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07/27/11 - Lake Angeles, Hurrah!

It started inauspiciously, but by fits and starts and sheer force of will we made our way up to Lake Angeles. It was not an easy climb, and we didn't get any great view of the high cliffs around the lake. It was just too cloudy. Still, we did have the satisfaction of a good workout, and we got to see some of the restoration work at the campground. They had to haul the logs for this up from Heart O' the Hills by helicopter. (We had noticed a little helicopter landing on one of the Hurricane Ridge Road pull offs last year. Apparently, that was part of this.) The campground looks quite different, and there are hundreds of baby trees or perhaps bushes. It will look quite different in another five years. Maybe we'll still be able to make the climb then and see.

So much for the picture postcard view

Some of the myriad baby plants

The logs mean keep off the baby plants.

These logs lead down to the lake.

A really neat looking lupine

Some of the trilliums up by the lake

We've never seen trilliums up by the lake before. This has been a weird summer.

Keywords: lake angeles, summer, trillium

07/02/11 - Farmers' Market Update

Things have been getting much more lively at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. Nash Huber has fava beans, spinach and strawberries. Did he also have that Swiss chard? We aren't sure if we got it from him or Westwind Farm. We're pretty sure Westwind had carrots. Everything is a bit late, but summer is coming in. Ars longa, veggies brevis, so enjoy the season.

Nash Huber's stand

Keywords: farmers' market, nash huber, port angeles, summer, westwind farm

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

06/18/11 - The Farmers' Market - Almost Summer

It is hard to believe, but summer starts in just a few days. That also means that the Wednesday afternoon market will be starting as well. We gather it starts at 3:30 on the 22nd with a special fund raising opening. We aren't too sure of the regular Wednesday hours, but we'll find out soon enough.

Summer and the Wednesday market

Today the leaves, tomorrow whole heads


The Family Farm

Pane d'Amore

Keywords: summer, farmers' market

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

08/15/10 - Obstruction Point

We were back at Obstruction Point. The snow is melting rapidly, forming fantastic shapes as it does in the summer mountains. Wild lakes appear in the wakes of melting snow fields, and all around the flowers are in bloom.

Melting snow

The vista

The trail

An emerging lake

Snow saved by shadow


More fields

Keywords: flowers, obstruction point, summer, high country

08/12/10 - The Summer Port Angeles Farmers' Market

We haven't been writing very much about the Port Angeles Farmers' Market lately. This has not been because we haven't been shopping there, but because we've been lazy. The slow start to the season didn't help, but now the summer vegetables are coming in thick and fast. The Korean Garlic Lady is selling her wonderful, almost overpowering garlic, along with her excellent scallions. Lazy J and Johnston Farms have their great potatoes. Everybody seems to be selling cauliflower, and it's about time.

We should also note that Mount Townsend Creamery is selling Trailhead again. They aren't getting their milk from Dungeness Valley Creamery anymore, but the cheese is almost as good as ever.

Trailhead cheese is back.

Great garlic

Potatoes! We're saved!

Cauliflower in living color.

Those are Nash's watermelons.

Lazy J always puts on a great display.

More vegetables

Keywords: farmers' market, farms, johnston farm, port angeles, shopping, summer, mount townsend creamery, garlic lady

07/12/10 - Elwha Out Of Whiskey Bend

Whiskey Bend has been busy lately, so the winding one and a half lane road leading up there has been a bit more of a driving challenge. Still, we had to go, if only to see how the river was doing. Well, the river is doing just fine. The wild roses are out, as are the turk's cap lilies. The thistles though seem to be dying. If nothing else, they are kind of twisted. Our big treat was seeing two fawns. One was on the trail and scampered into the woods where we couldn't get a good photograph. The other was right on the road. We had to stop, so we took a few pictures while we shared the road.

The forest floor

The field near Hume's Ranch

The Elwha River

Wild roses

A dying thistle

Turk's cap lilies

Mother and baby

Keywords: elwha, flowers, summer, animals

06/28/10 - Lake Angeles Trail Update

We're doing a lot of updates lately, largely because a lot is happening. Summer means another season of local produce and another sesason of access to the high country of Olympic National Park. The Lake Angeles Trail is one of the first trails we explore, if only because it is open for most of the year, especially if we take our snowshoes. Now, of course, the trail is shoe ready, and from what we have heard, there is only a bit of snow left around the lake. (Yes, we really have to get up there, but we have to get back in shape first.)

For other news, the Pacific dogwood is out, the trilliums are passing, and the park service has removed that big tree that was blocking the start of the boardwalk about 700' above the parking lot. Stay tuned as we Kalebergs start checking things out, or check out the park service's trail reports.

Pacific dogwood

The trail repair team from a few weeks back - note the chain saw at the ready

The cleared trail

The rude bridge

Another flower we really should look up somewhere

A fading trillium, its petals turning pink

Descending into the mists below

Keywords: high country, lake angeles, summer, trails, trillium, kale

06/28/10 - Farmers' Market Update

We do more shopping than ever at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. That's where we get most of our beef, lamb, and seafood, as well as almost all of our vegetables. This has been a slow year, and, frankly, we're a bit worried about Nash Huber's stand which has been surprisingly bare of produce. "Where's our broccoli?" Where's our cauliflower?", we asked. Nash's folks say that this is a seed year, which is good news for the future, but not for 2010. Despite this, there was broccoli, at Lazy J! We loaded up. We have some catching up to do. Knock wood we'll be seeing more early summer vegetables next week.


Keywords: farmers' market, nash huber, port angeles, shopping, summer

06/09/10 - Larkspur by the Roadside

We always think of larkspur as a high altitude plant, so it is surprising to see it growing along Olympic Hot Springs Road not far from the junction with 101. It's in full bloom right now, and a bit tricky to find. If nothing else, all eyes are on the Elwha River this time of year. This larkspur grows across the road. Look for a power line pole on the right as you are heading north if you care to find this patch.

Keywords: summer, flowers, elwha, olympic hot springs

08/25/09 - Obstruction Point: Late Summer

Summer is brief in the high country. Spring comes in a rush with the melting snows, and then there is a brief time when the land is lush with alpine blooms. Then the warmth and dry air of summer do their work and make ready for autumn. It isn't autumn yet, but the landscape is sere. Still, there is the awesome beauty of the high country and the more subtle blossoms of late summer.

Just another view

More scenery - Are we jaded yet?

The trail on top of the world

Mountain lakes and lingering snow


Some succulent we were too lazy to look up

Late lupines - Hurry if you want your lupine fix.

The kind of stuff they try for at garden shows

The fields


and more flowers

Keywords: obstruction point, autumn, flowers, high country, summer

08/20/09 - Lake Angeles in Season

Just a quick note on Lake Angeles. Come on up; the water is great. If you want to have a good long climb and a refreshing swim at the top of it, now is the time to take the Lake Angeles Trail and take a dip in the lake. The water is cool, but it is as warm as it is going to get. Don't wait for winter.

Lots of people out enjoying the lake

Great looking fungus

The lake in summer

Keywords: lake angeles, summer

07/31/09 - Rialto Beach

Second Beach is probably our favorite beach on the West End, but now and then we like to get down to Rialto Beach for a bit of variety. It's an easier hike. There's no climb through the coastal forest and no clambering over driftwood. You just park, and you are on the beach.

This time the beach was shrouded with Pacific fog, as it often is in the summer. The seastacks were invisible until we were nearly upon them. There was a lot of driftwood, but it was generally piled up high on the beach, even with a high low tide. In another sign of summer, the little river about a mile from the parking lot ran under the sand to the sea. Most of the year we have to ford the stream, but this time we walked right over it without even noticing.

We made it as far as the first headland climb, up into the rain forest. It was almost like climbing a ladder made of tree roots. At the top, we could look through the foliage and see the rocky outcrop that jutted out to the sea like a lost Mayan temple in some adventure romance. We turned around there. We like our adventures, but we like them bite sized.

The view north

Lots of driftwood this year

Our favorite seastacks

The Mayan temple

The trail to the lost temple

Tide pools

The view south

Keywords: beaches, rialto beach, summer, little river

06/01/09 - Farmers' Market Update

We may have another two or three weeks before summer starts, but the Port Angeles Farmers' Market is moving ahead. We've been enjoying the spring crops of asparagus, arugula, mixed braising greens and all those new potatoes. The seafood folks have been selling salmon and ling cod, so we've been doing more shopping at the market than ever.

Keywords: farmers' market, shopping, spring, summer, salmon

01/18/09 - Second Beach

There are not a lot of great tides at Second Beach this time of year, but there was a two foot low tide a bit after noon so we hit the road. Second Beach was busy. We've seen it quieter on summer weekends. The beach was warm and sunny, a pleasant change. There were even people out in their bathing suits splashing in the shallows. Second Beach is otherworldly with the sun, the mists, the seastacks, the low flat beach and the massive trunks of driftwood tossed with abandon along the beach.

Amazing mist at the south end of the beach

Amazing light as well


The cave was barely visible until we were nearly upon it.

A mysterious channel

Driftwood at the mouth of the trail from the parking lot

Keywords: second beach, summer, tides

11/01/08 - Port Angeles Farmers' Market - Harvest Edition

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market is in full swing every Saturday morning from 10AM to 2PM at the county courthouse on 4th and Peabody. The summer is great, but the autumn is the real season for harvest goodies. This year there have been lots of great green peppers, and at long last we can feast on lacinato kale, savoy cabbage and brussels sprouts.

We make a lacinato kale salad by removing the stems and cutting the kale into thin strips. Then we add about a half lemon worth of lemon juice, a few tablespoons of good parmesan cheese, a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a teaspoon, to taste, of hot red pepper flakes. It's a great salad, and it's finally in season.

Insert a picture here

Keywords: autumn, farmers' market, port angeles, summer, kale

08/31/08 - Hurricane Hill

We were up on Hurricane Hill, looking for the last signs of summer and the first signs of autumn. We found both. There were patches of late blooming lupines, a blue grouse, and corn lilies, but there were also the seed pods, asters and golden grasses of fall.

We were pleased to see that the corn lilies were in bloom. We had been up on Hurricane Hill earlier in the year, but with the road reconstruction and rain, we had not been up for a while. We were afraid that we would miss their subtle green blossoms. As you can see in our photo, we had time to spare. There is something to be said for a cool summer.

The scenery, as usual, was spectacular.

The grasses are turning golden.

Lupines are still around, if you know where to look.

These are the late season flowers in late season colors.

Pink paintbrush of summer

The corn lilies are in bloom.

A corn lily flower

Fall flowers and mysterious shrouds

White eyed lupine

Another mysterious shroud

A blue grouse

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

07/05/08 - Expedition: Deer Lake - Fail!

With the success of our Hurricane Hill expedition, we were all set for further high country exploration. We sallied forth to Sol Duc Falls for an assault on Deer Lake, a rocky one thousand, six hundred and fifty feet APL (above parking lot). Our journey began well, particularly the 0.8 miles from the parking lot to the falls which were roaring with the enthusiasm of early summer and a lot of water.

Then, we began our climb, up towards Deer Lake. This trail, if you are unfamiliar with it, ascends slowly at first, and is notable for its rockiness which often leads to battered foot syndrome. Luckily, our running shoes were up to the challenge, so we rolled along nicely, climbing, climbing, ever climbing. It wasn't long before we reached the Canyon Creek crossing, a high bridge over a powerful stream and a great photo op.

We continued. We passed through the lone unrocky section of the trail among the tall trees, and still we ascended. We did not get far. About 200 feet above the bridge, the snow began. Snow may look harmless, but ask Robert Falcon Scott. Rather than suffer his fate, we turned tail, discretion being the better part of valor.

Our lesson learned was simple. The high country is opening, but at its own pace. We'll be back at Sol Duc soon, and in due course Deer Lake will be ours.

Snow: our nemesis

The canyon falls

A late season trillium

Sol Duc Falls

Pacific dogwood in bloom

Keywords: deer lake, high country, hurricane hill, sol duc, summer, trillium

07/01/08 - Expedition: Hurricane Hill

The Hurricane Hill Trail is not only open, but this may be the best year yet for alpine flowers. There are great banks of phlox, fields of glacier lilies, indian paintbrush, and great stands of lupine. The good snowpack this winter means more water, and the plants are making the most of it. This really looks like a spectacular season for exploring the high country.

As for the trail itself, it is largely clear of snow except for that section shaded by trees that runs from the open area near the Wind The Sculptor sign to The Hamper. (We call it that because it is full of dirty sock plant in the high season). Even that section, perhaps a few hundred feet long, is melting rapidly, and the snow is walkable if you take care.

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Flowers and more flowers

Is this some kind of plover?

Lots of glacier lilies

The north face melting has begun.

Fields of phlox

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, summer

There are fields of phlox.

06/28/08 - Hurricane Hill Road Is Open

We were up at Hurricane Ridge yesterday and had a pleasant surprise. Hurricane HIll Road is open. On our last visit, the road had been partially plowed, as far as the first picnic area, and was open for hikers. Now the road is open for traffic all the way to the Hurricane Hill trailhead.

Being lazy sorts, we decided to walk, rather than drive, so we set out from the lodge along the road. The snow is melting fast. The views are spectacular, as usual. The big show is the flowers. We have never seen so many and so many all at once. Already, there are lupines, phlox, glacier and avalanche lilies, indian paintbrush, yarrow, and a good many we don't know the names of. There were even mushrooms, which are not all that common a mile up. Clearly, the wet winter, with nearly twelve feet of snow, had something to do with this.

As it turned out, Friday was the first day the road was open. The Hurricane Hill trail is generally clear, though there was a big pile of snow near the start, and the rangers reported a fair bit of snow in that shady patch about a mile along. Next time, we aren't going to be so lazy. We are going to drive out to the trailhead and get to the top of Hurricane Hill. Wish us luck.

The air is scented with phlox.

Some early lupines

Glacier lilies

Drunkard's Corner: We noticed the wobbly line this time. Next time, we'll drive, but we'll stay sober.

Keywords: flowers, hurricane hill, hurricane ridge, summer

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