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Showing posts from January, 2014

Not Your Father's Skywatch

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Photos posted over at Skywatch Friday don't usually look like this.  Blue skies with white fluffy clouds are the norm.  Even better are the bright flashy reds, yellows and oranges of sunrises and sunsets.  Those bring lots of visits and comments.  But gray?  I probably won't get much play from these shots.

While parts of the country are suffering under another Polar Vortex, this photo is more typical of the coastal Pacific Northwest in January.  Weather stats at the time of this photo:

Time 08:20, Temperature 35.9° F, Dew Point 35.4° F, Humidity 98%, Wind Calm, Barometer Steady

Fog generally forms when the difference between the temperature and dew point are less than 4° F and the relative humidity is near 100%.


By 11:00 AM, the fog had lifted a bit.  As you can see, the sun is shining.  The sun always shines here.  It's just that clouds or fog sometimes get in the way.  Some find this weather dismal and even unbearable.  For those of us born to it, however, it is part of …

Ginnett Hill:  Kingdom of Moss

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Late last month I hiked the Pass Lake Loop Trail in Deception Pass State Park.  Along the way, I came to a fork in the trail with a signpost that read "Ginnett."  On my birthday this month, I decided to see what was at the end of that Ginnett Hill Trail.  I had no idea of the surprises that decision would bring.  The trail starts out looking pretty much like all the others in the state park forests.  As I continued, I would find it more primitive and less trodden than others in the park.  And what a delight it turned out to be.


At the beginning, there is some gentle uphill terrain, then a long descent begins into what has come to be known as Naked Man Valley (.pdf).  The valley forms a basin between Pass Lake and Lake Campbell.  I notice mosses starting to appear more and more all around the trail.  Also along with the Western Redcedar, Douglas Fir and Grand Fir, Western Hemlocks are becoming more prevalent.  This would be an indication of a wetter microclimate than we see …

Waves

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I was back in Deception Pass State Park yesterday morning.  I parked at East Cranberry Lake near the main entrance and hiked around the lake to West Beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  When I got there, the waves and surf really caught my attention.  Despite relatively calm winds, waves hitting the rocks were creating some spectacular displays.  There was apparently residual effects from the previous day's storm still in play.  Although the site is 95 miles/153 km from open ocean, the Strait of Juan de Fuca can behave like ocean because of its size.  The spectacle got me thinking about waves.  Why was this happening with only a slight breeze blowing at the time?


Waves come in many forms.  Light waves, sound waves and microwaves (radar) are examples.  Wind waves are those that occur on the surfaces of bodies of water.  Regardless of the type of wave, they all have characteristics in common.  For wind waves, the Office of Naval Research website provides a good diagram and descrip…

First Day 2014:  The Best One Yet!

For the third year, Washington State Parks hosted First Day Hikes on January 1.  There were fifteen in all this year.  At Deception Pass State Park, about fifty of us gathered at the Cornet Bay Retreat Center.  Our guides were Jack Hartt, Park Manager and Jessy Osterloh, Park Interpreter.


And we are on our way.  I am certain that of the fifteen hikes around the state today, this is the best looking group of all.  Most notably, our ages spanned 60 to 70 years from youngest to oldest.

This year's hike will include two legs.  For the first leg, we will hike up the Discovery Trail to North Beach.  The second leg will take us to the Deception Pass Bridge, then continue on up the Northwest Summit Trail to the top of Goose Rock.  From beach to summit, the elevation gain will be 484 feet/148 meters.


It is difficult to portray in photos how magnificent this forest really is.  The weather was perfect for a midwinter hike.  It was overcast, but once in a while, the sun managed to peak throu…