33. Sun and Rain at Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge, WA, Thanksgiving weekend

Our Thanksgiving drama:  Emily home from Oberlin for the long weekend, Sean here, but covering college basketball games at the PK80 tournament at the Rose Garden, Brian also here and working, but not on Thanksgiving. Good friends to join us for dinner. I baked the pies in the morning, the casseroles in the early afternoon and started the oven to roast the 9 pound turkey at 3 pm.  I rinsed the brine and trussed the bird – and the oven was only at 170 degrees.  Ten minutes later, only 175 degrees.  Eventually realized the oven is never going to get to 500 – it gradually rose to 300 degrees, hot enough to reheat the casseroles, but something is wrong!  Our neighbors generously allowed us to use their oven when their turkey was done, so we were able to eat about 2 hours later than planned – another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat (thank you Arlo Guthrie), with plenty of leftovers for the next day. The silver lining was that Sean was home from work by the time dinner was ready.

Steigerwald Lake and Columbia River Dike      11/26/2017 (#56)

Post-Thanksgiving time/sun window Sunday morning after other family members delivered to airport/work. We drove about 25 minutes to the trailhead near Washougal, Washington.


Bright sun and clouds at the start of the trail.


Clouds closing in from the west. Tundra Swans in the lake beyond the closed art trail gate.


Noisy Canada geese in the distance as a bald eagle flies above them then alights in a tree above the first bridge. We also saw a smaller hawk rustling up the geese.


On to the second bridge as the sun dims and the clouds close in — a few wind gusts, a squall, large fat raindrops spatter us and cast rings in the lake.  Three ducks in a row swim away.  Other hikers heading back to the trail head.  By the time we get our hoods up, lenses wiped, the rain has lessened to sprinkle, drizzle, mist.  We are prepared for this.


We continue on to the dike and walk east above the Columbia River, Vista House on the horizon through a shroud of clouds closing in.  We walk all the way to the closed gate, though I believe the land beyond is soon to be added to the conserved space. Wind blowing east with the clouds, and the wave caps give the illusion of the river flowing upstream…



Vista House across the Columbia River

Returning the same way, and the rain returns.


Back to the trailhead, with a few more photo stops.  Light has changed again.  Time to get inside, get dry.



White tundra swans in the far lake


We walked about 4 miles round trip.

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The Steigerwald is a close-in go-to place for us – the light is always spectacular, there is often a resident bald eagle, we often see waterfowl – heron, duck, geese, swans, and on a clear day, the top of Mt Hood is on view.


March 2015


August 2015


March 2016


Vista House, March 2015


Vista House and Mt Hood, August 2015


Ice on the lake, December 2016  

Flying geese:


March 2016


March 2016


Our Thanksgiving tableau includes one of Emily’s glove turkeys and several knitted pumpkins.


Woven apple pie crust.


New yarn for a green scarf for Emily


There is a medical issue to be dealt with, so I am adding some words of wisdom for the days ahead:


32. Trillium Lake Snowshoe, Mt Hood

Trillium Lake Snowshoe  November 18, 2017    (#55)

We walked the loop around Trillium Lake from the Trillium Lake snowpark. It was a beautiful blue sky day with plenty of fresh snow.


View to Mt Hood from the snowpark


Access road from snowpark to the lake

We stopped near the dam for lunch.


The lake has a thin ice layer.


Ice layer


Snowy lake shore


Lunch view


Ski runs above Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood

Continuing around the lake:


Lake view from the southern trail


Mt Hood ahead

Summit meadows


5.5 miles/500′

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A summer view of Trillium Lake and Mt Hood:


June 2013

Looking back toward Trillium Lake and Mt Jefferson from the slopes of Mt Hood:


February 2015



Two more washcloths, 2 small skeins of handspun yarn.

31. Sauvie Island: Looking for Sand Hill Cranes

Wapato Greenway Trail     November 11, 2017     (#54)

I felt lucky to use a brief dry weather window for a trip to Sauvie Island despite the cold in my head and a rainy weekend. We had heard there are sandhill cranes and snow geese, though many of the trails are closed for hunters. We saw and heard a few cranes off of Reeder Road, but a gunshot chased them away before we could get a good look.


From near the bird blind on Reeder Road

We saw another crane in a wet field on Sauvie island Road. We decided to walk the Wapato Greenway loop trail down to Multnomah Channel.




Virginia Lakes


Dock, Multnomah Channel


The highlight was a white egret in Virginia Lakes.



The egret is the tiny white speck in the foliage at left of center


Closer view of white egret in red foliage

We also saw Canada geese, smaller birds, a few hawks, lots of interesting foliage, clouds and reflections.

This was a new walk for us, but I am sure we will be back. 2.5 miles

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Since I didn’t get a any pictures of the Sand Hill Cranes at Sauvie Island, I am posting this photo from last March near Burns, Oregon.


Sand Hill Crane near Burns, Oregon, March 2017

30. Coyote Wall, WA

Little Moab trail on a misty day.   Nov 6, 2017  (#53)


Monday was supposed to be clear in the eastern gorge after a rainy weekend, but the clouds did not move out until afternoon.  Fortunately, the misting rain at the Coyote Wall trailhead dried up about the time we got our boots on.  We walked the old road section, admiring the remains of fall colors, then wound our way up the cliffs of the Little Moab trail.


Dried flower seed heads in the grass,


lichen and moss on the rocks,


fog on the top of the wall,


all the views across the windless glassy Columbia River to the Mosier/Lyle/Rowena viewpoints.


‘Twas a good hike at Coyote Wall, with only a few other hikers and bikers sprinkled through our day.


4.6 miles/1300’

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We have hiked here many times – to see the first grass widows in February,


February 2015

the brilliant balsamroot in April,


April 2017


April 2017

the autumnal colors of fall, as we saw today, and snow in winter:


December 2015


December 2015

I am hoping someday the trail below the wall will reopen to hikers – it would be a lovely loop.

Knitting, spinning, quilting:

I have spun more singles and plied, skeined and washed my first practice yarn.


I cast on a Sonic Six hat with the tubular 1×1 rib cast on in Total Eclipse yarn and am enjoying knitting the slip stitch pattern.


I finished the fourth of the blue and purple washcloths.


I have sewn the first two rows of the Atmospheric River clamshell quilt – so far, so good.


29. Palmateer Point and Drop Spinning

Palmateer Point, Mt Hood       October 27, 2017      (#52)

When we were at Frog Lake Buttes in September, we saw the view of Mt Hood included a closer viewpoint at Palmateer Point.  We put that on our list for a future hike, and this late October fall day was perfect.  The hike starts at Barlow Pass, then proceeds south on the Pacific Crest Trail for 1.3 miles before heading east across Palmateer Creek to the rocky bald that is Palmateer Point.  There were landscape views that included the bright yellow triangular larches. Huckleberry and vine maple provide the reds and gold of autumn.   DSC09580DSC09583DSC09571DSC09626From the lunch spot at the top of Palmateer Point we identified the bright orange of Barlow Butte as another spot to put on our future hike list.


Approaching the top of Palmateer Point, with Mt Hood coming into view


Mt Hood and Barlow Butte


Mt Hood


Barlow Butte


Looking back toward Frog Lake Buttes

We circled around to the meadow called Devil’s Half Acre on our return trip.  The descent to the meadow on a steep hillside crossed by several small streams was really lovely and secluded. We will be back in spring to see the wildflowers in this meadow.



Devil’s Half Acre

Total mileage for the day – about 6.5 miles, 800 feet.

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Jonsrud Viewpoint, Sandy, Oregon

We stopped on the way home to take in the view back to Mt Hood:


Drop Spinning

I took a drop spindle class at my local yarn shop, Twisted. I have long been fascinated with how it works as it looks like magic.  I’m glad to have a chance to try it – it is not that hard, but must take lots of practice to make a smooth, even yarn.  I don’t think I will take it up as an obsessive hobby, but I can see the appeal.


My first spinning