The Kaleberg Journal - April 2024

04/18 - Sol Duc Falls and Canyon Creek

We hadn't been to the Sol Duc Valley since the fall when we went to watch the salmon fighting their way upstream. This time, we were going to look for trilliums and other spring flowers. Sol Duc Falls is about an hours drive from Port Angeles, but it is one of the prettiest drives in Olympic National Park. Most of the park is roadless, so visitors drive around it on route 101 which runs around the park so it isn't a prime national park experience. Heading west from Port Angeles, route 101 runs through the park along the south short of beautiful Lake Crescent. To get to Sol Duc, make a left turn after the lake and head deeper into the park following the river.

It looks like the hot spring resort is being spruced up for the season but not open yet. We drove to the end of the road. The parking lot was almost empty. We hiked to the falls which is about as far as most people go. The falls are pretty spectacular, roaring under the bridge, nested in the forest. We cross the river and headed up into the hills on the very rocky trail to Deer Lake. It was rough going with rocks and high steps, and we didn't get anywhere near Deer Lake or even the snow line. We made it to the bridge over Canyon Creek. That was enough hike for us.

On the way down, we spotted trilliums, but spring has just started here. We'll be back again soon. Maybe we'll get a bit farther. If not, we'll enjoy the falls and the climb.

The forest trail

Sol Duc Falls

Down below


Canyon Creek

The little bridge over Canyon Creek

An old stump

Snow on the mountains across the valley

Pacific dogwood out of season

The rocky trail

Oregon grape

Mushroom log


More rocky trail

Life on the rocks

More rocky trail

Even more rocky trail

Small waterfall feeding into the Sol Duc

Another look at the falls

A side creek

Forest green

Another side creek

More trilliums


04/14 - Little River Trail - Once again but a little farther

Often, when we travel, we'll find a restaurant we like so much that we'll cancel our reservations elsewhere and go back a second or even third time. This time, it was the Little River Trail. We liked our hike so much, that we came back later in the week and retraced our steps and went a little bit farther. Earlier, we had made it to the second log bridge. This time, we made it across and all the way to the little waterfall. We were rewarded, not just with the waterfall, but with a cliff side covered with fawn lilies.

There were trilliums as well, now further along, and even a calypso orchid which a fellow hiker mentioned to us as we compared notes about the trail. The trilliums have yet to peak, but more and more of them are out. We'll be back again, maybe not this week, but soon.

One of the passages

The river, blues, browns and greens

A rock covered with life

Fawn lilies


Yet another

Just a distinctive leaf

A trillium

The waterfall

A close up of the waterfall

Another trillium

And another

The fawn lilies again, on our way back

The river again

The trail along a cliff face

More of the Little River

Yet another forest view

A double trillium

Yet more trilliums

More of the forest browns and greens


Forest friends

That calypso orchid

Keywords: little river, trillium, waterfall

04/11 - Little River Trail

Next on our list of spring hikes and trillium safaris was the Little River Trail. We started at the brand new parking lot at around 1100' and made our way down to the river, across the bridge, then up again to continue along the trail. Were there trilliums? Yes. Were there a lot of trilliums? No, net yet, but they are coming out. We also saw a lot of mushrooms, almost certainly poisonous, and, of course, the river itself.

We also saw a frog. It wasn't all that long ago that people were worried about frogs, but we've been seeing and hearing them more often lately. We saw this frog by the side of the trail. It was camouflaged but not well enough, so we got a good look. Either we've been getting better at spotting frogs, or there are a few more of them around.

They're back!

More trilliums

And even more

The fourth plague

The trail, almost mystical

The river

There are some amazing rock walls.


More of the river

Even more river

Yet even more

A stretch of trail

Mushrooms, probably toxic

More poisonous mushrooms

There's a little seasonal waterfall across the river that we always look for.

Another sign of spring

More rock wall

Typical of the region

Even more deadly mushrooms

Young false mock Solomon's seal

Another trillium

A bit more of the river

Spring water flow

Keywords: little river, spring, trillium

04/05 - Dungeness Highlands with Hummingbirds

There are two great worlds to explore at the Dungeness Spit. There's the amazing spit itself and the coastal forest leading to it, and there are the highlands which follow the coast and run inland. We explore the highlands. You can walk the whole loop in about 50 minutes, but we like to go longer, so we head out for about 40 minutes to an overlook and then head back the long way.

The old grass is now pale straw, but the new green grass is growing taller. There were currants and strawberries in bloom and chervil growing wild along the trail. We also saw two hummingbirds perched high as if claiming the bush they perched on as their own.

Spring color

To our surprise, a trillium

Distant mountains

Mountains and clouds

More clouds and mountains

The vista

Mahonia, Oregon grape in bloom

One of the hummingbirds

Across the field

Another view of the field

The trail, still early spring

More fields, clouds and mountains

The trail again

Another hummingbird

Strawberry flowers

Red and gold

More strawberry flowers

Some currant flowers

Trees still bare

Looking south

A bit of forest

A fascinating ground cover

Keywords: birds, dungeness spit, spring

04/04 - Spruce Railroad Trail with Trilliums

It was spring break, so the Spruce Railroad Trail was busy. There were a lot of families with children. Our goal was to find trilliums. Lake Crescent is about 600 feet above sea level, so spring tends to come a bit later, but we were lucky. We found trilliums. There were just a few, but like children of spring break, we're seeing signs of spring.

The forest floor

A trillium

Another trillium

Yet another trillium

View from the Devil's Punchbowl

Rock flowers

More rock flowers

Most of the trail is a road now, but there are a few bits of the old hiking trail preserved.

More of the old trail

Toad lily

Mount Storm King dominating the lake

Clouds and snow in the mountains

Rock garden

More rock flowers


One of the little side streams

Another little side stream

Keywords: lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, trillium

04/02 - Elwha to Altair - Early Spring Flower Edition

Spring has been with us for over a week now, so we've been out checking for trilliums. They often show up along the Elwha on the trail detour section that runs behind the old campground and is the only land route from Madison Falls to the rest of Olympic Hot Springs Road.

The river had a wild winter. There was a whole new pattern of trees and drift logs lining the river. Some sections were more accessible than last year. Some were less. A great chunk, the base of a fallen tree, had torn from the hillside. This made the trail a bit tricky to follow, but all the action had opened up new river views.

Spring is definitely here. We saw trilliums, fawn lilies, toad lilies, violets and many other early bloomers. Even better, the mules are back in town. The mule camp was deserted when we headed out, but there were mules waiting for us on our return.

The fawn lilies are back.

More flowers

A wild orchid

More fawn lilies

Another fawn lily

Trilliums, too

Lots of fawn lilies

The striped leaf is a fawn lily leaf

Yet another fawn lily

Toad lilies, for variety

A glimpse of the Elwha

A trillium

The river lined with fallen, drifted logs

Another view of the river

The Elwha from down close

More drift logs along the Elwha

Trail work

A mountain peak

A mountain cloud

More of the trail

Fawn lilies again

A cooperative caterpillar

The mules are back in town.

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium, winter

The Kaleberg Journal - March 2024

03/31 - Dungeness Spit at a Low Tide

There was a low tide at the Dungeness Spit. Rather than take the usual paved trail from the entry kiosk to the spit, we took the alternative, slightly longer, primitive trail. Everything was lush and green, and even better, we spotted a woodpecker and a fair number of trilliums.

The spit itself was wide at low tide. There was less driftwood than some years, and most of the walking was on wet sand with some rocky areas here and there. We walked about about a mile and a half, all the while enjoying the ocean view on this magical spit of sand that juts out into the strait. We could see the mountains and clouds behind us as we headed out.

The primitive trail to the Dungeness Spit

Along the trail

Spring greenery

More along the trail

Can you guess?

A woodpecker

A closer view

Down on the spit proper

The view out to sea

Sand and sky

More along the spit

More clouds and driftwood

Two ducks


The mountains behind

More of those mountains

The Olympic Mountains again

Driftwood below

Back in the forest

A trillium

More forest

Another trillium

More trilliums

Keywords: dungeness spit, trillium

03/22 - University of Washington Cherry Blossoms

It was a rainy day in Seattle when we made our to the University of Washington to see this year's cherry blossoms. We had been following on the webcam, and the flowers seemed to be approaching their peek. The rain may have thinned the crowd a bit. If nothing else, it discouraged picnickers. Still, there was a good crowd, and the flowers were in full bloom and stunning. We wandered the quad admiring this harbinger of warmer weather.

Our first view

A magnolia joining the fun

Another view

Across the way


Flowers growing from the trunk

We don't really need all these captions.

Another flowering plant with a wonderful scent

Keywords: flowers, seattle, weather

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