For more on the Morse Creek Trail, check out our Morse Creek Trail web page.
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11/24/09 - Wild Weather on the Morse Creek Trail

The Morse Creek Trail is that section of the Olympic Discovery Trail that runs from Morse Creek west to the town of Port Angeles. It should be a relatively mild trail. It is paved, and it runs through Port Angeles proper and the unincorporated area to the east. In fact, it is a surprisingly wild and open trail since it runs along the Strait of San Juan de Fuca at the base of the bluffs, and there is little access to the trail between where it meets the strait and Hollywood Beach in town.

The recent rains that left much of Clallam County without power for the better part of a week, and claimed the life of one of the brave folks trying to repair things, left their mark on the Morse Creek Trail as well. To start, the creek was swollen and high on its banks. There were twigs and branches all over the trail. More seriously, parts of the bluffs had collapsed sending mud across the trail. There were trees down across the trail in places, and the trail had officially been marked as closed,

Morse Creek - That L shaped branch on the left is covered with water. usually the creek flows well under that branch.

One of the little waterfalls at the top of the bluffs

The trail blocked

The ominous trail

More trees on the trail

Wild waves and great views

An expedition ship searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles, waterfall

06/07/09 - The Marathon

We were on the Olympic Discovery Trail heading west from Morse Creek, so we couldn't miss the marathon. It wasn't as crazy as the Boston Marathon, but there were lots of runners and lots of folks out being encouraging. Some folks had put up signs. Others had left messages in chalk on the trail. The Coast Guard had a stand giving out water, orange slices and good cheer. The Strait of San Juan de Fuca was as beautiful as ever. We did our part and tried to stay out of the way. For the most part, we succeeded.

We loved all the posters and messages for the runners.

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles

05/23/09 - Sad News For Tired Feet

The section of the Discover Trail running west of Morse Creek has been paved. We always liked its softer surface for jogging. After all, we're getting on, and even good running shoes can only do so much on hard pavement. Unfortunately, the powers that be don't like unpaved trails for some reason. Maybe it's the asphalt lobby. In any event, Morse Creek may as well be sidewalk now. It is still a pretty trail, but it is no longer an option for us, the footworn.

The Asphalt Institute triumphs again

Keywords: morse creek, trails

04/03/09 - Morse Creek

Just a brief note on the Morse Creek trail, which is what we call the section of the Olympic Discovery Trail that runs west of Morse Creek. On our last visit:
  1. We spotted scientists at work. We thought they were fishermen, but they had awfully science-y looking gear. We asked, and they explained that they were studying the water chemistry and the like.
  2. We spotted kelpies. We thought they were otters, since we often see otters along the trail. They weren't otters; they were just clumps of kelp, but they kept us guessing for a bit.
  3. We spotted pretty ducks in Morse Creek. We're guessing that ducklings are in the offing.

Scientists in the wild



Keywords: morse creek, science, otters

02/09/09 - Along The Morse Creek Trail

We saw a first sign of spring, a salmonberry blossom, along the Morse Creek Trail, which is what we call the Discovery Trail running west from the parking lot on Morse Creek. It isn't much, but this has been a hard winter, and we'll take what we can get.
We aren't sure what this is a sign of. That's a broccoli floret. There were a number of them along the trail. Did someone run out of breadcrumbs? We have no idea.

Keywords: morse creek, spring, winter, salmon

10/21/08 - The Morse Creek Trail

The Morse Creek Trail is not one of the great trails of the North Olympic Peninsula, but it is a little gem in its own right. If nothing else, it is convenient, with its trailhead right off of route 101. East of Port Angeles, it runs along the waterfront, but even away from the water it has its charms.

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles, trails

10/11/08 - Some of the Otters

There were some river otters swimming off the Morse Creek Trail today. This isn't a very good picture. They kept diving for fish, so it was hard to get a good shot.

There were five otters off the Morse Creek Trail today.

Keywords: morse creek, animals, otters

03/29/08 - Flowering Currant at Morse Creek

This is one of the coldest, latest springs in recent memory. It is at least a month behind, but we are seeing a few signs. For example, the currant bushes are finally flowering on the Morse Creek trail. (You can tell the late season is slowing us down, or we'd be doing more adventurous trails at this time of year).

At long last

Keywords: flowers, morse creek, spring, trails

03/25/08 - Llamas By The Sea

You never know what you'll see when you are walking along the waterfront trail between downtown Port Angeles and Morse Creek. We happened across a pair of llama powered carts. The riders were from the Port Townsend area and out slumming in Port Angeles, at least according to the Peninsula Daily News.

Lllama power has its advantages, but we also met them on their return trip, and only one rider was riding. Apparently, llama carts can get flat tires, and one can only push a llama so far.

Keywords: animals, morse creek, port angeles

01/16/08 - Signs Of The Season

We were down at Morse Creek, walking west along the Discover Trail towards Port Angeles. It is mid-January, so it is surely still winter, but we also found our first signs of spring. Check out the salmonberry flowers! This was just one bush in a sheltered area by a stream at the base of the bluff, but the flowers were out.

There was a river otter on one of the rocks. This isn't a very good photo. We are still learning what we can and can't do with our new camera. Our picture of a great blue heron came out better. We don't see as many of them as we used to back in the Boston area, but they like the mouth of the Lee's Creek, maybe because of the fresh water.

The first salmonberry flowers of the season

A great blue heron

The river otters were out

Keywords: flowers, morse creek, port angeles, spring, winter, salmon, otters

12/04/07 - High Water

The major news outlets are covering this much better than we can, but there has been a lot of wind, rain and flooding here in the Pacific Northwest. Port Angeles and Sequim actually missed the worst. We just had a lot of rain, but ten miles west there was serious flooding, power outages and the works.

We aren't big eco-disaster tourists, but we couldn't help noticing that Morse Creek was high and muddy. There was a lot of water under the reconstructed rail bridge. With the warm weather, that's probably both rain and snow melt. The Hurricane Ridge weather station was reporting weather in the upper 30s, even late at night.

That's our benchmark tree sticking out there. Usually, you can see the horizontal branch that supports it.

Keywords: morse creek, port angeles

10/17/07 - Otter Island

The Morse Creek Trail is what passes for an urban trail out in Port Angeles. It runs along the water from downtown near the Red Lion, the Victoria ferry docks and The Landing, past the Hospital, and then along the base of the bluffs before turning inland a bit before Morse Creek east of town. We tend to drive east on 101 to Morse Creek and park in the little parking lot there. We head west, crossing the wooden railroad bridge which was restored by local volunteers, and then down to the water. Given that the town is hard by a National Park full of some of the greatest wilderness in the lower 48, walking the Morse Creek trail still manages to take one away from it all. There is a little beach where the trail meets the strait, then a crumbling dike which is washed by the waves on stormy days. A bit past here, the trail is paved, so it makes a great bicycle trail. The view is of Ediz Spit with the Coast Guard Station, alien Canada and the city of Victoria, the San Juan Islands, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca itself, and in the distance Mount Baker looming like a meringue. There is also a lot of kelp which we tend to mistake for sea birds, and there is a bunch of rocks (see the picture below) which is now and then inhabited by local river otters (see pictures to the right). The otters aren't on their rock all that often, but when they are, it is a special treat.

Keywords: morse creek, victoria, birds, mount baker, otters

12/26/06 - Antisolar Crepuscular Light

After our Christmas dinner, but shortly before sunset we took a walk along the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, starting at Morse Creek. As we headed east back to the parking lot we were extremely aware of the failing light and the cloudy sky. We also noticed dark streaks in the sky towards the east, directly opposite the direction of the setting sun. These were not pillars of smoke, but something more interesting. They were the shadows of clouds cast by the setting sun. (Move your mouse over the picture to see a contrast exagerated view).

Basically, when the sun is low, cloud shadows can be hundreds of miles long. They are most visible when viewed parallel to the direction of the casting light and area least visible when viewed perpendicularly. Because of perspective effects, the rays appear to diverge from the setting sun, which was obscured by the coastal bluffs we were at the base of, and they appear to converge at the antisolar point on the horizon opposite the sun.


Antisolar crepuscular light at Morse Creek

Antisolar crepuscular light as seen from the coastal trail along the Srait of San Juan de Fuca, not far from the mouth of Morse Creek

Keywords: christmas, science, atmosphere, morse creek

11/07/06 - High Waters

If you've been reading the news reports, you might have noticed that there has been a lot of rain, and some flooding, out here on the Olympic Peninsula (and elsewhere in the region). Locally, Morse Creek is running high. That's our benchmark log in the picture to the right. The crook, where that large diagonal branch meets the base of the tree, is usually a foot or two above the water. Today the water was flowing over the branch.

Keywords: morse creek

07/23/06 - River Otters Off Morse Creek Trail

We often see river otters on the rocks or swimming around off the Olympic Discovery Trail that runs from downtown Port Angeles to Morse Creek. There's a little creek that runs down from the top of the bluff a bit west of the storm bypass, and we've seen the otters crossing the trail from that area down to the water. This time we had our camera with us, so we have proof.

Keywords: animals, morse creek, port angeles, otters

Even higher water at Morse Creek

01/07/06 - Even Higher Water At Morse Creek

Just for comparison, compare the photo to the right with the one below it. The water at Morse Creek is getting even higher. It is now washing over our benchmark branch. This is about as high as we've seen Morse Creek, and it looks great for fans of brown water rafting.

Keywords: morse creek, winter

Morse Creek with lots of water in it

01/06/06 - Lots Of Water In Morse Creek

Winter is the season that we hope to build up our snowpack for the drier times of the year. There has been a fair bit of snow up in the Olympic Mountains, but the recent warmer weather has meant a fair bit of melting, and a fair bit of water coming down Morse Creek.

We always use the crooked branch as our benchmark. Usually, the whole branch is high and dry, a foot or two above the water. As you can see in the picture to the right, the water is up to the branch. That's a good flow, and a good preview of spring.

We just want our winter snowpack to build up first.


Keywords: morse creek, winter, spring

Morse Creek

08/27/05 - Art at Morse Creek

Have you been out to Morse Creek lately? If you look to the south as you cross the old (and lovingly restored) railroad bridge, there's a lizard painted with yellow on the creek bottom. Click on the image to the left for a closer view.

We are not sure of who the artist is, but last year someone painted a rainbow path on the north side of the bridge, and as the winter progressed and the river flowed, the rainbow was broken and its colored stones scattered. For now, the lizard is intact, and the river flow is weak.

We'll see how things go this winter, and look forward to next season's river bottom painting.

Keywords: art, morse creek, winter

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