Subalpine Birds

Gray Jay 1

I took these photos up at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park recently. It was a gray day with heavy cloud cover. There is a nice paved road all the way up and the views are spectacular (even in cloudy weather; see recent posts … including the ones coming up). It’s over 5000′ … so one of the few places you can drive to the high country in the Olympics (the other being Deer Park). That elevation is in the subalpine zone in the Olympics … and there aren’t as many bird types up there as in lower areas. A couple of the regulars are shown here: Gray Jays (AKA Canada Jays or “Camp Robbers”) and Blue Grouse (AKA Sooty Grouse). (Missing were ravens and hawks)

Blue Grouse
Gray Jay 2

Staircase and the North Fork Skokomish

The North Fork Skokomish near Staircase

The image above shows the North Fork Skokomish river just above the Staircase area in the Olympic National Park. If you look closely, you can see the bridge that runs across the river … providing access tof the Staircase Loop Trail. This is a very wide angle lens … which causes the curvature distortion. The image below is taken from the bridge looking further downriver.

At the bottom, a section of the North Fork Skokomish trail running through Maple Flats, about 6 miles up from the Staircase area.

North Fork Skokomish from the Staircase bridge
Maple Flats area of the North Fork Skokomish trail

Dosewallips Camp Area

Dosewallips Trail

I have posted several images of hikes along the Dosewallips River trail in the Olympic National Park. Here are a few more images that I enjoy and thought I would share. The first (above) shows the trail above the old Dosewallips Campground (below) … now isolated by about 6 miles by washout of the road. Hiking the (closed gravel) road is a different experience than the lovely trail shown above. The bottom image shows the river dropping down the steep rapids (falls) just below the campground … the highlight of the road hike.

Dosewallips Campground
Dosewallips Falls

Ingalls Peak (south summit)

Ingalls Peak — south summit

One of my favorite hikes in the past was to hike up the North Fork Teanaway (Esmerelda Basin) trail and then walk the ridge to the south summit of Ingalls Peak (above, the ridge for approach is on the left). It’s an moderately easy hike and can be made more interesting by continuing down the other side to the Long Pass Trail and returning to the trailhead with only a short double back.

Mt Stuart from the south summit of Ingalls Peak.

The view from the summit is wonderful, with the south face of Mt Stuart being the highlight. Stuart is the highest non-volcanic peak in Washington … and attracts a host of serious climbers. I prefer the more enjoyable saunter up South Ingalls.

Also from the summit, you have a stunning view north along the spine of the Central Cascades (below), including views of two of the Cascade volcanoes: Glacier Peak (on the right) and Mt Baker (in the distance on the left). Mt Rainier and Mt Adams are visible to the south (weather permitting).

View North from the Summit of South Ingalls.

Mt Ellinor

Mt Ellinor – Mt Washington Complex

Mt Ellinor and Mt Washington provide the south end of the view of the Olympics from the Seattle area. There is a trail that runs to the top of Ellinor, while Mt Washington is an ‘easy’ more technical climb. The stunning views from the summit of Ellinor provide an attraction that draws thousands of hikers each summer. (Hint: avoid summer weekends. Don’t expect solitude.) There are several different trailheads, letting the hiker choose the length and strenuousness of the hike. A dusty gravel logging road provides access to the higher trailheads. The view from the top of Ellinor includes a view of Lake Cushman (below).

Lake Cushman and the Ellinor/Washington complex.

From the summit of Elinor, you can see Mt Washington and the Puget Sound basin, including Mt Baker (on the far left skyline, below) and Mt Rainier.

Mt Ellinor – Mt Washington Ridge

Turning the other direction you have a stunning view of the southern and central Olympics (below).

View to the Northwest from the summit of Mt Ellinor

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