Late summer Gentians at Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

8/23/2019  Chinidere Mountain hike

The trail leads down to Wahtum Lake,

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Chinidere Mountain, our destination, on the skyline.

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Endemic cutleaf bugbane blooming along the lake trail.

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After crossing the log bridge at the lake outlet, our trail leads steeply up hill, eventually reaching the top of Chinidere Mountain, with views of five Cascade volcanoes.

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Mt Hood to the south,

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and Mt Jefferson on the horizon just to the right.

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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams to the north.

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The burned drainage of Eagle Creek, with Mt St Helens on the far right.

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Wahtum Lake below us to the east.

I was pleased to find many patches of Explorer’s gentian blooming along the trail and at the top of the mountain.

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Explorer’s gentian

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Previous hikes here earlier in the season had a different suite of flowers. Today we saw the later season flowers and berries: 

Other new and notable flowers:

Berries of late summer:

We found plenty of ripe huckleberries to supplement our lunch. We saw a few north and south bound PCT through-hikers, but not many other people on the trail today. It was a fairly perfect late summer hike.

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Hike #41, 5 miles, 1200 feet

Spinning

I finished plying the last of my Tour de Fleece yarn. I am planning to try Easter Egg dye on this yarn – stay tuned for updates.

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Signs of Fall in the neighborhood

Finally some knitting! And two new hikes…

Flyway Twist Shawl

This shawl has been delivered to it’s recipient, so I am happy to share the pictures! The solid yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Reflecting Pool colorway. The real star of the show is the Fully Spun colorful gradient called ‘Voices in My Head’. It was fascinating to knit with the gradient, watching the colors emerge and play against the teal backdrop. The brioche section in the middle adds variety to both the look and the knitting experience. The pattern is by Veera Valimaki, and is easily obtained on Ravelry.

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Salmon River Trail 8/12/2019

We hiked with friends on a flat easy trail where we could enjoy a shady beautiful setting with lots of time to chat. This was my first time hiking this trail, near Welches on Mt Hood, and I can see why it is often recommended.

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Salmon River from the trail.

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Hike #39 – 4 miles/200 feet

Cheater hike on the Timberline Trail, Mt Hood Meadows 8/15/2019

I would like to walk all of the 40 mile Timberline Trail around Mt Hood. This is a section I hadn’t done yet.  We rode the Mt Hood Meadows chair lift up 700 feet of elevation (thus, cheating) then began walking north along the trail, as far as Clark Creek. Beautiful flowers, creek crossings and wildflower meadows along the way.

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Our cheating enabler – the Stadium Lift

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Looking back as we silently rise – Mt Jefferson and a hint of the Sisters.

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Aster and goldenrod meadows along the Timberline Trail.

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Several small, easily crossed creeks along the trail.

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We eventually reached views of ‘Pea Gravel Ridge’, a glacial moraine just beyond Clark Creek.

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Pea Gravel Ridge

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Downstream view of a branch of Clark Creek.

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Upstream view toward a waterfall on Clark Creek.

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Mt Hood, summer view

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Glaciers

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We then retraced our steps and walked south along the Timberline Trail until it began to descend through the woods to the White River crossing – we’ll save that for another day. We passed through beautiful meadows, under ever-present ski infrastructure and views of the mountain. We walked the mile and a half and 700 feet down to the trailhead instead of going back to the chairlift, so we only ‘cheated’ one way.

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Clark Creek

 

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Asters, paintbrush, goldenrod, false hellebore, with ski lift.

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Mt Jefferson, and a very hazy view of the Three Sisters from the trail.

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Tall cotton grass, aptly named, in this moist meadow.

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The Timberline Trail continues down through the forest to White River, but we turned back.

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GPS track (with some wandering points). Hike #40, 6 miles/1000 feet.

New or notable flowers:

A few days in Paradise…

Mt Rainier National Park, August 5 – 9, 2019

For my birthday my dear husband planned a visit to Paradise at the height of wildflower season. We stayed in the newly refurbished Paradise Inn, authentically both rustic and lavish, perched at 5420 feet above sea level, and 8990 feet below the top of Mt. Rainier. We hiked many trails in the area from Monday evening to Friday morning, alternately focusing on the incredible wildflower blooms at our feet, and the massive  glaciers looming above us on the slopes of this active volcano. We had sunny days – it was almost too warm on the shadeless trails above timberline. On Thursday the clouds rolled in below us, and we watched their flowing patterns throughout the day. I took more than 700 photos on three long and four shorter hikes. My knees and toes held out admirably. We mostly ate out of our ice chest and suitcase pantry, but had one lovely meal at the restaurant. There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonder – but John Muir’s words, carved into the stairs leading to the mountain from the Visitor’s Center, come close.

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Paradise Inn

We were lucky to have a room with a view of the Tatoosh Range, immediately to the south.

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Looking down from the trail at Paradise Inn and the Tatoosh Range.

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Sunset view from our window.

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Paradise Inn and Mt Rainier from Paradise Valley Road.

Hiking Highlights:

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Hikes #34 -38, 28.8 miles, 4520 feet

August 5th – Alta Vista – An evening walk with picnic dinner at this amazing viewpoint:

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Mt Rainier

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Across Paradise Park, preview of the Golden Gate Trail.

August 6 – Pebble Creek and Panorama Point via Golden Gate and Skyline Trails

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Edith Creek in Paradise Park

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Tatoosh Range from the Golden Gate trail.

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The lower humps in front of Mt Rainier are our destination.

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Snow and pasque flowers along the Skyline trail.

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Tiny people on the overlooks ahead.

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A peek over the ridge to the barren, recently glaciated valley to the east, where the Paradise Glaciers have receded.

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Lunch view, below us – Panorama Point, Paradise Park and Inn, Tatoosh Range.

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Nisqually River and highway bridge.

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Our high point – Pebble Creek. People planning to summit the mountain will camp at the Muir Snowfield on the high ridge above.

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Mt Rainier from Pebble Creek crossing.

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Looking down on the anastomosing trail system above Paradise Inn.

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We walked to Myrtle Falls in the evening.

August 7 – Lakes Loop – We hiked downhill from Paradise Inn, past Reflection Lakes, then back up to the Skyline Trail. The ranger assured us the wildflowers along the return hike were incredible, and that was an understatement!

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Another morning in Paradise!

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Our reflections in a stream crossing.

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Small waterfall along the way, in the shady forest.

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Reflection Lake, a little too much breeze for the reflection today.

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Hiking back up – lunch view of Reflection Lakes and Stevens Canyon from Faraway Rock.

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Small reflective lake along the trail.

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As we entered the meadows along the ridge, the wildflowers were stunning,

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and continued to be so for a couple of miles!

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I am out of words to describe amazing wildflowers at this point, but they do help to pull me along the trail when I get tired.

August 8 – Deadhorse, Glacier Moraine and Glacier Vista trails – This was a lower mileage, less elevation day. We found a bit of solitude on the Glacier Moraine trail, and more amazing flowers, including some marshy, wetland species we hadn’t seen yet.

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The clouds rolled in overnight, and stayed all day at about 5000 feet, so we hiked above the clouds most of the day.

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Mt Rainier had a few cloud caps coming and going.

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Lush stream meadows along the Deadhorse Trail.

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The Glacier Moraine trail leads to a viewpoint on the Nisqually Glacier Moraine.

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Neon moss, monkey flowers, saxifrage, etc. along the damp slopes.

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We are headed to the lip of the moraine.

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Panorama of my view – can’t begin to take it all in!

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I am sitting on the edge of the moraine, overlooking the Nisqually Glacier.

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Dan taking the above photo of me as the fog creeps up the Nisqually Valley beyond him.

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The fog stayed at about that level all day.

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Zoomed view of Stevens Peak in the Tatoosh Range, and the Goat Rocks beyond.

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After dinner we walked the Nisqually Vista trail.

August 9 – Christine Falls – On our way out of the park on Friday morning, we took the short hike to the bridge over Christine Falls.

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Christine Falls

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Longmire.

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Old gas pumps at the Longmire Visitor’s Center

Glacier Closeups:

Nisqually Glacier – a river of ice.

Waterfalls:

Top of the Mountain:

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Wildlife

We saw several marmots, deer, and various birds as well as the usual marauding chipmunks.

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Marmot eating marsh marigolds near the top of the Gold Gate trail.

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Marmot at a stream crossing on the Glacier Moraine trail, dwarfed by the Mountain above.

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Marmot, Mt Rainier

New or notable Wildflowers

So many flowers! I tried to note all that I could identify – at least 65 different types, but I am no expert in discerning the many varieties of some of these:

In all this was a fabulous trip! We had nearly clear views of Mt Rainier during our entire stay. We didn’t move our car all week. No internet or cell service away from the Visito’s Center. I am so appreciative of the National Park Service, and laws that preserve our national treasures such as Mt Rainier!

And a brief Look Back…

In 1995, when our boys were two and six years old, we spent a long September weekend with my Mom at Paradise. She loved the mountains, and this was her first chance to visit Mt Rainier. She was 71 years old, and not in hiking shape of late, so was proud of herself to make the three mile hike to Glacier Vista overlook, helping to guide our two young ones more than 1000 feet up the trail. This was a couple of years before macular degeneration, and then later, ALS. I thank her for taking us hiking and camping in our youth, even after our father died and she was on her own with nine children. I remember her naming the flowers – paintbrush and lupine and aster, in Tuolumne Meadows. She was a wonder woman, and I wish she was here to wish her a Happy 95th Birthday today! I hope there is chocolate cake on the other side!

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View from the Sternwheeler Columbia Gorge

8/4/2019  A two hour cruise

With the Friends of the Gorge, from Cascade Locks, east to Wind River, then west to Bonneville Dam.

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Our vessel

Hot day, river surface like glass – not enough wind for the kiters and surfers this morning, but enough of a breeze to enjoy the wide views from the top deck of the boat.

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Ready to embark – Cascade Locks and Bridge of the Gods in view.

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Table Mountain reflected in the glassy Columbia River.

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Eagle nest on a buoy.

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Eastern turnaround at Wind Mountain.

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Downriver toward Hamilton and Table Mountains.

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Bridge of the Gods, burned forest on the skyline.

Passing under the Bridge of the Gods – shadows and angles.

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Western turnaround above Bonneville Dam:

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Beacon Rock beyond the powerhouse.

Back under the Bridge of the Gods to port.

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A lovely morning on the river.

Knitting

Some very long rows ahead to finish this gift:

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