Ridgefield birds, and darning success

11/30/2019  Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA

On a cold morning we walked the Oaks to Wetlands Trail in the northern unit – the best views are from the railroad bridge. (Hike #55, 2 miles)



Swans in the lake…



Frosty leaves



Bird, oak galls.

We then drove the Auto Tour Route in the southern River ‘S’ unit and saw many more birds than were here in early October.


View from the bird blind – swans and geese will be closer on the far side of the driving loop.


Beyond the lake, a large flock of tall birds…


Zooming in-


sand hill cranes, a heron,


and an egret.


A great blue heron landed right next to the road.

Meanwhile, in the lake:


Lots of geese and swans,



and a black swan.

Knitting and the darning pile:


Fingerless mitts – just need the thumbs. Malabrigo Arroyo in the Jupiter color way.


Darned and depilled – three pairs of socks and a sweater!

Reflections and birds at Steigerwald Lake, WA


This is the place we go to see upside down trees that don’t exist except as reflected imagery in water.


Mt Hood beyond the lake.


And birds. We enjoy spotting them in their home, though we are not true ‘birders’.


Northern Harrier


We saw this Great Blue Heron several times from different vantage points:



Hiding in plain sight. I didn’t notice the heron in the middle of the picture until I was looking at my photos later.



Green Heron



Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge is in the early stages of a major overhaul. Dikes to the Columbia River will be breached, the lake will be enlarged, and wild salmon will return to the streams in the surrounding hills. Trails will be rerouted. Today we see early work – large logs have been placed to provide underwater wildlife habitat throughout the area that will become the enlarged lake.


Hike #54, 3.8 miles

Knitting, etc

Cold front in Portland this week, Thanksgiving supplies are in – I am chopping and baking and decorating for a small gathering.


One pair of sock toes mended so far.


Chocolate silk pie!

Rowland Wall, WA, and a Darning Pile

November 16, 2019

We left Portland’s dense fog behind as we drove through the Columbia River Gorge to Catherine Creek Recreation Area east of White Salmon, WA. The fog was lifting to the east. I  saw the wintering swans in Mirror Lake below Crown Point as we drove past.


Driving east on I-84 toward Crown Point.


Those tiny white dots are swans at freeway speed.

The upper reaches of the Catherine Creek area were still under fog as we hiked upward on the Rowland Wall trail.


Fog above us.


Orange oak trees, black volcanic rocks, golden grasses, Ponderosa pines, Rowland Lake.


Rowland Pinnacle

The clouds rose higher as we zigzagged up the trail.



Mt Hood in view as the clouds lift.


A relic apple tree from some past life.




Blue sky!

We lost the trail when hiking here last year and returned the way we came. Today we lost the trail again, but we were close enough to the top to bushwhack our way up to Atwood Road.


Lunch view – toward our starting point just beyond the Rowland Wall cliff.

After eating lunch with a stunning view of the land rolling away beneath us – river, cliffs, orchards of Mosier, we hiked down Sunflower Hill. At the edge of Rowland Wall, we saw the other end of the connecting trail we missed – we will find it next time! A story in every trail. Not many other people here today. We returned to Portland which was reported to be under cloud all day.


Walking down Sunflower Hill,


to the edge of Rowland Wall – reflections in Rowland Lake.


Orchards of Mosier across the Columbia River.


Mt Hood


Another train

Pre wildflower bonus shot:


Bitteroot foliage.

Hike #53, 5.1 miles, 1100 feet.


I continue to make progress on my Meris Cardigan – but at three or four 300 stitch rows a day, it is slow going. That includes a little extra knitting when I have to find a dropped yarn over in the lace repeats. Meanwhile, I have isolated my Darning Pile – I hope I can show it finished by next week.


Three pairs of sock toes, and a sweater with a few holes.

Tamawanas Falls, OR

November 10, 2019

I returned to this popular trail on the east side of Mt Hood with some trepidation, and conquered my fear. The last time I was here, in January of 2016, on snowshoes, my husband slipped over a cornice edge on the trail. He was rescued by some passing snowshoers, but then one of the rescuers slipped all the way down to the riverbank, and had to be rescued by Search and Rescue. I have avoided the trail ever since, even though it is not hazardous when snow free. I do love this trail – I saw my first Columbia Windflowers here one spring, and have enjoyed the hike many times. This day we were late for full fall colors, but saw yellow larches amid the evergreens.  (Hike#52, 5 miles, 800 feet)


East Fork of Hood River, near the trailhead.


First view of Tamanawas Falls.



Lunch view, from the island in Cold Spring Creek at the base of the falls.


We explored a bit higher on side trail to Elk Meadows, and have plans to go farther in the future.



Yellow larches.


Mt Hood from Highway 35 in the afternoon.



I finished the Spiral Cowl, and this biography of Edith Nesbit, a favorite children’s author.

Silver Falls again, knitting update, and the last of the Halloween witches

Silver Falls Loop Trail, November 1, 2019

Some fall colors still about, some frost in the canyon. Always lovely at Silver Fall State Park, Oregon. (Hike #51, 5 miles, 700 feet)


South Falls


Lower South Falls


View from behind Lower South Falls


Double Falls


Middle North Falls


Winter Falls





I have knit past the joining on the Meris Cardigan, and the fit is good. The rows are long, so I will be at this for a while, knitting down the body.


I also finished a striped dish cloth,


and made progress on the Spiral Cowl.


The last witches of Halloween


Hiking to St Helens Lake / A Peek at Beatlemania and Halloween in Portland

St Helen’s Lake, Sunday, October 27, 2019

We hiked from Johnson Ridge Observatory in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument to the St Helens Lake overlook for stunning 360 degree views.  It was cold, but not too windy.


From the trailhead, Coldwater Peak is the highest point in view. St Helens Lake is tucked behind the ridgeline on the right, behind the arch.


Frost along the trail,


and Mt St Helens, herself.


Nearing our destination, nice view of Mt Adams and Spirit Lake.


One last ridge to traverse.


Lunch view and turnaround point – St Helens Lake. Mt Rainier, about 40 miles away, peeking over the ridgeline of the Mt Margaret backcountry.


Zooming in on Mt Rainier,


the Goat Rocks,


Spirit Lake, the silhouette of Mt Hood, and Mt St Helens, with Harry’s Ridge in the foreground.


One last look at St Helens Lake before heading down.

This entire area is off limits to off trail exploring, so there is no trail to the lakeshore. Before the 1980 eruption, the bare slopes were covered with soil and forest. New plants are growing, but the relic tree stumps and log rafts remain as they were after the blast.


Closer view of the 39.5 year old log rafts.


Zooming in on the dome and glacier in Mt St Helen’s crater.

We hiked partway up Harry’s Ridge on the return.


Another view of Spirit Lake and Mt Adams from Harry’s Ridge.


And a last look at Mt St Helens in afternoon light.

Some details:


We met a birder on the return trip who was very excited to have spotted this Northern Pygmy Owl on a fir tree. Nice display of tree stumps and blast-oriented logs in the background.


Northern pygmy owl.


A few very late wild strawberry blooms along the trail, nestled into the pumice..

SCREEN SHOT 2019-11-03 AT 11.53.50 AM

(Hike #50, 10 miles, 2300 feet)

Downtown Portland

I met a friend at the Portland Historical Society Museum to see a photo exhibit about the making of flax into linen in the 1930s. It was fascinating, but not photogenic. I popped in to see an exhibit celebrating The Beatles’ 1965 concert in Portland. I was a preteen when the Beatles invaded, but my older sister swept us into fandom with her enthusiasm, and their music is timeless. My own children have had their Beatle years. We visited Abbey Road in London, and then went on the Magical Mystery Tour and to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool during our UK trip in 2011. It was fun to see a little slice of Beatlemania in PDX.


We had plenty of Beatle magazines and trading cards at my house, but not this game. It’s funny now to think how shockingly long their hair was considered- it looks pretty clean cut by today’s standards.


It was a gorgeous fall day in downtown Portland.


Oregon Historical Society Museum


First Congregational Church


Central Library

Neighborhood Witches and more:

There are many elaborate halloween decorations in my neighborhood to enjoy while out walking and admiring the beautiful fall colors on the day before Halloween.



The light was just right to bring out the face on this tree.


Eagle and salmon carved from a cedar that had to be removed.




Two Columbia Gorge Hikes and more witches in PDX

Tom McCall Point 10/21/2019

Beautiful fall colors on a trail we usually hike during spring wildflower season.  Hike #48, 4 miles, 1050 feet. A few comparison photos:

We are going to the top of Tom McCall Point:


October 2019


May 2017

Looking west toward the Memaloose Hills from the trail:


October 2019


April 2016

Looking northeast across the Columbia River to the Lyle Cherry Orchard where we hiked last week:


October 2019


April 2019

Oak trees:


October 2019


April 2019

And a few lingering  fall wildflowers:

Angel’s Rest 10/24/2019

Another favorite hike with outstanding views! Hike #49, 5 miles, 1500 feet.


Coopey Falls


Fall reflections in Coopey Creek



Angel’s Rest –  our destination.



Eastward view of the Columbia River; Mt Adams peeking above the Washington Gorge topography.


Closer view of Mt Adams.


Western view of the Columbia River.


Trees in the burn zone – 2017 Gorge Fire.


Heading down on a beautiful fall day.

Neighborhood walk and more witches!


First fall for this new black tupelo



Hiking to Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA, and knitting a peach

October 11, 2019 – Green vegetation of summer transitioning to autumn hues: golden grass, yellow big leaf maples, orange oak, and the luring leering red of poison oak against the black cliffs. The ‘Cherry Orchard’ consists of a few ancient snags at the far end of the trail on top of the cliffs….the rewards are the blue sky and river views from the cliffs. (Hike#47, 6.3 miles, 1300 feet)

View of the cliff tops from the Convict Road.

Convict Road below us now.

Big leaf maple


Acorns on the trail.

Poison oak

Lots of poison oak all the way up…

Lunch view toward Lyle from the cliff top.

One of the remaining cherry trees.

End of the trail – west toward Rowena.

End of the trail, east toward The Dalles.

Almost back to the trailhead.


I interrupted my other projects to knit a peach from the pattern Peached by Hunter Hammersen – who is donating the proceeds to RAICES and The Southern Poverty Law Center in aid of immigrants. I sent it to my daughter in her birthday package.

Meanwhile, I have made progress on a cardigan and a cowl.

Meris Cardigan

Spiral Cowl

Two wildlife refuges, Indian Heaven, and trying to keep up with fall colors, Sept-Oct 2019

It has been a busy couple of weeks – a quilt show, a fiber festival, hikes at two wildlife refuges and Indian Heaven Wilderness. Meanwhile, the Mac hard drive is off at the Genius repair shop. I am learning blog work-arounds via iPad.

Friday, September 27 – I attended the Northwest Quilt Expo, admired all the quilts and photographed many. This vintage Tile Friendship Quilt (circa 1900, maker unknown) from the Latimer Quilt Museum, was very interesting. Seemingly random shapes are appliquéd to a plain background, each signed by a different maker in true Friendship Quilt style. It looks very modern, but it is old and entirely hand stitched!

I bought a few fat eighths to add to a batik quilt in my mental UFO list.

Sunday, September 29 -I visited the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon, just long enough to buy a lighter weight spindle and more fiber to practice drop spinning.

Then we went to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, our first visit there, and walked around the perimeter. Not many birds have arrived yet, but there are great overlooks and a nice winter trail for future visits. (Hike#44, 3.6 miles)

Great Blue Heron

Hawthorne berries

Looking across the refuge – soon this will be flooded with water and birds.

Great Blue Heron on the return trail.

Saturday, October 5 – We went to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington during their season closing bird fest. We walked the Kiwa Trail and part of the newly opened Carty Lake trail, and also went inside the Chinook Plankhouse to look around. (Hike#45, 3.2 miles)


Sand Hill Cranes

Sand Hill Cranes in flight.

Great Horned Owl

Carty Lake

Chinook plank house

Inside the plankhouse.

Chinook Salmon trap

Sunday, October 6 – We joined friends for a hike in Indian Heaven Wilderness – from the East Crater trailhead to Junction and Lemei Lakes. Late fall colors, thawed mushrooms and blueberries, very pretty. (Hike#46, 8.8 miles, 1000 feet)

East Crater beyond one of many small lakes along the trail.

Junction Lake

Lemei Rock

Lemei Lake

Neighborhood walks – Meanwhile, in Northeast Portland, the days grow shorter, the light angles lower, the leaves more colorful.

Katsura trees


Neighborhood witches hunting…

More witches…

Ash trees reflected in nearby windows.

Rain chain shadows

Knitting – I am making progress on my Meris cardigan….

A September Wedding, and a visit to The Getty Museum in Los Angeles

September 20-22, 2019. We flew from Portland to Los Angeles for another very happy wedding. Once again we spent most of the weekend biding time with family. This was also a ‘return to the past’ weekend – I grew up in the northern San Fernando Valley. No family members live near there anymore, so I haven’t been to the area in a very long time. I was looking forward to seeing some of my past geography.

On Friday we flew out of the clouds in Portland. I was lucky to get a window seat, my favorite part of flying.

Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens and Mt Adams poking out of the clouds.

Mt Hood

Clouds dispersed at the California border. The landscape of central California, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and then the transverse ranges north of Los Angeles were on view.

Lake Tahoe

Central Valley farmland

San Fernando Valley

We flew over The Getty Museum in Sepulveda Pass. The Italian travertine building stone really stands out in the landscape.

 We circled near the Hollywood Hills before landing at LAX.

Wilshire Boulavard

The Hollywood Sign

Los Angeles River

After renting a car, we drove back to the Getty Museum. It was built after I moved away for college, so this was my first visit. The architecture is stunning, geometric, pleasing.

We wandered through a few of the many galleries, admiring paintings and photography. The most iconic is this iris painting by Vincent van Gogh.

The gardens were overflowing with seasonal flowers. Somewhere on these paths our wedding couple got engaged.

I was especially excited to see a blooming and fruit-laden pomegranate tree – another throwback to my youth.

After a lovely couple of hours at the museum, we returned via the tram to the parking garage, with panoramic views along the way.

Getty Tram view: The hills ahead were burned in a wildfire last year.

View south to the Los Angeles basin from the tram.

View north toward the San Fernando Valley.

I-405 Freeway wall mimicking the stratigraphy.

As we drove on the Ventura Freeway across the south side of the San Fernando Valley, enduring the infamous traffic, I revisited the street names that bound the geography of my childhood.

We were staying in Thousand Oaks, near the wedding venue. On Saturday morning we had time to drive over the Santa Monica Mountains to Zuma Beach in Malibu, to spend just a bit of time on the very beach I played on as a child.

Zuma Beach

Zuma Lagoon

View to the north

Sand castle and wave action

Then in the afternoon and evening, we celebrated with a very happy bride and groom and families.

Garden at Los Robles, before the wedding.

We flew home on Sunday, but alas, no window seat – not even an open window shade near me! Which makes me feel claustrophobic. I did get some knitting and reading done, but I can do that anywhere. Some of the most beautiful landscape in the world is out that airplane window!

In all it was a lovely weekend, a chance to visit with distant family members and see some of my historic geography. There is never enough time to do it all!