A quiet week with a visit to the frogpond…

Some rain, helping someone move, house painting, future trip planning, but no actual hiking this week.

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A new home 

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A late birthday present

Reverse knitting during La Vuelta de Espana:

Last year I knit a long loose vest, but it doesn’t fit or hang well, so I decided to ‘frog’ it during La Vuelta de Espana. The Vuelta is the three week bicycle stage race through Spain, one of the three European grand tours. People spin for The Tour de France, and I chose this for my project as we review the coverage of the Vuelta each evening. The mountains of Spain look amazing, and once again, the cyclists are incredible.

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Farewell, Ivy Cardigan

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Unravelling (frogging), and reskeining;

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Drying the skeins after a good soak to remove the kinks;

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Reskeined, ready to knit again.

 

Back to the sky/some sewing

8/31/2019 Cloud Cap/Timberline Trail High Point

We returned with friends to this same trail near Cooper Spur on Mt Hood that we hiked in July. Fewer flowers, less snow, still the sky, the swirling cloud cap, the views afar, the plans formulating to complete the Timberline Trail loop someday. Hike #42, 6 miles, 1650 feet.

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Once attaining the crest of the East Eliot Moraine, the Washington Cascade Peaks are on view to the north,

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and Mt Hood is ahead to the west.

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Low growing buckwheat, lupine and yarrow.

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Later in the day, clouds forming on the mountain, knotweed in the foreground showing fall colors already.

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My hiking companions resting near the Timberline Trail high point.

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And, almost back to the trailhead, high desert beyond.

Lookback: A couple of photos comparing snow levels with mid-July:

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View up the Eliot today, 8/31/2019.

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View up the Eliot seven weeks ago, July 12, 2019

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View to the south, toward Lamberson Butte and the Timberline Trail crossings, today.

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Similar view seven weeks ago.

Some sewing

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Two pairs of sleep shorts.

And a random Portlandia street art scene:

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Late summer Gentians at Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

8/23/2019  Chinidere Mountain hike

The trail leads down to Wahtum Lake,

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Chinidere Mountain, our destination, on the skyline.

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Endemic cutleaf bugbane blooming along the lake trail.

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After crossing the log bridge at the lake outlet, our trail leads steeply up hill, eventually reaching the top of Chinidere Mountain, with views of five Cascade volcanoes.

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Mt Hood to the south,

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and Mt Jefferson on the horizon just to the right.

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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams to the north.

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The burned drainage of Eagle Creek, with Mt St Helens on the far right.

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Wahtum Lake below us to the east.

I was pleased to find many patches of Explorer’s gentian blooming along the trail and at the top of the mountain.

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Explorer’s gentian

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Previous hikes here earlier in the season had a different suite of flowers. Today we saw the later season flowers and berries: 

Other new and notable flowers:

Berries of late summer:

We found plenty of ripe huckleberries to supplement our lunch. We saw a few north and south bound PCT through-hikers, but not many other people on the trail today. It was a fairly perfect late summer hike.

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Hike #41, 5 miles, 1200 feet

Spinning

I finished plying the last of my Tour de Fleece yarn. I am planning to try Easter Egg dye on this yarn – stay tuned for updates.

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Signs of Fall in the neighborhood

Finally some knitting! And two new hikes…

Flyway Twist Shawl

This shawl has been delivered to it’s recipient, so I am happy to share the pictures! The solid yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Reflecting Pool colorway. The real star of the show is the Fully Spun colorful gradient called ‘Voices in My Head’. It was fascinating to knit with the gradient, watching the colors emerge and play against the teal backdrop. The brioche section in the middle adds variety to both the look and the knitting experience. The pattern is by Veera Valimaki, and is easily obtained on Ravelry.

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Salmon River Trail 8/12/2019

We hiked with friends on a flat easy trail where we could enjoy a shady beautiful setting with lots of time to chat. This was my first time hiking this trail, near Welches on Mt Hood, and I can see why it is often recommended.

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Salmon River from the trail.

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Hike #39 – 4 miles/200 feet

Cheater hike on the Timberline Trail, Mt Hood Meadows 8/15/2019

I would like to walk all of the 40 mile Timberline Trail around Mt Hood. This is a section I hadn’t done yet.  We rode the Mt Hood Meadows chair lift up 700 feet of elevation (thus, cheating) then began walking north along the trail, as far as Clark Creek. Beautiful flowers, creek crossings and wildflower meadows along the way.

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Our cheating enabler – the Stadium Lift

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Looking back as we silently rise – Mt Jefferson and a hint of the Sisters.

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Aster and goldenrod meadows along the Timberline Trail.

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Several small, easily crossed creeks along the trail.

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We eventually reached views of ‘Pea Gravel Ridge’, a glacial moraine just beyond Clark Creek.

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Pea Gravel Ridge

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Downstream view of a branch of Clark Creek.

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Upstream view toward a waterfall on Clark Creek.

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Mt Hood, summer view

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Glaciers

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We then retraced our steps and walked south along the Timberline Trail until it began to descend through the woods to the White River crossing – we’ll save that for another day. We passed through beautiful meadows, under ever-present ski infrastructure and views of the mountain. We walked the mile and a half and 700 feet down to the trailhead instead of going back to the chairlift, so we only ‘cheated’ one way.

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Clark Creek

 

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Asters, paintbrush, goldenrod, false hellebore, with ski lift.

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Mt Jefferson, and a very hazy view of the Three Sisters from the trail.

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Tall cotton grass, aptly named, in this moist meadow.

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The Timberline Trail continues down through the forest to White River, but we turned back.

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GPS track (with some wandering points). Hike #40, 6 miles/1000 feet.

New or notable flowers:

A few days in Paradise…

Mt Rainier National Park, August 5 – 9, 2019

For my birthday my dear husband planned a visit to Paradise at the height of wildflower season. We stayed in the newly refurbished Paradise Inn, authentically both rustic and lavish, perched at 5420 feet above sea level, and 8990 feet below the top of Mt. Rainier. We hiked many trails in the area from Monday evening to Friday morning, alternately focusing on the incredible wildflower blooms at our feet, and the massive  glaciers looming above us on the slopes of this active volcano. We had sunny days – it was almost too warm on the shadeless trails above timberline. On Thursday the clouds rolled in below us, and we watched their flowing patterns throughout the day. I took more than 700 photos on three long and four shorter hikes. My knees and toes held out admirably. We mostly ate out of our ice chest and suitcase pantry, but had one lovely meal at the restaurant. There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonder – but John Muir’s words, carved into the stairs leading to the mountain from the Visitor’s Center, come close.

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Paradise Inn

We were lucky to have a room with a view of the Tatoosh Range, immediately to the south.

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Looking down from the trail at Paradise Inn and the Tatoosh Range.

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Sunset view from our window.

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Paradise Inn and Mt Rainier from Paradise Valley Road.

Hiking Highlights:

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Hikes #34 -38, 28.8 miles, 4520 feet

August 5th – Alta Vista – An evening walk with picnic dinner at this amazing viewpoint:

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Mt Rainier

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Across Paradise Park, preview of the Golden Gate Trail.

August 6 – Pebble Creek and Panorama Point via Golden Gate and Skyline Trails

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Edith Creek in Paradise Park

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Tatoosh Range from the Golden Gate trail.

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The lower humps in front of Mt Rainier are our destination.

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Snow and pasque flowers along the Skyline trail.

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Tiny people on the overlooks ahead.

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A peek over the ridge to the barren, recently glaciated valley to the east, where the Paradise Glaciers have receded.

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Lunch view, below us – Panorama Point, Paradise Park and Inn, Tatoosh Range.

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Nisqually River and highway bridge.

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Our high point – Pebble Creek. People planning to summit the mountain will camp at the Muir Snowfield on the high ridge above.

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Mt Rainier from Pebble Creek crossing.

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Looking down on the anastomosing trail system above Paradise Inn.

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We walked to Myrtle Falls in the evening.

August 7 – Lakes Loop – We hiked downhill from Paradise Inn, past Reflection Lakes, then back up to the Skyline Trail. The ranger assured us the wildflowers along the return hike were incredible, and that was an understatement!

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Another morning in Paradise!

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Our reflections in a stream crossing.

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Small waterfall along the way, in the shady forest.

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Reflection Lake, a little too much breeze for the reflection today.

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Hiking back up – lunch view of Reflection Lakes and Stevens Canyon from Faraway Rock.

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Small reflective lake along the trail.

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As we entered the meadows along the ridge, the wildflowers were stunning,

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and continued to be so for a couple of miles!

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I am out of words to describe amazing wildflowers at this point, but they do help to pull me along the trail when I get tired.

August 8 – Deadhorse, Glacier Moraine and Glacier Vista trails – This was a lower mileage, less elevation day. We found a bit of solitude on the Glacier Moraine trail, and more amazing flowers, including some marshy, wetland species we hadn’t seen yet.

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The clouds rolled in overnight, and stayed all day at about 5000 feet, so we hiked above the clouds most of the day.

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Mt Rainier had a few cloud caps coming and going.

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Lush stream meadows along the Deadhorse Trail.

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The Glacier Moraine trail leads to a viewpoint on the Nisqually Glacier Moraine.

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Neon moss, monkey flowers, saxifrage, etc. along the damp slopes.

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We are headed to the lip of the moraine.

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Panorama of my view – can’t begin to take it all in!

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I am sitting on the edge of the moraine, overlooking the Nisqually Glacier.

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Dan taking the above photo of me as the fog creeps up the Nisqually Valley beyond him.

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The fog stayed at about that level all day.

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Zoomed view of Stevens Peak in the Tatoosh Range, and the Goat Rocks beyond.

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After dinner we walked the Nisqually Vista trail.

August 9 – Christine Falls – On our way out of the park on Friday morning, we took the short hike to the bridge over Christine Falls.

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Christine Falls

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Longmire.

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Old gas pumps at the Longmire Visitor’s Center

Glacier Closeups:

Nisqually Glacier – a river of ice.

Waterfalls:

Top of the Mountain:

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Wildlife

We saw several marmots, deer, and various birds as well as the usual marauding chipmunks.

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Marmot eating marsh marigolds near the top of the Gold Gate trail.

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Marmot at a stream crossing on the Glacier Moraine trail, dwarfed by the Mountain above.

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Marmot, Mt Rainier

New or notable Wildflowers

So many flowers! I tried to note all that I could identify – at least 65 different types, but I am no expert in discerning the many varieties of some of these:

In all this was a fabulous trip! We had nearly clear views of Mt Rainier during our entire stay. We didn’t move our car all week. No internet or cell service away from the Visito’s Center. I am so appreciative of the National Park Service, and laws that preserve our national treasures such as Mt Rainier!

And a brief Look Back…

In 1995, when our boys were two and six years old, we spent a long September weekend with my Mom at Paradise. She loved the mountains, and this was her first chance to visit Mt Rainier. She was 71 years old, and not in hiking shape of late, so was proud of herself to make the three mile hike to Glacier Vista overlook, helping to guide our two young ones more than 1000 feet up the trail. This was a couple of years before macular degeneration, and then later, ALS. I thank her for taking us hiking and camping in our youth, even after our father died and she was on her own with nine children. I remember her naming the flowers – paintbrush and lupine and aster, in Tuolumne Meadows. She was a wonder woman, and I wish she was here to wish her a Happy 95th Birthday today! I hope there is chocolate cake on the other side!

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View from the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge

8/4/2019  A two hour cruise

With the Friends of the Gorge, from Cascade Locks, east to Wind River, then west to Bonneville Dam.

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Our vessel

Hot day, river surface like glass – not enough wind for the kiters and surfers this morning, but enough of a breeze to enjoy the wide views from the top deck of the boat.

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Ready to embark – Cascade Locks and Bridge of the Gods in view.

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Table Mountain reflected in the glassy Columbia River.

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Eagle nest on a buoy.

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Eastern turnaround at Wind Mountain.

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Downriver toward Hamilton and Table Mountains.

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Bridge of the Gods, burned forest on the skyline.

Passing under the Bridge of the Gods – shadows and angles.

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Western turnaround above Bonneville Dam:

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Beacon Rock beyond the powerhouse.

Back under the Bridge of the Gods to port.

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A lovely morning on the river.

Knitting

Some very long rows ahead to finish this gift:

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Revisiting haunted trees on Vista Ridge, and winning the Tour de Fleece

Vista Ridge to Wy’East Basin on Mt Hood, July 25, 2019

We like to hike Vista Ridge on the north side of Mt Hood at least once a year. I posted previous reports from 2017 in June before full snow melt, 2017 in August, and 2018 in August.

Today was hot going through the burned trees, but I found a few old and new ghost friends along the way:

Eventually we made it to the blooming alpine meadows of Wy’East basin.

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Barrett Spur and Mt Hood

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Looking north toward Mts Rainier and Adams

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After lunch we continued hiking above the basin to a remnant snowfield, and a view over to the other side of the mountain.

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Snow surface covered with debris

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Looking over the lip of the moraine to Mt Hood and MacNeil Point.

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View north from our high point – Wy’East Basin, Dollar Lake Fire scar, Washington Cascade peaks.

Hike #33, 7.7 miles, 1700 feet.

Flowers of note:

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Fleabane just beginning to bloom.

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Pasque flowers – an all-time favorite!

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Tour de Fleece Podium

I finished spinning, plying and setting the brown fiber:

I have made headway on this white fluff:

Version 2I spun while cheering on the superhuman athletes who propel themselves on bicycles for 21 days! So many ways to win in Le Tour de France – jerseys, stages, sprints, mountain tops, combatitiveness, even a red lantern for the last place finisher, and I feel I have won too, by spindling every day. I am looking forward to adding more spinning to my crafting time.

 

 

Wildwood Trail and Tour de Fleece

 

June 19, 2019  Wildwood Trail

A short hike this week on the Wildwood trail in the Portland Arboretum. We stayed in the shade, though it is not as hot here as other places right now. Hike #32, 2.6 miles, 200 feet.

Tour de Fleece

It is Tour de France time, which we love, and I have joined the parallel Tour de Fleece. I took a drop spindling class in the fall of 2017 at my local yarn shop. Shortly thereafter, spinning fell by the wayside as I dealt with my acromegaly diagnosis. For Tour de Fleece 2019 I pulled out my drop spindle and remaining fiber samples. I borrowed the Maggie Casey Getting Started on a Drop Spindle DVD from my library. I have been spinning a bit of fiber each night as we fast forward our way through each day’s stage in France. I love seeing the landscape, mountains, castles of France, and the bike race has been exceptionally unpredictable this year. And I feel like I am getting a new feel for spinning, and would love to take another class.

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I have also been knitting my traveling socks, and have started a shawl that is a gift for someone…

Garden

It is berry time at the farmer’s market,

and we have more blooms in the garden.

A trail carved out of the edge of the sky….

7/12/2019 – East Glacier Trail and Timberline Trail, beyond Cloud Cap on Mt Hood, OR

Walking above Cloud Cap on a blue sky day, the same hike we did last year in August.

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Beyond the ridgeline of the Eliot East moraine, Mt Hood rises another 5000 feet.

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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams on view to the north.

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We walked up the crest of the moraine another 1000 feet.

Close-ups of the glaciers from our lunch stop:

Continuing south beyond Cooper Spur shelter, to the trail high point::

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Cooper Spur Shelter

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meltwater

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Cascade peaks to the south: Broken Top, the Three Sisters, Mts Washington and Jefferson.

As we headed back, clouds began collecting and spinning around the peak, 4000 feet above us.

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Another glacier closeup.

It almost seemed like I could step up into the sky….

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northbound

A few flowers for the day…

Dwarf alpine flowers and trees, butterflies, rocks, glaciers, meltwater creeks, sublimity. Hike #31, 6 miles, 1650 feet.

Driving down the many switchbacks through the burn zone – white on white.

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beargrass, burned forest, clouds

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Mt Adams beyond

 

 

CT NY MD PA OH and CO, Oh My!

May 16 to June 1, 2019

This post is a summary of our recent trip to visit family and attend our daughter’s college graduation.

CONNECTICUT

We flew to Hartford, then stayed 3 days with family in the New Haven area.

Highlights: While celebrating a family birthday and spending lots of time catching up, we visited places near New Haven that held significance for my husband.

East Rock State Park

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View from the top to New Haven and Long Island Sound.

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Monument at the top of East Rock.

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Looking down on the winter sledding hill, East Rock.

Lighthouse Point was a favorite childhood summer beach, but nobody was selling lemon ice today.

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Walking toward the Lighthouse.

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Lighthouse

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Lighthouse Point Carousel

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Branford – A beautiful old church near our dinner stop.

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Branford, CT

Old Town Essex – The town and waterfront are steeped in early American history.

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Many of the buildings in town date back to the late seventeen and early eighteen hundreds, and are very well preserved. I loved looking at all the architectural details, especially the half-circle windows.

West Rock State Park – We took a 2 mile walk with a friend around Wintergreen Lake and saw ladyslippers in bloom!

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Woods along the trail

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Wintergreen Lake

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Lady slipper! My first time seeing them!

Hamden – We met a baby grandniece for the first time. We also got to see the damage from the tornado that knocked down 30 trees at the family home about a year ago (actually a lowlight).

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The trees along the fence line are gone! They were not able to see the neighboring houses before the tornado.

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Newish puppy Bear, with some of the fallen trees piled beyond.

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Maya

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Niece and grandniece.

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My only crafting in this post: I used one of my daughter’s favorite childhood fabrics to make a gift bag for some  books for the little one.

NEW YORK

We took the Metro North train to Grand Central Station. A lot has changed since my only previous visit in 1982. My husband’s cousins met us at Grand Central Station, then drove us to their home in Brooklyn. The next morning they rode with us on the subway from Brooklyn to Penn Station – seasoned New Yorkers and very gracious hosts!

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View from the train, somewhere in Connecticut.

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Grand Central Station

Highlights:  Cityscapes, wandering around near the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing the Freedom Tower from a distance (we had been to the top of the World Trade Center on my only other visit), a lovely meal and enjoying our cousin’s garden in Brooklyn.

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Chrysler Building in Manhattan

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Chrysler Building detail

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United Nations flags

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Sunroof view on the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking around the waterfront in Brooklyn:

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Manhattan skyline beyond the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges

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Freedom Tower in the distance.

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Closer view of the Freedom Tower and Brooklyn Bridge

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A ‘beach’ under the Manhattan Bridge

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Gothic arches of the Brooklyn Bridge

Old buildings, bridge supports and massive amounts of noise dwarfed us as we walked around. It was a bit overwhelming. I was glad to see it, but cannot imagine dealing with it on a daily basis, especially the noise levels!

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It was more peaceful in our cousin’s back garden.

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Tree and cat in Brooklyn.

MARYLAND

We rode Amtrak from New York to Baltimore.

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Philadelphia skyline from the train.

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Baltimore Union Station

Baltimore Highlights: The highest light was spending time with my husband’s cousins, and enjoying their family stories, good company and hospitality. We spent a day in Annapolis, a bit crazy because it was grad week at the Naval Academy.

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Naval Academy

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Old bricks in the Naval Academy grounds full of bivalve shells.

We took a short boat tour of the harbor.

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Annapolis from the harbor.

We watched a Blue Angels performance.

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My best photo of the Blue Angels.

My husband was able to take some excellent telephotos:

 

The next day we admired the natural beauty at Loch Raven Reservoir, north of Baltimore,

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then had lunch at Ladew Gardens.  

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This old estate includes a beautiful manor house and gardens

 

and is renowned for topiary:

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Swans on the hedge.

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Pointed hedges.

Topiary foxhunt:

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Horseman

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hounds

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and fox!

We ate plenty of free delicious ice cream, compliments of a family connection to this business:

 

May 31, 2019

We rented a car to drive from Baltimore to Ohio for the main attraction of this trip – our daughter’s college graduation. Along the way, we stopped at Washington Monument State Park in Maryland for a picnic lunch, then walked a short way on the Appalachian Trail.

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Inset picture shows what the first Washington Monument looks like

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when it is not being repaired.

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Views to the south into Virginia from the monument site.

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Appalachian Trail – near the halfway point, with about 1200 miles to go to the northern terminus.

On we drove, into

PENNSYLVANIA

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We passed through miles of farm land.

This was my first time driving across the eastern US and seeing for myself some of the geology I had studied in college. I had highway views of the folded strata of the Valley and Ridge province of the Alleghenian orogeny as I followed along on the map.

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Folded stratigraphy on the Google terrain map.

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Stratigraphy at highway speed.

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Allegheny River

That afternoon we took a 4.5 mile hike along Slippery Rock Creek with a picnic dinner at McConnells Mill State Park near Butler, PA.

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Slippery Rock Creek

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McConnell’s Mill and Bridge:

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We saw rafters and kayakers on Slippery Rock Creek.

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Spring wildflowers along the trail:

 

The next day we drove on to-

OHIO

We spent a lot of time with our daughter, and met her friends, roommates, and their families, all in town for commencement. Despite rain and thunderstorms on the days before and after, graduation day was sunny but not too hot, and all went as planned. We are very proud of her, and excited for her next adventure – moving to Washington DC where she will begin a good job as a Research Assistant.

But first, we drove her to Pennsylvania so she could join a bicycle trip with friends who were already en route. We visited many places in the eastern US on this trip, as indicated by my camera GPS map.

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Time to head west again, but only as far as

COLORADO

We were met at the Denver airport by my husband’s cousin, his only family member we didn’t think we would see, but who was unexpectedly in town – a great surprise, and one of the best moments of the trip!  Highlights– Visiting with family, including my husband’s 99.5 year old uncle, and spending part of a day in real mountains!

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The mountains are calling and we must go!

LOVELAND PASS

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May 31, 2019

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Comparison to when we were here in June of 2013.

The air was crisp, thin, pure. We walked about 2 miles on the trails above the pass – we were not equipped for snow hiking.

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bird, granite, snow

Precambrian rocks – I don’t get to see these where I live!

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We stopped for views at Lookout Mountain near Golden:

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View to the north along the Front Range

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Northeast

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East to Denver and the Great Plains beyond…

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Buffalo Bill Museum and grave on Lookout Mountain.

We flew back to Portland on June 1st, after two and a half wonderful weeks of reconnecting with family, seeing new geography, and launching our daughter into post-college life. America is an amazing country, and we have nebulous plans to see more of it, but for now, there’s no place like home! Tap, tap, tap…

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From the high plains of Colorado

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to the Cascade Mountains and Columbia River Gorge.