Carved Animals by Sandra Healy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Home from the Pacific Northwet trip

So this little trip is finished, I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

I got home Saturday evening having used all 7 settings of my windshield wipers on the way home, with frequent changes among them, all the day long. Leaving Crescent City I almost drove over the end of an intense rainbow. Today fortunately the sun came out so I could dry out the camper. 

Now I'm thinking about the next trip. Death Valley? Southern Utah? Both? Oh yeah, have to put away all this stuff so I can pack it up again.



Not much to report for Thursday: I just drove to Portland. Really, I should have stopped for a hike or something since the day turned out to be quite okay. But on the other hand I didn't want to drive into the city during rush hours. 

This Friday morning Susan and I and Millie drove over to Reed Canyon and did a hike in light to no rain. It was Millie's first time there and she had to sniff everything of course. Canada geese are way bigger than puppy. Susan's new EasyWalk dog harness works pretty well so Millie didn't do a lot of pulling on the leash. The leash is fastened to the front, so if she pulls it turns her sideways. We didn't see the otter, but there were various ducks. Buffleheads, and with iBird consultation another which I thought might be a ring-necked duck. Plus mallards of course. 

 Millie was especially fascinated with the smell of sword ferns.

Rainy Day in Olympic NP

Today was a day for little walks to beaches and little nature loops in the rainforest, all with umbrella in hand, and usually with camera not.

I think this bridge was the coolest thing I saw all day. How could the National Park Service allow something so non standardized? It was a nice beach too, with waves just roaring in and up the cobble beach. Too much water to look in tidepools though.

I drove up the north Quinault road stopping at the visitor center (closed as usual, sometimes they're open on the weekend) for a walk around the rainforest loop. It was a nice one; I like the maples draped with moss. A side trail took me to a homestead which it looks like they're restoring. Unlike any other nature loop, this one actually had the booklets available so I got to read what all the numbered posts indicated. Like beaver felled trees though there are no beavers now. And a rushing stream that dries up in the summer. Hard to believe anything around here is ever dry. I was surprised to see another car in the parking lot when I finished but never saw another person.

Soon after that the road became dirt, crossed the river and became the South Quinault Road and I headed back towards 101. After passing about 3 closed campgrounds I finally found an open one where, what a surprise, I'm the only camper. There are some trails right out of the campground so I did the Rainforest Loop first. It was too dark to take good photos, but here's one of a stream where it goes under the road, as does the trail. There were a few other hikers in the rain, who I imagined were staying at the Quinault Lodge nearby; they had that bright clean enthused look of people out for their afternoon constitutional with comfortable accommodations waiting for them back at the lodge. I enjoyed the signs along the trail, each of which included identified animal tracks along the bottom, and many included Native American stories as well.

 I finished the loop and walked right by my truck and along the lakeside trail towards the lodge about ¾ mile away. All along, looking down on the trail and the lake were silent vacation cottages.

It was getting dark, or should I say darker when I got back to the camper. Dinner was easy: yesterday's leftover rice, mushroom, winter squash, and brussels sprouts medley.
 I've ascertained that the auxiliary battery is dead but have no idea why. So my overhead lighting doesn't work with any enthusiasm. But I have plenty of other lighting and the furnace appears to work just fine. However it's a nuisance to charge the computer & other electronics - have to do it while driving.

Beaches near Mora & La Push

I left Ozette and drove to beaches near Mora, farther south. First was Rialto Beach, which was mostly cobbles. I'd thought to walk north 1.5 miles to an arch, but it seemed like the waves were washing pretty far up the beach already and the tide was coming in, so I didn't go that far.

I drove around to the .7 mile trail to Second Beach trail south of Quillayute river, which had beautiful sand and rocks. Paying attention to my footing I almost stepped on an otter. It seemed totally unconcerned and just kept nipping off little shelled animals and crunching them up. I think it was a youngster.

I continued driving and camped at the Hoh Rainforest.

Olympic National Park January 22, 2013

Hello all,

I'm on another little trip! After a 9 mile hike with Lauren in Prairie Creek State Park, I continued north, camping along route 199, and the next day arriving at Susan and Jody's place near Portland. There I met Millie, Susan's oh so cute miniature schnauzer puppy. We did some walks and I bought a new SPOT satellite  messenger "Spot Connect". Then on to Karen and Gary east of Bellingham, WA. Likewise, some walks and also some trail clearing which I really enjoyed. 

Saturday I drove (including a ferry ride) to Olympic National Park, and camped at Lake Ozette. I talked to the ranger, wanting to find out the tide schedule, which he told me along with the news that the boardwalk is treacherously icy so yesterday a man fell and broke 4 ribs and had to be carried out which was difficult as the stretcher wheel kept slipping on the ice. He advised me to use creepers on my boots and use trekking poles, neither of which I have. 

It was 28 this morning but before getting out of bed I turned the furnace on so it was toasty. This campground is half flooded, and it's about a quarter mile to the outhouse. The nearer nicer bathroom is closed for the season. On the other hand, camping is free. 

I set off on the trail to Cape Alava, much of which was through forest, but sometimes it went through prairie areas. Yes indeed it was icy in spots, and when possible I walked next to it. 

Frost on the boardwalk

First view of the ocean & Ozette Island. When I reached the ocean, first I went a bit north seeing herons on the rocks and also bald eagles and ducks. There were quite a few people camping, after all it's a 3 day weekend plus gorgeous weather, plus the tide is perfect for traveling the coast with low tide at midday. A young man was backpacking south about my speed so we were more or less together for awhile, but I found it very creepy and my opinion of him plummeted when I noticed he had a gun in a chest holster. I lagged so he got ahead.

Sperm Whale calf washed ashore, but didn't smell too bad as long as you stayed upwind. 

Cougar tracks were going in both directions along the entire 3 miles of beach I walked. People seen included some walking along listening to Simon and Garfunkel. Also a nice group of 3 men and a boy backpacking along looking at everything. The boy was trying to take home a big red and white fishing float that seemed bigger than him. Other tracks seen included a coyote, raccoon, birds, some kind of rodent, maybe a bunny and possibly a fisher or some kind of mustelid.

Sea stacks

Driftwood was in a wide band along the top of the beach. It probably rolls around when the tide is high.

Raccoon tracks

There was always a light fog, so visibility wasn't very far. But when I looked back north there often was a fog bow. 

Tide pool

After 3 miles of beach, at Sand Point I came to the other trail back to Ozette Lake. Reportedly it was more treacherous even than the Alava trail, and so it proved. The boardwalk is shining with ice in this photo. The bad stuff wasn't continuous, but I had to stay alert for the 3 miles back. Again sometimes I walked next to the boardwalk and when on the ice was very careful.

Clear areas out from under the trees were the most likely to be slick, and the plants were beautifully frosty. 

Back "home" at Lake Ozette at sunset. Actually I got back well before sunset, it was even warm enough in the sun to sit outside and read. The loop hike was 9.3 miles.

Happy trails!

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