June 2009July 2009 August 2009

07/31 - Rialto Beach

Second Beach is probably our favorite beach on the West End, but now and then we like to get down to Rialto Beach for a bit of variety. It's an easier hike. There's no climb through the coastal forest and no clambering over driftwood. You just park, and you are on the beach.

This time the beach was shrouded with Pacific fog, as it often is in the summer. The seastacks were invisible until we were nearly upon them. There was a lot of driftwood, but it was generally piled up high on the beach, even with a high low tide. In another sign of summer, the little river about a mile from the parking lot ran under the sand to the sea. Most of the year we have to ford the stream, but this time we walked right over it without even noticing.

We made it as far as the first headland climb, up into the rain forest. It was almost like climbing a ladder made of tree roots. At the top, we could look through the foliage and see the rocky outcrop that jutted out to the sea like a lost Mayan temple in some adventure romance. We turned around there. We like our adventures, but we like them bite sized.

The view north

Lots of driftwood this year

Our favorite seastacks

The Mayan temple

The trail to the lost temple

Tide pools

The view south

Keywords: beaches, rialto beach, summer, little river

07/30 - Farmers' Market Update

We haven't been reporting on the Port Angeles Farmers' Market lately, so it's time for an update.

Right now, the market is in full swing. We've seen the Johnston Farm, Lazy J, Nash Huber, Red Dog, The Family Farm, Westwind, Rick's, Black Sheep and a number of others including the Korean lady who has great garlic. We've probably missed a few in that list, so we'll apologize now, and next time we'll take better notes.

One farmer we had been waiting for was Harley of Dry Creek, who has excellent organic eggs. He had been between flocks of chickens, but we had expected him in late June. Now he's back, and we're glad to see him.

We've been to the Saturday market and the Wednesday market at the Gateway, and this last Wednesday we noticed a new non-farm vendor, Chocolate Serenade with handmade chocolate truffles. We particularly liked the cayenne pepper truffles, but, then again, we like spicy food.

Dry Creek Farm is back

Lazy J

Chocolate Serenade

The Johnston Farm

Black Sheep Farm

Keywords: dry creek farm, farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber, port angeles

07/29 - The Corn Lilies Are Back

We decided to climb Hurricane Hill in the middle of our recent heatwave. Our little trail thermometer gave a temperature of 97F. That was plenty for us, but we made it to the summit despite the heat. If nothing else, the scenery draws one onward. As our reward, the corn lilies were in bloom. We took the little sidespur towards the Elwha Ranger Station, and there they were. The camera doesn't do them justice. After all, their blossoms are green, so it is green on green, but we have a real fondness for these plants.

High summer flowers, but the fields are still green

A killdeer like bird

Late lupines on the sidespur

Corn lilies in bloom

A field of corn lilies

The view from the picnic area

More scenery


07/28 - Dungeness Spit

It wasn't the lowest of low tides. In fact, it was about four feet above the reference mark, but the Dungeness Spit was surprisingly walkable. Sure, we were up near the driftwood barrier, but the sand was well packed, and there was enough of it so we didn't have to walk on those sea smoothed pebbles. There were also sea mammals on display, a seal and an otter. Both reacted promptly to the click, or perhaps the whirr, of our digital camera, so we have no pictures. You'll have to head out yourself and keep your eyes on the sea.

The beach at Dungeness Spit

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

07/27 - Klahane Ridge and the "Kick in the Ass"

Usually by the time we reach Klahane Ridge via the Switchback Trail we are so exhausted that we take a rest, turn around and head back down. But, now and then we continue along the trail that leads down to Lake Angeles. This trail heads along open mountainside, generally covered with wildflowers, and then into a series of "rooms" delineated by trees and rock formations, each carpeted with its own display of alpine blossoms. If you get up to Klahane Ridge and you have the strength, it is definitely worth walking another ten or fifteen minutes and climbing the additional hundred and something feet to explore these amazing gardens.

We were discussing this part of the trail with a fellow hiker one day, and she knew exactly what we were talking about. "That's the little extra kick in the ass", she said, and given what it takes to go on after climbing the first 1400 feet or so, we understood her exactly. If you don't think you can handle the climb, you can still enjoy our pictures.

One of the "rooms" with its magic carpet

One of the "towers"

More magic carpet

A carpeted glade

A carpet with a view

The open slope abloom

Spectacular scenery

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, lake angeles

07/26 - Blood Bat

We saw this little fellow on our way to the blood lab at our local medical center.

Keywords: humor, art

07/25 - The Amazing Black Pine Cones of Hurricane Hill

We were up at Hurricane Hill and couldn't help noticing the glistening black pine cones. They are not only almost black, but they are covered with resin, so they catch the light as one moves past them.

The scene

The glistening black pine cones

More pine cones

An alert marmot

Corn lilies soon to bloom

Keywords: hurricane hill

07/24 - Good To Go Croissants

This is a quick note on the baking schedule at Good To Go. They are baking Wednesday through Saturday, but they only bake croissants on Friday and Saturday. That means, you can get cookies, danish and muffins most of the week, but croissants are special, for the week end.

Friday and Saturdays only

Keywords: good to go

07/23 - Guest Images

One of our guests at Lake Crescent Cottage did some photography during his stay. There are some fantastic photos you might want to take a look at:

Keywords: lake crescent cottage, art

07/19 - Mysterious Second Beach

Sea stacks are always mysterious. They rise from the beach, but anything could be up there. Sometimes one sees roses or wild strawberries, but, since we are not great climbers, what ever else is up there is well hidden. There could even be farms and towns and forests, like the ones in New Guinea, waiting for discovery from the air. Sea fog only makes them more mysterious, so we made the most of the gray on our most recent visit to Second Beach.

The view from the mouth of the sea cave

Mysterious sea stack

The sky tries to turn blue

Another mysterious seastack

Starfish and tide pools

Misty forest

The coastal view

Keywords: second beach

07/19 - Hurricane Hill Update

We were up at Hurricane Hill and the critters were out in force. We saw at least two golden marmots and a blue sage grouse with her chicks. This has been a great year for spotting marmots. The roses are out, and lupine lines the trail. We checked on the corn lilies which are in the meadow on the trail spur that leads down to the Elwha Ranger Station. They have their flower spikes, but haven't bloomed yet. That's something to look forward to.

The view

A baby blue sage grouse

Mom blue sage grouse

A golden marmot, in profile

Another marmot

Corn lilies getting larger

Turk's cap lily



Keywords: hurricane hill, marmots, grouse

07/12 - Obstruction Point 2 - Flowers and Animals

The trails leading from Obstruction Point have a lot to offer besides spectacular scenery. If you can take your eyes off the mountains for a moment, you'll notice that you are surrounded by dozens of different kinds of plants, and right now it seems that most of them are in bloom. There are lupines, asters, glacier lilies and paintbrush in red, orange and pink. If you are lucky, you might see one of the local golden marmots, or a blue sage grouse, a chipmunk or deer. So, don't let the drive daunt you. This may be your chance to see Obstruction Point at its most varied best.

These look like miniature lupines with silvery leaves.

Our friend, the marmot

Pink paintbrush

Lupines and friends

This reminds of the silverswords at Haleakala on Maui

More blooms

More paintbrush, but another shade

A young deer

A blue sage grouse taking a sand bath

Keywords: obstruction point, trails, high country, flowers, animals, marmots, grouse

07/12 - Obstruction Point 1 - The Trail

Obstruction Point Road has opened, and that means we can explore yet another part of the high country. The road itself is narrow, unpaved and has spectacular views. It leads to a trailhead that seems to be in the middle of nowhere and the middle everything. There are the brilliant glaciers of the Olympic Mountains, glimpses of the Cascades in the distance, and the great blue sky above.

The view of the Olympics

Melting snow on the hillsides

The path across the top of the world

Another view

There are glacial lakes down in this valley. They come in a variety of colors.

The valley

Rough ridges

The trail on a hillside

Snow sculpture

This is a photo of either neat looking rocks or a great view. We aren't sure.

Trail across the meadow

Keywords: high country, obstruction point

07/10 - Two Notes on the Lake Angeles Trail

  1. The human urge to decorate is unabated, despite the collapse of the housing bubble. The little footbridge near the start of the trail is taking the brunt of it. It started with a few rocks along the side of the bridge, but now the artistry has spread.
  2. It is hard to capture the beauty of this trail in an ordinary photograph since so much of it flows from the height of the trees. It's like being in a cathedral. You can take perfectly good wedding pictures with a simple camera, but it takes a bit more to capture the grandeur of the space. We only have a simple camera, but Photoshop's Photomerge feature can build a vertical panorama like the one to the right.

A misty day on the Lake Angeles Trail

This footbridge is starting to look like Ediz Spit. Check the rock art decoration.

Keywords: lake angeles

07/03 - Good To Go Danish

We've been working our way through the pastries at Good To Go. This time we tried their danish, one black raspberry and one rum raisin. The results were much as we expected. They were delicious. Good To Go has a great danish pastry dough, buttery and crispy, with just the right amount of flake.

Black raspberry danish

Rum raisin danish
They use a real good black raspberry preserve in the black raspberry danish. There's none of that synthetic, barely there flavoring, and definitely no chemical after taste. An awful lot of places take short cuts like that, and their danish are barely edible.

The rum raisin danish had lots of good cinnamon and cardamom flavor. Once again, Good To Go used real spices, and it makes a difference. While we still miss Bonny's cinnamon rolls, we miss them a lot less with these danish pastries in town.

Keywords: good to go, food

07/02 - The Space Needle Reflected

There are a lot of tall buildings in Seattle, many of them taller than the Space Needle. Many of these buildings, and not just the taller ones, make fairly good mirrors, if you don't mind a bit of warping. Look up every so often when you are in Seattle, and see if you can get a reflected view of the Needle like this one.

Keywords: seattle

Perhaps it's her ex-husband?

07/01 - Get Rid of It

This looks like a pretty useful outfit to have around. We have often had to get rid of things, and we usually have managed to find some local hauler to deal with them. It's also great truck art. That's a definite homage to Roy Lichtenstein and the countless comic book artists who inspired him.

Keywords: art

June 2009July 2009 August 2009