Archive for the ‘Flowers & Wildlife’ Category

Two Wonderful Day-Hikes

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Spray Park Big Waterfall I love it when my guests go up to The Mountain, or out to an island on one of our ferries.  The Pacific Northwest is so blessed with natural beauty.Spray Park Little Waterfalls

This summer has been spectacular, and I wanted to share a couple of glorious hikes I did.  The first was on the northwest flank of  The Mountain – Mt Rainier – to Spray Park.

It’s just a 2-hour drive to the trailhead at Mowich Lake – then about 4 miles of hiking along a pleasant forest trail.  Even in this dry year, moisture weeps in shady spots.Spray Park Flowers in FG

Then you suddenly break out into the park. “Parks” on the mountain are wide-open spaces just below treeline where glaciers have recently retreated.  There, the lupines, Indian paint brush, and several other wildflowers whose names I don’t know, greet you with their short-lived frivolity.

On another day, I went a bit farther, up north to Cascade Pass off Highway 20.  These mountains are even more rugged – sharp peaks, steep slopes, glacial cirques everywhere.

Cascade Pass 1

A friend and I drove up to Marblemount on the Skagit River and stayed in a rustic cabin the night before, expecting a tough hike up to the pass.  I’m sitting on the pass there,  with Sahale Arm in the background.

But that part was actually pretty easy.  If we’d gone up to Sahale Arm, that would have been really strenuous.  Annie at Cascade PassAs it was, we did the steep switchbacks at the beginning, but then at 3:00 we figured we should turn around so as not to get caught by the now-shorter August days.

Thanks for sharing these two wonderful mountain experiences with me.




Spectacular Spring Hike to Wallace Falls

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Last week I took a spectaculNorthwest Streams Are Full This Springar hike up a series of waterfalls on the way to Stevens Pass, Highway 2.  It’s a state park called Wallace Falls.  The hike is pretty easy – 5 or so miles up to a picnic point, then turn around and come back.  On this brilliant spring day, the trail was crowded with exuberant hikers of all ages and abilities, thrilling to the rushing water, suddenly blue sky, and the impudent, luscious green.  The trail is out of the hamlet called GoldBar, on the way up to Stevens Pass, and it’s less than a 2-hour drive from the cottage.

Getting High on the Olympic Peninsula

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The other day, my guests drove all the way around the Olympic Peninsula in one day!  A long day, but they enjoyed it.  I enjoyed this vast treasure in a different way last weekend: hiking a 21-mile loop, gaining 4,000 ft elevation, camping in Seven Lakes Basin with four other backpackers.

Our weather was pretty darn good, considering it was supposed to rain.  The lupines were flashing their deep blue drifts of color across the high meadows, and the scarlet Indian Paint Brush blossoms were trying to keep up.

We saw a bear, a deer, and a family of ptarmigans.  Those who took the side-climb to the top of Bogachiel Peak saw a huge herd of elk!

Washingtonians are truly blessed with some of the most breathtaking mountain and ocean (and high desert) scenery in the world.

Chasing Whales with Captain Jim

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Whale with Mt Baker in the BackgroundLast week I stole away to Friday Harbor for my annual whale watching fix with Captain Jim Maya.  Jim almost always finds whales, and often other sea creatures as well, like dolphins, sea lions and eagles.  It’s a fun ride on his fast 27′ Glacier Bay twin-engine boat “Peregrine.”  Last Wednesday we found a pod ‘way out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The weather’s been a little iffy lately, but we lucked out and got sun AND whales!  And Jim’s grandson “Ike,” almost 3 1/2, was along, too.

It makes for a long day, but you can get an express ferry from Anacortes in the morning and be on the Peregrine by 1 pm – and be back home to Soundview by bedtime.

Spring has Sprung!

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Spring has burst upon Puget Sound, ready or not!  Wave upon wave of chaotic color engulfs the cottage door and mine, the windows, the decks, and the driveway, as each new bulb, perennial, or rhodie takes center stage.  Ferns shyly unfurl.  Poppies brashly pop.  Primroses kick the CanCan!  Lilacs languidly lean over the driveway, exhaling fragrance into the breeze.  Every day at Soundview is a new cirque du soleil – except the sun is still often absent.   But who cares? Summer is on her way!

Crocuses up!

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Springtime at Soundview is spectacular.  Daffodils, tulips, crocuses, the pink  dogwood next to the cottage, a pink magnolia farther down the driveway – all popping up or out to delight us.  The eagles in the trees above are especially vocal these days.

Glowing Clematis Vine

Thursday, March 11th, 2010
Vine on cottage roof is blooming early

Early Spring at Soundview

It’s an early spring this year.  The evergreen clematis vine that overwhelms the arbor on the edge of the cottage deck, glows like a huge candle when the sun shines through it.  It smells sweet, too.