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05/13/21 - Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Trinidad Head

We were tired from our hike the previous day, but we headed out anyway. First, we explored Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a short trail in the hills not far from house. Again, there were amazing redwoods all around us. It was an easy trail, but we could feel it. Still, the beauty of the forest pulled us on.

Then, we headed down to the town of Trinidad on the coast and hiked the Trinidad Head Loop. This started right in town, but we quickly ascended and entered a garden maze of high bushes and thick foliage. The trail climbed, and we felt we were alone on the trail as it twisted and followed the terrain. Here and there, we had views of the sea, the beach near town and the coastline.

We considered trying yet another hiking trail. The redwoods are full of trails, and there are other trails along the sea and around the various coastal lagoons. There were even trails that led from the coast to the higher forests or the other way around. We didn't try any of them. We were plumb tuckered out.


The forest floor

One of the many redwoods, a truly massive tree

Another redwood

More of the charms of the forest

Yet another redwood: Lady Bird Johnson would have been smiling.

The redwood forest

More of the undergrowth

A view from Trinidad head

A view from higher up

Like a garden maze

A fascinating trail

Keywords: trails, california


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


04/11/21 - Sol Duc Falls and the Forest

When we realized that Sol Duc Road was open, we went out to the trailhead for Sol Duc Falls at the end of the road. The resort was closed, as was the campground. The parking lot was not very full. The day was cold and gray, but we entered the forest heading down a series of steps into a world of tall trees, mosses and ferns. There was also snow here and there beside the trail.

The falls were impressive, but we've seen them even wilder. Once the snow starts melting, the river will grow in force. We crossed the river and headed onward taking the trail to Deer Lake. There was no way we were going to make it to the lake. With patches of snow down at the level of the falls, the trail leading 1600' up to the lake was surely quite deep in snow in its higher reaches. We had hoped to make it to the bridge over Canyon Creek and perhaps up about 700' to where we could see the snow melting.

We didn't get all that far. We had seen signs of windfall on the trail to the falls, but the trail had been cleared. The trail to Deer Lake still had downed trees and branches blocking it. We clambered over a few, but then we reached a downed tree trunk that lined up to block the trail for some ways. We considered squeezing our way alongside it, but given the state of the trail, odds are we would run into another obstacle afterwards and then others beyond.

According to the park website, the resort and the campground open on April 16th, so it is likely that more trails will be cleared as the season progresses.


Forest steps

Snow beside the trail

More snow

Sol Duc Falls

Another view of the falls

Yet another view with some foreground snow

Other Sol Duc waterfalls

The forest trail

Another world

More forest steps

A forest stream

Keywords: deer lake, sol duc, trails, waterfall


03/08/20 - Last Winter Hiking on the Lake Angeles Trail

We hiked the Lake Angeles Trail a few times this winter. By late February, there was only a little snow on the lower reaches of the trail. That's as far as we went, though others we met on the trail had made it all the way up to the lake. It's one of the easier trails to get to from town, but with all the rain and cold weather, we haven't been getting up there lately.

The footbridge about 700' above the trailhead

Running water

Snowy scene

The boardwalk

Despite the snow, there was lots of green.

The trail with a light dusting

More of the trail

The footbridge again

Wood and snow

Another trail scene

There was snow, but the lower trail was easy going.

Light snow and a fallen tree

Very little snow on the lower part of the trail

Icicles

The frozen curtain of drips

More frozen drips

Almost vernal

No snow at all down here

Lower part of the trail

Keywords: lake angeles, trails, weather, winter

Keywords: lake angeles, trails, weather, winter


09/30/18 - Hurricane Hill Reopened

Hurricane Hill has finally been reopened, at least for three days a week until the road is closed by snow. The trail is one of the most popular in the park, and it has shown a lot of wear. It is being rebuilt, widened, repaved and restored. For now, the Hurricane Hill road only runs to the second picnic area. The parking area at the usual trailhead is full of building materials for the trail work.

We got an early start. This was a good idea since just about every parking space was taken when we returned from our hike around noon. The hike was as beautiful as ever. One day we expect to see Mount Olympus itself covered in construction scaffolding, but, for now, the mountains are being left to their own devices. We took in some amazing views, admired a few late blooming flowers and the golden grasses and checked out the sap covered pine cones.

Check the park web site before you go. The trail is only open three days a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), but it is well worth the effort.


A common sight in 2018 - road closed

Hurricane Hill Trail widened

The new trail with have a lot of stone work to encourage people to stay on the trail.

The Olympic Mountains seen from Hurricane Hill Trail

Autumn color

More autumn color

Even more autumn color

Good grief, even more autumn color

Fields of gold

Fields of gold with distant mountains

More fields of gold, more mountains

Variation on a theme

One of the late harebells

Pine cones

More pine cones

Autumn color by the trail

Autumn color and more stones for the trail work

Keywords: hurricane hill, trails


07/12/18 - Escape to the Cascades

With so many roads under construction or closed in Olympic National Park, we Kalebergs decided to visit another national park for a change of pace. Surely, there are, somewhere, national park trails unobstructed by road work or washouts.

We set our sights on the Cascade Pass Trail in the North Cascades National Park. We did our due diligence. The road was open. The trail was open. We drove east. We made our way to Marblemount where the trail access road begins and, with high hopes, continued past the chip sealed lanes and through a stretch of slippery soft mud before the twisty climb to the trailhead.

The picture gives away the punchline. The road was closed 3-4 miles before the trailhead. It had washed out the day before.


Cascade Pass Trail starts 3 to 4 miles from hear.

Keywords: trails


06/28/18 - Obstruction Point

The road from Hurricane Ridge out to Obstruction Point is usually closed well into July, but this year it opened in mid-June.Despite all the road construction, we made our way out there a few days ago. There was still a fair bit of snow, perhaps more than we have ever seen, but we ventured forth anyway.

There were marmots and wildflowers and lakes melting from the snow and ice. We made our way down the staircase and followed the trails to the overlook with its view of Grand Lake. It was still early in the season with phlox and glacier lilies here and there.


Right before the staircase

One of the little lakes

Another lake melting out

The trail, north and south

More of the trail

One of the smaller lakes on the way to Grand Lake

Walking on top of the world

Another view

There are amazing views from this trail.

A view from the staircase

More high country

Keywords: obstruction point, trails


06/26/18 - Little River Trail

With so many roads in the park blocked by road work, we've been checking out some new trails. This time it was the Little River Trail. It starts near where Black Diamond Road meets Little River Road. As usual in 2018, Black Diamond Road was being repaved, but the delays were short. We only hiked out for an hour, but it was nice walking on a soft surface and being in the forest again. The first part of the trail was second growth, but there were more old trees and more first growth as we made our way up the trail.

The trilliums were past bloom, but the Pacific dogwood was out. The trail heads all the way up to Hurricane Ridge, but we stopped well before the serious climbing began. We turned around at the second crossing, so we have a lot left to explore. It's nice to have a new trail, and one that isn't a challenge to get to.


A typical stretch of trail

The trail follows the water

Epiphytes

More river

Pacific dogwood

A little more river

The bridge where we turned back

Some cascades

Another look at the river

A more Little River

A rather large trillium, past bloom

Keywords: trails, trillium, little river


05/25/18 - Elwha River Update

We drove out to Madison Falls, the current end of Olympic Hot Springs Road. We took our usual walk along the Elwha, past the relocated mule camp, over the temporary bridge, and down to the latest washout where the Elwha meets the road. The Elwha won, as you can see in the pictures.

The park is making the best of the situation. They can't conjure a road from nowhere. Along with many of our favorite trails, there's a park ranger station and work area cut off by the river. There is a temporary trail around the wash out, and while it isn't suitable for cars, it is apparently human and mule friendly. We saw a group of laden mules taking the route.

The river is as beautiful as ever, but the trails out of Whiskey Bend and to Olympic Hot Springs are still inaccessible. This will probably be the situation for some time.


You can see two branches of the Elwha crossing the road here.

Elwha versus Road; Elwha wins.

The park service mules in action

The Elwha

Another view of the Elwha

An artfully framed view of the Elwha

White water

Madison Falls, worth the two minute walk

Upper Madison Falls

Snow covered mountains

A last look at the Elwha

Keywords: elwha, olympic hot springs, spring, trails


03/20/18 - Foster Island

After admiring the cherry trees in the University of Washington quad, we headed south across the Montlake Cut. We descended to the waterfront and headed east towards Foster Island. First, we took a foot bridge to Marsh Island which true to its name was marshy and muddy. Then, we crossed another, longer foot bridge and then followed a causeway with wonderful views of the university, the Cascades and Lake Washington. We followed the trail across Foster Island, then headed south towards the Arboretum and back to civilization.

The Montlake Cut and crew

Marsh Island, true to its name

On Marsh Island

More of the marsh, hardly in Seattle at all

The causeway

Across to Foster Island

Some great bird watching

That's 520 overhead; there were ducks below.

On to the Arboretum

Keywords: seattle, trails


02/10/18 - Along Lake Crescent

With so many trails closed this time of year, we often get back to the Spruce Railroad Trail. It's more of a country road now, but it still has its charms. One in particular is the special, bonus surprise waterfall about an hour's walk west, just before the second railroad tunnel. With all the winter rain, it was running. To be honest, it was trickling, but it was still a pleasant surprise.

We stopped a bit shy of our usual goal. There had been a rock fall, and while the trail was passable, we didn't want to bother with the bad footing. This is a great time to get out to Lake Crescent, even when the skies are gray.


The special, bonus surprise waterfall

More of a trickle actually

Fallen rocks on the trail

The trail

A fallen log leads into the lake

More of the trail

Even more, with mossy rocks

The lake again - Barnes Valley

The footbridge

More of a country road

Another little waterfall

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad, surprise waterfall, trails, waterfall, winter


12/14/17 - Why Is Olympic Hot Springs Road Still Closed?

Like many, we've been wondering when Olympic Hot Springs Road is likely to reopen. We want to get back to the trails out of Whiskey Bend and to Olympic Hot Springs. We drove out to take a look and see how the river was flowing. We parked at Madison Falls and walked past the gate and followed the road over the temporary bridge. We could see that the road wasn't in great shape, but last time it was completely flooded. Now the waters had receded, so we pressed on.

We didn't get very far. Maybe a quarter mile past the temporary bridge there was a gap in the road and a branch of the Elwha river running through that gap. It wasn't just some little stream, but a full fledged torrent, maybe thirty feet wide. This wasn't something that could be easily stopped or bridged. The remainder of Olympic Hot Springs Road, including the ranger station, was cut off.

On our way back, we stopped to study one of the signs describing the temporary trail that the park service has blazed. It cuts inland near where the road gets its first view of the river. According to the sign, the trail runs inland and uphill and continues south past the east side of the campground. It appears to rejoin Olympic Hot Springs Road down near the ranger station and the junction with Whiskey Bend Road. In other words, it is possible to head further down the road on foot, but not otherwise, and this isn't likely to change very soon.


The road wasn't in great shape.

We could see a gap up ahead.

That's a new branch of the Elwha.

Some more road damage

Even more road damage

The river wild

More of the Elwha River

Keywords: elwha, olympic hot springs, trails


10/20/17 - The Smokey Bottom or West Lake Mills Trail

We took a walk along what was once the west bank of Lake Mills, but now is just a trail following the Elwha River. We started at the old Glines Canyon dam overlook and headed south. We passed through young forest and then more open areas with nice views of the river. There were lots of late season lupines in bloom, a lot of them planted as part of the restoration effort.

It was a short hike. We're hoping it gets extended and linked up with other trails in the area. For now, it's a good way to watch the old Elwha River come back into its own.


View from the remains of the Glines Canyon Dam looking south

The eastern remains of the dam

Some mushrooms

Signs of fire

Young forest

A late season lupine

A view of the river

Formerly Lake Mills

Another view

Keywords: elwha, trails


07/20/17 - Klahane Ridge Again

Our three favorite high country trails are the Hurricane Hill Trail, the Lilian Ridge Trail out of Obstruction Point and the Klahane Ridge Trail via the Switchback Trail. This season, the last of those of three keeps calling us back. We've been watching the flowers, with more and more lupines appearing as the phlox starts to fade. We've been watching the mountain goats, carefully, as there seem to be a lot of them. There were over a dozen on our descent. We didn't stop for photos. We wanted to keep an eye on them and be ready to react.

We made it up past the ridge overlook and followed the trail leading to Lake Angeles. The "rooms", areas carpeted with alpine flowers and divided by crags, were a trip back to early in the season. Only a few flowers had blossomed, though we expect more when we answer the call of Klahane Ridge again.


A view from the ascent

As we approached the ridge

A mountain goat and her kid

Another view of them

A view of the Olympic Mountains

One of the alpine "rooms"

The end of our hike, lingering snow

Phlox, probably at its peak - It's a pity there isn't HTML to capture the scent.

Lupines, a great year

Blood wort

Bog orchid

Keywords: flowers, high country, klahane ridge, mountain goats, trails


04/22/17 - Elwha River Trail - Part 1

With Olympic Hot Springs Road open again, we've been heading up to Whiskey Bend and revisiting the Elwha River Trail. We've already made it to the overlook before the second canyon on the way to Lilian Camp and down past Michael's Ranch for a look at the Elwha River. The trails are still a bit muddy, but lots of people are about celebrating the area's reopening. We've been celebrating this year's crop of trilliums and are looking forward to a great hiking season.

A trillium

A view from the overlook

A tree down across the trail

Another trillium

Another bit of trail

One of the many streams

Yet another trillium

Those yellow violets

The trail is beautiful on a sunny day

Our first slug of the season

Mysterious alligator leaves

Keywords: elwha, spring, trails, trillium


04/08/17 - Walla Walla - Bennington Lake

We were out in Walla Walla, so we made a point of dropping by Bennington Lake. It's actually a water control project run by the Army Corps of Engineers, but its also a gem of a park and a great place for a walk between wine touring and fine dining. This year we had great views of two ospreys flying by the lake, and, as usual, the scenery was stunning.

Dried grass and ark wood

One of the trails

The water works

One of the ospreys

Possibly the same osprey, possibly the other

The scene later as the sky darkened a bit

More wonderful sky

Trees and the sky

The trail

Grasses and sky

More ominous sky

Keywords: trails, walla walla


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