Washington 2008

We spent a total of two weeks in Washington, including four days at Elkhorn. This is the rest of the trip.

deception creek

Eric and I decided to take a walk around the Deception Creek trail, just a few miles west of Stevens Pass. Here, this steep spot in the creek does not even technically qualify as a waterfall: Deception Falls is a bit further down the hill and much taller.

deception creek

If there's a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, no one is getting to it.

deception creek

A little further upstream.

columbine waterfall

Columbine on the white backdrop of the waterfall. The red flowers were more striking in real life, but the eye is better at remembering color against the white foam than the camera.


The same species of twinflower as photographed at Elkhorn. This photograph shows their growth habit: big, wooly clusters of green and flowers.


There are no signs pointing to the Deception Creek trailhead, so it took us a while to find it. On our way, we stopped at a bridge and climbed down to the creek below. This beautiful little stretch of water is adjacent to the town of Scenic. Scenic was a large resort town, reachable by rail, in the late 19th century. Today it's just a few houses along Highway 2.

conk and shoes

July is really not mushroom season, but there were a few fungal fruitions to photograph. This big conk attracted our attention. Eric wears a size 10 1/2 (43 European).

conk and conquoror

Conk and conquoror.

yellow flower

My guess is that this is some kind of primrose. It was growing along the side of the road near the aforementioned bridge.

fairy conks

I have seen conks, I have seen fairy rings, I had not before seen conks in a fairy ring.

fairy conks 2

That seemed to be the norm in this stretch of woods, though.


This group shows a clear story of adaptation: the log was rolled, forcing the fungus to reorient. It looks like it didn't take much time in doing so.


This little flower, growing in the shadows in the old growth, is probably some kind of coralroot.


As you might guess, this flower is in the orchid family, and parasitizes mycorrhizal fungi for a living. This means the fungi have a symbiotic relationship with the trees, which this flower hijacks for its own benefit. The plant does not produce leaves, thus does not photosynthesize and contributes nothing back to its fungal host.


One of the few fleshy fungi we saw this time, this cluster of Amanitas was growing in a hot, sunny part of the forest. They might be A. muscaria, but are more likely A. aprica. The Amanitas are distinguished more by their universal veils (which leave a cup at the bottom and white warts or skins on the caps) than by their color. A. muscaria should leave thick, felty warts on the top, while these had a thin membrane of white on top.

amanita tops
rock balance

This rock can't possibly be as precarious as it looks, but it looks like the giant rock is supported by these two small ones and the log below.

eric under rock

It also makes a kind of mini cave.

coral fungus

And, growing inside, one of the few fleshy fungi we found on this walk. This is a Ramaria species, or coral fungus.


The fungi were few and far between, but the flowers were out in force.


The most common by far are bunchberries, a relative of the dogwood that produces an edible fruit.

slime mold

I was lucky enough to catch a slime mold in the act of converting from its mobile form to its fruiting form. This one has both yellow slime and brown, cattail-like ascii (pronounced ass-eye, not ask-ee).

slime mold

A look into the alien forest of ascii.

spider web

Getting the camera to focus on the ascii was tricky. One of the times it missed though, it focused here, in an equally alien world of wood canyons and giant cobwebs.

twisted tree

This snag grew in a giant whorl, perhaps turned by the prevailing winds or perhaps spinning to catch the sunlight.

roadside attraction

On our way home, we stopped by the side of the highway to climb down to the river. The area wasn't marked, but a foottrail made it clear that the locals knew the spot. The cold, pounding water of the Skykomish has carved the rocks very strangely here.

skykomish pool

The rocks are shelved in places, and worn smooth in others, creating odd little fjords and calm blue pools in the rapids.

skykomish pool

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