May 2009June 2009 July 2009

06/30 - Ballard Locks

We happened to catch the Ballard Locks in action. There was a tugboat pulling a pair of barges and a host of smaller craft in the lock waiting for their trip down to the level of the Puget Sound. After a bit, they closed the far gate of the lock. Then, the bells rang, and the lock drained. When the water level in the lock matched the lower level, they opened the gate and let everyone out. It doesn't sound like much, but it is kind of amazing to watch. It works just the way it does in those science book illustrations.

A tugboat waiting for the lock: Note the high water level.

The water starts going down.

These sprayers keep gulls from attacking the salmon.

The water is farther down.

The gate opens and the tug goes through.

Keywords: science, seattle, salmon

06/29 - Good To Go Is Now Baking

Good To Go is now baking from Wednesday to Saturday, and we can say from first hand experience that the chocolate chip cookies and croissants are delicious. They also have good looking muffins, focaccia, and a few other goodies, but we haven't tried these yet.

The chocolate chip cookies are great. They are the thick kind, and sort of gooey. They use big chocolate chips, so the chip flavor doesn't wash out, and the cookie itself has a good brown sugar and vanilla flavor, so it isn't just something to hold the chips. The balance makes for a real treat.

A chocolate chip cookie, good to go

A croissant, good to go
The croissants are as good as the ones at The Little Oven, and have a good buttery flavor. There is a good flake, but the real treat is the rich pastry itself. Too many industrial croissants are too light, too puffy. There is no "there" there. Good To Go croissants have something inside, and it is completely delicious.

Rumor has it that the folks at Good To Go are planning a wood fired brick oven for baking bread. Right now they are still getting used to 4 AM wake up calls, to get the current baking done, but they are ambitious. We'll keep you posted, on the brick oven, and as we try other baked goods at Good To Go.

Keywords: good to go, food

06/29 - First Rose On Hurricane Hill

The flower season is progressing in the high country. We spotted the first rose, along with more marmots, on the Hurricane Hill trail. The alpine flower season is nearing its peak. Take advantage of some of the wonderful weather and see for yourself.

The first rose

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, marmots, weather

06/24 - The Hall of the Mountain Goat

Our most recent journey up the Switchback Trail was more menacing than usual. True, the ridge was no higher than ever, and the trail no steeper. True, the light clouds portended no stormy disaster. It was only the hastily posted mountain goat warning stapled to the trailhead sign that gave us a clue as to what awaited us.

We had further warnings on our ascent. One hiker had turned back in defeat. Tales were told of a jogger who had been followed by the angry beast. Still, our experiences with mountain goats had generally been uneventful, save for the loud clicking and whirring of our digital camera. This time, however, was different.

We met the goat after climbing a full thousand feet. Mount Olympus now loomed over Sunrise Point. The goat was on the trail above us and proved to be a cool customer. He took note of us, nibbled some greens, then made his way down the trail towards us. Nimbly, he took the switchback. Viciously, he nibbled the vegetation. We tried moving forward, then forward again. The goat hissed in warning. We had gone too far.

The goat would not be moved. He, for the goat was a billy, would not let us pass. We retreated and contemplated our failure. Cabrito, we have savored, but this fellow was beyond our limited capacity. We started our retreat, but then fate intervened in the form of another pair of hikers, better adapted to the rigors of the trail than we. We pointed out our nemesis.

They took our intelligence calmly. "The slingshot," said the woman. "The slingshot," replied the man extracting said weapon from his backpack. Armed, our party advanced. He chose a few pebbles from the trail, each no larger than a quarter for the most part. His first shot fell short. The second connected. The goat stopped his nibbling and looked about. A second pebble followed. The goat moved on down the mountainside, abandoning the contested stretched of trail.

The goat had abandoned the trail proper, but was still close by, threatening. We advanced. We consolidated our victory with one or two pebbles more. The goat wanted no more of us, and sauntered a few yards farther from the trail. The way was clear! Our victory was the ridge itself, and the view had never been better for having been earned in adversity.

Our nemesis, almost

Ominously nibbling beside the trail


The view

North face and south face

The bonsai garden

Phlox - the scent of victory

A fuzzy picture of a marmot

The marmot in context

The hillside is in bloom.

Bog orchids are in bloom by the roadside. We had to follow our noses.

Keywords: klahane ridge, animals, marmots, flowers, mountain goats

06/17 - Cape Alava - Rough Going

We were out at Cape Alava to take advantage of the good tides. The trail is much as we remembered it, amazingly green, rising and falling, then opening out to the meadows before descending to the sea. The park service has done some good work repairing the boardwalks which were getting a bit spotty, so the three plus mile walk from the Ozette Ranger Station to Cape Alava was easier than the last time, but the three miles along the beach from Cape Alava to Sand Point were harder. The beach was rough going with much more driftwood and much less sand. Much of the walk was on rocks and stones. At least the seaweed was dry, and nothing was very slippery. We made our way from fallen tree to fallen tree, passing through their branches like the ribs of a great carcass. There were no stretches of smooth sand until we were nearly at Sand Point.

The trail to Cape Alava

View of Cape Alava

The tide was out.

Rocks and stones.

At the edge of the world

Yes, the tide was out.

A seastack with roses

A great deal of driftwood

A parting view

Tiarella and mushrooms

A great deal of Pacific dogwood

Keywords: cape alava, tides

06/16 - Butchart Gardens

We spent a day up in Victoria, BC, mainly visiting Butchart Gardens. They have a garden for every taste, with arrays of roses, formal beds, Japanese styled plantings and a wonderful sunken garden set in an old quarry and now a fantasy of ponds and plantings. We had dim sun at Don Mee in town, then wore out our seats at the iMax at the Royal BC Museum.

Leaving Port Angeles on the Victoria Express

The rose garden

The Japanese garden

A hungry resident

The harbor

The Italian garden

The sunken garden: a repurposed quarry

One of many water lilies

The fountain

Keywords: flowers, victoria

06/15 - QuilBay Oysters

We are always warned not to eat oysters in months without an "r" in them. We have never taken this rule too seriously, so we tried out a dozen QuilBay oysters. They were spectacular. They smelled of the sea and had a sweetness and a mineral note. QuilBay also sells other seafood at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market.

Keywords: farmers' market, food, oysters

06/15 - Changes at Good To Go

If you haven't noticed, there have been changes at Good To Go. Their oven is up and running, and they should be selling their own baked goods any day now. They've been rearranging the store to put in a pastry display case. We happened to drop in when they had a few experimental muffins and chocolate chip cookies available.

Keywords: good to go

06/14 - Angelcrest Farm

We recently needed a new hanging basket, so we stopped at Angelcrest Farm on route 112, west of Port Angeles. We had driven by quite a few times, but never had occasion to stop in. Now we had an excuse, and we were well rewarded. They had a great variety of hanging baskets, and a good selection of plants on sale. We bought a white fuschia, and we plan to return.

Keywords: port angeles, farms, flowers

06/13 - Seen at Lake Crescent

This duckling seems to be the last of the clutch, or perhaps it was as only egg.

Keywords: lake crescent, ducks

06/12 - The Marmots of Hurricane Hill

Not only is the trail to Hurricane Hill nearly free of snow, but there are a number of golden marmots there including a baby. The flowers are all in bloom, so this is the time to go.

A marmot at the summit

View from the hill

Lingering snow on the north slope

The trail is lined with phlox.

Another view

The flowers are out.

Flowers from the stone

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots

06/11 - Pacific Dogwood and Tiarella

Pacific dogwood and tiarella are blooming along the lower parts of the Lake Angeles Trail. Only a few trilliums are left, but a new season has started.

Keywords: lake angeles, flowers, trillium

06/07 - The Marathon

We were on the Olympic Discovery Trail heading west from Morse Creek, so we couldn't miss the marathon. It wasn't as crazy as the Boston Marathon, but there were lots of runners and lots of folks out being encouraging. Some folks had put up signs. Others had left messages in chalk on the trail. The Coast Guard had a stand giving out water, orange slices and good cheer. The Strait of San Juan de Fuca was as beautiful as ever. We did our part and tried to stay out of the way. For the most part, we succeeded.

We loved all the posters and messages for the runners.

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles

06/06 - Hurricane Hill

We haven't made it all the way up Hurricane Hill, but we have been making progress. The road from the lodge at Hurricane Ridge to the trailhead for the Hurricane Hill hike is still closed, though most of the snow has melted. The road isn't in very good shape, so the park service may be reluctant to use their heavy plows on it. So, we hiked from the lodge the to the trailhead and then a fair ways uphill.

Our efforts were well rewarded. The high country flowers are coming out in spades. The trail is lined with phlox, lupine spikes, glacier and avalanche lilies, paintbrush and a host of other flowers we haven't bothered to look up yet. Even with a stuffed nose, we couldn't miss the sweet scent of the phlox. We usually aren't big on sneak previews, but this year looks like a great year for the flowers on the Hurricane Hill trail.

Phlox in the rock garden

We aren't sure of what this plant is, but that butterfly seemed to like it.

Lupines and paintbrush

Some deer in silhouette

This is where we turned around. This is usually the last part of the trail to melt, so if we had pushed on we could have made it to the summit.

Glacier lilies - Look closely and you'll see a small blue butterfly.

An avalanche lily

Mushrooms seem to be doing well this year.

The view - The mountains seem to have made it through another winter.

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, spring

06/03 - First Climb To Klahane Ridge For 2009

We made it up to Klahane Ridge today. Thanks to the warm spring weather, most of the snow on the trail has melted, and even we, the Klumsy Kalebergs, managed to make it up the Switchback Trail to the ridge. There was some snow on the trail, but we managed to clamber through it with our trusty Yak Trax. At this rate of melt, if you tried the trail tomorrow, you'd wonder what all our fuss was about.

The trail was lined with furious alpine growth, and there were already some summer flowers, including avalanche lilies, lupines, and wonderfully scented phlox. The views were stupendous, and even as we climbed, we could sense the snow melting. On our way down, we noticed that the band of snow nestled in the corner of Mount Angeles was melting into a series of cascades. The high country is open, and the Switchback Trail is as spectacular as ever.

The trail and the mountains

Phlox in the foreground, Sunrise Point in the mid-ground and the Olympic Mountains in the background

North slope, south slope

More mountains, of all things

Port Angeles and the Strait below

The ridge and the mountains

A mushroom

An avalanche lily


The snow melting - Click to enlarge, and you can see the waterfalls.

The band of snow

Keywords: flowers, high country, klahane ridge, spring, kale, waterfall

06/02 - Good To Go To Lake Crescent

The latest word from Good To Go is that the oven is up and running. They're still experimenting and getting used to the new equipment, and they hope to have their first batch of test cookies in the next week or so. It may take a bit longer for bread, because they need some more equipment, but bread is still the goal.

As for the picture, that's one of their hummus wraps being eaten on the Spruce Railroad Trail.

A hummus wrap in its natural habitat

Keywords: good to go, spruce railroad

06/01 - Farmers' Market Update

We may have another two or three weeks before summer starts, but the Port Angeles Farmers' Market is moving ahead. We've been enjoying the spring crops of asparagus, arugula, mixed braising greens and all those new potatoes. The seafood folks have been selling salmon and ling cod, so we've been doing more shopping at the market than ever.

Keywords: farmers' market, shopping, spring, summer, salmon

May 2009June 2009 July 2009