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04/13 - Up The Elwha To Altair

We've been getting out more thanks to the warming weather and our COVID vaccinations. We've been wandering up Olympic Hot Springs Road along the Elwha starting at Madison Falls where the road closes to traffic and up to the Altair Bridge. There's a detour through the hills behind the old Elwha Campground which was washed out along with the road. All along the way we've been spotting signs of spring.

Already, the columbines and trilliums are coming out, and the skunk cabbage is nearing its peak. The river is still calm before the spring melt, but with ten plus feet of snow at Hurricane Ridge, we expect an impressive flow when the melting begins in earnest. We'll keep coming back to see how things progress.


A columbine bud

A columbine flower

Another columbine

Trilliums

Another trillium

The Elwha

Fiddleheads

Ferns, also known as grown up fiddleheads

Skunk cabbage

The view from the Altair Bridge

A swamp marigold blossom

High contrast forest

A small bird - probably an American Dipper or Water Ouzel

An early columbine with its leopard leaves

It's a short season, so we took lots of photos.

Yup, another

The forest path

A trillium as the season starts

Along the Elwha

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium, weather


04/12 - Some 2021 Sightings

Since we haven't been updating much, here are some of the birds and animals we have been seeing in the area. We've seen more, but so many are photogenic but camera shy.

Elk in someone's field off Route 112

Those elk again

Eating, eating, endlessly eating, just like us

Wild currant

A red breasted sapsucker near the Elwha

The Elwha

A river otter in the Elwha

River otters in the Strait

Those two returning to dry land

Two eagles in Sequim

Swans in Sequm

Keywords: animals, birds


04/11 - Sol Duc Falls and the Forest

When we realized that Sol Duc Road was open, we went out to the trailhead for Sol Duc Falls at the end of the road. The resort was closed, as was the campground. The parking lot was not very full. The day was cold and gray, but we entered the forest heading down a series of steps into a world of tall trees, mosses and ferns. There was also snow here and there beside the trail.

The falls were impressive, but we've seen them even wilder. Once the snow starts melting, the river will grow in force. We crossed the river and headed onward taking the trail to Deer Lake. There was no way we were going to make it to the lake. With patches of snow down at the level of the falls, the trail leading 1600' up to the lake was surely quite deep in snow in its higher reaches. We had hoped to make it to the bridge over Canyon Creek and perhaps up about 700' to where we could see the snow melting.

We didn't get all that far. We had seen signs of windfall on the trail to the falls, but the trail had been cleared. The trail to Deer Lake still had downed trees and branches blocking it. We clambered over a few, but then we reached a downed tree trunk that lined up to block the trail for some ways. We considered squeezing our way alongside it, but given the state of the trail, odds are we would run into another obstacle afterwards and then others beyond.

According to the park website, the resort and the campground open on April 16th, so it is likely that more trails will be cleared as the season progresses.


Forest steps

Snow beside the trail

More snow

Sol Duc Falls

Another view of the falls

Yet another view with some foreground snow

Other Sol Duc waterfalls

The forest trail

Another world

More forest steps

A forest stream

A stream through stones

That stream aagain

Keywords: deer lake, sol duc, trails, waterfall


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