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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rain, Rinse, Repeat

What can you do? It is winter in Puget Sound Country and with El Nino set up, the normal wet weather seems to persist without those pretty "blue days" that serve up a reward.

This is a photo that I took Wednesday during my daily lunch-time walk. It is really raining in this shot. That rain that you cannot see falling. Everything gets wet...eventually. The native peoples called it "chu-bash" , I call it organized fog.

I tried to chase the sunshine Saturday. I started the morning early at the farm. High on a ridge over the Carnation / Duvall valley it is often quite fogged in. Saturday was no exception.

I did not hold great hopes at finding clear skies any time soon. I love the valley and the farms and community along the way. This pretty little farm is a great example. Those are Belted Galloway (beef) cattle. Some people call them Oreo Cookies Cows.

Double Stuff, perhaps. They look very furry and fat.

As I drove along the valley floor I wondered what Snoqualmie Falls might be running like. It was not but a few miles southbound when the skies looked like they were going to break. I stopped in at a Fish and Wildlife parking spot and walked for an hour along the river trail and wove through some open hunting fields.

What a treat. There was clearly still clouds and fog sitting in the trees high up on the ridge.

Down here on the valley floor the sun was breaking through. There was even patches of blue sky. What a difference a few miles and several hundred feet elevation makes.

I wandered through the fields and came to the river. Across the way, the historic Carnation Research Farm sits prettily on the side of the hill.

Further south along the river, I paid a quick visit to Tolt - Mac Donald Park. This park climbs the side of the valley ridge and has become quite popular with mountain bikers. I have spent some time birding in these woods. The trails are like so many in this region. I was a bit apprehensive to see what tire rutting had done to them.

You cross a pretty bridge to get to the park. It has a slight sway as you walk across over the very fast running Snoqualmie River. Look at the moisture in the air coming from the trees ( and sky)

People who enjoy fishing must really enjoy it to stand hip deep on a 40 degree day. Notice the sky. There has not been more than 30 minutes and 3 or so miles from the pretty blue sky and trees shot.

This park is unique that it has a camp group and yurts you can rent. I have to imagine someone who enjoys fishing might have a pleasant couple days so close to the city.

The park trails climb steeply, so it is a good workout. The trails have been well maintained with erosion control breaks. The soil appears somewhat sandy in places. I don't know if that is natural to this spot or representative of the maintenance the bike community has done to preserve the quality.

I saw this sign, posted last Fall. We have a cougar has been in the neighborhood of the farm, about 6 miles north along the ridge, for many years. A cougar can have a range of 50 miles so it comes as no surprise to me that a cat would like this nice patch of old forest. In all my rambles I have never seen a cougar.

To the east there is a hint of clearing sky. I can clearly see that the snow really seems to be lacking in this El Nino year. Not good at all as this snow represents the irrigation water that keeps our Eastern Washington agriculture going. At least they can manufacture snow for the Olympics.

By the time I get to the falls, it is fully overcast and dreary again. There is so much moisture in the air that between the spray from the falls and the fog and clouds, you could not see the foot of the falls. Indeed you could not even see 1/3 of the way down when standing at the closest vantage point.

After finishing at work today, I returned to the falls. It was much clearer, though still cloudy and the falls were putting on a great show.

Professor Mass http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/ is forecasting strong windstorms along the coast starting tonight. Most of the heavy El Nino rain gets diverted into California so we might get some blue skies in the coming week. The mountains might even get more snow. I wish I could scoot out to the coast for an exciting storm watch. Overall, however , the promise of some blue sky is enough for me.


  1. That bridge made me gulp a bit. Don't know if I would have the courage to walk across it. I'm a tad on the height phobic side and I think that the swaying would not help. I do love the yurt, however.

  2. It is not that bad. The wood work of the structure is interesting. The sway is just enough to make the bridge feel like it is more approptiate in the environment. More organic rather than a rigid steel structure.

    You would have hated the sky bridges in the Monteverde Cloud forest.