Sunday, July 31, 2016

Miller State Park in Washington

Walking down the trail at Miller Peninsula State Park.
Miller Peninsula State Park is considered one of Sequim's attractions in Clallam County and today, July 30, the Olympic Peninsula Explorers (Volkswalkers) had their sanctioned walk.

Last week there was just a genial exchange between the Canadians and US walkers, and I walked almost eight miles. Today it felt longer, but it was really shorter; less than six miles overall.

Fungi amongi... not the latin name.
There is a wide diversity of plant life, including multiple types of fungi, tall evergreens and some pretty large deciduous trees as well. It was fun to stand quietly once in awhile and just listen to the needles, driven by the wind, raining down on the forest floor.

While there are several trails, the best (and shortest) one down to the water of Puget Sound takes about an hour down and back. Well, maybe for fast walkers it is less time, but we weren't rushing and for less nimble feet the trail shrinks for the last half-mile to a single file dirt path with roots, stumps, holes and rocks so it's sensible to pay attention and not get tangled up.

Still, the reward of seeing Protection Island from one of the closest locations from land was worth it.

We were lucky to have a 70-plus degree day with a light breeze instead of the one that preceded it yesterday (June 29) which was topping the 80 degree mark. The sun was shining hotly by noon, so this is good hike to make in the early part of the day. Even though the path has shady spots along it, the sun can be felt enough that sunscreen is also useful.

I like it when the trail bosses leave these trees where they fell.
The hike description said bug spray was needed, but we were fortunate to not have any issues. We did  meet one hiker who had gotten stung by a bee, so if anyone walking in  your group is allergic, be sure to have an epi-pen or a fresh copper penny* on hand. There is no way to easily remove someone from the park in an emergency like that.

This is the blue sea and sky at the end. It is
hard to differentiate which is which.
This is a better view of the Puget Sound as we arrived.
Except for the narrow trail down to the water for the last bit of the trip, there is plenty of space to walk side by side for easy conversation. This is a good walk for kids as there is plenty of running room before the trail.

Once down at the water it is easy to see eagles fishing and flying up into the wind vortices, and possibly puffins from Protection Island could be seen with some good binoculars. It was reported by a local TV station that humpback whales were seen near Discovery Bay this weekend, but I didn't see anything that dramatic in the water.
Protection Island sits almost at the mouth of Discovery Bay. This view is
one of the best to be had from land. A longer telescopic lens might help.
A rugged rocky shore looking sort of southeast, I think, toward Discovery Bay.
I had plenty to think about as I meandered down the trail and back again, lucky I had brought my two walking poles which I was able to share with another in our group.
This eagle flew right toward me from the water and then
landed on a branch only a few feet away... I was thrilled!
And so, after a really pleasant lunch/supper/tea with a new friend, I was ready to put my feet up and see how Foyle is getting on with his various detective challenges.
* I make no claims to the efficacy of a copper penny on a bee sting, but the hiker who was stung was using it for her relief.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Victoria Summer Walk

There is nothing so lovely or enlivening as a walk around Victoria, B.C., and when it's sunny and low 70's, it is pure bliss.

The American Volkssport Association has a local group called Olympic Peninsula Explorers which I joined earlier this year.

Our annual Canadian trip was this past weekend of July 24th, and our hosts and hostesses were so gracious and welcoming, it felt like we were coming home.

As we waited for everyone to gather, we watched the boat ballet in the inner harbor.

Once everyone was together, we headed out, past the 1,100 plus restored cars that had gathered for the weekend from all over the NW.

It was reminder to me of the days when I helped my father restore the 1932 Model A Ford and later he was interested in a 1931 Buick, but it was the first experience that taught me how to take apart, and put back together, a combustion engine.
Victoria water taxi ballet...

This information has served me well with my own cars. I saw a 1949 Ford convertible, one of my cars from the past, but no 1955 Ford T-Bird. But then we didn't walk past all the cars, either.

What sort of amused me was the high level gloss paint on these restorations, when those of us who once drove some of these cars in their original condition knew the paint job was no where near what can be accomplished today.

Huge car show with restored vehicles from early years.
It was also the Busker's Festival on the other side of the harbor, but we were not able to break away from our own group before our ferry deadline, so I'm going to mark this on my calendar for next year.

City gardens featured sweet peas
along with edible kale and lettuce.
Our 'guide' from the Wanderers was well-versed in local knowledge and walked us through some well cared for neighborhoods with sweet gardens and curbside decorations to inspire us.

I particularly liked the gnome homes on Pilot Street, and the 10-foot tall holly hocks seen in a back alley cut-through all in the Jamestown area.
The Garden City Wanderers hosted the OlympicPeninsula
Explorers in the waterfront park in Victoria, BC.
This area has many Victorian homes, but is also a desirable location for those wanting to rebuild with 'green' and modern designs.
Gnome home 'base' planted at
the base of a maple tree.
Incorporating the whimsical exterior 'little folks' residences on a shady street only made our walk that much more enjoyable.

Full view of the gnome home... I intend to do this someplace.
Another view of the gnome home.
Closeup of room and entry.

Another gnome home.

Breakwater walkway has recently been completed for enjoyable walks. 
We reached the edge of Vancouver Island, near where the cruise ships come in, and then returned via Pilot Street, passing more curbside entertainment.
Another interpretation of a fairy cottage.

These flowers are called a name related to eggs, but now I've
forgotten it... sunny side up?

Brilliant lilies!!

Thistle or artichoke? Or just that
awful stinging nettle BC size?

Peach colored rose has delicate
scent... would like to find it for
my own garden.

Interesting gate...

Last of the R2AK rowers returning to Victoria?

There was plenty of gentle joking about our upcoming presidential race and warnings that if we wanted to seek asylum after November it was probably going to be causing Canada to sink into the Baltic Sea with all the folks running over the borders.

I always meet new folks and this was no exception.

The food was delicious, served as a picnic overlooking the Fisherman's Wharf area. There was a broccoli salad with raisins and grapes that was so refreshing and crisp!

3 p.m. ferry took us back to Port Angeles, WA. It was warm
until we cleared the harbor and then the gale force winds
drove most of us back inside until arrival.
My personal walking goal was the 5K, but with walking to the ferry in Port Angeles, walking around and then off the ferry in B.C. to the park, then a delightful walk past Tudor Printing (again) in the Jamestown area, I reached 16,576 steps or about 8 miles!!

I was feeling just a little worn out by the time I got home, but a hot bath and some post-exercise vitamins restored everything to normal on the morning after... such a wonderful memory!

Approaching Port Angeles; see, there's no one on deck!