Sequim Pic of the Day

On Thanksgiving morning, the air was filled with the fragrance of a stuffed turkey baking, rain gently falling, and the scent of evergreens.  My daughter and son in law, joined me on a hike to the beach, overlooking the magnificent views of the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  We are transfixed by the subtle colors of a rainbow etched in the sky over deep blue waters.

Sequim Pic of the day

“Rainbow over Strait of Juan De Fuca”

“Oh the turkey,” we sighed, as we tore ourselves away.

A few days later, the snow fell.  The following morning revealed a frosted forest sparkling in the sunshine.

Sequim pic of the day

Years ago, this pond was created by an impassioned man, who envisioned a shelter here. A decade ago, a group of men built this rustic shelter.  Black Bear began to drink from this pond.  In time, it was aptly named, “Bear Lake.”  To this day, it is visited by the occasional bear.

At my home, amidst the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, the forest was blanketed with 4″ of snow.  The drive descended from 1,200 feet, down to sea level at the Dungeness Spit. The snow was simply magical so close to the waterfront!

Sequim Pic of the day

Dungeness Spit Trail

Sequim pic of the day

Bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan De Fuca, by Lori Christie

It seemed surreal to see the snow frosting the embankment to the very edge of the water.

“Sequim Pic of the Day” can now be viewed on my new page, aptly named as such (to the right of Home).

 

 

Hiking in Sequim

Over a decade ago, I came to Sequim to hike the Dungeness Spit.  The trail splits into two directions.  The main trail is shorter, while the other meanders through the forest before ascending upon the beach below.  You are met by the sound of the waves caressing the shore accompanied by the call of the gulls.  When hiking in Sequim, it is essential to check the tide chart for this eleven mile hike.

Hiking in SequimMy trek began late morning to insure I could return before high tide.  For a moment, I am transfixed by this natural wonder.  I take a few minutes to splash in the Strait of Juan De Fuca, examine rocks and shells, then I will hike across the sand for a few hours before reaching the Dungeness Lighthouse.

Hiking in Sequim I arrived at 5pm the last time, but the Lighthouse Keeper greeted me and still offered to give me a tour.  During his narration, he spoke of being a descendant of the first Lighthouse Keeper.  At the end of the tour, I am invited into the display room.  The crowning jewel is this sparkling fresnel lens.

Hiking in SequimHiking in Sequim is unlike hiking in the rest of the Country.  It is rare to find such diversity in natural beauty, but it doesn’t end there.  There is a hiking choice for every fitness level and disability access also.  I regularly take a three mile loop hike, accompanied by my sweet dog, Sam.  This alternate Dungeness hike takes you through the forest, weaving through meadows with the Olympic Mountains rising majestically in the distance, along the bluff of the Straits of Juan De Fuca serenaded by the surf crashing on the shore below, and ends at the original trail head.

A few weeks ago, I took a short hike to the Dungeness Spit, enveloped in golden light, just before sunset.

Hiking in SequimI also enjoy hiking the Olympic Discovery Trail, which starts in Port Townsend and ends approximately 130 miles at the Pacific Ocean.  The route can be seen at this site:

The Olympic Discovery Trail

Sequim hosts numerous trailheads for the Olympic Discovery Trail, which runs all the way through town.  My favorite local trailhead entry is by the Dungeness River Audobon Center.  It is located at the Railroad Bridge Trestle, which crosses the Dungeness River.

Hiking in SequimThis trail is mostly paved and is accessible to hikers, bicyclists, and the disabled.

Over the years, I have hiked on many local and Olympic Mountain trails.  Since I live in East Sequim’s Olympic Mountain foothills, I regularly hike the closest trails.  Here you will find information on hiking in Sequim:

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/dungeness-national-wildlife-refuge

During a spectacular Fall day, Sam accompanied me for a walk down our driveway.  He looked up with his warm brown eyes, shook his tail happily, and quite literally flew past me.

Hiking in SequimThe closest hike begins on the edge of our own property!  It continues through part of our neighbor’s property, past our Slab Camp Trail sign marker, which is officially our trailhead.  This leads through our upper forest trail, passing a huge mossy boulder.

Hiking in Sequim

Hiking in SequimWhile hiking through the forested areas of our property, I have found numerous mossy rocks, but none rivaled the towering height of this one.

If you want to go hiking in Sequim, let me know.  I can recommend a great option!

SequimLiving@gmail.com

Sequim Wild Mushrooms

At this time of year, precipitation is on the rise, Fall has begun, and the bounty of Sequim Wild Mushrooms are plentiful.  Here in the Olympic Foothills, quite a few edible varieties can be found.   Below can be seen a trio of Shaggy Parasol Mushrooms.  This type has a stronger woodsy flavor, which is excellent with steak and red wine.  I enjoy them sauteed with onions, tomatoes, kale, and eggs.  They are also excellent in stews or soups.

Better Caption

As for varieties, I have personally found Chanterelle, Oyster, Shaggy Mane, Boletes, Shrimp, Meadow, Agaricus, Honey, Candy Cap, Lobster, and Morel Mushrooms.  While it is fun to find wild mushrooms, it is very important to be able to identify them.  If you are an enthusiast and wish to pick Sequim Wild Mushrooms, I highly recommend joining the Olympic Peninsula Mycology Society.  Their website is:  http://www.olymushrooms.org/

Just a few days ago, I was hiking on our property and discovered mushrooms emerging in great numbers.  They were nestled in moss, poking up through leaves, and hiding under the fronds of ferns.  I picked 15 pounds of Shaggy Parasol Mushrooms!  While hiking yesterday, I found this beautiful Shrimp Mushroom, which I sauteed in coconut oil with eggs, red onions, tomatoes, and kale.  Just a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top- delicious!

Shrimp with Caption

More elusive this year, as I have heard from other mushroom enthusiasts, are the Chanterelle Mushrooms.

Chanterelle Mushrooms with Caption

The Chanterelle Mushroom is a real favorite, is delicious sauteed and served on the side.  It makes a wonderful cream soup, and dehydrates well.  This mushroom is very difficult to cultivate as it shares a relationship to the roots of tree species, such as Douglas Fir.  The good news is, finding them is easy once you discover them growing.  They come back year after year and widely spread.  When you find one, keep searching as it is likely you will find many more!

 Now, for a variety that grows on dead trees:

Oyster Mushrooms with Caption

This mushroom has a flavor very lightly reminiscent of oysters!  While not among the acclaimed desirables as often, Oyster Mushrooms are one of the most widely eaten.  Now more commonly seen for sale at grocery stores, they come back year after year on dead decaying logs or trees.  The culinary uses are varied, but they are popularly used in stir fry.

While there are many Sequim Wild Mushrooms, I have covered just a few.  If you are beginning this adventure, or simply would like a great resource, I recommend, “All That the Rain Promises and More,” by David Arora.  I hope to meet you at one of the Olympic Peninsula Mycology Society meetings or events.

Happy SAFE mushroom hunting!