September 2015October 2015 November 2015

10/30 - Mountain Mystery

The clouds may have blocked our view somewhat, but they also made everything wonderfully mysterious. While the grand view is one of the big attractions of the Hurricane Hill Trail, it has its charms even on a cloudy day.

One of the better views

Valley clouds

Golden grass and misty mountains

The fog rolling in

Golden grass and mist

A mysterious view

More mystery

Clouds in the mountains

More clouds and mountains

More clouds and mountains - What did you expect?

Some left over phlox

Keywords: hurricane hill

10/27 - Olympic Hot Springs

We've only taken the Olympic Hot Springs Trail three times, but there always seems to be something happening. Our first visit, a few days after the trail had reopened after a four year closure, was rather uneventful, but on our second visit, they closed the bridge right before the hot springs. It was being replaced with a new one. Our third time we made it over the new bridge to the hot springs, but while we were exploring, a ranger approached. She was closing the hot springs. There had been a fatality the day before, and the park service was being cautious.

The trail itself was as pretty as ever. It was like something out of a fairy tale, with bubbling springs, dark glens and a host of mushrooms lining the side of the trail. The hot springs themselves were shrouded with mist, and the flowing mineral water had precipitated a bluish white glaze along the channels. The new bridge was a great log with sturdy handrails and offered a great view of the stream below. It's a wonderful walk, an hour each way from the parking lot to the springs, but be prepared. Anything might happen.

The trail

Another view of the trail

One of the many little streams

Ferns by the trailside

Mineral deposits at the hot springs

Flowing water

A hot spring spool

The upstream below

The downstream below

Hot springs closed


Keywords: olympic hot springs

10/23 - Autumn Phlox at Hurricane Hill

This has been a strange year. We hiked up to Hurricane Hill the other day and couldn't help noticing that there was phlox blooming by the trailside. Phlox are usually one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, not long after the snows have melted, so seeing it in the autumn was a surprise. There was enough of it to scent the air here and there. As we said, this has been a strange year.

Phlox in bloom

A real surprise

Also, a dramatic mushroom

The scenery is getting paler.

The view

A bit of frost in the shade

Still some color here

More snow in the distant mountains

A last harebell

More phlox

Pine cones

Keywords: autumn, flowers, hurricane hill, spring, trails

10/14 - Exploring Seattle

We had some errands to run, so we spent a day or two exploring Seattle. We finally made it to the Arboretum which is sort of a reference library for trees. It's run by the University of Washington, and if you want to see specimen of a particular kind of tree you go to the tree catalog and it will tell you where to look. We weren't looking for any particular kind of tree, so we just explored a bit, particularly around the Japanese Garden which has a lot of maples showing wonderful fall colors.

The waterfront ferris wheel caught by a ray of sun

One of the new trains on Broadway

A Halloween window

And another

And another

The Japanese Garden

And maples

And more maples

And yet even more

Keywords: seattle

10/03 - Seattle and the Ghost Mountain

We had to take a quick trip into Seattle. The air was crystalline, so the ghost mountain, Mount Rainier, made an appearance over West Seattle.

Seattle from the water

The ghost mountain

The ghost mountain in high contrast

Keywords: seattle

10/02 - Hurricane Hill

We made a trip up to Hurricane Hill and hiked to the summit. One of the things we noticed was that we were short of breath. Our Australia trip included a fair bit of climbing, but there aren't all that many high mountains in Australia. The continent is old, and most of the high mountain ranges have long since eroded. The Hurricane Hill Trail starts at over a mile up, so for our unaccustomed lungs the air was thin.

The air was also moist with clouds and mists draping the hills and blocking the spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains. The hills were golden with accents of red and yellow. We saw Olympic blue grouse and a merlin in a tree. At first, we were sure it was a mock bird sighting. "That clump of foliage sure looks like a bird. It could have fooled me." As we approached though, it turned out to be a hawk, and this time we actually looked it up in a bird book. It was a merlin as best we can tell.

Mists and fields

An ascent into the clouds

More clouds

The misty mountains

After the summer's drought, this was a sight for sore eyes.

Glimpses of mountains

The trail down

That clump at the top of that tree almost looks like a bird.

An excellent example of protective mimickry

More clouds and mist

Another glimpse into the distance

Keywords: grouse, hurricane hill

10/01 - Back Home to Water

When we left for Australia the North Olympic Peninsula was in the middle of a drought. It was a real relief to get back home and see water, water from the skies and water in the streams. We went out to Sol Duc and took a look at the falls, then headed up towards Deer Lake on the trail that follows Canyon Creek. The falls were full of water as was the creek and as was the trail itself.

Canyon Creek from the bridge

The little streams are flowing too.

At some points the trail itself is a stream.

Sol Duc Falls

Water under the bridge

Keywords: sol duc

September 2015October 2015 November 2015