Saturday, June 30, 2012

Shiny New

New prayer flags. The oldest ones were shredded by a couple of winters of wind, and even the more recent ones had faded, no color remaining. I had the idea I should keep the old ones as long as the prayers were legible, but some web sites say to replace them annually. I hung the new ones in the morning of a sunny windy day.

New (Click for larger image.)
Fading (Click for larger image.)

I'll be in Florida doing family stuff for the next week. Keep your eye on the dam cams while I'm gone. The current 'fish window'— during which they stopped work in the river itself for two months to protect the salmon redds from silt— ends tomorrow, and they will be blasting at Glines Canyon. You should be able to see workmen doing prep work now and again, and then suddenly the dam will be three or so feet lower.

Workmen doing prep for the next blasting, June 13 (Click for larger image.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Open To The Sea

The Mouth of the Columbia River, Looking West from Somewhere Above Clatskanie, June 21, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

On Thursday, a magic carpet ride to Portland, five and a half hours in the arms of medicine at OHSU, and a magic carpet ride home again. The AngelFlight arrangements were made through KW, the social worker at OHSU. Much gratitude to her, to the Angel Flight West organization, and to the pilots: Dan for the southbound leg, Jeremy and George for the ride home.

Leaving Port Angeles, June 21, 2012. Dan With His Plane (Click for larger image.)

The weather was perfect, the flight as smooth as sitting in an armchair. Dan handed me the aviation map, and I followed our route all the way down, listening over the headset to pilots and dispatchers, watching Dan write things down on the log fastened to his thigh. The sky is full of planes, and one tower after another is keeping track of each of them every minute. Who knew?

We flew down Hood Canal, across Olympia, along the Columbia, and like magic were coming in to Portland Hillsboro. (Between the map-watching, and worrying about what had to get done in Portland, I didn't take enough advantage of getting pictures out the windows.)

HIO, Port of Portland's Hillsboro Airport. (Click for larger image.)

Thank you, Dan and Angel Flight, for wafting me to my medical adventure.

Supposing that I am accepted into the clinical trial for which we formally submitted me on Thursday, I'll become a science project; and will be traveling to Portland once a month. (Not necessarily by Angel Flight.) It must be my karma; I travel so often and hate it so much, naturally I have to travel even more and we must hope it will go on a long time... And that's all I'm going to say about that here. If you are on the group email list, you will hear more soon. Meanwhile, this trip was smooth as silk.

The long day of testing and paperwork completed, it was back to Hillsboro so Jeremy and George could fly me home.

Leaving Portland Hillsboro (HIO). Me and Jeremy. (Click for larger image.)

Lovely miscellaneous rural as we climbed up. Here and there were patches of scotch broom, out in the middle of nowhere. (Goats! There need to be flocks of goats set loose on them before they spread!) The Cascade peaks were much clearer in the afternoon, lined up along the eastern horizon, but none of the photos turned out.

Miscellaneous Rural, Somewhere North of Hillsboro (Click for larger image.)
Scotch Broom Below, Alas (Click for larger image.)

We crossed the Columbia River;

Columbia River, Maybe at Longview (Click for larger image.)

and out the other side of the plane, oh glory. George the co-pilot said into the headset: "Open to the sea. Imagine what Lewis and Clark felt." (This photo is the same as the one on top of this post, repeated here to compare to the map image.)

The Mouth of the Columbia River, Looking West from Somewhere Above Clatskanie, June 21, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
Map from Google Earth, from about the same angle (Click for larger image.)

Oh yes. I have often imagined what Lewis and Clark felt. The title of this blog (Ocean in View) comes from William Clark's journal, via the Westward Journey nickel issued in 2005, during the bicentennial of their trip. It's part of what brought me to the Northwest.

Olympia and Puget Sound were ahead. Soon we were flying up Hood Canal and looking into the Olympics.

Flying Up Hood Canal, Looking Into the Olympics (Click for larger image.)
Looking into the Olympic Mountains, Olympic National Park, June 21, 2012

Then the tower on Whidbey Island released us to hang a left and go directly west to Port Angeles. By then Jeremy and George were involved in descending for the landing; I was busy rubbernecking. We flew over the log yard, and then my neighborhood, and then I was home.

Approaching Port Angeles Airport (Click for larger image.)

Thank you, Jeremy and George and Angel Flight.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Out With My Pail and Shovel

It was blue out. This remained the case all the way from home...

June 20, 2012. Mount Angeles and the Near Olympics From My Corner (Click for larger image.)

to about a minute away from the Rialto Beach parking lot. At the pull-out over the river there was blue sky overhead, the jetty immediately behind the beach was misty, and no ocean and no James Island were visible.

The River Reflects Blue Overhead, but the Fog Starts At The Jetty and The Ocean Is Gone (Click for larger image.)
Soundscape for Cee, and also for @xeni

There was not much litter or wrack, mostly just kelp.

A lot of presumably-little-bitty birds singing in the forest behind the beach, and a few gulls; no other birds.

Cake Rock and Dahdayla Island Emerge (Click for larger image.)
James Island (Click for larger image.)

PS. No pail and shovel, really. Picked up just one handful of really small flat smooth dark stones. This post is for @xeni, showing her the beach I know as a sort of hug; and for @helgagrace, in gratitude for the encouragement this morning which got me on the road.

Thank you, Olympic National Park.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Up, Up, Up in the Sky

Monday, WC came over on the ferry for an afternoon and an evening. The weather wasn't as promising as last week with JB, but we went UP anyway. The marmot wasn't out. Yes on ravens, and gray jays. Patchy vistas of cloud with snowy peaks showing through. Only five days after the previous jaunt, a lot more of the snowpack has melted; the grassy slopes just there are greener. The deer were lounging in the grass.

Hurricane Ridge, at the Visitor Center, elevation 5200'. June 18, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Thank you, Olympic National Park.

The Tide Won't Wait For You

The whole weekend leaked away; finally Sunday afternoon made it out to Salt Creek Park. The tide rising, Tongue Point under the waves, and incoming rollers washing past the little island.

Salt Creek County Park, June 17, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

No harlequin ducks, and no oystercatchers. Not even gulls. One eagle hanging around. Some people were out in the small waves where the outflowing creek was now submerged, learning to stand-up-paddle. They fell off a lot. It looked like fun.

The weather changed and changed and changed. A stiff wind was blowing from the north, so I sat on the narrow steps leading down, next to a tree functioning as a windbreak. The tidepools were submerged, so nobody came down the steps for a long time; I read my book. A Canadian couple came. "Is this Tongue Point?" they asked, pointing at the bottom of the stairs. "No, it's out there, mostly under the water," I tell them. "You have to come when the tide is low." They will check the tide table on the sign board at the top of the stairs. "I'm afraid it will be awfully early tomorrow morning, but you have to be here when it says. The tide won't wait for you."

Tide Pools Under There, The Critters Must Be Happy, June 17, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In Praise of Glacier Lilies

Many deer, one marmot, one raven. Lots of little birds. Oh, yes, and the snowy peaks of the Bailey Range.

The View from Hurricane Ridge, June 13, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

By the time JB appeared on Wednesday, it was nearly 5PM, and overcast. But the webcam said it was sunny up on Hurricane Ridge, with deer all over the place in the cam's view at the visitor center. We decided to shift into we-can-have-it-all mode: ignored the clock and the visible sky, grabbed a mug of tea to bring with, and hurtled up the mountain. The overcast was dense dense dense as we drove up through it, in places the heaviest fog I've ever driven in. Finally we popped out into the sunshine. Was the marmot who lives down the slope below the visitor center out enjoying the afternoon? Yes he was.

Blurry marmot (Click for larger image.)

We wandered around. JB much taken with the deer, and the raven. Raven was parading around like he owned the place; as if the people, the parking lot, the cars were all irrelevant. Oh. Right.

Lordly Raven (Click for larger image.)
... (Click for larger image.)

The road is open to the Hurricane Hill trailhead, and in fact it looks like it might be hike-able all the way to the top of the Hill already. The only flowers in evidence anywhere were some glacier lilies.

... (Click for larger image.)

This year the melt is proceeding much faster than last year. They'll surely open the road to paradise (Obstruction Point Road out to Lillian Ridge) by the middle of July... The server for the snotel website has recovered, here is the graph showing how much remains of the snowpack at Waterhole, halfway out towards the Lillian Ridge trailhead:

JB was especially pleased to finally be in the Olympics, our bijou Alps, which are on his far horizon every year when he visits Port Townsend, Bellingham, Samish Island. I was most happy to see the marmot; and all that space.

... (Click for larger image.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's a Pity About the Scotch Broom

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) is a Class B Noxious Weed in the state of Washington. Class B means its distribution is limited in the state, something hard to imagine out here on the Olympic Peninsula where it is actually unlimited, and vast swathes of open areas are infested. Broom will take over the lake beds vacated as the Elwha dams come down, despite the effort spent in raising and planting out tens of thousands of native plants as part of the Elwha River restoration.

Speaking of what's hard to imagine, visitors can't believe there's anything at all wrong with scotch broom, because it's gorgeous.

Scotch broom in the lot with the trees, June 11, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Which is how it got here in the first place: horticulturalists brought it. One website says, "Scotch broom is said to have been introduced to Vancouver Island from Hawaii in the 1850s by Capt. Walter Calhoun Grant who planted it on his farm near Sooke." Another says, "Scotch broom was introduced to California in the 1850s as an ornamental by the nursery industry. It was later used to prevent erosion and stabilize road cuts. Scotch broom is still sold as an ornamental in some regions; this plant will quickly escape cultivation and establish itself in adjacent areas."

I know of at least one person who probably tried to smuggle some home to the far corner of another state, where one has to hope it was unable to thrive...

Oh god. The Noxious Weed Control Board says, "Scotch broom reproduces by seed. Each seed can remain viable for up to 80 years."

Thursday, June 07, 2012

10 P.M. Sky

The sunset will get eight minutes later over the next two weeks (and the sunrise two minutes earlier); but really, it's near enough as light as it gets.

Just past the end of Civil Twilight, June 6, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Thank you, United States Naval Observatory. Table of Sunrise/Sunset, Moonrise/Moonset, or Twilight Times for an Entire Year.

Sun Break on Sunday

Sunshine, on and off, on Sunday. I was having a reading orgy, didn't go anywhere. In the late afternoon I looked up from my desk and there was a blue horizon and a tanker sailing off behind a house just past the bottom of the street. Three cruise ships, one freighter and one car carrier later, my camera was full of happy blurry snapshots of ships passing by; thanks to the pilot station at the end of the Hook, they come in momentarily close close close. Too bad KL & PT missed seeing this particular aspect of life in Port Angeles.

Oosterdam, Star Princess and Norwegian Pearl Pass By, June 3, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Looking Like Natives

KL & PT were here for a few days, a spy trip to think about moving here. I was unable to produce any sunny weather for them. We visited libraries and bookstores and grocery stores and eating options for vegans; they found their way to the (former) lower dam and to the mouth of the Elwha, and investigated this and that, bought warmer clothes at the Goodwill so they were looking quite local by day 3, and walked around a whole lot.

I did manage to manifest an eagle for them, out on Ediz Hook. Halibut fisherman were coming back in off the Strait, and the eagle was outside the pilot station on a pole, hoping for scraps.

Eagle, May 31, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
Returning Fishermen, May 31, 2012 (Click for larger image.)