Rhododendrons

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Rhododendron bloom on Mount Walker.

June 5

We spent the day exploring the west edge of the Hood Canal. We set out in search of Eagles and found some. Mostly, the Eagles were soaring over the side of the mountain but one adult sat in a tree nearby and one Juvenile did a fly by.

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Immature Bald Eagle.

We drive to the top of Mount Walker and there were lots of rhododendrons in bloom. When we got to the top and had to walk a short way from the car to the viewpoint, Regis had to point out that he saw more rhododendrons in bloom in that short space than our entire 3 mile walk the other day. The blooms are beautiful. There are foxgloves blooming and some yellow flowers beginning to burst into bloom everywhere. Spring is a lovely time to be here.

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View south from Mount Walker.

From the south viewpoint, we could see Seattle in the distance. From the north viewpoint, we could see Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, and Mount Baker. It was pretty cool to get a view from above of the places we will soon be visiting.

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View of Seattle from Mount Walker.
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View of Mount Baker from Mount Walker.

While Dart and I were walking today, we found an injured mouse. The mouse’s leg was broken. I called my friend Melody who knows how to rehabilitate wildlife and she told me how to help the little mouse. Regis and I were going to have to perform surgery, but we had the tools to do it. We never got that far. I tried to give it water but it was so weak by then, it couldn’t drink it. Sadly, the little mouse didn’t live long. The mouse may have had internal injuries. I’m guessing it was hit by a car.

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Rhododendron bloom on Mount Walker.

Lena Lake

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Mushroom in Olympic National Forest

June 4

Today we went to a steel bridge over the Skokomish River. After driving over Forest Service Roads several miles, we drove right over it. It used to be an old railroad bridge. Regis did not believe it was the bridge so he kept going. Eventually, he conceded and we went back and walked the bridge and took pictures. It was a long way down. The bridge is 420 feet above the south fork of the Skokomish River. (Mom, you could not do this with your issue with heights)

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View downriver from steel bridge over the south fork of the Skokomish River.
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View upriver from the steel bridge over the south fork of the Skokomish River.
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View from on top the steel bridge over the south fork of the Skokomish River.

Then, we went on a 6 mile round trip hike to Lena Lake in the Olympic National Forest. It was a lovely walk through the forest. I really enjoyed all the plant life and huge trees. It was twice the distance as our last hike but half the elevation change (1200 feet in 3 miles). It seemed so much easier but it was very rocky. Good hiking shoes are required on this hike. Dart got to walk off leash and was very friendly to all the other hikers. (My neighbors back home wouldn’t recognize him.)

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We found several of these leaves along the Lena Lake trail. Perhaps they are modern day bread crumbs.
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Lena Lake trail.

Fortunately, the walk was up hill first. I prefer to go uphill on the outward portion of the hike and return downhill. Once we got to the lake we sat and enjoyed. Then, an immature bald eagle flew above. What could be better than that?

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Lena Lake in Olympic National Forest.

The gender ratio of hikers we passed were probably 3 women to every man. Regis couldn’t believe it. There were lots of young women hiking and quite a few of them alone. There were few men. What’s up with that? (I’m envious because when I was young I couldn’t find any women to hike with me. Maybe that’s why Regis and I got married because he was the best hiking and camping partner.)

The reason we went on this hike is because the rhododendrons were in bloom. There were probably 10 plants in bloom and I didn’t see any not in bloom. It was pretty, but after hiking in the spring in the Smoky Mountains, I was disappointed. You should never compare, but the Smokey Mountains are astonishing when the laurels and rhododendrons are in bloom. When we got back we looked up the trail description again and it said the rhododendrons were in bloom on the trail to the upper lake which we could not do because it enters the National Park and dogs are not allowed in the National Park. Oh well, it was a beautiful hike anyway.

We keep driving along the Hood Canal and seeing immature and adult Bald Eagles. It’s really hard to stop on that road because it is a major road. Nevertheless, I convinced Regis to cooperate with me in trying to get a picture of some immature Bald Eagles and this is the best I got. I am on a mission tomorrow to see if we can do better. We’ve seen the Bald Eagles several times in the same general area and will see if we can get lucky from the local State Park.

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Immature Bald Eagle along the Hood Canal in Washington.