October 2022

Autumn comes to the neighborhood:

Witches, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns:

I finished knitting hats for the guild service project, socks, and a new witch gnome for the Halloween decor:

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Witch gnome, for the October #YearOfGnomes

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Back, showing her hair

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Joining the local coven

We flew to Washington DC to visit our daughter and hike in the Shenandoah Mountains (next blog post). We returned just in time to greet our neighborhood trick-or-treaters from our porch for the first time in a few years, in the pouring rain this year. I even carved a (two-sided) pumpkin.

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And I took note of the annual witch paddle in the Willamette River (photo credit to the Oregonian online). Someday I hope to see it in person.

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September 2022 Hiking….

I went on three hikes in September, in Portland, Mt Adams and Indian Heaven.

9/14 – Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion: Finishing the Wildwood Trail, Portland, OR

During the early pandemic in the spring of 2020, travel was restricted. Many parks and trails were closed. We tried long neighborhood walks, but concrete is hard on the feet! I missed the dirt trails and nature. When local trails reopened, we turned to the Wildwood Trail in nearby Forest Park to keep our hiking habit going. We had hiked parts of Forest Park over the years, but usually prefer further destinations with views, waterfalls or mountain tops. The Forest Park trails are fine for nearby forest hikes, but are often crowded with trail runners and neighborhood hikers, and there aren’t many views. Nevertheless, we set a goal to try to hike the full 30 mile length of the Wildwood Trail in sections – especially after the realization set in that the pandemic restrictions were going to last longer than we first imagined. As of this month, there was one section left (not counting the section between miles 14 and 15 that is closed for repair). Early September had been too hot and/or smoky in our usual destinations to hike much, but after a day of rain we found time to hike this last section.

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Upper Macleay Park Trailhead

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Pittock Mansion

The views were limited on this overcast day, but the seasonal flowerbeds provided some bright colors.

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Views to downtown Portland from Pittock mansion

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Seasonal flower beds

We returned to our starting place, then added to our mileage by hiking a few of the trails on the nearby Audubon reserve – again a bit nondescript on this between seasons day – too late for summer flowers, too early for fall colors. Our total for the day was about 4 miles, and 700 feet.

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Trail map for the Bird Sanctuary

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Muddy trails

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Douglas Fir deck

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9/20 – Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams, WA

This area has been mostly closed since the 2015 Cougar Creek Fire. The Yakama people have opened the hiking trails for the month of September the last two years, and we finally made it out there this year. Our pre-fire hikes in the area were during peak wildflower season in a place where the bloom is as fine as any in the Cascades. We saw the beginnings of fall color on our hike today, while appreciating the repairs that have been made to the fire damaged trails. It was beautiful!

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Our GPS track – 7 miles, 1350 feet

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Bird Lake Trailhead, Mt Adams

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Up toward Bluff Lake through the 2015 burn zone.

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Green undergrowth

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View to Mt Hood through the haze.

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Bluff Lake, Mt Adams through the trees on the left.

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Huckleberry foliage

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Staircase Falls

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Mt Adams

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Hellebore, huckleberry

We reached the Hellroaring Viewpoint, then continued upward on the Climber Trail for a short way:

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Hellroaring Viewpoint

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Hellroaring Falls

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Mt Adams Glaciers

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Glacier View

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Moraine and ridge toward the Climbers’ trail

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Higher meadows

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View east – Little Mt Adams and Heart Lake

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Our turnaround point, looking north…

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and looking east.

Our return hike circled through the western meadows, past Crooked Creek Falls, and then down through the burn zone again, to Bird Lake.

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Gentian blooming in the huckleberry patches

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Late season meadows

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Crooked Creek Falls

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Back down into the burn zone

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Crooked Creek

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Back to Bird Lake

Lookback photos from 2013 compared to 2022, looking south from the below Hellroaring Viewpoint –

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August 2013

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September 2022

And one of the wildflower meadows of summer 2013:

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Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams, August 2013

9/27 – Indian Heaven Wilderness – Cultus Campground to Wapiki Lake Overlook

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GPS track – about 8 miles, 1700 feet.

We had also hiked this trail before. Again, we caught the beginnings of the fall colors in the higher elevations, and in the more open meadows and huckleberry fields.

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Trailhead

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Panorama looking north from the shoulder of Bird Mountain

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Sawtooth Mountain and Mt Rainier

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Mt Adams

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Mt Adams

We passed Cultus Lake on our way to the Wapiki Lake overlook:

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Cultus lake

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Lemei Rock

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Huckleberry foliage

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A very few late huckleberries

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Wapiki Lake Overlook

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Mt Adams

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Wapiki Lake

On our return hike, the smoke had blown in from a nearby fire, obscuring the mountain views we had enjoyed earlier…..

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Toward Sawtooth and Mt Rainier

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Toward Mt Adams

We were too early for full fall color. We passed this same pond near Cultus Lake last year, in early October, after there had been rain. I remember spending a lot of time here marveling at the colors. This year, late September, only a little color and no pond yet.

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Pond near Cultus Lake, October 8, 2021

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Same pond area, September 27, 2022

It is lovely to see these places in different seasons!

I am catching up on blog posts – on to October…

September 2022….

A transition month: one son moved out; after a hot and smoky spell, the weather turned to autumn, but it  hasn’t rained much yet. In Scotland, the Queen died; in New Zealand the albatrosses fledged. Meanwhile, we harvested tomatoes, basil and cucumbers; our other son moved back in (temporarily?..), and we have had more post(?)-Covid social meetings – with new neighbors and old friends – that feels good. New vaccines, a new clothes dryer, some new knitting and three hikes (in the next blog post). 

Knitting…

I finished four more hats for the guild service project, a Musselburgh Hat (Ysolda Teague) for a family member, and the Choose Your Gnome Adventure mystery gnome by Sarah Schira for the September/Year of Gnomes.

Neighborhood and garden…

The Queen and the albatrosses…

I have no particular relationship with the Queen, except that she has always been there my whole life. She modeled devotion to duty, and lived a life of extreme privilege, but seemed to learn from her mistakes. She represents some part of the fictional world where I have spent so much of my reading time, as many of my favorite authors are British. I feel compelled to remember her here.

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Family friend, meeting the Queen in BC about 20 years ago.

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Working until the end…

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Inspirational message during the pandemic lock down.

Britain Prince Philip Funeral

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, April 17, 2021(Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP). A heartbreaking image depicting what many experienced during the pandemic (though in less posh surroundings).

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Rainbow over Buckingham Palace, from News media

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And I continue to watch the albatross web camera, from Dunedin, NZ. The chicks were fledging all month – this one in the pouring rain.

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September 3rd, 2022. The Royal Cam chick, 220 days old, fledging. She has been named Lilibet in honor of the Queen.

Inspirational thought:

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Blog note: I am trying to resize my photos to address storage issues on this blog. There is so much I don’t know about how it all works, but I will try, as I want to keep the blog going.

NZ2020: Day 18, From Christchurch to Lake Tekapo via Peel Forest, featuring the Southern Cross

Today we drove from Christchurch to our next stop at Lake Tekapo via the Inland Scenic Route.

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We crossed over the Rakaia Gorge, a huge turquoise blue glacial outwash river. The riverbed was full of bleached white rocks, many exposed in the late summer, despite the recent flooding to the south.

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Rakaia River

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Rakaia Gorge Bridge

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Upriver view

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Thick glacial outwash / riverbed sediments in the roadcut.

Our guide had recommended a stop at Peel Forest, a reserve of old growth, native forest with some of the largest trees preserved. We walked a few short loop trails into the forest, appreciating its coolness on this warm day.

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Cool and shady trails in the Peel Forest.

Big Tree Walk: Totara trees are some of the largest trees in the forest.

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Kahikatea trees are among the tallest of the native trees, and date back to the time of the dinosaurs.

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While on the Fern Walk, I was especially impressed by the absolute din of insects, and the loud chiming call of the bell birds that echoed through the forest. 

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I took a video while on the Fern Walk, mostly for the sound, a bit unsteady in the images…

After our forest stop, we continued our drive toward Lake Tekapo across the dry plains to the east of the Southern Alps, which we could see as a jagged, snowy skyline to the west.

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We checked into our motel room at Lake Tekapo, with a view overlooking the lake and mountains beyond.

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Motel at Lake Tekapo

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View across lake Tekapo

Later that night, in search of astrophotography, we drove around to the north side of the lake, and finally spotted the southern cross.

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Sunset over Lake Tekapo

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Stars beginning to come out.

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My best handheld effort at photographing the Southern Cross constellation; the streakiness highlights the four key stars and the two pointers.

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My husband captured this view of the Southern Cross with his camera and tripod.

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Closer view of the Southern Cross

For the next two days we days hiked and explored in the area surrounding Lake Tekapo. 

Four views of Wy’east, August, 2022

Our four August hikes all had views to Mt Hood and to some of the other Cascade volcanoes. 

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Location Map

August 4 – Lookout Mountain

We took this short hike with our daughter on a hot day. There were late season wildflowers, views from Mt Rainier to the Three Sisters, and a head on view of the east side of Mt Hood.

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High Prairie Trailhead

 

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Paintbrush, Sitka valerian, and asters in the meadows

 

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Mt Hood from the trail pinnacle. Elk Meadows are on the other side of the ridge in the middle distance.

 

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Mt Jefferson and the Sisters to the south

 

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Scarlet gillia, Oregon sunshine, buckwheat and penstemon on the upper slopes

August 16 – Three Corner Rock, WA

Another hot day with a slow pace. Again we could see three Cascade volcanoes to the north, and Mts Hood and Jefferson to the south beyond the telecommunication towers. Most of the way we were on the Pacific Crest Trail. We were passed by about twenty north bound hikers on their first Washington trail section.

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Approaching Three Corner Rock

 

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View south to Mts Hood and Jefferson

 

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View north to Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams

August 22 – Cloud Cap to the Timberline Trail High Point

A favorite walk, up the glacier moraine, toward the Eliot Glacier, then along the edge of the sky to the High Point on the Timberline Trail. Every year I that am lucky enough to hike here I take the same pictures, but they are always meaningful to me!

Mt Hood comes into view after a short, steep hike up to the crest of the East Eliot Moraine.

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Mt Hood, Eliot Glacier

 

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Washington Cascade Peaks to the north – St Helens, Rainier and Adams.

This year I noticed a humongous boulder perched on the edge of the moraine…

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We continued up the moraine, taking in the Eliot Glacier views before turning south toward the Cooper Spur Shelter.

From the Shelter we walked south on the Timberline Trail, up to the high point at about 7400 feet.

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View south from our rest stop on the ridge near the trail high point. The Timberline Trail goes down toward Gnarl Ridge. Mt Jefferson and the Three Sisters are on the horizon.

 

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While looking back up at Mt Hood from the high point I could hear water flowing out from the snow banks.

 

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Melting snow on this hot day.

We made our way back along the edge of the sky…

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We continued down the Timberline Trail below the shelter instead of going up to the moraine.

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Long slope between the peak and Cooper Spur Shelter.

 

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Our down trail goes below the shelter,

 

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toward the Cloud Cap campground.

Near Tilly Jane Creek, I looked up at the East Eliot Moraine and saw the precarious boulder I had noticed on the way up.

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Precarious boulder perched on the edge of the East Eliot Moraine

 

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Will it still be here next year?

 

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Late season gentian and monkey flowers in Tilly Jane Creek

August 30 – Elk Meadows

Our first time to this location in a while. Most of the meadows were beyond bloom, except for late season gentians, fireweed, and goldenrod.

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Clark Creek, with a beautiful bridge.

 

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Newton Creek is more difficult to cross.

 

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This log was fairly easy to cross, but more difficult if one has fear of heights or balance problems. One of the reasons we haven’t been here for a while.

The seven to nine switchbacks after Newton Creek can be a shady hanging garden. On this hot day, most of the flowers were past bloom, but we did appreciate the shade.

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Third switchback viewpoint

 

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Nearby crosshatch tree

 

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Fringed grass of Parnassus and aster

 

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Dried out cow parsley, aster and goldenrod

 

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Lunch view from the first meadow opening – plenty of gentian in the mostly dry meadows.

 

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A scrub jay watched us eat lunch.

 

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After lunch we circled round the perimeter trail, then went to the shelter in the middle of Elk Meadows. We saw plenty of aster seed heads, some arnica in the shady areas,

 

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also fireweed,

 

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and false hellebore.

 

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Wide meadows near the shelter had swaths of goldenrod.

 

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View back to the shelter, and to the burned forest atop Blue Grass Ridge

 

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Mt Hood close up!

We returned the way we came, back down the switchbacks, over the log bridge, planning to return sometime soon to see fall colors, and maybe to extend our hike up to Gnarl Ridge and the Timberline Trail.

August 2022

The best events this month were visits with family; our daughter visiting for almost two weeks from DC, then a brunch in Eugene, where we got to see folks we have missed for almost three pandemic years. I also went on four hikes, all with views to Mt Hood – described in my next post.

Trip to Eugene

8/13/2022 – Back to the garden I love, so many memories here…

Knitting

Another gnome, some socks, a hat, and a cardigan…

Neighborhood and garden…

And birthday treats…

I am glad to have people I care about to share a nice birthday dinner, a few treats, and they also brought presents…

I also spent time viewing the videos of Joni Mitchell with Brandi Carlile at the Newport Folk Festival in July. I have listened to her music since I was young; seeing her return after catastrophic health issues brought me to tears.

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Scotland and Iceland, June 15 – July 9, 2022

Today I am posting highlight photos from our travels in Scotland and Iceland, which I plan to describe in more detail someday…

SCOTLAND –

After spending a couple of days in Glasgow to adjust to the eight hour time shift, we rented a car and drove north into the Highlands, eventually reaching the north coast at Durness. The days got longer, until we barely saw night at all, and sometimes hiked in the evening if that was the best weather window. We mostly stayed in self catering places, and continued Covid protocols, so did not connect with very many people. But we saw beautiful landscapes, took many hikes with interesting geological and historical significance, and enjoyed being out in the world.

Glasgow –

Loch Lomond and  Glencoe-

We continued northeast along Loch Ness to the Black Isle, then west again to Loch Carron.

We followed the NC500 over the Applecross,

on to Port Henderson,

then Ullapool,

and eventually to the north coast at Durness.

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Ardvreck Castle ruins

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John Lennon Memorial in the Durness Village Hall garden

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Headlands near Smoo Cave – our northernmost point.

We spent one last evening walking on Oldshoremore Beach near Kinlochbervie before driving all the way back to Glasgow in one day, ready to fly to Iceland.

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Oldshoremore Beach

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Lewisian Gneiss

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Rainbow across the water

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All the flags at Glasgow Airport

ICELAND

In Iceland the days were even longer, it was bright outside whenever I looked out the window! We stayed one night in Reyjkavik, explored the Golden Circle, then travelled into the westfjords to see volcanoes, waterfalls, and puffins.

Reyjkavik-

The Golden Circle-

Snaefellsnes to Stykkisholmur-

Latrajbarg Cliffs and Puffins-

Westfjords to Holmavik-

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Arnarfjordur

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Dynjandi Waterfall

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Isafjordur

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Our northernmost viewpoint – looking across Isafjardardjup to the northern Westfjords.

South to Reyjkavik-

Everywhere we went, in both Scotland and Iceland, people were welcoming. While not many local people wore masks, nobody minded that we did. The only place that was completely crazy was the Reyjkavik Airport, which does not have many of the more modern electronic check in procedures that we are accustomed to. If you are going, go early and prepare for long lines – that seems to be the common experience there. The travel home day was 22 hours long, and took me about two weeks to recover. That said, we are already planning to return. In Iceland, we would still love to drive the Ring Road, which we did not have time for on this trip. I would always like to back to Scotland, but not sure I can talk my husband into spending more time on the potholed and narrow single track roads in the Highlands – even the local people complain about those roads. He has his sights set on New Zealand and Italy. It was wonderful to be out in the world again, and I am grateful we could go!

Catching up in July 2022

Time to write again. We traveled from mid-June to mid-July to Scotland and Iceland. On return I was swamped with jetlag and reentry and hot weather. Life seems to move along twice as fast, time always doubling, and I barely have time to look back, while moving forward, while still living a semi-Covid life. My next post has photo highlights of the trip. This post is catching up with life back in my Portland neighborhood.

Neighborhood –

I always see so many interesting things as I walk through my neighborhood. This month, a tiny tree door I hadn’t noticed before, more sidewalk ponies and chickens, a new poetry post, and so many bright flowers, including at least three colors of cone flowers. We were home in time to get plenty of berries in the freezer, and I had the good luck of partaking of a pineapple upsidedown cake at my book group meeting. 

Hikes-

July 15, Vista Ridge – Before this current heat wave, we went with a friend up Vista Ridge on the north side of Mt Hood, hoping to see the avalanche lilies. We hiked up to the snow level, about 5300 feet, not quite up to the Timberline Trail. On the way down, I noticed a couple of my haunted tree friends still standing.

July 28, Bayocean Spit near Tillamook – Full on heat wave, we drove out to the coast to lovely 65 degrees weather, and walked an 8 mile loop around the spit that bounds Tillamook Bay. Fog, shorebirds, not many people. Lovely!

Knitting- 

Not much. I had travel socks, but was too busy looking and planning to knit.  None of the wool stores were open when we saw them, either in Scotland or Iceland. I did buy some commercial sock yarn at a variety store in Iceland, so have added those skeins to my queue. On return I knitted the tiniest of Sarah Schira’s gnomes, called Gnibblet, to keep up with her Year of Gnomes challenge. This was the month for it. I have a more ambitious one planned for August.

Now I am sort of caught up, and looking forward to August, when there are some family visits planned. I’m hoping heat and viruses won’t derail us, knock on wood!

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Early June, 2022

The sun came out for a few days, and the roses finally bloomed, seemingly all at once.

Hiking: We hiked twice on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, where wild flowers are also blooming late this year.

June 1 – Hardy Ridge – We found some of the earliest blooming wildflowers on top of Hardy Ridge (8.2 miles, 2100 feet).

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Fading trillium

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Oregon anemones

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Glacier lilies

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Eastward view toward Table Mountain.

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Phlox Point, and plenty of black flies photobombing us.

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Blue jay near our lunch stop.

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Looking south toward Oregon on our return hike. Service berry bushes in bloom.

June 7 – Cape Horn – We started in the middle, at the Strunk Road Trailhead, since the full loop is not open this time of year. We were hoping to see the tall larkspur, which can be profuse along this trial.

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Lupine blooming in reclaimed fields along the trail to the Nancy Russell Overlook.

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Cow parsley also in full bloom.

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Tall ferns unfurling

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Tall ferns

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And we found the larkspur!

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Larkspur blooming all along the trail…

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More larkspur…

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Also, candy flower and buttercups.

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More buttercups.

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Maple trees were leafing out.

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Avens at the Hwy 14 underpass.

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We made our way to the Lower Oak Overlook, where the trail is closed for falcon nesting season. The river viewpoints were very windy, but it was calm and protected in the forest. We retraced our steps, back up the larkspur lined trail, for a 4 mile, 650 foot hike for the day. Lovely!

Knitting – I finished my June gnome for the ‘Year of Gnomes’, and made progress on socks, a hat and a sweater…

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June Jester Gnome, Oh, Gnome, You Didn’t pattern by Sarah Schira

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Side view, with jingle bells and pockets.

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I was inspired by a Cirque du Soleil show from 20 years ago, and some other knitters’ Mardi Gras interpretations of the pattern.

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Works in progress.

And spent much time preparing for our overseas adventure to Scotland and Iceland… finally! Postoned and postponed and postponed again. I will report back!

NZ2020: Day 17, Onawe Peninsula Trail

February 10, 2020

Today we began our independent travels after two weeks on guided tour.  We slept in bit, then decided to walk the Onawe Pa Track (2.7 miles, 300 feet), on the Banks Peninsula. We drove about an hour to the carpark, then spent most of the afternoon looking at the rocks, tide pools and views along the trail.

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Route from Christchurch to the Banks Peninsula, an eroded volcano.

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View from the Hilltop Lookout showing the long narrow Onawe Peninsula in Akaroa Harbour.

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Location Sign at the Hilltop Lookout

The far end of the Onawe Peninsula is an island at high tide. We began by walking along the tidal flats on the west side of the peninsula, on a dark cobbled beach with iron-stained yellow and orange volcanic tuffs in the adjacent cliffs.

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Trailhead

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Walking south along the westside of the peninsula

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The low point that is flooded at high tide. We walked through the gap and saw a few birds.

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Cormorant

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Heron in the tidal flats

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Closer view of the heron

We walked back through the gap, and continued walking south and up onto the hill to the top of the peninsula.

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Track going up to the top of the peninsula.

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Looking south as we walk up the road/trail

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Continuing on

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Grey boulders at the top of the peninsula

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View to the south of Akaroa Harbour, including a cruise ship

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View back to the north, showing the coastline and skyline of the Banks Peninsula.

On our return, we explored the beaches and cliffs on both sides of the peninsula, looking at marine life in the tide pools, and ‘picture rocks’ in the cliffs.

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Back down to the beach

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Tide still out…

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Through the gap again.

Tidepools:

We enjoyed photographing the differentially stained tuffs, or ‘picture rocks’:

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I decided to climb up the first hill, to look at the view from there:

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Me, atop the hill.

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View from the top…

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Looking back at Onawe Pa

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Tide coming in on the tidal flats, as we make our way back to the car park.

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Last view from the Hilltop Viewpoint on our way return drive.

Back in Christchurch, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant. We had done well with left-side driving, and were ready to make our way to Lake Tekapo tomorrow.