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01/17/15 - Marymere Falls

We were out at Barnes Creek and checked out Marymere Falls. Often in the winter the falls are surrounded by an array of ice crystals in spectacular patterns, but we've been having a warm winter, so all we saw were the falls. We took a slow motion video with our phone camera. Click on the picture of the falls to play it.

We took the usual Marymere Falls circuit, no climb up to Storm King for us today, but we did wander a bit up Barnes Creek proper and enjoyed the views of the creek and the walk through the forest. We went as far as a little waterfall right along the trail.


A bald eagle perching en route to Barnes Creek

Click the image for a slow motion view of Marymere Falls.

Sunny day

A little waterfall

Water below

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, winter, waterfall, eagle


01/11/15 - Dungeness Spit

It isn't easy hiking the Dungeness Spit in the late fall. In the day time, the low tides are almost as high as the high tides, but in January this changes. This means we have some good tides coming up this month on the 25th and 26th, then in February on the 9th, 10th, 11th and the 20th and 21st. You could even take a hike out the lighthouse.

Of course, tides aren't the only problem. Some years, the winter spit is all rocks and hard scrabble, so a ten mile round trip to the lighthouse is a bit of a challenge, but this year the winter spit is surprisingly sandy and smooth. We took a short hike out today and found it easy going. We didn't make it to the light, but we figured we'd spread the word about the good conditions.


Unprepossessing

OK, maybe it's gloomy in the photo, but it's prettier in real life.

There was no view of the mountains.

A view of the spit

The wild beach

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides, winter


01/09/15 - Short Trip to Seattle

We took yet another short trip into Seattle. The high point was our wonderful dinner at Sitka & Spruce.

To be honest, we started our meal around 4PM at Taylor Shellfish which is just down the block. We had dropped by before and checked out the oysters bubbling in their holding tanks. This time we tried some Olympias and Kumamotos, fresh and tasting of the sea. We also had some of the calamari salad with seaweed and mushrooms. It was quite good.

Then, we had dinner at Sitka & Spruce which was quite an experience. We knew we were in good hands when the sourdough bread arrived with the lightly whipped cultured butter. We were served each dish in turn, family style, and when the corned lamb with seared cabbage arrived, we knew we were in the hands of genius. The theme for the meal was crisp skin on the outside and tender meat inside. We had the pork belly with caraway seeds on toast, the porchetta with squash and rye crisps and the amazingly good rabbit. We were in heaven.

We finished off with a floating island with two types of meringue, one light and fluffy and one crisp like a cracker. It was an intense experience.


Wild water at the Ballard Locks

The winter garden at the Locks had its charms.

Contrail

Downtown evening light

More light

The sunset in close up

Sitka and Spruce

More Sitka & Spruce

The ferris wheel down by the waterfront

Keywords: oysters, seattle, winter


01/05/15 - Port Angeles Farmers' Market

This is just a reminder that the Port Angeles Farmers' Market is still operating on Saturdays from 10-2, and there are vegetables. There have been potatoes, kale, scallions, squashes and even arugula. Dungeness Seaworks has been there selling salmon and sometimes halibut, and Clark Farms is selling beef and pork. It may be winter, but the market lives.

These photos are ...

... all from ...

... Johnston Farms.

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, port angeles, salmon, winter


02/21/14 - Amazing Skies at Hurricane Ridge

The snow came late this winter, but there is a fair bit of it up on Hurricane Ridge lately. Even more amazing are the webcam images. It's 17 degrees up there now, and the road is closed at the moment, but the skies and mountains are at their winter best.

Looking east, towards the sunrise

Looking to the south

Keywords: hurricane ridge, weather, winter


02/14/14 - Seattle in Winter

We were in Seattle for a wild weekend of urban excitement. It was a strange trip, with all sorts of things being a bit trickier than we had expected. Some of this is because our trip spanned not only President's Day but also Valentine's Day. On the other hand, some things were unexpected, like Salumi running out of bread.

On the other hand, we did visit one of our favorite places in Seattle, the Ballard Locks. We checked out their winter garden. The daphnes were asleep, but the hellebores and witch hazel were in bloom.


Sorry, all out of bread.

Witch hazel

The Ballard Locks

The railroad bridge at the locks

Seattle at night

Keywords: seattle, winter


02/08/14 - Winter Icicles

We took a walk along the Spruce Railroad trail during one of our recent cold snaps. There was ice on the little waterfalls and icicles on branches low by the water. We were half icicle by the time we finished our walk, but the scenery was really impressive.

Snow on the mountains

Icicles

More icicles

A frozen waterfall

More frozen water

Dangling ice formations, for the want of a thesaurus

An array of icicles

Keywords: spruce railroad, winter, waterfall


02/01/14 - Marymere Falls - Rainforest for Rainy Days

The skies this winter have been rain skies with gray clouds and a menacing air. That's perfect weather for exploring, of all places, the rainforest. We checked out Marymere Falls. It's a perfect threatening-rain hike, just 45 minutes, so one can dash back to the car if the heavens open.

The falls

A classic national park stairway

Logs in Barnes Creek

Keywords: marymere falls, weather, winter


01/23/14 - Dike and Fog

We haven't had much rain or snow this winter. We have, however, had some excellent fog. Here is the misty view from the Dungeness Dike.



Keywords: dungeness, winter


01/10/14 - Dungeness Spit

The autumn tides at Dungeness Spit are terrible for hikers. The day time low tides are often as high as the high tides which leaves just a narrow strip of rocky, gritty beach for walking. Winter, however, is different. Already, we are getting real low tides during daylight hours, and unlike some winters where most of the sand gets washed out to sea, this year there is a fair bit of sand which makes for good footing. We haven't made it all the way out to the lighthouse yet, but anything is possible in the new year.

A very clear view of Mount Baker

The tide was out and the beach was walkable

An even better view of the mountain

The Cascades to the north, beyond the San Juans

The view south, the Olympic Mountains

Keywords: autumn, dungeness spit, tides, winter


12/09/13 - Winter on the Lake Angeles Trail

Needless to say, we didn't get all the way up to the lake. We were tight on time, and we were not in the best shape. Still, we managed to make our way through the winter woods to the stream crossing, about 700' above the parking lot. It was cold, and the trail had a thin coat of snow on it, but it was not slippery. It was also beautiful.

The bridge over the stream

Snow on logs

Snow on the boardwalk

Snow on the trail

A very Christmassy scene

Snow on salal and Oregon grape and probably other plants

Snow on the rocks

Less snow as we descended

Ice on the water

Keywords: winter, lake angeles


11/27/13 - More Signs of WInter

We were out at Barnes Creek to check out Marymere Falls. It was a cold day, and the sun was low. The falls weren't surrounded by frost the way they sometimes are in the winter, but there was frost on logs, on ferns and on the salal near the parking lot.

The unfrozen falls

Frost on logs

Frost on logs and the river bank

Frost on ferns

More frost on ferns

The frozen rain forest

Frost and the river

Frost near the parking lot

More frost

Frost on - well, we aren't sure

A dangerous stretch of route 101 - Here be black ice in winter.

Keywords: barnes creek, winter, marymere falls


10/29/13 - Klahane Ridge

This was probably our last climb up to Klahane Ridge for the year. There was a dusting of snow, and we weren't even sure if we could make it all the way to the ridge. Still, as we climbed, the mountain called to us. It was a brilliant day and fantastically beautiful. Even if we didn't think we could climb higher, we didn't want to leave the mountain face. This left us little choice but to push on. Our trusty Yaktrax tooks us safely through the thin accumulation of slush and snow, though to be honest, most of the trails were clear and we had excellent traction. And, we climbed.

At some point it became apparent that we were likely to make it to the ridge. We had a clear view of Mount Olympus over Sunrise Point. It was exhiliarating. Then we made our last switchback and made our way to ridge proper, passing between the rocks. Before us was the sweeping view of the strait, of the islands, of Vancouver Island, of Mount Baker and, it seemed, everything. We approached the overlook, and the wind struck. It had been windy at Hurricane Ridge, imagine that, but our climb had been warm and sunny with the icicles glistening as they melted. Here, we were unsheltered, on a ridge, again. The wind blew hard and cold. It was a winter wind.

In a way it was a winter climb with the snow dusted landscape, the snow packed mountains and the trees adorned with bands of snow and icicles. But it was also a summer climb with the warm sun and the trail beckoning. It was the last of the season.


The hiking trail

The views

Are you thinking of Christmas too?



The view to the north

and the view to the east

More mountains

Rocky crags and sunny trails

Good footing on the descent

A stream through a mountain meadow

Keywords: hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, trails, winter


10/01/13 - Marymere Falls

We were lazy today, so we took a short hike at Marymere Falls which flows into Barnes Creek not far from the south shore of Lake Crescent. Despite the government shutdown, the Barnes Creek parking lot was open, though the ranger station and bathrooms were closed. The rain forest and the river, however, were in full operation and, with today's peep of sunlight, quite beautiful.

We have never seen Marymere Falls so full and flowing, even at the peak of spring melt. The recent rains have filled the watershed, and the falls put on a real show in consequence. You can even check the video (Play), as seeing is believing.

We saw a bit of snow on the higher peaks over the Barnes Creek valley, but the real snow is in the high country. Hurricane Ridge reports ten inches of snow, most of it fallen in the last day or two. Winter has come early this year, so barring a pineapple express, we may not be up on the ridge until the snowshoe and ski season starts.










Keywords: barnes creek, high country, lake crescent, winter, marymere falls


09/25/13 - Hurricane Hill - After the Equinox

Obstruction Point Road has already closed and the weather has been changeable. Instead of the usual September sun, our skies seem to be visitors from October. We hiked the Hurricane Hill Trail on a quiet day and watched Mount Olympus fuss with its wreath of clouds before vanishing. The marmots were out, but turning darker and browner for winter. Only their hindquarters were golden. We saw only a handful of flowers, dried yarrow, a few harebells, and the like. Instead we saw fall foliage with the grasses turning golden and leaves turning red and brown.

Golden fields and misty mountains

One of five marmots we saw

Another marmot in closeup - not very golden

A view

A misty view and changing colors

Mount Angeles

To the north, a touch of blue

The first bit of snow, near the summit

A band of gold

A mushroom

Last of the flowers

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, obstruction point, weather, winter


02/27/13 - Marymere Falls

We've been recovering from a cold, or perhaps a pair of colds, one for each of us. It's probably the same thing everyone else seems to have or has gotten over, but it has slowed us down. Marymere Falls is a great hike for someone getting over a cold, but not quite back to full strength. It's not a very long hike, maybe 45 minutes, and there is some climbing, but not all that much. The hike passes through rain forest and along Barnes Creek, as well as to the eponymous falls, so there is plenty of moisture which is good for the sinuses.

We weren't disappointed. The Barnes Creek Valley is pretty dark in the winter, so some years the snow falls and stays. This year, the snows melted quickly, so the hike was easy going. The river was running briskly, and the falls were going full force. We panted and wheezed and coughed our way up to the lower and upper overlooks and spent some time enjoying the falling water. Then we made our way back.

As we said earlier, it wasn't much of a hike, but it was more than sitting around the house coughing and wheezing.


Snow above (on Mount Storm King)

Marymere Falls

More snow above

Rain forest down below

Barnes Creek

More rain forest

More rain forest

Keywords: barnes creek, winter, marymere falls


02/25/13 - Port Angeles Farmers' Market Update

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market gets a bit quiet in the winter, but it doesn't quite close down. There are always a few regulars and even a few newcomers to keep things interesting. Nash Huber's stand has been anchoring the market by its lonesome, and even they have run out of carrots, though they still have some nice kale, turnips and potatoes.

The Chimacum chicken (and other stuff) stand is gone for the time being, but Dungeness Seaworks is back selling salmon, halibut and ling cod. It's good to see them. We also tried out Jose's Salsa, but not the salsa. We tried a bunch of tamales and some of the chiles rellenos, and we can honestly report that they are quite good. Our favorite tamale was the vegetarian one with spinach, but the pork and chorizo tamales were pretty good too. The chiles rellenos were plumply stuffed with cheese, coated with batter and deep fried. They reheated nicely in the oven, so we've been living on Jose's for a few days now.

We aren't sure who is going to be at the market next Saturday, though we're hoping to see Johnston Farm again, and possible a few other regulars. It's a long way to spring, let alone the growing season, but the farmers' market is still worth a trip downtown.


Nash Huber's stand - a stalwart anchor

A terrible picture of Dungeness Seaworks - It's that low winter light.

An even worse picture of Jose's Salsa - We'll try for a better one.

Chiles rellenos

Assorted tamales

Keywords: farmers' market, nash huber, port angeles, salmon, winter, kale


01/31/13 - Dungeness Spit - Let The Good Tides Roll

We're having some good tides at Dungeness Spit this winter. For example, there was a low tide below three feet around 12:30 today, and there was a lot of sand on the beach which made for easy walking. We saw a few eagles, a number of sea birds and the usual assortment of kelpies, that is, blobs of kelp that look like sea birds. There is another round of good tides coming up in mid-February, around Valentine's Day in fact, so we'll be watching our tide tables and hoping for good weather.









Keywords: birds, dungeness, dungeness spit, tides, winter, eagle


01/12/13 - New Farm at the Farmers' Market

This is a sparse time at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. A few regulars have been stalwart: Johnston Farms, the Korean Garlic Lady, and Nash Huber, offering a nice selection of winter vegetables: brussels sprouts, potatoes, squash, collards, kale and the like. Clark Farm has been there offering beef, pork and lamb - a veritable conglomerate, despite their failure to capture the geese in time for Christmas. (Wait until next year.)

However, there was one newcomer, Spring Rain Farm and Orchard was in from Chimacum offering a variety of winter squashes, preserves, eggs, and chickens. The birds are a French breed, so we bought one. It's a large roaster, so stay tuned to this site. We'll be roasting and taste testing soon.

UPDATE - 1/25/13 - We have tasted the bird, simply roasted, and it was delicious.


The new farm at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market

Keywords: farmers' market, farms, garlic lady, johnston farm, nash huber, port angeles, winter, kale, spring rain


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