Camas Meadows

Blog for Camas Meadows Lodge™. Located on Camas Meadows Natural Area Preserve outside of Leavenworth, Washington. All materials and photos copyrighted 2006-2017©

Monday, March 28, 2016

White Spring at Camas Meadows...

White Spring at Camas Meadows.....

At Camas Meadows there are TWO springs each year.  The first is when it gets sunny and warm while there is still snow on the meadow.  Temperatures rise in the 60's, but it feels much warmer than that with all the sun's rays reflecting off the snow. You can x-country ski in short sleeves and pants.  Don't forget your sun screen, though, that sun can give you a tan or burn in a very short time.

The White Spring at Camas Meadows is quickly followed by the more typical spring conditions.  The wildflowers start blooming with Glacier Lily's and Spring Beauties starting the parade of 135 species that bloom on the meadow. On April 15th the elk make their appearance on the meadow for the birth of the calves. With tax day delayed until April 18th this year and with the snow in the meadow it will be interesting to see if the elk delay their appearance by a few days.

Every year we wonder if the Sandhill Cranes will return for their spring tryst at Camas or maybe they have found another spot. This year we have upped the power on the spotting scope and have a camera adapter for better pictures of the cranes should they make their appearance.

May is the perfect time to visit the east slope of the Cascades.  Don't miss May wildflowers, blue skies, elk and other creatures on the meadow. If you can only visit Camas Meadows once a year do it in May.

The roads in the area are rapidly melting out and drying out.  Those that are plowed all winter like the driveway are clear and the sides are rapidly melting.

The other new news on the meadow is that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is undertaking a beautification project on the meadow!  You ask how can you make Camas Meadows more beautiful that it currently is and besides, is not that a job for God and not a government agency??

Those that have stayed at Camas Meadows have noticed a house off to the west and a couple of hundred yards away from the lodge.
Far enough that we never needed drapes, but close enough to notice.

The DNR has purchased the Fillman property.  This gives the lodge a boundary with the Natural Area Preserve.  In addition, the DNR will be restoring the Fillman property to its natural state.  This will start with the removal of the house and garage and the restoration of the landscape to its natural state.

We are starting to book in May.  The flowers peak in mid-May to early June. The elk are usually in the meadow during that time with their calves. And at night the stars fill the entire sky.

One spring is almost gone....the other spring will be starting in a couple of weeks.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Finally a early winter......

Finally a early winter...........

The last few winters have been late winters. Last year, the elk were in the meadow on February 9th, and then it was followed by a epic dump over a period of two weeks.

This year the snows started before Thanksgiving.  But they gave no clue about December.  We got a good snow in December and that was followed by rain. This settled the snow pack and provided a firm base.  A couple of inches of powder snow on top of the base made for perfect snowshoeing and skiing.

And then it started snowing and snowing and snowing.

Now we are pretty close to our normal maximum snow depth of four feet which normally occurs at the end of January. After the rain it has all been cold, powder snow. This pattern of early, heavy snow is pretty typical for a El Nino year. In the past, the large storms do not make their appearance in January and February like in a "normal" year. However, a good base develops and the small storms do put a nice cover of powder snow on the base.

Not sure what the winter will bring this year. It will be interesting to see if the El Nino pattern holds.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Early Spring at Camas Meadows.....

Early Spring at Camas Meadows.......

At Camas Meadows it is the Spring Beauties and Glacier Lily's that announce the end of winter and the arrival of spring.  So this is the obligatory photo of this years best looking Glacier Lily.

The job of the Glacier Lily's is to announce spring.  After that their job is done for another year. However, the Glacier Lily's and Spring Beauties are just the first of the 125 wildflowers that bloom every year at Camas.  Each year the wildflower season is different and the wildflowers take turns to see who takes "center bloom".  I suspect is has quite a bit to do with winter snowpack and spring rains.

Given the early start to wildflower season the traditional end in early July might come earlier this year.

So early, that the elk that normally arrive like clockwork on April 15th, decided to show up early in late March.  They ran across the meadow in full view from the back deck.  The count for that run was 16 elk.  Hopefully, there are a few more floating around the meadow that did not join the herd.  One of the elk did decide to turn around and have a quick snack before rejoining the herd.

We are still waiting on the return of the Sandhill Cranes. Maybe they did not get the memo that spring is early this year.

Spring is the most active time of year at Camas Meadows. Wildflowers rotate in and out as spring moves into summer.  The elk drop their calves in the meadow and within a couple of days they are running around the meadow playing in the sunshine.

This April there was a total lunar eclipse that was visible from the back deck of the lodge.  The total eclipse was rather short lasting only twelve minutes. Watching the moon slip behind the peaks Three Brothers was pretty special. So many things going on all at once!

We are fairly wide open for spring. Memorial Day weekend is still available for the quiet getway on a busy weekend.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pretty Much a Normal Winter....

This is the view from the back deck on January 26th.  We have had lots of precipitation this winter, but some of it has come as rather wet snow.  There is a good base on the meadow for skiing and snow shoeing.  The snowfall is way ahead of last year when the meadow was bare of snow and the elk were still in the meadow.  This year there is plenty of snow and the elk left for their winter home along the Columbia River sometime in late November.  We are probably at 80% of normal snow depth for this time of year.

It has been sunny at Camas the past few weeks.  When high pressure sets up over the Northwest the low lands of eastern Washington tend to be covered in fog.  However, up at 3000 feet Camas Meadows is many times above the fog.  So we have been driving up from Wenatchee to Camas just to get a chance to snowshoe or ski in the warm sunshine.  Come night time though all that heat just escapes into space and having the new wood stove heating the home makes for a cozy time.

We are booked for the next two weekends.  But President's Day holiday weekend is still open.  There is probably just over a month of ski season left on the meadow.  By mid-March we will be waiting on the Glacier Lily's and Spring Beauties to announce the imminent arrival of spring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the Edge of Winter.......December 16, 2014

On the Edge of Winter...

The season with the most variation at Camas Meadows is fall.  We have warm sunny fall weather some years and some years it is an early snowfall that carries into winter.  This year it seems we have had it all.  Snowfalls, rain, and of course sunny fall weather.

We did have a unique event this year and that was a late November rainbow!  I believe this has to be the latest rainbow I have seen in the mountains.  Rainbows in Hawaii in December do not count.

The other celestial event happens every December and is getting better year by year.  That is the Geminid Meteor shower has become the best meteor shower that is visible every year.  It is a tough shower to view since winter clouds and cold usually limit the number of people willing to watch the shower.  This year at Camas we had clear skies and fairly warm temperatures at night.  The shower was pretty spectacular from about 10:30 pm to about 1:30 am.  I managed to get only three photos of meteors and they were all fairly faint.

Early morning is always special at Camas Meadows and this year we had several really special mornings where the fog and sun created a unique view from the rear deck.

The changeable weather of fall should be pretty close to an end.  It is snow season at Camas and we expect the snow pack to build quickly as Christmas day approaches.  It does look like a white Christmas this year at Camas.  We have a few days left open in December and the weekend of January 10th is open.  We are booked for Martin Luthers Day weekend.

Winter at Camas.  Come see the view from the cabin looking out over the meadow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Colors......

Fall Colors...............

Camas Meadows is well known for its fall colors.  In most cases it is the aspen, larch and other plants that are front and center.  

The sky does provide some color, particularly at sunset.  This is the sunset the evening of the total lunar eclipse in October.  So it was with great anticipation that we went to bed, hoping for a clear early morning sky.

The moonlight was rather dramatic in the morning, but unfortunately the clouds were rather thicker than at sunset.

The Celestron 5 inch telescope provided a much better view and even managed to catch the blood red color of the lunar eclipse.  Unfortunately, due to the clouds focusing was a hit and miss affair and in this case it was a miss.  However, the color did come through.

The next morning on a walk around the meadow I ran into this guy.  He was not howling the night of the eclipse.  I suspect it is only the full moon that moves him.

It does look like the summer was kind to him.  Hopefully, those fat reserves and heavy coat will carry him through the winter.

The colors are going fast.  The larch on the meadow have started turning and soon the wait will start for the first significant snowfall of the year.

Hopefully soon, Three Brothers Peak will have a mantel of snow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Flowers and Almost All the Residents are back in the Meadow....

Spring Flowers and Almost All the Residents are back in the Meadow....

Come April we look forward to all the residents returning to Camas Meadows to enjoy the sunshine and warm days.  As you can see from the picture above the clouds at this time of year tend to stay on the Cascade crest and usually do not make it to the meadow.  So while it is snowing on Three Brothers Peak the weather is sunny at Camas Meadows.

The elk always return to the meadow on the 15th of April and this year proved no exception.  The current count according to our neighbors is 21 animals.  Their departure from the meadow on February 9th was the lastest we have seen, so it was a short stay at their winter home along the Columbia River.  We have not seen the entire herd, but here is a portion on the hike to around the meadow.

For some reason elk and deer do not mix well.  Once the elk show up on the meadow the deer tend to get scarce.  These two were on the west end of the meadow probably wondering where the elk were hanging out.

Soon it will be calving season for the elk.  This is the scene from last year with the calves romping on the meadow shortly after being born.

We are still have not seen the Sandhill Cranes this spring.  Hopefully, they are still enjoying the fine weather in Othello before coming up to Camas Meadows for their spring tryst.

The flowers never fail to make a showing at Camas Meadows.  The meadow is currently showing Glacier Lily's, Spring Beauties and Bluebells.  Within a couple of weeks the name sake Camas should be turning the meadow to a sea of blue.

We are booked May 2nd and 3rd, May 21st through the 26th,  May 31st, and June 12th through the 14th.

Don't miss all the residents of Camas Meadows wandering in the gardens of spring flowers.