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03/22/24 - University of Washington Cherry Blossoms

It was a rainy day in Seattle when we made our to the University of Washington to see this year's cherry blossoms. We had been following on the webcam, and the flowers seemed to be approaching their peek. The rain may have thinned the crowd a bit. If nothing else, it discouraged picnickers. Still, there was a good crowd, and the flowers were in full bloom and stunning. We wandered the quad admiring this harbinger of warmer weather.

Our first view

A magnolia joining the fun

Another view

Across the way


Flowers growing from the trunk

We don't really need all these captions.

Another flowering plant with a wonderful scent

Keywords: flowers, seattle, weather

03/21/24 - West of Morse Creek

We often hike west from Morse Creek down to the strait. It's a nice, easy walk and doesn't involve a lot of driving. It looks like the trail is passable again, at least on foot. We checked out the flowers and did our best to spot a woodpecker who just wouldn't pose for the camera.

Some forest floor flowers

Down by the strait

The dike detour

A hard to spot woodpecker

Not cooperating

More of the trail

And a bit more

Keywords: flowers, morse creek

10/18/23 - Morse Creek West

There's a tricky curve along route 101 where it crosses Morse Creek east of Port Angeles. The road turns and descends, then it turns more and rises again. There's a parking lot for the Olympic Discovery Trail where it crosses Morse Creek at the lowest point of the curve. We often head west from there following the trail down to the strait and then along the water. The trail heads into Port Angeles and continues west, but we don't get that far. We get down to the sea and enjoy the scenery and salt air, then we head back.

It's a good place to watch the leaves change. There are a lot of maples along the way, so the trail gets covered with lots of leaves. It's hard to say when we have peak foliage. This isn't New England. Still, it's near its peak now and will soon be passing.

That's the Girl Scout Wall, a retaining wall painted by a group of Girl Scouts some years back.

The trail lined with leaves

More of the trail

Ghost foliage on the dike by the strait

Some of the last coin flowers

A sunnier view

More fall color

Yet more

One of the "art" bicycles

The art of fallen leaves

A darker section

Keywords: flowers, morse creek, port angeles

08/06/23 - Mount Rainier - The Skyline Trail - Part 1

With access to our local national park restricted, we decided to make a quick trip to Mount Rainier. We don't live that far from Mount Rainier, so we decided to drive there, spend a night, take a hike in a new high country and then drive home. Mount Rainier is open, but access is tricky. We lucked out and got a room for one night at the Paradise Inn, so we didn't have to worry as much about parking or entry lines.

As it turned out, our plan worked. We rose early and were soon on the Skyline Trail heading up the slope with Mount Rainier and its streams and glaciers looming over us. It was a busy trail but beautiful. The flowers were blooming: lupins, mountain spiraea, bear grass and, inevitably, dirty sock plant. It was wonderful.

The country around Paradise at Mount Rainier is greener and wilder than the high country we are used to in the Olympic National Park. Those glaciers above melt and form rivers that seem to run everywhere, punctuated by dramatic waterfalls. There was less of a sense of exposure to wind and sun, but so much was familiar.

There were lots of hikers. Most were day hikers like us carrying a small pack or a bottle of water. Some were mountaineers with heavy packs and ice axes and clearly on their way to attempt climbing to the peak. There were quiet moments on the trail followed by hiking groups and family get togethers.

All told, our trip was a success. We made it to 1050' or so. Our GPS cut out as it often does and didn't restart until they launch a new satellite or the like. As we climbed, Mount Rainier grew closer and dominated the scene. It was spectacular, and we are already planning a return trip.

Mt. Rainier in the distance with clouds

The clouds constantly shifting

Another look up, now closer

Clouds, glaciers and mountain framed by greenery

Lush high country

One of the many streams

A little waterfall

Dramatic skies

Another dramatic view

A stretch of trail

Lush fields and other, lesser mountains

Those distant peaks

Pasque flowers

Another field of color

Yet closer to the mountain

Gray skies but only a light drizzle


More of Mt. Rainier

Buttermilk sky

There's a waterfall a bit left of the center.

That waterfall

More scenery

A stream down below

Keywords: flowers, high country, mount rainier

08/05/23 - Mount Rainier - The Skyline Trail - Part 2

Here are some more pictures from our hike on the Skyline Trail up Mount Rainier.

More dramatic sky

Pink paintbrush

A small stream

A rocky scene

Just a bit of lupine

More high country

More flowers

More rich green

Another waterfall

Another artistically framed photo

Rocks, rich green and glaciers

Green country

Bear grass among others

A tiny stream doing its bit to keep the high country green

A valley view

More corn lilies

Forest and green

More green

A typical array

Bright flowers

A lone mushroom

More flowers

A field of flowers

Keywords: flowers, high country, mount rainier

07/26/23 - Obstruction Point - Part 2

Here are some more photos from our magical journey to Obstruction Point and beyond. Back in 2020, we had worried that COVID would have made the high country off limits. We were wrong. It was a great year for the trails and wildflowers, but this year, 2023, has been different. The fire that destroyed the lodge also destroyed the electrical power system, the water pumps, telecommunications and the septic system. The lodge was going to be closed for renovations, but the park service had made arrangements. The fire changed that. Instead, they have had to limit the number of visitors, so we haven't had much opportunity to explore.

We made it up to Obstruction Point despite this. We were hoping to do some more hiking in the area, but a cougar attack led to the closing of the Lake Angeles Trail, Heather Park and Klahane Ridge. It's a sensible precaution, but this is not going to be a great year for the Kalebergs and the high country.

A view from near Eagle Rock

The lakes below

The hiking trail

Yet another mountain view

Mountain garden

Mountain trail

Paintbrush and snow


More of the garden

The Olympic Mountains

Snow below


Mountain clouds

Another bit of the trail

And yet more

Another peek at the peaks

Lupine leaves

Clouds again

More mountain rock garden

More flowers

A fascinating flower

The staircase

Returning to base

Keywords: flowers, high country, obstruction point, trails

06/16/23 - Butterfly Season

We hiked from Madison Falls to the Altair Bridge over the Elwha River. It's basically summer now, so we're watching the elderberry flowers, and we can't help but notice all the swallowtail butterflies. This is a great year for them.

Turk's cap lilies

The summer forest

Along the trail

Paintbrush - a summer flower

More summer flowers

More of the trail, very green now

Elderberry flowers

A glimpse of the Elwha

Trilliums and tiarella past bloom

Yet another stretch of trail

A proper view of the Elwha

From the Altair Bridge looking north

From the bridge looking south

A butterfly showing off

Still showing off

Visiting a turk's cap lily

Close up

Keywords: elwha, flowers, summer

05/03/23 - Elwha Spring

We were back along the Elwha. The river is fuller and wilder, and the spring flowers have been progressing. There were lots of trilliums and lots of water.

The trail

A local snake

A local orchid

It turns out these are fawn lilies, not columbines, but we're not going to correct all our old posts.

More fawn lilies

A trillium - We're pretty sure of this one.

The Elwha

Trilliums and tiarella not yet in bloom

Red winged insect - click for a better look

Another trillium

Dicentra - probably


Another bit of the trail

Another bit of the river

The old pavilion at the old campground

High water

High snow

More high water

And more high water

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/24/23 - Little River

It's spring, and the Little River Trail is loaded with trilliums. We walked out for an hour, to the second bridge, and trilliums lined our way. The Little River Trail starts on DNR land and heads into the national park, so things keep getting better and better. It's still early in the season, so we expect to see more trilliums and lots of other wild flowers as the season progresses.

A trillium not far from the trailhead

The Little River

More trilliums

A piece of the trail

Another trillium

Another bit of the river

Rushing water

Another view

And another

Yet another trillium

An a happy pair

Blue river

A trillium patch

And another

And yet more

Keywords: flowers, little river, spring, trillium

04/21/23 - Spring Progress Update, Elwha Edition

We walked from the parking area at Madison Falls, up along the Elwha, to a bit past the Altair Bridge. We were pleased to see more trilliums and a few columbines in bloom. We're a month into spring, but it still feels like we are behind. Still, it's nice to see a few of our favorites return.


A trillium

Another trillium

A columbine leaf

Even better, a columbine

The trail, perhaps a bit greener

Another trillium

The Elwha River

Another sign of spring, a mushroom

Back along the road

More forest

A country road

The Elwha from the Altair Bridge

A view of the misty mountains

Maple branches

Along the Elwha

Yet another trillium

More of the trail - Is it greener?

A mossy rock

Along the trail

Another columbine

Yet another columbine far from the main cluster

More misty mountains

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/14/23 - Elwha Flower Followup

We took a short walk south along the Elwha from Madison Falls to check out the slow progress of this years spring. We didn't get all the way to the Altair Bridge, but we did see some emerging columbine leaves, a few trilliums, a few flowers and an interesting bird.

A toad lily

Columbine leaves

The Elwha

An interesting bird

Another look at the Elwha

Flooding along the trail

The road otherwise

Still lots of snow in the mountains

More flowers - violets

Yay, a trillium

And another

And another, not yet in bloom

A young trillium

Another columbine leaf

And another

Those little yellow flowers we never look up in our plant book

The mules are back in town!

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/05/23 - Signs of Spring - Elwha to Altair - Trilliums and Columbines

Our search for signs of spring took us to the Elwha River. We parked near Madison Falls and followed the road past the mule camp where we saw our first sign of spring: the mules were back. That was promising. We headed onto the detour trail and saw our first yellow violets of the season along with some of those pale pink flowers that bloom so early. Then we saw our first trillium. It was the only one we saw, but we're pretty sure more will follow.

Further down the trail, we saw the skunk cabbage with its faint smell of sulphur. We checked out the river from the Altair Bridge. It was relatively low. The snows have not yet begun to melt. We could see snow on the peaks, some of it fresh.

On our way back, we spotted another sign of spring. We saw our first columbines. To be fair, we saw their leopard spotted leaves. They weren't ready to bloom, but when you are desperate for signs of spring, that's close enough.

Yellow violets

Little pink flowers

The harbinger trillium

The trail

The river

The road

Skunk cabbage

The river from the Altair Bridge

Currant flowers

Snow covered hill across the river


Flowing water

Columbine leaves

Another columbine leaf

Another leaf

White flowers and

blue flowers along the road

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium

04/04/23 - Signs of Spring - Cherry Blossoms at UW

This has been a long, cold, rough winter, so we've been seeking out signs of spring. We checked the UW web site and saw that the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom. There was no way we could resist. We drove into Seattle and explored the Quad. It was full of cherry blossoms and people marveling at them. We had thought that selfie sticks had gone out of style, but the Quad was full of them. Even better, it was full of dark gnarly trees with clouds of pale pink flowers.

It seems like spring is finally coming even as a cold wind still blows now and then. It was worth driving into town for a taste of the still incoming season. We're in less of a hurry now, but we're still seeking out signs of spring.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring

08/25/22 - Obstruction Point Road - Part 2

This is a continuation of our post on our last visit of the season to Obstruction Point Road with a bit more focus on details.

Some late lupines

Some flowers

Harebells and others




We're not sure what this is, but it's a great composition.

More flowers

And more flowers

Some fall flowering phlox


Another bouquet

And another

A blue grouse

One of her chicks


More grousing

There were three or four grouse chicks.

Another chick, or perhaps the same one again

Bright flowers


Amongst the rocks


Keywords: high country, grouse, flowers, obstruction point

08/02/22 - Obstruction Point Revisited

We made another trip out to Obstruction Point. The season has been progressing. Most of the snow is gone, and more flowers are in bloom. The lakes have melted out from the snow. As usual, the scenery was magnificent. Our bonus sighting this trip was a bear down in one of the lakes.

On top of the world

The trail up there

Mountains and valleys

Another piece of the trail

Phlox - It's a pity we can't take a snapshot of its amazing scent.

More flowers

Plant life

Raven Rock, as we call it

Clouds in the distance

Still some snow in the mountains

Melting snow and a lake below

Growing from the stone

Another view down, melting snow

More clouds and a valley

Another mountain view

The trail again


The bear sloshing around in a lake

The bear emerges - The photo is blurry. That bear was quite far away.

More flowers

A stone garden

Flowers and stone

Pink paintbrush

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point

04/30/22 - Little River Trail - To The Waterfall

We've been hiking along the Little River Trail for years now, but we never went much beyond the second foot bridge. We walked out along the trail for about an hour, then turned around and headed back. This time, we kept going for another half hour and got to see the waterfall. We're probably going to do this again as soon as we can.

The trail along the river was beautiful. The trilliums are out in force and other flowers - little violets, violet orchids, colt's foot - were coming out as well. There were columbines in bloom along the trail as our reward for going on. They like open rocky surfaces. The river was flowing briskly, but not at full flood. After we crossed the second foot bridge, we headed upward along the valley wall with glimpses of the river below.

We heard the falls before we saw them. Then we saw a bit of white water through the brush. Then we saw the waterfall. We found a side path that let us get a better view of the falls. It was in rough shape, but passable. The photographs don't really do the falls justice. There are actually two falls where the river seems to divide and rejoin, and it's hard to fit them into a single picture. The photographs don't capture the roar of the water either.

Now we have a new goal, and, perhaps, some day we might head farther. The trail ends all the way up on Hurricane Ridge where it meets with the Hurricane Hill Trail. It's pretty snowy up there with seven feet of snow up on the ridge and trail leading up the north face. We are unlikely to ever follow the trail that far, but it's nice to know we can keep going and going, at least until our feet start to give out.

One of many trilliums

Another of many trilliums

Yet another of many trilliums

A stone wall

The trail

A columbine

More columbines

The trail along the valley wall

More of the trail

The falls far below us

More of the falls

More of the trail

Stone and moss

At our feet

Good grief, even more trilliums

A view of the river

Along a nurse log

Ferns and trilliums

A few last trilliums

Keywords: flowers, little river, trillium, waterfall

03/29/22 - Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington

We try to see the cherry blossoms at the University of Washington every year. We missed a year because of COVID, and we almost missed this year because of the ferry staffing shortage. Usually, the ferries run frequently with waits less than an hour, but, this year, they are often and unpredictably running on half scheduling meaning that the time between ferries is nearly two hours.

We watched the schedule and the webcams carefully, and then we made our plans. We arrived early for the Kingston to Edmonds ferry and made our way to UW. The cherry blossoms were beautiful. There was the usual crowd of tourists, couples, friends and families taking in the scene. We made our circuit pausing to admire this view and that tree in the brilliant sunlight.

We had timed our ferries well, but we hadn't timed the weather. By the time we had finished our circuit the skies had darkened and a light rain had started. The crowds vanished leaving us and few other die hards. Raincoats are wonderful things. We wandered around some more. The trees and their flowers were as wonderful as ever.

Then, we headed off. We made a quick stop at Din Tai Fung at U Village to grab a load of dumplings and scooted down to the Bainbridge ferry which was running on full schedule. We made the first boat and ate our dumplings on the crossing. Our lightning trip had worked out perfectly. In this part of the world, one can't afford to let rain be a spoiler.

Our wake on the way over

The cherry blossoms

More cherry flowers

Another view of the cherry trees

A cloud of cherry - thesaurus, please - blooms

A view down the aisle

No caption needed here

It is sort of magical under the trees

More magic

Even more magic

Dark twisted old branches

Graying skies

See, the blossoms are still beautiful.

The quad starts to empty.

Looking upward

Looking across

Even emptier

A raindrop, captured on camera

The wet quad

Keywords: flowers, seattle, weather

08/02/21 - Klahane Ridge

We made it up to Klahane Ridge via the Switchback Trail. We got an early start, so the shadows were long. The flowers were blooming, and the hills were green. It's a hard climb, around 1450', and while there are switchbacks, it ascends briskly. We took a few breaks to catch our breath, but we knew that the only way to the ridge is to keep climbing.

A view while climbing

Another view

The trail again

The cliffs

Lingering snow to the north of the ridge

A view from the ridge

Another view with the Olympics


More flowers

Looking up Mount Angeles

Paintbrush, in context


More paintbrush

A view on the way down, different light


The umbrella forest, almost back at the trailhead

Water in motion

Bog orchid

More water, in context

Keywords: flowers, klahane ridge

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