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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


05/25/18 - Elwha River Update

We drove out to Madison Falls, the current end of Olympic Hot Springs Road. We took our usual walk along the Elwha, past the relocated mule camp, over the temporary bridge, and down to the latest washout where the Elwha meets the road. The Elwha won, as you can see in the pictures.

The park is making the best of the situation. They can't conjure a road from nowhere. Along with many of our favorite trails, there's a park ranger station and work area cut off by the river. There is a temporary trail around the wash out, and while it isn't suitable for cars, it is apparently human and mule friendly. We saw a group of laden mules taking the route.

The river is as beautiful as ever, but the trails out of Whiskey Bend and to Olympic Hot Springs are still inaccessible. This will probably be the situation for some time.


You can see two branches of the Elwha crossing the road here.

Elwha versus Road; Elwha wins.

The park service mules in action

The Elwha

Another view of the Elwha

An artfully framed view of the Elwha

White water

Madison Falls, worth the two minute walk

Upper Madison Falls

Snow covered mountains

A last look at the Elwha

Keywords: elwha, olympic hot springs, spring, trails


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


05/17/18 - Sol Duc Falls And Beyond

We braved the construction on Route 101 along Lake Crescent and were pleased to only be delayed perhaps twenty minutes on our way west. Our goal was the Sol Duc Falls trailhead where we made our way first to the falls, in full spring rush, and then onward and upwards to the bridge over Canyon Creek. We almost climbed 1000'. Deer Lake was another 600' or so, but we had climbed all we could.

There was no snow on the trail, though we did see patches of snow in the woods. We did see lots of trilliums and lots of running water in the Sol Duc River, in Canyon Creek and seeping from the rocks and pooling on the trail. It's a beautiful but tiring trail. We returned to the car happy but exhausted. We encountered another twenty minute delay on the way back, but we considered the extra time on the road well worth it.


Sol Duc Falls

A trillium

A curtain of drips

Some unmelted snow

Another trillium, artfully arranged

Canyon Creek

A double header

Canyon Creek again

A minor waterway

The forest

Even more trilliums

Keywords: lake crescent, sol duc, spring, trillium


05/07/18 - Even More Trilliums

This is the time of year we post pictures of trilliums. They are a sure sign of spring, and by this time of year, we are eager for a bit of spring.

A trillium

More trilliums

Yet another trillium

That's right. That's the High Line in New York City.

Definitely the city

Along the Hudson

Another Hudson view

Just a little fishing village, with trilliums

Typical New York City - health advice from a truck

Keywords: spring, trillium, new york city


04/28/18 - Trilliums on the Lake Angeles Trail

Between winter conditions and road repairs, we haven't been hiking the Lake Angeles Trail lately. We finally made our way back, and were pleasantly rewarded. The trail is as beautiful as ever, the trilliums were starting to bloom, and aside from some gravel stretches, the road wasn't much of a problem.

The little stream, one view

A trillium

Another trillium, just getting ready to bloom

Yet another trillium

Another view of the little stream

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium, spring


04/26/18 - Spring Comes to the West Elwha

We took a walk west of the Elwha River and saw definite signs of springs. There were trilliums in bloom and columbines in profusion. Spring is here.

One of the many trilliums

Water crossing the trail

More trilliums

Old forest, signs of moisture

Another trillium

A columbine

More columbines

The boardwalk

More flowers

The Elwha River coming ...

... and going

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium


04/09/18 - Bennington Lake in Walla Walla

It's that time of year again, the Cayuse spring release. It wasn't very spring-like, but we headed out to Walla Walla anyway. Usually, all the fruit trees en route are full of blossoms, but this time only a handful were. It has been a slow spring on both sides of the Cascades.

In Walla Walla, we made a point of walking around Bennington Lake. It is very different country from where we live. There were dry grasses and old seed pods and wide open agricultural land with mountains only in the distance. The Army Corps of Engineers had closed the sluices, so the lake was low and the side stream was dry. We assume they know what they are doing.


Dry grasses

Distant mountains

Very different from the Olympic Peninsula

This is where one fords the feeder stream for Bennington Lake. It was just about dry.

The closed gates

A view with some water

Agricultural land

Dried berries

Dried seed pods

Bare trees

Lovely country

Keywords: spring, walla walla


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


03/17/18 - The Elwha Again

Given what the park service is up against, the lack of an immediate plan to get Olympic Hot Springs Road open again is not surprising. The Elwha River now has a full fledged tributary running through what was once the Elwha Campground. A temporary bridge is possible, but we haven't even seen the spring melt. The older temporary bridge is still in place, but one can imagine a running battle with the park service building temporary bridges and the Elwha River finding clever new ways to branch around them.

Meanwhile, the mule camp is being relocated. If you've ever taken Whiskey Bend Road, you might have noticed the mules in the field near the start of the road. They work for the park service, but the old mule camp is no longer reachable by road. Yes, the mules could walk in, but it's much easier to deploy mule power if you can get all your mules in a truck or two and take them where they are needed. So, their new seasonal home will be the field just past the Madison Falls parking lot. We probably won't be seeing much of that bobcat who hangs around there. Mules have an ornery reputation.


A river still runs through it.

River meets road.

Another view of the river

Fencing for the mule enclosure

Spring flowers - finally

Keywords: elwha, 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


04/30/17 - Russian Easter

We Kalebergs recently held our annual Russian Easter party to welcome in the belated spring. Given the cold spring, it is no surprise that the real Russian Easter was some time back. Now that the green leaves are returning and the weather has grown milder, we filled our champagne pool, broke out the blini, boiled up the pelmeni and allowed ourselves to rejoice at the end of winter. We even burned Moscow to fight off the monster Napoleon.

Champagne

A spring-like spread

Truly Russian, at least in spirit

Moscow in flames

Defending Mother Russia from the monster Napoleon

Take that you French, and your French brandy

Routing the invaders

Keywords: russian easter, spring, weather


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 and 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


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