A bit at loose ends this morning, I finally gave up trying to work and went for a brief hike - walk is probably more accurate - in the Clayton Beach area of Larrabee State Park. The park is on Puget Sound, just south of Bellingham and only a short drive from where we live.
The day was overcast and cool when I started down the walk to the beach, but sunny and warm when I returned. On account of the weather there were few people around when I arrived but quite a few more arriving as I left.
I had been watching some wild orchids along the trail to the beach for several weeks and finally found them in full bloom and waiting to be photographed this morning. The orchids were Epipactis helleborine, the Broad-leaved Helleborine. This is not really a native orchid but a European import that has naturalized all across the country. We've also seen it in the dunes along the eastern Lake Michigan shore in the state of Michigan.
The plant was scattered in an area along and above a railway line, both along the trail and deeper in the woods, usually in relatively protected locations, though not protected from wandering dogs and careless feet. The flowers varied from near green to a deep purple color.
Finished photographing the orchids I went on to the beach and wandered around for a while photographing anything that caught my eye and enjoying the quiet and the sunshine. There were only half a dozen people around, the tide was out and I would have spent the rest of the day there, had I dared to take the time.
formations of Chuckanut sandstone
Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands
Pacific Madrone and Blackberries
After returning to my vehicle, I went back down the road (Chuckanut Drive) a ways, found a place to park and went to look for a stand of the Rattlesnake Plantain, Goodyera pubescens that I knew to be in the area. These also were blooming and after taking a few pictures gave in to my conscience and headed back home and back to work.
Note: The Pacific Madrone, which grows on cliffs above Clayton Beach, is one of our most beautiful coastal trees - an evergreen from the Arbutus family characterized by beautiful orange bark that peels away with time.