24. Frog Lake Buttes, Mt Hood

Frog Lake Butte, Mt Hood, Oregon      9/24/2017     (#47) 

A beautiful sunny day with only a few people fishing at Frog Lake when we began our hike.


Views of Mt. Jefferson and red huckleberry bushes on the way up.


A bit of snow from last week at our view point of Mt Hood atop the butte.


A few asters and a million frogs in the meadow and around the lake shore on our return.  The frogs must have been sleeping this morning, but they were hopping all around my feet in a few areas.


2 cm frog on the rock




Looking back on the Frog Lake Buttes from the west side of the lake.


About 6 miles, 1500 feet.

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 10.20.56 PM




23. Visiting the Midwest

As I write this I get an Eagle Creek Fire update:  Rain has finally slowed the fire, and operations are turning to cleanup and recovery.

We flew to Ohio, passing over the south side of Mt Hood – smoke not impeding our view today to Mt Adams and Rainier beyond.


Mt Hood, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams


Oberlin College

We visited our daughter at Oberlin College in Ohio. I had previously only had a brief peak at the campus the day we moved her into her dorm two years ago.  She and her roommate are now in a two bedroom apartment and enjoying the non-dorm lifestyle. We walked all around campus, seeing the various buildings and rooms where she spends her time. She introduced us to friends that seemed to appear around every corner.  I enjoyed the quiet, but intensely busy vibe on this early-term late summer weekend.  We got coffee from The Local, ate delicious dinners at The Feve and Indian Garden, and joined her for a student prepared lunch at her dining coop.

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio   Sept. 17, 2017  (#46)

She also wanted to go for a hike.  We chose a 4 mile hike about an hour from campus, the Stanford/Brandywine Falls trail. It was a beautiful sunny day though the humidity was much greater than we are used to in the Pacific Northwest. There was enough shade in the woodlands to stay comfortable, a few summer flowers struggled along, and fall colors were beginning to pop.



We then flew to Chicago to visit to our son. Beautiful weather continued on Monday as we enjoyed the Architectural Boat Tour.

Windows and reflections:

After lunch we rented Divvy bikes and rode four miles along Lakeshore Drive trail from Millenium Park back to Lakeview where we were joined by long time friends for dinner.


The Bean, i.e. Cloud Gate, in Millenium Park

The next day we visited the Chicago Art Institute.


We spent most of our time in the Impressionism and Modern American galleries. My favorite piece was by Georgia O’Keefe, a 24 foot long painting that filled a stairwell:


This also caught my eye:


We walked around some of the parks near the Art Institute.

After dinner we went to see Hamilton!

This was my first visit to Chicago, and only lasted two days, but I enjoyed my time, and can see why my son likes living there.

Knitting update:


11 dishcloths

22. Mt St Helens Boundary Trail

Eagle Creek fire update as of  9/11/17:  34000 acres, 7% contained.


USFS Incident Map

Boundary Trail toward Harry’s Ridge     9/10/2017    (#45)

The skies are alternating blue and cloudy today. Unsure of any firesafe place east of us, we opted to drive north to Johnston Ridge, Mt St Helens National Monument.  Clouds that were floating at mountain level when we arrived late morning evaporated during the day.



Mt St Helens

We hiked the Boundary Trail toward Harry’s Ridge.


Coldwater Peak, north of the Boundary Trail

The trail that used to go along a steep, cliffy slope to the grand viewpoint at Devil’s Elbow is now closed.  The new alternate route cuts over the ridge, and has a view to Spirit Lake from the pass at the top of the cutoff. We stopped there for lunch.


Lunch stop at the top of the new cut off trail, with view to Spirit Lake

I decided it was too hot to continue, so hiked slowly back to the observatory.  Dan went on to Harry’s Ridge then met me back at the observatory later.  I had the chance to watch the excellent 16 minute film that simulates the eruption and illustrates the forces of nature during the 1980 eruption.


View while hiking back toward Johnston Observatory


Looking east from the observatory toward Mt Adams


Mt Adams

There are straggling summer flowers in bloom – lupine of both large and dwarf varieties, penstemon, paintbrush, yarrow, an abundant yellow composite, and equally abundant white pearly everlasting gilding the slopes, and standing out strongly in contrast to the early reds of fall.

We stopped at Coldwater Lake to walk the boardwalk trail that illustrates the Birth of the Lake. It was peaceful and beautiful there, with excellent views of Minnie Peak and Mt St. Helens. It is pleasant to walk through shady foliage after spending time in the blast zone. My total mileage for the day was about 5 miles/800 feet.


Boundary Trail to Harry’s Ridge – we have hiked this trail in several seasons, with different views of the mountain:


June 2016


September 2017


Inner crater dome close up    June 2016


September 2017

Coldwater Lake:

In March of 2015, a low snow year, we walked the 12 mile loop around Coldwater Lake.  The foliage was mostly dormant and brown.  We had views of the mountain, walked by the abandoned logging machinery destroyed by the blast, got some closer views of Minnie Peak.


March 2015   Minnie Peak and old logging machinery on Coldwater Ridge


March 2015    Minnie Peak



March 2015


September 2017 Mt St Helens and Coldwater Lake

In Spring of 2017 we were in the area hiking the Hummocks trail, and we visited the Science and Learning Center, which gave us a snowy view of the boardwalk that we walked on today.


February 2017   Looking down on Coldwater Lake


21. It’s cool at the beach! plus a pod of pelicans!

My post 20 about the Columbia Gorge fire, (still out of control as I write this) delayed finishing this post.

Neahkahnie Mountain      9/1/2017      (#44)

The heat and wildfire smoke have settled into the Portland area for the long weekend and beyond.  We drove out to the coast this morning, for a repeat of the day trip I took with my sister and son in August.  No fog bank this time – the sky was clear blue and it was actually a little hotter than I would have liked for the hike.

Neakanie Mtn juts 1680 feet up from the ocean.  The  south trailhead is at about 700 feet, so we only had to climb about a thousand feet over one and a half miles to reach the top. The first mile is steep switchbacks through coastal forest with a few straggling flowers, and shady much of the way.  The last half mile is just below the ridgeline, over rocky outcrops, with a final slight scramble to the summit – a rocky spine with not much space for the two or three families who were there with us.  We perched where we could long enough to eat sandwiches, while admiring the incredible view over Nehalem Bay, and watching the wave trains swash along the beach below.


Nehalem Bay/Manzanita from Neahkahnie Mtn


A fellow hiker took this photo of us while we were eating, and kindly emailed it to us.  It is one of my favorite photos of us on a hike.  Meanwhile, it was actually rather roasting up there, so we started down and fairly quickly returned to the trailhead.


With most of the day still ahead of us before the low tide at about 5 pm, we next went to the famous Neahkanie Point overlook on the highway, and paused to say Thank You! to Oswald West, Oregon governor about 100 years ago who was foresighted enough to reserve much of the Oregon coast as public land.


South view, Neahkahnie Viewpoint

Next we walked about a half mile down to a viewpoint over Devil’s Cauldron, a coastal cliff chasm that creates a lot of splash.  There was a lovely bench in the shade which we had  to ourselves for a while. We sat and admired the view, which includes Cape Falcon in the distance – the very Cape that Helen, Brian and I hiked out to about a month ago – interesting to see from this angle.

Next stop – Hug Point.  We have spent a lot of time on this stretch of beach, from Arch Cape to Cannon Beach, during the last 28 years. We rented a house for a week here with our kids nearly every summer, and if they remember any one place as a favorite family vacation spot, this is it. First we walked south toward Arch Cape, passing The Cave and Big Barnacle Rock.  I am impressed with how deep the sand is!  Ten or more years ago heavy winter storms washed away so much sand and deflated the beach such that the sections of cobbled beach were persistent all summer. It is more fun to walk on the sandy beach!  Tide was going out, but not very low today – we could not walk around the west side of Big Barnacle Rock, but it was nice to say Hi and have a good peek into The Cave.


The Cave


Big Barnacle Rock


Neahkahnie Mountain, which we climbed this morning

We walked back north to Hug Point, now the cool wind in our face!  All the way onto Hug Point, (once the actual road, cut by people out of the sandstone headland), and around to the other side, looking north to Arcadia and Cannon Beaches.  On the walk back we got a close look at the waterfall, then drove north along the coast to Arcadia Beach.

Dan wanted to see if there were any sea stars at Big Starfish Rock (Silver Point) at low tide.  We walked north from Arcadia Beach as the tide ebbed, splashing in the tidal pools that sparkle in the sun. The water was so blue today, and the air so fresh!  We spotted a sea star in the sand, but none at the rock. We arrived just as the tide was beginning to rise, so couldn’t get close to the small arch which we were hoping was covered in sea stars.  Again, not a low tide day, so we couldn’t really tell if they were there.

I had seen a couple of lines of pelicans from a distance flying along the swell line.  We were treated to watching a pod of about a dozen of the elegant birds land on a tidal sand bar just as the rising tide isolated the bar from the beach.  They were standing on the sand bar, facing north, and seemingly grooming.  We watched for a long time, taking pictures, though the sun angle was not great for our purposes.  Another couple of pods also flew near so that I could see over thirty pelicans at once.  Pretty cool! We have named the sea stack behind them Big Pelican Rock, to honor a family tradition of naming important viewpoints.






We walked back to Arcadia beach, noticing the promontory we now call the Sphinx of Arcadia, because that is what it looks like.



the Sphinx of Arcadia

We finished the day with a delicious dinner at the Pelican Brewery in Cannon Beach, followed by an uneventful ride home, over the coast range, into the hazy Willamette Valley.


I could go crazy here!  We have so many pictures of this locale. I will just show these two comparisons, which I find interesting because they show how much sand has returned to the beach between photos. The first is The Cave, 2008 and 2017.  The second is an alcove near Hug Point 2011 and 2017.

20. The Columbia River Gorge is on fire!!!

September 5, 2017

In northeast Portland the sun is cloaked in an orange shroud, the air tastes bitter, smells like smoke, and is dripping ash, ash from the burning trees in our beloved Columbia River Gorge!  The heat has pushed the human caused (allegedly a teenager with firecracker) conflagration west along the famous waterfall corridor.  Residents have evacuated and their homes are intact so far. Firefighters are working hard, may they stay safe!  But the weather is so hot and dry and the winds relentless – we all fear for the next stage of this tragedy.  It is a waiting game now as I reflect on all the lovely hikes we have taken in the area – waiting to know which of these amazing places are intact, and which will begin a new phase of regrowth and regeneration.  I am no stranger to hiking in burn zones, but this particular area was so lush and green.  It is very sad.

From east to west, some of our favorite places that are threatened or burned:

Herman Creek

 Dry Creek Falls


Dry Creek Falls April 2017

Eagle Creek

Note that steep trail area is likely where the fireworks were used.

Wahclella Falls


Wahclella Falls April 2016

McCord Creek / Elowah Falls

Oneonta / Horsetail area

Wahkeena / Multnomah Falls Loop

Multnomah Falls


June 2014

MultnomahFalls (2)

December 2015

MultnomahFalls (3)

November 2014

Angel’s Rest

Latourell Falls

Views from Washington toward Oregon where the fire is burning


Hamilton Mountain, looking toward Bonneville Dam May 2016


Cape Horn looking upriver April 2016