NZ2020: Days 10 and 11, Walking the Kepler Track near Te Anau, lots of rain, and a film

February 3rd and 4th, 2020 – Te Anau, New Zealand. After returning from our Doubtful Sound cruise, we were supposed to go to Milford Sound. As described in my earlier post, we were experiencing extreme rain and flooding throughout Fiordland. Many roads were washed out. Our guides improvised some other adventures for us, based near Te Anau.

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Trail sign, locations of our next two hikes circled. The diagram shows how these lakes are interconnected to the huge hydropower scheme that ends up at Doubtful Sound, where we were the previous day.

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Yes, it rains!

February 3, 2020

After lunch, we zipped up our rain gear and set off on a 6 mile hike near the shores of Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Track.  We passed through beautifully green rainforest, and crossed a river that was swollen with runoff. We paused at Brod Bay on Lake Te Anau, our turnaround point, then walked back the way we came.

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Starting off on the Kepler Track in our rain gear.

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A swollen creek entering the lake.

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Brod Bay beach, turnaround point.

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Walking through the rain forest.

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Another view toward Te Anau across the lake.

February 4, 2020

The next morning, with rain still falling, and many surrounding roads still closed, we set off on a different stretch of the Kepler Track, this time along the Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut, a 7.5 mile hike.

We crossed the Waiau River bridge, above a swollen river.

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Waiau River

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One of the highlights was passing through a wetland near Spirit Lake, with amazingly colorful plantlife and beautiful reflections in the water. On a nicer day I could have spent a lot of time here playing with the lights and reflections with my camera. 

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Wetland side trip

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Spirit Lake, rain.

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We arrived at Moturau Hut, near Lake Manapouri, where we paused long enough to eat lunch. The rain continued to fall during our return hike, again through the lush and green rainforest.

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View from Moturau Hut to Lake Manapouri

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Rainforest trail with possum trap.

 

I took two pictures from the same vantage point, about three hours apart, that show how Waiau River still rising.

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9:20 am

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12:30 pm

Later that afternoon, after we had dried off, we visited a pub in the town of Te Anau, and then went to the Fiordland Cinema, and watched a film called Ata Whenua – Shadowland. The movie was made by some of the Lord of the Rings film makers, and included gorgeous cinematography and ethereal music depicting the beautiful Fiordland landscape that we could not see because of all the rain.

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Serious Jenga at the Redcliff Cafe.

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Another map of our Kepler Track hikes.

Meanwhile, our guides were creating a new agenda for the next day, an impromptu tour of Southland, since all the roads in every other direction were closed by flooding.

 

Six Hikes in June, 2021

We had six hiking days in June, all repeat hikes, so I am showing just a few highlight photos, and linking past posts for trail details.

  1. June 3 – Hamilton Mountain, WA, hike – I love this hike, however challenging (8 miles, 2200 feet), and always feel accomplished to have made the trek again, especially when I get to see the lovely Lewisia flowers on the upper switchbacks.

2. June 10 – Grassy Knoll, WA, hike – Another well loved hike. A bit rainy today, and on the early side for flowers blooming, but so green and lush along the trail!

3. June 17 – Saddle Mountain, OR, hike – We were here last month before the full bloom of the upper meadows, so hiked again on our way to an overnight at the Oregon Coast.

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Saddle and summit

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Pacific Ocean from the summit

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Washington peaks from the summit

4. June 18 – Oregon north coast beaches – We stayed overnight in the Tolvana area of Cannon Beach, with a lovely view of Haystack Rock beyond the parking lots.

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The next day we walked from Arcadia Beach and around Hug Point at low tide, to Big Barnacle Rock. We visited all our favorite landmarks from 30 years of visiting this stretch of beach nearly every summer, often staying for a week when our kids were young. So beautiful!

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The sphinx of Arcadia Beach guards the northern beaches,

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but we are heading south, along these open sands as the tide recedes.

We saw some birds and tide pool creatures:

Next we crossed over the old road carved out of Hug Point, passable at low tide.

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Looking south toward Arch Cape from Big Barnacle Rock – our turnaround point.

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North view, crossing back over Hug Point.

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Walking into the wind, sand rivers pelting our legs.

5. June 22 – Three Corner Rock – Another repeat hike. We were the only ones on the trail today. It was just shady enough in the forest to be comfortable.

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Our big surprise was the profuse bear grass bloom in the upper meadows below the rock. And almost no wind.

Views from near the summit (we didn’t scramble to the upper platform):

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Looking south – Mt Hood and the cell tower, and so much bear grass!

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St Helens, Rainier, Goat Rocks and Adams

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Mt Adams

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Mt St Helens

And a few more flowery views before heading down:

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6. June 30 – Thomas Lake to Rock Lake Mosquito chase – Indian Heaven Wilderness, WA – Why we thought we could out-smart the famous mosquitos of summer in Indian Heaven I do not know, except sometimes you have to find out for your self. Which we did.

There  was plenty of water (mosquito breeding grounds) in Indian Heaven.

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Thomas Lake

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Dee Lake

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Shooting stars, Heather Lake

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Vernal Lake in one of the meadows.

The highest trail section had snow patches, with marsh marigolds and avalanche lilies blooming nearby.

We made it to Rock Lakes, and sat long enough to devour our lunch as quickly as possible, while the mosquitos devoured us through our DEET sprayed clothing.

We had reached our tolerance point, so rushed back down the trail, stopping just long enough to notice Mt St Helens through the trees.

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We learned our lesson! There is not enough DEET in the world to make this a comfortable time in Indian Heaven. We will return in late summer or fall when the mosquitos are gone. 

 

June 2021 – Emerging…but into a heat dome?

It is June 2021 and I am emerging from pandemic life a little more each day, like the cicadas from their seventeen year hibernation, or the Munchkins of Oz after the tornado dropped the house of the Wicked Witch of the East on them. Well not exactly like that. But I am slowly meeting more friends in real life, blinking at the brightness of their unmasked smiles; hesitantly, then greedily leaning into their hugs; ramping up our conversations of all the not shared words of the past fifteen months. Then I go home and recover from the intensity of the interactions, but feel more relaxed, more appreciative of life before the pandemic, when meeting my knitting group and chatting for a few hours was a weekly occurrence; when the warmth of shared interactions was not impeded by a cold glassy screen.

I know the global pandemic is not over, that many places are still locked down and in crisis. People anxiously await their vaccinations, as I did three months ago. People with young children continue sheltering until their vaccines are approved.  But it is time for us to go outside again…

Around town:

We are enjoying berry season! We went on several hikes (see the next post), and also to see the roses.

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June 8 – Portland International Rose Test Garden – We visited during the week when Portland traditionally celebrates the Rose Festival, mostly cancelled this year due to Covid-19. On this showery day, we saw a full rainbow of glistening roses – appropriate for Pride month!

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Knitting :

I have completed two projects – socks, and a donation hat. I have four works in progress: another donation hat, socks, a cardigan and a gnome:

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Kroy socks

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Donation Tam Topper

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WIPs

I also met in person with my knitting group a few times, still outdoors and careful, but no masks as we are all vaccinated. We visited the Knitted Wit Warehouse on her open house day, and I acquired some new yarn. I also got a pile of potential from our knitter’s destash table at one of our meetups. It is so hard to leave beautiful yarn behind, knowing it was all going to donation if not taken home by one of us. So not sure what I am making with these, but I love the colorful potential!

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New skeins

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New to me destash table collection

Quilting :

I finished the baby quilt and sent it along to the new little one.

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What the heck is a heat dome, and why is it lingering around my neighborhood!

At the end of the month, we were challenged again, by the heat dome! A rare meteorological event that produced record high temperatures across the usually mild Pacific Northwest, and once again confined us to our indoor spaces for a few days. Fortunately for me, we have an air conditioned house, but it is not common in Oregon. As the temperatures rose and the air stagnated, I was reminded of my time in Tucson, AZ, when the summer temperatures were commonly above 100 degrees, but not in the 110’s! We are out of it now, but it was uncomfortable, and catastrophic for many. 

We resorted to making popsicles from our ancient Tupperware molds.

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These neighborhood cactus plants were blooming and happy.

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We are hoping for a mild July….

Washington DC, May 20-25, 2021

Last spring (2020) we cancelled a trip to Washington, DC, due to Covid. Our daughter has been working there for two years, and we hadn’t seen her since the 2019 winter holidays. Fully vaccinated, heeding all CDC precautions, and despite predicted high temperatures and a cicada invasion, we finally got to visit her!

May 20 –  Flying, Georgetown

We were able to take the five hour nonstop flight from Portland, Oregon, to National Airport, where our daughter met us.

We stopped in Georgetown for al fresco tacos and a walk along the canal and waterfront.

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C & O Canal, Georgetown

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Georgetown waterfront path, Kennedy Center in the distance.

Then we checked in to our AirB&B lodging in Logan Circle, near our daughter’s apartment.

May 21 – National Mall walk

It was ‘only’ supposed to be 80 degrees today. We went on an 8 mile walk, from Logan Circle, past the White House, the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin, looking at the monuments along the way.

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Walking toward the White House.

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Looking north at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

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Looking south at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

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Approaching the north side of the White House.

Next stop: the Washington Monument on the National Mall.

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Looking west across the mall toward the Lincoln memorial.

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Our next stop: the Jefferson Memorial, under reconstruction, where we ate our picnic lunch in some nearby shade.

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A blue heron flew across our view as we sat on the grass, admiring reflections in the tidal basin.

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Two official helicopters flew past, as well. According to our daughter, two helicopters means it is the Vice President’s entourage, three for the President. So that might have been Kamala Harris in one of them.

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Inside the Jefferson memorial.

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Looking back as we continued walking around the Tidal Basin.

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The Capitol in the distance, Jefferson’s profile in the monument.

Our next stop was a series of exhibits documenting the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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FDR, lifesized, in wheelchair.

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Tributes to the hardships of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

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Panels representing the New Deal Programs that revived the economy.

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FDR and his dog, Fala.

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The amazing First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt also gets an alcove.

Our next stop was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, new since my only other visit to the capitol in 2008.

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The large granite sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. was much larger than I expected, a very fitting tribute to his legacy.

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By now we were feeling the heat, and I had seen most of the memorials in this area on my previous visit, so we continued toward the Lincoln Memorial, which I wanted to see again.

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After crossing Independence Avenue again, we passed by the Korean War Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial:

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That airplane is probably on the same flight path we were on the previous day.

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President Lincoln

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The Gettysburg Address

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View north from the steps

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Columns

We still had a couple of miles to walk back to our lodging.

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We visited the Viet Nam War Memorial.

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We saw the Federal Reserve building on Constitution Avenue.

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We sipped cold drinks while walking north toward Dupont Circle.

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We caught another glimpse of our Vice President!

After resting from our long walk we enjoyed a takeout Ethiopian dinner.

May 22 – Great Falls National Park

A hot day – into the 90s! We drove about an hour to Great Falls National Park, VA, to see the falls. It was too hot for a serious hike, but we enjoyed the views and some wildlife.

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The very calm Potomac River, above the falls.

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First viewpoint of the Great Falls of the Potomac River

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Downstream from the falls, and a kayaker

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Park map

We walked downstream to a few of the viewpoints:

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We turned around after looking at Mather Gorge:

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Upstream, Mather Gorge

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Downstream, Mather Gorge

As we walked back, keeping to shady paths where possible, we spotted some wildlife:

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Broad-headed skink, sitting on a log near the trail.

I was very excited to see cardinals for the first time, bathing in the nearby creek while we were eating lunch in the shade. They are very hard to photograph!

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Male cardinal

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Female cardinal

Despite the heat, we enjoyed our visit to the natural world so near our nation’s capitol.

May 23 – Cicadas of Baltimore

We saw these everywhere, though they were not particularly dense in DC proper. On Sunday, we were invited to visit cousins who live in a green suburb on the northside of Baltimore. Just opening the car door upon arrival, we got the full impact of the sound of cicadas. This short video by my husband captures the sound.

I added in my few other cicada photos here.

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Cicada carcasses, Lafayette Square

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Cicada ground holes, Great Falls NP

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Pharaoh cicada, National Arboretum

May 24 – Smithsonian National History Museum

We were lucky to get reservations for this newly reopened museum. We looked at inspiring exhibits of American innovation and history for a couple of hours.

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Arriving at the museum entrance after a slightly rainy walk. Good day to be inside.

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Interior views:

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Inventions:

Pop culture:

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Dorothy’s ruby slippers

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Julia Child’s Kitchen

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Bob Ross

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Yankee ticket booth

History of politics and everyday life:

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George Washington’s chair

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Political signs

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Ballot box

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An exhibit on the changing house through time illustrated the rigors of laundry.

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Helen Keller’s watch

I was surprised to find my own neighborhood depicted in the Transportation exhibit.

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I am always on the lookout for interesting textiles, and I found many to admire throughout the exhibits:

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Old quilt top in the lobby

First Lady dresses:

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So many beads!

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Michelle Obama’s dress

Some other old textiles,

and a couple of items that reminded me of my own youth:

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We enjoyed our time in the museum, but after while I could not take in any more. I love knowing this representation of our material life is preserved, and I hope to visit again someday.

May 25 – National Arboretum, flying home

Our last day. We drove to the Union Market for lunch.

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The Union Market is a converted warehouse, now a food court and entertainment center.

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The queen!

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The rooftop has lots of room for dining,

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and views over the city.

We then wandered around a bit at the National Arboretum.

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Repurposed columns from the U.S. Capitol building stand out on a hill in the center of the arboretum.

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The National herb garden had some pretty blooms:

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It was too hot to go far, but we enjoyed our last day with our daughter.

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Our flight home was mostly above clouds until we saw Mt Hood peeking through.

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This was a wonderful trip, reuniting with our daughter and getting a flavor for her life in DC. And testing the waters for traveling again in the post-vaccination world. We are looking forward to more adventures as the world opens up, however slowly.

May 2021, part 3: Hiking

Three significant hikes:

May 5 – Weldon Wagon Road, WA

We returned to this favorite trail while the balsamroot were fresh, and the later season flowers were just beginning to bloom.

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Open slopes of balsamroot along the upper trail.

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Mt Hood view from the open trail.

Late season flowers:

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Old plow at the turnaround.

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Second growth firs viewed through oak trees.

May 11 – Saddle Mountain, OR

Another favorite trail – this time we were early for the full bloom, and saw fawn lilies in the upper saddle.

The alder trees in the lower forest had not leafed out yet. We made our way up to the prominent knob, admiring lots of early flowers in the alternating woods and open slopes.

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Alder trees

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The knob, and first view to the ocean.

Some of the early flowers:

Lilies along the first summit before the saddle:

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Glacier lilies

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Pink fawn lilies

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View to the saddle and summit.

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Prairie fire in the upper meadows.

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Lewisia foliage – too early for flowers.

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View of three Cascade peaks from the summit.

May 28 – Ridge Trail, Forest Park, Portland

This was our first time hiking the Ridge Trail in Forest Park.

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This trail has an excellent view of the iconic 1930’s St Johns Bridge, over the Willamette River. 

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The trail ascends 1000 feet from the start near the St Johns Bridge in North Portland, to the intersection with Firelane 7. We continued the loop on Firelane 7, the Wildwood Trail, and Leif Erickson Drive, before returning on the lower Ridge Trail for a total distance of 4.25 miles. Most of the time we were in the forest.

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Through the woods…

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Vine maples

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Mushroom

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Late trillium

We stopped to admire the bridge again on our return trip – sky a little bluer than when we began.

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My next and last May 2021 post will be about our wonderful first post-Covid-vaccination trip to visit our daughter, in Washington DC.

May 2021, part 2: Garden, Knitting, Sewing

My garden:

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Native irises

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First roses

Our tomato plants are doing well – next we will add a few basil plants.

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Walking in Portland:

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California poppies

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Same poppies on a cloudy day.

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Meadow rue and allium

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Colorful landscaping

And in the “weird” Portland spirit:

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Fairy garden

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Sidewalk interactive music box display

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Mannequin arms on Yogurt Shop bench

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First local Hood strawberries! (Not weird)

Knitting and sewing:

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I am making progress on my bamboo Em Dash cardigan.

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I’ve finished all of the parts of the albatross – assembly next.

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I am close to finished with the red/brown socks. 

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I started these green socks for travel knitting, made good progress on our DC trip. But I lost at yarn chicken. 

The pinwheel quilt for a new baby in the family is basted and ready for quilting:

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I used this opportunity to knit Egg to Turtle for the big sister. I have had my eye on this Susan B Anderson pattern for a while, and enjoyed the opportunity to make it for someone.

I refreshed my mask supply for our flight to DC and travels there:

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I have some garment sewing patterns queued up for stitching. I’ve been using my Jane Austen pattern weights:

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And in other crafty news, my knitting group is planning a Big Hug-Show and Tell Back Yard Party later this month, after we are all fully vaccinated. It will be great to share all our knitting projects that we have only seen over ZOOM.

The month of May, 2021, part 1

Life is opening up again. We and most people we know are fully vaccinated, and thus we are beginning to live life out in the world again. In May I went to two museums; rode with non-“pod” members in the same car; dined at the homes of others, both inside and outside; shopped in a store for clothing; got my haircut in my stylist’s salon instead of on her back patio; and best of all, flew across country in an airplane to Washington DC, where I got to spend a few days with my daughter, and see her and other family members that I had not seen in 18 months. It has taken a bit of time to get reaccustomed to worldly life, in a cautious, Covid-safe manner. Yet I haven’t felt anxious about it – just taking the steps that seem safe at the time, and trusting all the good news about how great the vaccines are, THANK YOU, SCIENTISTS! But it means I have neglected the blog – too busy living life. So this is catch up time. This post will be about local activities, there will be other posts about hiking, crafting, and our DC trip. Onward!

Local Adventures:

May 3: South Waterfront Park – We took a walk along the river trail after I went to a health care appointment nearby. The former industrial area is slowly turning into a live-work-healthcare complex. The greenbelt along the river is being added to our urban trail system – though it is surrounded by construction in progress.

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Tram tower; clouds reflected in the OHSU buildings.

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We encountered a dead end at the south side of the trail.

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We walked north, and looked at Portland from a new perspective.

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Down the ramp to views along the Willamette River and under the Ross Island Bridge.

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Tilikum Crossing Bridge beyond the Ross Island Bridge

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The historic Queen Anne Poulson House at the end of the bridge.

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It’s getting a new roof.

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Up river view – Ross Island.

An art installation called ‘Cradle’ honors the indigenous people and natural world.

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Cedar trees, oyster shells, cement, rebar.

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Walking back upriver, we tried all the chairs in the greenbelt park.

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The cement loungers were the most comfortable.

More flowers and reflections on this sunny/cloudy day. The residents of these apartments and condos have a lovely outdoor space. Someday I hope the path will connect farther north and south along the river.

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May 7: Canemah Bluff Nature Park – This park is on a bluff above the Willamette River in Oregon City. I had heard that it is a great location to see native camas flowers in bloom, so we stopped by for a short walk when we were visiting Bosky Dell Native Plant nursery. We did see the last of the camas blooms.

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From the bluff there are views downriver, toward Willamette Falls,

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and upriver, across to West Linn.

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Camas blooming on the rocky outcrops.

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Camas, rosy plectritis and the nefarious poison oak!

May 9: Mother’s Day at home – My two sons joined us for an outdoor meal – our last “Covid” style meal before son #2 had completed his full two week vaccination window. My daughter joined us in spirit by having a decadent eclair delivered as I was speaking to her! It was delicious, shared four ways!

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Eclaire from St Honore Bakery

May 13: Portland Art Museum – Friends had reserved tickets to the ‘newly reopened with limited entry’ Portland Art Museum. When their son couldn’t join them, we eagerly accepted a last minute invitation to see the new Ansel Adams Photography Exhibit. I have seen many Ansel Adams exhibits over the years. His name is almost synonymous with Yosemite National Park. As a child, my family camped in Yosemite every year, in the high alpine Tuolumne Meadows area. We hiked, fished and photographed the park. It is part of the lifeblood of my family. My father pursued photography with great passion, and followed Ansel Adams’ work. My husband and I used Ansel Adams Yosemite note cards as invitations to our very small home wedding in January of 1985, and spent our honeymoon at Yosemite Lodge. We purchased a print of an Ansel Adams Cathedral Lakes image with wedding gift money from my mother. I haven’t been back to Yosemite since 2006, but there is nothing like an Ansel Adams exhibit to fill me with that Yosemite feeling. How wonderful to walk among the large, beautiful images of his work, transported out of pandemic claustrophobia. Of course there were images of other places, and images by other artists, as part of the exhibit. This was one of those times when I marvel at the beauty and creativity of the human spirit.

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Exhibit entrance

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Lightening/shadow projected on the wall.

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Sand dunes in the stair well.

May 30: Eugene, Oregon – Only two hours away, yet I had not seen my brother and his family since before the pandemic. We drove down, just for the day, had a lovely lunch in their garden, and took a walk through Hendricks Park, at the tail end of rhododendron season.

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Sandy’s buddha

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Astrantia

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Primroses and rhodies

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Stone wall

Of course we talked about old times, and my brother showed me our father’s slide rule, and some of his old campaign buttons.

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May was a good month. Of course I know that not everyone is fortunate to be vaccinated yet. The pandemic and many other problems still/will always plague the world. We help where we can, but try to live as fully as possible, because that may not always be possible. The next post will include crafting in May 2021.

Late April 2021

Continuing my neighborhood walks: After the cherry blossoms, the pink snow,

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We go from pink trees

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to pink sidewalks in a week’s time.

And find them all through the neighborhood.

Dogwood trees and other flowers bloom,

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Dogwood

Interestingly cracked concrete catches my eye…

We went on two more hikes with amazing wildflowers:

Tom McCall Trail, OR, April 23

When we hiked here on March 11th, the slopes were covered with purple grass widows. Today, the balsamroot is the star!

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Starting up the trail with friends.

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Lower cliffs, balsamroot and lupine in full bloom!

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Eastward view.

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Every blade abloom under the oak trees.

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Open slopes of balsamroot and Mt Adams.

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Continuing up.

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Paintbrush in bloom on the upper slopes.

Views from the top:

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West to Mt Hood.

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North to Mt Adams.

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Northeast, to the Cherry Orchard.

More views on the hike down:

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Rowena Plateau.

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Paintbrush! and the Memaloose Hills, with their yellow backs.

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Parsley Alley….

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And a few more flowers, for the day.

Bitterroot Trail, Catherine Creek, WA April 26

Aptly lived up to its name – the earlier blooming flowers have faded, but the bitterroot is just getting started today!

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We began near the fairy ponds – now filled with camas lilies; the adjacent rock outcrops hosting glorious bitterroot flowers.

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Lewisia rediviva

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Sprinkled across the basalt; bicolored cluster lilies speckle the meadow beyond.

We wind our way up the slope:

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Eastward.

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Camas lilies and shooting stars.

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Death camas and purple camas lilies

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Turn left at the balsamroot, while admiring the windswept views east,

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and west…

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We drop down the Rowland Wall trail,

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One of the largest clusters of bitterroot buds I have seen…

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buckwheat

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A giant clump of cliff penstomen surprised us!

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More bitterroot scattered across the rocky surface along our return trail.

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This is their time to rise up!

Meanwhile…

We finally had a chance to see the heritage American Chestnut Tree in the Sellwood neighborhood. It dwarves the house, and there is an enormous stump of another chestnut tree behind it.

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Rare American Chestnut, Sellwood, Oregon

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Leaves just budding out.

Knitting

Quilting

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I’m making progress on the baby quilt.

Repotted plant report from Washington DC:

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Commentary on the verdict, and the path forward:

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Eastern Gorge Trip, April 2021

We spent a few days hiking east of the Cascade crest and the rain. We stayed in a small hotel in the small town of Moro, and explored two Oregon State Parks for the first time, then visited the Columbia Hills in Washington on our way home.

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Driving south of the Columbia River to White River Falls State Park – low hills and agricultural buildings our new scenery.

April 13th,  White River Falls State Park, Oregon

We admired the White River Falls from the overlook, then walked downstream to see the lower tiers of the falls. We were about 2 miles upstream from the confluence with the Deschutes River, and about 50 miles from the source, the White River Glacier on Mt Hood, near a favorite winter snowshoe location. Here, the White River tumbles over cliffs, past the ruins of a hydropower plant that was abandoned in 1963, when a giant dam on the nearby Columbia River was built.

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White River Falls

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Abandoned power plant.

This is a beautiful falls, though the surrounds are a bit of a wasteland – cement and disconnected pipes, wire grids, a broken building with roof gaps, graffiti, tumble weeds and leaves blown in, plants growing out of the cracks, moss in the crevices.

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Bright yellow balsamroot and parsley were blooming around the canyon, and gold fiddle neck striped the edges of the rocky path.

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Balsamroot, parsley

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fiddleneck

Down by the river we had a bit of a wind shelter. Quiet today, but in summer people come to swim. We walked a ways down stream to see the third tier of the falls, the smoothed rocky shelves with potholes, now exposed, and smooth, sandy banks.

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Sandy beach above the lower falls.

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Lower falls; upper falls visible to the upper right.

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Downstream along the White River.

We walked back up to the rim, past the ruins of the powerhouse and almost post-apocalyptic scenery.

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Return hike.

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More of the ruins of the old power plant.

From White River Falls, we drove east across the Deschutes River on our way to Moro, along a long, smoothly curved road on the Warm Springs Reservation. Balsamrooot blooms were sprinkled on cliffs above the canyon.

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We passed sagebrush uplands and cultivated green fields, a 360 degree horizon punctuated by white windmills gleaming in the afternoon light.

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Many white wind turbines on the horizon.

April 14th, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon

We drove across the uplands between the John Day and Deschutes Rivers on a beautiful clear blue morning.  Mt Hood, Mt Adams and Mt Rainier were on the horizon, and more windmills.

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Mt Hood

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Mt Adams and Mt Rainier

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Mt Adams, windmills

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Mt Rainier and the Goat Rocks, windmills

The Lost Coral Trail in Cottonwood Canyon State Park is 9.6 miles out and back. The trail follows an old road along the John Day River, sometimes beneath river-cut cliffs, sometimes across the point bars, as the wide blue river sweeps down stream.

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Trailhead

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Under the cliffs

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Balsamroot above

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Bicolored cluster lilies

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Desert parsley and lichen

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Balsamroot and parsley

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milk vetch

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Cottonwood Canyon campground across the river.

Continuing along the river, the slopes were speckled with wildflowers; willows on the bars and a few trees were beginning to leaf out.

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Flowering alluvial fan across the river.

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Cliffs and reflections, serviceberry in bloom.

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Sagebrush

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A welcome bench for rest and contemplation.

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Lovely desert colors in the rocks, river, plantlife.

At our turnaround point, we found a phlox-covered slope and beautiful views of the river. We saw three equestrians – our only other people on the trail today.

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Three equestrians in our downstream lunch view

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Upstream lunch view.

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phlox

We retraced our steps upstream after lunch, admiring the views along the river in the changing light.

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Walking upstream.

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Many colors along the river.

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Grassy tufts in the river.

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Larkspur

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Back under the cliffs near the trailhead.

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Parsley

I don’t know if I still love the desert as much as I used to. The rocky, prickly, isolation of it has caught up with my age. Dust and wind, and there must be snakes around somewhere …I just don’t know…

April 15th, Dalles Mountain Ranch, Columbia Hills State Park, WA

We drove back across the windmilled uplands, in view of the three mountains on the skyline, all the while watching the painted slopes of the cliffs and hills on the north side of the Columbia River. Distinct patches of yellow, white, and purple across the green and brown indicate the slopes are blooming with the wildflowers that we are going to see.

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Looking at the Columbia Hills in Washington from Oregon.

We hiked the Ranch Loop clockwise from the Dalles Mountain Ranch Trailhead – we have been here before, most recently in February, when only the early flowers were on view. Today there were so many flowers out – gold balsamroot, purple lupine, pale pink phlox, and always the yellow parsley and pink filagree creating a pastel underglaze on almost every slope.

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Mt Hood and ranch buildings from near the trailhead.

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The “one tree”, still no leaves, with a flowery background

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Balsamroot all the way down to the Columbia River.

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Lower east-most view.

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Lupine and western view from the high point on the lower trail.

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Large head clover

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Fleabane

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Lunch view – in February this area was covered in purple grass widows.

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Back up Eight Mile Creek to the ranch.

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We finally spotted the old car that is so often photographed among the flowers at the ranch.

We enjoyed this hiking trip, a chance to get out of town and enjoy the spring flowers at a couple of new locations.

Blooms of early April 2021

The crabapple tree in our front yard finally bloomed during the second week of April. This tree was in full bloom the day we moved into our house in mid March almost 30 years ago.

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April 9th

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April 11th

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April 15th

Other garden blooms:

And some cupcakes for a friend’s birthday:

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Hikes:

April 2nd, Memaloose Hills, OR –

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Begin at the Memaloose Overlook…

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Today’s star is balsamroot!

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Buttercup carpet in the woods.

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Balsamroot all the way up Chatfield Hill.

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Looking back.

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North view from the top – Mt Adams, paintbrush, yellow parsley.

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Columbia River, Columbia Desert parsley, balsamroot

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Mt Hood to the west.

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Willows and bees near the spring on the return hike.

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Popcorn flowers on Marsh Hill.

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View from Marsh Hill back to the Memaloose Hills.

More wildflowers:

 April 8, Coyote Wall, WA – Our first hike with friends in more than a year! We are all fully vaccinated!

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Starting up The Old Ranch Road.

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Service berry in bloom on the Little Moab Cliffs.

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The edge of the Coyote Wall, yellow parsley.

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And balsamroot, eastward view.

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Southward view.

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And we are going higher!

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Upper cliff edge view.

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A nice meadow near Atwood Road, as we loop eastward before hiking down.

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A day when every blade of grass seems to have a bloom!

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So many flowers!

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Desert parsley along Old Hwy 14 cliff, return hike.

And more flowers:

Knitting

Some progress on two projects:

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I finished the yoke on this bamboo cardigan, and it is way too big, despite careful swatching, so this one is in time out for a while.

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A mystery project for a gift…

Quilting

I am starting a baby quilt for a new family member!