May 2015June 2015 July 2015

06/29 - Rialto Beach, Northwest Cool

It has been hot lately, at least by local standards, so we decided to go to the beach. We went a few hours before low tide and joined the tourist throngs heading west on route 101. Our destination was Rialto Beach, and it was wonderful.

The drive was bright and sunny, but as we approached the coast on route 110, we saw a looming gray band of Pacific fog with its slightly bruised purplish color. The sky stayed sunny as we passed the Mora ranger station, but as we neared the coast, the sky turned gray. We stepped out of our car in the parking lot and were blasted by an icy wind that cut through our light clothing. Luckily, we never clean out the back of our car, so we had some nice warm coats handy. We needed them.

We hiked north along the coast, through the fog, passing ghostly driftwood and crunching our way across banks of rocks and gritty sand. We knew there were sea stacks and a headland ahead, but the fog was too thick to see far. It was delightful. Given the cold, we were worried about crossing Ellen Creek about a mile north of the parking lot. We usually had to wade, and we were cold already. Luckily, Ellen Creek was covered with sand, so we could cross dry shod.

Then the sea stacks appeared through the mist, and we were clambering on rocks and looking for anemones. Then we spotted the starfish. That was great news. Two years ago a plague wiped out every last starfish in the area. This was the first one we had seen in the wild since then. It looked healthy enough clinging to the rocks. We made our way to the headland. There were mussels and anemones and even another starfish. The best thing of all, though, was the Northwest Cool.

If you want to experience Northwest Cool, come in the morning. By mid-afternoon the mist starts lifting, and the heat of the day starts to seep in.

Pacific mist and driftwood

A mysterious beach

Sea stacks

More driftwood and gray skies

A double eagle

A starfish!

The headland

Sea stacks

Another view with a bit of blue sky

Exploring the headland

Another starfish


06/28 - A Farmers' Market Update

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market was bustling, and we are finally starting to get a bit past salad greens. Johnston Farm and Nash Huber both had tomatoes. They were small, but they looked and smelled right. The Family Farm, with their greenhouse, has been selling wonderful zucchini and green beans for a while now. While the weather screams summer, the farmers' market has been making its way through spring. Every week there are new signs of summer, like broccoli and swiss chard. We'll just have to keep coming back.

Johnston Farm

Nash Huber's

Family Farm

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber

06/27 - Seen Off The Port Angeles Coast

There were a few kayakers in the strait, carefully lined up under Mount Baker.

It's not easy getting that mountain lined up.

Keywords: mount baker, port angeles

06/25 - Lake Angeles

Somehow or another we managed to get up to Lake Angeles. It involved a two thousand three hundred and ninety foot climb along a lovely wooded trail we often think of as a cathedral with the long bare trees of the forest understory resembling pillars. The lake was as beautiful as ever. The water was clear and the high cliffs were devoid of snow. It was a hard, wonderful climb. There really isn't all that much more to say.

The mountains across the lake


Someone made a raft.


Pillars of the cathedral

Trilliums, some over a foot across

Mysterious plants we think of as Indian pipes

More mystery

Mystery in white - Wilkie Collins?

This was a great year for these.

Happy faces on the bridge

Keywords: lake angeles, trillium

06/18 - Klahane Ridge

We don't believe it either. We made it up the Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge. We were exhausted. We weren't used to the altitude. We kvetched and whined our way up the first thousand feet or so. Don't get us wrong. The scenery was spectacular with the Olympic Mountain range in the distance and fields of larkspur, cow parsnip and paintbrush beside the trail. We just weren't up to climbing all 1450 feet.

Well, we did. At 1000 feet, the Olympic Mountains appear above Sunrise Point which is near the Hurricane Ridge Lodge. We were still dead on our feet, but we pushed onward. At some point, we started feeling a little less awful, and at around 1200 feet we realized that there was a good chance of making it to Klahane RIdge.

Maybe it was just the knowledge that we were almost at the ridge. Maybe it was the golden marmots. We saw three of them. But somehow, we made it. The view to the north was spectacular despite a few clouds in the bowl of mountains below us.

On our way down, it started to rain. At first it was just a gentle misting, but by the time we made it to the junction with the trail to the lodge, it was raining gently. The air was moist and fresh. Everything smells a bit different in the rain, and we could see that the hanging gardens could use some watering. On our entire drive down, we marveled. Somehow, we had climbed Klahane Ridge on our first try.

A view from the ridge

A view of the Olympic Range

A closeup

A golden marmot

Another golden marmot

Gathering clouds


This little guy was right next to the trail.

Clouds and stone

Lupine and phlox

This is a great year for larkspur.

Keywords: klahane ridge, marmots

06/12 - Top of the World

Obstruction Point Road has been open to the end for some weeks now. We've been recovering from our colds, so we weren't too keen on a big dose of dry, thin air. Then we hiked up Hurricane Hill and realized that this year's flowers are well along. If we hoped to see the blossoms at Obstruction Point, we would be ill served by delay.

So, we drove out from the Hurricane Ridge parking lot and were soon on the top of the world. The Olympic Range was gloriously visible across the valley, there were still a few patches of snow, and there were flowers in bloom. The air was dry and thin, but it was great to see the seasonal lakes, some already vanishing, and enjoy the tapestry of alpine plants and flowers.

Some of the tapestry with some mountains

Lingering snow

A pine cone

A seasonal lake, drying quickly

A last glacier lily

Another seasonal lake, also drying

More mountains

The Olympic Range in the distance

Phlox and wall flowers

Another seasonal lake

Less snow, more lakes

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point

06/08 - Hurricane Hill

The road to Hurricane Hill has been open for over a month now. We finally made our first climb of the not so new year. With the ongoing lack of rain, we were worried about the alpine flowers. We expected a few bedraggled lupines and not much else. We were pleasantly surprised. This year is not anything like last year when it seemed every flower was in abundant bloom, but it was not the misery we had anticipated.

There were plenty of flowers in bloom. There were lupines and avalanche lilies, richly scented phlox, larkspur, paintbrush and wall flowers. Even the corn lilies were well along, though not blooming yet. There was no lingering snow, even at the lingering snow sign. There is a good chance that this is the peak of the season. There is no rain in sight, and the snows are long gone.

Yet another photo of the Olympic Mountains

We should look this one up.

A marmot

The little pond is usually much bigger this early in the season and surrounded by melting snow.

Phlox and a wall flower

Another marmot, digging

One of the butterflies

The corn lilies have yet to bloom

Avalanche lilies



Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill

06/03 - Olympic Hot Springs Trail

With Whiskey Bend Road still closed we took a hike out towards Olympic Hot Springs. Luck was not with us. The final bridge to the hot springs was closed, but we had a nice walk anyway.

Hot springs closed until the 10th

The suspension bridge was open.

Little button mushrooms, probably toxic

Pacific dogwood and tiarella


The forest floor, a green spectacle

The trail itself

Keywords: olympic hot springs

06/01 - Quick Trip to Seattle

These are photos from the Conservatory in Volunteer Park. We arrived at 3:55, five minutes before closing time so we had to make lightning tour. On our way to dinner, we stopped at Agora on 15th Avenue. It's chock full of Greek food, wine and spices. They have a good looking selection of Greek wines and a wine bar, so we'll have to come back and try a few.

The conservatory


More flowers

Keywords: flowers, seattle

May 2015June 2015 July 2015