Monday, January 21, 2013

Midwinter Spring Is Its Own Season

Definitely glad to be home. Went to the outer coast yesterday with my beach-buddy JL, and took the hike to Second Beach. Foggy/overcast here in town as it has been for days, cleared up before Lake Crescent. Perfect sunny weather out on the beach, then later fog moving in.

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, January 20, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

JL was in bliss. Sunshine! Beams of light in the chilly woods on the 30-minute hike to get down to the beach. And sunshine sunshine sunshine by the ocean with the tide retreating, giving us more and more beach to wander on. We shed layers, ambled, had a picnic.

Sunny Sunday in the Middle of Winter, Second Beach, Olympic National Park (Click for larger image.)

While we picniced, the fog began to drift ashore. The sunshine went, and came back, went and came back, over and over.

Fog moving around, Second Beach, January 20, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Not a lot of wildlife. Some really distant elk off the highway at Beaver Prairie, raccoon footprints on the beach, flitty chirpy birds (that we never saw clearly) in the woods, and hardly any critters in the tidepools. I kept joking that the sea stars and anemones, and the mussels on the rocks that the sea stars eat, had all gone south for the winter; but really, where were they? On the way back to the trailhead, in a sunny interval we saw a nice show of the garnet sand Rau tells about. (Washington Coastal Geology between the Hoh and Quillayute Rivers, about 2/3 down the page.)

Raccoon Feet; and Garnet Sand (Click for larger image.)

I had Philip Whalen's voice in my head all day, as he wandered the main path at Tassajara more than thirty years ago, coffee mug in hand on a spectacular sunny February day and offering his very best T.-S.-Eliot-as-an-old-man impersonation. "Midwinter spring is its own season," he creaked, passing by.

Thank you, Phil; and thank you, Olympic National Park.

Second Beach, before the fog moved in, and after. January 20, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Dock at Mosquito Creek

The floating dock which came ashore in the Marine Sanctuary last month, presumed to have been set loose from Japan by the tsunami in 2011, remains in the news. (1)(2)(3)(4).

There's another story I saw earlier, with a closeup image of the concrete-with- rebar-encasing-foam material of the dock. Sounds like the same sort of stuff that PG and I found a piece of on Second Beach in October. Can't relocate the story now, and am on my way down the street to the airport. May add link if I find it.

Ah. Here. And photos galore, thank you Washington Department of Ecology.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

P. S.

It's wetter here, and snowier, than anywhere else in the country right now.

River Basin Snow Water Content, 01/10/13 (Click for larger image.)

There's a dynamite picture of Glines Canyon just before the dam was built on the Dam Removal Blog.

We may try to be optimistic about the Elwha, but overall, the state of Washington's watersheds is poor, and there are fewer and fewer fish.

Travelling Fool

Weeks pass. I travel, rest up from travelling, and travel again. On January 2, WC came over from Victoria on the noon ferry and we set forth for Portland. Seriously clear sunshiny day, except for mysterious foggy clouds blowing in from the west across 101, from somewhere above Shelton to Olympia. On the 3rd, beginning before sunrise, the usual medical adventures at OHSU. What was not usual was such clear weather, and a huge leisurely space in the middle of the scheduled day. We went joyriding on the aerial tram.

Mt. Hood from the Third Floor, before sunrise, 01/03/13 (Click for larger image.)
The tramway cars are called 'cabins'. (Click for larger image.)
You fly over neighborhoods. Notice the shadow of the cabin :-) (Click for larger image.)
See lots of landscape, urban and mountainous (Mt. Hood) (Click for larger image.)

You arrive on Marquam Hill at the main OHSU hospital complex.

Looking down towards OHSU's waterfront complex from the station at the top. Cabin sailing up towards us. (Click for larger image.)

For future reference. Sunrise at Ziddell Marine on the Willamette River waterfront, viewed from the windows of the Center for Health and Healing. This barge will keep growing, month by month.

01/03/13 (Click for larger image.)

We hit the road as fast as we could after the appointment, heading home. Ran into rain about the same time as we ran into darkness, at approximately Olympia. The heaviest weather was, yes, from Olympia to somewhere above Shelton; it was snowing onto the windshield in the dark, I wasn't happy. Then it lightened up, and by about Hoodsport the weather was intermittent.

Next, Florida again for family stuff. Have I mentioned lately how I hate to travel? Naturally, therefore, I must go to Portland twelve times a year, and hypotenuse the coterminous US over and over and over again, especially lately. Just for the record, it was on purpose that I moved to the west 47 years ago this month, and never moved back to the East Coast. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

High Tide at the Edge of the Ghost Forest

On Sunday, did went west. It was gray here in town all day apparently, but by golly there was sun at the ocean. It began opening up at Lake Crescent, and just kept getting better.

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, December 30, 2012 (Click for larger image.)
Eagle at the Lake (Click for larger image.)

Pretty much all I wanted to do was to sit on the beach and read, but it was high tide. No beach. I found a log to sit on that seemed likely to be above sneaker-wave range, and watched the occasional extra-high waves wash salt water right into the forest edge among the ghost trees for a whole hour after the high-tide time marked on the tide tables.

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, December 30, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

Where I was sitting I could see to the north, and my body shaded the book. Almost right away I fell into it— Louise Erdrich's The Round House, wow— and would be gone away; and when I'd come back each time, there it was, the sunny ocean, the sound of the waves:

... (Click for larger image.)

The closest a wave came, it only caught my attention because I was taking a picture of two hikers as they came along the beach, and it washed them up to their thighs. I did a quick assessment: do I need to grab my stuff and scramble further back? No. But just in case I was wrong, I picked up the book and held it above my head.

That wave is probably the one that got them... (Click for larger image.)

There were a few eagles in the day, one in the tree on the point along Lake Crescent (where one often is); another at a turn in the shore along the Quileute River (ditto), one along the highway somewhere past Bear Creek. Not much of gulls, or ravens, or little flitty birds in the woods, or sea ducks.

To look south I'd have to be squinting into the sun, so I didn't, hardly at all.

James Island, Rialto Beach (Click for larger image.)

The web doesn't yet have a way to grant @vcmcguire what she wants, "Wish I could get a few deep breaths of salty Pacific air." But probably Cee is willing to share her soundscape, which might gratify a different sense:

Soundscape for Cee (Click for larger image.)

Thank you, Olympic National Park.