July 2016August 2016 September 2016

08/29 - Klahane Ridge - Part 2

We spent some time on the ridge. The view to the north was obscured by clouds, but the view to the south was spectacular. We felt a few raindrops as we explored, and as we descended there was a brief drizzle that seemed to clear the air and dampen the trail. We’re hoping the rain, such as it was, dampens the Cox fire as well.

Another view

And yet another

More smoke and mountains

It is late in the flower season, but there were some stragglers.



A chipmunk devouring yarrow

As we descended

Perhaps a bit less smoke


A few more stragglers

Keywords: klahane ridge

08/28 - Klahane Ridge - Part 1

It hasn’t been easy getting up to the Hurricane Ridge hikes recently. If nothing else, they have been repaving Hurricane Ridge Road. We started early on a cloudy Sunday and managed to avoid the construction, but at the ridge we could smell the smoke from the Cox, and we could see the smoke settled on the mountains. We decided to try climbing Klahane Ridge anyway figuring that we had an asthma inhaler with us, so if the air was too bad on the way up, we could control its effects and make our way back down.

As it turned out the air started getting a little better as we climbed out of the closed area near the Switchback trailhead. Still, we could see the smoke highlighting the mountain panorama. As we climbed we had a broader vista, but the smoke was a major feature that we could see and smell. We made it to the ridge and headed on to the “kick in the ass” as one hiker we met put it. This is the stretch of the trail to Lake Angeles that climbs and passes through some of the most beautiful alpine gardens.

There were mountain goats about, even a few on the trail. We shouted at them and waved our hiking sticks and that seemed to send them scurrying. We also saw a few marmots as we wandered.

Smoke towards Sunrise Peak

Smokey skies

The panorama

More mountains

More smoke

Mountain goats, a mother and a kid

Another mountain goat

One of the enchanting alpine gardens

A plump marmot

Yet another mountain goat

Mountains as seen from an alpine garden

Keywords: hurricane ridge, klahane ridge, marmots, mountain goats

08/27 - Seattle - Part 3

If you are wondering about all that retro-tech, no, we didn’t stumble into the filming of a Mad Men remake. That’s JFK’s old Air Force One at the Museum of Flight. There was really just too much to photograph at the museum, so we concentrated on being there. They had a Wright brothers’ replica, DC-3s, cruise missiles, old Boeing aircraft including the original Boeing factory (the red barn) and an old SR-72 Blackbird spy plane which was surprisingly large. We had been to the Museum of Flight before, but it had been quite a while ago. By the time we stumbled out of the ISS mock up, we were exhausted.

For dinner, we had heard good things about Copine. We gave the place in Ballard a try and were really impressed. The space was cool and quiet, and the food was exquisite. We started with a sort of deep fried shrimp toast wrapped around ahi tuna, made our way through the first fresh heart of palm we have had since the 1980s, enjoyed the hearty and perfectly cooked wild mushroom risotto. The service was friendly and elegant. Everything was delicious. The black cod had a crisp skin and tender meat. It was served in a bonito broth with radishes and celery, a perfect match. The rack of lamb was out of this world, but the real treat was the chef’s felafel that worked perfectly with it. Now that Rover’s is gone, we have been looking for a successor. In terms of food, space and service, Copine may be just what we are looking for.

Retro tech

Wow, haven’t seen one of these for decades

Read the last paragraph, and realize that some things never change.

On board Air Force One

The bar at Copine

Keywords: seattle, restaurants

08/26 - Seattle - Part 2

If you’ve visited this site a few times you know we are big fans of the Ballard Locks We took the Argosy Cruise from South Lake Union through the locks to Pier 55 in the harbor. It was fascinating, since we were already familiar with the route as seen from land. This time we were seeing everything from the water side, and a lot more was visible. We always had the impression that Seattle had a working waterfront, and this cruise gave us a good look at it.

We headed out from near the MOHAI past moorings and working docks with views of construction, cancer research centers and Gas Works Park. We admired the houseboats which are hard to see from land and passed under familiar bridges in a new direction. We knew the little waterfront park in Fremont, but from the water one could see the cut of the ship canal. We passed dry docks and terminals and were soon at the Ballard Locks where we dropped twenty or thirty feet from fresh water to salt water.

Then we headed out into the harbor passing by Discovery Park and the West Point Lighthouse. We could just make out the faint outline of Mount Rainier over the lighthouse as we passed. We rounded the point, and ahead were the harbor and downtown.

The MOHAI on South Lake Union

The old gas works

The Aurora bridge

A bustling view

Floating houses

More floating houses

The Ballard Locks

The West Point Light with a faint view of Mount Rainier above

High bluffs

Downtown ahoy

Almost back in town

Keywords: seattle, mount rainier

restaurants, seattle

08/25 - Seattle - Part 1

We made a short trip into Seattle and decided to break up our routine and try doing some new things and some new restaurants. First up was dinner at Bateau. This is a steakhouse for serious beef up on Capital Hill. Every evening they start with a list of available cuts posted on their blackboard, and as they are ordered, they are crossed out. We arrived at five, when they opened, and had the last bavette and teres major. By the time we left, they were all out of New York Strip. The beef was amazing. They buy beef by the cow and do their own aging. We loved everything. We had the sweetbreads, the wonderfully tender octopus, a deconstructed reuben sandwich and their tallow cooked french fries. There are other steakhouses in Seattle, but next time we need beef, it’s going to be Bateau.

Then we took a walk from the Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle. We headed east along the embankment and beach with excellent views of downtown Seattle and the port. Unlike Los Angeles with Venice and Santa Monica or New York with Rockaway, one doesn’t think of Seattle as a beach town, but West Seattle is a beach town with easy public access to the salt water of the Puget Sound, beach oriented restaurants and other businesses and the laid back ambience associated with leisure and salt water. We made our way to the Water Taxi pier which was also the home of Marination Ma Kai where we really enjoyed the tacos. The spicy pork and kalua pork tacos were also good, but the fish tacos were our favorite. The tacos were served with their surprisingly good cole slaw and lightly pickled jalapenos. We had to admire their touch with the pickling process.

The Space Needle at dusk

The bar at Bateau

West Seattle bottle tree

One of the staircases to the sea

The West Seattle beach

A certified wildlife habitat

A view of Seattle

Another view

Marination Ma Kai

Keywords: los angeles

08/18 - Storm King

Hurricane Ridge Road is being repaired. We were planning to climb to Klahane Ridge, but the line at the park entry station ran back past the Lake Dawn turn off. It looked like a long wait, so we made a U-turn and headed out to Barnes Creek determined to climb something or another. What we wound up climbing was Storm King, the peak dominating the south side of Lake Crescent.

To be honest, we only made it up to the ledge where we had a great view of Pyramid Peak and points north. Serious climbers go up another 300 feet or so to the actual peak, but we were at our limit. This trail is always challenging. Unlike the Switchback Trail up to Klahane Ridge, the Storm King trail never lets up. It is steep and demanding all the way. There are no easy switchbacks. Worse, it has been dry this year, so the trail was sand and pebbles, terrible footing.

Next time, it’s Klahane Ridge, for sure.

A good omen - We saw this woodpecker on our way to the climb.

Trail on a slope

A view from the ledge

A look down at the road

More of the trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king

08/13 - Rialto Beach

We’ve been having some clear sunny weather, and sometimes it has been a bit warm for hiking inland, so we decided to head out to Rialto Beach where the cold Pacific Ocean keeps things cooler. By the time we arrived any morning fog had vanished. The sky was an intense blue and the waters were calm.

We didn’t go all that far, just up to the first headland. The tide was nice and low, so we could explore the tidepools. We barely noticed Ellen Creek. It flows beneath the sands, so we had to check inland to make sure it was still there. To the north, the sea stacks and tide pools beckoned. We found anemones, but no starfish. We have been following their slow recovery, so this was a little disappointing.

Given that we are having what passes for a heat wave in these parts, it was a relief getting out and enjoying the coolness at the beach. Even the parking lot seemed warm in contrast.

Tidepools, sea stacks and mysterious islands

A river otter on land

That river otter at sea


A view across the water

Mysterious, even on a clear sunny day

A view north to the headland

Another tidepool

Rocks and tidepools

Some denizens

A view south

Keywords: rialto beach, weather

08/09 - Dungeness Spit and a New Camera

This is probably the best time of year for hiking on Dungeness Spit. Not only are there lots of good low tides, but there is also lots of sand and a lot fewer rocky stretches. The Dungeness Spit is all beach, except instead of following the shoreline it heads straight out into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. At high tide there is a narrow margin of sand for walking. At low tide the beach is wide and there is often a stretch of sand just wet enough for easy hiking. Dry sand can be a hard slog just as really wet sand can be.

If you are thinking of heading out, check the tide tables. You’ll want a real low tide, three feet or less, during daylight hours. The ten mile round trip walk takes almost four hours, so plan accordingly. Sunglasses are a good idea too.

We have a new camera, one of those ultrazoom ones. There weren’t any seals or even many birds on the water, but we did take a couple of surprisingly good photos. An ultrazoom camera is basically a telescope without a tripod, so we’re impressed with the automatic image stabilization, though the camera doesn’t do much about the haze.

Sunny at sea, cloudy in the mountains

A sandy, walkable beach

The spit from above

Telephoto shot of the lighthouse, too far for us to walk

One of the ships at sea


08/05 - Seattle

We made a quick trip into Seattle.

The fireboat Leschi greeted us in the harbor.

We visited the Japanese Garden.

We did not eat the carp in the pond there.

Keywords: seattle

July 2016August 2016 September 2016