Thursday, October 25, 2012

Coast to Coast

Presently visiting family in Florida and really quite unnerved by the doom-y local forecasts for 50-mile-an-hour gusts tomorrow, and there's basically no hope at this point that Hurricane Sandy will instead just go away.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh My

John Gussman has put up a set of spectacular images from Salmon Cascades, taken this weekend. Thank you, Mr. Gussman.

Also, the Seattle Times has new aerials of the vanishing Lake Mills, behind vanishing Glines Canyon Dam.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life At Its Most Determined

Up the Sol Duc River. Usually you know just before you get there if the salmon are jumping. As the road came around the curve there were no watchers silhouetted along the bank of the river, no cars in the little parking lot for Salmon Cascade. But heaps of water, and yes, the salmon were jumping.

Sol Duc River, October 20, 2012. Some coho jump into the frame at about 0:07...

I had the river to myself for a while; could hang around, bouncing up and down a little to lend lift to the fishes, and cheering them on. Go go go, fish. Swim swim swim. Whoo, two and two more and another, whoo. They flap their fins and tails like crazy in the air, so when they land they are already swimming as hard as they can. They never seem to get through; but they must, because I've heard that if you know where to look upstream from this point you can see them making their redds (nests) in the tributary channels; and they can only have gotten there by succeeding in jumping up the cascade. Go go go, fish. Swim swim swim.

The biggest ones showed color... (Click for larger image.)

Some people came. "Are they jumping?" "Oh yeah," I said, but I didn't really need to answer, a couple of small ones jumped and then a big one. "Whoah!" said everyone. Instant joy. Now more people came, as it was clear to cars passing by that Something Was Happening. Wasn't it just.

Short jump movie

Thank you, Olympic National Park.

Volatile Weather

Did went west on Saturday, the forecast for the day was some percent showers, both in town and on the outer coast, both Saturday and Sunday. I guessed Saturday would be better. Yeah, well.

It had been windy. Berries blown off the madrona (in Canada, 'arbutus'; here, 'madrona'; in California, 'madrone') that everyone always stops to photograph along the lake:

Madrone berries, October 20, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

For a while what was probably a freezing-fog line, not a snow line, was as clear as a ruler.

(Click for larger image.)

There was a bolt of sunlight, and a rainbow. By the time I'd pulled off and leaped out of the car with the camera, already faded.

Rainbow along Lake Crescent (Click for larger image.)
Same moment. Looking the other way, a whole different weather (Click for larger image.)

In places the bigleaf maples were fully turned to pure yellow, other places the vine maples gone red. Further along the road, it poured for a few minutes.

At Rialto Beach it kept changing. Between rainshowers I would sit on a log and read, moving on again when drops began to fall on the book.

James Island, October 20, 2012, Rialto Beach (Click for larger image.)
When it rained, all the other people magically disappeared (Click for larger image.)
Ellen Creek runs into the ocean. Soundscape for Cee.

Left early, to have time to go look for jumping salmon on the Sol Duc River. Left in fact just in time. The next weather event was a three-minute sleet storm...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pale Green Tanker

The pale green tanker which has been sitting in the harbor all week is the BW Seine. It looks like she's full. No doubt there's a story there.

... (Click for larger image.)

Meanwhile, we've had some more rain, and the flow in the Elwha River hopped up. Lots more silty water going over the Glines Canyon Dam.

Yesterday's Dam Cam, Showing Guys at Work (Click for larger image.)

Finally there may be enough water in the rivers to lure the salmon upstream. I guess I better go take a look at Salmon Cascades. (Later: ocean first, Salmon Cascades after. The First Beach Webcam is calling me, calling me.)

First Beach Right Now, Thank You Webcam (Click for larger image.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

But Didn't It Rain Somewhere?

As end-of-the-world rainstorms go, it was sure a fizzle around here. Like a quarter of an inch, not quite, for all that it was gray and drizzly. Well, ok, it rained almost five inches out at La Push. Two and a half inches on Hurricane Ridge, some of it snow, though no visible new snow remains.

3-Day Precipitation: Port Angeles, La Push (Quillayute Airport), Hurricane Ridge (Click for larger image.)

There was no big swell arriving to the outer coast, no NOAA warnings to speak of. It all adds up to a minor early storm—for which praise the Lord, it's been dry for months.

The Elwha River hopped up a bit, but then the gauge malfunctioned so the graph isn't all that useful. There's certainly more flow visible on the dam cams. The sky is clear right here right now, if a bit windy. With luck someone is doing a flight over the mouth of the Elwha to get an aerial of sediment outflow...

Elwha River, Gauge Above (former) Lake Mills (Click for larger image.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Magic Carpet Ride on Monday Last

On Monday, after the monthly clinical trial checkup at OHSU, KF drove me out to Hillsboro to wait for my AngelFlight to arrive (then hustled herself back in the other direction, to PDX for her own flight home). Waited in a different place, Premier Jet Center's FBO. They knew all about the AngelFlight arriving for me, and made me welcome. (Thank you, Premier Jet Center and AngelFlight...)

October 8, 2012. Mission 170446-1 arrives at HIO to pick me up (Click for larger image.)

The weather was perfect, smooth and clear. My pilots, Aaron and CJ, kept up an entertaining conversation with each other, they were practicing flying by Instrument Flight Rules (IFR): navigating as if they couldn't see at all despite the clear endless vista out the windows of Aaron's Cessna 172.

Mount Rainier stood out clearly. As we approached the Columbia River, I could see where Great Vow Monastery had to be, where we were on Sunday; took a picture though the temporary camera is not so interested in getting images through airplane windows.

Approaching the Columbia, and looking out towards the Pacific Ocean (Click for larger image.)
Roughly the same view, on Google Earth. Pin marks Great Vow Zen Monastery. (Click for larger image.)

The Olympics put on a spectacular show.

Looking into the Realm of the Gods, the east rampart of the Olympic Mountains, Hood Canal in foreground (Click for larger image.)

Coming around the corner to head west along the Strait, saw an interesting landform detail which turns out to be Mats Mats Bay near Port Ludlow (no pic); clearly picked out Graysmarsh along the north Sequim shore, flew in over the log yard and T-pier where POS Leader was still docked (were they EVER going to sail?),

Greysmarsh (Click for larger image.)
POS Leader and the log yard, Port Angeles Harbor (Click for larger image.)

and home. Thank you so much to Aaron and CJ.

October 8, 2012. Mission 170446-1 at Port Angeles (Click for larger image.)

PS for PG & DG: POS Leader finally sailed Tuesday evening; is now en route to Lianyungang, north of Shanghai. (map)

PS for Aaron and CJ. The previous Angel Flights I have flown on were a Cessna 172SP, a Grumman American AA-5, a Cessna T210, and I don't seem to have a record of the 4th one. (photo) Next month I'll ask Dr. Pommier what he flies, and let you know.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When Was Then, When Is Now

Rendezvoused with NF and KF at the airport in Portland (PDX) on Sunday morning. They had been at the Soto Zen Buddhist Association's National Conference held at Great Vow Zen Monastery, out in the country near Clatskanie. This event was immediately followed at Great Vow by the meeting of a different Buddhist organization whose acronym I must have written down wrong because I can't find a link...

OK, so we're having coffee at the airport, and K says, "DR is giving a talk (1)(2) about okesa at Great Vow this afternoon to the people attending the next event, do you want to go hear her?" Well of course, sez I. Aiiii, I have nothing to wear, sez I. N gets a samue out of his suitcase and lends it to me. We wave goodbye to N at the security gate and drive down the Columbia River on the Oregon side, to Great Vow.

BH was there, and PP. They were at both meetings, I think. I had just missed JB. The only other people I knew were DL and MW, though some of the names were familiar.

So suddenly I was sitting in a Zen Monastery in rural Oregon next to PP and behind BH, listening to DR (the god-mother of my own okesa, she brought the fabric to New Mexico, measured me, cut it out for me, and got me started sewing, stitch stitch stitch, but oh my decades ago).

Great Vow itself is in an old school. An elementary school: the bathrooms have these tiny low toilets and the partitions are low: grownups can see each other over the tops :-) Our stay at Great Vow was so brief, literally all I saw of it were the bathroom and the (former) gymnasium where D gave her talk.

Anyway, we arrived just in time for the talk, suddenly there were D and B and hugging in the hallway and so on. They were surprised completely, I had had about an hour to get used to the idea that suddenly I would be seeing them. Then the talk. During the buzzing around afterwards we realized that someone from Great Vow was immediately driving D to the airport in Portland, so K volunteered us to drive her, we were on our way back into Portland anyway....

I had become completely exhausted (and hungry) by then, and was somewhat horrified at lengthening the time before we could get to the motel so I could lie down. But as I told Dr. Pommier last month, I am still well enough to always do what I am supposed to do; and that includes both work commitments and arrangements involving friends. After multo goodbyes and group photos of the five of us— me, D, B, K & P ("a San Francisco Zen Center reunion," said the monk who wielded the camera for us; yes but no— and so on, we got on the road. So there I was in the back of the car as we pitched down the highway to Portland, luckily there was a pastry to consume which helped restore my energy. K and D shared a chocolate bar. It was sunset and then dusk, and it was very beautiful up there in the country along the Columbia.

Dropped D off at PDX, one last round of goodbyes, then K and I found our way from the airport to downtown, found the motel, found some dinner. The next morning early, we went together to the medical center for my monthly appointment with Doctor Pommier, my clinical trial doctor, which was supposed to have been the focus of my trip to Portland until we suddenly unexpectedly ran off to visit ever so briefly with dharma siblings and a whole other part of my life.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Sometimes You Can Have It All

October 2, early afternoon. Time for the dessert course (a peach and more chocolate) of our picnic lunch. From the Second Beach trailhead we drove down to the point overlooking First Beach and the river, to eat and look for pelicans. There were a few (no pix). They would fly by, from the river past James Island, then out over the ocean; then disappear. No idea what they were doing. The tide was still running full, washing in past the sea stacks which open the river to the ocean; with so much water and no boats heading out through the channel, it's hard to remember that the river's present course is not straight out where the eye goes. Quileute fishermen were working their nets in the river. There were seals also working the nets. One of the fishermen was shooting at them.

... (Click for larger image.)
Three fishermen having a gam. You can see Rialto Beach to the north, beyond the jetty (Click for larger image.)

We had in mind to round up DG for an early dinner at Toga's Soup House, which closes at 6. So we soon started rolling for home. As we followed a pilot car past the road work on the Bogachiel River bridge, PG was sure she spotted elk way back through the trees (map). Once free of the flag people we did a U-turn and came back again, negotiated for permission to dart down Erickson Road to get nearer the elk.

Faraway elk. (Click for larger image.)

A whole herd of elk were sitting in the shade of some trees. This made PG very happy. Sometimes you can have it all. Dinner was good, too...

Step Out Onto the Planet

October 2, 2012, part 1. We headed right back to the Outer Coast the next morning, just PG and me. Destination, Second Beach. It's a hike-in beach, not a drive-to. The trail is through second-growth forest, lavish enough in the morning light. Trees like to grow here.

Trail to Second Beach (Click for larger image.)

You go up a bit, then down down down the steps to the beach. There is always a greater or lesser pile of logs to be crawled over to get out onto the sand. Lesser, on this day. PG & I are short people, I was glad there wasn't a serious log barrier. Without too much trouble, we stepped out into the gorgeous space of Second Beach.

... (Click for larger image.)
Second Beach, October 2, 2012. Soundscape for Cee.

The beach is sandy, broad and flat, very unlike Rialto. The tide was coming in, plenty of whitecaps out there, but it rolls ashore in waves only inches deep almost everywhere. Note the 'almost'.

... (Click for larger image.)
Incoming Tide. Soundscape for Cee.

We ambled south. There was a subtle show of garnet sand,

Garnet Sand (see explanation) (Click for larger image.)

There was a dead bird with really big beautiful wings. No eagles, not really even gulls. Where were the fish that bring the birds, if you please? It kept right on being sunny and beautiful. There were itty bitty flitty birds at the back of the beach; PG studied them carefully: savannah sparrows. There was a large chunk of marine debris, a 5-foot tall chunk of styrofoam partly encased in concrete. Huh? The tide kept coming in.

Styrofoam in concrete. Winter tides are going to break this up and strew it all over the pristine beach, but it's too heavy to move... (Click for larger image.)

Eventually we thought to head back, and found our inches-deep waves rolling right up to the sea stack tucked back against the hill. This pinchpoint had caught all the logs which were no longer at the foot of the trail. Our choices were to get wet in front of the rock, or go around behind— crawling over the field of logs. We opted for the log crawl.

Note the wave washing the log in front of the rock (Click for larger image.)

As we came out through the log field we saw that a couple was watching us. They called out that they had opted for the water route. We were afraid of that one, we said, but this wasn't too much fun either. We saw you down the beach, they said, and wondered which way you'd go. They waited until we were safely back out on the sand, then started back up the hill, as did we shortly behind them.

(Continued in next post. The title of this one is from a poem in Lew Welch's Ring of Bone.)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Outer Coast Beach Day (1)

Rialto Beach, October 1, 2012. We had everchanging colors, almost-sun, a plenitude of kelp. DG wandered slowly, endlessly photographing the drift logs, the ghost forest. A few pelicans passed by, mostly solitary.

Changing Sky, and Kelp Array (Click for larger image.)
Kelp Knotted By Waves, and By a Knot-Maker (Click for larger image.)

Then we drove around to La Push, to eat lunch by the windows of the River's Edge Restaurant, and look for more pelicans. Some fish were definitely running out there. Fisherman were out tending their nets; and there were gulls, and pelicans, and seals in the river.

River, harbor. La Push, October 1, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Heavy fog moved in; but not complaining: we had hours longer of good weather than we expected. PG thought she saw elk back under the trees in the field by the Bogachiel, but we couldn't stop because there was roadwork. We went home and had a fine fancy dinner at the Asian Bistro.

En route, we had looked for elk anywhere there had ever been elk before: on Beaver Prairie, and on Quillayute Prairie, and by the bridge over the Bogachiel River. No elk. However, there had also lately been a pelican deficit, and that was cured. Those pelicans in the air off Rialto, a few more pelicans in the river at La Push among the gulls and fishermen (no pix). Any day with a pelican in it is a good day...

A Few Blue Moments. Soundscape for Cee.

Monday, October 01, 2012

It's Like This Out There, and Other Local News

We are going to head west this morning despite the forecast for showers after 11AM. How could we not, it looks like this right now:

First Beach Webcam, 7:08AM, October 1, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

PG & DG are visiting. Blackberries are nearly gone, but it's still possible to find good clusters deep in the bushes. Mornings are chilly. The dam removal blog has two fascinating new posts about sediment behind the former Glines Canyon Dam ("...a wall of sediment up to 70 feet thick...") and rubble removal. There hasn't been enough rain to get the coho salmon coming up the Sol Duc River to jump at Salmon Cascades, but we'll go look anyway; who knows, there may be some strays...

Sunrise Hereabouts, October 1, 2012 (Click for larger image.)