Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
It was a really glorious day.
We were told to take a quiet moment at noon to remember Jan Klippert, founder of the Olympic Coast Cleanup, who passed away in January.
So it was just us, you know, and a whole lot of drift logs. Styrofoam, litter, plastic, metal, a tire. Ocean and sky, an eagle. S. said that the other day there were lots of gray whales, blows all over the place. But we didn't see any. (People always say that the other day there were lots of whales. It's always some other day, not this one...)
I hauled out a few bags of bagable-size trash. M. went much further down the beach then worked her way back doing the same. But I didn't like hopping deep into the drift, the footing was way too unstable. So L. took care by himself of the two drums and the big ball of netting that I'd spotted back there among the logs. One drum—which was still sealed and had a small amount of unknown substance in it—he carried and pushed out of the drift, rolled it down to the beach and then along the beach, and horsed it back up through the drift again to the end of the road. The second drum was empty, flattened and rusted out, and he decided that it was not intrinsically hazardous, so instead "we" worked on the blob of netting. He had to cut it into chunks that wouldn't be too heavy to haul or drag.
L. & S. kindly said that our tiny team had probably gathered more pounds of trash per person than any other team on the coast, one whole pickup load and then a second smaller one.
Across the river we could see the Oil City cleanup team walking out with bags of trash. They had a long way to go to get back to the vehicles. On the Rez side you could drive almost to the beach, so we had a much easier time (and could do metal and big blobs of netting...
Monday, April 21, 2008
Plus the weather was gorgeous.
Late in the afteernoon there was one quite close in at the far end of the beach. When I walked down there he had disappeared, but before I moved took a picture: and he actually flashed into view as I pushed the button on the camera...
Driving back, immediately into changable spring. Sleet, sun, snow; snowbanks still remaining along Lake Crescent; beautiful warm evening back in Port Angeles.
Even at the end of the day it still looked wintry there. Well, springy. All the way out at the west end, no snow by the time I got out there...
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I think I can recognize the Coho's silhouette and determined presence at any distance now. He is such a fine little boat. I used to think he was big, when I was on the boat as a passenger or noticing it at its mooring on the Port Angeles shore. But having watched him out on the Strait with tankers and great honking container freighters in the same field of view, I now see him as a sturdy small working boat. And definitely a him.
Last weekend I spent a whole afternoon sitting near the edge of the bluff at the bottom of the street, reading and watching the Coho cross to Victoria. It was the sunny day that all the little boats were out enjoying the spring and fishing for halibut. I watched and watched. He disappeared somewhere on the other side, before I figured out exactly what buildings over there might be bracketing the opening to the Inner Harbor from here. After a while he reappeared already quite far along on his return run. I watched him all the way back.
I'm 90 minutes from the actual ocean, but the salt water of the Strait is outside my windows, and after I have puttered away hours or all of a day not going anywhere, I can be out on Ediz Hook in about 7 minutes. I go often. There the ferry comes in or goes out. Ducks and loons and shorebirds poke around the sheltered harbor side, or bob in the surf on the Strait side. I look across to Canada, or back to the bluff above Marine Drive to spot the end of my street. I scribble lists of birds and the ships in view, and look them up when I get home. Buffleheads-brants-scaup-dunlin says one list. Loon-wigeons-turnstones-sanderlings.
There's all kinds of boat and ship action. Polar Adventure / Crowley Response / S/R Long Beach reads one list. Yesterday just after the Coho came into the harbor, the pilot boat suddenly left the Puget Sound Pilots station, whipped over to the tanker Polar Resolution in the middle of the harbor, and returned to her mooring at the station; then Resolution and her escort tug the Lindsey Foss started moving, slowly exited past the end of the Hook and headed east. If I'd understood what I was seeing, I'd have taken pictures...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
J. and her husband complete their move into their new home this week, and soon will be fishing Marine Area 6 themselves.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
These critters are everywhere around the North Peninsula.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
It remains ten degrees colder than normal, and raining on and off. Clearing over the Strait at the moment, mountain covered in cloud. The days are getting longer really fast. Photos taken from the deck.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Mind you, there are some rocks from there on the porch of my new digs, waiting for the landlady to finish her landscaping so I can figure out where in the yard to put them. But will I ever go there again? Do I need a Lincoln National Forest Travel Map from 1988? How about a 3/4"-thick pile of papers about the the Gallina culture and Nogales Cliff House (1)? Do I remember how to find it? Well, no. But I could just keep Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen and let everything else related go...
A 45-year old Sierra Nevada natural history book? A 2-inch-thick file of Sierra geological papers and maps?
I'm thinking about Philip as I do this, who arrived in New Mexico with Cascade Mountains books and maps that dated from his time on Sourdough Mountain thirty years before. Emblematic for him, but geeze, as information all too old. But I'm no different. "Wallrocks of the Central Sierra Nevada Batholith, California: A Collage of Accreted Tectono-Stratigraphic Terranes (1983)"? Vanish it. But there's a map! No. Keep only topo maps? Keep them even for places I'll not go again?
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Great bald eagle action, one kept launching from behind some trees and cruising low over the bluff where I was parked. An Australian tourist saw me with my binoculars and stopped to ask if I was seeing whales. Well, no. He had just been at La Push, where he had been told that ordinarily the whales come in close to the beach beginning this weekend, but they had seen only far distant blows.
My friend I. says, "Good luck on seeing whales. I never have been able to convince myself that seeing a whale blow is a bona-fide whale sighting." Not to worry, I., haven't seen any whale spoutings. Friends from the desert have contrived to get themselves in the path of the gray whale migration this season, E. at San Ignacio Lagoon and P. at Cabo San Lucas. Back home in the interior, they tell me about it. But me, here? Nope nope nope.
Will try again Saturday.
Click for wider panorama.
East of there, Mount Angeles and Klahane Ridge.
Click for wider panorama.
Further east still and out of the panorama image, other bits of skyline between the trees of the neighborhood.
M. says that the snowpack on Blue Mountain is 166% of normal. And that temperatures this spring are a good 10 degrees below normal. Not melting up there anytime soon. She has a visitor coming for Memorial Day, and called the back country ranger to find out if they might be able to hike the Little River trail down from Hurricane Hill to the Elwha Ranger Station at the end of May. "Late July," he said.