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01/17/15 - Marymere Falls

We were out at Barnes Creek and checked out Marymere Falls. Often in the winter the falls are surrounded by an array of ice crystals in spectacular patterns, but we've been having a warm winter, so all we saw were the falls. We took a slow motion video with our phone camera. Click on the picture of the falls to play it.

We took the usual Marymere Falls circuit, no climb up to Storm King for us today, but we did wander a bit up Barnes Creek proper and enjoyed the views of the creek and the walk through the forest. We went as far as a little waterfall right along the trail.

A bald eagle perching en route to Barnes Creek

Click the image for a slow motion view of Marymere Falls.

Sunny day

A little waterfall

Water below

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, winter, waterfall, eagle

05/12/14 - A Short Way Up Barnes Creek

When we head out to the Barnes Creek area on Lake Crescent, we usually just take the loop up to Marymere Falls. This time we were more energetic and went a ways up Barnes Creek proper. There was a lot of water in the creek, and we really got to appreciate just how much of a wonderful rain forest there is in the area.

We also got to see the new bridge over the creek. It's a bit more rustic than the bridge it replaces. It's just a big log with a single railing attached on one side of it, but it looks passable. We might even try it if our general clumsiness and associated fear of heights doesn't stop us. Oh, and did we mention trilliums?

Marymere Falls - We did stop for a look.


More trilliums

One of the side streams

The creek

Rain forest

Another little side stream

Another view of Barnes Creek, blue against the green of the forest

More of the creek

The new bridge

The new bridge has just one railing.

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, trillium

11/27/13 - More Signs of WInter

We were out at Barnes Creek to check out Marymere Falls. It was a cold day, and the sun was low. The falls weren't surrounded by frost the way they sometimes are in the winter, but there was frost on logs, on ferns and on the salal near the parking lot.

The unfrozen falls

Frost on logs

Frost on logs and the river bank

Frost on ferns

More frost on ferns

The frozen rain forest

Frost and the river

Frost near the parking lot

More frost

Frost on - well, we aren't sure

A dangerous stretch of route 101 - Here be black ice in winter.

Keywords: barnes creek, winter, marymere falls

10/01/13 - Marymere Falls

We were lazy today, so we took a short hike at Marymere Falls which flows into Barnes Creek not far from the south shore of Lake Crescent. Despite the government shutdown, the Barnes Creek parking lot was open, though the ranger station and bathrooms were closed. The rain forest and the river, however, were in full operation and, with today's peep of sunlight, quite beautiful.

We have never seen Marymere Falls so full and flowing, even at the peak of spring melt. The recent rains have filled the watershed, and the falls put on a real show in consequence. You can even check the video (Play), as seeing is believing.

We saw a bit of snow on the higher peaks over the Barnes Creek valley, but the real snow is in the high country. Hurricane Ridge reports ten inches of snow, most of it fallen in the last day or two. Winter has come early this year, so barring a pineapple express, we may not be up on the ridge until the snowshoe and ski season starts.

Keywords: barnes creek, high country, lake crescent, winter, marymere falls

02/27/13 - Marymere Falls

We've been recovering from a cold, or perhaps a pair of colds, one for each of us. It's probably the same thing everyone else seems to have or has gotten over, but it has slowed us down. Marymere Falls is a great hike for someone getting over a cold, but not quite back to full strength. It's not a very long hike, maybe 45 minutes, and there is some climbing, but not all that much. The hike passes through rain forest and along Barnes Creek, as well as to the eponymous falls, so there is plenty of moisture which is good for the sinuses.

We weren't disappointed. The Barnes Creek Valley is pretty dark in the winter, so some years the snow falls and stays. This year, the snows melted quickly, so the hike was easy going. The river was running briskly, and the falls were going full force. We panted and wheezed and coughed our way up to the lower and upper overlooks and spent some time enjoying the falling water. Then we made our way back.

As we said earlier, it wasn't much of a hike, but it was more than sitting around the house coughing and wheezing.

Snow above (on Mount Storm King)

Marymere Falls

More snow above

Rain forest down below

Barnes Creek

More rain forest

More rain forest

Keywords: barnes creek, winter, marymere falls

08/29/12 - Storm King - A Little Bit Goes A Long Way

We weren't up to much, but we needed to get out and do something, so we planned a hike along Barnes Creek, but wound up climbing nearly 500 feet up Mount Storm King. That's not really that impressive, as it's 1350 feet to the overlook, but it was more than we had intended. We also walked a bit along Barnes Creek, but by this time we were too exhausted from our climb to go far.

It's easy to drive along the south shore of Lake Crescent and do nothing but admire the scenery, but it is well worth pulling into the Barnes Creek parking lot and exploring the area. The lodge is there, if you are planning to spend the night, and there's a boat ramp if you happen to have a boat on hand, but there is also the Barnes Creek trail. Most people take it to see Marymere Falls. We do often, but there are two other trails there. One heads south along Barnes Creek while the other heads up Mount Storm King. The latter is a brutal climb, but well worth it if you have the stamina to climb 1350 feet to the overlook which offers views of Pyramid Peak, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and Canada beyond.

Well, we didn't have quite the necessary stamina, but we had a great workout, and the scenery was terrific.

This little buck was climbing a log beside the trail.

Madronas in the rain forest

The trail - It is steeper than it looks.

Barnes Creek

Another view of Barnes Creek and an argument for HDRI (high dynamic range imagery)

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king, trails, marymere falls

01/24/11 - Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls is one of our "too lazy" hikes. It's about 45 minutes round trip, including gawking at the falls. As usual in the winter, the falls were roaring. See the arty pseudo-panorama to the right. Eventually, they'll get cameras for taking pictures of stuff like this, but for now we can be arty.

The top of the falls

The full falls

Middle falls

One of the side waterfalls

The bottom of the falls

Barnes Creek down below

The new bridge over Barnes Creek

Keywords: barnes creek, winter, panoramas, marymere falls, waterfall

10/20/10 - New Bridge at Barnes Creek

If you've been to Marymere Falls lately, you'll remember that the foot bridge over Barnes Creek was starting to go. The log itself was twisting and the surface matting, necessary for traction, rusting away.

Well, that old bridge is gone, and a new metal truss bridge now spans Barnes Creek. It is quite a change from the old one. The walk from the parking area to Marymere Falls always reminds of Adventure Land. There's the tunnel under the road, the forest full of great trees, the little beach by the river side, a bridge over the creek and another with a view of the falls, then the crazy twisting pathway up among the tree roots to the falls themselves. It's not a particularly long walk, but there's a lot of outdoorsy stuff packed into it.

The new bridge and its proud construction team.

The bridge as seen from the little beach

Tree roots holding up the mountainside

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls

02/06/10 - Storm King

The Storm King Trail, which starts near Barnes Creek, is probably the hardest trail we have ever managed. It is a relentlessly steep trail, and the challenge is in keeping going. We usually make it to about 1,450 feet above the parking lot, where there is a rocky outcrop with a spectacular view of Lake Crescent, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island beyond.

We didn't fare quite so well on our latest atttempt, but we did manage to get to about 1,200 feet up. The day was misty and overcast, and the trail was its usual, arduous self. Despite our failure to get to our favorite overlook, we were able to console ourself. After all, with all those clouds, the view was probably obscured anyway.

Across the Barnes Valley

Haunted country

The misty forest

One of the many spectacular madronas

A glimpse of the lake

A forest friend

Salal on the trail

Keywords: barnes creek, lake crescent, storm king

12/05/09 - Marymere Falls

This is a good time of year to check out Marymere Falls at Barnes Creek. The valley is cold, and the river is wild. The falls themselves are in full flow.

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls

03/13/09 - Barnes Creek Update - It's Still Winter

It is still winter on Barnes Creek. We took the trail down a ways, and it was less wintry than last time, but still wintry. On the other hand, there was wonderful light. The trail along Barnes Creek passes through some almost magical rain forest. The sun seemed to have a particular tone that brought out the rich greens and browns of the trees, ferns and salal.

Keywords: barnes creek, winter

01/28/09 - Marymere Falls On Ice

We were at Marymere Falls for the first time in a while. The day was cold and there was snow on the ground. The waterfall was framed with ice as droplets of water splashed and froze as they hit the cold. Now and then a chunk of ice would break free, but otherwise all we could hear was the roar of the falls.

Keywords: lake crescent, winter, barnes creek, marymere falls, waterfall

09/07/08 - Timmy Maddox Memorial Service

We attended the memorial service for Timmy Maddox back on Saturday. He wasn't a close friend, but he was one of those people you notice in your life. He and his wife ran Good To Go, the natural food place on Lauridsen Boulevard. We'd drop by now and then to pick up organic produce, peanut butter and the like. Timmy was always there, always helpful, always spreading good cheer. As we said, we weren't close friends or even his best customers, but he was always someone we noticed.

He died rather suddenly, of leukemia. We found out from a friend of ours who also knew Timmy through Good To Go, and it turns out that she's been bicycling to raise money to fight leukemia. If you'd like to contribute you can follow this link to her web page.

The memorial service was held at the Olympic Park Institute which is on Lake Crescent in the Barnes Creek area along with Lake Crescent Lodge. It was a beautiful day with blue water, blue sky and the full glory of a North Olympic summer. Timmy obviously touched a lot of people in his life. Every chair was taken, and it seemed as many people were seated as were settled on the grass. There were children all over the place which is actually a good thing at a memorial service.

We didn't take a lot of pictures. You can see the stage and the banners in the picture to the right. You can also see a bit of the lake. It was a lovely service borrowing from Irish tradition, Jewish tradition, and Buddhist tradition. There was also a lot of Timmy. We may not have been close friends, but we will miss him.

It was a lovely day at OPI.

Keywords: port angeles, barnes creek, good to go

11/19/07 - A Visit to the Spruce Railroad Trail

There was a big windstorm last week. We were lucky and got by with a fifteen minute power outage followed by a six hour DSL outage. West of Port Angeles power was out for days, and even some people in town had to wait days for the lights to come back on. The PUD, and the town electrical people, were running ragged. Trees were down all over the place, and the roads were a mess.

Even now, the park is still digging out. Hurricane Ridge Road is still closed, largely due to downed trees. We decided to take one of the more accessible trails at Lake Crescent, so we set out for the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north side of the lake. We didn't get far before our first obstacle. There was a big tree with lots of branches down across the trail (see the photo below). This did not bode well. We figured that we'd be clambering under and over tree trunks the entire walk, but we figured wrong. We actually made it three miles down the trail, to the "point", as we call it, and there were four, maybe five, trees down across the trail in all.

For our efforts, we were rewarded with the silvery lake, and some fantastic views of the mountains to the south. You can see the river clouds hanging over the Barnes Creek Valley in the photo to the right. There was a touch of snow on Storm King, but no solid snow line. There were lots of downed branches, and that gave us a wonderful opportunity. Rain forest trees, especially the big old maples, are covered with lichens, moss, Spanish moss, little ferns and the like, but these can be hard to see except rather low on the tree. There's just an overall impression of life and green-ness. With all the branches down, we got a better view. Below and to the right, there's a photo of a rather common lichen. It looks like a bunch of leaves, but the back is white. The algae get the sunny side and the funghi get the shady side, and they do very nicely together.

Clouds over the valley

This is the worst of the four or five trees across the trail

It looks like leaves, but it's windfall lichen

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, storm king, trails, barnes creek

10/01/06 - Tree Falls In Forest

We braved the climb at Storm King the other day. This is a hard hike, up 1350 feet from the Marymere Falls trail at Barnes Creek, and much like climbing a staircase, but the view from the overlook was stupendous. You can see Vancouver Island to the north, and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca full of sea fog.

There were a number of downed trees, though the Park Service has cleared the trail nicely. One of the most spectacular of the downed trees had fallen across the trail, and someone had counted the rings of its four or five foot cross section. You can see the cross section below and the fallen tree as seen from the trail above to the lower right.

Cross section of fallen tree at Storm King

Keywords: storm king, barnes creek, marymere falls

View from Storm King

01/08/06 - The View From Storm King

Every so often we steel ourselves and drive out to the Barnes Creek area of Lake Crescent and climb Storm King. Storm King is one of the taller mountains on the south side of the lake, and it often creates its own rainshadow. Actually, we don't climb all the way to the top of Storm King. You need technical equipment, and a lot more oomph than we have, to do that. We climb about 1500 feet to the lookout to get a view of Lake Crescent and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. That's Pyramid Peak across the lake in the picture to the left.

On a damp day like this, the trail has good traction. Usually, it is rather dusty, so it is easy to go skidding down in a wave of dust and gravel. Barnes Creek was full of water, and if we had had the strength we would have gone over and checked out Marymere Falls. We did take a short video of Barnes Creek, which might be fun to watch if you like to watch running water.


Keywords: storm king, trails, lake crescent, barnes creek, marymere falls

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