June 2006July 2006 August 2006

07/27 - A Mouse Riding A Frog

This picture looks like an illustration from some fantasy novel. We found it in the 14 July 2006 issue of Science Magazine, the AAAS journal, with a simple caption. The frog is an Asian toad (no species given); the location is in the floodwaters of Lucknow, which has been experiencing one serious monsoon, but little else is revealed. The next article in the section was on Rewiring the Brain, but we don't think that the mouse rewired the frog toad's brain, though that is the sort of thing we would expect to find in a fantasy novel.

Keywords: science

07/23 - River Otters Off Morse Creek Trail

We often see river otters on the rocks or swimming around off the Olympic Discovery Trail that runs from downtown Port Angeles to Morse Creek. There's a little creek that runs down from the top of the bluff a bit west of the storm bypass, and we've seen the otters crossing the trail from that area down to the water. This time we had our camera with us, so we have proof.

Keywords: animals, morse creek, port angeles, otters

07/20 - Mount Townsend Creamery's Seastack Cheese

We finally tasted the third cheese in Mount Townsend Creamery's trio, and we were quite impressed. Seastack is right up there with the great triple cremes like San Andre and Explorateur. We'll have to see how it ages. Unfortunately, the scientific Kaleberg testing procedures resulted in the complete ingestion of the cheese, so we'll have to drop by Dungeness Valley Creamery and get another one or two.

Read the Kaleberg review, and learn more about Mount Townsend Creamery and their local raw Jersey milk cheeses.

Seastack Cheese - Working Cross Section

Keywords: food, milk, dungeness, mount townsend creamery, kale

Hurricane Hill

View From Hurricane Hill

07/19 - High Country Update

Obstruction Point Road has just opened, so we decided to take the sharp left at the entrance to the Hurricane Ridge parking lot and see if our Honda could fit on the 1.5 lane road into the high country. We were hoping to take one of our favorite hikes, but the weather was not with us. A bit after PJ's Lake we ran into heavy fog, and were just not up to a harrowing drive on hairpin turns on a narrow road with steep drops and limited visibility. Applying the rule of sour grapes, we rationalized that there was still an awful lot of snow on the trail, as there was along the road, and that we would not have had much of a hike anyway.

Instead, we took a walk at Hurricane Hill, a much more accessible trail. We are pleased to report that the wild roses are in bloom, and the lupines are starting to blossom as well. There were still a few glacier lilies and great fields of dirty sock plant. The Hamper was quite full.

There's a warm weekend coming up, so we'll give Obstruction Point another try in a week or two.

Keywords: high country, obstruction point, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge

07/09 - Mountain Goat Update

There were mountain goats in the news this morning. The local paper, the Peninsula Daily News, had an article about the upcoming aerial goat survey. We Kalebergs decided to check out the situation ourselves, but lacking the requisite light aircraft and helicopters, we took one of our favorite hikes, the Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge. We had spotted one fine specimen back in June, so we had our hopes for this fact finding expedition.

We started the arduous ascent from the parking lot. The bog orchids were in bloom, and their rich scent permeated the waterfall climb near the start of the trail. Hikers descending reported goats on the trail, raising our hopes. Indeed, as we neared the 1000' apl (above parking lot) mark on our altimeter, there they were, two goats, a nanny and a kid, skulking in one of the shady corners of a switchback.

Mountain Kid
An Olympic mountain goat exploring the crags above us

After a suitable pause to take some pictures and share in the mother-child intimacy, we resumed our ascent. Two goats! We had already broken our old record of one mountain goat sighted. The day was auspicious, and our hopes were high.

We did not hope in vain. As we neared the rocky outcrops near the ridge itself, there we saw him, well above us on the bare rock cliffs, the billy goat. Well, that made our day. Three goats! This was quite a successful survey, and we had more to climb and explore.

We pressed onward to the ridge and looked north, at the great fields of rock and snow, now covered with fog and rising cloud, in contrast to the sun and calm to the south through which we had ascended. The snow had been melting rapidly, so we tried for the high alpine gardens, but in this we failed. We were too tired to deal with the big patch of snow at 1600' apl (above parking lot).

As we returned to the trail junction at the ridge, we reaped a new reward for our muscle cracking efforts. (Our muscles crack more easily than most). There they were, an entire nuclear goat family, billy, nanny and kid, taking it easy and enjoying a snack on one of the rocky outcrops. We had to smile.

We must report that the alpine flowers were spectacular, and judging from our goat friends, quite delicious. The avalanche lilies have passed, but the lupines are just coming in, as are the turk's cap lilies and the pink paintbrush. Whether you go for the goat spotting, or just for the alpine flowers or the spectacular scenery, this is a great time for a survey of Klahane Ridge.

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat Grazing
Mountain Goat

Keywords: animals, high country, klahane ridge, flowers, kale, waterfall, mountain goats

07/06 - Amazing Yukon Salmon at Bella Italia

We just had dinner at Bella Italia, and we had some of the best salmon we've ever had, and living out here in Port Angeles, that's saying a lot. According to our usually reliable source, this was salmon from up in the Yukon, a bit expensive, but worth it every bite. It was rich and fatty, and cooked very simply. There were no left overs. According to another of our other usually reliable sources, what made this salmon so special was that it was summer salmon, all fattened up, but not very far up stream yet. That's the kind you almost never get in restaurants, let alone at the supermarket. But, we do get it out here in Port Angeles. The word is that this salmon will be on the menu for the next few weeks. If you are in town for the Lavender Festival, this is your big chance to see what salmon can be.

Keywords: food, fish, restaurants, port angeles, salmon

The Sappho Maiden

07/01 - The Sappho Maiden - Murder or Xylocide?

We were shocked to learn that the disappearance of the Sappho maiden was due to foul play! For years we had been fond of the wooden maiden as we drove past her near the junction of routes 101 and 113, but then the gas station at the well marked junction burned down, and then, one horrible day, the Sappho maiden was gone leaving only her plinth.

We had assumed that the story had to do with the decline of the Sappho junction, but we were enlightened by a recent email from a Mrs. O informing us that the Sappho maiden was only one of several victims of vandalism. How can people be such fiends! She wrote:

"I agree that it is sad that the maiden was removed, but worse yet is why. I live in the area and we were saddened by a series of chainsaw vandalism that occured about 6 months ago. I don't know which came first but a significant piece of the totem pole in Forks was cut out, making it necissary that it be removed until repairs were made. It has not yet been replaced. The sappho maiden was beheaded, so it was removed, I have no knowledge of whether the head was found or if repair plans have been made. I also believe that the running fish in Clallam Bay was damaged in some way, he too has been removed, but I think he was repaired already and replaced. Sorry to give bad news, but I figured I would answer your question"

So, there it is! Not only was the Sappho maiden DECAPITATED, but Fishboy, as we called him, long a fixture in Clallam Bay, was seriously assaulted, and the Forks totem pole nearly destroyed. Things have come to a sad pass. It is probably too much to hope that the chainsaw miscreants who did so much damage to our area pay for their crimes, but we can hope for a restoration of these damaged North Olympic icons.

UPDATE - 07/05 - Good news from Clallam Bay and Seiku. We still haven't gotten any pictures, but from the road Fishboy, the walking fish, AND Fishgirl, walking in her pink skirt, seemed to be in good shape. There is also good news from Beaver which, according to the Peninsula Daily News, has gotten a new giant wooden beaver mascot. We'll be looking for him (or is it her) on our next trip to the West End.

Keywords: sappho maiden, fish

June 2006July 2006 August 2006