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04/20/13 - Elwha Trail Out of Whiskey Bend and Our First Trilliums

Whiskey Bend Road has been open most of the winter, but we were waiting for a clement, sunny day. Then we turned off the paved road and made our way to the trailhead and were pleasantly surprised. The trail was as green and lush as ever with streamlets and little waterfalls here and there. We headed down after Michael's Cabin, rather than up, but we didn't get all the way to Hume's Ranch. Instead, we turned at the waterfall.

It was on our way back that we were surprised. We saw the first trillium of the year growing by one of the little waterfalls. Somehow, we never seem to see trilliums on our way out on a hike. Maybe we are too intent on our destination. Maybe they all grow on the wrong side of the trail or pointing in wrong direction. But, on the way back, there they are.

One of the little waterfalls

Another view of the little waterfall

The forest (and my thumb)

The forest trail

Michael's Cabin

The view from the trail

More running water


Trilliums, right by the trail side

Keywords: elwha, trillium, waterfall

07/08/12 - Ascent to Lake Angeles

We made it! After long hard training, an arduous assault and a great deal of procrastination and whining, we made it all the way up to Lake Angeles, and it was beautiful. The trail is clear, though there is still snow on much of the bowl surrounding the lake. The lower trilliums are gone, but they are now all over the place up by the lake.

The lake is still much too cold for us to go swimming, or so we believe. We considered actually sticking our toes in, but chickened out. Maybe we'll try next time, or the next, but, for us Kalebergs, Lake Angeles is in season.

Snow on the mountains at Lake Angeles

Another view of the lake

Driftwood at the lake

The little island

A trillium

A nest, a vein, a conclave, a ??? of trilliums

The trail through the woods

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium, kale

06/23/12 - The Pacific Dogwood is in Bloom

We've been building up on the Lake Angeles Trail. That's a 2400' ascent from the Heart of the Hills to the lake itself that we're quite fond of. It's just quite a climb, and during the winter we get out of shape. We haven't gotten to the lake yet, but we have been following the seasonal changes. Right now, the Pacific dogwood are blooming. Unlike the eastern version, these are a ground cover, not a tree, but they have those distinctive flowers.

The trail

In bloom

More bloom

Even more bloom

There's lots of water in the stream.

At the end of trillium season, the flowers turn purple before forming seeds.

Another late season trillium

Keywords: flowers, lake angeles, trillium

05/19/12 - Whiskey Bend and Above the Elwha

We've gotten out to Whiskey Bend a few times lately in hopes of getting back to Lilian Camp. This time we made it to the overlook where we could see the snow covered mountains on the other side of the river. The spring flowers are coming out in force, so we'll be back again soon. Maybe we'll even get across the second crossing or down to the Lilian River. Who knows?

The mountains as seen from the overlook

A typical stretch of trail

An older trillium, turning pink


Mahonia, oregon grape, in flower

Wild strawberrys - We've never seen any fruit, but they are pretty flowers.

A fresher trillium

Keywords: flowers, spring, trillium, elwha

04/27/12 - Elwha Open Again

We are building up again after a long slow winter. The trail out of Whiskey Bend is open again, so we pushed ourselves past the cabin and up 400 feet to the first crossing. This is maybe halfway to Lilian Camp, our eventual goal, but one must crawl before one can walk, though in our case it feels as if we walk first, then crawl back.

There were a couple of trees down, but the trails are in great shape. Even better, the trilliums and other spring forest flowers are coming out. Next time, the second crossing, for sure.

Self portrait


The green way

The stream at the first crossing

Spring waterfall

The forest

Another trillium

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trails, trillium, waterfall

04/18/12 - First Trilliums at Lake Crescent

This has been a cool, slow spring, but our most recent hike out at Lake Crescent gave us a few signs of spring. The trilliums are starting to open. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled.

One not quite open

One wide awake

Other blooms

Keywords: lake crescent, spring, trillium

07/27/11 - Lake Angeles, Hurrah!

It started inauspiciously, but by fits and starts and sheer force of will we made our way up to Lake Angeles. It was not an easy climb, and we didn't get any great view of the high cliffs around the lake. It was just too cloudy. Still, we did have the satisfaction of a good workout, and we got to see some of the restoration work at the campground. They had to haul the logs for this up from Heart O' the Hills by helicopter. (We had noticed a little helicopter landing on one of the Hurricane Ridge Road pull offs last year. Apparently, that was part of this.) The campground looks quite different, and there are hundreds of baby trees or perhaps bushes. It will look quite different in another five years. Maybe we'll still be able to make the climb then and see.

So much for the picture postcard view

Some of the myriad baby plants

The logs mean keep off the baby plants.

These logs lead down to the lake.

A really neat looking lupine

Some of the trilliums up by the lake

We've never seen trilliums up by the lake before. This has been a weird summer.

Keywords: lake angeles, summer, trillium

06/12/11 - A Rumor of Snow

No, we didn't get all the way up to Lake Angeles. We still aren't in proper shape, though we did get up 1870 feet from the trailhead parking lot. That's about 500 feet shy. We did manage to talk to a few people who had made it, and they report snow starting perhaps a quarter of a mile below the lake and getting about one to three feet deep. For them, with their heavy hiking shoes and ability to balance themselves while standing up, it was no big deal just tromping through the snow or following in the footsteps of others. We're sort of hoping all the snow will have melted by the time it becomes an issue for us. We'll keep trying.

The misty forest near where we gave up in exhaustion

The stream in full

This is right near the trailhead, some pretty ferns and trilliums. (Did we mention that this has been a great year for trilliums?)

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium

06/04/11 - Trilliums Rising

We waited a long time for our trilliums this year, but they finally seem to be coming out in force. The ones at Lake Crescent are already passing, but it has been a wet year, so there are an awful lot of them still coming out along the Lake Angeles Trail. Not only are there more than usual, they are coming out at higher elevations where it is unusual to see them.

Keywords: lake crescent, trillium, lake angeles

05/18/11 - Seen on the Lake Angeles Trail

We have been trying to get into shape for when the high country finally reopens, likely in August. This entails climbing, and our favorite get into shape for climbing trail is the Lake Angeles Trail. This time, we broke our seasonal record, not only crossing the bridge at 720' apl, but we made it all the way to 1200' apl. That's half way to the lake, which we gather is still surrounded by deep snow. When will we make it to the lake? At the rate we are training, likely in August.

The trail at 1200' apl (above parking lot)

The trillium vale

One of those orchids

More trilliums, yay!

Lots of rushing water

Keywords: trillium, lake angeles

05/10/11 - The Trilliums Are Back On The Lake Angeles Trail

We've been hiking the first leg of the Lake Angeles Trail a fair bit lately, trying to get back into shape for the high country which should open any month now. (Right now, we're guessing July, but maybe late June.) We saw our first trilliums at Lake Crescent just recently, and rather late by local standards. The Lake Angeles trailhead is maybe 1300 feet higher, but the trilliums have made it. They're just coming out now. Not all of them are unfurled, but they're back.

There isn't much snow before the crossing at 730'.

But, there are trilliums, ...

trilliums, ...

trilliums, ...

and more trilliums.

Keywords: trillium, lake angeles

05/05/11 - It's Official

The sun took its sweet time crossing the equator this year, but spring seems to have arrived at long last. The flowers on the Spruce Railroad Trail prove it. Just last week we had marveled at a lone trillium by the roadside, but now there were lots of trilliums in bloom right on the trail. There were other flowers as well. Sometimes it just takes a few blossoms to get that sun to move in the sky.

The first on trail trillium of the season at Lake Crescent

Wild currant is still in bloom.

Indian paintbrush has already started its season.

There were little purple orchids.

And there were yellow violets.

Keywords: flowers, lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, trillium

04/22/11 - Along Lake Crescent

Usually, the Spruce Railroad Trail is adorned with trilliums by now, but this year winter has been lingering. Still, there were a few little yellow violets and the first signs of Indian paintbrush. It isn't much, but it's better than nothing.

The first paintbrush of the season

The trail

A rock garden

Keywords: spruce railroad, trillium, spring

04/16/11 - The First Trillium of the Year

Spring has been slow in coming this year. Salmonberry usually blooms in February, but this year it waited until mid-March. The weather has been unseasonably cool, probably because of the same reason that there is still 160 inches of snow at the stake on Hurricane Ridge. We are often seeing trilliums in bloom by now, especially at lower elevations, but this year it took until mid-April. We finally saw our first trillium blossom, but it wasn't along a trail. It was right along Piedmont Road in the recently logged area towards Joyce. The area doesn't look like much, but it was nice to see this sign of spring.

There it is - proof!

Keywords: spring, trillium, weather, salmon

06/28/10 - Lake Angeles Trail Update

We're doing a lot of updates lately, largely because a lot is happening. Summer means another season of local produce and another sesason of access to the high country of Olympic National Park. The Lake Angeles Trail is one of the first trails we explore, if only because it is open for most of the year, especially if we take our snowshoes. Now, of course, the trail is shoe ready, and from what we have heard, there is only a bit of snow left around the lake. (Yes, we really have to get up there, but we have to get back in shape first.)

For other news, the Pacific dogwood is out, the trilliums are passing, and the park service has removed that big tree that was blocking the start of the boardwalk about 700' above the parking lot. Stay tuned as we Kalebergs start checking things out, or check out the park service's trail reports.

Pacific dogwood

The trail repair team from a few weeks back - note the chain saw at the ready

The cleared trail

The rude bridge

Another flower we really should look up somewhere

A fading trillium, its petals turning pink

Descending into the mists below

Keywords: high country, lake angeles, summer, trails, trillium, kale

05/24/10 - Elwha Tiarella

The tiarella are coming into bloom on the Elwha Trail. There was also a bit of dogwood blooming here and there. This seems to be a good year for dogwood. As for the trilliums, they seem to have passed for the season. We'll have to climb higher.

Some tiarella in bloom

More tiarella in bloom

A spray of dogwood

Keywords: elwha, trillium

05/23/10 - Sol Duc Falls and Beyond

We drove out to Sol Duc and took a walk up towards Deer Lake. We got nowhere near the lake. We climbed perhaps 500', to the bridge over Canyon Creek, but things look promising. The one mile walk from the trailhead to Sol Duc Falls was in great shape. There's no snow down on the valley floor, but once we started climbing, there was plenty of wet snow, though it was melting rapidly. There were also trilliums and waterfalls, but we'll let our pictures do the talking.

There was a dusting of snow on the higher mountains.

There was no snow down on the valley floor.

There was snow a bit higher up.

That's the bridge over Canyon Creek with its snow as yet untromped.

The Canyon Creek falls.

We could get glimpses of snow covered hills from the trail.

All the little creeks were full.

We saw strange fiddleheads, ferns ready to leaf.

There were trilliums. They were wet.

A view of the Sol Duc.

The main falls were as spectacular as ever.

Keywords: deer lake, sol duc, trillium, waterfall

Two trilliums of many

05/22/10 - Lake Angeles Trilliums

The trilliums have been marching up the Lake Angeles Trail. They were blooming down towards the start of the trail, but ten minutes up the trail, there were none. That has changed. They are flowering just fine even up towards the little bridge. That would be around 2600' above sea level, though we tend to think of it as 700' apl - above parking lot.

Keywords: trillium, lake angeles, spring

04/29/10 - Trilliums on the Lake Angeles Trail

We've already noted a number of trilliums at the lower elevations, but now we've seen a few up around 2,000 feet, on the Lake Angeles Trail. Right now, they are only blooming near the trailhead, but they'll be opening up at high levels soon.

All kinds of flowers

Some kind of orchid

Another trilium

Keywords: flowers, lake angeles, trillium

04/17/10 - Trilliums

Trilliums are a certain sign of spring. They can be surprisingly tricky to find, for it seems that the mind builds a block against seeing them, but once one has been found, others abound. We noticed this on the Spruce Railroad Trail and on the Elwha Trail out of Whiskey Bend. Trilliums like water, so watch for them near streams where they often lurk. We wish you luck in your trillium spotting, but note that success, especially in this endeavor, favors the prepared mind.

Seen on the Spruce Railroad Trail

Seen on the Elwha Trail

The first paintbrush

Keywords: elwha, spring, spruce railroad, flowers, trillium

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