06/05/13 - China Beach on Vancouver Island

We made a brief trip across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and wound up exploring China Beach. It's the first access point for the coastal trail, but we didn't have time to explore far. Still, we did get down to the beach and wandered a bit. It's pretty country, so we're hoping to get back and explore more.

The forest

The trail down to the beach

A glimpse through the woods

The beach, looking one way

The beach, looking the other way

A stream heading down to the beach

View of the headlands

Local wild life

More wild life

A sea star

Leaving the beach

Keywords: victoria, beaches

10/15/09 - Some Autumn Color at Butchart Gardens

We visited Butchart Gardens in Victoria again. We didn't go for the flowers. That's for the spring and summer. We went for the fall foliage. We figured that the local color in the Port Angeles area was so impressive this year that the leaves at Butchart Gardens would be something special. We were not disappointed. While it is possible that the autumn leaf color at Butchart Gardens is always spectacular thanks to the miracles of modern horticulture, we had nothing to complain about this year.

Japan, like New England, is noted for its fall foliage, so we were not surprised by the Japanese Garden with its brilliant maples, but it was the Sunken Garden that really showed off the reds and oranges of autumn. Yes, the season of flowers is passing, but there is much to enjoy this time of year.

Some dahlias

Changes in the Japanese Garden

More from the Japanese Garden

Even more from the Japanese Garden

Get the idea?

The Sunken Garden

More from the Sunken Garden

Even more from the Sunken Garden

There's no need for a caption here.

Keywords: autumn, victoria

06/16/09 - Butchart Gardens

We spent a day up in Victoria, BC, mainly visiting Butchart Gardens. They have a garden for every taste, with arrays of roses, formal beds, Japanese styled plantings and a wonderful sunken garden set in an old quarry and now a fantasy of ponds and plantings. We had dim sun at Don Mee in town, then wore out our seats at the iMax at the Royal BC Museum.

Leaving Port Angeles on the Victoria Express

The rose garden

The Japanese garden

A hungry resident

The harbor

The Italian garden

The sunken garden: a repurposed quarry

One of many water lilies

The fountain

Keywords: flowers, victoria

05/16/09 - Exploring Tacoma - Part 2

We also explored a bit of North Tacoma, with its Victorian gingerbread and great views of the harbor and Puget Sound. We found the Rosewood Cafe, but didn't have a chance to try it. The Proctor Shopping District is nearby, as is the University of Puget Sound. They call it UPS for short. We thought they were referring to the United Parcel Service.

We took Sixth Avenue on our way back downtown. The neighborhood is bit louche, especially in comparison with North Tacoma, but it reminded us a little of Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The stores were aimed at the arty and edgy with a host of vinyl records shops, vintage clothing stores, and even a Hawaiian gift shop.

Some Victorian gingerbread

More gingerbread and a nice garden

It's almost like being in San Francisco.

To the north, some great views, but less fantastic architecture

The Rosewood Cafe - It looked good, and the joint was jumping.

The Proctor Shopping District - That's a model train store, one of many intriguing shops.

The Music House, one of many special interest houses at the University of Puget Sound - There are also the language houses, athletic house and so on.

We had to admire the sentiment at this little computer store.

Sixth Avenue was a bit louche, a lot like Melrose in Los Angeles.

Another Sixth Avenue shop - great colors.

The costume shop - probably a madhouse come Halloween

Keywords: tacoma, victoria, los angeles

10/17/07 - Otter Island

The Morse Creek Trail is what passes for an urban trail out in Port Angeles. It runs along the water from downtown near the Red Lion, the Victoria ferry docks and The Landing, past the Hospital, and then along the base of the bluffs before turning inland a bit before Morse Creek east of town. We tend to drive east on 101 to Morse Creek and park in the little parking lot there. We head west, crossing the wooden railroad bridge which was restored by local volunteers, and then down to the water. Given that the town is hard by a National Park full of some of the greatest wilderness in the lower 48, walking the Morse Creek trail still manages to take one away from it all. There is a little beach where the trail meets the strait, then a crumbling dike which is washed by the waves on stormy days. A bit past here, the trail is paved, so it makes a great bicycle trail. The view is of Ediz Spit with the Coast Guard Station, alien Canada and the city of Victoria, the San Juan Islands, the Strait of San Juan de Fuca itself, and in the distance Mount Baker looming like a meringue. There is also a lot of kelp which we tend to mistake for sea birds, and there is a bunch of rocks (see the picture below) which is now and then inhabited by local river otters (see pictures to the right). The otters aren't on their rock all that often, but when they are, it is a special treat.

Keywords: morse creek, victoria, birds, mount baker, otters

08/23/07 - Hurricane Hill Flowers

As we have noted before, this has been a wonderful year for the wildflowers in the high country. Hurricane Hill is still in full bloom. As you can see, there are even freshly blooming lupines, and, if you can believe it, mushrooms. The soil is usually so dry this time of year that most flowers are withered, but this year has been so moist that even the mushrooms are out. The corn lilies are out as well. They are on that side spur off the Hurricane Hill trail that heads down to the Elwha Ranger Station. There were also a couple of other flowers of note including the eerie looking "Japanese witches" we show here. They look like the three witches in Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, his retelling of Macbeth. Also looking somber were these other stalks, just coming into bloom. They look like traditional Victorian mourning colors. They'd be something in Paramatta silk.

Late season lupines

Actual mushrooms

Corn lilies in bloom

Japanese witches

Victorian mourning colors

Keywords: flowers, high country, hurricane hill, victoria

05/04/05 - Eleanor's Building

We've finally been going over our notes from our New York City trip and figuring out what is worth posting. Things are slow here in Port Angeles, or rather we've been so focused on various boring projects that we have fallen behind. So, here is something from nearly a month ago;
She by H. Rider Haggard
We were walking down 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues when we noticed an unusual sign on one of the buildings:

    Eleanor's Building - She who must be obeyed

We have no idea of who Eleanor is, though we assume that building was indeed hers. As for "she who must be obeyed", we have to thank H. Rider Haggard who wrote the book She which is surprisingly not a gay camp classic. After all, the story involves a closeted male couple, one member of whom is tempted by a family inheritance which takes him to a mysterious lost land in Africa. Here, he and his male partner are tempted by, of all things, women. Ayesha, the queen of this society is seeking immortality, which requires the presence of a male partner, suggesting that this is a metaphor for the familiar immortality obtained by having children. If you've read Victorian fiction in which the heroine must fight for her virtue, you will find this all familiar, save for Haggard's sex reversal. In the end, virtue triumphs.

We don't think that any of the characters in She was named Eleanor, and we are probably reading a bit much into a mere sign.

Keywords: eleanor's building, new york city, port angeles, victoria, kale