The Kaleberg Journal - July 2015

07/27 - To the Lighthouse

We walked out to the lighthouse near the end of the Dungeness Spit. There are good tides for taking this hike roughly every two weeks. You can walk out to the lighthouse, a ten mile round trip, at high tide, but that means walking on soft sand and clambering over driftwood. At low tide, there is lots of smooth, relatively firm beach, four and a half miles of it. (You'll see the next good tides for this hike if you scan the column to the left, you can look at our tide tables, or you can download Tidefinder.)

It was a particularly nice walk because of the good sand conditions, the low tide and the clouds. Walking on the spit is a strange experience, like walking out to sea dry shod. The spit is narrow, so one has a sense of being at sea, especially when one looks back at the mainland, miles away. There was lots of driftwood, including a few collections of logs still held together by straps for shipping, even as the wood has already started graying and weathering.

Dungeness Spit is worth a visit, even if you just take the half mile walk from the parking lot to the start of the spit or, perhaps, stroll another half mile to the marker stake. For the full experience though, wait for a low tide and take the long walk out to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse - visitors welcome

Our first glimpse of the lighthouse - Click to zoom in and scan the horizon towards the right.


Miles of wild beach

Gentle waves

A lost bale of timber

Another lost shipment

Keywords: dungeness spit, tides

07/17 - Sol Duc Falls and Beyond

A lot of people visit Sol Duc Falls. They walk from the parking lot to the falls, then they head back. This is definitely worth while, but there are all sorts of trails that run past the falls. One of our favorites is the trail up to Deer Lake which starts on the far side of the bridge over the falls. It's a rocky, lumpy trail, so it is hard going, and Deer Lake itself was a bit beyond us. We just weren't up to a 1600' climb.

Despite this, we saw some wonderful woodland as the trail ascended into the canyon. Around 400 or 450 feet up we cross Canyon Creek on a well built wooden bridge. Then we continued our climb. If nothing else, we were lured by the few hundred non-rocky feet of trail a bit beyond the bridge. It was a short stretch, but after the lumpy trail below, a pleasant relief.

We made it up past the clearing, but turned around exhausted. We've hiked up to Deer Lake, and even beyond to the Potholes, before, but today they were out of our league.

Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc forest

One of the boardwalks

Devil's claw berries

Tiarella and a visitor

The falls on Canyon Creek

An old stump


The trail

More forest

and even more forest

Keywords: sol duc, trails

07/10 - Hurricane Hill in the Haze

We ran into some foggy spots on the road to Hurricane Hill, more or less centered around the tunnel, but by the time we made it to the Switchback trailhead, the sky was softly milky, but blue. It was dry on the trail to Hurricane Hill. It is only July, but we were seeing late summer flowers, the harebells and yarrow. There were butterflies everywhere.

The clouds below filled the valleys and the haze softened the mountains. This wasn't the usual crystalline mountain air. Mount Olympus, in the distance, was softened, almost part of the cloudscape.

There was a mountain goat grazing not far from the summit and a real marmot keeping his or her distance on the field containing a deceptive stone we call Marmot Rock. The corn lilies were doing surprisingly well. There was a full crop of them, a good number of them already in bloom.

On the way down we passed a young girl heading upwards. She wore a tee shirt exhorting us to "Stop, Smell Roses", so we did. There were a few wild roses still in bloom. Few tee shirts offer such excellent advice.

Soft clouds, soft mountains

Awash with clouds

Harebells and yarrow

More soft mountains

A mountain goat

More soft shapes

A plover

Corn lilies

More mountains awash with clouds

A golden marmot in retreat

We stopped to smell the roses.

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, summer

07/09 - Hemp Hearts

These really don't sound appetizing. Isn't hemp what rope used to be made out of? Check out the orange package towards the right, a bit past the chia pet snacks. (Are they animal or vegetable?) Maybe they are better than they sound.

Keywords: shopping

07/08 - Marymere Falls, Still Flowing

We visited Marymere Falls on the south shore of Lake Crescent with some trepidation. The drought this year has been serious. We could tell there was a lot less water this year by the time we crossed Barnes Creek, but the falls were flowing, just not as much as usual. Small comfort, but this year, we'll take what we can get.

Marymere Falls

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls

07/06 - The Hazy Sun

When the winds changed, smoke from the forest fires burning on Vancouver Island made it our way. There have been lots of photos, but we figured we add our own, a picture of the sun, dimmed and recolored by the haze.

The hazy sun

Keywords: port angeles, atmosphere

The Kaleberg Journal - June 2015

06/29 - Rialto Beach, Northwest Cool

It has been hot lately, at least by local standards, so we decided to go to the beach. We went a few hours before low tide and joined the tourist throngs heading west on route 101. Our destination was Rialto Beach, and it was wonderful.

The drive was bright and sunny, but as we approached the coast on route 110, we saw a looming gray band of Pacific fog with its slightly bruised purplish color. The sky stayed sunny as we passed the Mora ranger station, but as we neared the coast, the sky turned gray. We stepped out of our car in the parking lot and were blasted by an icy wind that cut through our light clothing. Luckily, we never clean out the back of our car, so we had some nice warm coats handy. We needed them.

We hiked north along the coast, through the fog, passing ghostly driftwood and crunching our way across banks of rocks and gritty sand. We knew there were sea stacks and a headland ahead, but the fog was too thick to see far. It was delightful. Given the cold, we were worried about crossing Ellen Creek about a mile north of the parking lot. We usually had to wade, and we were cold already. Luckily, Ellen Creek was covered with sand, so we could cross dry shod.

Then the sea stacks appeared through the mist, and we were clambering on rocks and looking for anemones. Then we spotted the starfish. That was great news. Two years ago a plague wiped out every last starfish in the area. This was the first one we had seen in the wild since then. It looked healthy enough clinging to the rocks. We made our way to the headland. There were mussels and anemones and even another starfish. The best thing of all, though, was the Northwest Cool.

If you want to experience Northwest Cool, come in the morning. By mid-afternoon the mist starts lifting, and the heat of the day starts to seep in.

Pacific mist and driftwood

A mysterious beach

Sea stacks

More driftwood and gray skies

A double eagle

A starfish!

The headland

Sea stacks

Another view with a bit of blue sky

Exploring the headland

Another starfish


06/28 - A Farmers' Market Update

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market was bustling, and we are finally starting to get a bit past salad greens. Johnston Farm and Nash Huber both had tomatoes. They were small, but they looked and smelled right. The Family Farm, with their greenhouse, has been selling wonderful zucchini and green beans for a while now. While the weather screams summer, the farmers' market has been making its way through spring. Every week there are new signs of summer, like broccoli and swiss chard. We'll just have to keep coming back.

Johnston Farm

Nash Huber's

Family Farm

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber

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