What have I been doing or What I have been doing

I have been doing a bit of work, and a lot more play over these past few days.
Pooh and Mark finally made it to vacation time, and gathered all of their vacation karma to cause the rain to cease. At least for a few days.

Foggy Sound into Kingston

Foggy Sound into Kingston

It was a glorious day. Foggy crossing the sound, but the sun melted the fog as we landed in Kingston. (See – we didn’t need to get up any earlier, because we would not have been able to see as much.)

Wednesday morning we launched for the Olympic Peninsula.
Target – The Elwha Dam.
Or rather the Elwha Dam Site.
That is no longer the site of the Elwha Dam, but rather the site of the past Elwha Dam.
The dam Dam is gone.

Old Elwha Dam Site

Old Elwha Dam Site

If you go to visit the Elwha dam sites, today, you will only be able to get to the Elwha Dam. The upper dam (Glines) is on her/his way out. Because there is occasionally dynamite used to bam departing dams, we were limited to the lower Dam on the Elwha, the Elwha Dam (or past dam site).

To get to the site we followed the path to a lookout. Then we took the path off of the path – to a much better lookout. Then we took the path that was not a path off of the path, but rather a road – or a past road – that was used to get to the dam, when it was a dam. This took us right into the dam pool. (Lake Mills I think.) Except it was no longer a pool, but an area being reclaimed by vegetation.

Intrepid Wanderers

Intrepid Wanderers

Tree Gnome (looking for a tree)

Tree Gnome (looking for a tree)

The most obvious signs of the roughly 100 years between the dam construction and destruction are the tree stumps.

Loggers Spring Board notches

Loggers Spring Board notches

Not Quite Up to the Notch

Not Quite Up to the Notch

This Elwha silt is a recurring theme of the area at this time. I thought another hiker had dropped a handful of mud/silt on the ground – until I realized we were in an area where the dam pool had allowed the normal silt and mud flow to settle.

Glob of Elwha Silt

Glob of Elwha Silt

And as the water level was lowered, some of this silt stayed on top of the stumps.

Mud Cap

Mud Cap

From a hydraulic engineer’s point of view, one exciting sight was the river meanders that could be easily seen in the mud and silt that is still the river bed.

Elwha Meanders

Elwha Meanders

I really want to return to this site over the next few years – just to see the changes.
We even saw a bit of wildlife.

Wildlife Siting in a Spring Box

Wildlife Siting in a Spring Box

Then we took off to see other sites along the river.

Along the banks of the Elwha

Along the banks of the Elwha

First stop – Madison Falls.
Or rather a stop for Pooh and Mark. Jay realized that she no longer had a handle on her phone, and had just said as we left the lower dam parking lot, “Does everybody have their camera? I thought I heard something fall off the car.

Carl & Jay headed back towards the lower dam.
Carl decided to call the phone just in case the other couple at the dam site was near the parking lot and had picked up the phone.
Except, we could hear the phone ringing.
Certain that it was in the car, we returned to Madison Falls, and spent about 5 minutes hunting the phone down. You would not have thought it to be that difficult a task – it is only a Prius. It was finally located beneath the driver’s seat – safe and sound – with 6 missed calls.

Madison Falls

Madison Falls

Madison falls was well worth the short walk off of the road. The rain from the past week had it  roaring over the drop.

Pooh wanted to find the point where the Madison entered the Elwha – to see how the clear Madison mixed with the muddy Elwha. Unfortunately this happened just beyond the No Trespassing sign.

Mud and Silt signal freeing of the river

Mud and Silt signal freeing of the river

So back to Port Angeles.
We spent a bit of time sunning on the Ediz Spit, looking back at the Olympics and trying to identify the water fowl hanging about. And we even spotted a seal, but I am not posting my picture because it looks very much like a floating log.

The next morning we launched in search of breakfast, and found the New Day Café. It was a lovely place to spend some time, but a ferry schedule beckoned and we headed to Port Townsend for the short hop to Whidbey Island. From there we went north to Deception Pass. Hiked a bit, crossed the bridge on foot (which was a bit hairier than we liked), clambered over rocks and logs, and finally headed back south to La Conner for lunch, a quilt museum (and historical house tour) and the daffodil fields. At least a few fields were in bloom. (I figured if my daffodils were blooming, theirs should be too.)

And finally home again.

And today, I finally got to use a Christmas present from the girl. (THANK  YOU)

Pooh & I enjoyed a retreat at Banya5 in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
I would most likely never go to a spa by myself, but was pleasantly surprised by the easy ambience of the place. A sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, tepid salt-water pool and hot tub filled the spa area, along with a few showers for rinsing between pools. They were all very enjoyable (except perhaps the cold plunge, which felt much like the temperature of Lake Superior). After bouncing back and forth between these amenities, we set off for home. And while I initially felt ready for anything, I now feel ready to settle down with a movie, or a nap.

I would have been happy just to make it to the Elwha Dam site.
But to have the dam, spit, pass, 2 ferry rides, quilts, flowers and at least three good meals – with a side of two sunny days in a row – followed by a spa day; this has been an excellent vacation – and all close to home. And to see much better pictures – go to RegenAxe.

[It is times like this that make me ask why we don’t take off for weekend adventures more often.]

One Response to “What have I been doing or What I have been doing”

  1. jane Says:

    The evidence continues to build on the ‘jane is adopted’ front. I would go to a spa regardless of the situation! alone, with family, with friends, in various countries, free hot springs, pay for the priveldge, etc. Huh — all those years ago I really thought you were making it up when you told me I was adopted. 😉

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