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11/12/12 - Hurricane Ridge

Saturday was sunny, so we headed up to Hurricane Ridge to check things out. The road to the Hurricane Hill trailhead was closed and covered with a thin layer of snow, so we hiked from the lodge to the trailhead. We saw some wonderful things.

Just a touch of frost

The grasses are golden

That's the Hurricane Hill Trail. It's still walkable, but we were too tired to continue.

A red branched bush

Another view of the Hurricane Hill trail

The mountains and clouds

More mountainas and clouds

There is just enough snow to make things look beautiful.

The road

A view through the trees

Mount Angeles

Keywords: hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, winter


10/23/12 - Winter Is A-Coming In

There had been a few sprinkles of snow on Hurricane Ridge, but they largely melted during the day. Now, however, the winter snow has come in earnest. Hurricane Ridge Road was closed at Heart of the Hills and the webcams showed a blanket of white and, at times, near white out conditions. There's a chance it will melt before the real accumulation begins, but after our cool summer it is more likely it will not. We'll be keeping our eyes open. We may be snowshoeing before we expected to.

Snow on the ridge

Keywords: hurricane ridge, winter


06/20/12 - Dungeness Spit - Good for Walking

There are two challenges involved in walking the Dungeness Spit.

First, you have to get the tides right. At high tide, all you have to walk on is a narrow strip of sand, rocks and driftwood. This gets tiring after two or three miles, and the lighthouse is about four and a half miles away. That's why we use Tidefinder to figure out the promising tides, during the daytime and under three feet.

Second, even when the tides are low, the going can be very rough when the beach is mainly small stones rather than sand. Usually, the sand is washed out in the winter and builds up through the summer. Some years, the beach stays rocky, but this year the sands have returned, and at low tide, there is usually a sweet strip one can walk on. It's hard work, but it's much easier than it could be.

Things look good this year, so tide and sand permitting we'll be making our way out to the lighthouse this summer.


The sandy beach

Driftwood and stones

Footprints in the soft sand

Keywords: dungeness, dungeness spit, software, summer, tides, winter


04/20/12 - Hurricane Ridge Report

We recently were up at Hurricane Ridge to see if we could do some snowshoeing. There was lots of snow up there, but it had been melted and refrozen and compacted so many times that it was rough going. We had traction, but it was hard to take more than a few steps before breaking through the crust or having to climb up or down one of the folds in surface. We didn't get very far, but we enjoyed some great scenery.

Amazing views

There was a sign warning about snow sliding from the roof - and snow sliding from the roof.

More amazing views

There is still a lot of snow.

The hours for the lodge store - open May weekends, then every day starting Memorial Day weekend

Keywords: hurricane ridge, snowshoeing, winter


02/18/12 - The Ballard Locks in Winter

We recently took a lightning trip into Seattle, and made our way to the Ballard Locks in hopes of seeing our favorite winter garden. We were a bit early for the richly scented winter daphne, but there were some magnificent witch hazel trees and a fair bit of industrial action. It was like something out of a children's book with the locks cycling, the diggers on the dredging barge hauling up rocks and the railroad bridge opening between mile long trains.

Nature may have been a bit disappointing. The daphnes weren't in bloom. The fish ladder was fishless, and the garden winter bare, but sheer industry made up for it nicely.


The dredger removing this year's crop of fresh rocks

A witch hazel tree in bloom

A lone barge and tug passing through the locks

The dredger and the railroad bridge in action

A kingfisher cooperatively sitting on a cable

Keywords: seattle, winter


01/31/12 - Very High Tides at Dungeness Spit

The winter storms a few weeks back led to very high tides at the Dungeness Spit. We looked at our tide table and saw a seven foot tide, falling, so we imagined a narrow beach, but a passable one. When we got down to the beach we saw something else, no beach at all. The stormy weather had brought in an extra foot or two of water.

So, instead of a hike along the spit, we walked along the bluffs, and things were different here as well. We had noticed some serious erosion on our last visit, but it appears that an entire chunk of the old trail has collapsed into the strait, and a new trail has been routed inland.

So, on one nature walk, we were reminded of both the beauty and the power of nature.


The view back south

The view out on the spit - You can see how little beach there was.

Another view out

Another view of the spit, or what's left of it

The eagles don't seem to be bothered.

Some frost on the ground.

The new trail a safe distance back from the crumbling bluffs

A view of the mountains from the bluffs

They have a fence closing off the old trail, and it's just as well.

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


01/23/12 - Right In Our Own Backyard

We tend to think of Olympic National Park as being in our own backyard, but when the storms struck and the roads got messy, our backyard got a bit smaller. We decided to strap on our snowshoes and explore anyway. We headed up to Peninsula College and first took the trail down to Ennis Creek. They've fixed it up nicely, and even with all the snow it was passable, especially with the proper foot gear. Then we wandered the campus a bit. Some of our old trails are gone, but there are all those neat new buildings, and, of course, lots of snow.

The gateway to the trail

Snow covered forest

More snow and trees

Some evergreens

Ennis Creek, cold and black

One of the new buildings, with snow

Peninsula College, closed on account of snow

Keywords: port angeles, winter


11/25/11 - Winter Wonderland

Winter has been playing with us this year. We had a cool summer, then a warm spell, and then our first frosts and first snows. The Lake Angeles Trail was a winter wonderland covered with snow that has most likely already melted. Still, it's a wonderful foretaste of the winter season.

Welcome to winter

The bridge over the stream

Christmas trees

Snow on branches

More snow on branches

More Christmas trees

Icicles

The trail was still easy going.

Some last leaves preserved in ice.

The trail again

Some ferns

Keywords: lake angeles, winter


11/07/11 - Frost On Hurricane Hill

This was a hard post to compose. There were so many amazing photographs of the gray skies, majestic mountains and frost covered trees and grasses that we just gave up and chose eleven pictures when we could have chosen dozens. Judging from the webcams and weather reports, the ice seems to have melted on Hurricane Hill, so we are glad we managed to capture our amazing walk in the sky.

The summit

A view down

Frost on the grass

Mountain sky and frosty trees

A field of ice

More mountain sky

Windblown

Grasses and sky

Another view down

Did we mention the sky?

It's almost Christmas.

Keywords: christmas, hurricane hill, weather, winter


10/27/11 - We've Been Falling Down On The Job

We try and keep up to date on the Port Angeles Farmers' Market, but we've been awfully lazy about it as of late. This isn't because we haven't been shopping at the market. We've been there every Saturday, usually around ten when the market opens, and we've been buying a lot. The vegetables are out in full force, with brussels sprouts, garlic, collard greens and lacinato kale. There are winter squash and arugula and all sorts of wonderful things.

Maybe we just haven't been getting very good pictures. It's tricky taking pictures at the farmers' market. If nothing else, people are shopping for produce, and surely they have priority over a pushy photographer. In any event, here are a few pictures, a few good words, and we'll try to do better.


Nash Huber's stand is probably the easiest to photograph since everything is all bunched up nicely.

The Mystery Bay oyster stand is in operation.

This is what happens when we don't focus carefully. We can blur perfectly good Clark Family Farms beef.

Keywords: clark family, farmers' market, farms, nash huber, port angeles, shopping, winter, kale


10/14/11 - Journey to the Land of the Snows

We recently returned from a journey to the land of the snows. We climbed Hurricane Hill, starting in autumn and climbing up into winter. It was something of an adventure.

The short, wet summer kept the hillside vegetation green late into September, but now it had all turned to gold. Here and there we could see the fall colors with browns and golds and here and there brilliant red. Above us loomed the bulk of Hurricane Hill, its summit dusted white above us.

We walked through autumn, but as we ascended, panting and wheezing as is our wont, the season changed on us. First there was first snow by the trailside, then on the trail itself. The golden grasses were covered with a lacework of light snow. It grew colder.

As we neared the summit we were in winter, surrounded by snow, with snow dusting the gnarled trees. At the peak, it was winter. We were in another land, the land of the snows.


The looming snowcap of Hurricane Hill

A hawk of winter

Fall colors below

White lace on the golden fields

Entering winter's frigid domain

More lacework

Towards the summit

The view from the top, in the land of the snows

More winter in the high country

The side spur

Mount Angeles and a deer family

Keywords: autumn, high country, hurricane hill, trails, winter


10/01/11 - First Snow on Klahane Ridge

This has been a short season for the high country. Already, there is snow on Klahane Ridge. Granted, it was just a sprinkling and seems to have melted in all but the shadiest areas, but it was snow none the less. The recent rains and snow made climbing much easier. The trail was turning into soft sand as it does late in the season, but this time the footing was good.

We saw three bucks chowing down for the winter, trying to put on some weight. They largely ignored us, shuffling a few steps away as we passed. Their attention was on the vegetation, and we weren't vegetation.

We're hoping for one more visit to the ridge, but a lot depends on our oomph. That and the weather.


These towers of stone are always inspiring.

A peephole view

Enjoying the buffet

It's still very green. The grasses and the like never turned golden brown.

Mountains and clouds

A bit of snow by the trail

Old snow and new snow on the north face

A bit more snow

The last fields of flowers

More inspiration

A few late harebells

Keywords: flowers, high country, klahane ridge, weather, winter


05/20/11 - Hurricane Ridge, Hurrah!

They say on the west coast, one drives to the weather one wants, unlike the east coast, where the weather comes to you, wanted or not. Well, this year we took our first drive up to winter at Hurricane Ridge. Granted, it is late May, maybe a month from the start of summer at sea level, but at Hurricane Ridge, winter holds sway.

There snow is well over ten feet deep, so we broke out our snowshoes. We didn't get far. There is a gap in those ramparts that kept us from the Hurricane Hill Trail. Besides, we were a bit out of shape for the steep climb back. Instead, we made our way over to the avalanche danger signs for a view of Port Angeles, the Strait and points north. The view to the south was pretty impressive too.

So, if you just haven't had enough winter, and are hoping, perhaps, for a bit more skiing, sledding or just trudging through the snow, take a drive up Hurricane Ridge Road for a little taste of winter. Then drive back down again.


The view to the south - mountains and valleys and snow

The ramparts

Still plenty of snow for trekking around on

Mount Angeles and the north

The ski patrol is still at the ready.

Keywords: hurricane ridge, weather, winter


03/17/11 - The Bluffs Along the Waterfront Trail

We often take the Olympic Discovery Trail from the parking lot off Four Seasons Road and head east towards Port Angeles. There are nice views and good bird watching along the waterfront parts of the trail, but the winter rains make the high bluffs above unstable. The waterfalls may be lovely this time of year, but it's the water that makes the bluffs crumble. We picked our way through this tumble of trees and mud, though sometimes we just regard it as a sign and turn back. Despite this hazard, it's a great trail for this time of year. When the sky is open enough it matters less that it is gray.



Keywords: morse creek, winter, waterfall


03/05/11 - A Soft Winter Day

It's almost spring, but we are still having soft winter days. We've been recovering from colds, so a short stroll on the Dungeness Dike is all we've been up to lately. It was the usual mixture of soft air, recent rain and bright sun and gray clouds. The Spanish moss growing on the trees especially seemed to like it.

Looking towards the mountins

Rain recently fallen on the trail

Spanish moss at play

Keywords: dungeness, winter


02/20/11 - Pane d'Amore at the Farmers' Market

We haven't been seeing Bell Street Bakery at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market lately, but Pane d'Amore seems to have taken up the slack. This is the slow season at the Farmers' Market, but there were at least four farmers selling winter vegetables (cabbages, brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, garlic), three farmers selling meat (pork, beef, lamb), two parties selling fish (steelhead, salmon), the Holmquist hazelnut guy, the cheese people, Good To Go, and a number of others. Eggplant might be out of season, but the market is well worth a visit, even in the depths of winter.

Pane d'Amore - They and Good To Go sell their own baked goods at the market.

Keywords: farmers' market, good to go, port angeles, winter, salmon


02/19/11 - Climbing to the Snow

The nice thing about living on the west coast is that you go to the weather you want. On the east coast, the weather comes to you, wanted or unwanted. We wanted some snow, so we climbed the Lake Angeles trail. There was a bit of frost here and there near the trailhead, but as we approached the little footbridge, the snow was several inches deep, and we were in a winter wonderland. We even crossed the footbridge, snowy crust and all, thanks to the miracle of Yak Trax.

Of course, it was a great comfort to know that when we had had enough snow, all we had to do was head back down the trail and drive home.


The rushing stream

Trees and snow

The causeway

A fallen giant

The snow crusted footbridge

Another view of the stream

A glimpse of the hillside

Keywords: lake angeles, weather, winter


02/06/11 - Farmers' Market in February

This isn't prime farmers' market season. It's the middle of the winter, but our hardy local food providers have been putting on a good show, all things considered. Johnston and Lazy J Farms have been selling their braising greens. Apparently, all it takes is a bit of sun, and out of the ground come little mustard leaves and the like, all ready for the pan. We have a way to go before the spring crops appear, but it is worth checking out the market, even this time of year.

Korean food is great for warming up in the winter. It's cold in Korea this time of year.

We made a great Greek stew with our Clark Family pork chops. It's great pork.

Good To Go has their own pastries on sale. They are the only baker in Port Angeles these days.

Aside from their famous potatoes, Lazy J has brussels sprouts, leeks and their own braising mix.

Mystery Bay has lots of oysters, large and small.

Keywords: clark family, farmers' market, farms, good to go, oysters, port angeles, winter


02/01/11 - Hellebores Are Here

Well, it's about time. Usually, the hellebores are out in early January, sometimes even in December. This year we had to wait, and wait, but now, we have hellebores. February is usually the month we start looking for signs of spring, but this year, it's the month we are finally getting one of the great signs of winter.

Keywords: flowers, winter


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