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


06/24/17 - Klahane Ridge - Round One

We didn't get very far up on our first attempt to climb Klahane Ridge via the Switchback Trail, but we did get some beautiful views. We also saw a group of mountain goats on the hillside to the west. We will be back.

Mountains, green, snow, clouds

Glacier lily

Green hillside

Mountain goats

Another view of the mountain goats

Paintbrush

Water

A butterfly - This has been a great year for them.

The hillside

Keywords: klahane ridge, mountain goats


08/28/16 - Klahane Ridge - Part 1

It hasn’t been easy getting up to the Hurricane Ridge hikes recently. If nothing else, they have been repaving Hurricane Ridge Road. We started early on a cloudy Sunday and managed to avoid the construction, but at the ridge we could smell the smoke from the Cox, and we could see the smoke settled on the mountains. We decided to try climbing Klahane Ridge anyway figuring that we had an asthma inhaler with us, so if the air was too bad on the way up, we could control its effects and make our way back down.

As it turned out the air started getting a little better as we climbed out of the closed area near the Switchback trailhead. Still, we could see the smoke highlighting the mountain panorama. As we climbed we had a broader vista, but the smoke was a major feature that we could see and smell. We made it to the ridge and headed on to the “kick in the ass” as one hiker we met put it. This is the stretch of the trail to Lake Angeles that climbs and passes through some of the most beautiful alpine gardens.

There were mountain goats about, even a few on the trail. We shouted at them and waved our hiking sticks and that seemed to send them scurrying. We also saw a few marmots as we wandered.


Smoke towards Sunrise Peak

Smokey skies

The panorama

More mountains

More smoke

Mountain goats, a mother and a kid

Another mountain goat

One of the enchanting alpine gardens

A plump marmot

Yet another mountain goat

Mountains as seen from an alpine garden

Keywords: hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, marmots, mountain goats


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


07/13/16 - The Mountain Goats of Klahane Ridge

We hadn’t planned on climbing Klahane Ridge. We were just going to climb a few hundred feet to convince ourselves that it wasn’t impossible. Instead, we pushed on, repeatedly promising ourselves that if we climbed just another hundred or two hundred feet we could turn around. Of course, by the time we turned at the 1300’ hair pin, we had no choice but to climb the remained 150’ or so.

The sky had been cloudy, and more clouds were moving in as we approached the top. We could tell that there was no view to the north and the view to the south would be closed in soon. Luckily, a band of traveling players was on its way to provide for our entertainment. We were not the only ones on Klahane Ridge, for along with the other humans were at least a dozen mountain goats including a good number of kids.

These animals can be quite dangerous. Check out those horns. Luckily, they seemed to be calm enough, primarily focused on eating, so not all that much different from ourselves. Needless to say, we did not try to get a good pose with their kids. Instead, we started heading down the ridge. To our surprise, the goats joined us. Maybe they recognized kindred souls, for much as we awaited our dinner down below, they considered the larkspur, lupine and other foliage their open buffet.

Since they were more agile than we and less inclined to follow park rules, they would often take a shortcut and settle in for a course on the trail ahead of us. We humans stopped to watch not wanting to hurry their meal. The nannies would move ahead. The kids would bleat in protest, but eventually follow. We would slink by, hoping our desire to continue on the trail would not be mistaken for a desire for roast cabrito.

The goats left us at the trail junction. They decided to follow a group from Seattle, perhaps recognizing the world class food on offer in the big city. We made our way back to the Switchback Trail parking lot, our appetite sharpened by the exertion of the climb and watching all those goats chowing down heartily.


The Olympic Range appears above Sunrise Peak after 1000’ of climbing.

Pretty mountain country, rising clouds

Mountain goats heading down to join us

Nanny and two kids

Clouds coming in

More kids

Following us down the trail

Further down the trail

Even further down

Flowers too, larkspur and turks cap lily

This was not a good year for the lupines, but the larkspur have taken up the challenge.

Keywords: animals, klahane ridge, mountain goats


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


07/17/12 - Assault on Klahane Ridge

We made our first assault on Klahane Ridge for the year, and we made it up about 900 feet from the parking lot. The whole climb to the ridge is about 1450 feet, so we made creditable progress, but we still have a way to go. It also means we didn't get high enough to run into any mountain goats, which was just as well.

There were a fair number of flowers in bloom - bog orchids, lupines, cow parsnips, phlox, indian paintbrush and all too many that we don't have names for. (We do look them up now and then, but then we forget them.) There were even a few golden glacier lilies, rapidly fading. On the other hand, the hanging gardens on the hillside were quite lush and very green. Over the next few weeks we expect to see a lot more blooms. We also expect to climb all the way to the ridge.

We shall see.


Lupines in full bloom

A lot of green, but not all that many flowers

The view

We were not high enough for a real view of the Olympic Mountains.

More of the trail

Phlox - We can't capture the wonderful scent here.

A melting river of snow

We forgot what these pretty flowers were, or maybe we never did look them up.

A bog orchid with yet another wonderful scent

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, mountain goats


08/13/11 - Klahane Ridge Success

This time we made it up Klahane Ridge. We really didn't think we were up for it being a bit out of shape, but we dragged ourselves up, stopping often to catch our breath. The high country flowers are in magnificent bloom, though the glacier lilies are gone. Still, we have no reason to complain about lupines, paintbrush, yarrows, and the hosts of others the names of which we still haven't learned and memorized.

We even saw a family of mountain goats safely perched on a snow ledge far away and above us. That's about the right distance. That's why we bring binoculars, not that the Klahane Ridge climb is in need of scenery what with the distant mountains, alpine flowers, rocky crags and great sky.


The climb

Look carefully at that snow ledge to the upper right.

There are mountain goats there, at a safe distance.

The view from the ridge

Sunrise point and the high Olympics

Mountain flowers

Rock flowers

The mountain goats on the move

More flowers, fields of them

Even more flowers

Lupines, among others

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


06/24/09 - The Hall of the Mountain Goat

Our most recent journey up the Switchback Trail was more menacing than usual. True, the ridge was no higher than ever, and the trail no steeper. True, the light clouds portended no stormy disaster. It was only the hastily posted mountain goat warning stapled to the trailhead sign that gave us a clue as to what awaited us.

We had further warnings on our ascent. One hiker had turned back in defeat. Tales were told of a jogger who had been followed by the angry beast. Still, our experiences with mountain goats had generally been uneventful, save for the loud clicking and whirring of our digital camera. This time, however, was different.

We met the goat after climbing a full thousand feet. Mount Olympus now loomed over Sunrise Point. The goat was on the trail above us and proved to be a cool customer. He took note of us, nibbled some greens, then made his way down the trail towards us. Nimbly, he took the switchback. Viciously, he nibbled the vegetation. We tried moving forward, then forward again. The goat hissed in warning. We had gone too far.

The goat would not be moved. He, for the goat was a billy, would not let us pass. We retreated and contemplated our failure. Cabrito, we have savored, but this fellow was beyond our limited capacity. We started our retreat, but then fate intervened in the form of another pair of hikers, better adapted to the rigors of the trail than we. We pointed out our nemesis.

They took our intelligence calmly. "The slingshot," said the woman. "The slingshot," replied the man extracting said weapon from his backpack. Armed, our party advanced. He chose a few pebbles from the trail, each no larger than a quarter for the most part. His first shot fell short. The second connected. The goat stopped his nibbling and looked about. A second pebble followed. The goat moved on down the mountainside, abandoning the contested stretched of trail.

The goat had abandoned the trail proper, but was still close by, threatening. We advanced. We consolidated our victory with one or two pebbles more. The goat wanted no more of us, and sauntered a few yards farther from the trail. The way was clear! Our victory was the ridge itself, and the view had never been better for having been earned in adversity.


Our nemesis, almost

Ominously nibbling beside the trail

Vanquished

The view

North face and south face

The bonsai garden

Phlox - the scent of victory

A fuzzy picture of a marmot

The marmot in context

The hillside is in bloom.

Bog orchids are in bloom by the roadside. We had to follow our noses.

Keywords: klahane ridge, animals, marmots, flowers, mountain goats


07/09/06 - Mountain Goat Update

There were mountain goats in the news this morning. The local paper, the Peninsula Daily News, had an article about the upcoming aerial goat survey. We Kalebergs decided to check out the situation ourselves, but lacking the requisite light aircraft and helicopters, we took one of our favorite hikes, the Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge. We had spotted one fine specimen back in June, so we had our hopes for this fact finding expedition.

We started the arduous ascent from the parking lot. The bog orchids were in bloom, and their rich scent permeated the waterfall climb near the start of the trail. Hikers descending reported goats on the trail, raising our hopes. Indeed, as we neared the 1000' apl (above parking lot) mark on our altimeter, there they were, two goats, a nanny and a kid, skulking in one of the shady corners of a switchback.

Mountain Kid
An Olympic mountain goat exploring the crags above us

After a suitable pause to take some pictures and share in the mother-child intimacy, we resumed our ascent. Two goats! We had already broken our old record of one mountain goat sighted. The day was auspicious, and our hopes were high.

We did not hope in vain. As we neared the rocky outcrops near the ridge itself, there we saw him, well above us on the bare rock cliffs, the billy goat. Well, that made our day. Three goats! This was quite a successful survey, and we had more to climb and explore.

We pressed onward to the ridge and looked north, at the great fields of rock and snow, now covered with fog and rising cloud, in contrast to the sun and calm to the south through which we had ascended. The snow had been melting rapidly, so we tried for the high alpine gardens, but in this we failed. We were too tired to deal with the big patch of snow at 1600' apl (above parking lot).

As we returned to the trail junction at the ridge, we reaped a new reward for our muscle cracking efforts. (Our muscles crack more easily than most). There they were, an entire nuclear goat family, billy, nanny and kid, taking it easy and enjoying a snack on one of the rocky outcrops. We had to smile.

We must report that the alpine flowers were spectacular, and judging from our goat friends, quite delicious. The avalanche lilies have passed, but the lupines are just coming in, as are the turk's cap lilies and the pink paintbrush. Whether you go for the goat spotting, or just for the alpine flowers or the spectacular scenery, this is a great time for a survey of Klahane Ridge.

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat Grazing
Mountain Goat

Keywords: animals, high country, klahane ridge, flowers, kale, waterfall, mountain goats


Mountain Goat Grazing At Klahane Ridge

07/02/05 - Mountain Goat at Klahane Ridge

The Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge is one of our favorite high country hikes. If nothing else, the trailhead is right off Hurricane Ridge Road a bit shy of the ranger station on Hurricane Ridge, so it is an easy drive. We got an early start today to avoid the Fourth of July crowds, and we fairly tore up the 1450' from the Switchback Trail trailhead to the ridge, but just as we got to the overlook, where one can see Port Angeles, Sequim, Dungeness, the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island spread out below, we stopped short. There, by the sign post, was a mountain goat, chowing down on the foliage.

There are mountain goats, actually a type of sheep, in Olympic National Park, but they are rarely seen in this part of the park. This one was shaggy, still shedding its winter coat, but more than willing to cooperate with a photographer.
Mountain Goat ClimbingMountain Goat Ambling

Keywords: klahane ridge, animals, high country, dungeness, hurricane ridge, port angeles, winter, mountain goats