Driving Hurricane Ridge

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration when I compare the Obstruction Point drive to Bolivia’s death road, but not by much. Or at least, not in some sections where you have a drop of hundreds of feet with no room to pass an oncoming car. Just ask my passengers!

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First Beach Cast Bird Found
A Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) is our bird #302. Photo Credit: Steve Weileman

First Beach Cast Bird Found

I really don’t want to think about the number of miles or the total elevation lost and gained that were traveled to find our first bird but it finally paid off with the discovery of our first bird (and second) to document for the volunteer COASST program.

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A Summer Hunting the Green Crab
Theresa collecting our traps from Site 277.

A Summer Hunting the Green Crab

This was only our second year for this site, and actually our first full year. Last year we had a late start as we waited for the permits to make their way through the system. I mention this because it makes is somewhat difficult to come up with any hard conclusions regarding the data.

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A Run At Palouse Falls
A close up of Palouse Falls. Beautiful but deadly as well.

A Run At Palouse Falls

Although only separated by a short drive, eastern and western Washington couldn’t be on more opposite sides of the spectrum; cool wet temperate rain forests vs. dry, hot desert. However, a visit to this desert has been on my to-do list for some time and I was anxious to explore and camp  over on this side of the mountains, plus there was the added bonus of a visit to the famous Palouse Falls.

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Third Survey at Toleak Beach
Sunset over James Island. This was our view from Basecamp. Helped make up for the grueling hike to the beach.

Third Survey at Toleak Beach

The trail was heavily overgrown compared to our first trip out in early May. I felt Theresa’s absence like a weight on my back. Bending down for a better look I saw yet another bit of cougar scat. Unlike the previous trip this was obviously not fresh but that didn’t keep my head from constantly swiveling as I started up the trail to Scott’s Bluff.

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Horse of a Different Color
Feeding up and personal. Photograph by Steve Weileman.

Horse of a Different Color

For all we have in common Theresa and I couldn’t have more different backgrounds. She was riding a horse long before she had a drivers license where I was soloing sailboats offshore. Our first multi-day paddle together she complained that her, “utter wasn’t working”; our first horseback ride I complained I needed a ‘mainsheet and rudder’ to control this beast.

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Review: SOG Baton Q3

Between chores around base-camp and setting up camera gear I’m almost always in need of a small tool of some sort. Multi-tools have just the assortment of tools I most need, but honestly, I had wearing them on my belt. Then I stumbled on an intriguing alternative from SOG and there’s no going back for me.      

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Successful Bird Survey At Toleak Beach
Just a portion of the MME (Mass Marine Event); there were 10's if not 100's of thousands of these on the beach.

Successful Bird Survey At Toleak Beach

Looking toward the northwest I observed the dark clouds with a deep suspicion. Last time we attempted to conduct a bird survey on Toleak Beach we were hammered by wind and rain. I double checked the forecast. Saturday had a much better forecast but today the tides were better. A bit of a gamble -- which way to choose?

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Search For An Unnamed Waterfall
This drainage led us to some incredible old growth forest. Photo Credit: Theresa Weileman

Search For An Unnamed Waterfall

The sign stated that the private tree farm was closed to motor vehicles but opened to foot traffic. So, if we wanted to find our unnamed waterfall that meant hoofing the last 1.5 miles on foot. The thing that worried me was the high voltage wire crackling above the FJ.

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