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.

Someone turned on the waterfall! June Lake and Chocolate Falls, Mt St Helens, July 4th, 2019

We went with good friends to the June Lake Trail northeast of Cougar, Washington, on the south side of Mt St Helens. Image 7-4-19 at 10.33 PMThe walk to the lake is easy, with flowers blooming along the way, and magical mirror reflections at the lake.

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June Lake

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Mirror reflections

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View to the waterfall across the lake.

In February 2016 we snowshoed to this spot – a couple of comparison look back views:

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June Lake and waterfall, July 4, 2019

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June Lake and waterfall, February 20, 2016

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July 2019

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February 2016

Today we continued beyond June Lake, up a steep ridge, to the Loowit (around the mountain) Trail, and walked east for a ways.

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Beargrass blooming at the edge of a lava flow along the trail.

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Large trees

We turned back west to visit the elusive Chocolate Falls. Our well traveled companion had never ‘seen’ the waterfall, although he had been there a few times. We arrived at the horseshoe shaped cliff, but there was no waterfall.

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Dry lip of Chocolate Falls, 2:44 pm.

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The waterfall is now “on”, 2:46 pm.

Then some nearby hikers noticed water beginning to flow in the channel above the cliff, and lo and behold, a couple of minutes later, water was plunging over the cliff through a well-worn, polished slot in the cliff edge.

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Looking upstream at the channel.

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Narrow but steady stream of Chocolate Falls

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Looking down at the polished slot at the lip of Chocolate Falls.

The snow fields on the mountain above had warmed enough to send fresh meltwater down the channel. Apparently this is a documented phenomenon here. To us it was a surprise, like a rainbow or a special wildlife sighting – a serendipitous moment of grace and beauty.

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Mt St Helens remained slightly cloud covered, with partial views. The temperature was perfect. Our plan to take the loop trail back to June Lake for the return hike also offered a ‘surprise’. This connector trail is really only a good option in the winter, on snowshoes or skis, when the lava flow boulderfields are snow covered. It took us almost an hour to navigate the half mile connecting trail, and we were very happy not to have twisted an ankle or knee in the process.

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Picking our way across the lava flow.

The unexpected elements, the waterfall and the boulder field, added to our adventures on a day suited to celebrating our nation’s commitment to protecting our wilderness areas! (Hike #30, 7.5 miles, 1500 feet)

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Mt St Helens from the south.

New or notable wildflowers today:

Knitting:

I have seamed and added the top edging to Le Petit Sac, and knit the icord strap.

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A June Wedding

July 2, 2019

No hike this week. We flew from Portland to Los Angeles for a very happy wedding. We spent most of the weekend biding time with family.

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Cape Chestnut tree that framed the ceremony at the Fullerton Arboretum.

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Gifts for guests, handmade by the brides.

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Handmade wedding cake.

Views from the flight home:

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Mt Lassen

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Mt Shasta

Knitting

I finished most of the knitting on Le Petit Sac,

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turned the heel on the Traveling Socks,

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and bought some yarn for a new project….

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Paintbrush and clouds at Mt St Helens, WA

June 21, 2019

Clouds thwarted our plan to hike to the top of Coldwater Peak, about 13 miles round trip from Johnson Ridge Observatory, and more than 3000′ total elevation gain. Most of Mt St Helens and the Mt Margaret backcountry, where Coldwater Peak resides, were socked in for the day. We didn’t even go to the top of Harry’s Ridge, as the thick cloud layer that hovered when we arrived at the saddle seemed immovable. Instead, we added a side trip to Devil’s Point on our return hike. On the plus side, the wildflower extravaganza was superb, and the all day cloud cover kept the hiking temperatures kind. This trail can be brutal on a hot and cloudless day.

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Indian paintbrush, penstemon and yarrow at the trailhead…preview for the day.

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First view of Mt St Helens, with her head in a cloud, and our best view all day.

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Flowers along the trail.

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More flowers – dwarf lupine and pussypaws added to the mix.

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Flowery foreground to Mt St Helens and the pumice plain.

 

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Clouds on the trail

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The landscape of today’s trail. We are hiking in the blast zone, and all this greenery has emerged since 1980.

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Approaching the decommisioned western arm of the Devil’s Elbow trail.

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Flowers and clouds

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Up the new Devil’s Elbow bypass trail.

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View of Spirit Lake from the top of the bypass.

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Paintbrush and dwarf lupine as far as the eye can see….

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Still hoping the clouds will lift…

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Yellow arnica in this section

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Tiny saxifrage flowers

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The same tiny saxifrage covers the slope that leads to the saddle with the trail junction between between Harry’s Ridge and the Mt Margaret backcountry.

At this point, we gave up on the clouds lifting, and headed back, enjoying the flowers along the way.

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We took the now dead end trail to Devil’s Point to our lunch stop.

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Devil’s Point ahead.

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Loowit Falls drains the Mt St Helens Crater Glacier.

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Looking back, Harry’s Ridge is still in the cloud.

Lunch views from Devil’s Point:

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East: Spirit Lake and the Pumice Plain.

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South: Mt St Helens with cloud cap.

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West: Johnson Ridge and trailhead. 

As we continued after lunch, the clouds lifted very briefly:

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Harry’s Ridge

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The Dome in Mt Margaret backcountry partially unveiled.

Hike #29 for 2019, 7.5 miles, 1500 feet. I felt strong at the end of the hike, like I could have made it to the peak and crawled back up the hill to the trailhead at the end of the day. We will return to try another day!

Extra flower photos:

Crafting:

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Knitting progress on Le Petit Sac by Pam Allen, using Sparrow linen by Quince and Co. I often have to knit the left twist rows twice 😉

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I patched, mended, and reinforced worn seams on six pairs of hiking pants.

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Summer sky with windows.

Lewisia and Clarkia on Hamilton Mountain, Washington

Hamilton Mountain trail, Beacon Rock State Park, Washington, June 14, 2019

We hiked to the top of the upper rocky switchbacks, looking for wildflowers.  I have previously hiked here earlier in the wildflower season – being slightly later meant getting to see both Lewisia and Clarkia in bloom. We had cloud cover most of the day, then Mt Hood peeked out as we began our descent. Hike #28 for 2019, 6 miles, 1500 feet.

Our destination:

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Hamilton Mountain from the power line trail cut.

The waterfall area:

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Pool of the Winds

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Rodney Falls

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Below the bridge

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More woods:

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Up the lower cliffs and out onto Little Hamilton Mountain viewpoint:

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Hamilton Mountain still ahead.

Wildflower meadows in this area:

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Drying out, but full of the Clarkia called Farewell to spring, and blue-eyed Mary.

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Farewell To Spring

Farther up the trail, on the rocky upper switchbacks, Columbian Lewisia clings to the cliff edges.

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Upper meadows with both Lewisia and a few Clarkias up on the slope, as well as bluehead gilia, Oregon sunshine, death camas and blue-eyed Mary:

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We stopped near here at the top of the switchbacks for lunch. On the way down, Mt Hood peaked out from under the clouds.

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More flowers of the day:

Saddle Mountain, Oregon, June 10, 2019

We have been up this trail many times.The profusion of wildflowers this time of year is always a draw. A combination of shadowy forest and rocky open slopes over 1600 feet of elevation change creates a myriad of habitats and bloom times. We saw at least 66 different types of blooming flowers. I’ve detailed our 2017 hike here. Some standout views for today:

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Shady forest

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View to the top

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The knob

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First view of the ocean beyond the knob

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Steep chicken wire lined rocky trail up the cliffs

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The saddle

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Bistort, Mt Rainier

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Flowers all the way to the top

 

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View to Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens and Mt Adams from the summit

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View to Astoria from the summit

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Looking back to the sea and the summit on the return hike

 

Notable flowers:

This was hike #27 for 2019, 6.8 miles, 1900 feet.

Wahkeena-Multnomah Loop After the Fire – A Glorious Wildflower Explosion Amidst the Blackened Trees…

June 6, 2019  – Wahkeena-Multnomah Falls Loop

This area was burned by the Eagle Creek Fire of September 2017. The trails above the waterfalls were closed for over a year, then have been reopened and closed periodically since fall 2018. Instability along the trail, falling trees and sliding slopes have been valiantly repaired by our intrepid trail keepers. The trails were open today. We hiked up Wahkeena Creek and down Multnomah Creek. Much of the understory removed by fire has returned as lush greenery. It was a beautiful hike on a beautiful day, and there were sooo many flowers!!! Of course, by the time we circled back around to Multnomah Falls there were also sooo many people, but most don’t  go above the Benson Bridge. I enjoyed my first foray back onto these trails. (Hike #26 for 2019, 5 miles, 1600 feet)

Wahkeena Trail

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Approaching Multnomah Falls from the parking area.

We started by climbing past Wahkeena Falls, and up several hanging garden switchbacks to  Lemmons Viewpoint:

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Tiger lily blooming near the viewpoint.

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View across the Columbia River

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View upriver to Beacon Rock

The trail continues up Wahkeena Creek beyond Fairy Falls and onto the ridge between the drainages:

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Fairy Falls

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Millions of candy flowers line the burned forest floor.

The next section of trail, along the upper ridgecrest, has always felt very special to me – a quiet flat trail in the deep forest, high on a steep ridge above the river – immensely peaceful and idyllic. My first time through after the fire was trepidatious, but the trail retains it’s magical quality. Despite the scorched trees and more open view, the feeling of peace remains. These trees will all come down at someday. Today I marvel at the explosion of flowers the extra sunlight has nurtured.

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A couple of comparisons from a June 2014 Hike:

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2019

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2014

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2014

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2019

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View downslope to the river.

From here, the trail crosses a couple of flowery drainages before heading down to Multnomah Creek:

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Larkspur ahead!

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Arnica and columbine

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Arnica, bleeding heart

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Columbine, iris, bleeding heart

Multnomah Creek

The trail passes several waterfalls along Multnomah Creek:

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New sign, burned sign

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Multnomah Creek

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Flower lined trail

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Monkey and candy flowers

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Ecola Falls

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Wiesendanger Falls

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Dutchman Falls

A side spur leads out to the viewpoint at the top of Multnomah Falls (where the crowds of people begin):

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The top of falls viewpoint

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Looking straight down the falls

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View of the parking area, river and beyond

A dozen or so paved switchbacks lead down to the trailhead. Lots of people and flowers along the way:

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Rebuilt rock wall along the trail

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Burned trail post

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Approaching the Benson Bridge

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Looking down to the view plaza from the bridge

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Multnomah Falls from the view plaza

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Looking back from the approach area

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Burned trees along the ridgeline

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Trailmap

More flowers:

Back in Portland, June 5, 2019

We returned last weekend from two and a half weeks visiting in Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado. There were planes, trains, subways, busses, automobiles, a boat, and bicycles; a baby, dogs, cats and the Blue Angels; tornado damage, lakes, rivers, mountains, wildflowers, poison oak, and topiary; a birthday, a graduation, ice cream, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Appalachian Trail!  I will report on all that later. Meanwhile, back in Oregon, the weeds have grown and new flowers are blooming.

 

Knitting

I made a bit of progress on my travel socks

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and started a new project at a knit-in at my local yarn shop.

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Sunbonnet Sue Quilt

I started this blog two years ago with the goal of writing about my quilting. Instead, the blog has become more of a hiking and travel journal, with a side of crafting. Here, at last, is my first quilt story! It is a common lament in the quilt world that many quilts are unlabeled and their stories are lost to history. My first quilt story, which includes a bit of my history, is about my oldest, my first quilt.

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Sunbonnet Sue   68″ x 82″   by Margaret Klute 1975

Quilt Story 1: Sunbonnet Sue, 1975

My childhood best friend, Susan, moved from Minnesota to our neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley of southern California in the early 1960s. Her Mom, Sally, often gave us projects to keep us busy – everything from polishing their family’s antique whaling lamps and silver, to baking bread and cookies, to making candles, macrame and clothing.  Sally showed us how to make Sunbonnet Sue blocks when we were about 14 or 15 years old – this would have been about 1970 or 1971.

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The dress on this Sue was a scrap from a blouse I wore in high school.

We began by cutting templates out of construction paper. Then we raided our family’s overflowing scrap boxes for fabric.  Both of our moms sewed, and my sisters and I also made some of our own clothing.  We had fun choosing fabrics for the dress, bonnet, arm and shoe patches.  We sewed the pieces onto white background fabric, possibly from an old sheet, using an overcast hand appliqué stitch. We each created a stack of blocks but then lost momentum. My blocks sat in a drawer for a few years.

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In 1975 I wanted a warm quilt to take with me to college in northern California.  I made additional Sunbonnet Sues using scraps from recently made clothes, but did not have enough blocks for a bed-sized quilt.  I raided both families’ fabric stashes again and cut out 5 inch squares from a wide mix of scraps.  I sewed the squares together with half inch seam allowances, and determined a layout that would float the Sunbonnet Sue blocks between rows of patchwork.  I found a backing fabric at the discount fabric shop, and I also bought a roll of 2″ thick polyester batting.  I finagled a quilt sandwich with straight pins, and somehow managed to force the quilt under the foot of my Mom’s sturdy Kenmore sewing machine, stitching in the ditch around all the squares.  I found fabric for the binding, again from the scrap box, and attached it by hand.

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Backing fabric, which I always thought of as batik saw blades.

I brought the quilt with me to college and continued to use it for a good 20 years. I patched it and restitched much of the appliqué, and eventually the batting flattened down to about a quarter inch thick.

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Front binding close up. These fabrics include cotton, polyester, and wool; both prints and wovens; and light to heavy in weight. The edge of the middle faded pink spotted patch shows the bright original color along the seam allowance.

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The binding on the back was much wider, and hand stitched. I only added the signature recently!

Construction commentary: This quilt represents to me a big chunk of my youth – and also, I love the audacity of youth that this quilt reveals.  I finished Sunbonnet Sue in a way that made sense to me at the time. I remember thinking I didn’t need the full 5/8 inch seam allowance used for garment sewing – 1/2 inch should be plenty.  I also had  the idea that a patchwork quilt should not be made of new fabric, and should have as many different scrap fabrics as possible – though I did have the option to not use fabric that I didn’t like. There were no blogs or online tutorials – we had one Dover quilt book. I consulted my Mom, but she had never made a quilt, though she had made curtains, bed spreads and cushion covers as well as clothing. (She could also knit, crochet, tat, and change the oil and spark plugs and adjust the carburetor in an automobile engine while single handedly feeding and clothing nine children – but that’s a story for another day.) The wide seam allowances, thick batting and wide binding are not what I do today, but they worked to complete my quilt.

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The orange dress print is leftover from our Shasta travel trailer curtains. The streaky red, white and blue fabric reminds me that both tie-dye and pre-bicentennial patriotism were part of the pop culture of the time. The pink striped floral fabric is a pillow ticking weight fabric.

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The uppermost flowered patch, now needing a patch, was another favorite blouse fabric. The middle patch is an example of the psychedelic graphics of the time.

I love the personal history of the fabric in this quilt – I see mine and my sisters’ and my friends’ childhood wardrobes, with many fond memories of people, place and time. I also love that this quilt reflects what I considered at the time to be the true spirit of patchwork quilting – making something from the scraps of both material and memories. This was during the early seventies anti-establishment/anti-war/back to the land movement, which defined the paths that I and a few of my siblings would choose as young adults.  We went to war protests, dug up our lawn to plant a garden, joined a food coop, and eventually moved out of the city to northern California or Oregon. Susan never finished her quilt, but during a visit a few years ago we enjoyed looking at all the fabrics and remembering when and where we wore them when we were young. I wish I had photos of us in some of the clothes, but alas, I do not. Just the patches in this well worn quilt.

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Weldon Wagon Road, WA

5/10/2019

We walked Weldon Wagon Trail on a hot day in May. Balsamroot beginning to fade in the heat. I craved the shade, wished for a breeze in the still air, unlike the windblown walk last week at The Dalles Mountain Ranch. Lupine, clarkia, manroot, various parsleys, cutleaf violets, no sasquatch sighting this year. An enjoyable walk with friends. This will likely be my last of the balsamroot hikes this year! (Hike #22, 5.5 miles, 1300 feet).

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Lupine along the trail in the lower woodlands.

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First view of the open flowered slope.

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Our trail ahead across the balsamroot slope,

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and a view of Mt Hood across the valley.

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Friends ahead.

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Balsamroot

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Looking straight up at the steep slope above.

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Turnaround point

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And back the way we came,

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Back into the shade on a hot day.

New or notable flowers:

Neighborhood and Garden

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Birthday bouquet

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Our rhododendron in bloom,

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And our native irises.

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Giant camas in a neighborhood garden.

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Local fairy garden.

Knitting

I finished the Frost Slippers. The fit is a bit tight, but they should fit someone! Interesting construction, including stranding, steeking, and seaming, and I used up a lot of the leftover Dr Who Scarf yarn.

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Yarn for travel knitting!

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((This post has the first photos using my new camera (Sony HX90V).)