Spring Hiking Views

Dosewallips River in Spring

Spring covers a wide range of changes to the forests and lowlands of the Olympic National Park. The high country doesn’t start being snow-free until summer … spring in the high country means snow travel. Lower down, the rivers can be running quite low … if the snow isn’t melting higher in the valleys and it’s not raining. The image above is at under 1000 feet elevation and shows the river running fairly low after a couple days of cool dry weather.

The image below shows a group of backpackers that had been up to Big Timber Camp on the West Fork of the Dosewallips. Big Timber is at 2300 feet and they reported 5 feet of hard packed snow at that point. You need good insulation between you and the ground to sleep on snow …

The image at the bottom shows the view up to the high country and the remaining snow in the trees. The area shown has melted out more, since it is open to the south and the sun is starting to do its thawing out trick.

Late Winter Backpacking
Dosewallips Road/Trail with a View to High Country Snow

Casting Bronze

Hot Metal
Pouring Hot Metal

For a while I worked at the Pratt Fine Art Foundry in Seattle. I really enjoyed working with metal. I had started with (gas) welding steel, but when I found out how much fun working with bronze was, I was hooked. I worked at developing skills with various styles, many times using natural objects instead of wax models. I cast apples, banana, onion, artichoke, and small trees. I tried casing a trout once, but that didn’t work so well. And the folks in the foundry claimed that when it was in the kiln, it attracted all the neighborhood cats (not likely).

Below is one of my favorites: my hand. I made a model by dripping hot wax from a candle on my hand until it was covered and when the wax was cool and hardened, carefully removed my hand. Then I poured the art wax into the model, removed the candle wax and cast what was left. I was quite pleased with the fact that most of the skin texture and fingerprint patterns showed up.

Unfortunately, all the plaster dust just gave me one sinus infection after another and I had to retire my foundry work.

Need A Hand, Anyone?

Lake LaCrosse Basin

Lake LaCrosse Basin from above
The trail from Hart Lake to Lake LaCrosse Basin

LaCrosse Basin is in the headwaters of the Duckabush River in Olympic National Park. It is one of the most scenic areas, next to the High Divide (and a couple others that shall remain nameless to protect their pristine nature), but due to the multiple day hike necessary to access the area, it is not as crowded as other areas of the park. Depending on your route, it’s typically a 3 day hike in. (Doing it in 2 days is possible if you are very fit and like long days) That said, all the remote areas of the park are seeing increasing pressure from backcountry hikers. I expect that there will come a time where the whole park is subject to a reservation system to keep the fragile high country from being loved to death.

Three Prune Camp

Trail Sign to Three Prune Camp
Early Breakfast for an Early Start

Three Prune Camp supposedly got it’s name from an early Mountaineers party that camped there with their provisions reduced to 3 prunes. The camp is along a ridge between the North Fork Quinault and the Queets valleys in Olympic National Park. It was seldom visited, but is an excellent camp along the Skyline Trail, which provides dramatic views of the central Olympics from the south. There are more hikers up there these days, but it is still a remote area, a long ways from a trailhead.

Beach Walk

Beach Walk with Dog
Seagull at Water’s Edge

I was at Fort Worden State Park recently. There had been some snow the day before, but it was mostly gone (you can still see some left in the driftwood in the top image). I liked the water in the bottom photo and the splashes frozen in time.

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