Hikes, outings

We hope you are all healthy and able to enjoy the beauty of spring on the Olympic Peninsula. Once again this month, our Natural History Society won’t be able to lead an outdoor outing. That’s why several members of our Guiding Committee are sharing alternatives with you. You’ll find a fun scavenger hunt in the May newsletter, and here are a few more suggestions:

Castilleja miniata (Common Paintbrush)

A loop through Fort Worden State Park, known as the Point Wilson Trail, offers a range of scenic views, including walks in the woods, across open fields, and down to the shore. This 2.7 mile walk is used by many, including dog walkers (dogs must be kept on a leash). It is an ideal route for birding, with quite a variety of habitats available.  www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/point-wilson-trail – Dave Rugh

Hike several miles at Miller Peninsula State Park. Excellent trails; you may well be the only one there, to a secluded beach on the Strait. No houses, no people; just views and solitude. www.alltrails.com/parks/us/washington/miller-peninsula-state-park – Ken Wilson

Papilio rutulus (Western Tiger Swallowtail) on Penstemon serrulatus

I suggest the Osprey Trail in Port Ludlow, at the convergence of Oak Bay Road and Osprey Ridge Drive. Mostly up, but some down, the trail follows a deep ravine of second growth Douglas Fir and Cedar interspersed with old-growth stumps twice the diameter of the already huge living trees. It’s a well maintained trail with lots of bird song. One can return on an easy-on-the-knees downhill Osprey Ridge Drive. Extend your walk by catching the very short but lovely Ludlow Falls Trail, with an estimated combined distance of three miles; difficulty is about a “2” due to some steep parts. https://portludlowresort.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2017_Hiking_Trail_Map_Reduced.pdf – Marcia Schwendiman


Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)

My suggestion for a local natural history experience is Fort Flagler State Park, on the northern tip of Marrowstone Island. It offers over 3.5 miles of shoreline for beach exploration, miles of trails weaving through quiet forest and historical grounds, and fantastic views.  The park is home to an extensive range of species and is an excellent place to see birds: www.inaturalist.org/guides/9099.  For further information: parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/9290/Fort-Flagler-State-Park-PDF?bidId= – Michele Olsen

Canada Goose

Take a serene walk around Gibbs Lake County Park near Chimacum.  Lovely trail and you just might see some of the remaining Trillium. Certainly there are many wild rhodies in bloom. It’s a County Park, so no parking pass is needed.
www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/gibbs-lake-trail – Oma Landstra

A favorite place for me in any season is Anderson Lake State Park. I discover something new every time I walk there— dragonflies, warblers, wildflowers, amphibians, a beaver dam, and recently a Wood Duck with her ducklings. Use this map to avoid the Lakeside Trail (A), closed due to toxic algae, and start by exploring Anderson Trail (B) and the San Juan Trail (D).
parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/9271/Anderson-Lake-State-Park-PDF?bidId= – Wendy Feltham

We have been discussing ferns on the Land Trust’s online Nature in Your Neighborhood class.  At Quimper West, an 80-acre Land Trust property that’s part of the Quimper Wildlife Corridor, you can see four of our local ferns. Walk down the middle of the trail from North Jacob Miller Rd., and  just off the main trail you’ll find sword fern and bracken fern (of course) and lady fern and spiny wood fern. The final two are less abundant, and closer to the center of the trail and the end toward Middlepoint Road. saveland.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/QWC-website-map-fieldguide.pdf – Eileen Cooney

Rosa nutkana (Nootka Rose)

I recommend walking on less-traveled roads in my neighborhood near Discovery Bay Golf Course. On my walks I have seen Barred Owls, fawns and many species of birds, as well as wildflowers, including Castilleja miniata (Common Paintbrush), on the bluff of Discovery Bay. – Janell Jelliffe

Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), a most unusual wildflower, is just emerging from the forest floor in Fort Townsend State Park. You can find this ghostly plant at the east entrance of Cemetery Trail and more on Campers Trail. Internet search this fascinating wildflower before you find it, and following its growth is a delightful learning experience from nature. Indian Pipe is sometimes hard to find unless you are looking just for it, but too fascinating to miss!
parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/9293/Fort-Townsend-State-Park-PDF?bidId= – Lee Merrill


Rain doesn’t stop intrepid naturalists from looking for insects at Gibbs Lake in September 2018.

Hooded Merganser

Dungeness Spit driftwood and stones

Surf Scoter

Usnea lichen in the wind