Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tucson Heat Compleynt #2

I think we got to 108 today. My brain is steaming. As soon as the inner thermostat gets back to normal I have to go out on another errand.


That's the official forecast-at-a-glance HOT icon. We don't get a HOT icon for tomorrow, it will only be 102.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tucson Again

It is So Terribly Hot Here it's like science fiction. When you walk across
asphalt you can't believe the oven effect. When you finally get back
indoors, you have to go through a long cooling cycle before you decide you
are going to live.

The business of getting mom relocated is progressing despite climatological obstacles. 107 degrees. Jeez.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Then There Was a Sunny Beach Day

July 18. V.'s last day. We took the dog and went to Rialto Beach. Mostly dogs can't be in the Park, but they are allowed (on leash) south of Ellen Creek at Rialto. So we recruited him to help do my July beached bird surveys for COASST. On the Rialto Jetty beach survey segment he energetically snuffled all the wrack lines and heaps of seaweed, and if there had been any interesting dead bird parts at all, he'd certainly have found them. (Training him to pick up trash on the return leg only very little successful.)

Instead of beached birds, the theme of the day's citizen science was lots more seaweed than in the previous couple of months, and oh my word vast numbers of people.

Seaweed. Rialto Jetty survey segment (Click for larger image.)

No beached birds on the segment of the survey which ends at Ellen Creek, either. The creek was running. The tide just turned. Incoming waves starting to wash up over the small outgoing flow. Very pleasing.

Ellen Creek, Rialto Beach. (Click for larger image.)

Then we continued on to the end of the beach (poor dog had to stay in the car for this part of the day). Tide was coming in, and (truth) anyway I never intended us to get through the Hole-in-the-Wall. I just wanted us to arrive there among the glorious array of rocks and waves. So she could see it. So I could be there.

North end of Rialto Beach (Click for larger image.)

We even got to tidepool a little, V. found an anemone and a bunch of limpets resting happily in a little pool. Later we saw the only beached critter of the day, a starfish. We threw him back, next to some rocks the waves were beginning to cover; but it was not likely to help... We continued on down the beach in beautiful light with increasing waves now coming in. Yes.

Beached star, Rialto Beach. (Click for larger image.)
Rialto Beach, looking south after crossing Ellen Creek. (Click for larger image.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Vastest of Landscapes

It's hard to believe you just get to be there. You should have to backpack for miles to get to such a place, carrying weight and striving mightily to get into the remotest back country; but no, you just drive out a dirt road eight miles from the pavement, and arrive in heaven. Heaven with flowers. Along the road on the inboard side was what my friend P. calls Botticelli meadows: slopes and sweeps and swathes of mixed flowers, patches of avalanche lilies and magenta paintbrush and sitka valerian and lupines and veronica and polemonium and dephinium, and lupines and lupines and lupines. Off the other shoulder of the road, views on an astonishing scale. Here is the best place to get a good look at Mount Olympus, no longer hidden by the Bailey Range but Out There. Extremely out there.

Along the Obstruction Point Road
Along the Obstruction Point Road (Click for larger image)

The road opened for the season July 4th weekend; it will be closed by the first snows, long about October. (map; pink for unpaved road, purple for trail)

We hiked about an hour along the trail, in dazzling sunshine, frequently flopping down in the middle of the trail, or stepping cautiously off-trail on patches of talus, with books and notebook for identifying wildflowers. We heard a marmot calling, looked out and first saw only a deer walking across a rise in the usual marmot hollow. Then we saw him, far away, then he vanished down a burrow.

Lillian Ridge Trail from Obstruction Point

It's pretty dry up there on the ridgetop, conditions always demanding for the plants and this past winter only 70% normal snowpack and a long dry spring. For lavish, the roadside slopes were much better, but here anyway many determined alpine flowers were doing their job of blooming and setting seed in the vastest of landscapes.

Lillian Ridge Trail (Click for larger image.)
Lillian Ridge Trail (Click for larger image.)

When we got back to the parking lot, we had our own private marmot. He was popping in and out of his burrow, and looking around, and watching us. Right. Next. To. The. Car.

The Marmot (Click for larger image.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Red Ship and Green Ship

V. arrived this afternoon. We talked a bunch, went out for supper, and then out on Ediz Hook for a perfect blue evening. There was a red container freighter hovering, waiting for her pilot: the Cap Palliser. Cap then steamed on into the Sound, on its way to Seattle. Come to find out (and I sure hope that link works so you can see it) it was in Brisbane, Australia, until June 24, at Ensenada July 12/13, in Oakland July 14/15, and passing by here making me happy around 7-ish this evening.

Cap Palliser. V. got a great picture but it's locked up in her camera) (Click for larger image.)

The elephant seal has moved on, though her bit of shore was still blocked off by barriers and all the crab fisherman were using the other dock to launch and land. We heard from a fisherman that it's a bumper year for crab. There was a beautiful green ship in the harbor, the tanker Golden State, but I didn't get a picture of it. It was windy, and walking out onto the floating boat dock was an adventure of heaving boards and water splashing up. The mountains were extremely clear.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

That Time of Day, That Time of Year

The marine layer has cleared all the way back to the water's edge. It's sunny overhead (and has been sunny up on Hurricane Ridge for hours); and still the foghorn is blowing a few blocks away, out on the Hook.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Low Cloud Deck

Gray again, and the mountains have disappeared.

Looking South, Mountains Disappeared.

(Click for larger image.)

But it's sunny in Victoria...

Looking North Between the Houses, Victoria in Sun

(Click for larger image.)

And up on the ridge, it's downright glorious...

Hurricane Ridge WebCam, Right Now

(Click for larger image.)

Gray Day in P.A.

Gray day in Port Angeles. Gray around the neighborhood, in the potted plant hummingbird garden KF made me, in the vacant lot.

Gray Day Madrone in the Vacant Lot (Click for larger image.)
Gray Day Sunflowers By Neighbors' Garage (Click for larger image.)

I spend the weekend emailing my sib as we plan helping my ma move to be near her (big change!), and composing a job application letter for the Peninsula College job (another big change! we'll see how that goes) in theory; in fact obsessively following the action at the American Library Association convention in Chicago through Twitter, with live stream videos and other distractions thrown in. In the evening I go out to Ediz Hook (map).

Gray Day Strait (Vancouver Island on Horizon) (Click for larger image.)

The juvenile female elephant seal is still there, molting. They moved her once, to a more private spot further out the Hook, a quiet little beach on the Coast Guard station. But no, she came back. So blocked off the small boat dock she was next to, put around improvised barriers, and left her to get on with her molt where she chooses.

Stubborn Elephant Seal In Situ (Click for larger image.)

No big ships in harbor. A barge chugs by and out into the Strait. It rains for a while. The pilot boat runs in and out of its berth, picking pilots off the evening flock of cruise ships on the Alaska loop, then runs back out in tandem with an escort tug to meet an inbound tanker. Ships come and go from Victoria harbor, too far away to identify. Coho comes across, enters the harbor, docks. I wait. Yes. The sun drops out of the cloud at nearly the last minute, 8:55 pm to be exact, and performs a proper sunset.

Sudden Sunset on a Gray Day (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Just For the Record

The rental car said, a while ago, that the outside temperature was 106 degrees.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Headed for Tucson to see my mom. About to be looking down from airplanes at dry empty country that has Nothing to Do With Me any more. Suitcase stuffed with books.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Eagle Manifestation

Wednesday, KF left. We had the morning, and went out to complete our view of the Elwha River by visiting the mouth of the river, and the Lower Elwha Klallam rez. As we were getting ready to leave the mouth of the river, we had a terrific eagle manifestation, two of them. Eagles were the one thing she asked for that I hadn't managed to deliver, and it was nearly the last minute, but in best tourguide manner I managed it. :-)

Strait Meets River (Click for larger image.)
West bank of the Elwha River (Click for larger image.)
Bald Eagle on cobble island in the mouth of the Elwha River (Click for larger image.)

More Trees, and a Sunset

KF's brief visit is like a strobe flash. All she saw was the east & north edge of the Peninsula. Even what we did on Tuesday expanded the view only slightly. We met WC at the passenger-only ferry landing at the harbor, and rushed off. Had to bring him back to the ferry by 4:45 PM so there wasn't much time, but we made a little westing. Lake Crescent was bluer and blue, and we headed upstream on the Sol Duc. Picnic lunch at Salmon Cascades, then a wander a short way along the Lover's Lane Trail. Trees. Wildflowers. Ground completely covered with moss.

Vine maples with moss, the mossy ground, Tolmiea and queen's cup. (Click for larger image.)

Back in town, we send WC back to Vancouver Island, waving the ferry goodbye. We take some pictures of KF in front of Bella Italia, she has in mind to raise her status with her 12-year-old students by being on Twilight ground. Dinner out. The sunset is looking to be spectacularly clear, so we go on the Hook and watch the sun go. It's still so far north that it sets over the Island instead of into the Strait.