Our Life in the Pacific Northwest

Archive for the category “Nature”

Our hidden volcano threat.

Today is the 35th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. I grew up in California so I missed experiencing it in person and remember watching it on tv wondering if the ash could reach California.  I also recall in 6th grade someone bringing a vial full of ash from Mount St. Helens. I remember thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I instantly became fascinated with volcanoes and mountains of the world which may have also created  my crazy geography fascination. Anyway that concludes my 10 year old recollection of the eruption of Mount St Helens.

On May 18th 1980 Mount St Helens erupted killing 57 people. Naturally the news media is widely covering the anniversary which lead me to an interesting article about a subject I have heard about before but never really paid much attention to.   Did you know that there is an active volcano in Snohomish County called Glacier Peak? 

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 (King 5 News image)

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Sea Star Wasting Disease

Pacific Coast

Anyone who knows me knows that I have always been fascinated by low tides and tide pools. For years I  dragged my kids and whoever would go with me to low tide, especially the extreme low tides that occur 3 or 4 times a year. I’ve taken hundreds of photos of starfish in the last  7 years and the sun starfish has always been my favorite. I have a particular location in Edmonds that I go to where there has always been tons and tons of starfish during extreme low tides. For more info on that spot click here. A photo I had taken at this particular beach of a crawling sun starfish won an honorable mention in the Seattle Times Photos of the year.  (Pictured below)

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Dungeness Spit Hike

Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge/Dungeness Recreation Area
Sequim Wa.
Olympic Peninsula

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I’ve had my eye on this hike for a really long time, so I chose Dungeness Spit for our family camping trip last summer. A “Spit” is  a narrow point of land extending into a body of water. Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the United States and there is a working lighthouse at the end of the 5 mile trek. You can read more about the New Dungeness Lighthouse here.

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Dungeness Recreation Area Campground

Dungeness Recreation Area Campground

Sequim Washington

Olympic Peninsula

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Dungeness Recreation Area is known as the portal to the Dungeness Spit. When I found this out I was ecstatic! Dungeness Spit hike was on my to do list for a long time but since there is no overnight backpacking and I live hours (and a ferry ride) away I didn’t think it was possible. Since this campground is only half reserve-able and there were none left for that weekend, I felt anxious about chancing the drive all the way there. We planned this trip with our friends who couldn’t arrive until Friday night so we left early (6:30 am) Friday morning  in hopes that at least one camper would be leaving at a check out time. Fortunately for us several people were leaving, probably to avoid the busy weekend. The first site we found was decent but a little small for two families. We started to set up and noticed a couple packing up at what looked like a group site. They walked over to us as they were leaving and told us that their site was the best in the campground and that we should snatch it up before someone else grabbed it.

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George and Martha: Lake Steven’s Resident Eagles

George and Martha
Lake Stevens, Washington
August 19th, 2012

Last month I was deeply saddened when I found out that one of our Lake Stevens resident eagles, affectionately known as George and Martha, was killed by a lightning strike in a 125ft tree near the lake.  The news reports had said that a bald eagle was found in the rubble of a tree that was struck by lightning at about 9am July 13th and that a juvenile eagle was spotted in a tree close by.  They believe that the juvenile was the offspring of the adult eagle which made the news even more heartbreaking.

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Back to Picture Lake

Picture Lake/Heather Meadows

Mt Shuksan/Mt Baker.

Mt Baker Snoqulamie National Forest

 

I visited Picture Lake a while back with a friend and was hoping to get a perfect shot of Mount Shuksan reflecting in the lake. Picture Lake is rightfully titled since it is positioned in front of the mountain offering a perfect reflection if the day and moment is just right.   Even a slight breeze would ruin the perfect reflection shot I was after. I also wanted to go when the fall colors were out, so in October I ventured back and tried again. Unfortunately the fall colors weren’t as rich as I had hoped, but the day was perfect otherwise. We stayed until the sun went down and I’ve heard that the evening is the best time for the wind to be calm. The moon was coming up over the mountain too which was an added bonus. The photo above was the result of a perfect, windless evening at Picture Lake.

 If you are looking for information about Picture Lake or Heather Meadows you should go to my other blog post. I have included many photos of the area as well. Picture Lake Path/Heather Meadows

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Sunrise on Lake Cassidy

Lake Cassidy

Lake Stevens Wa.

Snohomish County

 

  (If anyone knows who the fisherman may be in this photo let me know so I can offer him a free print)

Lake Cassidy is a little lake just north of Lake Stevens near Hwy 9 in Snohomish County. It isn’t well known most likely because Lake Stevens is much larger (Lake Cassidy covers 125 acres  and Lake Stevens covers 1040 acres).  I only live a few miles from Lake Cassidy and drove by it for years before I even knew it was there, which is a good thing I think.The photos I am adding were actually taken a while back, but I recently realized that I hadn’t posted them on my blog. The photo at the top “Fisherman Sunrise” was published in the Seattle Times and was chosen to be in the Washington State Photographers Exhibition Competition. It didn’t win but to be included in such a competetive show is good enough for me!

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Big Four Ice Caves

Big Four Ice Caves

Mountain Loop Hwy/Verlot

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

July 18, 2010

 

I wasn’t going to write a blog on this particular day spent at the ice caves, but decided I should as a reminder and a warning about the dangers of entering or getting too close to the ice caves.

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Rialto Beach, Extreme Low Tide Day 1

 

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park   July 11 2010

Hole in the Wall Hike

Northwest Washington Coast                                                          

Day 1

One of 2 parts

This is a hike I have been dreaming of doing for 3 years. I visited Rialto Beach back in September of 2007 in hopes of seeing the low tide and to find the “Starfish Rock” (a large boulder covered in starfish) that I had seen on another website. We tried to get there early enough but didn’t quite make it. Even though we missed it I was fascinated by this beach and vowed to come back for an overnight hike on a day when there was an extreme low tide. There are only about 3 really low tides of the year, so 3 years later (yes it took 3 years! I was pregnant during one of those years so cut me some slack. : ) I finally had the chance to make this journey I have been dreaming about.  If you want to read my previous blog entry on Rialto Beach here is the link.   Rialto Beach Hike.

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Rialto Beach Hike, Extreme Low Tide – Day 2

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park

Hole in the Wall Hike

Northwest Washington Coast                                          Day 2

 As soon as it was light I  got up and walked to the beach to watch the tide begin to go out.  I skipped breakfast since I was so eager to get to Hole in the Wall and again, it was another incredible experience for me. I saw a couple of early morning hikers and I watched the surf  gradually lowering to reveal tons of rocks that weren’t there the day before. My hiking companions decided to sleep in since we didn’t get much rest during the night. So once again I was on my own to explore this amazing place at such an incredible low tide. The sun was coming up creating beautiful colors and the beach had a touch of early morning fog. It was going to be a perfect day!

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