Tag Archives: outdoor adventure

Whales, Whales and More Whales!

The Strait of Juan de Fuca has had extraordinary numbers of humpback whales and sightings of a rare-to-these-waters fin whale. Orcas are active and part of the viewing spectacular! Definitely, local attention has been focused on the waters and the whales. On a recent whale-watching tour out of Port Angeles, we saw the trifecta! All three species - humpbacks, fin and Orcas. It was an astounding feeling to have possibly two dozen humpbacks surrounding the boat, breaching, and spouting. With the engines off we could hear them nearby when they were spouting. The fin whale looked rather like a very large brown log floating in the water, until it moved! It was a huge animal. The fin is the second largest whale after the blue whale. The Orcas were feeding, so we missed their usual playful behavior. But, again with the engines off, the Captain lowered a microphone into the water. We heard them talking to one another. Phenomenal! Here's what the naturalist aboard the ship the day we went had to say about our viewings:

Humpbacks and Orcas and a Fin, Oh My!

Port Angeles Highlights: Dozens of Humpbacks L-Pod Resident Orcas "The" Fin Whale Mt. Baker What happens when you mix sunny skies, flat seas, snow-capped peaks, and three species of whale?  Just another great day at the office with Port Angeles Whale Watch! The visibility today was phenomenal providing views of both the Olympic mountain range and Mt. Baker of the North Cascades. The humpbacks were up first, with many of the dozens of whales we spotted yesterday still feeding in the area.  Notable individuals that could be identified included BCX0298 "Split Fin", BCX1068 "Split Fluke", BCX1193 "Zig Zag", and CS631, but there were many, many more whales spouting and fluking in the distance. We next got a call of possible killer whales to the northeast so decided to investigate.  Sure enough, we arrived to see several members of the Southern Resident L-Pod spread out foraging for salmon.  While many of the whales were quite scattered, mom L77 "Matia" and her 4-year old calf, L119 "Joy" stayed nearby for a while.  Because it was so calm today, we were able to turn off the engines and drop in the hydrophone to eavesdrop on an orca conversation of whistles and squeals! It was time to return home, but luckily the route took us right back through humpback territory for an encore presentation.  Much to our delight, however, we were treated to our third whale species of the day - the rare fin whale that's been in the area for the last week or two!  It doesn't get much better than that!  Check out some of the gorgeous photos from today: Erin
Port Angeles: PA Whale Watching, 360.293.4215, whales@islandadventurecruises.com Port Angeles Whale Watch Company is owned and operated by Island Adventures based out of Anacortes, WA. Island Adventures Whale Watching has been in business since 1992 and has carried hundreds of thousands of satisfied passengers.

Port Townsend:  Puget Sound Express,  360-385-5288. https://www.pugetsoundexpress.com/

Three generations of our family have helped visitors have life-changing experiences with some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. Puget Sound Express has been a family business for 31 years!

Whales

Whales

Humpbacks

Humpbacks

Whales in Strait of Juan de Fuca

Whales in Strait of Juan de Fuca

Olympic National Park Entrances

Hwy 101 Scenic Byway map

Olympic Peninsula Hwy 101 Scenic Byway

From Hood Canal to Lake Quinault, follow the Highway 101 Scenic Byway to find several possibilities for entering the Olympic National Park. Each place offers different terrain, experiences, and chances to learn more about the park. PORT ANGELES - The primary Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily 8:30am - 5:00pm. General information, a children’s Discovery Room, bookshop, maps, exhibits and a near-by nature trail makes this a must stop while in Port Angeles. Be sure to take time to watch the movie. If it isn't running, just ask one of the rangers to start it. For park information call 360-565-3130. If all you want to check is the 24- hour recorded road and weather update, call 360-565-3131. If you need backpacking information or permits, or to acquire required bear cans for backcountry camping, check with the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) May 1 - June 11,  8am - 4:30pm daily June 12 - September 10, 8am - 5pm daily (until 6pm Friday, Saturday) September 11 - 30, 8am- 5pm daily.
Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

HURRICANE RIDGE - The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:30pm with information, maps, exhibits, an orientation film, and nearby trails. The snack bar and gift shop are open daily 10:00am - 6:00pm. The information desk is staffed daily 10:00am - 5:30pm. Enjoy the Terrace Talk, daily 10:30am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm. Learn about this amazing wilderness park at a 20-minute talk. Topics vary. Join the easy one-hour guided walk to explore life in the mountains for a Meadow Walk, daily at 11:30am. and 2:00pm. Discover wildlife, wildflowers and other features of the Olympic landscape. HEART O’ THE HILLS - At Heart O’ the Hills Campground amphitheater, join others to enjoy the Evening Program,on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00pm. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards. Junior Ranger Forest Activities are on Saturday at 10:00am for one hour of forest activities. Meet at the campground amphitheater.
Fall at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

LAKE CRESCENT - Storm King Ranger Station is open Wednesday - Saturday 11:00am - 4pm with information, activities for kids, and access to trails. Join the Marymere Falls Forest Walk on Fridays at 10:00am. Meet on the Lake Crescent Lodge porch for this easy, 1-1/2-hour guided hike. Got a younger one with you? How about them becoming an Olympic Junior Ranger? This program starts Saturdays 10:30am at Storm King Ranger Station. Join a ranger for an hour of hands-on activities. One of the highlights of summer in the park are the evening programs. Lake Crescent evening gatherings are on Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:30pm at Storm King. Learn more about the park after dark. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station. MORA - Beginning June 25, the Mora Ranger Station is open Friday - Monday 1:00 - 5:00pm for   information and maps. Bark Rangers - If you have a dog with you, you might want to show up on Saturdays, Sundays at 10am at the Rialto Beach Trailhead. Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. There is also an Evening Program - Monday, Friday 8:00pm at the Mora Campground amphitheater. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station.
beach

Kalaloch Beach

KALALOCH - Kalaloch Ranger Station is open daily with information, exhibits, bookshop, and maps. Science on the Shore is held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Times and topics vary with changing tides. Explore the shore with a ranger in this hands-on program. Schedule and location information will be listed on bulletin boards. Vacation Volunteers can take a walk on the coast with a ranger and help leave this park better than you found it -  Saturdays 10:00am - noon.  Bark Rangers - Daily, 1:00 p.m. at  at Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. Meet at the Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo, daily at 1:00pm.  The Evening Program is held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00pm at the Kalaloch Campground amphitheater. Topics on bulletin boards. QUINAULT RAIN FOREST - Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station on North Shore Road is open Thursday - Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm. It is closed for guided walks and lunch. You find information, exhibits, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. Life in the Rain Forest Walk is scheduled Thursday - Monday at 1:00pm. Learn about rain forest plants, animals and homesteader lore. Meet at Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station for this easy 1-1/2-hour, 3/4-mile walk.
Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

HOH RAIN FOREST - The remodeled Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:00pm. At this visitor center you'll find general park information, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. You can get backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans here. There is the Rain Forest Walk at 2pm daily. Learn about giant trees, wildlife and more on this 1-1/2-hour easy walk on the Hall of Mosses or Spruce Nature Trail. Meet at the Hoh Visitor Center. The popular Evening Program begins at 8:00pm at the Hoh Campground amphitheater. Dates and topics on local bulletin boards.
Staircase trailhead sign

Staircase Trailhead Sign

STAIRCASE -  At the south end of Hood Canal you'll find the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park. The Ranger Station hours vary. They do have information, exhibits, maps, trails nearby. If you are headed into the North Fork of the Skokomish River you will need backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans that are available. Thursday through Sunday at 2:00pm there is a Forest Walk.  Meet at bridge for 1-1/2 -hour walk by the Skokomish River. Discover Staircase!  on Sundays at 10:00am. Meet at the ranger station for this 1/2 -hour talk about the plants, animals or history of Staircase area. Fun for all ages! Evening Program is held Thursday through Saturday 7:30pm. Meet at the Staircase amphitheater.

Stars! Stars! Get Close to Famous Stars!

John Goar

John Goar with two of his telescopes

If you’re around the Olympic Peninsula and can get to Hurricane Ridge for the telescope viewing and full moon hikes, don’t miss it! This is an advantage of high elevation (5,242') with little ambient light. 2014 is the fifth consecutive summer of public telescope viewing at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. You may get to see Saturn and her moons, globular cluster M13, planetary nebula M57 (a.k.a. The Ring Nebula and galaxy M31 (a.k.a. The Andromeda Galaxy). Did you think Andromeda was only in science fiction? Plus, you can take your imagination other mysterious, far-away places through the scope eyepiece.
  • July 22 and 23 - 10:45pm
  • July 24 – July 30 beginning at 10:30pm
  • Aug. 14 - Aug. 20 beginning at 9:45pm
  • Aug. 21 - Aug. 29 beginning at 9:30pm
John Goar, your host through space, is the Astro-VIP at Olympic National Park -- a volunteer who leads free public telescope viewing. John is a member of the Olympic Astronomical Society, an astronomy club that meets monthly in Bremerton, Washington.  John is also a certified Master Observer by the Astronomical League. In the offseason, John teaches math and science at Kingston Middle School in Kingston, Washington. The Olympic Astronomical Society will have their 17th Annual OAS Hurricane Ridge Star Party on July 26th and on August 23rd, weather permitting.  Most OAS members will be happy to have the public look through their telescopes! Full Moon Hike to Hurricane Hill
  • Saturday August 9, Sunday August 10 - DEPART 8:30pm
A three-mile, round-trip hike.  Meet at Hurricane Hill Trailhead. It is a 1.5 miles drive beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Please wear sturdy shoes.  A constellation tour will occur at the top of Hurricane Hill. Both the Telescope Program and the Full Moon Hikes will cancel if there is cloud cover. For cancellation due to clouds, visitors can call the Hurricane Ridge Road Hotline on the day of the program after 3 pm.  (360) 565-3131.

Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail – A Magical Misty Tour

Waterfall Trail Madison Falls

Madison Falls

The Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail is a self-guided tour including more than two dozen waterfalls.  Nicknamed the Magical Misty Tour, the Waterfall Trail covers rainforests, mountains, coastlines, and other landscapes. A number of waterfalls are reached by short, easy hikes. Some are even handicap accessible. Marymere and Sol Duc Falls are popular cascades easily reached year-round. In contrast, to reach Striped Peak Falls requires a moderate hike. This waterfall is best viewed from November to May. The Enchanted Valley is a spectacular destination for backpackers. This area is also known as the Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls. At least one hidden gem, Maple Creek Falls, is visited by boat only. Continue reading

Love is in the Air- Romantic Getaways on the Peninsula

Eagle in flight

Majestic Eagle in Flight

The Olympic Peninsula offers the charms of small towns alongside natural wonders found few places. Couples can create romantic getaways strolling in Victorian seaports, hiking rainforests, camping on the coast, or sampling Olympic Coastal Cuisine. Here are a few ideas to get the romantic getaway planning started: Continue reading