10. Saddle Mountain with a bit of quilting and knitting

Saddle Mountain     6/23/2017   (#34)

Saddle Mountain is in the coast range, so has slightly different suite of flowers than what we see in the Gorge or Cascades. We have hiked Saddle Mountain in different seasons, and today we expected a mid-wildflower season bloom.  I found 66 different flowers that I could name, a new maximum for this year.  The trail switchbacks through both forest and open meadow slopes and cliffs, 5 miles round trip and 1600 feet elevation.


Top of Saddle Mountain as seen from the trailhead.


Dan in the cliff meadows on the way up.


Distinctive knob along the trail with views toward the ocean.


Looking north toward Mt. Rainier from near the top.


Our friend having lunch on the lower summit ridge, with Mt. St Helens and Mt. Adams beyond.


View from the top to Astoria and the ocean


View to the north from the summit with three volcanos

Some of the wildflowers that stood out to me:

Quilting progress:


Sneak peak at my Jane Austen tribute quilt using Smithsonian reproduction fabrics, many years in the making, and now basted and ready for quilting.

Knitting progress:

Crazy eights dishcloth (pattern by Julie Tarsh, Ravelry), made from kitchen cotton.  The second photo is a compressed version of the picture in my quest for better blog photos.


9. Grassy Knoll and #Hearts4PDX

Grassy Knoll   6/17/2017   (#33)

Bear siting on the approach road

This lovely trail is not heavily used, possibly because the trailhead is a very slow 10 miles on a potholed road (6808) that is on a ledge above a steep drop down to Bear Creek.   We saw a bear on the road within the first mile after the end of pavement.  We drove around a bend, and there ahead was a large shaggy deep brown bear who looked back at us then hustled down the road around the next bend, away from us.  By the time we made our way to that spot in the road we could not see any sign of the bear.  There were steep, heavily forested cliffs above and below the road, but I have seen a bear run up a similarly steep mountainside in Yellowstone, so I have no doubt the bear could have gone either way.  This was the first time I have seen a bear in the Pacific Northwest.  I have seen them previously in Yosemite and Yellowstone.

Wildflower Hike

The trail begins by traversing a grassy slope that is full of wildflowers – buckwheat, lupine, paintbrush, penstemon, groundsel, bluehead gillia, and lots of mariposa lilies.

The next mile or so is very steep uphill through the shady woods. Dan compared the trail to the steep part of Dog Mountain. Forest flowers abound, especially windflower and Solomon seals.

The trail breaks out onto an east facing rocky view point with abundant bright pink cliff penstemon and views across Big Lava Flow to Mt. Adams and Little Huckleberry Mountain.


Back into the forest and along the ridge top, there are views to Mt. Hood to the south, and more varied wildflowers in the dappled light.

The trail passes a mossy outcrop with lots of white onion flower, penstemon and phlox.  Last year this area was covered with Mariposa lilies and other kinds of onions.

Eventually, there is a view ahead to Grassy Knoll.

The trail switchbacks through a glorious meadow with abundant flowers, and increasing views of Mt. Hood to the south, and Mt. Adams to the east. At the top are the remains of a fire lookout.


Mt. Hood, Dog and Wind Mts. in the foreground


Mt. Hood and the lookout footings


Mt. Hood behind Mt. Defiance


To the west – Three Corner Rock is the point on the left, and Silverstar Mountain the double peak on the right of the skyline


Mt. Adams and Little Huckleberry Mountain

We continued up the trail for about a mile, through more forest and two more wildflower meadows.  We saw more flowers we hadn’t seen yet.

The uppermost meadow was covered in yellow glacier lilies and small pink western spring beauty.  Looking back from the high meadow we had another view of Mt. Hood before heading down the trail for the day.

We first hiked this trail last year about the same time in June, but on a rainy and overcast day, so we were glad to see the views this time.  Another difference is that last year was a low snow year so wildflowers were all much earlier, and the suite that we saw included later season bloomers, such as Clarkia and a lot more blooms from the onion family. Other than the Clarkia, we saw almost all the same flowers, plus a few early season extras in the upper meadows above Grassy Knoll, which we did not hike to last year.  Our total for this hike was 63 different wildflowers that I could identify, the highest total for this year.  We hope to go to both Saddle and Silverstar Mountains next week, where we may see even more different flowers.  This hike was about 6 miles and  1500 feet elevation.


Mt Hood from Grassy Knoll


Flower list

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GPS track

Yarn Projects Finished

I retaught myself how to crochet, and made 6 #Hearts4PDX for the yarnbombing event planned for June 26th, in honor of the Hollywood Transit Center attack victims. I appreciated the opportunity to do something positive in response to this event.



I finished knitting a pair of socks from the pattern Ludwig by Stephanie van der Linden.  These have been my “on the go” knitting for a few months.

8. Three Corner Rock and Elgol Update

Three Corner Rock   6/11/2017   (#32)



Three Corner Rock is one of the high points and former fire lookout locations in southern Washington along the Columbia River corridor.  It is a relatively easy and well graded hike of about 4.5 miles round trip and 800 feet elevation to a high point of 3550 feet.  We started from the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail and GG 2090 road, which is about a 10 mile drive along a well graded gravel road north from Skamania, Washington.

The trail leads through shady forest and early season flowers – Alaskan Bunchberry, the distinctive four-petaled white flowers of the Dogwood family, were especially abundant along the entire trail.  Also common were vanilla leaf, anemones, and fading trilliums.

After a few switchbacks we entered into avalanche lily territory, many dripping with water that made them looked like they were melting.


There is one rocky lookout to the east along the trail. Full landscape views don’t really appear until saddle/summit meadow.  Three Corner Rock is to the north of the saddle, and a cell tower is to the south.  We were pleased to see our first blooming bear grass of the year in the summit meadow, as well as plenty of the dogwood, paintbrush, lupine and a few Queen’s Cup lilies.


View to west – Silverstar Mountain is the double peak on the skyline.


Dan, Three Corner Rock, blooming meadows


View to the east – Mt. Adams shoulders


Lupine, paintbrush and dogwood

We ate lunch near the top of Three Corner Rock – the path to the old lookout platform on the very top is a rock scramble that we did not feel the need to make.  To the east we could see the base of Mt Adams and part of the ridge line of the Goat Rocks/Dark Divide area.  We could see a bit of the Columbia River to the southeast, and SilverStar Mountain and the logged patchwork of the southern Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the west.  We will have to return on a cloudless day day to see the full cascade views.

On our drive back we stopped to see Steep Creek Falls.


Steep Creek Falls

Elgol Cross Stitch Update

In September of 2016 we spent 5 days on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Dan had a photo workshop one day which included spending the evening on the beach at Elgol, looking across the sea to the Black Cuillin Mountains.  This was a remarkably beautiful location, with interesting rock formations and amazing light as the sun set behind the mountains.

I purchased an Elgol cross stitch kit designed by Isle of Skye Crafts from the shop in Portree.  It is a bit daunting in size and pattern – I think there are more than 20 different pink/purple thread colors.  I leave it out on a table where I can add a few stitches whenever I have a few minutes.  I have enjoyed watching the landscape appear from the cloth. I have been taking a picture about once a month.


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7. Hamilton Mountain and Hollywood Transit Center Memorial

Annual Wildflower hike up Hamilton Mountain   June 2, 2017   (#31)

We started our annual hike up Hamilton Mountain, looking forward to the wildflowers,  waterfalls and views.  There were clouds in the gorge, but the weather report predicted a sunny afternoon.


Hamilton Mountain from the power line cut on the lower trail. The lower cliff lookout is on the far left cliff.

After about a mile, Pool of the Winds and Rodney Falls are near the bridge that crosses Hardy Creek.


Pool of the Winds


Rodney Falls

This was our first time trying the side trail to what surely must be called Little Hamilton Mountain – a grassy open summit above the lower cliffs.  This lower summit has better views of the Columbia River than the actual top, which is covered by trees and bushes.  Also, it is a lovely meadow full of phlox, death camas, paintbrush and other flowers, and would by itself be a perfectly satisfactory destination if you didn’t mind the upper cliffs of the mountain looming over you, calling you up.


Dan in the cliff top meadow


View east to Bonneville Dam


View west to Beacon Rock and Larch Mountain


Upper cliffs looming

The upper cliff switchbacks once again had plenty of Columbia lewisia, one of my favorite flowers, and cousin to the bitterroot.


Columbia lewisia (pink) and Oregon sunshine (yellow) on the upper cliffs

We stopped briefly on the summit to see Table Mountain, Mt Adams in clouds and Mt Hood, but the black flies were biting.


Table Mountain, Mt. Adams


Mt. Hood

Lewisia also grows on the saddle beyond the summit, where we spent a bit of time after lunch.  We continued on through the beautiful and quiet forest on Don’s Cutoff Trail, where bright white Columbia wind flowers popped out of the shadows.


Columbia lewisia along the saddle; Mt. Hood in the distance


Hamilton Mountain and Dan

We had lovely views and lots of flowers – the most ever for a hike this year. The hike is about 8.5 miles and 2000 feet elevation.


Hollywood Transit Center Memorial    Sunday, June 4th

We payed a visit to the Hollywood transit center in our neighborhood of NE Portland to pay our respects to Rick Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche who died, Micah Fletcher, who was wounded but is recovering, and the two young women who were harassed.  I brought five roses cut from our garden.  We spent some time reading the chalked words of tolerance, persistence, resistance, and love. Dan took this photo, which shows in pink chalk the last words of  Taliesin.


Hollywood Transit Center memorial, photo by Dan.



6. Yachats Weekend

Mary’s Peak and Yachats 804 Trail  Friday, May 26   (#28)

We started our weekend by driving to Mary’s Peak in the central Coast Range just west of Corvallis.  The meadows near the trail head were full of yellow Pioneer violets.  There were glacier lilies and radio towers at the top, along with a view of the Oregon Cascades from north to south: Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters, Mt. Bachelor, and Mt. Thielson.


Dan at the top of Mary’s Peak, with the Cascade Mountains from Mt. Hood to Mt. Bachelor on the skyline.


Flower list


After our short hike we continued on Highway 34 west through the Alsea River valley, twisting and winding through riparian landscape to the sea at Waldport, then south along Highway 101 to Yachats.  The Overleaf Hotel overlooks a black lava armored swash zone that was spouting waves at high tide.  We were also looking out on the 804 trail that outlines the edge of land there.  We walked along the trail after dinner, admiring the early summer wild flowers and exploring some of the coves and natural jetties as the tide ebbed.  We watched a red shrouded sun sink into the sea.


Spouting waves near our hotel


Another beach view



Meanwhile, back in Portland, the terrorism had come to our neighborhood. Three honorable men defended two girls from an intolerant ranter on the Max train and were stabbed in the neck at close range, killing two of the men. We followed this horrific story from afar all weekend.

Cape Perpetua             Saturday, May 27         (#29)

We started at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, and hiked down to the tide pools at low tide, and then to the Cook’s Chasm area, but decided to return at high tide to see the wave action.

We then hiked up the St. Perpetua trail to the CCC stone shelter on the cliff. The trail passes through forest and hanging wildflower meadows.  The views were somewhat obscured by fog.

In the afternoon we returned to Cook’s Chasm at high tide, and saw the Spouting Horn, and Thor’s Well, and a lot more people.

Back in our room, we saw large sea creatures in the waves, and took photos with our zoom lenses.  At first we assumed it was a whale, or four.  But when I googled whales I could not find the fringed fins I was seeing.  After a little more searching, I realized we were seeing sea lions, whose tail fins look like fingers.  But we did see four of them from our window surfing the waves.


Sea lion or two

Later, we went for a delicious dinner at the Drift Inn in Yachats, and then a walked south from our room on the 804 trail.



Sea thrift on the rocks

Heceta Head and Lighthouse, Hobbit Beach                 Sunday, May 28 (#30)

Washburne Beach was foggy as we started our hike.  We walked about a mile along the beach at low tide, few others about, and passed a bald eagle sitting in a snag above the beach.

The southern part of the beach is called Hobbit Beach, presumably because the sandstone bluffs are eroded into hobbit holes by water seeps dripping down.

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The fog was lifting as we headed up from the beach through the rhododendron and Sitka spruce forest on Heceta Head.


Into the misty forest




Rhododendron forest


View back to Hobbit Beach

By the time we switchbacked down to the Heceta Head Lighthouse on the south side, we could see the lovely blue water and birds on the rocks.  We ate our lunch near the light house and took a brief tour through the lower part of the old building.

Then we retraced our trail back to Hobbit Beach, which by now had plenty of people and a higher tide.

On our way back to Yachats, we drove up to the CCC shelter that we hiked to yesterday.  Today, the skies were clearer and we could see the views we missed.  We also stopped for a look at the Devil’s Churn area, another place where the waves create large splashes as they are constricted in rock crevices.  In the evening, we sat in the spa pools at our hotel that overlook the beach.


Less foggy view from the Cape Perpetua shelter


Zoomed in, now I can see the Spouting Horn and Thor’s Well


Devil’s Churn


Yachats 804 Trail and home,      Monday, May 29

We took another low tide walk through the rocky headlands near our hotel.  There were sea stars clinging to the rocks at the lowest levels, giving us hope that the species will recover from the disintegration disease that wiped many of them out during the past few years.  Dan also saw a breaching whale while I poked around in the tide pools. Soon enough it was time to pack up and head home after a lovely weekend by the sea.


Spouting slot at high tide


Slot at low tide

A few more low tide beach views:

Flowers near the beach: