Friday, October 21, 2011

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 25

This was our second day in Sequim, a town which we are really coming to appreciate.  It's a lot smaller than Port Angeles, a lot friendlier, and a lot less crowded.  I expect this would be even more important during the busy season.  I still think the Dungeness Bay Cottages are the place to stay here.  We woke to spectacular views of the ocean.  You could even see Canada across the straits.

Today we checked out Nash Farms, a local farm stand that looks like it has big expansion plans.  We wanted to visit a lavender farm (lavender is a huge industry here) but they are all closed for the season.  So we settled on the Purple Haze Lavender Shop.  They had a huge tub (like claw foot bathtub) of lavender right inside the door and an almost overwhelming smell of lavender upon entering.  We also saw the City Visitor Center - the people were amazingly helpful and friendly here.  They had a webcam of Hurricane Ridge so you could see the weather conditions before you go (more on that later.)  A quick stop at the Olympic Cellars Winery made for a good close of the day.

The two highlights of the day were a state salmon hatchery (Dungeness Hatchery) and Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.  Don't let the webcam with crappy weather keep you from going.  The 15 mile drive in is worth the trip.  It was cold and very windy at the top, but we still enjoyed a couple of walks at the top and along the way up.  Take your time and stop at the roadside pullouts on the way up and down.  The salmon hatchery we caught at just the right time.  they had just started trapping adult salmon, so the pond had plenty to see.  Inside you could see very young salmon in a tank and you could see older salmon in a retention pond (though mostly you just see splashes as the little buggers jumped out of the water.  The worker at the hatchery was super friendly, patient and knowledgeable.

Hatchery Photos:
Salmon trap takes diverted water from the river and captures adult salmon preparing to spawn
Adult salmon.  Remember, these salmon are going to die anyway.  Now there babies will have a much better survival probability
Another adult salmon.  The hatchery will harvest eggs(roe) and sperm and will put them together and then incubate for several months.
Baby salmon after hatching.  They will later be moved to outside tanks, then an outside pond, and then released to wild.
Close-up of baby salmon
Holding pond for older salmon before releasing.
Hurricane Ridge Photos:

Ghost forest from an old wildfire. 

They say the fire burned so quickly and then was snuffed out by high winds so the needles burned but not the branches.

Dungeness Spit with Canada in the background.

View of valley that used to ba a lake caused by an ice dam.  (Thousands of years ago - not a result of man-made global warming.)

Just liked this tree.  Like a giant, natural bonsai.

The moss grows thick all over the Olympics.

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