The Kaleberg Journal - February 2015


02/27 - It Fell Off A Ship

We were out hiking on Dungeness Spit when we saw an unusual piece of driftwood up ahead. It still had most of its bark on and it had an unusual shape. As we approached we realized that it was a bunch of logs tied together with steel cables. They were pretty big logs too. Presumably it was a shipment of some sort that found its way into the water. It's a long way from being proper driftwood. It was probably going to get washed out with the next tide for some aging.

That curiosity aside, the real high point of our hike was seeing a young eagle perched on a log with a crystalline view of the mountains in the background.


A strange parcel

Viewed up close

Recently marked

The spit and the mountains

A young bald eagle

Keywords: dungeness spit, eagle


02/11 - Marymere Falls

We recently went out to Marymere Falls to stretch our legs and see how our winter rains have been affecting the falls and Barnes Creek. Well, there was lots of water, but there were also a lot of downed and damaged trees. Even before we could hear the creek, we started noticing the winter's toll on the forest.

One tree split vertically, with half remaining upright while the other half had fallen across the trail. The park service had cleared the trail, cutting out a section of the fallen tree. We stopped to take a closer look, because the inner wood of the fallen tree looked particularly smooth and fine grained. It was heartwood. It has a different look, a different feel and even a different sound when struck, as opposed to the younger wood in the outer layers of the tree. We could even see the color gradient as the outer layers were paler, almost yellow, but the inner layers were increasingly dark before turning into heartwood.

There was also lots of flowing water. Marymere Falls was in full spate. Click on the picture to check out the movie. Barnes Creek was roaring. This is a great time to check out Marymere Falls.


Marymere Falls - Click the picture for a video.

Barnes Creek

The rainforest

Tree damage

The park service at work

An old stump shattered

Rain drops - They add up.

Heartwood - Note the color gradient from the outside in.

The split tree

Barnes Creek

More tree damage

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, winter


02/10 - A Very Wet Lake Angeles Trail

We haven't had much snow this winter, but we've had lots of rain. We walked a little ways up the Lake Angeles Trail, to the little bridge, and we haven't seen the trail so wet and so much water flowing in at least ten years. Since we're still playing with slow motion video, here is some running water for your viewing enjoyment:

There was lots of white water.

There were also a lot of green things growing.

White water near the little bridge

An underground stream - bubbling visibly near the boardwalk

Downstream from the little bridge

The wet trail

A curtain of drips

More drips

Funghi

Keywords: lake angeles, winter


02/05 - Salmonberries

Salmonberry flowers are one of the first signs of spring out here. This is about as early as we've ever seen them.

Salmonberry flowers

More February flowers

Is it spring already?

Keywords: flowers, spring


The Kaleberg Journal - January 2015


01/30 - The Sappho Elk Herd

There is a field a bit west of the junction in Sappho where we often see a herd of elk. This was one of those times.

The herd of elk

Keywords: elk


01/28 - Third Beach

Now that we are getting the good winter tides, we decided to check out Third Beach out near La Push. Our last visit out this way was to Second Beach which features a lovely forest walk from the trailhead near the highway down to a wild crescent of beach adorned with rocks, sea stacks and tide pools. Third Beach is similar, but the forest walk is longer, over a mile before the descent. There are long level stretches where the rain forest forms almost a dry bog, very wet, but all the moisture absorbed by the rampant vegetation. Then there is the 200 plus foot descent to the beach.

The trailhead is near a stream that runs out to the sea here. There are glimpses of the sea stacks and ocean as one approaches. Then comes the wall of driftwood. Usually the wood is bare and aged, but this year we've had storms so there were a few freshly fallen trees in the heap. It was an easy clamber as clambering goes, and in a few minutes we were on the gritty sand. We headed left, to the east - the beach faces south - where we could see a row sea stacks, but first we had to cross the stream. It was deep and the current was fast moving, so we waded across down towards the sea where the flow widened.

From here it was easy going. As we approached the headland, we could see a waterfall splashing down the rocks. We paused to check out the rocks and tide pools and then continued. Despite the region's reputation for grayness, the sun was brilliant. We checked the bluffs for eagles but saw none. The bluffs behind Third Beach aren't as high as those at Second Beach, and there is a headland trail that leads to beaches south for those walking to Oil City, that is, other people, not us.

Walking on sand, even relatively well packed sand is tiring. When we got back to the trailhead, we saved our energy for the climb out rather than exploring the west end of the beach. Third Beach is a bit more of a workout than Second Beach, but just as rewarding.


A glimpse of the sea stacks, artfully framed a la the Northwest School

The driftwood barricade: Take it one log at a time.

The rushing stream: We waded down by the sea.

Rocks and sea stacks

Another view: Look carefully and you might see the waterfall.

Alders on the bluffs

Here you can definitely see the waterfall.

The view west, our return

A last glimpse

A spot of mud with a thoughtfully placed plank

Brilliant rainforest

Keywords: third beach, tides, winter, waterfall, eagle


animals, port angeles, washington state

01/25 - Dead Deer

We recently found a dead deer on a patch of land we owned. It was well away from the road and quite dead. We wanted it removed. There wasn't an obvious dead animal removal service in the local Yellow Pages or online phone book. Google didn't have a clue, so we started with the local police, the county, Washington State Fish and Wildlife and so on. Since the animal wasn't actually on the road, the roads people wouldn't touch it; Fish and Wildlife suggested that we dump it on state land, but when they weren't sure if DNR land was state land or not, we discounted this suggestion. The local animal shelter suggested that Olympic Game Farm might want the carcass. Others mentioned them as well, but the folks at the game farm had no idea of how they had gotten such a carrion reputation. We considered burying the animal not far from where it fell, but our excavator warned us not to. If anyone dug up the bones in the future it might become a matter for the national government and the local tribes. We were going around in circles now and getting no closer to getting rid of the late but apparently, judging by the nonchalant behavior of the other deer in the area, not lamented.

We called the Olympic Game Farm again. When dealing with organizations with more than one person involved, it usually pays to call more than once. This time we got another lead, the Northwest Raptor Center. Perhaps we could stuff it into a time machine and feed it to a velociraptor. The raptor center didn't deal with time machines or velociraptors. They were involved in conserving our local birds of prey, and they had no use for a dead deer, but they did know a guy. They put us in touch with Mike Love who used to do dead animal removal for the county. He also used to be a disk jockey. He dropped by and, for a modest fee, removed the carcass. Our problem was solved. If you ever find yourself in the Port Angeles or Sequim area and need to remove the deerly departed, you might want to call him yourself. His number is (360) 477-6670.

Keywords:


01/23 - The Elwha and Madison Falls

We usually see the Elwha River from one of the hiking trails out of Whiskey Bend, but Whiskey Bend Road was washed out and will most likely be closed until some time this spring. We still wanted to see the river, so we pulled over along the road and walked carefully by the side to get a good look. There is sure a lot of water, and it is running wild. The color of the river has changed since the dam was taken down. Now it looks a lot more like the Hoh.

We also checked out Madison Falls. This is a little waterfall a short, easy walk from the main road. The trail is flat and wide, so you could even do it in a wheel chair. It might not be far, but it is worth stopping for. Madison Falls was one of three waterfalls that a friend of ours suggested for taking visitors to on a rainy day. The other two were Marymere Falls near Barnes Creek and Sol Duc Falls a bit farther away at the end of Sol Duc Road. For the best effect, start with Madison, then stop at Marymere, then at Sol Duc.


The Elwha River now that it runs free

Looking upriver

Another river view

Bend in the river

A view downriver

Lots of water

The old maples near the Madison Falls parking lot

Madison Falls proper, just a short, easy walk

Madison Falls - Click on the image for a slow motion video.

Keywords: elwha, trails, waterfall


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