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!

Tech problems as the season turns

September 30, 2019

Our five year old Mac is complaining about the many thousands of photos my husband and I ask it to manipulate. Not being digital natives, and having shared this computer and its predecessors with our three now grown digital natives who downloaded all kinds of unknown items into our shared memory space, we have been told by the very helpful people at tech support that our hard drive hygiene is not good. That is just a long way of saying that I can’t post about some recent adventures until I can free the photos from their well backed up hard drive.

Meanwhile, the sun shifts ever slightly to the south….

Leaves turning orange

Late roses

Yarn bombing in the neighborhood

Future quilt patterns?

Morning light in my kitchen

Katsura turning orange

I got my ring back!

At least three years ago I had my wedding ring cut off because I could no longer remove it, due (I thought) to arthritis in the knuckle or weight gain. I didn’t know that the insidious excess growth hormone of acromegaly had caused my bones to grow. About a year later, the missing wedding ring was one of the keys to diagnosis. Now almost two years since the pituitary surgery and about a year since the medication regime has controlled the growth hormone to ‘normal levels’ for now, we took my ring to a jeweler who put it back together and polished it up, nice and shiny, in a size that fits! It is nice to have it back! Only about 3 months until our 35th anniversary.

Seasonal art…

And because I can’t resist, and it seems seasonal in more ways than one, a screen shot from the artist Shanalee Hampton’s instagram post: