Monday, November 26, 2012

(Quiet) West End Rhapsody

The tide was receding, and the swell seeming to be diminishing at the same time. What started out quite a lively ocean had begun to settle into peaceable by the time I left. An overcast began to move toward the already lowering sun. What started out an improbably crisp blue horizon became softer.

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, November 25, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

The days are so short and the sun so all-afternoon-low-in-the-south, not a single photo taken into the glare to the south, towards James Island. Other than a few gulls, no birds.

... (Click for larger image.)
Accidental Self-Portrait, Rialto Beach. (Click for larger image.)

There were a fair lot of people wandering the beach, in family groups and pairs and solo. Many were picking up pebbles. The beach was mostly swept clean of wrack, a smooth slope right up to the drift way back under the ghost trees, so not likely they were picking up anything else.

... (Click for larger image.)
Soundscape for Cee
Soundscape Number 2

On the way home there were elk on Beaver Prairie, to the west side of the highway. It was already getting dusky, because of the overcast moving in; and I was in a hurry to press the shutter because I was trespassing. But here is the blurry proof:

Elk on Beaver Prairie, November 25, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

PS for @vcmcguire: No, you can't call it exercise, other than the exercise of last minute will that got me on the road when the day was nearly already gone to waste. I only stepped up the pace to a brisk walk when I doubled back to rescue my forgotten wooly hat. But I got out there, sauntering along with all the other extremely contented beach walkers. It must count for something.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Not That There Haven't Been Sun Breaks

On the whole, it's been dull and gray and/or rainy for weeks. This is a good thing, oh yes water so glad you're here yes.

Precip numbers in the Northwest are good so far in this new water year, November 24, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Certainly the situation in the rest of the country is frightening.

U. S. Seasonal Drought Outlook (Click for larger image.)

So not complaining. But every time a bit of blue appeared in the sky or out the window, my life happened to be organized wrong to take advantage. And no sooner were the prayer flags disentangled again than along came more wind, more rain.

Days like this. November 23, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

The log ship Astoria Bay is loading down at the T-pier. Yesterday afternoon they were working hard, two loaders, four cranes, two trucks at once on the pier, longshoreman waving and shouting in the dull gray light.

Loading Astoria Bay. November 23, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Today it's blue out. Cue the tambourines and joyful dancing, oh yeah.

Tiny slice of the Strait of Juan de Fuca out my window. San Juan Island ghostly out there. November 24, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Except For the Ducks

AO needed to look at the Lodge at Lake Crescent, as a possible venue for a group event she is helping to plan for next May. Alas, the Lodge is closed for the winter, so no elegant Lodge-y lunch; the road was only unblocked because there is one small group of cabins available on winter weekends. But oh my... We had the lake and the grounds and the leaves all over the ground to ourselves, except for the ducks.

Lake Crescent Lodge, Olympic National Park, November 11, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Absolutely couldn't be a quieter and more beautiful setting for her event; only, on next Memorial Day weekend the place will be stuffed full of people, life, cars, boats, noise. Not my problem. Her folks want to stay in the National Park, but they are probably not going to get to the Outer Coast, or Sol Duc Falls, or Hurricane Ridge. Also not my problem (though it's hard to let go of my tour-guide persona in service of these people I'll never meet...)

We took a very short walk along the Marymere Falls Trail, which is right there near the Lodge; but it was rainy and AO was cold, so we turned back before we were barely into Barnes Creek's impressive forest. (There was one especially big douglas fir. "You are officially a Big Dude," I told it.) Later we had a very late lunch at one of the tourist restaurants overlooking Port Angeles harbor. The next day she flew home.

At Fairchild International Airport, Port Angeles, 11/12/12 (Click for larger image.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Glorious Day, With Sea Voyage

Saturday morning early, AO and I were on our way to Victoria. It was a glorious morning.

November 10, 2012, waiting at the ferry terminal. (The Olympic Mountains on the horizon.) (Click for larger image.)
The log yard as seen from Port Angeles Harbor (Click for larger image.)
Port Angeles, with the mountains to the south (Click for larger image.)

First we went to the Royal BC Museum. I don't get lost in there any more (fourth visit with a guest this year), but you know, there's not enough light nor enough air circulation in that museum. Probably good for the artifacts, but we people were ready to be out of there at about the one hour point, as usual. After a determined sweep through the giftshop (cards! bookmarks!), we ambled around the side of the museum to Thunderbird Park, as one does.

Thunderbird Park, Royal BC Museum, Victoria. November 10, 2012. (Click for larger image.)

And then shuffled through the sunny leaves-falling streets behind the Parliament Building, admiring fountains and buildings and the wonderful peaceable ambiance of Victoria; even just two blocks from the tourist ground zero of the Inner Harbour there were no parking meters, no traffic; just houses, apartments, buildings now occupied by Parliament-related offices... We rendezvoused with WC and PW at the James Bay Tea Room for a long long talky lunch. With tartlets for dessert. Me and PW staked out the lemon tartlets, AO had to try a Nanaimo bar and a butter tart.

In the James Bay Tea Room. (Click for larger image.)

WC drove us to the art museum (actually, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria). I wanted to see the Emily Carr exhibit. WC stayed in the Emily Carr exhibit, but Emily clearly did not float AO's boat; other parts of the gallery did, and the garden, and the beautiful afternoon. And the gift shop (cards! bookmarks!). We had to keep one eye on the time, missing the afternoon ferry was NOT an option.

Sorry, can't show you paintings (Click for larger image.)

The days are so short. The advantage is how much of a day has gorgeous low sun angles (when there's sun). By the time the ferry sailed it was already golden evening.

... (Click for larger image.)

Was very sad not to see the harbour taxis flitting around, they are not running this winter. Had to make do with float planes and bridges for entertainment while we sat on the upper deck waiting for the ferry to sail. I think that was good enough to show AO why I love hanging out in Victoria Harbour.

Then home.

Portland Again

Last week, WC came over on the noon ferry to go to Portland with me for the monthly medical adventure. We headed south.

Hanging around, taking pictures of the harbor, waiting for WC to arrive. November 7, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
The Coho appears. (Click for larger image.)

It was a beautiful day, but we did not linger to take photos of golden light on blue water along Hood Canal. We wanted to try to make Portland and find our motel before dark. Almost made it.

In the morning, lab stuff and the appointment with the doctor running my clinical trial. Hanging out by the windows on the seventh floor and looking out at Portland's south waterfront has become very familiar. The windows also overlook Ziddell Marine down on the Willamette River; they appear to have begun laying down another ship of some sort. Couldn't get a picture that showed anything, but will probably have months or years of watching the ship grow down there...

Marquam Bridge, new construction, Mount Saint Helens not visible, Portland, November 8, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
The aerial tram which runs between OHSU's two campuses sails right past the window. (Click for larger image.)

It was dark before we made it home. WC stayed over. Then I took him to the early morning ferry (frost on the car; HEAVY frost), and made up the guest room again. AO arrived in the evening.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


There's a really nice article about the dam removals, with good current photos. The local paper had a gorgeous photo of sediment outflow at the mouth of the Elwha River, but I can't find the story online, so offer you instead a really nice one about salmon jumping on the Sol Duc. The dam removal process is in a fish window for the rest of the year, to avoid stirring out more sediment, a precaution which seems silly given how much will be on the move anyway if rains continue.

It's been raining. Overcast, fog, rains so light nobody bothers with raincoats or umbrellas. We are looking great for precipitation up in the Olympics and the Cascades as the water year begins. But it hasn't been cold, so it hasn't snowed yet in the mountains. This is pretty much as we have been promised: as the climate changes, more floods because storms arrive solely as rain; less water storage in snowpack to carry through the summer.

Precipitation Map from Western Regional Climate Center. Look at all that blue in the Northwest (Click for larger image.)
Snowpack map. Not nearly so pleasing. (Click for larger image.)

There was a sunbreak the morning after I got home from Florida (I did eventually get home.) And there have been several brief ones since. Everyone looks out the door or window, and wishes each other, "Enjoy the sunshine." Then it is gone.

Out the window, November 1, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Lots going on in the realms I don't talk about here.