The Kaleberg Journal - July 2024

07/01 - Cape Alava - Part 1

It's almost a two hour drive out to Cape Alava, so we don't get there that often. There's also the matter of the tides. We weren't planning on doing the entire loop, but if we had hoped to hike the triangle to Cape Alava and then via Sand Point, we'd want the tides low enough to get comfortably around the headlands. There have been some good low tides lately, so we figured we'd head out and at least get from the trailhead to Cape Alava, and, if we had the energy, to return via Sand Point.

There were a few nice views of the strait along 112, but the road was twisty and not banked well. We passed through Clallam Bay and Sekiu noting the number of rental cottages along the water. We took the Hoko-Ozette road and, once again, managed to get the very last free parking spot. We weren't the only ones taking advantage of the good weather and the low tide.

We crossed the Ozette River near where it flows into Lake Ozette, and headed into the forest. A lot of the trail is boardwalk, and there were lots of ups and downs. Several times, we'd take a series of steps down, cross a wooden bridge, and then take another series of steps back up. We made our way to Alstrom's Meadow. On our way back we met a group of Alstroms pondering their relation. Here the forest thins and the trail follows mostly a boardwalk through a sea of grass.

Then, we entered the coastal forest and began our descent to the beach. It was a long way down. The forest here was subtly different from the earlier inland forest. Then, we began to get glimpses of the ocean.

The Ozette River

The bridge over same

The Ozette River heading into the lake

Forest trail

A candelabrum tree with horizontal and vertical branches

Steps on the trail

One of the bridges

More trail

An omen?

Another bridge

More steps

Pacific dogwood

Towards the meadow

Across Alstrom's Meadow

More boardwalk

A boardwalk closeup

The trail repaired, a story told

More meadow

More boardwalk

Even more trail

Even more steps

Trail through forest

More forest trail

Keywords: cape alava, tides, weather

The Kaleberg Journal - June 2024

06/30 - Cape Alava - Part 2

The tide was low at Cape Alava. The beach spread out with rocks, more rocks and sea stacks. To the south was a downed tree blocking the trail. We settle down on a driftwood log and watched other groups of hikers negotiate the obstacle. Some tried to climb over the fallen tree. Some tried to walk around it. A number managed to crouch and pass under it. We were tired, so we didn't try.

We were wearing hiking boots. On previous visits to Cape Alava we had worn running shoes, so we noticed that we had much better traction, especially on the final descent to the beach. We tried walking over the rocks a bit. Boots gave fairly good traction, but the seaweed lining them was still slippery. We might try again wearing traction spikes like Exo-spikes.

Then, we made our way up to the headland and then into the forest. We had a few final peeks at the beach and then it was trees, then meadows, then more trees and the bridge over the Ozette. It was quite a wonderful hike, and it had been a long time.

Our first peek at the beach

A seastack

An island

Rocky beach, looking north

More rocks and pools

All revealed by the low tide

Tricky passage

Rocks and pools up close

Another view

Yet more

Looking north

Our last view of the beach

Back in the forest

Back at Alstrom's Meadow

More forest steps

More boardwalk

Yet more

A bridge through the green

More steps to climb

Sword like ferns

Skunk cabbage in fine fettle

More steps again

Pacific dogwood again

Keywords: cape alava

06/29 - Backyard Marmot

We seem to have a visitor down in Port Angeles, an Olympic golden marmot. We've seen them before but up in the high country. This looks like a young one, and that may be the first time he or she tasted a hellebore. We'll have to see how well town life suits our visitor.

Our local marmot

Munching on our lawn

Checking out a hellebore

In repose

The next day, in the sun

Keywords: high country, port angeles

06/28 - Hurricane Ridge

Once again we climbed Hurricane Hill. We got the last parking spot at one of the picnic areas and hiked 1/4 mile from there to the main trailhead. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the alpine flowers were in bloom. There was the heady sense of phlox, paintbrush, lupines, pask flowers and a host of others which is our way of saying we don't remember their names. There were no marmots, but there was a herd of deer down below the trail. We were surprised to see so many.

We also saw an Olympic blue grouse getting ready to mate. We had never seen this before, so we're putting our photos in another post.

The Olympic Mountains

Another view

Melting snow

Pask flowers

More alpine flowers

The side spur we often take

A butterfly on a corn lily

A view north

A herd of deer below

Avalanche lilies

More avalanche lilies

Paintbrush and friends

Another mountain bouquet

Lupines in the middle

Phlox all over

Another mountain view

Another rock garden

More phlox

Western wall flower


Pink paintbrush with corn lilies

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill

06/27 - Olympic Blue Grouse in Mating Plumage

We spotted an Olympic blue grouse not far off the side of the trail. We were looking for avalanche lilies, but this guy was right there taking a dust bath. He fussed about, then rose up lifting his tail feathers like a peacock. We've seen these grouse before, but we've never seen the mating display. Then, we saw his date a bit farther into the woods. The two met up in the shade, so we may be seeing baby grouse later this season.

Dust bath

More dust bath

Rising up

Tail display

Heading off

His mate in shadow

Off in the woods

Keywords: grouse

06/24 - Little River Trail

We didn't get very far on the Little River Trail, just to the "healing pools", a section of the trail where it is easy to get down to the river and wade. The cold water does wonders for one's feet. Along the way, the spring flowers had given way to the summer flowers. There were trilliums with their pods but no flowers, but the blood root and Pacific dogwood were in bloom.

A bit of the trail


Can you spot the trilliums without their flowers?

Another bit of trail with a nurse log

More of the trail

Pacific dogwood

More dogwood

Even more dogwood

Down by the Little River

Another bit of the river

A huge trillium

A bit of a robin's egg

One of the "canyons"

Keywords: flowers, little river, spring, summer, trilliums

06/23 - Hama Hama Oyster Saloon

We celebrated a friend's birthday at the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon in, of all places, Hama Hama. It was a pleasant enough drive south on 101 past Quilcene and then along the coast. We didn't see a sign for the Saloon, so we zoomed past the restaurant on our first try, but we quickly realized that there is really only one Hama Hama oyster restaurant down by the flats. Before our friends arrived we walked a bit north along the flats where the oysters grow to the Hama Hama River.

The restaurant is an outdoors space. We placed our order at the kiosk and then settled in at our table. This was right by the Hood Canal and sheltered by two large wooden boards forming something of a pup tent. We drank our champagne - we brought our own and paid the corkage fee - and after a bit our oysters arrived, raw and shucked with a mignonette and roasted nicely. We also had some really good bread and butter. An eagle settled in to watch. It was great catching up with our friends, and everything was delicious as it often is when dining al fresco.

The oyster flats down by the Hood Canal

Seen around

The restaurant

The mountains just visible

Still snow on the peaks

Heading along the flats

The snow melts and feeds the river.

The Hama Hama River

A foreground tree

The river is bigger than it looks.

The restaurant

A visitor

An oyster gabion

Keywords: eagle, oysters

06/22 - Dungeness Highlands

If you park at the Dungeness Spit parking lot, odds are you are going to head down to the Dungeness Spit, but you might consider staying up in the highlands and following the bluffs and the trails for some spectacular mountain views. It's summer, so the fields are changing color, and the spring flowers are past. It's another easy walk, and a good place to explore if you can't get far on the spit during high tide.

There are a lot of little birds, but they are usually not as easy to see as this one.

Mountain view


The thicket is always so inviting in the summer.

One of the fields

Another field

The trail

A peek at the mountains

A field of a different color

Old trees by the strait

Twisted trees line the bluffs

Keywords: dungeness, flowers, spring, summer, trails

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