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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

02/21/24 - Rainy Day in Bel Air

Our favorite hotel in Los Angeles used to be the Bel Air. It was perched above the plain of the city and had a wonderful luxurious feel. We stayed there again. It was nice enough, and very pretty, but we were disappointed in many aspects of the physical plant. We never could get the HVAC system working in any meaningful way, and they had one of those new fangled light control systems that made simple things, like turning the lights on and off, much harder.

Despite this, we did enjoy exploring the hotel and its grounds. It's set in one of the canyons, so the rooms climb the hills and the gardens ramble. We took a walk in the neighborhood. The houses were all way larger than any McMansion and, unlike McMansions, reflected the whims and fancies of their owners. How about a chateau, a rose covered Tudor, a Japanese fortress, a 20,000 square foot New England cottage.

We took advantage of one of those weather apps that told us to expect a clearing in five or ten minutes. We rushed out as soon as the rains stopped and made our way up the canyon. The app didn't say that we only had a ten minute window, but that's how long we had been out when the rains returned. Houses in Bel Air tend to have security warnings specifying that there will be armed response to any alarm. It's almost the town motto - "Welcome to Bel Air, Armed Response". Still, people are people, and when we were drenched to the bone, a Range Rover pulled up and a nice lady asked if we needed a ride. We politely turned down her offer, but it was nice to know that Bel Air has a more welcoming side.

A garden ornament in Bel Air

Someone's fantasy garden

Another house

Yet another

The road

A view from the hotel

Another view

A koi pond

Exploring the hotel grounds

A hummingbird at rest

Another look

Keywords: los angeles, weather

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

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

05/09/21 - Yachats - Arrival

We made it down to Yachats and checked in to the wonderful Overleaf Lodge. We had a great room with a hot tub and a view of the ocean. We took a walk in town to stretch our legs and have dinner at the Luna Sea Fish House. We ate some of the best fried oysters we had ever had at a picnic The fries were good. The fried shrimp were good. The fish tacos were good. It was perfect weather for outdoor dining.

We took a walk along Ocean View Road which starts in town and runs for miles along the coast as the 804 trail. We didn't go very far, but we did enjoy the scenery.

The mouth of the Yachats River

One of the birds along the way

A better pose

Along the coast


A friendly reminder

One of many calla lilies

We stayed on the trail

Another view

Sunset from our hotel

Later that evening

Keywords: oregon, oysters, weather

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


Another trillium

The Elwha


Ferns, also known as grown up fiddleheads

Skunk cabbage

The view from the Altair Bridge

A swamp marigold blossom

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium, weather

03/08/20 - 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


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

01/04/20 - Marymere Falls and the Barnes Creek Trail

Marymere Falls is always at full flow during the winter as is Barnes Creek. We made our way up to the falls, then, on our way back, took the side spur up the Barnes Creek Trail. We didn't get very far. The trail was completely flooded. This has been a wild year for the weather.

Marymere Falls

Forest view

Barnes Creek

A side stream

Another Barnes Creek view

The bridge over Barnes Creek

The flooding on the Barnes Creek Trail

A log enjoying the weather

A more typical puddle

Barnes Creek again

A less happy log

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, weather, winter

01/10/19 - Flowers in Bloom

It’s awfully early, but we saw some salmonberry flowers, and it’s barely the middle of January. These usually bloom in early February.

Salmonberry flowers

Keywords: flowers, port angeles, weather

01/01/19 - New Year on the Spruce Railroad Trail

We decided to start the New Year with a walk along the Spruce Railroad Trail. With the government shutdown, we weren't sure of whether the trail would be open, but it was. At least the first three miles are open. There were signs indicating that the section from the second tunnel to the western trailhead was still closed for remodeling. We joined quite a number of other people enjoying the trail and the good gray weather. The water was still which made for a sense of calm and great reflections of the mountains and forests around the lake.

The footbridge

Storm King, quite placid today

A small waterfall, where we turned around


A small stream, the outflow from the little waterfall

Another dreamy view of the lake

Keywords: spruce railroad, storm king, waterfall, weather

02/26/18 - Winter Garden at the Seattle Arboretum

We've been having a bit of winter weather. Even in Seattle, there was snow on the ground, and the temperature seemed to be stuck on much too cold. So, we dropped by the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden in the Arboretum. Here, there was snow on the ground, but there were also flowers in bloom. There were all sorts of witch hazel, some scentless, some spicy, some sweet, and there were hellebores and a few hardy cherry blossoms. We're sure that spring is out lurking somewhere, but until winter ends, we'll make the best of it.

Cherry blossoms

A rhododendron

A snowy scene

WItch hazel

Another witch hazel

Brightly colored grasses

Cyclamen in the snow


At least the pond wasn't frozen.

Keywords: flowers, seattle, spring, weather, winter

10/24/17 - Along the Elwha

Olympic Hot Springs Road was closed for a day or two due to weather related damage, so we got to walk along the roadway south from the Madison Falls parking lot. We had been taking this walk a lot while they were repairing the road, but once we could get the Whiskey Bend and the like, we zoomed right past this area to get to our trailhead. With the road closed, we revisited. (The road has since reopened.)

Did we mention fall color?

Twisted Halloween trees

More color

The Elwha

Another view of the Elwha

Misty mountains

One of our favorite views

A view upriver

More misty mountains across the river

Keywords: elwha, halloween, weather

10/22/17 - Morse Creek Color

This has been a particularly good year for fall color. The trees and the weather have been cooperating. We had a wonderfully colorful walk west from the Morse Creek parking lot.

Some fall color

More fall color

Another bit of color

Keywords: morse creek, weather

08/08/17 - Bad Air at Hurricane Ridge

In case anyone has been wondering why we Kalebergs haven't been getting out much, we've been cowering indoors with the air filters running to avoid the bad air blowing in from the forest fires up in British Columbia. The air is still terrible and the weather not much better.

From the ridge

Actually, kind of pretty if we didn't have to breath it

More bad air and pretty mountains

The road to the ridge

Another view

Keywords: weather

04/30/17 - Russian Easter

We Kalebergs recently held our annual Russian Easter party to welcome in the belated spring. Given the cold spring, it is no surprise that the real Russian Easter was some time back. Now that the green leaves are returning and the weather has grown milder, we filled our champagne pool, broke out the blini, boiled up the pelmeni and allowed ourselves to rejoice at the end of winter. We even burned Moscow to fight off the monster Napoleon.


A spring-like spread

Truly Russian, at least in spirit

Moscow in flames

Defending Mother Russia from the monster Napoleon

Take that you French, and your French brandy

Routing the invaders

Keywords: russian easter, spring, weather

09/07/16 - Hurricane Hill in the Mist

The weather in the high country is as changeable as ever. That means packing a light raincoat and making the most of whatever the mountains and clouds offer. We didn’t expect much from Hurricane Hill on a cloudy day, but the round trip walk takes over an hour and a half. That gave the clouds plenty of time to shift and change. At times we were wrapped in fog, but we still managed to discern a blue grouse and a marmot. We also had some spectacular scenery and a beautiful walk.

Mixed skies

Autumn colors


One of the views

A blue grouse

Autumn colors and autumn mist

The flooded foot path

A marmot in the mist

A closeup of that marmot

Some teasing blue sky

Another view

Keywords: grouse, high country, hurricane hill, weather

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