The Kaleberg Journal - May 2016

05/20 - Hurricane Hill Flowers, Marmots and a Bear

The wildflower season progresses up at Hurricane Hill. The hillsides are covered with phlox. The wallflowers are out, and the glacier lilies are blooming. The marmots are out as well. We saw at least four of them including two younger ones sparring. On our way back down from the summit we saw a black bear eating ferociously along the hillside below. It was close enough for us to see its black mane, but far enough for comfort. They say black bears are the little ones, but they are not that little.

One of the amazing views

A golden marmot amidst the phlox

Another marmot

Snow still covers the north face.

The hills are alive.

A wallflower and friends

More flowers

Another marmot reminding us to stay off his or her lawn

Two young marmots sparring

The black bear at the limit of our telephoto lens

More flowers

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, marmots

05/16 - Elwha Update

The temporary bridge that would reopen the road to the Elwha and Olympic Hot Springs trail is still delayed. The last we heard is that there was a problem with the environmental impact statement, but this is just rumor. Meanwhile, the Olympic Hot Springs have been cut off due to structural problems with one of the bridges along the trail. Even if you had made your way to the trailhead, you would find your way blocked. We gather that Whiskey Bend Road is still open for hiking, so if you are heading out overnight there is still some access to the upstream Elwha.

The Elwha River

Another view of the river

Yet another view

We usually just drive by this view.


Click for a larger view. You can just see the snow covered mountains in the distance.

The trail closure notice

Keywords: elwha, olympic hot springs

05/12 - Hurricane Hill Road Is Open

Hurricane Hill Road opened on Sunday, the 8th of May. This is earlier than usual. There was a lot of snow up on Hurricane Ridge this winter, but it has been melting quickly. We took advantage of this early opening and went out to hike one of our favorite trails in the high country. The sky was blue. The snow covered mountains were crystalline in the distance.

It was still early in the season, though. There were only a few glacier lilies, but a lot richly scented phlox. In places it covered the hillsides, and its aroma covered the trail. We made it all the way up to the summit, about a 650 foot climb. The only snow on the trail was where the trail was protected on both sides by pine trees, the section running from the bench, about 200 feet, to the open switchbacks above, about 350 feet.

The high country is open. We should note, there is only one open restroom at the Hurricane Ridge lodge during the week, but the picnic area restrooms down Hurricane Hill Road are open, even during the week.

The snow capped Olympic Mountains

The one long snowy stretch of trail

A spectacular place to hike

A glacier lily

More scenery

The mountains again

… and again


A view from the summit

A north facing hillside

More phlox

Keywords: high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, trails

05/10 - Really Low Tides at Dungeness Spit

There have been some really low tides at Dungeness Spit lately. They’re great for hiking. In general, if the low tide is above three feet, it will be rough going if one heads out to the lighthouse. The sand will be softer, and there will be lots of rocks. When the tide is lower, there is often a band of wet sand that makes for much easier walking. We’ve had some really low tides lately, as low as negative two feet at the mid-day low tide. This made for great walking, though we haven’t made it out to the lighthouse yet. As always along the coast, check the tide tables. A low tide can make your walk much easier.

The broad beach

The view south towards the mountains

A view from above

Mount Baker and its reflection

Green forest

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

05/06 - Light Column and Rainbow

One of the nice things about living in the Pacific northwest is that we have lots of rainbows. Now and then we have other atmospheric effects. Recently we had a pretty dramatic rainbow and a light column. The latter is usually the result of ice crystals in the atmosphere at sunset. Those photos were taken looking west at the setting sun. If the sun had been visible from our vantage, we would have seen it at the base of the column.

A dramatic rainbow

The light column is the vertical orange column near the center of the photo.

Another view of the light column

Keywords: atmosphere, science

05/01 - The Mouth of the Elwha

Now that the dams are down we returned to the mouth of the Elwha for the first time in years. Place Road leads north from route 112. It heads down towards the Strait. At the base of the descent, we took a left turn and found a place to park. Not much seems to have changed, though there were more cars parked there than last time.

We headed north along the lagoon. We could see Striped Peak across Freshwater bay to the west. Then we noticed our first change. There was a lot more beach here, and not just because it was low tide. The Elwha has been depositing silt and growing the beach about the river’s mouth. We walked out onto the beach. It reminded us a lot of Dungeness Spit, a great place for a picnic and exploring driftwood.

We followed the beach. There were gentle breakers as we headed north, then turned east. Then we met the Elwha, a big swift river now, riding out to the strait and meeting it with a wall of breakers. We turned south and followed the beach alongside the river. The freshwater flow was brisk and powerful. The Elwha has definitely changed since the dams were taken down.

Keywords: elwha, striped peak

The Kaleberg Journal - April 2016

04/26 - Shrimp with Chervil Butter

One of our favorite dishes is Jasper White’s lobster with chervil butter. We enjoyed it at his restaurant back when we lived in the Boston area, and we, now and then, order a lobster and follow the recipe in his cookbook. Of course, it is easier to order lobster online than chervil.

We recently had some success with our chervil crop. OK, it was one plant, but it was fairly big. We didn’t want to bother ordering a lobster, so we decided to make a version of the dish using shrimp instead. It turned out wonderfully, so we’ll offer a recipe here for anyone who might want to try it.


  • 2 lbs large shrimp
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 ounces of chervil
  • about the same amount of chives
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt & pepper
  1. Peel and clean the shrimp.
  2. Heat a cast iron or other heavy pan on the stove. Use the highest stove setting. The goal is to cook the shrimp using as hot a pan as possible.
  3. Put 2 tbsp butter into the pan. If you are worried about burning the butter, use peanut oil or olive oil, but we just went for it.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook them for 5-10 minutes. The goal is to sear them if possible. We finished the job with a blowtorch equipped with a diffuser. Alternately, you might simply broil the shrimp in a metal pan.
  5. Turn off the stove. Pour in the bourbon. Stand back and light it. Swirl the pan a bit as the bourbon burns.
  6. When the flames go out, add the white wine. Turn the burner back high on and cook it down for a few minutes.
  7. Turn down the heat to low. Add 4 tbsp of butter and toss together with the shrimp until it melts.
  8. Add the chervil and chives. Toss a bit to mix. Turn of the burner and serve.

Keywords: recipes

04/24 - River Otters

We first spotted these river otters while they were swimming in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. We were a bit east of town, past the Rayonnier site, along the waterfront. One of them had a fish of some sort. They made their way to shore where they posed for a bit. Then they disappeared into the rocks below us.

Click on the pictures to see just how cute they are.

Otters at sea

Coming ashore

Getting closer

Posing on a rock

Definitely otters

Keywords: otters

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