June 2012July 2012 August 2012

07/28 - Cape Alava

We went back to Cape Alava and took a long walk, but we didn't do the full nine mile loop. We had intended to. Cape Alava is a two hour or so drive from Port Angeles, so we always try to spend a full day there, hiking as much as we can. People tend to think that Seattle is on the west coast, but then, you have to drive another three hours west to get to Port Angeles. By the time you've driven another two hours west, you expect to be on the ocean, but at Cape Alava there is another hour's walk.

It's a beautiful walk through forest and meadows. Back until the 1980s, it was a walk through mud. Then the park service put in a boardwalk, but more recently they've been replacing the boardwalk with a gravel aggregate. The trail is lined with salal and ferns and skunk cabbage and every other type of northwest rain forest plant. If you pay attention, you'll see some big old trees that rival any in the Hoh. The meadow is old grassland with the grasses going to seed and a few pacific dogwood blossoms still showing.

The beach itself is at the end of the earth. We made our way down and were pleasantly surprised. The waters of the Pacific were still a fair ways off, but we were on the water's edge following a good path of sand, stones and dried out seaweed. We headed south towards Sand Point, but all too soon the trail dissolved into large rocks and small stones decorated with wet seaweed. It was rough going, and we were more tired than we had thought. We gave up well before the first headland.

So, we stopped and ate our lunch and watched the eagles on the rocks. We explored a bit, but the trail ahead was rough going, more than we could take for the hour or so it would take. We weren't even sure we could make it around the headland. Sometimes you have to accept your limits, so we made our way back to the car for a seven mile hike, rather than the full nine plus. All told, it was a good day's outing, and it was great to see the Pacific Ocean at Cape Alava again.

Through the woods

Across the meadows

Still some pacific dogwood in bloom

View from the beach

Half decent footing on the beach at first

But it got rougher

And even rougher

Eagles on a rock

Reflected sea stack

The headland

The Ozette River

Keywords: cape alava, trails, eagle

07/25 - Hurricane Ridge and Sunrise Point

We are usually more adventurous, but now and then we need to take it easy. We just weren't up to a real serious hike, so we parked at Hurricane Ridge and climbed Sunrise Point. That's maybe a 200 foot climb, and we never got out of key clicker range of our car.

This year spring came late and summer came later, and that meant that the rains lingered into July. Cool wet weather make for lush green vegetation and lots and lots of alpine flowers. Some years the lupines barely grow as they race to bloom before drying out in the summer heat. This year, they've grown and grown, and while they are blooming now, they are still early in the cycle with many flowers yet to come.

It's like this for all the flowers: a late start, a lot of green, and a lot of flowers. This may be one of the best years in a while for high country blossoms, and you don't even have to walk very far.

A great view of the mountains and the fields

Lupines in the foreground

Lingering snow

Avalanche lilies


More avalanche lilies


A very lush field of lupines

We aren't sure about these, but they're pretty.

Another lupine view

A lot of lush green means more to come.

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane ridge, summer, weather

07/24 - Home Made Tofu

We first had artisanal bean curd in Honolulu. It was absolutely delicious, far better than any tofu we had bought in a store. We've been trying to locate some in Port Angeles or the Seattle area with no success, so we decided to make our own. It's not particularly hard, but it is a bit messy. We used about a pound of dried soy beans and three quarts of water. That meant three messy rounds in the food processor making up the mixture, then straining it through cheese cloth. That got us a fair bit of raw soy milk.

We brought the soy milk to a boil, let it cool to 190 degrees, then added two teaspoons of nigari. Nigari is a mineral salt, related to epsom salts. Within a few minutes, the soy milk had started to curdle and, maybe ten minutes later, we had big, cloudy curds floating in soy milk whey. We strained out the curds in a cheese cloth and pressed out the excess liquid using a little tofu press. Thanks to the miracle of high speed photography, you can see the final block of tofu in the photo before we Kalebergs got to it.

It doesn't look like much, but it tasted great.

Keywords: food, kale

07/17 - Assault on Klahane Ridge

We made our first assault on Klahane Ridge for the year, and we made it up about 900 feet from the parking lot. The whole climb to the ridge is about 1450 feet, so we made creditable progress, but we still have a way to go. It also means we didn't get high enough to run into any mountain goats, which was just as well.

There were a fair number of flowers in bloom - bog orchids, lupines, cow parsnips, phlox, indian paintbrush and all too many that we don't have names for. (We do look them up now and then, but then we forget them.) There were even a few golden glacier lilies, rapidly fading. On the other hand, the hanging gardens on the hillside were quite lush and very green. Over the next few weeks we expect to see a lot more blooms. We also expect to climb all the way to the ridge.

We shall see.

Lupines in full bloom

A lot of green, but not all that many flowers

The view

We were not high enough for a real view of the Olympic Mountains.

More of the trail

Phlox - We can't capture the wonderful scent here.

A melting river of snow

We forgot what these pretty flowers were, or maybe we never did look them up.

A bog orchid with yet another wonderful scent

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, mountain goats

07/15 - Pea Report - Spring Comes To Port Angeles

The Johnston Farm had the first garden peas of the season at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market this past weekend, and the Korean Garlic Lady had her first new potatoes, so we Kalebergs had one of our favorite spring dishes, and well before August at that. It's based on an Edna Lewis recipe and it's a simple dish to make.

Just boil the potatoes until they are almost cooked through, but not quite. Microwave the peas for a minute or two. Then drain the potatoes, add the peas, a half cup or so of chopped dill and a cup of milk. Bring the milk to a boil and finish cooking the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and you're done.


Garden peas, new potatoes, dill and fresh whole milk

A market meal with salmon burgers, swiss chard and our favorite pea dish

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, recipe, salmon, spring, garlic lady, kale

07/12 - Second Beach

Second Beach is just south of La Push, and it's one of our favorite beaches. We took the 3/4 mile walk through the rain forest down to the beach. The trail was a bit muddy and the air still. As we approached the beach the air freshened, and we were greeted by the driftwood wall. There was a fair bit of driftwood, but a lot less than on our last visit. We had to climb, but a lot of the really big logs were washed back out to sea.

The beach was easy walking, just a broad sand plain. There seemed to be more sand than usual, and some of the rocks we'd see along the shore appeared to be more deeply buried than we remembered. This was particularly noticeable on narrow section of beach towards the sea cave with many familiar rocks less visible and a deeply cut stream channel running through the sand.

In contrast, the entrance to the sea cave was rocky. All of the sand there had washed out. The tide was low, but not a real low low tide, so we didn't visit the hidden beaches past the cave, though we could see a lot more rocks and a lot less sand.

We had a nice picnic lunch on the beach, and made our way home through the forest, pausing to admire the Treasure Tree which was sporting a variety of pretty stones, bright red berries and feathers. We're not sure who contributes, but they've done a great job. Unlike Rialto Beach nearby, Second Beach is a hidden beach, not visible from the road and a special treasure because of this.

Seastacks across the driftwood

Seastacks and the hole in the wall

Tide pools and lots of sand

Approach to the sea cave

A stream makes a deep cut in the sand.

The rocky sea cave entrance and more seastacks

View from the sea cave entrance

Staircase home

The Treasure Tree with feathers, berries, stones

More of the Treasure Tree, the main stash

The big candelabrum tree - impressive, even with one arm broken

Keywords: beaches, la push, second beach

07/10 - First Salmon

Our friends who go fishing have been catching fish, and, even more impressive, getting to keep them. They recently had a bumper crop of fish, or whatever fishermen call it when they manage to catch their limit in the first 30 minutes on the water. Since our friends are generous with their bounty, that meant we had our first locally caught salmon of the year. Even better, we got the salmon roe.

An awful lot of fishermen simply discard the roe, but salmon roe, when cooked, tastes an awful lot like shad roe. We're originally from the east coast, so we always looked forward to spring and the shad runs. Now, we look forward to the salmon season. We cook the salmon roe just the way we'd cook shad roe, in a bit of butter, with capers, with onions, with eggs. It makes a great breakfast omelet, especially for the salmon season.

Representative fish and fish wrap - not one of the actual fish

This season's salmon

This season's roe

Keywords: salmon, food

07/08 - Ascent to Lake Angeles

We made it! After long hard training, an arduous assault and a great deal of procrastination and whining, we made it all the way up to Lake Angeles, and it was beautiful. The trail is clear, though there is still snow on much of the bowl surrounding the lake. The lower trilliums are gone, but they are now all over the place up by the lake.

The lake is still much too cold for us to go swimming, or so we believe. We considered actually sticking our toes in, but chickened out. Maybe we'll try next time, or the next, but, for us Kalebergs, Lake Angeles is in season.

Snow on the mountains at Lake Angeles

Another view of the lake

Driftwood at the lake

The little island

A trillium

A nest, a vein, a conclave, a ??? of trilliums

The trail through the woods

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium, kale

07/06 - Store Brand Cereal Clones

We aren't big breakfast cereal eaters, but we do browse the aisles of our local supermarket, and we can't help but notice the cloned house brands of various popular cereals. Who designs these? Does each supermarket chain have a group of designers? Is there some cereal clone design house that does the cereal clone and the box art as part of a package deal? Do they advertise for artists on Craig's List?

The legal team lets them use the primary color and general theme, but no one can patent circular candies, or Lifesavers would own Kellogg's by now.

This isn't as precise as some clones, but that rabbit is at least as scary as the Lucky Charm leprechaun.

Once again, legal OK'ed the primary color and theme cloning. They must have had a great meeting discussing whether they'd get sued by the Beatles or the guys who make iPhones.

Keywords: art

07/02 - Murdock Beach

We heard about Murdock Beach a while ago. Apparently, it's popular with rock collectors. At low tide there are supposedly lots of agates. At high tide there isn't very much beach. We went at a middling tide, and there was a fair bit of beach, but it was also raining, so we didn't get far.

The trailhead is a bit tricky to find. You have to take 112 west past Joyce and look for the 45 mile marker on the left and Cannon Ball Road on the right. Then watch for a long guard rail. Right at the end of the guard rail is the turn off for Murdock Beach. The access road is a bit of a washboard and some of the potholes are deeper than they look, so drive slowly and carefully.

There's a little parking lot there and a pretty trail to the beach. The DNR land runs about 4,000 feet to the east and over four miles to the west, so, at low tide, there is lots of beach to explore. (Note, you'll need a Discover Pass if you go exploring there. We didn't see anyone enforcing things, though a Border Patrol SUV dropped by to see if anything interesting was coming in from Canada.)

The coastal forest

More lush forest

The beach seen from the forest

The beach

The forest seen from the beach - the green wall

The beach to the east

The beach to the west



Keywords: other parks and forest, washington state

June 2012July 2012 August 2012