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04/02/22 - Elwha to Altair - Spring Is Here

We were absolutely exhausted but really wanted to take another good hike before the rainy days come, so we headed out from the Madison Falls parking lot and followed the trail. It's a good winter trail, but it's an even better spring trail. We hadn't gone very far before our first trillium, and then came the columbines. Trilliums like sloping ground, usually near water, so they'll grow on hillsides above streams. Columbines like a sunny spot on crumbling rocky soil, and there are only a few places like that on this trail. That's where we found them.

We headed on past other signs of spring. Skunk cabbage filled the boggy fields further up towards the bridge. There were currant blossoms, and there were a lot of new leaves and leaf buds. Even the larger trees were showing touches of green. Columbine season is short, so we'll have to come back soon, but we'll be back again and again as the season progresses. It's a pretty good summer trail too.


Our first trillium on the trail

Yellow violets

More yellow violets

One of the columbines

Another columbine

Another trillium

Some little white flowers that we see every year and never bother to look up in the wildflower book

The Elwha

Another view of the Elwha

Fern forest

The skunk cabbage bog

The Elwha from the Altair bridge

Wild currant

A touch of green in the trees

Most of the snow melted

Yet another trillium

Yet another columbine

A columbine in its place

The mules are back!

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium


04/01/22 - Little River Trail - Return of the Trilliums

The Little River Trail is a great trail this time of year. The high country is still covered with snow, but the lower reaches of the Little River Trail are in great shape and, already, there are signs of spring. In particular, the trilliums are out. There are just a few trilliums in bloom, and a few more popping up and getting ready, but over the next few weeks this trail will be lined with them.

Our first trillium of 2022

The forest trail

Little River

Still early spring

Sunlight breaks through

Another view of the river

Down close

More flowers

A blurry photo of our first yellow violet - We have Sasquatch photos that are sharper.

An old log and a new fern

More trilliums

The bridge where we turned around

The ground

Trail maintenance - quite a fallen tree

Little River again

One of the many rapids

Even more trilliums

Another view

And another

Keywords: Olittle river, spring, trillium

Keywords: Olittle river, spring, trillium


03/19/22 - Elwha to Altair Again

We took another hike up to the Altair Bridge. It is getting even more spring-like. This time, there was serious skunk cabbage and a few currants were in bloom. It's a slow spring, but it's starting.

The Elwha River

Another view of the Elwha

More Elwha

Overgrown logs

This used to be an easy way to get down to the river, but those logs washed ashore.

The trail

The road

A maple

View of the river

Skunk cabbage

and more skunk cabbage

Snow lingers on the mountains

Snow again

Currant blossoms

Even more skunk cabbage

Keywords: elwha, spring


03/14/22 - Marymere Falls and Barnes Creek

There is a lovely little loop from the Barnes Creek parking lot just off of route 101. It takes one to Marymere Falls, and, all told, it is less than an hour's walk. When we want to explore a bit more, we leave the loop and head up Barnes Creek. We rarely go all that far, but this stretch of trail is less crowded and less known but just as lovely. It follows the river heading up and down through lush green forest. Our goal is a little spring that flows down the hillside and across the trail. It is nothing like Marymere Falls, but it is a good turning point for that little extra.

Rainy day forest

Marymere Creek - Note the drop of water on the lens.

The base of the falls

Marymere Falls

Along the trail

The bridge over Barnes Creek

Barnes Creek

Seen by the trailside, details

Fern forest

More of the forest floor

The muddy, but easily passable, trail

Another river view

Yet another

The little spring, our goal

You can step over this one, easily.

Another view

More ferns

More Barnes Creek

Another wide view

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, spring


02/18/22 - Elwha to Altair - Signs of Spring

We took a walk from the Elwha parking lot at Madison Falls and kept our eyes open for signs of spring. As it turned out, it wasn't our eyes that noticed the first hint, it was our nose. Between the ranger station and the Altair bridge, we picked up a faint whiff of sulfur like a leaky sewage pipe. In March, that could only mean one thing, skunk cabbage! (To be honest, it could have been a leaky sewage pipe, but come on.)

The forest

More green woods

A cluster of logs washed ashore and now blocking our usual path down to the river

The Elwha

More green

The Elwha from the Altair bridge

Skunk cabbage

and more skunk cabbage

Snowdrops, also a sign of spring

Keywords: elwha, spring


04/13/21 - Up The Elwha To Altair

We've been getting out more thanks to the warming weather and our COVID vaccinations. We've been wandering up Olympic Hot Springs Road along the Elwha starting at Madison Falls where the road closes to traffic and up to the Altair Bridge. There's a detour through the hills behind the old Elwha Campground which was washed out along with the road. All along the way we've been spotting signs of spring.

Already, the columbines and trilliums are coming out, and the skunk cabbage is nearing its peak. The river is still calm before the spring melt, but with ten plus feet of snow at Hurricane Ridge, we expect an impressive flow when the melting begins in earnest. We'll keep coming back to see how things progress.


A columbine bud

A columbine flower

Another columbine

Trilliums

Another trillium

The Elwha

Fiddleheads

Ferns, also known as grown up fiddleheads

Skunk cabbage

The view from the Altair Bridge

A swamp marigold blossom

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium, weather


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


06/22/19 - Little River Trail

We've been regulars on the Little River Trail. We've following spring into summer. The trail is more hidden as the deciduous trees have leafed out and the trilliums have vanished, replaced by Pacific dogwood.

The trail

Plant life

More plant life

The river

Another view of the river, hidden by green

A trillium gone to seed

A salmonberry

Pacific dogwood

Even more plant life

Another bit of trail

And yet another

Keywords: little river, spring, summer, trillium


06/06/19 - To The Elwha Dam Overlook

We've been taking the scenic detour and making our way farther and farther along Olympic Hot Springs Road. We finally made it all the way to the dam overlook. It was a long walk, especially with the detour, but it was a cool sunny day and easy going.

Olympic Hot Springs Road and green forest

Maple pods, bright red in the sun

Maple pods in the shade

One of the many, many roses that scented the trail

A peek at a peak

The waterfall into the Elwha

Another view of that waterfall, worth stopping for

The dam site

The Elwha upstream, formerly Lake Mills

A view downstream

Another view upstream

Green forest and bright sunlight

Another study in contrast

The Elwha River from the Altair Bridge

Foxglove

A duck to look up

A butterfly in the sun

Keywords: elwha, spring


05/19/19 - Again, to the Altair Bridge

We have been turning this into a regular walk, starting at Madison Falls and heading, by way of the detour, to the Altair Bridge over the Elwha. The columbines are gone and the trilliums and dogwood almost past, but the tiarella is now in bloom as are other late spring blossoms.

As usual, we stopped to soak our feet in the river. A bit later, we had to step to the side of the trail to let a mule team get by. The park service people and animals were heading out to do trail work. The mules were new to the area and a bit skittish. We did our best to keep them calm.

The river is still pretty high, so the park service might just be waiting for it to go down, but we're guessing that they won't be setting up the temporary bridges the way they did last year. Despite this, we'll be back in a week or two to follow the spring progression and we'll let you know the latest.


The Elwha as seen from the Altair Bridge

Another view of the Elwha

Yet another view

The river is so high that the river branch that cut the road has flooded. The gap may grow.

The forest detour

Tiarella

Elderberry flower buds

Another tiarella

Stinky bob on an old maple tree

A mushroom

The Elwha from the bank

An entire forest growing on a tree

A fading trillium

Paintbrush

More tiarella

More of the forest trail

Across the river, lupines in bloom

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium


05/16/19 - Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill Trail is open. It is still being rebuilt, so it is only open about half the time. Check the park web page and scroll down to the calendar before you head up expecting to take this hike. Note that the trail is ALWAYS closed on Wednesdays. Also note that the road is closed at the second picnic area, so the trailhead is now an additional ten minute walk from parking.

That said, the view from the trail is as beautiful as ever. Most of the trail is free of snow, and the snow is melting rapidly. The glacier lilies are out as is the phlox, so keep your nose peeled for that latter flower's wonderful scent. There were many marmots about which was a nice treat. We didn't quite make it to the summit, so that's for our next try. We had a long winter this year, so it's great that the high country is finally open again.


The Olympic Mountains

Phlox

A view from the trail

More of the mountains

A late winter scene

One of the many marmots

Another mountain view

Another marmot

A marmot in a field of delicious, to a marmot, spring flowers

The marmot by the trailside

That marmot checking us out

That marmot again offering us a closeup

A bit of snow on a shady stretch of trail

More spring flowers

Some of the trail work, a stone retaining wall where the trail has been widened

More phlox

Glacier lilies

Glacier lilies in closeup

Goodbye to the mountains

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, marmots, spring


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


04/09/19 - First Trillium of the Season

It has been a long hard winter. The signs of spring have been late in coming, but yesterday, while walking down to the Dungeness Spit, we saw our first trillium of the year. It may be coming slowly, but spring is on its way.

Keywords: dungeness spit, 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


03/09/19 - Another March Day in Seattle

We spent a second day in Seattle and walked from the UW subway station to Foster Island and on the Arboretum. We are desperate for signs of spring.

The waterway

A long shadow

To Marsh Island by causeway

Coots - There were lots of coots.

On Marsh Island

A sign of spring!

To Foster Island

Another causeway

Back east these would be pyracantha

Witch hazel in bloom

More witch hazel

Keywords: seattle, spring


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