Sunday, February 18, 2018

Point Reyes - Out on the Peninsula

Looking north from the very tip.

Point Reyes is beautiful, but it's getting oversubscribed. There was a crowd on the trail to the end of the peninsula Saturday. And it's not just the out-of-towners; the San Franciscans are not any better at driving. The towns around it like Point Reyes Station used to be a sleepy little single-block town, and now you fight for parking. Even the little grocery stores in Inverness are getting ridiculous. Either way - still saw plenty of elk and bird life and heard some seals talking. And came down with peroneal tendonopathy (maybe that's why I'm cranky...)

Because I am a mature and respectable individual I shall refrain from making jokes about "the tip" and I expect the same from you as a reader of my blog.

Below: the elk are just about as populous as I've ever seen them. 3 or 4 large herds, just from the trailhead to the end of the peninsula.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Seattle in Winter; San Juan Islands in Summer

In January and June of 2016 we went to Seattle and Orcas Island, respectively.

The winter visit to Seattle was not sunny, but still surprisingly rain free, and featured a bald eagle at the Daybreak Star Indian Culture Center, and a fun jaunt up Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps to (where else) Poo Poo Point. No I'm not making that up. There was snow on the trail in places at the top but not at the bottom. At times the vegetation in the Pacific Northwest in the winter reminds me of the Northeast, especially where there are stands of decidious trees. For this reason I wonder if there's a precipitation minimum to have a forest, above which it doesn't matter if you get a lot more (i.e., places on the Olympic Peninsula get 150 inches a year IIRC, but to the untrained eye at least, the forest doesn't look that much different from places that get 50 inches. Does that mean there's really a minimum above which the extra rainfall doesn't matter, or is there something my untrained eye is missing?) Otherwise it was a great trip - I got a salmon omelette at Beth's Cafe, finally saw the weird Russian stuff in Fremont, found the house where Kurt Cobain completed suicide, got a V book at the cat bookstore (Twice Sold Tales), and had a tasty Somalian dinner at Dur Dur Cafe.

Orcas Island


Once you're on the island it's great, except that as usual the orcas hid from me. "In 8 years I've never had to go out this far to see megafauna" is what the captain of our little cruise actually said. When I was on the Olympic Peninsula 6 years before I'd had the same effect. Maybe it's related to my ability to curse Penn State in bowl games.

Features of Orcas Island: a mountain with an observation tower where you can look at other islands and the mainland. Another mountain where the next island over is in Canada. Foxglove flowers (source of the heart medication digitalis.) Oysters. The sun giving some light until 10:30 at night (that's what the dusk pictures are.) And, they have a moon there that reflects very nicely off the water.

Above, the ferry landing at Shaw Island, and below the Haida-style hand-carved sign.

Chew on a little of that old foxglove for some inotropy just like mom used to make! Somehow I resisted this urge even as I plugged up the hill.

Above: a friend. Below: view from the boat as we left from the north side of the island to go see Orcas, or so we thought.

Above, those specks are bald eagles, which like to hang out on this protected island (Spieden Island I think.) Below, some kind of pinniped that likes to hang out there for similar reasons.

Above, our view from dinner. Below, fire outside our airbnb. Dusk pictures range from about 9:30 to 10:30pm.

Above, view from East Sound (I think.) Below, the town of Olga.

Above two: why do we eat all these oysters that they pulled out of the Sound right there in the background? Because f*** mollusks, that's why. (See here for more on my non-progressive attitudes toward shellfish.) Below, Obstruction Pass Park.

Above, I'm concerned about how they think of road names on Orcas Island, and more generally what they're doing over there. Below, many views from the hilltop on the west side of the island. Many of those islands are in Canada.