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05/18/24 - Lake Angeles With Frogs

We've been trying to get back into climbing shape in hopes of being able to climb in the high country. We made it a little past the log bridge on the Lake Angeles Trail that starts near Lake Dawn. The spring flowers are about, but the special treat was, once again, frogs. There were the usual trilliums and violets and orchids, but also tiny little frogs perhaps the size of a fifty cent piece and large frogs over an inch log. They are very well camouflaged, but once you've spotted the first it is easier spotting the second, third and so on.

The log bridge

Water streaming

Water from the far side of the bridge

A trillium

A tiny little frog

Another tiny little frog

A blurry little frog - Autofocus can't do everything.

Yet another frog - the fourth plague

There may be a frog in there.

Or perhaps one here.

Aha! one of the more cooperative larger frogs

Mushrooms

Another mushroom

The forest

A cooperative squirrel

A fawn lily

A violet

More flowers

More Trilliums

Another trillium

Another violet

Keywords: flowers, high country, lake angeles, spring, trilliums


04/11/24 - Little River Trail

Next on our list of spring hikes and trillium safaris was the Little River Trail. We started at the brand new parking lot at around 1100' and made our way down to the river, across the bridge, then up again to continue along the trail. Were there trilliums? Yes. Were there a lot of trilliums? No, net yet, but they are coming out. We also saw a lot of mushrooms, almost certainly poisonous, and, of course, the river itself.

We also saw a frog. It wasn't all that long ago that people were worried about frogs, but we've been seeing and hearing them more often lately. We saw this frog by the side of the trail. It was camouflaged but not well enough, so we got a good look. Either we've been getting better at spotting frogs, or there are a few more of them around.


They're back!

More trilliums

And even more

The fourth plague

The trail, almost mystical

The river

There are some amazing rock walls.

Violets

More of the river

Even more river

Yet even more

A stretch of trail

Mushrooms, probably toxic

More poisonous mushrooms

There's a little seasonal waterfall across the river that we always look for.

Another sign of spring

More rock wall

Typical of the region

Even more deadly mushrooms

Young false mock Solomon's seal

Another trillium

A bit more of the river

Spring water flow

Keywords: little river, spring, trillium


04/05/24 - Dungeness Highlands with Hummingbirds

There are two great worlds to explore at the Dungeness Spit. There's the amazing spit itself and the coastal forest leading to it, and there are the highlands which follow the coast and run inland. We explore the highlands. You can walk the whole loop in about 50 minutes, but we like to go longer, so we head out for about 40 minutes to an overlook and then head back the long way.

The old grass is now pale straw, but the new green grass is growing taller. There were currants and strawberries in bloom and chervil growing wild along the trail. We also saw two hummingbirds perched high as if claiming the bush they perched on as their own.


Spring color

To our surprise, a trillium

Distant mountains

Mountains and clouds

More clouds and mountains

The vista

Mahonia, Oregon grape in bloom

One of the hummingbirds

Across the field

Another view of the field

The trail, still early spring

More fields, clouds and mountains

The trail again

Another hummingbird


Strawberry flowers

Red and gold

More strawberry flowers

Some currant flowers

Trees still bare

Looking south

A bit of forest

A fascinating ground cover

Keywords: birds, dungeness spit, spring


04/04/24 - Spruce Railroad Trail with Trilliums

It was spring break, so the Spruce Railroad Trail was busy. There were a lot of families with children. Our goal was to find trilliums. Lake Crescent is about 600 feet above sea level, so spring tends to come a bit later, but we were lucky. We found trilliums. There were just a few, but like children of spring break, we're seeing signs of spring.

The forest floor

A trillium

Another trillium

Yet another trillium

View from the Devil's Punchbowl

Rock flowers

More rock flowers

Most of the trail is a road now, but there are a few bits of the old hiking trail preserved.

More of the old trail

Toad lily

Mount Storm King dominating the lake

Clouds and snow in the mountains

Rock garden

More rock flowers

Sedums

One of the little side streams

Another little side stream

Keywords: lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad, trillium


04/02/24 - Elwha to Altair - Early Spring Flower Edition

Spring has been with us for over a week now, so we've been out checking for trilliums. They often show up along the Elwha on the trail detour section that runs behind the old campground and is the only land route from Madison Falls to the rest of Olympic Hot Springs Road.

The river had a wild winter. There was a whole new pattern of trees and drift logs lining the river. Some sections were more accessible than last year. Some were less. A great chunk, the base of a fallen tree, had torn from the hillside. This made the trail a bit tricky to follow, but all the action had opened up new river views.

Spring is definitely here. We saw trilliums, fawn lilies, toad lilies, violets and many other early bloomers. Even better, the mules are back in town. The mule camp was deserted when we headed out, but there were mules waiting for us on our return.


The fawn lilies are back.

More flowers

A wild orchid

More fawn lilies

Another fawn lily

Trilliums, too

Lots of fawn lilies

The striped leaf is a fawn lily leaf

Yet another fawn lily

Toad lilies, for variety

A glimpse of the Elwha

A trillium

The river lined with fallen, drifted logs

Another view of the river

The Elwha from down close

More drift logs along the Elwha

Trail work

A mountain peak

A mountain cloud

More of the trail

Fawn lilies again

A cooperative caterpillar

The mules are back in town.

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium, winter


03/19/24 - Little River Trail

It's still early spring along the Little River Trail. The big news is probably the new parking lot and relocated trail entrance. Otherwise, the trail is its wonderful self with dark forests and shining river.

We always check for this seasonal waterfall.

That waterfall again

The river

More river





Plant life

A little stream

More of the forest

More of the river - bright sun and dark forest

A bit of the trail

Is this the spirit of the forest?

Some more trail

Plant life

The portal

One of the bridges

Another fork of the river

Keywords: little river, spring, waterfall


05/29/23 - Farther Along the Dungeness Dike

We sometimes just take a short walk at the Dungeness Dike. Sometimes we make the full 90 minute loop from the school house parking lot to the south end of the trail. That lets us leave the dike and head down on a trail that follows the path of the old dike. This late in the spring, it's tall grass and green. We even took a short side spur to take a look at the river.

Setting the scene

More of the scene

Mountains and marsh

Along the route of the old dike

The Dungeness RIver

Further along

And further still

The old dike was completely removed

A familiar field

And farther along

Here is where they planted a forest. Give it time.

One of a few lupines

Another lupine

Pattern of stones

Last view before we left

Keywords: dungeness, spring


05/13/23 - Spruce Railroad Trail

We hiked a bit of the Spruce Railroad Trail. It was a bright sunny day, but it is late enough into spring for the trees to have leafed out and provide a canopy. The sky was blue. The lake was blue. The forest was green. We were pleased to spot a few trilliums and enjoy the views of the lake and mountains.

A forest orchid

Paintbrush - first of the season

A last piece of the old trail

Clear water

The lake

More of the trail

Plants growing out of rocks

A piece of the new trail

One of the tunnels

Mt. Storm King

Trilliums and ferns

More trilliums

A shady bit of trail

The forest floor with a trillium if you look closely

Green life

Keywords: spring, spruce railroad, trillium


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

Violets

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


04/29/23 - Dungeness Dike and Rising Waters

We were back at the Dungeness Dike to check out the rising river. The whole point of replacing the old dike with this new one was to let the river flood freely. Well, it's working. The waters were much higher and the flood waters deeper. The fields were full of mustard. Hawks and eagles were about. We'll see how high the waters get when the spring melt starts in earnest.

A new branch of the Dungeness River

Old Towne Road and the Olympic Mountains

Higher waters

Marshlands

Higher water here as well

Some of the new dike

A future forest

Open fields

Mustard and mountains

More mustard

And even more mustard

Following the path of the old dike

Further along

Through the fields

Mustard flowers and forest

A spring scene

Maple flowers

Some kind of hawk

Yes, a red tailed hawk

More along the trail of the old dike

More forest

Welcoming forest

Mount Baker in the far distance

Keywords: dungeness, eagle, spring


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.

Forest

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


04/20/23 - Seattle Downtown

Seattle is much quieter than we remember it. Granted, we were wandering about early in the day, but downtown is no longer as bustling. Perhaps it was the cold, dank weather and a spring that has been all too slow in coming. Perhaps it was COVID and people working from home. Perhaps it isn't cruise season yet.

We checked out Pike Place Market which was still quiet. We bought some ramps and frisee. Ramps are a type of wild onion and special spring treat. There are signs of spring, out in the country and in town.


A Seattle street

Light traffic and careless framing

Another quiet street

Pike Place Market, still setting up

Sosio's is on the left.

The market, still calm

Sosio's always has a great display.

Another view

Pure Food Fish

Early morning

Another quiet corridor, but this was is almost always quiet.

The Public Market sign

Westlake Center

Keywords: seattle, spring, weather


04/18/23 - Dungeness Dike and a Denizen

We've been walking the new Dungeness Dike. The fields west of the new dike will someday be forest. We saw a variety of workers including a group from the Washington Conservation Corps hard at work mulching the hundreds of saplings. We've also been watching for signs of spring. Things have been getting greener and the yellow mustard is in bloom. On our way back, we saw a coyote. He was minding his own business, but he decided to watch us from a bit further away. We're a predator species too.

A dramatic sky

The new course of the Dungeness

The green fields

The very young forest

Along the path of the old dike

Mustard in bloom

More mustard

And even more mustard

This is what spring should look like.

Maple flowers

More maple flowers

More of the green field

Maple flowers are not showy.

Heading back along the new dike

The new forest again

The new dike

Some lupine

Towne Road, now part of the river

That coyote

The case of the curious coyote

We must have spooked him or her.

From the distance

Skunk cabbage

Keywords: dungeness, spring


04/16/23 - Dungeness Highlands

We've been hiking the Dungeness Highlands as we call them. We start at the parking lot near the sign in area for the spit, but we head south along the bluffs and follow the trail east across the road. We almost make a loop, but at the picnic table overlooking the highlands we turn around and head back.

Spring is progressing, albeit slowly. It was a cloudy day which actually makes it easier to see things. Clouds and a gray sky add a lot of character to a landscape.


Along the bluff

Scrubland

A forested stretch

A glimpse ahead

The vista south

A mixed sky and field

More of the field

The trail itself

Some spring color, but not much green yet

Mahonia

Another field

On our way back

More of the trail

An almost dry pond

Contrast

Along another field

Heading back

Back on the bluffs

Some currant blossoms

Keywords: dungeness, spring


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

Snow





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


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


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