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05/07/17 - Sol Duc and Beyond - Part 1

Our latest trip to the Sol Duc Valley had some excitement. We spotted a young bear not too far from the trailhead. We had been driving along enjoying the scenery, deep green forest with occasional views of the Sol Duc River. Then we saw the car ahead of us stopped in the middle of the road. That means one thing in a national park, a wildlife sighting. It was a young black bear, but we only had quick look at him or her. However, on our way back, we had a much longer and better look.

The falls themselves are full of water, but not quite as wild as we have ever seen them. It was quite possible to cross the bridge over the river at the falls dry shod. As the spring and summer melt progresses, the flow will increase, and the spray will get much wilder.

We headed up trail on the far side of the river, taking the trail to Deer Lake. The trail meanders for a ways with little streams and curtains of drips, then it follows Canyon Creek which flows down from the lake. We made it to the bridge, about 500 feet above the falls. By this point we had run into some patches of snow on and beside the trail. Looking upstream we could see more snow above, melting and feeding Canyon Creek.

That was our sign to turn around and head back. We'll get in shape for further climbing while the snow melts. So we'll be back.


The young black bear by the road

Forest

A stream

Sol Duc Falls

The Sol Duc River

Some snow

Snow covered hills

Canyon Creek

Canyon Creek with the snow above

The bridge over the creek

A trillium

Keywords: deer lake, sol duc, trillium


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


04/21/17 - Elwha River Trail - Part 2

The last photo in Part 1 is of a mysterious alligator leaf, something we had never noticed before on this trail. On our second trip we solved the mystery. Those are columbine leaves. We have never seen columbines growing in this area before, so we were quite pleased. They've been added to the regional treasure trove along with the trilliums, orchids and yellow violets.

The Elwha River itself is well upstream of the dam, but each year we have seen more brush growing across the river bed. When we first started visiting, over a decade ago, there was some scrub, but now there are substantial bushes. Has the river changed? This part wasn't affected by the dam removal, so this is another mystery.


One of our favorite waterfalls

Another view

The trail

The river

Another view of the river

More of the trail

An orchid

Another orchid

A columbine - the mystery of the alligator leaves solved

Yet another columbine

Even more columbines

Keywords: elwha, trillium, waterfall


04/20/17 - Elwha River Trail - Part 3

The Elwha River Trail out of Whiskey Bend is in pretty good shape, but on our way down to Michael's Ranch we were warned not to linger for a stretch. There were overhead hazards, presumably falling branches. This was the stretch with one of our favorite waterfalls, so we did stop briefly to admire it, but not for long.

This stretch of trail is also being rebuilt a bit. We chatted briefly with two of the trail workers rebuilding a stretch of boardwalk. They were hard at it. Presumably, their work is done, and we'll be spared a bit of mud on our next hike that way.


Warning, warning

Thank you, trail maintainers!

Another view of the boardwalk work

Some forest

A bonus trillium

Keywords: elwha, trillium, waterfall


04/18/16 - Trilliums

We spotted our first trilliums along Piedmont Road. Then we took a short walk along the Spruce Railroad Trail, and there were trilliums galore. It is still early in the trillium season, so we’ll be getting out and keeping our eyes open.

Trilliums

Another trillium

More trilliums

Even more trilliums

Yet another beauty

Paintbrush!

False Solomon’s seal, just coming into bloom

Yet, another trillium

It’s a great year for the trilliums.

A snail

Guess what?

Keywords: spruce railroad, trillium


06/25/15 - Lake Angeles

Somehow or another we managed to get up to Lake Angeles. It involved a two thousand three hundred and ninety foot climb along a lovely wooded trail we often think of as a cathedral with the long bare trees of the forest understory resembling pillars. The lake was as beautiful as ever. The water was clear and the high cliffs were devoid of snow. It was a hard, wonderful climb. There really isn't all that much more to say.

The mountains across the lake

Driftwood

Someone made a raft.

Columbine

Pillars of the cathedral

Trilliums, some over a foot across

Mysterious plants we think of as Indian pipes

More mystery

Mystery in white - Wilkie Collins?

This was a great year for these.

Happy faces on the bridge

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium


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


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


04/04/15 - 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


05/26/14 - Lake Angeles Trail in Bloom

The trilliums are passing, but the Oregon grape is in bloom along with the pacific dogwood, tiarella and a few other flowers. This is the second wave, but it is coming right along. We've made it past the half way point to the lake, but we have a good bit of getting in shape ahead of us. Still, the high country beckons, so next time, excelsior.

We aren't sure what this is, but it's pretty.

Some latter day trilliums

Mahonia aka Oregon grape

Wild water at the crossing

More wild water

Pacific dogwood

... and more dogwood

Tiarella

... and more tiarella

New growth on the salal almost looks like flowers.

A sylvan collage

Keywords: flowers, high country, oregon, trillium


05/12/14 - A Short Way Up Barnes Creek

When we head out to the Barnes Creek area on Lake Crescent, we usually just take the loop up to Marymere Falls. This time we were more energetic and went a ways up Barnes Creek proper. There was a lot of water in the creek, and we really got to appreciate just how much of a wonderful rain forest there is in the area.

We also got to see the new bridge over the creek. It's a bit more rustic than the bridge it replaces. It's just a big log with a single railing attached on one side of it, but it looks passable. We might even try it if our general clumsiness and associated fear of heights doesn't stop us. Oh, and did we mention trilliums?


Marymere Falls - We did stop for a look.

Trilliums

More trilliums

One of the side streams

The creek

Rain forest

Another little side stream

Another view of Barnes Creek, blue against the green of the forest

More of the creek

The new bridge

The new bridge has just one railing.

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, trillium


04/24/14 - Whiskey Bend Trilliums and Mushrooms

Whiskey Bend Road has been open most of the winter, but we hadn't taken its narrow, twisting four and a half miles since the fall. Well, the road is as narrow and twisting as ever, but spring is upon is. The trail is as lovely as ever, but now the mushrooms and trilliums are out. We only got as far as the cabin, but we'll get in shape as the season progresses and head farther.

Micheal's Cabin

Mushrooms erupting

Little mushrooms

Sponge like mushrooms

The view

A trillium

Little orchids

Wild vegetation

More trilliums

Yellow violets

A little stream

Keywords: spring, trillium, elwha


04/22/14 - Lake AngelesTrilliums

It's definitely spring. The trilliums aren't as far advanced as at Lake Crescent, but they are coming out on the trail to Lake Angeles.

The trail - long time, no see

A trillium - It really is green here.

A trillium bud opening

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium


04/18/14 - Trillium Season

It's spring. The trilliums are out at Lake Crescent and the Olympic golden salamanders are on the march. What more can we say?

A trillium

A salamander

Indian paintbrush

More trilliums

Another salamander

Keywords: lake crescent, salamander, spring, trillium


06/11/13 - Lake Angeles

We recently made it up the trail to Lake Angeles. That's a 2400' climb, and this may be our earliest ascent. A few weeks ago, there were still reports of snow and ice on the trail and around the lake. One hiker, who had turned around a bit shy of the lake, explained his decision saying that it was too early in the season for an injury. But, more recently, hikers we have spoken with were reporting a clear trail.

We started our climb with no particular hope of making it to the lake. In fact, we didn't even bother taking a water bottle, but at some point, we started to feel the pull of the lake. This often happens to us. Sometimes it will be a beam of sunlight cutting through to the forest floor. One time it was the start of a light snow. This time it was just the raw pull of the lake.

It was cloudy, so we couldn't see the walls of mountain surrounding the lake, but that made it all the more mysterious. We could see the little island and maybe some distant snow through the mist. It was a spectacular feeling, and all the trilliums in bloom only added to it. We may not make it back up to Lake Angeles for a while, but this climb made a great start to the season.


The island

Mists

You might be seeing a bit of distant snow.

Trilliums

Did we mention Pacific dogwood?

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium


05/19/13 - Trillium Change

We've been hiking the Lake Angeles Trail out of Heart of the Hills for over a decade now, and we have never seen so many trilliums in bloom. There were always a few, but each year there seem to be more and more of them. Even in places where we have never seen them before, such as along the drier stretch above the crossing bridge, there seem to be a lot of them. In places, like the Trillium Vale, where there were always a fair number, there seem to be more of them. Are they new colonizers? Has some condiiton changed? They like water. Could the area be, somehow, getting wetter?

The trail

Some trilliums from above the crossing

The stream in late spring flow

The Trillium Vale, or so we call it

A young trillium

More trilliums, some still emerging

Even more

The trilliums aren't the only things blooming. The Oregon grape is coming out as well.

More flowers

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium


04/28/13 - Spring Changes on the Elwha Trail

We were back on the Elwha Trail out of Whiskey Bend and couldn't help noticing a lot of changes. To start with, there were trilliums everywhere, or at least everywhere with enough water. (Trilliums like streams and drainage ditches.) There were also a lot of other flowers, but the real change was the light. The Northwest isn't noted for its sunny days, but when we have them the forest floor is transformed. The tree trunks are steely pillars and the undergrowth just glows.

The usual view of the Elwha Valley from the trail

Trilliums

More trilliums

Even more trilliums

The trail in sunlight

One of the orchids

More of the trail in sunlight

Another orchid

More of the trail

Violets and a strawberry flower

Sap running from a tree

Keywords: elwha, flowers, trillium, spring


04/26/13 - Lake Angeles Trail Update

We climbed the Lake Angeles trail for about an hour. That took us up about 1350' above the parking lot. We saw our first bit of snow, but it was at least another 1000' of climbing to Lake Angeles. We met a hiker coming down from the lake. She was a far hardier sort than we. She says there are still about three feet of snow at the campground, which means we won't be making it all the way up for some time.

We did see some amazing light. It was a sunny day, and a lot of sunlight made it through the canopy. We also saw a lot of running water at the wood bridge crossing, and as a special treat, our very first trillium on the trail not far from the entrance.


The trail in bright sunlight

A last bit of snow on the ground

A bit more snow

Snow on the low undergrowth

The trail again

As seen from the trail in bright sunlight

The stream

More undergrowth, mahonia

Even more

The trail, lusher as one descends

The first, and only as far as we could tell, trillium

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium, spring


04/24/13 - The Trilliums of Spring

It really is spring now. We were out on Lake Crescent looking for trilliums, and we found them. They are coming out in force. There are also a lot of other spring flowers.

Trilliums

Little orchids

More trilliums

Indian paintbrush

Skunk cabbage

Along the trail

The high / low on the trail

Keywords: trillium, spruce railroad, spring


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