Discovery Park: Fog and Sun Duets

This is the first year I’ve had the opportunity and incentive to get out and about in the winter time. I’m free of ye olde corporate job, and B’s on a health kick, which means that on nice days, he persuades me to take him to places with hills. We get exercise, you get the benefit in the form of lovely winter photos.

One of my ambitions is to get to Discovery Park on a clear winter day, so I can see the Olympics in their full snow-clad glory. Alas, an abnormally warm January plus cold ocean means lotsa fog. Our first attempt had to be aborted, as the entire area was covered in a dense gray blanket. For our second attempt, we thought we had it made. Everywhere we went, the sun blazed from a brilliant blue sky. But as we got closer to Magnolia, fog banks closed in. The sun went away, swallowed up in a misty gray world.

Image shows a grove of oak trees, with fog drifting behind them and through their branches.
Oak trees in the fog.

We didn’t have time to switch plans and find a fogless park. These short summer days end far too fast. We decided the exercise would be worth it, even if we couldn’t see anything. The trees looked very fantasy-forest with their tops lost in the fog and smoky tendrils of mist drifting down.  The South Meadow was an eerie netherworld. I’m used to being able to see forever up there, but that day, we were walking through Hades.

Image shows a thin screen of bare red branches across the bottom. There is a grassy lawn, and trees in the near distance are barely visible through a thick gray fog.
South Bluff from the viewpoint.

The fog stayed with us on the hike down, but began to burn off a bit when we were down on the shore. I was able to get some before-and-after shots. It’s amazing how different the park looks and feels depending on how much mist there is.

Before descending the bluff, we looked over the edge. The world had been reduced to a sliver of sea and a bit of land.

Image shows a bit of the Lawton Clay jutting out, thinly covered with bare bushes, and a narrow strip of the Sound, with fog rolling in toward shore.
View from the top with fog.

Coming back, we stopped at the same spot. Now everything was in sharp detail, and you could see the waves in the water. I love the sediment coloring the blue with a little tan – this is definitely a feeder bluff, and right now it’s quite busy feeding the local beaches.

The fog has lifted. Now you can see the Lawton Claw is gray, and ripples in the Sound. The water has a lot of brown sediment in it near the shore.
View from the top, sans most of the fog.

One of the nicest things about hiking in winter is the lack of leaves. We have plenty of plants that hang on to their leaves with grim determination, but many others throw up their branches, say “Ah, to hell with it!” and shed with abandon. This means you can see things you would never otherwise see. Of course, how much you see depends on the fog.

Image shows the slope of the bluff, with bare trees, a few of them broken off. There is a bit of water, and another of the points is barely visible in the fog to the south.
Looking south from the bluffside, in fog.

Isn’t that a lovely gap in the trees? One of them came apart, fairly recently from the looks of it. We have trees uproot and snap off all over the place in winter. Walk any path, and you’ll have to be prepared to climb over fallen trunks, or you’ll see signs of recent chainsawing. The forest will have taken back over within a few years without humans to maintain the trails.

Coming back, you can see a fair distance, now the fog has lifted. How bright and beautiful it is!

Now the trees are in sunlight, and the southern points of land are visible in the distance.
Looking south from the bluffside, sans some fog.

And the beach. The fog was beginning to lift once we’d made it down, but it was still a thick ceiling overhead. South Bluff looks broody in it.

Image shows South Bluff, which looks somewhat double-decker. There's an exposure of Esperance Sand up at the top, and then a slope of thick gray Lawton Clay, then the lively reddish-brown Olympia interglacial beds. Everything's a bit dark and broody.
South Bluff in foggy shade.

As we messed about at the foot of the bluff, the fog began to thin, and sunshine shone down. It completely changes the character of the whole scene.

Now the bluff is lit by sunshine, and the fog is breaking up behind it, showing patches of blue sky. It looks more like a crisp autumn day than dreary winter now.
South Bluff in Sunshine.

How lovely are all those colors?

So, alas, no Olympic Mountains. But we got to see Discovery Park is several different lights, all in one short afternoon, so that was a little bit of all right. I always love to see what different facets of a place can be revealed by a few subtle changes.

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Discovery Park: Fog and Sun Duets
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3 thoughts on “Discovery Park: Fog and Sun Duets

  1. rq
    1

    I love mist and fog effects – they add something mysterious and fantastic to ordinary scenes.
    And the geo features are impressive with and without sunlight!

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