Hiking, January 2023

January 3rd – Eagle watch near Lyle, WA; Catherine Creek Arch Loop

We drove through the snow-frosted Columbia River Gorge, with a stop at Cascade Locks.


View down river from The Bridge of the Gods.

At the Balfour-Klickitat Natural Area near Lyle, WA, we spotted just a few bald eagles where we sometimes have seen many in early January.


One adult and two juvenile bald eagles


Bald eagle

We followed with a hike around the nearby Catherine Creek Arch, foliage mostly dormant.


View south toward Mosier, OR


Catherine Creek Arch


Eastward, up the Columbia River

January 17 – More eagles; Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA

After two weeks of inclement, unhikeable (for me) weather, we returned to the eastern Gorge. We began with another attempt to see the eagles at the Balfour-Klickitat Natural Area near Lyle. This time, we saw only one bald eagle near the lagoon, and also a great blue heron.


Lagoon near the Klickitat River; bald eagle and heron circled in blue


Bald eagle and heron again


Bald eagle


Great blue heron

Also seen near the mouth of this lagoon and the Klickitat River:


Salmon swimming in from the Klickitat River


Ducks and geese in the Klickitat River

From the southern bluff, we could see that most of the eagles were down on the delta/sand bar where the Klickitat River meets the Columbia River. I took a few fuzzy zoom photos – we counted about a dozen eagles fishing down there.


Bald eagles on the Klickitat River sand bar


Lyle Cherry Orchard Town Loop: Then we drove through Lyle and the railroad tunnels to the trailhead for Lyle Cherry Orchard. We climbed up the first tier, admiring the reflections in the river.


Eastward view from the Convict Road

As we hiked westward on the town loop, we spotted our eagles circling overhead – it was quite thrilling to watch them for a while as they made their way up the Klickitat River Canyon.


Bald eagles circling above Lyle, WA


We also got a glimpse of Mt Adams from the trail:


Mt Adams


And another look at the town of Lyle as we finished our loop. No eagles on the river bar, but one overhead.


January 26 – Tracy Hill, WA

Another gloomy day in Portland. Cold and dry in the Eastern Gorge. We started at Catherine Creek Trailhead, and opted for the eastern loop to the top of Tracy Hill.


Looking up the slope near the trailhead. Bitterroot and grass widow foliage emerging in the foreground.


Vernal pools along the way.


We stopped for lunch with a view up Major Creek.

Continuing upward after lunch, I noticed a ghost tree with an awestruck look on their face:


A face in the trees…


Ghost tree with an amazing view:


The view is of Mt Hood from this point on the trail.

Continuing on to the top of the hill:


To the top of Tracy Hill


A makeshift bench for a short rest


Just beyond the top, a peek at Mt Adams through the bare trees

And another view of Mt Hood on the return hike.


Underexposed, but I can see the glaciers shining in the low winter light on the slopes of Mt Hood.

January 31 – Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA

Our last hike of the month was another visit to Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge in Washington. There was more water in the reconstructed lakes than during our most recent visit in December, and we saw a variety of wildlife.


Tree reflections in the slightly frozen lake, as seen in from the dike.


Geese gathered near the lakeshore.


Deer near the long bridge


Water under the bridge this visit, swan (and Mt Hood) in the distance.


Tundra swan


Two bald eagles out in the lake.

A great blue heron on our path on the return hike.


Great blue heron on the trail


And I zoomed in to this view of Mt Hood from the dike on our return.


Notice Vista House in the right foreground.

January 2023

Quiet and cold in Portland this month. I went on four hikes (see next post), met a few times with my knitting group at the local coffee spot, and walked in the neighborhood when it was dry.


Alameda stairs


Moon, January 1, 2023


I thought I was done with knitting gnomes for a while, but then a request came in for a long time friend, so I made one more. I knit myself a new travel mug cosy, and finished my holiday socks. And made progress on my slip stitch blanket.


I am actually quilting again! I joined the Modern Quilt Studio – Mystery Quilt, as I have learned so much from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr over the years. I’ve finished the first four clues. I have no idea what the final quilt will look like, but I had fun picking two contrasting palettes of fabric from my existing stash. There will be two more sets of instructions before the big reveal.


Blocks for the first four clues.

Family archeology:

While relearning crochet, I was looking through a collection of my mother’s knitting and sewing books for useful material. These are very outdated craft books that I keep for sentimental reasons. As I was leafing through one of them, a piece of thin note paper covered in my mother’s beautiful cursive handwriting fell out. It is just a notation of a crochet pattern, but my heart filled, and I felt her here with me, advising me in her future, playing the role of a ‘time being’. (Credit to Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being, which I read recently, and which gave me a whole new definition of the expression ‘time being’.)


Sad news: In January, more racist violence shocked us all…as a mother, daughter, sister, friend, member of the human race, my heart is pierced each time.


With reference to Tyre Nichols, Memphis, TN (photo from the internet)

Meanwhile, an anonymous someone in my neighborhood is trying to spread good wishes…

Looking back on 2022…

Hiking, reading and crafting, goals and accomplishments, life in pandemia….

We begin 2023, adapted to the new ‘ordinary’ life. We are injected with as many booster shots as we can get, and masking whenever in crowds of people. We will probably go on this way for a while. With the best of intentions we move on in our world, acknowledging privileged survival and a relatively easy life here, now.

TRAVEL: We returned to international travel in 2022, hiking in Scotland and Iceland during long summer days. We also traveled to Joshua Tree and southern Utah for hiking, and went twice to Washington DC, to see our daughter, and other east coast relations.

HIKING: My 76 hiking and walking adventures added up to 332 miles, and 52,272 feet in elevation, many of these while on our travels. New notable local hikes: finishing the last few miles of Portland’s 39 mile long Wildwood Trail, a pandemic project; the return to fire-scarred Bird Creek meadows on Mt Adams; and our first time to walk around Bayocean Spit on the Oregon coast.


View from Pittock Mansion over Portland after finishing the Wildwood Trail.


Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams


Sand pipers and plovers on Bayocean Spit

Our many repeat hikes were satisfying for monitoring seasonal changes, exemplified by these views of Mt Hood:


March, White River


August, East Eliot Moraine


October, Vista Ridge

READING: I finished 88 books last year. I learned the most from nonfiction and memoirs (red stars), written by diverse authors, mostly women: a thru hiker, a mountain climber, a senator, musicians, writers, and even an astrophysicist. My favorite fiction books were: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, and Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather. I also enjoyed rereads of classics and old favorites.

QUILTING: I made one baby quilt.


Baby quilt for a new great niece, March

KNITTING: I knit my way through 9933 yards of yarn, the largest quantity into 15 hats for our guild service project. I also knit at least one gnome every month, for the Year of Gnomes. I made hats and socks for family, and a couple of scarves and gift critters.

Image 1-22-23 at 3.26 PM

Ravelry 2022 project thumbnail pictures

Image 1-11-23 at 8.56 PM

Ravelry 2022 knitting stats


12 gnomes, for the Year of Gnomes

FAMILY: Both of our sons, who had been temporarily living at home, moved out: one nearby, the other to Philadelphia. So we are fully empty nest for now. We were able to visit our daughter in DC twice last year, and she came home twice. She is in a gap year, and may be relocating to a new city for grad school next year. We were able to see some extended family members for the first time since the pandemic, but they live far enough away that regular visits are not easy.


A favorite garden in Eugene, OR, August

More of my favorite photos from 2022:

Portland cherry trees:

Scotland, June:


New Zealand Tree Fern in the Glasgow Botanical Gardens


Climbing Stob Dubh


Solstice near Glencoe


On the slopes of Stac Pollaidh

Iceland, July:

Street Art in Reykjavik:

Waterfalls and puffins:








Latrajbarg cliffs

Plans for 2023: I am relearning crochet so that I can make a blanket for the Guild service project, and a coral for the Coral Reef project. I am midway through knitting a slip stitch blanket. I have started the Modern Quilt Studio Mystery Quilt, and am having fun using my stash again. I hope to see more of family, but that is not always up to me. I plan to continue monthly blog updates, with expected travel interruptions. I am working on about a dozen posts from our 2020 New Zealand trip, and from 2022 Scotland and Iceland trips, and quilt documentation posts. I have to resize pictures in older posts to fit storage limits, adding a layer of time consuming work.

We will continue weekly local hikes, and expect to hike almost daily on our upcoming trips to New Zealand and Italy.

My general wish for the New Year is for good health, and for living in a way that honors diversity and contributes to ecological repair, with kindness, honesty, and generosity.