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10/07/11 - Signs of Christmas

While we were hiking on Hurricane Hill, we couldn't help but notice signs of the season. Yes, there was some autumn color, but when we Kalebergs say "season", we mean "Christmas season". So while the stores are still pushing Halloween candy, stage makeup and costumes, we Kalebergs are already leaping ahead to the real thing. We usually don't jump the gun like this, but there were the signs: the first snow and the brilliant red and green of the season.

Snow by the trail

Snow on the trees

Look, Christmas trees

and more Christmas trees

We've really got to start decorating.

There's the red and green.

Deck the trails.

OK, so this is a bit autumnal.

That might make a nice tree blanket.

Keywords: autumn, christmas, hurricane hill, trails, kale

10/06/11 - Hurricane Hill in Autumn

This year the high country grasses stayed green until almost the last minute. Usually they turn to gold by late August, but this year was much moister, and the snows melted much later. Now, they are turning golden with a vengeance.

We were a bit disappointed with this year's crop of corn lilies. We took the side spur and found a number of spikes, now dried and brown, but the taller corn lilies were fallen with no signs of their blooms. Even the mouse on a stick seemed a bit dispirited, but there were a few flowers left including yarrows and harebells.


more scenery

and, good grief, more scenery.

The little snow melt lake is gone. The snow you see is old snow that never melted.

Golden grasses

A last harebell, almost translucent

Some corn lily spikes

We love the way water beads up on the lupines.

Wild flowers

Wild fields

Yarrow and harebells

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, autumn

09/24/11 - Hurricane Hill Was Crawling With Critters

Hurricane Hill was crawling with critters on our last visit. There were marmots, chipmunks, and blue grouse wandering about. The flowers of summer have passed for the most part, but our big disappointment was the corn lilies on the side spur. We had hoped to, at long last, catch them in bloom, but they don't seem to have blossomed this year. Still, there seem to be a lot more of them.

A golden marmot

Chipmunk alert: watch your shoelaces!

A plump blue grouse

A couple of marmots

The disappointing corn lily crop

Early autumn colors

More golden grasses

and mountains

and more mountains

Keywords: autumn, flowers, grouse, hurricane hill, marmots

08/16/11 - Hurricane Hill Corn Lily Update

We took the side spur off the Hurricane Hill trial to check out the meadow where the corn lilies grow. They are most definitely growing. They are even spreading with corn lilies appearing in areas we had not seen them in before. The views, not surprisingly, were spectacular. The corn lilies have not yet bloomed, but lots of other flowers have.

Corn lilies of the field

The corn lilies are not blooming yet.

We always take a picture or two of these rocks for some reason or another.

It pays to look closely.

The snow is melting and the water is trickling down this part of the trail.

Some anemones

Among the other flowers, a glacier lily, a sign of recent melt.

Corn lily shoots coming through the snow

More scenery - There is more to life than corn lilies.

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, summer, high country

08/15/11 - Hurricane Hill Revisited

We took the trail up Hurricane Hill again today. It has been a few weeks, so we expected the snow to be gone and the season to be passing. It is mid-August. In fact, the snow was more or less all gone, but the flowers are still blooming in earnest.

There are still some pretty spectacular views, even this late in the season.

Yep, another spectacular view

The blue seasonal snow melt lake is forming

Is this sweet cecelia? We aren't sure.

Lupines, apparently good for the memory

Pink paintbrush, or so we believe

There are lots of flowers

There are avalanche lilies under the pine trees where the snow lingered.

Bright colors

Our camera does not do justice to the scent of wild roses.

Those masses of white flowers are dirty sock plant. We call this area the hamper.

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, high country, summer

07/09/11 - Hurricane Hill

We were always fond of those mountain climbing movies from the 1930s with their portentious narratives, and their imagined voices always seem to accompany us on our ascents of Hurricane Hill. Maybe it's the park signs for Folded Rock and Lingering Snow. Maybe it's that there is a stretch "so full of dirty sock plant, they call it 'The Hamper'". Well, those voices are back, and we've made our first Hurricane Hill Ascent of the season.

The snows are melting rapidly, and most of the trail is clear. The shaded section through the trees (from The Bench to The Hamper actually) still has a fair bit of snow, but it's well packed and the footing is obvious. The area near the Hurricane Hill Trail side spur is also still covered with snow, but melting rapidly. The side spur is already walkable, at least for a ways.

The views, as one might expect, are spectacular. There is still a lot of snow on the mountains in every direction, and the alpine flowers are coming into bloom, even near the summit. The fields are adorned with a carpet of glacier lilies, and we saw at least one marmot. It may have been two, or it may have been just one who followed us to the summit. All told, the high country is open for the season and is as spectacular as ever.

The view hasn't changed much. There is a fair bit of snow on the big mountains.

Golden glaciers lilies

Melting snow

More glacier lilies and melting snow

The view from the summit

More view

Even more view - There is lots of view from Hurricane Hill.

The trail through that shady stretch of trees is still covered with snow, though passable.

The marmots are back.

This may or may not be the same marmot.

Marmot the Bold, in profile

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

07/01/11 - Hurricane Ridge to Hurricane Hill

We've fallen behind updating our web page. That's because we've been busy. We've been into Seattle a bit - more on that soon - and we've been getting up to the high country. The road between the lodge at Hurricane Ridge and the Hurricane Hill trailhead has been plowed, but not yet opened to traffic, so we've been walking it and a tiny bit of the Hurricane Hill trail. It's rather hypnotic, and the flowers are already in bloom.

The avalanche and glacier lilies are among the first, but it is the scent of the phlox that is the real sign of alpine summer. In fact, it seems that everything is blooming at once. Everything is late, but everything is there. We aren't sure when the park will open the road, but until then, we'll use it as a trail. Spring has come to the mountains.

The snow is melting.

Phlox is back.

As are these little violets.

And more phlox

Early lupines

Indian paintbrush

Melting snow on the Hurricane Hill trail

Avalanche lilies

A high country mushroom

A glacier lily

And the mountains

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, spring, summer

10/23/10 - Wild Sky at Hurricane Hill

Winter is teasing Hurricane Ridge even now. There's already a touch of snow on the lodge roof and a fair bit more fresh on the distant mountain tops. There's still a lot of autumn color, but now that is starting to fade. We started our latest hike with the mountains shrouded in white cloud and a light sleet, but the clouds parted and swirled. The sky was gray, nearly black, then white, then gray again, then blue. It was quite a show. It made up for the lack of marmots, now sensibly drowsing, we presume. It won't be long before the dominant shade is white, and getting to Hurricane Hill will require skis or snowshoes, so this might be a good time to say goodbye to autumn.

An unprepossessing sky

Autumn colors

Light and mist

Quickly moving shadows

Harvest gold - it looks better here than on one's refrigerator

Early snow

More autumn color

More wild sky

The glow of the sun

Keywords: autumn, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, marmots, winter

10/04/10 - Klahane Ridge

The Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge is always a challenge, but the views are always worth it. The colors have been changing a bit, and there are only a few alpine flowers left. Like Hurricane Hill, Klahane Ridge is chock full of marmots this year. We saw at least two of them out catching a few rays and enjoying the view, an inspiration for us Kalebergs.

There's just a bit of snow left.

Some scenery

More scenery

An alpine meadow, a magic carpet

There is nothing like a good rock in the foreground to set off the vista in the background.

Safety orange

Can you spot the marmot?

Another marmot

A well camouflaged marmot

A bit of paintbrush remained

As did a few asters

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, klahane ridge, marmots, kale

10/02/10 - Sightings

Hurricane Hill is chock full of marmots lately. They seem to be all over the place. Could it be that the park service has removed those coyotes, or is it just the year of the marmot? (They aren't all golden anymore either, possibly due to the high price of gold.)

We also saw a helicopter by the road side. They've been moving some old logs up from near Lake Dawn to Lake Angeles as part of the restoration effort. There probably wasn't a place to land at the pick up site, and we know there isn't one up at Lake Angeles, so they used one of the overlook pullouts.

Sorry, we have no action shots. The last time we saw one of these working helicopters it almost dumped a ton of gravel on us out towards Cape Alava, so it's probably just as well.

Keywords: hurricane hill, lake angeles, marmots, flying

08/22/10 - Late Summer - Already - at Hurricane Hill

It's late summer in the high country. The corn lilies are out on Hurricane Hill, and the fields are colored by the myriad harebells. The snow has all melted on the north slope leaving that seasonal lake behind. That's news enough.

The seasonal lake

The fields are colored with harebells and yarrows.

Corn lilies

More corn lilies in bloom

There are still some lupines.

It's like an impressionist painting.

You can see the colors of the flowers in the fields.

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, summer

08/10/10 - Hurricane Hill in the Clouds

Hurricane Hill is a spectacular hike on a sunny day. The trail follows the ridge and offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains as well as the strait. On cloudy days, the clouds play with the mountains. They course through the valleys and play hide and seek. On sunny days, the mountains look unreal. It is impossible to understand how far away they are and how big they are. Clouds, hanging in the valleys, give some perspective, a sense of scale.

Two trouble makers - We're sure.



More clouds

Keywords: hurricane hill, animals

07/24/10 - Hurricane Hill Revisited

The bear is still in the valley. He, or she, has not gone over the mountain yet. The first corn lilies are in bloom. Also, there were a few wild roses in bloom.

Corn lilies

Some lupines in a perfectly Heidi set up

Our friend, the bear

One of the first roses

People: Where do they all come from?

Keywords: hurricane hill, animals

07/20/10 - Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill trail is one of our favorite trails. It offers the high country, amazing views and great accessibility. This year, the flowers have been spectacular. The corn lilies are not quite out yet, but they're getting there.

The big excitement this year, was that there is a bear down in one of the valleys visible from the trail. Usually, when we spot a bear in the high country, all we see is a large dark dot moving against the green below. This bear was close enough to positively identify it as such. To be honest, that's about close enough a sighting for us.

Definitely a bear, not a marmot and weird atmospheric effects

The bear is down there.

A snow crescent on the north face.

From the corn lily side spur

Corn lilies

Sometimes it's the grasses.

A floral spectacular

Avalanche lilies


Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, trails, animals

07/08/10 - Hurricane Hill

We were up Hurricane HIll again. It's a spectacular walk. The lupines are coming along nicely. There is still lots of snow on the north face, but the shaded, snow covered portion of the trail has just about melted out.

The view

Lupine's progress

Another view - There are lots more where that came from.

Snow on the north face

Glacier lilies and some other flower we should look up

Keywords: hurricane hill, flowers

06/27/10 - The Hurricane Hill Trail

While we were off in Hawaii, the snows of the high country were melting. Not only was the road to Hurricane Hill open, but the trail was free of snow save for one section which is shaded by trees. It's great getting back up there, and already the flowers are in bloom. So far, this looks like it is going to be a great year in the mountains.

An avalanche lily

The big mountains are covered with snow, but down on Hurricane Hill, the snow is melting apace.

Another view

The high country

That section of snowy trail - not as bad as it looks.

Phlox scents the air.

One of our marmot friends

We really need to look up what this flower is on the internet.

Some of the first lupine

Indian paintbrush

Glacier lilies

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill

10/21/09 - Hurricane Hill In Gold

Obstruction Point Road is closed, as is Deer Park. We were up at Hurricane Hill and had the mountain nearly to ourselves for a bit. Even the marmots and grouse seem to have vanished for the year. The grasses have turned golden, and there are splashes of brilliant color set off by the somber greens of the forest. Was it really 97 degrees and so very green up here back in July?

Corn lily stalks

The golden fields

Fields and mountains - still on the top of the world

One of the views

The clouds like the valleys.

Some color, but fading already

Maybe we'll do this on our mantel for Christmas.

Keywords: hurricane hill, marmots, autumn, grouse

08/26/09 - Great Year For Grouse

You can really see the change in color up at Hurricane Hill. The grasses are getting golden, and most of the flowers have passed into straw. The mountains are spectacular as ever, and there are grouse all over the place. You just have to keep an eye on the tall grass.

Passing green


More scenery

Watch out. They'll eat your shoelaces.

A grouse: one of many

More scenery, and if you look carefully at the rocks you'll see a marmot.

Even more scenery

More grouse

A young grouse

Late flowers and the mountains

The last of the corn lilies

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, high country, grouse

07/25/09 - The Amazing Black Pine Cones of Hurricane Hill

We were up at Hurricane Hill and couldn't help noticing the glistening black pine cones. They are not only almost black, but they are covered with resin, so they catch the light as one moves past them.

The scene

The glistening black pine cones

More pine cones

An alert marmot

Corn lilies soon to bloom

Keywords: hurricane hill

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