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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ketchup ~ Shi Shi and a Day at the Beach

At the end of September I grabbed a long weekend at Shi Shi Beach.  I love my little Bullman Beach Inn Unit 5.  So relaxing, so quiet.  I woke up in the night wondering what all the road traffic was about, car after car going past.  Then I realized it was the waves hitting the beach at low tide

woosh...woosh... woosh...

The Saturday was forecast for fair skies, even on the coast, so I knew it was the perfect day for a beach hike.  Shi Shi is the only choice and I was determined to finally get down to Point of the Arches.  Last November I was turned back by high water in one of the creek crossings.  Wet feet and all that...

I am an early bird by nature, so it was great to be first of the day hikers on the beach.  I could see several camps further down the beach.  I cannot imagine camping here on the coast except in the fairest of months.  We have a rain forest just east from here. 

Notable today were the piles and piles of molted crab shells on the beach.  I did not notice the huge numbers last I was here and figure this is a seasonal event.  Certainly speaks to the healthy Dungeness crab population offshore.

These Whimbrels have plenty of food opportunity here.

Point of the Arches is only about 2 1/2 miles down the beach, and the time flew quickly.  All of the creek crossings were trouble free.

When I reached the Arches, it was time for a sit and an early lunch.

By the time I finished other hikers started trickling in.  It was nice to chat with folks about what they had seen.  One group had camped north of the beach access and said they saw a Sea Otter the night before.  I have never seen one in the wild and that would be a treat.

It was here we had to turn back.  The beach to the south of the Arches is not passable except under the lower tides.  People who through hike must time their journey with the tides.  There are programs for this area of the coast that will tell you when to break camp in order to time your passage to the different beaches safely.  Something about those distant rocks makes me want to get there next time.  Sort of "the bear went over the mountain" effect.

Returning up the beach I chatted with the gentleman who had the camp with the fire you see in the picture under the Whimbrels.  He was waiting for some through hikers and said they would not arrive off the south beach until 6pm.  He had a pretty nice set-up with the right amount of driftwood and several tarp and tent arrangements to protect from the weather.  Other campers were not that smart and found they had to hike inland a bit to find dry wood for fires. 

As I was walking back I took note of the beach art that campers had made around their spots.  Wood and kelp made for some eye catching arrangements.

Egg in a nest

Kelp Drapery

Fierce Beach Monster

I found this molt of a Kelp Crab

I love this place.  I noticed that the beach did not yield near as many fine shells and rocks as they did last time.  Not sure if it is season or if it is just that there are more people passing and tucking treasures away.

Sunday the bad weather was rolling through.  The TV said for the inland, high winds were predicted.  I was hopeful but for Neah Bay, it was bands of weather but nothing fierce and stormy.

It looked promising at first light

but just turns to gray mist

After this mist passed, I did a stroll on the beach in high tide.  Lots of kelp, piles of it.  Not a lot of treasure.

After lunch another band of weather passed and then the sun really came out.  Just in time for low tide and another stroll.  The gulls were taking advantage of the lower water and the kelp piles to look for goodies.

I caught sight of a Semipalmated Plover

This wonderful boat is obviously constructed with scraps of wood found on the beach.  It has some old water bottles added for a bit of flotation assist.

I only found a handful or shells.  I arranged them to show off their spirals.

At the Inn, people leave beach treasure they find.  It was here I found that bit of wood that looks like a whale.  I always love looking at the treasure.

By late afternoon it was as clear as it was going to get.  I was sorry to not have a terrific storm to enjoy.  Inland the winds were coming down the east side of Vancouver Island into Puget Sound, totally missing us.

Resident cat joined me in watching the sun go down.

Good Night.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ketchup ~ North Cascades

I am finally able to return to posting.  I had major computer issues and it took some time to get back the ability to post photos.  No photos , no blog as far as I am concerned.

You don't want to simply read my thoughts, do you???

I finally got the Interwebz talking to my computer and a momentary pang of figuring out why my computer would not talk to my camera.

So here are some quick catch up posts, I will let the pictures do the talking.

At the end of  August I spent a long weekend in the North Cascades.  I wanted to hike and since the distance is too far to drive for a day hike, I maximized my time by spending the weekend in Marblemount and having two hikes.  I spent Sunday night and went directly to work Monday morning, perfectly refreshed.

and filled with Cinnamon Rolls.  You cannot stay in Marblemount and not have Cinnamon Rolls at The Eatery.

I had a wide choice of hikes and selected what my guide book calls the best hike in the state.

Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm

Sahale means High up or High heavenly ground.  It certainly is that and I will say, yes this was simply a stunning and beautiful hike. 

It is hard to tear yourself away from the trail head parking lot.

During the climb up to Cascade Pass I heard at least 2 avalanches.

Don't worry we were on the opposite side of the valley.

The climb is filed with switchbacks which makes the way easy.  Lots of peek-a-boo views of the dramatic mountains across the way.

Once you get to Cascade Pass and take a little break you look up and convince yourself getting up to Sahale is so worth it.  Half way up looking back to the beautiful mountains across the valley.

and then looking down at the pass.  Look at the people.

Not the man in the red shirt, the little ants in that square of dirt by the little patch of snow.  Yes those people.
This slope was loaded with flowers.

Once you reached the top you looked UP as saw more people.  A little string of ants heading up to the summit.

and looking down from the arm, pretty little Lake Doubtful.

I spent some time watching this Golden-mantle Ground Squirrel gathering grasses and storing them in its burrow.  This will supply plenty of hay for the winter.

It was a perfect lunch spot.

A panorama of the lake down to the Stehekin Valley.  This is the way to get over to eastern Washington, several days hike.

A graphic at the trail head shows that they have found evidence of 8000 year old cooking pits at Cascade Pass.  This area was the through route for eastern Washington.  Aging is aided by knowing the chemical make-up of the different volcanic eruptions.

On Sunday I hiked what my guide book says is one of the best hikes in the world.  Have to say, the authors affection for this place stems from his early mentor and introduction to the hiking sport.  I have to say while this was a nice and quiet hike, it was certainly filled with drawbacks.  For me not THE BEST hike in the world.  I know I had taken mine the day before.

The hike to Hidden Lake started in the woods but soon I was hiking up the side of valley, filled with wildflowers and a late snowfield.  There were also bugs galore.  I was at an advantage here as it was pretty early and the sun was just breaking over the rim. 

Tiger lily and sleepy fritillary.

and dew on a closed thistle looks like some odd horror movie eye.

views away, indeed.  Mt Baker ~ Koma Kulshan is about 35 miles distant.

I encountered not one, not two but at least 12 snow fields to cross.  This is not my happy place.  The odd scalloped effect is called Snow Cups.

The very top of the trail ends at a fire lookout.  The final approach is up a long slope of snow.  I decided that I had had enough of the snow crossing and climbing and called it a day.  Lunch time with a view.

near at hand, watermelon snow.  The snow is turned red by algae.

Don't eat red snow.

The North Cascades are some of the most remote and beautiful.  Access is challenging and the reward for those who can make the long hikes is wilderness unlike anywhere in the lower 48.