Northern HWY 101

Mother Killdeer on her four eggs
Mother Killdeer on her four eggs

There is city park in Port Angeles where HWY 101 (under the guise of Front St.) runs by Wildcard Guitars and Dove Studio.  Each evening for the past couple of weeks I have been checking in on Mother Killdeer — much to her consternation I must admit — just to see how she and her 4 eggs are doing.  She and her mate have chosen this spot next to the gravel parking lot and next to this water sprinkler for a nest.  What an eye they have for protective coloration!  She stays so still, you would think the sprinkler would move first.  And the eggs are so big. (and every mother out there says, Ouch! that must have hurt.)

But it is time to go to the SF Bay Area to visit family and do a couple of art errands.  Oola and I will travel on HWY 101 (mostly).  So we say  goodby to the Killdeers and head out early on the next adventure.

On the first morning in the Olympic National Park it looks like

Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent

the lake is having as much trouble waking up as we are.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

The wind picks up, and soon we are on the Pacific Coast.  We make a stop at rugged Ruby Beach where abundant wildflowers are whipped about on the bluff.

A few hours later we are in Cape Disappointment State Park.  It is located where the Columbia River meets at the Pacific Ocean.  And you will remember from your history, this is where Lewis and Clark and company completed their contract.  I wanted to camp where they camped.  And, if signs can be believed, I did.

Cape Disappointment lighthouse
Cape Disappointment lighthouse

It was named Cape Disappointment by an English fur trader/merchant of dubious reputation, John Meares.  There is a wicked sandbar at the mouth of the river.  It looks like the waves are breaking way out in the ocean.  Because of this dangerous feature, Captain Mears could not enter the Columbia River and gave the area this name.  A lighthouse was built on the 200ft bluff to warn other seamen of the danger entering the River.

In 1805 Lewis and Clark showed up and wondered how the peaceful Pacific could be so wild.  They camped here, but the weather was so miserable they relocated to the south side of the River.

Artist Maya Lin started her Confluence Project here.  I stood here maya-lin
to try to understand the geography of the place and to take photos, not realizing the importance of the art I was standing on.

Columbia River, Baker Bay, from the Maya Lin viewing platform

Of course, people come to Cape Disappointment for many reasons.

Oola boogie boarding

This one looked pretty cold and dangerous to me!

Being keen to see family, I decided to cross over to Interstate 5 where we passed this magnificent site:

Mount Shasta

On into California participating in fun-and-death with impatient 18wheelers.  The time saved was much too stressful.


After good family visits it was time to do the errands.  BUY ART SUPPLIES! One of the places on my list was

Dharma Trading Company in San Rafael

the place to find everything needed to add color to fiber.  In my case I needed to pick up a large roll of paper-backed silk for inkjet printing.  When the warp and weft are straight it makes wonderful hangings.  New project in the works…. printing some of my “discovered figures”, photos, and street rubbings on this luscious fabric.  Then doing everything possible to contrast its beauty with violence.  Don’t ask why.  I don’t know yet.

Up the California coast on 101 this time.  Precious stops in Coastal Redwood groves.  I don’t know of anything more quieting than just BEING in a grove of these trees, tallest on the planet.  Something in their bark just seems to neutralize all the poisons.

California Coastal Redwoods
And these are not even old growth!

My sources tell me that Lewis and Clark and Co. did not like fresh fish, like salmon.  Sick of the weather on the north side of the Columbia and sick of being hungry and sick, they took the advice of local Indians who told them that there were elk on the southern shore of the River.  When the weather cleared enough for the company to trust their boats to the waters they came upon herds of this.

Roosevelt Elk stopping traffic.
Municipal Art?

In Crescent City I had to stop the car for this 40 ton concrete work of sculpture.  I had to find out about it.  As it turns out, these “dolosse” are used all over the world to to strengthen breakwaters.  Who knew?  (Mr. Wildcard did.)

Breakwater reinforcement in Cape Town, South Africa

Their name means something like “knuckle bones” in Afrikaans.  They were developed South Africa in the 1960s to protect jetties by dissipating the energy of incoming water rather than blocking it.  Genius.  Does Life imitate Art or what?!


Another “arresting” sight on the side of the road!

Path to the Elwah River and the site of the dam that is no more.

Getting close to home, where it almost always smells like summer camp.

Finally home, and after a hunny smooch, a trip over to check on Ms. Killdeer.  As I suspected might happen, the eggs have hatched.  Three nestlings running about catching bugs, but it seems that a crow made a meal of the fourth.

Three hatchlings.  The twins seem to think they are posing for Diane Arbus.


Lake Crescent on Hwy 101

On a recent drive to somewhere else I stopped to admire the scenery from the edge of Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park.

I heard the sound of giant wings pushing against the air and then the hair stood up on the back of my neck.  Looking up I saw a splendid Bald Eagle.  He flew over the lake, presumably looking for lunch, and then he graciously returned for this cameo shot in the movie I call My Life.

Bald Eagle over Crescent Lake
Bald Eagle over Lake Crescent

It was awesome in the fullest sense of the word.  Oola was struck speechless.

A little later she recovered and resumed her chin-wagging with other travelers she met on the road.  One of them, Sparky, was warmly dressed for this cold morning.  Oola politely agreed, Yes, it really was VERY COLD.

Oola and Sparky The Dog
Oola and Sparky Theee Dog

As my eyes wandered across the water I was reminded of all those student hours in the darkroom flipping negatives to make mirror images.  And all the while, here it was.  Who Knew?

Crescent Lake, Olympic National Park
 Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park
Crescent Lake, Olympic National Park
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park

It was a remarkable morning — one for the records.

Trip to Hurricane Ridge

Oola has been a bit down in the mouth with all the overcast skies and rain since we arrived.  So when we woke her with the news of a brilliant day, she rolled over and went back to sleep.


The weather can change here seemingly in an instant, so that when Oola decided to get up, the sky was gloomy again.

Still, the radio prognosticators had promised a great day, so we piled into Mom’s memorial Prius and began the 20 mile drive to Hurricane Ridge — the mountains we saw from across the harbor in the last post.

We climbed up and up until the clouds that were covering Port Angeles were beneath us.  At about 5200+ feet we came to a ski-bunny area.  And — WHAAAAT? — no snow.  Our Sequim friend and long time area resident had said that this is very early for the snow melt.

But the air was intense, and the light was dazzling.  It was not hard to make the best of the situation.

Oola soaked up sun for a while.

Oola sunning on Hurricane Ridge
Oola sunning on Hurricane Ridge

I shamelessly snapped tourist/calendar pictures one after another. (Click for image enlargement even though no imagery could do justice to what was in front of our eyes.)

The deep, steep valleys were carved over millennia by water and glacier.  Gazing on them brought to mind “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert which I have been reading.  I highly recommend it to you.

Oola soon had her sunny disposition back and began to play in the ski area.  Here is a picture of when she tried out her tight-rope walking skills on the ski lift.

Oola plays on the ski lift.
Oola plays on the ski lift.

Meanwhile I brooded on the absurdity of trying to make poetry of that which is already poetry.  On the way home I saw this,

cherry blossom and reflection
cherry blossom and reflection

and thought it stood a better chance of becoming a poem than all the picts I took at the top of the mountain.


On Ediz Hook Road

After a week of unpacking and of dealing with pass-the-buck bureaucracy worthy of a Russian novel, the Mysterious One and I made a quick decision to investigate that spit of land north of us called the Ediz Hook Reservation for Native Birds.  Didn’t see a whole lot of birds but we did see this looking south over the harbor to the mainland and our neighbor, Olympic National Park.

Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge

Looking north, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Canada IS there.

Canada across the Strait of Juan de Fuca
Canada across the Strait of Juan de Fuca

And there were a few hardy people with their boats.  Cheryl didn’t have a boat with her, but she had a delightful pet ferret on a leash.  She made me think about what Cecilia Gallerani might do with her time when she wasn’t posing for da Vinci or waiting on Ludivico.

Cheryl and her ferret
Cheryl and her ferret
Lady with Ermine
Lady with Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci