Showing posts from January, 2013


Salal (Gaultheria shallon) It has been cold around here, at least by our standards.  Overnight temperatures have been dropping into the twenties F.  That's below freezing for pretty much all of you in the rest of the world.  Arctic air masses sometimes find a pathway down the Fraser Valley in Canada.  The cold air will continue to spill through western Washington, down the Puget Sound Basin. It is not unusual for our winter temperatures to stay above freezing.  The downside of our warmer winters is that it can also be overcast, gray and drizzly.  At least the colder weather sometimes brings sunshine.  That's been our situation for the last few days, very cold with bright sunshine.  It's not all bad. Seashore  Bluegrass (Poa macrantha) One of my favorite things to do is get out in the winter cold, hike around the countryside and take pictures.  Yesterday, I headed over to West Beach in Deception Pass State Park .  This special place provides the opportunity to e

There's a Story Here...

I took this admittedly odd and marginal photo this morning.  I was hiking along the dike at Wiley Slough in the Skagit River delta .  This is a unit of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife .  Hanging in the tangle of brush along the edge of the dike, I spotted a guy's shredded Fruit-of-the-Looms and one sock.  I know there is a story here, but I can't figure out what it is.  Perhaps someone can help fill in the details.  Let me set the scene: The dike is part of a system that protects the low-lying farmlands of Fir Island, Washington .  The spur dike at Wiley Slough serves as a trail out into the wetlands of the Skagit River delta.  Many activities take place here include duck hunting, bird watching, hiking and dog training.  At different times, you may find the waters flowing either upstream or downstream.  This will depend on the river levels and the tides of Skagit Bay.   Lush botanical gardens of native plants, shrubs and trees line both sides of th

Skywatch Friday: Second Day

Skagit Bay on New Year's Day began with fog, but it quickly cleared to give us the most beautiful sunny day we have seen for many weeks.  This winter has been persistently overcast, dark and rainy, which would explain my long dry spell for Skywatch photos.   October 19, 2012 was my last Skywatch post and the beginning of one of the darkest winters on record here.  With only rare exceptions, there has literally been no sky to be watched.  2013 has finally broken that pattern.  The year began with three beautiful sunny days.  The photos here are of sunrise on January 2nd. Clear skies in winter also mean chilly temperatures.  Each morning began at or below the freezing mark.  Today, January 4th, we are back to overcast and gray skies, warmer temperatures and mists over the bay.  Meteorologists call it a "marine push."  We call it "ocean air."  Forecasts predict some clearing this afternoon, but I won't hold my breath.

First Day 2013

Yesterday, New Year's Day, I participated in the First Day Hike at nearby Deception Pass State Park.  In Washington State, thirteen parks hosted First Day events to kick off the centennial year commemoration of our state park system.  Participants gathered at the kitchen in the Bowman Bay picnic grounds.  Our route would be the Bowman-Rosario Nature Trail out to Rosario Head. I arrived early to catch some images of the park in the morning light.  It has been a long, dark and wet winter so far.  In fact, December, 2012 was one of the darkest on record . New Years Day began with fog throughout the Puget Sound Basin.  By mid-morning it was lifting to reveal the most beautiful day we have experienced since the fall.  Overnight temperatures had dropped below freezing.  When I arrived, the lawns and picnic tables were covered in thick layers of frost.  Some lingering haze in the chilly air added a bit of moodiness to the morning light. Beyond Bowman Bay, fog persisted o