The Kaleberg Journal - October 2016

10/22 - First Snow on Hurricane Hill

Hurricane Hill was windy and cold, and the first snow has fallen. Obstruction Point Road is already closed, and it looks like we are having an early winter. The Hurricane Hill Trail started below the snow line, but we could see a lot more snow on the Olympic Mountains and snow on Mount Angeles early on. As we neared the summit, we saw the first snow by the trail. There wasn’t all that much snow, but this part of the mountain faces south. We could see a lot more snow on the north face, and the little seasonal lake has reformed after having dried out this summer.

The wintry air and clouds played tricks with the light. There were bands of crepuscular light as the sun shone through gaps in the clouds. There was even a bit of a light column glowing brightly with the sunlight reflected and concentrated by ice crystals. There wasn’t much of a view as we made our ascent, but at the summit the clouds blew past, so we had great views on our walk down. We often tell people to take the trail even when visibility is limited as things are likely to change. We were well rewarded for taking our own advice, but by the time we returned to our car, the clouds had started to close in again.

A last bit of color

Mountains and sky

The summit and the first snow

Crepuscular light

Mount Angeles snow

The north face

Snow on the trail - Doesn’t that look like winter?

Almost like autumn again

Autumn color

More shafts of light

A light column

Keywords: hurricane hill, obstruction point, winter

10/20 - Barnes Point and Marymere Falls

The big wind storm seems to have spared Port Angeles and the immediate vicinity, but outside of the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains there was wind to spare. We checked out Marymere Falls and found plenty of windfall. Trees had fallen across the trail, but we made our way to the roaring falls. We had planned to head up Barnes Creek a bit, but the wind fall and brush were too much for us. Instead we went back the long way passing by the lodge. We followed the river down to the lake proper, then cut back inland.

Some fallen trees

Some more fallen trees

Autumn color

Barnes Creek

Marymere Falls

More color - This has been a great year.

The creek again

Emerald forest

More of the creek

Even more water

Down by the lake

Keywords: barnes creek, marymere falls, port angeles. autumn

10/18 - Dungeness Dike

The recent rains have filled the local rivers. We took a walk along the Dungeness River near Towne Road and were impressed with the flow. The river usually looks rather peaceful, but this time the water was high and running strong.

One of the little side channels

Another view

Yet another view

The wide river

A little whirlpool

Autumn color and a dramatic sky

A heron by the road side

A hawk in a tree

More autumn color and sky

Keywords: dungeness

10/12 - Second Beach

With the Elwha Valley trails and the Spruce Railroad Trail closed we’ve been getting back to the west coast beaches. We had explored Rialto Beach and made our way to the coast at Third Beach, so this time we checked out Second Beach, which is probably our favorite. The day was bright, and the tide was low, so we made our way through the forest, down the bluff and then south along the beach to the sea cave and tide pools. It was an easy, relaxing walk, though we were both tired on the climb back.

The view to the north with the Hole in the Wall

Our first look at the beach

Sea stacks - Second Beach has a lot of them

Another view of the sea stacks

A sea stack reflected

Anemones - the green ovals - but no star fish

Another sea stack reflected

The driftwood where the trail meets the beach

The treasure tree, nicely fed

Forest trail …

… and more forest trail

Keywords: beaches, second beach, trails

10/05 - Late Season Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill trail may only be open for another few weeks, so we’ve been heading up there to enjoy the autumn colors. They aren’t as spectacular as the brilliant red of the Fields of Mars out at Obstruction Point, but they nicely mark the season.

The last rose

More snow in the mountains

Fading colors

The side spur

Fields of gold

Another late fall view

Yet another field

Still some red below

Autumn colors

Where the red and orange come from

Late season yarrow

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill

The Kaleberg Journal - September 2016

09/30 - The Plains of Mars

Winter is coming to the high country. The greens are turning into browns and reds and golds. At Obstruction Point the colors are brilliant, and the fields of bright red foliage remind us of the plains of Mars. Of course, thanks to NASA we now know that Mars looks nothing at all like Lilian Ridge, but the colors still evoke the fantastic Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The high country is always a bit otherworldly, but it is at its most spectacular and alien when the colors start to change.

The mountains of Mars

More mountains with Martian vegetation in the foreground

Red and a shock of gold

Fields of Mars

More Martian landscape

Seasonal color change

Changing colors from a distance

The red land encroaches on a dying sea

Lakes and seas of gold

More plains of Mars

Another Martian view

Keywords: high country, obstruction point

09/27 - Third Beach

There area three beaches near the mouth of the Quillayute River near La Push. Rialto Beach to the north is the most accessible. The road goes right to the water. Second Beach just south of La Push is a 3/4 mile hike from the parking lot and offers a broad expanse of beach to explore. Third Beach, a few miles south of Second Beach, balances coastal forest and beach walking differently with a smaller beach, but a full 1 1/2 mile walk from parking lot to water.

It is a pretty, easy path through forest and fern. There are ups and downs, then a descent to the sea. The beach is guarded by a barrier of driftwood, so be prepared to clamber a bit. You can head north to the headland there or south as we usually do. This means crossing the little stream that runs from the forest and across the sand to the sea. The best hiking is at low tide, below three feet at La Push, but we made our way south towards the high headlands there to see the little waterfall.

We didn’t make it as far as sometimes. The tide was a bit high, and we had left our shoes at the stream. We also had some company. A large cat had crossed the beach not long before us. That was our excuse at least.

The forest trail

The driftwood barrier

The mighty stream

Third beach, looking south

Our feline friend

The headland and seastacks

A hazy closeup of the waterfall

The view north

The forest experience

Green and twisted branch

Forest punctuation

Keywords: beaches, third beach, waterfall

09/22 - Sol Duc Falls and Beyond

We didn’t make it to Deer Lake, but we did get well beyond Sol Duc Falls. We crossed the bridge over Canyon Creek about 450’ above the falls and made our way to over 900’ above. It is a hard trail, not because it is steep, but because it is rocky and rough going.

The trail to Sol Duc Falls is relatively easy going, maybe 25 minutes of hiking with some ups and downs through old growth forest. There is a bridge across the Sol Duc at the falls, and then the trail begins a slow, rough ascent. It seems that half the climbing is up and down various rocks in the trail rather than up the mountainside. The air is often close, at least until one nears Canyon Creek.

Across the creek, the trail gets steeper, alternating between flatter stretches and challenging staircases. We managed to get a few glimpses of Canyon Creek, but we were tuckered out well before the lake at over 1600’. We’ll be back this fall. We’ll be in better shape and better prepared. We haven’t been up to Deer Lake in too long.

A typical stretch of trail

A glimpse of Canyon Creek

A curtain of drips

More drips

Even more drips

Another typical stretch of trail

A bit of autumn color

Canyon Creek from the bridge

A close up

Devil’s claw berries, probably inedible

Sol Duc Falls

Keywords: deer lake, sol duc

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