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04/22/17 - Elwha River Trail - Part 1

With Olympic Hot Springs Road open again, we've been heading up to Whiskey Bend and revisiting the Elwha River Trail. We've already made it to the overlook before the second canyon on the way to Lilian Camp and down past Michael's Ranch for a look at the Elwha River. The trails are still a bit muddy, but lots of people are about celebrating the area's reopening. We've been celebrating this year's crop of trilliums are looking forward to a great hiking season.

A trillium

A view from the overlook

A tree down across the trail

Another trillium

Another bit of trail

One of the many streams

Yet another trillium

Those yellow violets

The trail is beautiful on a sunny day

Our first slug of the season

Mysterious alligator leaves

Keywords: elwha, spring, trails, trillium


04/03/17 - Whiskey Bend Road is Open

We headed out to Madison Falls hoping for a little walk along the Elwha River. To our surprise, the gate on Olympic Hot Springs Road was open. To our further surprise, the bathroom at the ranger station is now both handicapped accessible and beautiful. To our even further surprise, Whiskey Bend Road was open. We made our way up the twisty one and a half lane road and took the Elwha River Trail for a ways. The last time we did this was a year and a half ago, and the trail was only open for a week.

The trail was as beautiful as ever, but we kept expecting to run into a ranger telling us that we had gotten in by mistake and would have to leave. We felt we had sneaked in. The trail is in great shape, though we only made it a bit past Michael's Cabin, heading up on the trail to Lilian Camp. The day was sunny; the greens were brilliant. We had glimpses of snow covered mountains. It was great to be back.

P.S. We're hoping the trail stays open, and that they open the road to Olympic Hot Springs soon. Meanwhile, the Spruce Railroad Trail is still closed, and the latest word on reopening is in July.


The Elwha River Trail

Wonderful light

Michael's Cabin

Much less green than we expected

Another bit of trail

A friendly fungus

A glimpse of the river

A glimpse of snow covered mountain

One of the streams

Yet another view of the trail

A waterfall on Whiskey Bend Road

Keywords: elwha, spring


03/28/17 - Skunk Cabbage, at Last

Spring has been coming slowly, but on our last walk along the Elwha River we saw our first skunk cabbage of the year. It's about a month late, but better late than never.

Spooky trees

Save this for Halloween

Skunk cabbage, at last

More skunk cabbage

Aren't you glad your browser doesn't support odors?

A side creek

The forest

More forest with spooky maples

Another view

The Elwha

The Elwha again

Keywords: elwha, spring


03/12/17 - Elk and the Elwha

With Olympic Hot Springs Road closed, a lot of trails have been unreachable, so we've taken to walking the closed road from the closure at Madison Falls. The river is still beautiful, and the high country still beckons. We hope the park service manages to reopen the road at some point.

There was a herd of elk by the road on our way to Madison Falls. There were quite a few of them. As we move into spring, then summer, they'll be heading up to the high country. For now, we'll take advantage of the photo op.


An elk farm

Some elk

More elk

A horse watches the elk suspiciously

Even more elk

The mountains

Off the Elwha

The Elwha River

Another view of the Elwha

An artsy view of the Elwha

Lately, our favorite view of the Elwha

Keywords: elwha, spring, trails


02/24/17 - Along the Elwha

We took advantage of the bright sunny day to take a walk along the Elwha River from the Madison Falls parking lot. The sun was brilliant, and the day was brisk. They've closed the road again thanks to fresh flood damage, so we walked what is now a familiar route. The river is as beautiful as ever.

As a bonus, there was a field of snowdrops not far from the parking lot, so we stopped and took some pictures of this early sign of spring.


The damaged road, in case you were wondering why it is closed again

The Elwha River

Another view with almost silvery trees

The mountains

Old maples, gnarled and mossy

Another view up the Elwha

Roiling waters

Misty mountains across the way

A view downstream

Snowdrops ...

... and more snowdrops

Keywords: elwha, spring


12/26/16 - The Elwha River and a Bobcat

Like many, we have been waiting for Olympic Hot Springs Road to reopen so we can return to the trails out of Whiskey Bend and revisit the hot springs themselves. To see how things were going, we parked at the Madison Falls parking lot and walked along the road, now closed to motorized traffic. The river was winter beautiful with snow on the hills and a cold gray light. The new temporary one lane bridge is in place and a fair bit of work has been done on the road.

We had some wonderful views of the river itself, but then, on our way back, we saw something else, a bobcat in the open field not far from the parking lot. We had seen a bobcat here before, but only briefly as it bounded away in the distance. This bobcat was closer and calmer. We were barely 50 feet away, close enough for an excellent view. It was a real treat in the face of a snowy winter and with so many trails closed in the park.


The Elwha River

Another view of the river

The river and snowy mountains

Across the river

The new bridge

Yet another view of the Elwha

Across the bridge

Through the woods

The bobcat

A closer view

And an even closer view

Keywords: elwha, olympic hot springs, spring, trails, winter


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


03/23/16 - Elk and the Elwha

The road to the Elwha river hiking areas washed out some time ago. There are plans afoot to reopen the area, but so far there is only a temporary pedestrian bridge. Missing the area, we decided to do a bit of exploring, so we turned off 101 onto Olympic Hot Springs Road.

On our way to Madison Falls, the end of the undamaged road, we noticed a field full of elk, so we stopped and took a few pictures. Elk are usually pretty calm and easy to photograph. In general, amateurs should avoid trying to get dynamic elk action photos. Leave that to the professionals.


Keywords: elwha, spring


03/20/16 - Spring on the Spruce Railroad Trail

We were out on the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent recently. We had a great view of Storm King with its upper reaches dusted with snow. There was also a lot of water flowing into the lake on the various little streams the trail crosses. Even better, a sign of spring, our first skunk cabbage of the year.

Storm King

One of the many streams

Another of the many streams

The trail

Our first skunk cabbage of spring

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


02/05/16 - Lake Crescent

It is still winter, but here and there we see signs of spring. There were hints, just hints, on the Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent.

A view across the lake of the Barnes Creek valley

Signs of spring?

A living rock wall

More signs of spring

Another view of the lake

Keywords: spruce railroad, spring, lake crescent


10/23/15 - Autumn Phlox at Hurricane Hill

This has been a strange year. We hiked up to Hurricane Hill the other day and couldn't help noticing that there was phlox blooming by the trailside. Phlox are usually one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, not long after the snows have melted, so seeing it in the autumn was a surprise. There was enough of it to scent the air here and there. As we said, this has been a strange year.

Phlox in bloom

A real surprise

Also, a dramatic mushroom

The scenery is getting paler.

The view

A bit of frost in the shade

Still some color here

More snow in the distant mountains

A last harebell

More phlox

Pine cones

Keywords: autumn, flowers, hurricane hill, spring, trails


05/24/15 - Late Spring on the Spruce Railroad Trail

Spring is really moving along the Spruce Railroad Trail. The trilliums have already peaked, and the vegetation is getting lush. Summer is less than a month away.

Lush vegetation

Mock Solomon's seal or is it false mock Solomon's seal?

We aren't sure about this. Maybe we missed the "Don't drink and kayak." sign.

Keywords: spring, spruce railroad, summer, trillium


05/08/15 - Sunny Day on the Spruce Railroad Trail

While we are fervently hoping for rain, we are enjoying the sunshine. We were out on the Spruce Railroad Trail enjoying the sparkling views of the lake and all the flowers coming into bloom. So far, it looks like a great summer, albeit an early one.

A classic shot or the bridge at the Devil's Punchbowl

Mount Storm King

Towards the west horn of Lake Crescent

One of the sedums

Lots of paintbrush

One of many trilliums

Another trillium

Keywords: flowers, spring, spruce railroad


04/18/15 - Farmers' Market Update

Our local farmers are having a great spring at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. This time we managed to snare some asparagus from Spring Rain Farms. Last time they had run out, so come early if you want some. Nash Huber has swiss chard, leeks and cauliflower. They also still have spring nettles. Johnston Farm has lots of potatoes, salad fixings and coriander. The Family Farm had their little white turnips. We slice them thinly and salt them lightly. We made it there early today and loaded up on goodies for the week.

Spring Rain rhubarb and horseradish

Spring Rain greens

Johnston Farm greens and sunchokes

Family Farm greens and turnips

Nash's swiss chard and cauliflower

Keywords: farmers' market, farms, johnston farm, nash huber, spring, spring rain


04/16/15 - Barnes Creek

We've been getting out to the Marymere Falls a fair bit lately. This time we decided to head up Barnes Creek a bit and see how spring is progressing in the valley. The whole area is a riot of green with the trees, ferns, mosses and undergrowth all contributing to the wild forest scene. There were also trilliums in bloom, another sign of the season. If you do get out to the falls, consider following the creek a bit and checking out the spring scenery.

A trillium

A moss covered rock

The green scene

A little waterfall along the trail

That waterfall again

More green

Another trillium

Barnes Creek

Yet more trilliums

Another view of the creek

And another

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, spring, trillium


04/14/15 - Spring on the Lake Angeles Trail

The Lake Angeles Trail starts at about 1900' above sea level and it climbs and it climbs. We haven't made it up to the lake yet, but we are getting back into shape. There are no trilliums yet, but the early spring flowers, and a few mushrooms, are coming out in the lower reaches.

A sunny day on the trail

Little mushrooms

A violet orchid

A little yellow violet

A large mushroom emerging

Keywords: lake angeles, spring


04/07/15 - Mill Creek and Bennington Lake

We were out in Walla Walla to celebrate the Cayuse spring release and a friend's birthday. With all the good food and wine, we really needed a bit of stretch. So, we drove out to Mill Creek and Bennington Lake at the eastern edge of town and explored a landscape we found quite exotic. For one thing, it is much drier out here than back home in the North Olympic Peninsula, and the mountains are much farther away.

Mill Creek and Bennington Lake is an Army Corps of Engineers site, much like the Ballard Locks. The primary purpose of the site was water management, but there were picnic tables, bathrooms and lots of hiking trails. There was also the Mill Creek diversion dam, Mill Creek itself, and the Mill Creek storage dam itself, a large earthwork near the parking lot.

This may sound awfully industrial what with all the dams, but like the Ballard Locks, it has a lot of charm. A short walk gave us a good sense of the prairie and at a high point across the diversion dam there some wonderful views of the distant snow capped mountains. So much of the area is agricultural and off limits. Either that, or it is a vineyard. It was nice to have a place to go and just wander.


A dry country

Coneflowers

Lake Bennington

Public works

More public works and more trails

The view from a high point

These flowers had an amazingly sweet scent.

Looking down at the diversion channel crossing

Another view - Those are big concrete blocks.

Keywords: flowers, spring, trails, walla walla


04/04/15 - First Trilliums of the Year

These were blooming on one of the trails behind Peninsula College. We saw a few just starting to bloom on Piedmont Road, and there are trilliums coming up along the Spruce Railroad Trail, but these were not even close to blooming yet.

Already!

Keywords: spring, trillium


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