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Port Angeles, WA 22 August 2015

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Hurricane Ridge

We breakfasted downtown -- delicious, Smoked Salmon Benedict with just about the best Hollandaise ever -- and then walked over to the Farmers Market in the Transit Mall. Sweet, small market, where we found little Hama Hama Oysters from the Hood Canal, corn, and gorgeous lettuce for dinner.

Back to our cave to drop dinner off in the fridge, and then up the mountain! Sparkly clear above, but all around us the land was hazy from all the first, five fires in the Park, two more in the surrounding forest, and several serious big fires elsewhere in Washington, whose governor has declared it a state of emergency. The west coast is burning.

The windey road to Hurricane Ridge climbs 5,200 feet in 17 miles. The last time we were here, while exploring the Olympic Peninsula with Sienna, we got to the top and caught brief glimpses of the surroundings through streaming cloud. Today, it was still crystalline and still at  the top. 'Look at the sky!' exclaimed Rochelle. 'It's so blue.'

At the Visitor Lodge, a big sandwich board explained the smoke, fires, and the dwindling glaciers on Mount Olympus (seen below). The snowfall was normal last year, but winter and spring temperatures were an average six degrees above normal, and so the snowpack was gone by June. 'We cannot draw conclusions about global warming,' the Park Service hastened to add. 'The effects on plants and animals are unknown. The scientists are watching closely.' Good to know.

<p>Downtown Port Angeles</p>

Downtown Port Angeles

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<p>Southwest from Hurricane Ridge, Mount Olympus on the left</p>

Southwest from Hurricane Ridge, Mount Olympus on the left

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On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the viewpoint from whence Seattle is sometimes visible. Today, not even worth a picture (and I haven't bothered to post the picture north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, because Vancouver Island is almost invisible to the camera.) I watched (and photographed) a Raven atop a snag, complaining about the seeing conditions while, unbeknownst to me, Rochelle was taking a picture of me.

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<p>Raven left, Michael right -- photo credit: Rochelle Elkan</p>

Raven left, Michael right -- photo credit: Rochelle Elkan

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Back down, we stopped in at the Visitors Center to ask about Olympic Hot Spring and the Elwha Rver, just last year liberated from the two dams hastily and ill-advisedly built there without regard for the historic salmon run. Good news about the salmon; they resumed their run, after a hiatus of 100 years, without a hitch despite the muck and grunge in the river bed left behind the dam. This is another of the good stories coming out of the Northwest, where public sentiment is favoring nature over what used to be called progress.

Outside the Center, in the parking lot, you can already see the first evidences of Autumn painting the leaves. We better hurry north!

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Simple preparation for the oysters: carefully dried, egg-washed, breaded in lightly seasoned panko, and then gently sauteed in onion-flavored olive oil. Buttered corn, fresh from the garden this morning. The head lettuce so big it barely fit in a bag, and crisp, crisp. Simple pleasures. Wild-crafted Blackberries for dessert.

<p>Farmers Market Corn, Hama Hama Oysters in panko, and salad, all from within 50 miles</p>

Farmers Market Corn, Hama Hama Oysters in panko, and salad, all from within 50 miles

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