The Skokomish Range from Mt Ellinor

Skokomish Range from Mt Ellinor

This was a late fall hike to the summit of Mt Ellinor and the view northeast to some of the Skokomish Range (the southeast corner of the Olympic Mountains … and outside of Olympic National Park). It was a light snow year … typically by mid-November the snow is deep enough to cut off access. While the weather here looks great, on the way back down (the opposite direction from the view here, and much easier traveling) the clouds moved in and it was socked in with thick fog. Good thing I knew where I was.

Fog on Mt Ellinor

Valley Clouds

Valley Clouds

The mountains across the valley is the Bailey Range, which run down the center of the Olympic Mountains. The view is from Hurricane Ridge, where there is a visitor center over 5000 feet. The valley full of clouds is the Elwha River … one of the huge success stories in salmon restoration. Two dams that were erected in the early years of the 20th century, without the required salmon ladders, were removed which opened up miles of prime salmon habitat. There used to be 5 species of salmon plus steelhead that called the Elwha home, and some of those have returned … hopefully the rest will eventually follow.

High Country Birds

Canada Jay

it is a hard life trying to find adequate food in the high country in winter. I shared some organic grains with the gray jay (even though it’s against the rules). That attracted the attention of the raven, but it was much too shy/wary to come so close.

Raven

Is this Photo Crooked?

Olympic Ridges in Winter

I did a double-take on this image when I was working on it. I kept trying to make it level and was distracted by the angles of the ridges and the cloud banks … and echoed by the cloud-line in the distances. But the trees show the image is ‘straight’. This is taken from the Hurricane Hill Road just past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor center, a popular snowshoe and cross-crountry ski route.

North Fork Skokomish in Winter

North Fork Skokomish where it runs into Lake Cushman

The North Fork Skokomish valley is one of my favorite locations in Olympic National Park. It used to be the closest to my home, when I lived in Olympia. It’s a little farther away now, but I still try to make several trips per year. It’s a low snow year when you can drive up to the Staircase Trailhead in December (unlike this year).

North Fork Skokomish from the Staircase Area

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