06/27/15 - Seen Off The Port Angeles Coast

There were a few kayakers in the strait, carefully lined up under Mount Baker.

It's not easy getting that mountain lined up.

Keywords: mount baker, port angeles


11/24/13 - Along the Waterfront

We've been having some really clear air and good seeing lately. We took a short walk along the waterfront and had a great view of Mount Baker, ghostlike in the distance. It's a working waterfront with big ships, industrial ruins and a Coast Guard Station, but it can be quite pretty on some days.

You can see Mount Baker in the distance

Keywords: mount baker, port angeles


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


08/12/12 - Klahane Ridge, Hurrah!

This time we made it up to Klahane Ridge. We were horribly slow. We kept having to stop and rest, but then we pushed on. The hanging gardens were lush and green with lupines, turks cap lilies, yarrow, cow parsnip, larkspur, paintbrush and even some phlox in bloom. The usual summer drought has not set in yet, and might not this year.

The view from the top was as spectacular as ever. To the north we could see the Dungeness Spit, the San Juan Islands and Mount Baker rising above the Cascades. To the south were the grand Olympic Mountains clad in their glaciers. Like many things this year, we were late in our return to Klahane Ridge, but we did it.


Mount Angeles and a bit of snow

The view north

The view to the east

A view north

Another view north

The trail through the green

Lupines

Did we say lupines?

More of the trail

More wildflowers - an amazing season

The little waterfall near the trailhead

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, mount baker, summer, waterfall


08/17/11 - Pacific Mist at Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit is a narrow strip of land that juts five miles out into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. When Pacific mist has settled along the coast, visibility is minimal. On a clear day, one can see the San Juan islands and even Mount Baker, but when the mist settles in visibility can be measured in feet. We took a short walk along the spit, and very quickly we had no idea of where we were or how far we had walked. The familiar visual cues were gone.

The mist lifted as we walked, as it so often does towards the middle of the day. On our way out, we walked in a tiny sphere with the driftwood spine of the spit barely visible through the gray. On our way back, we could see farther and the driftwood was clearly visible. By the time we reached the climb from the spit to the bluffs, sunlight was breaking through and most dramatically.


Some of the driftwood, feathers and sea stone artwork - This was gone when next we passed the area.

Driftwood and mist

The mist lifting a bit, hence the blue

Light breaking through

More light

Looking down at the mist

Another view

And yet another to pad out the series

Yet more of the remaining mist

Keywords: dungeness spit, mount baker


06/11/11 - Dungeness Dike and the Roses

When we are feeling lazy and want a flat walk on a soft surface, we head over to the Dungeness Dike with access off Towne Road in Sequim. The river was in full spring flood, but it is hard to capture flowing water with a camera, so instead we took pictures of roses and the lush greenery that is taking over the dike path.

Mount Baker, our own fata morgana

Roses

A trail to the river

The fields

The trail

Keywords: dungeness, mount baker, spring


03/29/11 - Dungeness Spit

One of the strangest places to hike on the North Olympic Peninsula is the Dungeness Spit. It is a sand spit that juts out for miles into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and on a good day with low tides it can be a spectacular walk, almost like walking out to sea. We had some good weather and some good tides recently, and we can report that the beach sand has been coming back nicely. The hiking was a bit tiring, as hiking on sand always is, but the footing was good and the way generally smooth. The scenery was as magnificent as ever, with the brilliant meringue of Mount Baker in the distance and the nearby Olympic peaks visible to the south. There's no need to say much more. We'll let the pictures do the talking.

Work in Progress The last time we were at the spit, the park service had closed the usual trail from the parking lot to the spit. The trail has been reopened, regraded, and partially rerouted. They always do a good job of hiding the old pieces of trail when they reroute things. Knowing the old trail, we managed to spot the suspicious alignment of trees, but in a few years we'll probably unable to spot even that.


Mount Baker over the driftwood, one of the many magic mountains of the Northwest

The beach and the islands - easy going

Hurricane Ridge and its friends peeking out above the clouds

Another view of the Olympics

The trail back - construction in progress

More construction and repair

This was the old trail from the parking lot to the spit, now expertly camouflaged.

Keywords: dungeness spit, mount baker, tides, weather


12/20/10 - Moon and Mount Baker

Here's another photo of Mount Baker, this one from our back yard. That's the waning moon before the eclipse that we missed, because we were sound asleep.

Keywords: mount baker


12/19/10 - Mount Baker from Morse Creek

The air was extremely clear a few days after that pineapple express that blew through here. We had a great view of Mount Baker from the Olympic Discovery Trail west of Morse Creek. We could even see a bit of the foothills.

Keywords: morse creek, mount baker



Mount Baker and the moon

12/02/09 - Moon Over Mount Baker

This is a photo of Mount Baker taken from the Kaleberg Plateau in our backyard. We were out howling at the full moon.

Keywords: science, art, mount baker, kale


09/13/08 - Autumn Comes To Obstruction Point

If you haven't already been out to Obstruction Point this season, you had better hurry. The road often closes in October, and with the Hurricane Ridge Road construction closing off the road, you can only get out there on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Meanwhile, the peak summer wild flower season has passed, and the fall color is coming in. Don't expect the brilliant foliage of New England, expect instead the brilliant crimson ground cover of Edgar Rice Burrough's Princess of Mars books. Really, the ground cover is that brilliant.

Hiking Obstruction Point always does feel like something out of science fiction. Mount Olympus looms grandly across the valley. With the clear air, it is hard to believe that it is perhaps 20 miles away. It feels almost like walking through a diorama, except here everything is real. The rocks and plants, the distant cloud of Mount Baker, the alpine lakes and their patterns of surrounding vegetation, they are all fantastic, but very real.


Patches of crimson

A few last lupines

The last pink paintbrush

An amazing trail

A valley view

Crimson fields and Mount Olympus

The blood of Mars

Mountain views

Fields of Mars and trees evergreen

Keywords: hurricane ridge, obstruction point, autumn, mount baker


07/15/08 - Klahane Ridge

The Klahane Ridge hike is one of the most spectacular in Olympic National Park. From the ridge there are views north of the Dungeness Spit, the San Juan Islands, Mount Baker and points beyond, and views south of the Olympic Mountains, including Mount Olympus with its Blue Glacier. It is a 1450' climb through hanging gardens and alpine meadows and, while exhausting, every step is rewarding.

We start the hike from Hurricane Ridge Road a mile or two before the lodge at Hurricane Ridge. A part of the road collapsed near the trailhead, so there is a bit of construction and a bit less parking there. The little stream near the road is now hidden behind a mound of road material, but it is still there, as is the umbrella tree forest and the meadows and gardens above.

This year there was more moisture, so the flowers are spectacular with great spikes of lupine, arrays of turk's cap lilies, gauntlets of cow parsnips, fields of indian paintbrush and great swathes of richly scented phlox. Summer has come to the high country. The snow has vanished, and the hanging gardens are in bloom. We can tell already that this is going to be a great year for the mountain flowers.


Melting snow, Dungeness Spit, the San Juan Islands and points north

A field of phlox

The Olympic Mountains as seen from Klahane Ridge

Lush alpine meadows

A glorious year for the flowers

The hanging gardens

Some lupines by the trail

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, mount baker


10/17/07 - Otter Island

The Morse Creek Trail is what passes for an urban trail out in Port Angeles. It runs along the water from downtown near the Red Lion, the Victoria ferry docks and The Landing, past the Hospital, and then along the base of the bluffs before turning inland a bit before Morse Creek east of town. We tend to drive east on 101 to Morse Creek and park in the little parking lot there. We head west, crossing the wooden railroad bridge which was restored by local volunteers, and then down to the water. Given that the town is hard by a National Park full of some of the greatest wilderness in the lower 48, walking the Morse Creek trail still manages to take one away from it all. There is a little beach where the trail meets the strait, then a crumbling dike which is washed by the waves on stormy days. A bit past here, the trail is paved, so it makes a great bicycle trail. The view is of Ediz Spit with the Coast Guard Station, alien Canada and the city of Victoria, the San Juan Islands, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca itself, and in the distance Mount Baker looming like a meringue. There is also a lot of kelp which we tend to mistake for sea birds, and there is a bunch of rocks (see the picture below) which is now and then inhabited by local river otters (see pictures to the right). The otters aren't on their rock all that often, but when they are, it is a special treat.

Keywords: morse creek, victoria, birds, mount baker, otters