May 2014June 2014 July 2014

06/26 - The Critters of Hurricane Hill

The flowers are near their peak on Hurricane Hill. The phlox may even be a touch past its peak, though its scent lingers. The lupines are blooming, as are the western wallflowers, glacier lilies, rock larkspur, avalanche lilies and yarrows. The marmots are out and active, as are the deer. There was also a mountain goat wandering about. The park service seems to have fitted this one with a collar. These can be dangerous animals, so we kept our distance.

While we were exploring, clouds and mist were rising in the north, and by the time we were heading back, they had engulfed the top of Hurricane Hill. Through the mists we could see a blue lake forming from the melted snow and a golden marmot cooling him or herself on the snow.

This was a great day for the flowers and for critter spotting on Hurricane Hill, but our real surprise was on the drive out. Driving through the parking lot, we saw a mother bear with two cubs scampering along Sunrise Ridge. We didn't have time to take a photograph, but those were the first bears of the season.

The scenery

One of the many golden marmots

Western Wallflower and some phlox

Phlox and the mists

Marmot of the mist

Clouds from the north

Another view

A mountain goat

Even closer

Glacier lilies

Larkspur and paintbrush

Keywords: animals, flowers, hurricane hill, marmots

06/24 - Port Angeles Farmers' Market Update

The farmers' market is in full swing. There are all sorts of greens. The Family Farm even has new potatoes. We made one of our favorite dishes. We boiled up some new potatoes until they were tender, but not mushy. Then we shelled a scad of English peas. While the potatoes were still warm we cut them up and stirred in the peas, some cream and some chopped mint. It's an old southern classic spring dish, and it's best with farmers' market vegetables.

Johnston Farm green beans, English peas, mixed green salads, scallions

Family Farm green beans and potatoes

Spring Rain Farm turnip greens and garlic scapes, among other things

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, food, recipes, spring rain

06/20 - First Crespiou of the Year

We've been having wonderful weather, and that means the local farmers have been doing really well. The produce at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market has been early and excellent, so we've managed to have our first crespiou of the season in the middle of June. A crespiou is a stack of two egg omelets, each layer with its own combination of flavors, usually centered on some farm fresh vegetable. This year's first crespiou had five layers, each with two eggs and:
  • turnip greens sauteed in sesame oil with garlic and a bit of soy sauce
  • a whole bunch of local green onions, chopped and sauteed in a tad of olive oil
  • steamed local green beans sauteed in olive oil with garlic, mint, and dry cured black olives
  • potatoes sauteed in olive oil with purple onion and thyme
  • toasted pine nuts, chopped up tomatoes and fresh basil
It's hard to make out the layers in the photo, but rest assured, they were delicious.

Five layers of goodness

Keywords: farmers' market, food

06/16 - Along the Strait

We've been having some really low tides lately. This one was maybe -2 feet. That's negative two. We usually consider any tide below 3 feet good for hiking, so this is probably a great time for exploring the Dungeness Spit or one of the beaches out near La Push.

You can see the rocky beach.

More rocks that are usually under water, even at low tide

More rocks, looking east


A green arch

Keywords: tides, morse creek

06/14 - Port Angeles Farmers' Market Update

Fresh local strawberries are in. We've had a sunny spring, so there is a great crop this year. The season is moving along with snap peas, fava beans, garlic scapes, green onions, all sorts of lettuces and even swiss chard.

We bought some black cod from Wild West. We usually put it in a shallow pyrex baking dish with some sherry, soy sauce, Chinese fermented black beans and a tad of brown sugar. Preheat the oven to 350F, then pop in the fish. Raise the temperature to maybe 425F and bake, or roast if your oven has the option, for about 30 minutes (maybe 40 for thicker filets).

For a special treat, after 15 minutes or so, remove the skin and turn over the filets. Then put the skin on some kind of a rack (e.g. one of those cake cooling racks or a broiling rack) over a pan to catch the fat and let the heat of the oven crisp it. The crunchy, oily skin makes a great appetizer while waiting for the fish to finish cooking.

Nash had fava beans and strawberries

Spring Rain had a chicken sale, but no more asparagus.

Wild West had salmon and black cod.

It was so busy at Johnston Farms that we really couldn't get a good photo.

Keywords: farms, johnston farm, salmon, nash huber, farmers' market, spring rain

06/11 - A Short Trip to Seattle

We had another short errand running trip into Seattle. One day we have to have a more leisurely visit. Still, we managed to squeeze in a great dinner at Staple & Fancy in Ballard followed by a much needed walk back to our hotel near Seattle Center.

The bar at Staple & Fancy

On the way back to our hotel

The area is clearly zoned for mixed use.

The water

Water and sky

Keywords: seattle, restaurants

06/09 - Wild West Seafood Is Back At The Port Angeles Farmers' Market

The title basically says it all. We grabbed a few king salmon filets. We also noticed that the smoked salmon guys were also selling salmon filets. We'll have to check them out as well.

That's not Preston.

Keywords: salmon, farmers' market

06/05 - Klahane Ridge Report

We still aren't sure how we did it, but we managed to climb up the Switchback Trail and get all the way up to Klahane Ridge. We were sure that this was as early in the season we had ever managed the climb, but we actually did make it to the ridge on May 29th back in 2005, so it has been a while.

This is always an exhausting hike, but the sense of the mountain and the spectacular views always make it worth the effort. This time that effort included having to clamber over a few remaining mounds of snow. The trail starts among trees in the ghost forest, then emerges onto the lush hill side. Most of the flowers have yet to bloom, though there was plenty of richly scented phlox and a lot of golden glacier lilies.

As we climbed, the distant rocky ridges overhead drew closer, and our view expanded. At around 1000 feet above the parking lot, Sunrise Point no longer blocks the view of glacier covered Mount Olympus and its cousins. The sky is wide and sparkling. Of course, at the ridge, the view is panoramic with the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, and everything else in creation, it seems, distantly visible.

We saw one lone marmot as we approached the ridge, but he or she - a matter primarily of interest to another marmot - dodged under a tree and some rocks. If we want to see marmots, we'll head back to Hurricane Hill. The high country is open. It looks like an early season.

The white stuff in the foreground is phlox. The white stuff in the background is snow.

The view

Mount Angeles

There were fields of richly scented phlox.

Phlox and more view

The view north of the strait

More phlox

The Olympic Mountains

Rocky fingers and lush green slopes

A glacier lily

This is a carnivorous plant growing not far from the parking lot. Click to enlarge the image and you can see the trapped insects.

Keywords: flowers, high country, klahane ridge

06/02 - Hurricane Hill Trail Report

The Hurricane Hill Trail is open. On slow days, we have been heading up to Hurricane Ridge to watch the snow melt and glacier lilies blossom. Usually this time of year, there are ten foot high ramparts of snow at the far end of the parking lot. This year, the area was almost snow free, so it was only a small surprise that the road to the Hurricane Hill trailhead was open. The big surprise was that the trail was relatively free of snow. There were some patches and a long stretch, a section of the trail shaded by evergreens was still covered. Still, we made it to the summit.

The trail is open early. We usually don't make it to the top of the hill until late June or even early July, but this year is different. The alpine flowers are already coming out, and not just the glacier lilies. The trail is scented with phlox. The paintbrush is out and the lupines are starting to bloom. Even the marmots are up and about. If you are planning a trip to Hurricane Ridge, it might make sense to plan to come early. The high country can be hard country, so it pays to sieze the day.

The trail is quite clear here.

This shaded corridor is the most snow covered part of the trail, but passable.

The views are spectacular.

A view from the summit

Another high country view



A marmot

Another marmot

Bachelors, out grazing


Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, marmots

May 2014June 2014 July 2014