May 2024June 2024 July 2024

06/30 - Cape Alava - Part 2

The tide was low at Cape Alava. The beach spread out with rocks, more rocks and sea stacks. To the south was a downed tree blocking the trail. We settle down on a driftwood log and watched other groups of hikers negotiate the obstacle. Some tried to climb over the fallen tree. Some tried to walk around it. A number managed to crouch and pass under it. We were tired, so we didn't try.

We were wearing hiking boots. On previous visits to Cape Alava we had worn running shoes, so we noticed that we had much better traction, especially on the final descent to the beach. We tried walking over the rocks a bit. Boots gave fairly good traction, but the seaweed lining them was still slippery. We might try again wearing traction spikes like Exo-spikes.

Then, we made our way up to the headland and then into the forest. We had a few final peeks at the beach and then it was trees, then meadows, then more trees and the bridge over the Ozette. It was quite a wonderful hike, and it had been a long time.

Our first peek at the beach

A seastack

An island

Rocky beach, looking north

More rocks and pools

All revealed by the low tide

Tricky passage

Rocks and pools up close

Another view

Yet more

Looking north

Our last view of the beach

Back in the forest

Back at Alstrom's Meadow

More forest steps

More boardwalk

Yet more

A bridge through the green

More steps to climb

Sword like ferns

Skunk cabbage in fine fettle

More steps again

Pacific dogwood again

Keywords: cape alava

06/29 - Backyard Marmot

We seem to have a visitor down in Port Angeles, an Olympic golden marmot. We've seen them before but up in the high country. This looks like a young one, and that may be the first time he or she tasted a hellebore. We'll have to see how well town life suits our visitor.

Our local marmot

Munching on our lawn

Checking out a hellebore

In repose

The next day, in the sun

Keywords: high country, port angeles

06/28 - Hurricane Ridge

Once again we climbed Hurricane Hill. We got the last parking spot at one of the picnic areas and hiked 1/4 mile from there to the main trailhead. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the alpine flowers were in bloom. There was the heady sense of phlox, paintbrush, lupines, pask flowers and a host of others which is our way of saying we don't remember their names. There were no marmots, but there was a herd of deer down below the trail. We were surprised to see so many.

We also saw an Olympic blue grouse getting ready to mate. We had never seen this before, so we're putting our photos in another post.

The Olympic Mountains

Another view

Melting snow

Pask flowers

More alpine flowers

The side spur we often take

A butterfly on a corn lily

A view north

A herd of deer below

Avalanche lilies

More avalanche lilies

Paintbrush and friends

Another mountain bouquet

Lupines in the middle

Phlox all over

Another mountain view

Another rock garden

More phlox

Western wall flower


Pink paintbrush with corn lilies

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill

06/27 - Olympic Blue Grouse in Mating Plumage

We spotted an Olympic blue grouse not far off the side of the trail. We were looking for avalanche lilies, but this guy was right there taking a dust bath. He fussed about, then rose up lifting his tail feathers like a peacock. We've seen these grouse before, but we've never seen the mating display. Then, we saw his date a bit farther into the woods. The two met up in the shade, so we may be seeing baby grouse later this season.

Dust bath

More dust bath

Rising up

Tail display

Heading off

His mate in shadow

Off in the woods

Keywords: grouse

06/24 - Little River Trail

We didn't get very far on the Little River Trail, just to the "healing pools", a section of the trail where it is easy to get down to the river and wade. The cold water does wonders for one's feet. Along the way, the spring flowers had given way to the summer flowers. There were trilliums with their pods but no flowers, but the blood root and Pacific dogwood were in bloom.

A bit of the trail


Can you spot the trilliums without their flowers?

Another bit of trail with a nurse log

More of the trail

Pacific dogwood

More dogwood

Even more dogwood

Down by the Little River

Another bit of the river

A huge trillium

A bit of a robin's egg

One of the "canyons"

Keywords: flowers, little river, spring, summer, trilliums

06/23 - Hama Hama Oyster Saloon

We celebrated a friend's birthday at the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon in, of all places, Hama Hama. It was a pleasant enough drive south on 101 past Quilcene and then along the coast. We didn't see a sign for the Saloon, so we zoomed past the restaurant on our first try, but we quickly realized that there is really only one Hama Hama oyster restaurant down by the flats. Before our friends arrived we walked a bit north along the flats where the oysters grow to the Hama Hama River.

The restaurant is an outdoors space. We placed our order at the kiosk and then settled in at our table. This was right by the Hood Canal and sheltered by two large wooden boards forming something of a pup tent. We drank our champagne - we brought our own and paid the corkage fee - and after a bit our oysters arrived, raw and shucked with a mignonette and roasted nicely. We also had some really good bread and butter. An eagle settled in to watch. It was great catching up with our friends, and everything was delicious as it often is when dining al fresco.

The oyster flats down by the Hood Canal

Seen around

The restaurant

The mountains just visible

Still snow on the peaks

Heading along the flats

The snow melts and feeds the river.

The Hama Hama River

A foreground tree

The river is bigger than it looks.

The restaurant

A visitor

An oyster gabion

Keywords: eagle, oysters

06/22 - Dungeness Highlands

If you park at the Dungeness Spit parking lot, odds are you are going to head down to the Dungeness Spit, but you might consider staying up in the highlands and following the bluffs and the trails for some spectacular mountain views. It's summer, so the fields are changing color, and the spring flowers are past. It's another easy walk, and a good place to explore if you can't get far on the spit during high tide.

There are a lot of little birds, but they are usually not as easy to see as this one.

Mountain view


The thicket is always so inviting in the summer.

One of the fields

Another field

The trail

A peek at the mountains

A field of a different color

Old trees by the strait

Twisted trees line the bluffs

Keywords: dungeness, flowers, spring, summer, trails

06/20 - Spruce Railroad Trail

We still miss the old Spruce Railroad Trail. It was more of a forest trail and less like a road than it is now, but it is still a pleasant place to take an undemanding walk.

Lake Crescent


More flowers

Growing from the rocks


A shooting star

Another look at the lake

Mount Storm King crowned by a cloud

A bit of the old trail near the Devil's Punchbowl

The modern trail

More roses

Keywords: spruce railroad

06/11 - Hurricane Hill - To The Summit

We really enjoyed our return to the high country last week. We had to head back up to Hurricane Ridge again. This time, the road to the Hurricane Hill trailhead was open. Even the bathrooms at the picnic areas were open. The closest parking lot was full, so we parked at the next closest, so we had a ten minute walk to the actual trailhead.

The views were as spectacular as ever. Even more flowers were in bloom with a lot more phlox, glacier and avalanche lilies, some lupines and many others. We were horribly out of shape, so we made numerous stops once we got past the saddle and started the steeper part of the climb. It was exhausting, but we were rewarded with incredible views, even more flowers and a number of marmots.

A typical view

More view with wildflowers and mountains

More mountains

And even more

A marmot

Phlox in the right foreground

Only a few patches of snow left

The cirque as seen from the summit, already showing some blue

That's blue snow melt

Pask flowers

More flowers

Another marmot

A publicity shy marmot

Another, or possibly the same, publicity shy marmot

A more cooperative marmot - The presss thanks you.

A marmot in context

Glacier lilies

Avalanche lilies

More avalanche lilies


The green glow on the old stump

A rock garden

Paintbrush and friends

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, marmots

06/09 - From Hurricane Ridge to Hurricane Hill - First Look

The road to Hurricane Ridge has been open for a while. We've been watching the webcams, and most of the snow has melted, so we decided to drive up and see what has been blooming. Hurricane Hill Road was closed, so we parked in the ridge parking lot. We were pleased to see that the park service has set up some pretty nice bathrooms, the kind used for location shooting with running water and other amenities. There was a sad fence around the ruins of the old lodge, so we didn't linger.

Instead, we headed down the road to Hurricane Hill. There were avalanche lilies and glacier lilies already blooming. Almost all of the snow was gone, and the closed road was full of hikers. We stopped to admire the view at the hairpin turn lookout. It's really the same view as from up at the ridge, but here it feels like one has earned it.

We continued past the Wolf Creek Trail junction and up to the picnic areas. The bathrooms there were closed. Then, up the hill we went to the Hurricane Hill Trailhead parking lot. There were lots of spots. There was also a spectacular view, and, even better, the phlox was starting to bloom. There wasn't a lot of it, but we could pick up the scent. It's a sweet scent and one of the great scents of the high country.

We made it to the saddle point where the Little RIver Trail emerges from the forest and joins the ridge. We were in no shape to continue. The trail gets a lot steeper shortly after. Also, there were clouds coming in. This let us invoke the sour grapes rule and start heading back.

We saw this owl on the road up to the ridge.

The view

An avalanche lily

A better view of the Olympic Mountains

Clouds coming in from the north

Phlox blooming early among the war rocks

More phlox and rocks

Phlox close up

Paintbrush and freiends

Another view

Lupines - no flowers yet

We're not sure of this one, but it's pretty.

Glacier lilies

Mist and gray sky

The view as the clouds rolled in

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge

06/07 - Railroad Bridge in Sequim

We had errands to run in Sequim (pronounced skwim), so we headed west of town on Hendrickson Road to the Railroad Bridge. It was nice to see the new visitor center and museum, but our real goal was the bridge. It's part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, but, for a short visit, we just walked across the Dungeness River and back.

Keywords: dungeness, sequim

06/04 - Marymere Falls

We weren't up to a long hike, and it had been raining, so we took the hike up to Marymere Falls. The whole loop up to the falls and back to the Barnes Creek parking lot takes less than an hour, and with the rain there would be plenty of water. We were not disappointed.

Marymere Falls

From the higher vantage

A late trillium

The forest

Barnes Creek

More of Barnes Creek

Mock Solomon's seal

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls

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