on cloudy days. We love to watch the clouds hugging the mountains.

Mountains, lake and clouds

If you look carefully, you'll see the OPI boat full of youngsters

One of our amphibian friends

Keywords: spruce railroad, lake crescent


02/21/10 - Sparkling Light at Lake Crescent

It has been sunny and calm lately, so we noticed an amazing light out on Lake Crescent. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail, and the light reflected from the gentle ripples on the lake reflected onto the trees, sparklling and twinkling. Our camera only captured this so well.

Move your mouse over the image to see the subtle change, or click to watch the movie.

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, art, science


02/06/10 - Storm King

The Storm King Trail, which starts near Barnes Creek, is probably the hardest trail we have ever managed. It is a relentlessly steep trail, and the challenge is in keeping going. We usually make it to about 1,450 feet above the parking lot, where there is a rocky outcrop with a spectacular view of Lake Crescent, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island beyond.

We didn't fare quite so well on our latest atttempt, but we did manage to get to about 1,200 feet up. The day was misty and overcast, and the trail was its usual, arduous self. Despite our failure to get to our favorite overlook, we were able to console ourself. After all, with all those clouds, the view was probably obscured anyway.


Across the Barnes Valley

Haunted country

The misty forest

One of the many spectacular madronas

A glimpse of the lake

A forest friend

Salal on the trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king


12/03/09 - Another Tree Down

There's another tree down on the Lake Angeles Trail. This one was quite a piece of lumber. Mind you, this isn't really news. Trees fall in the forest all the time, though quite a few choose late November or early December. There were a few trees down on the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent as well, but both trails are still passable.

Keywords: lake angeles, lake crescent, spruce railroad, trails


11/22/09 - Wild Waters on the Spruce Railroad Trail

Lake Crescent is as high as we've ever seen it. Despite this, we decided to take the Spruce Railroad Trail out a bit and see how far we could get. It wasn't too bad at first. There was a lot of mud and standing water on the slope up to the first tunnel, but otherwise it was easy going to the Punchbowl. The little bridge was a little flooded, but it was just a giant step over the waters separating the trail from the bridge. On the far side of the bridge, however, the entire trail was flooded for a ways. There were actually breakers there. With a bit of timing, we managed to follow the rocky ledge and leap back onto the trail at the far end.

The trail was dry for a bit, though there were a few trees down. Still, there was nothing we couldn't crawl under, clamber over or slink around, but then we got to the little creek. Usually, we can just step over the little creek, but today was different. To start with, there was a little river running down the trail as a warning. We skirted this and made our way to the creek. It was a torrent with quite a waterfall. It was also fast, deep and wide, filling its channel and overflowing a bit. We puttered around deciding if it was worth fording, for there was no way to leap it, and no visible rocks mid-stream. In the end, we decided that we had had enough water for the day. It was time to turn back.

We'll be keeping our eyes on the Spruce Railroad Trail. The high waters can't last forever, and aside from some muds, logs and high water, it is still quite hikable.


A piece of the trail underwater - That's the bridge down around the corner.

More flooded trail - We hugged the rocks and timed the waves.

The "little" creek

The little creek has overflowed a bit.

A lovely waterfall

Someone put this mushroom up here in a niche in the rocks.

A fish caught high and dry

The bridge - That gap is leapable, even by us.

One of several fallen trees

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, trails, waterfall


11/08/09 - More Snow on the Mountains

Storm King on the south shore of Lake Crescent got its first dusting of snow recently. The sky wasn't sure if it wanted to be blue or gray. That's typical in the autumn. The snow line on the mountain adds to the drama.

Storm King

The trail
The Spruce Railroad Trail itself is covered with leaves, and in places, it is turning into mud. It is as beautiful as ever, but expect muddy shoes and cuffs. That again is typical for this time of year.

Keywords: autumn, lake crescent, spruce railroad, storm king


10/25/09 - Gray Skies, Silver Water

We tend to remember how Lake Crescent looks on a sunny day. There is nothing quite like the blue of that water, but autumn means more cloudy days, and that means the lake turns silver and the mountains are shrouded with clouds. It is hard to capture silver water on film, but sometimes, if the light is just right and you are in just the right place, you can almost get close.



Keywords: autumn, lake crescent


10/12/09 - Some Autumn Color on the Spruce Railroad Trail

The North Olympic Peninsula is not noted for its spectacular autumn colors, but this year, the trees, notably the maples, are doing their bit. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail the other day and saw a lot of maples turning bright yellow. It's probably the cold nights. It also might be the brilliant blue of the lake's water. In fact, the maples all over the north peninsula are quite impressive this year.

Some maple color

The blue water

More color, more water

One of the spooky maples getting ready for Halloween

Bright red

Keywords: autumn, spruce railroad, lake crescent


08/30/09 - Mystery Worm

We saw this curious looking worm on the Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent. At least we think it was some kind of worm. It was wriggling along and not getting anywhere quickly.

UPDATE 07/16/10: According to Alena, this is most likely a lizard's tail. Apparently, they'll drop their tails to escape from predators. They'll sometimes wiggle for quite a while after being dropped.


Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad



A floating nurse log on Lake Crescent

08/01/09 - A Nurse Log Floating On Lake Crescent

We saw this nurse log floating on Lake Crescent. You can see the old log floating and at least one, and possibly two, new trees growing out of it. As for the origin and future of this floating island, we cannot say. Perhaps it will join the mainland, or perhaps it will remain a floating island, visited by kayakers and spotted now and then by hikers in the winter fog.

Keywords: lake crescent, science


06/13/09 - Seen at Lake Crescent

This duckling seems to be the last of the clutch, or perhaps it was as only egg.

Keywords: lake crescent, ducks


04/15/09 - First Flowering at Lake Crescent

If we seemed fixated on blossoms this season, blame it on the long winter and slow spring we've been having. The good news from the Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent is that the flowering currant is flowering, and the first paintbrush flowers are coming out in that sunny area near the footbridge.

Flowering currant, actually flowering

The first paintbrush of the season

Lake Crescent, as ever

Keywords: flowers, lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad


03/11/09 - Late Winter On The Spruce Railroad Trail

It was wintry this morning on the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent. On the way out, the trail was crunchy and covered with ice crystals, but otherwise quite passable. There was some melting in the heat of the day, such as it was. The trail was a bit muddy on the way back.

Even better, there were some great icicles as you can see in two of these pictures. There was an amazing set dangling from a tree branch down towards the lake and another set on one of the logs over a stream. The trail might have been cold, but again, it did not disappoint.


Icicles down by the lake

Icicles over a stream

Not much snow on the trail

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, winter


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