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06/23/21 - Hurricane Hill

We've been getting an early start on the hiking trail and heading out along the Hurricane Hill Trail. The snow along the trail has melted, but the climb is as steep as ever. The rewards are the wildflowers, the marmots and the amazing views.

The view of the mountains, as spectacular as ever

Morning clouds over the Elwha

One of the marmots

Another marmot

Yet another golden marmot

Melting snow

The start of the little lake

Pask flowers

Other flowers

Across the high country

Another mountain view

Glacier lilies

Avalanche lilies

Mountains and mountains

Western wallflower

More glacier lilies

More avalanche lilies

Lots of larkspur

Early lupines

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


05/16/21 - Mount Taylor

Energized, the next day we climbed Mount Taylor. We drove a short way to Santa Rosa and started our ascent. This was quite different country from the redwoods. Everything was drier. The grass was already brown, and clusters of trees followed the drainage looking for water.

The lower part of the hike was dry grassland, but here and there the trail passed through wooded areas. We climbed the broad grassy hill to the stile and then passed into a shaded forest with short knotted trees. The shade was a welcome relief from the brilliant sky.

The trail turned, and we could see Pacific Ocean mist in the distance and the open land for miles around. Datura was in bloom in among the grasses, and there were ripe wild strawberries waiting for us in one of the shaded patches.

We made it to the cairn at the summit. It was a pretty view. It was dry, and we were glad we had brought water. The descent was easier. We just followed the land. We used to be regular visitors to Napa and Sonoma Counties, but it had been years since our last visit. We were rewarded for our return with familiar sights and familiar land.


Dry grasslands and clustered trees

Datura

More flowers

A distant mountain

A shaded area

More shade and twisted trees

The trail

The forest

Back in the sun

More flowers

Another open field

A more distant view

More dry grass

The trail goes on

Still a touch of green

A summit view

Seen on the way down

Wild strawberries, a real treat

A California poppy

Keywords: california, flowers


05/12/21 - West Ridge and Prairie Creek Trails

We woke up in Orick with elk in our front yard, as advertised. We were in the redwoods, so we did a forest hike, a loop combining two trails starting not far from our cabin. We took the high road out and went north on the West Ridge Trail and returned on the low road via the Prairie Creek Trail. We crossed a small stream, possibly Prairie Creek itself, then climbed into the redwood forest. We were surrounded by great trees, woodland flowers and enclosure of the forest itself.

The trail climbed quickly at first, then more slowly. Some of the trees were immense. There is no way to capture their size in a photograph. We have some big trees back home in Olympic National Park, but the scale here was different despite the familiar ferns and flowers.

We descended on the appropriately named Zig-Zag trail, then entered an overgrown section with high bushes and some swamp land. We headed back on the Prairie Creek Trail which followed the road at some distance. We crossed a few bridges, but one bridge was completely out. Luckily, the stream wasn't high, so we stepped from rock to rock and crossed dry shod.

The trail was busier as we neared the end. Since it followed the road, people could stop at one of the parking lots and head a short way to see some fantastic trees. There were several fallen trees as we neared the end of the trail, each carved with a tunnel high enough and wide enough for the trail to pass. It was a wonderful, exhausting hike.

Dinner was takeout, a pair of New York strip steaks from the The Larrupin Cafe. We started with a salad, roasted garlic, tapenade and toast points. Then there were the steaks with mushrooms and marsala and a blue cheese dressing. It was a great meal to celebrate a great hike.


One order of elk

Not shamrocks - Though, given the size of the redwoods, they are appropriately huge.

More undergrowth

False Solomon's seal

The dappled forest

More trilliums and their forest friends

One of the big trees

More forest

A banana slug

The swamplands

One of the bridges

Keywords: flowers, trails, california


05/10/21 - Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head

We drove down to Cape Perpetua just south of Yachats and climbed the St. Perpetua Trail for a fantastic view of the coast. There is a road to the summit, but we much preferred hiking. The trail started from the visitor center, followed a stream, then started ascending with a long series of switchbacks. It was a wonderful trail with trilliums, irises and other flowers in bloom. As we neared the summit, we started getting the views of the Pacific Ocean and the rocky coast.

We drove a bit farther south and explored Heceta Head with its beach and lighthouse nestled in the crags. There were roses in bloom, and the rocks were covered with gulls and cormorants.

Dinner was takeout from Ona's: excellent burgers and fries and a fried calamari appetizer. We had considered dining at Ona's, but their "outdoor" dining terrace was almost a greenhouse. It was much more fun dining in our room with its wide open view of the sea.


A bit of the St. Perpetua Trail

The little stream

An aging trillium

Our first bit of a view

A better view

An iris

More flowers

No tiarella

A peephole view

Looking down

A showy iris

Heceta Beach

Another view of the beach

Cormorants

Seagulls

A rose by the sea

A view south

The ocean at play

Another look

Keywords: flowers, oregon, trails, trillium


03/12/20 - Morse Creek West

When we are feeling lazy, we'll often take a walk along the Olympic Discovery Trail starting at the Morse Creek parking off route 101. It's a gentle popular trail, but it's nice and wide, so there is plenty of room for social distancing. It had been closed for a while after it was damaged by the wind and rain. We could see some of the damage at the east end of the dike, and the dike itself is in rough shape. One can follow the trail into Port Angeles and continue west, but our "just enough" walk is usually about a half an hour out and another half an hour back.

The pale area is where they had to rebuild the dike.

Trees along the trail

Along the dike

Looking east

Rough water

More along the trail

More salt water

Heading back

Little blue flowers, a sign of spring

Keywords: flowers, morse creek, port angeles, spring

Keywords: flowers, morse creek, port angeles, spring


02/19/20 - Seattle Winter

We took a short trip into Seattle for the SIFF Noir City Film Festival. We took our usual trip up to Ballard Locks where the water was running at full force. The fish ladder was closed for repairs as was one of the locks, but the winter and early spring flowers were already in bloom. As a bonus, there was a tree full of nesting herons. We've never seen them there before, but this time there were at least six and possibly more.

Seattle in the evening

Daphnes in bloom

Early crocuses

Water at full flow

A more distant view

Herons in the tree

More herons and their nests

Herons and nests from a distance

Frothing water

An empty lock

The view downstream

Edgeworthia chrysantha with a wonderful scent

Berries

Evening in Seattle

Another evening view

Post Alley at night

Pike Place Market at night

Another market view

Seattle streets

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring, winter

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring, winter


08/22/19 - Klahane Ridge - High Summer

Once again we put on our hiking boots, grabbed our hiking sticks and hauled ourselves up to Klahane Ridge by way of the Switchback Trail. We didn't set any speed records, but we made it. The climb was sunny with a blue sky, but by the time we made it to the ridge, clouds were rising from the sea and shrouding peaks and valleys. We rested a bit and watched the clouds rise with the warmth of the day. By the time we made it back to the parking lot, the sky was mostly blue again.

It was a late summer hike. The lupines and larkspur were long gone. Vegetation was thick, but only a handful of flowers remained, mainly in microclimates. Many plants had gone to seed, but the yarrow was near its peak.


Clouds and Mount Olympus

Brilliant sun

Another bright scene

Two butterflies

Those two again

A last bit of phlox

More clouds at the ridge

Clouds seeping in from the north

A view of the Olympic Mountains

Asters

Another spectacular view

Larkspur and paintbrush

Late summer blooms

A view from on the way down

A bit of the trail now that the sun had returned

Paintbrush

A hawk we had seen soaring earlier

A last few lupines

More paintbrush

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge, summer


08/05/19 - Obstruction Point - Flowers and Criters

Here is that post full of flowers, marmots and a butterfly mentioned in the next post.

A happy marmot - Look at that smle.

Another happy marmot - Look at that banquet of lupines.

A resting butterfly

Late phlox

Pink paintbrush among others

Another assemblage of flowers

Some lupines, some snow

More phlox

Some asters among the rocks

Rock plants

Flowers and scenery

Dark headed grasses

Lupines and snow, again

Seen by the trail

Harebells

Keywords: flowers, marmots, obstruction point


07/20/19 - Obstruction Point, First Look

Obstruction Point Road has been open for a while now. We finally drove out and took our usual walk along Lilian Ridge to check out the wildflowers, the marmots, the snow melt fed lakes and the beautiful scenery. Most of the snow had melted, but there were still scraps of it around. We caught some of the last glacier lilies and first lupines. We weren't used to the altitude, so even the 200' or so initial climb from the parking area was a bit of a struggle, but we made it.

Clouds in the sky, color on the ground

Another look

Fields of red and green and melting snow

Distant mountains, descending the staircase

A last patch of snow on broken rock

Glacier lilies

Harebells

The trail

One of the lakes

Phlox

Ripples on a lake

Rock garden

Striking red paintbrush

Four little lakes

Lupines

The trail again

A bit of the view

Another field of color

One of the marmots

Keywords: flowers, marmots, obstruction point


07/02/19 - Klahane Ridge and More

Here are some more photos from our first climb up Klahane Ridge in 2019. The good news is that the alpine flowers are in bloom. The bad news is that there were goats still around. We met a ranger armed with a paint gun who went after them. Then, she had to race off to get to a meeting at headquarters on time. Being a ranger is a job. We walked down from the ridge in a more leisurely manner and took our time admiring the flowers.

The bowl to the north and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca

The goats heading towards the ridge

The goats scampering away after a warning paintball shot

Pasque flowers

Wall flowers

A green collage

Lingering phlox

Larkspur and wall flowers

Larkspur and paintbrush

Some lupines

An assemblage

A close up

Bog orchids by the stream near the trailhead

The little waterfall near the trailhead

A close up of some carnivorous plants

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge


06/28/19 - To the Altair Bridge Again

We took another walk along the Elwha from Madison Falls south to the Altair Bridge. We actually went a bit past the bridge to take a look at the waterfall across the river. The roses are all gone, but the summer flowers have been coming in.

If you make it past the Altair bridge, watch for this little waterfall across the river. It is visible just a bit past the gate.

A waterfall closeup

Another closeup

Olympic Hot Springs Road where we turned around

Olympic Hot Springs Road towards the new branch of the Elwha

The Elwha below

Another Elwha view

Elderberries

Elderberry closeup

Fern forest

More fern forest

One of the summer flowers

Ocean spray

The detour

Tiger lilies

A butterfly

That butterfly again

That persistent butterfly

A bellflower

Keywords: elwha, flowers, summer, waterfall


06/26/19 - Hurricane Hill - Last Visit for a While

With the construction, Hurricane Hill is only open a few days this summer, but we managed to get up there one more time. We were pleased to see the lupines in bloom but a bit worried by the advanced state of the snow melt. Still, the flowers were beautiful. We are going to miss the corn lilies, but we could see them coming up. We are also going to miss the marmots, but they seem to be do fine without us. If we manage to synchronize our schedule and the construction schedule, we'll try for a visit later this summer, but it doesn't look promising.

An amazing sky

Two marmots

The same two marmots sparring

The Olympic Mountains

Another view of the mountains

Alpine flowers

That's the little seasonal lake in the background.

Field of corn lilies

One of the corn lilies

Another view, so very green

A view north and west

Soft skies

Blue and green

Another marmot amidst the dirty sock plant

A view through the trees

Avalanche lilies

We are sure we looked these up once.

A floral arrangement

Larkspur and wallflower - if your browser supports the SCENT tag you should smell the wallflowers.

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots, summer


06/11/19 - Hurricane Hill - Up Close

We were so excited to be getting back to Hurricane Hill, that we took a lot of pictures, so many that we need a double post. This post has the close ups.

The setting

Golden marmot

A seasonal pond frequented by bears, but not today

Early stage corn lily

Pasque flower

Spot the chipmunk

Chipmunk posing

Phlox and some more drama

Avalanche lilies

Lupines

Wallflower

Yarrow

More lupines

More avalanche lilies

More phlox

A rock garden

Lupines up close, with beads of water

Keywords: hurricane hill, flowers


05/25/19 - Hurricane Hill - To The Summit

We went back to Hurricane Hill again, and this time we made it to the summit. The trail is still closed every other week and never open on Wednesdays, so it if you want to enjoy it, check the Olympic National Park website. Be prepared to walk maybe ten minutes from one of the two picnic area parking lots to trailhead proper. The road there is closed. On the plus side, there are bathrooms at both parking areas.

The alpine flowers were spectacular. There would be waves of sweet scent from the phlox as we walked by. All of the snow on the trail has melted, but there is still snow in the shade and on north faces. There isn't much more to say. Enjoy the pictures.


One of the many views of the Olympic Mountains

A view from the summit

As the season progresses, this snow on the north face melts and fills a little lake, now visible as a few blue spots.

Another view

And yet another

Still another view, follow that strip of white down ...

... and at its base, the snow melts and forms a stream.

It's hard to know where to look.

Patchy snow in a bowl below the trail

Glacier lilies

More glacer lilies

An arty view

Sweet smelling western wallflower

We looked these flowers up once, but forgot what they are.

Phlox

More phlox

Even more phlox

Paintbrush

Yarrow

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill


05/06/19 - To the Altair Bridge

We've been slowly reclaiming the Elwha, hiking farther along now disused section of Olympic Hot Springs Road. This time we made it all the way to the Altair Bridge, sort of a breakthrough for us. The bridge is still there. It's just farther away. It was great seeing the view of the Elwha from the bridge again, and we're hoping to go farther, perhaps to dam site overlook. Meanwhile, we'll enjoy the river and the flowers.

Along the detour

Paintbrush

Flowers

An orchid

Mahonia

Trilliums

More flowers

The view of the Elwha from the Altair Bridge

The view in the other direction

Skunk cabbage

One of the Elwha's new branches

A view of the old Elwha campground

Another orchid

Tiarella

More flowers

Forest

Dogwood

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring


04/15/19 - Spring Flowers on the Elwha Detour

We finally followed the Elwha detour from where it leaves Olympic Hot Springs Road about a half mile past Madison Falls to where it rejoins the road past the old Elwha campground. It's a 250 foot or so climb, but it goes through forest, and the forest is full of columbines, trilliums and other spring flowers.

The detour trail heads up past a work area at the end of the service road and then heads higher to a junction with the Cascade Rock trail. There are glimpses of the Elwha along the way as it follows the ridge past the washout. After the junction the trail goes down a bit, then up a bit, then slowly descends behind the old campground. There is a sturdy tributary of the Elwha running between the trail and the collapsed campground pavilion.

The trail lets out a bit past the washout but before the ranger station and work area. It took us about 45 minutes from Madison Falls, so it would be another 15 or 20 minutes to the Altair bridge. We didn't make it that far, at least not this time.


A perfect place for columbines

Columbines

and more

and more

and even more



Other spring flowers

The trail ahead

One of the many trilliums

and a pair, overlapping,

and another

and yet more

Skunk cabbage, a sure sign of spring

The old campground pavilion across the new Elwha channel

More of the trail

We forget what this is called

Mysterious rock overhangs and mysterious caves

A glimpse of the high country

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium


03/29/19 - Cherry Blossoms at UW

Spring is here or at least in Seattle. We made a quick day trip to Seattle to check out the cherry blossoms at the University of Washington. They were in full bloom, and the quad had the air of a festival with hundreds of people out admiring the flowers, taking pictures and celebrating the arrival of spring. We joined in and took lots of pictures.

Cherry blossoms - We're not going to have a lot of captions here.


Califlory - flowers growing out of the tree trunk















A sign of thanks

A magnolia tree joining the fun.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring


01/10/19 - Flowers in Bloom

It’s awfully early, but we saw some salmonberry flowers, and it’s barely the middle of January. These usually bloom in early February.

Salmonberry flowers

Keywords: flowers, port angeles, weather


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