Ferry Passengers

Ferry passengers watch Bainbridge Island's Eagle Harbor slip by as the M/V Tacoma heads for Seattle.  It's often not warm enough to stay on the upper deck of the ferry, but this August afternoon was perfect for it.

Best View on the Ferry

We suffered the indignity of being the first vehicle not allowed on the previous sailing, and so had to wait for this ferry.  On a more positive note, this led to being the first car boarded, with a spectacular view out the front.  Seattle is seen in the distance.

Elwha dam removal - Lake Aldwell

This was the site of Lake Aldwell, impounded by the Elwha Dam which was removed in 2012.  It has since turned back into a glacial fed river, working through a large volume of sediment that accumulated in the century the dam was in operation.

The stumps were originally logged in the 1910s, and like many stumps of primary forest have springboard notches showing their method of harvesting.

Sand Sculpture, Port Angeles

A sand sculpture competition was held in Port Angeles this summer, and my favorite was this bear, holding a "Don't feed the animals" sign behind his back.

Melakwa Lake

Melakwa Lake is nestled into a valley that leads up to a saddle separating this watershed from that of Snow Lake on the other side of Chair Peak.  I've heard of late spring travel across this pass to make a loop emerging at Alpental -- it sounds both difficult and rewarding.

I believe that is Pratt Mountain in the distance, though it's difficult to be certain.

Blue Sky

Now the clouds are below us!  The 5400ft ridge between this spot and Alpental to the east outlines blue sky.  The Douglas firs in the foreground appear almost completely black because they are back-lit.  It's immediately a few degrees warmer, and the moist ground steams in the sun.  The feeling is completely different from an hour before in the overcast valley.

Clearing Cloud

Now an hour later and 1000ft higher, we've reached the boundary between cloud and clear sky.  Snatches of blue are visible overhead, and shadows have been seen on the forest floor. Composing a compelling image in the chaos of Pacific rainforest is difficult, as there are so many distracting elements encroaching.

Morning Cloud

Hiking early has a few advantages.  Coastal morning cloud often envelops lower elevations overnight, and then clears as the sun gains height and power.  The light in these conditions can be quite delicate, and can lead to powerful images. This was taken at 7:50am.

I've printed a similar image from the Pacific Crest Trail last year at 24x36 inches, and it looks fantastic.

Sauk Lake

Looking west from the peak of Sauk Mountain, the North Cascades are seen beyond Sauk Lake.  The last snowfields are melting out here in August.  Mount Baker is out of frame to the left (north).  It was warm and pleasant, and the views were stunning.

Sauk Mountain

Sauk Mountain is an especially prominent and accessible peak in the North Cascades.  When Bing visited in winter, it would have been truly inaccessible due to many miles of snow travel over unsafe terrain.

Here the trail winds up an avalanche chute, with the Skagit valley and more of the Cascades visible looking south.

Cascades Butterfly Project

The Cascades Butterfly Project aims to document butterfly populations in a number of areas in Washington State and BC.  As climate change is a sure-fire way to win grant money, of course there is a global warming angle to the study.

Some of the hypotheses are laughable: "if butterflies fly to higher elevations faster than their host plants can migrate, will they be able to survive?"  It is amusing to imagine that a plant might lose the race up or down a mountainside as temperatures vary over decades and centuries, or that a butterfly might not be able to visit an area a few hundred vertical feet away.

Root Veggies

It's been a great year for root veggies this year in Seattle.  Carrots and beets have been delicious in a number of meals over the past month.

I will be devoting even more beds to cultivation of these next year, as we haven't yet exhausted our capacity to eat them.

It's lovely turning four

At a friend's 4th birthday party, all the essentials were present.  Party hats, lots of icing, dinosaurs, and even bouncy castles.  And there was beer for the adults!

What more could you wish for?

Cascades Frog - Rana cascadae

This frog, a Rana cascadae, was taking a break in the sunshine on a rocky island in the middle of the swift-flowing Boundary Creek, in Mt Rainier National Park.  He jumped off as I was composing a better picture, and was probably swept down quite some distance.

It was lovely cooling our feet in the cold water, as we'd hiked nine miles rather quickly.

Owyhigh Lakes

The Cowlitz Chimneys peek behind an unnamed ridgeline as seen from the meadows of the Owyhigh Lakes.  It may look idyllic, but the bugs were terrible, and even worse at the lake itself where we planned to have lunch.  We instead took quick bites before the bugs take their quick bites, and skedaddled down the valley to escape them.