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.

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

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Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams

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Sand pipers and plovers on Bayocean Spit

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

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March, White River

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August, East Eliot Moraine

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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.

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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.

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Ravelry 2022 project thumbnail pictures

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Ravelry 2022 knitting stats

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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.

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A favorite garden in Eugene, OR, August

More of my favorite photos from 2022:

Portland cherry trees:

Scotland, June:

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New Zealand Tree Fern in the Glasgow Botanical Gardens

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Climbing Stob Dubh

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Solstice near Glencoe

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On the slopes of Stac Pollaidh

Iceland, July:

Street Art in Reykjavik:

Waterfalls and puffins:

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Gullfoss

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Dynjandi

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Kirkjufellsfoss

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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.

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December 2022 Recap

What do I want to remember about December? A freak snowstorm the first week. A lot of grey, rainy cold days which I spent counting down to the winter Solstice. I only went on two hikes this month:

12/6/2022 – Catherine Creek, WA –

We drove through the snowy Columbia River Gorge, and found the early snow at Catherine Creek.

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Ice on Rowland Lake

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Snow covered slopes on the Lower Trail

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We saw a fox run up the slope.

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Looking across the Columbia River to Oregon.

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Catherine Creek Waterfall

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Then we walked up to the snow-covered fairy pools,

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and looked across to the Arch.

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While eating lunch and warming up in the car, the sun came out, so we decided to walk the trail above the Arch.

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Bridge over the creek

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I saw a few predator birds in the tree tops – a hawk

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American kestrel

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Looking up toward Sunflower Hill

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We turned around at the top of the Arch, not having adequate footwear for deeper snow and ice.

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Eastward view

12/13/2022 –  Portland Arboretum –

Another day, we found a slightly dry weather window, and took a 2.5 mile walk through part of the Portland Arboretum.

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We found the most color in the Holly Garden.

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Bare deciduous trees and grey skies.

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Mahonia in the Winter Garden

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Cedar

Meanwhile…

I took plenty of walks through the neighborhood looking for cheerful holiday decor.

I remember willing the Solstice and longer days to arrive. For a few days each year, the sun is so low, it shines through our front door windows onto the stairwell wall.

Later in the month, the east winds swept through and pounded our neighborhood, blowing down several very tall fir trees, including one across the street that we had been worried about for years. It fell on the neighbor’s house. Fortunately no one was in the room that was crushed at that moment. Then we watched the street drama of tree removal for several days, front row seat from our living room.

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December 22nd, tree down

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December 23rd – a thin layer of icy snow over everything…

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December 26th – first they removed the other standing tree,

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Then used a very tall crane to remove the fallen tree.

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Rainproofing the roof; reconstruction and repair will take a while….

Elsewhere in the neighborhood:

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Over in the park, Henry Huggins lost his shade tree,

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and the tall fir to the left of this nutcracker…

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blocked this street for a few weeks until it could be removed.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt an any of these local incidents.

What else…one son moved to Philadelphia at the beginning of the month and was not here for the holidays. We began to settle into our next phase of empty nesting, with no sign of any of the kids living here in the near future. We were glad to have our daughter home for the holidays. Luckily, she moved her flight up one day, and missed the travel craziness that happened this year. We were amazed that our other son arrived home from a business trip on a delayed flight from Denver, at 3 am on Christmas morning…for some reason not cancelled. We enjoyed setting up our tree, admiring the ornaments and the memories they bring; lighting Hanukkah candles, baking cookies, having a lovely Christmas dinner with some of our oldest friends.

Portland Art Museum – 12/28

My daughter and I went with friends to see a few of the current exhibits.

The golden brush strokes on this special exhibit Botticelli painting drew me in.

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Very different from the rectangular smudges on this Impressionism work, which I also loved.

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The Japanese woodblock prints of Mt Fuji were much more intricate and detailed, also beautiful!

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A large retrospective exhibit of the Native American artist, Oscar Howe, was so interesting. His style evolved from representational to fractured, and was very colorful. These paintings are both dancers, with one arm raised, and feathers hanging down. I loved them!

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Other December news:

An artist friend gave me a small painting of Mt Hood that we hung in our kitchen adjacent to one of my husbands’ photos of Mt Hood. We love the mountains!

I knit my way through the month, completing a few gifts, and finishing the year of gnomes.

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I made three of these Warm One Hats in Knit Picks Mighty Stitch yarn held double, as gifts for each of my kids.

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I made the 12th gnome, Gnova, by Sara Schira, for the December Year of Gnomes.

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I made three Little Tigers that have new homes.

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I continued knitting the Malabrigo Slip Stitch Blanket after all the gift knitting was done. This one is for me.

I plan to write one more post for 2022 – hopefully soon.

November 2022 hiking, and a visit to the Maryhill Museum of Art

We went on three familiar hikes, and to the Maryhill Museum of Art.

11/3  Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA

This used to be our reliable close-in flat walk, for partly rainy days, where we could go to see upside down trees reflected in the lake, and often, many waterfowl. For the past couple of years, the site has undergone major reconstruction. The berm that separates these lowlands from flooding by the Columbia River has been breached in order to reconnect salmon to the Gibson Creek drainage. On our first visit back on the rerouted trails we saw a few birds and drained lakes. I will be interested to walk the rest of the trails when the project is complete.

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Looking across the new Steigerwald Lake to the east.

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Egret and heron

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The bridge that used to have a lake under it.

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Killdeer

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Crossing the bridge

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Trail now closed

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Art trail – should be open next spring

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View across the Columbia River from the berm

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Geese

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11/10  Angel’s Rest, OR

We save this popular close-in trail for midweek hikes. The trail zigs and zags up, through the forest, then the cliffs, to stunning  panoramic views up and down the gorge, and across to the snowy Washington peaks (4.5 miles, 1500 feet).

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Angel’s Rest

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View to the west from the upper cliffs

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Looking north across the Columbia River

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Closer view of Silver Star Mountain

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View to the east, northern shoreline highlighted by sunbeams

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Blue jay lunch companion

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Colorful twice-burned forest in the foreground.

11/14 The Labyrinth, WA

Our reliable eastern gorge hike, especially on windier days when the basalt columns give some protection. I love to visit all my favorite trees along the trail, and check the water levels in Hidden Creek (4 miles, 800′).

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Approach trail – Old Hwy 8

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Looking south across the Columbia River

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Pools in Hidden Creek

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Hidden Creek

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Dry grass

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Basalt cliffs

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Up the labyrinth

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More basalt cliffs

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Favorite oak grove

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Lunch view to the east

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Farther up, the cliff-edge oak tree

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Poderosa at the upper viewpoint

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And down, past the haunted tree

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Driving home toward rainy Portland through sunbeams

11/8 Maryhill Museum of Art, WA

I was still nursing a knee injury, so instead of hiking, we drove east of our usual winter hiking ground and visited the Maryhill Museum of Art. It is perched on a cliff edge on the northern side of the Columbia River Gorge, in a mansion built by Sam Hill. He was the remarkable American businessman who built railroads and roads, including some of the first roads through the Columbia River Gorge. He travelled through Europe in the early 20th century, and made many artist friends who convinced him to turn his mansion into a museum. The building was started in 1914, but not opened until 1940. It contains an eclectic selection of art, some donated by Sam Hill’s friends, some acquired later. So out in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge, is a museum with galleries of Rodin sculptures, gilt furniture that once belonged to the Queen of Romania, historical exhibits about Sam Hill and friends, and a large and well curated display of Native American art and artifacts. And hundreds of chess sets from all over the world. It is a beautiful collection.

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Driving east out of the rain, through the Columbia River Gorge along WA 14

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We accidentally parked near the service entrance, so walked to the museum from the western side.

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Throne chairs, inspired by those donated to the museum by the Queen of Romania, with excellent views.

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View west, to the vineyards and Columbia River

We walked around to the eastern entrance plaza.

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Main entrance

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Yarn-bombing installation

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Dedication by the Queen of Romania

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One of the historical exhibits was about pioneering modern dancer Loie Fuller, who encouraged Sam Hill to dedicate his house to art.

There is an entire gallery dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin, the French sculptor, including a fascinating exhibit with miniatures showing each step in the process of Lost Wax Bronze Casting. We had just seen one of Rodin’s more famous pieces, the Burghers of Calais, in the Washington DC Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and here was a whole roomful of bronze statues, and plaster casts, working models, sketches and completed pieces.

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Rodin gallery

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Plaster model of The Thinker

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More Rodin artwork

Another Gallery, Theater de la Mode, displays miniature mannequin collections from Paris fashion houses.

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Native American Art and artifacts are on display in several galleries:

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Modern jewelry

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Displayed in a glass walled gallery with extensive views.

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Modern paintings in another gallery,

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these change seasonally.

And extensive displays of beading, basketry, stone, leather, weaving, pottery and other antiquities, organized by regions of the west. This exhibit is scheduled to be overhauled during the winter closure. (The museum is closed from midNovember to midMarch).

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The last gallery we visited was the hall of chess sets – over 400, from all over the world, carved or sculpted from many different media, a dazzling display.

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A life size cutout of Sam Hill stands overlooking this gallery.

As we exited the museum, we walked again along the outdoor plaza, admiring the views and outdoor art installations.

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Looking down on the outdoor plaza

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Aptly named “Roll and Play”, by Alisa Looney, 2007

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Eastward view

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View to the south, with three birds

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Three birds

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Walking into the wind back to our car. “Brushing” by Mike Sur, 2009.

I can’t believe I had never been here before, but I hope to return next year when they host their annual plain air exhibit.

November 2022

Catching up on November at home and in the neighborhood…

We had lots of rainy, cold weather, brightened by leaves beginning their color changing and falling,

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tupelo and katsura

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sumac

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Leaves staining the cement, and other sidewalk art…

A rainy day with magical sun breaks…

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Looking across the Willamettte River to SE Portland from the Marquam Bridge

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Meanwhile, the neighborhood is lit up with the western sunbeams pouring in beneath the clouds…

And more leaves glow along the streets…

We had some delicious meals shared with friends:

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A beautiful eggplant curry with pomegranate

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Thanksgiving pies

Meanwhile, I continued my knitting…

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I finished one pair of socks,

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and started a Malabrigo slip stitch blanket,

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and another pair of socks.

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November gnome (Nice to Gnome You by Sarah Schira)

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And a Tiny Gnome for gifting (Anna Hrachovec)

We voted at the beginning of the month, with mostly satisfactory results, though there have been some setbacks.

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We went on three hikes in November, and to the Maryhill Museum, all to be described in the next post…

Shenandoah National Park, October 2022

During our Washington DC trip, we spent three days in the middle of the week exploring the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.

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Location Map for our Shenandoah National Park trip.

10/25 – First Looks

We drove west, toward the Shenandoah Mountains, admiring the fall colors along the way.

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Westbound on Hwy 211

We entered the park at Thornton Gap. We stopped at a few overlooks on Skyline Drive before checking into our room at the Skyland Resort.

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Tunnel Parking Overlook

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Buck Hollow Overlook

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Jewell Hollow Overlook

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Jewell Hollow Overlook

10/26 – Hawksbill Summit, Deer Hollow Falls, a gorgeous sunset

The misty morning gave way to a few sun breaks.

Crescent Rock Overlook

Crescent Rock Overlook

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Crescent Rock Overlook

We decided to hike the Hawksbill-Salamander-Appalachian Trail Loop and hope for the best.

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Hawksbill Summit Trailhead, nest in the tree hollow

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Upward into the mist…

Hawksbill Summit was fogged in, but while we ate our lunch, the clouds cleared, and we had a lovely westward view to the Shenandoah River Valley.

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Shelter near the summit

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The last section of trail

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Disappointing summit views…

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The mist began to rise…

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More sun breaks and color…

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Shenandoah River Valley

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Beautiful foliage

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and more clearing…

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Foliage color wash

We descended via the Salamander Trail, to an intersection with the Appalachian Trail, which we walked along for about a mile.

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Appalachian Trail Junction

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Walking along the west side of Hawksbill

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We could see the summit crags through the bare trees.

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Red foliage and scree slopes.

The Hawksbill hike was about 2.7 miles, 600 feet. After our hike, we stopped at the Big Hollow Visitor Center and learned a bit about the history of the park. Then we hiked about 3 miles to Dark Hollow Falls from the Rose River Trailhead, once again, admiring the foliage colors, and then the tiers of the waterfall.

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Rose River Trail

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Rose River Trail

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Dark Hollow Falls, lower tier

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pool between tiers

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Dark Hollow Falls, upper tiers

Later in the afternoon, we stopped at Tanners Ridge Overlook,  just south of Big Meadow.

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Tanners Ridge Overlook

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Shenandoah Valley from Tanners Ridge

We noticed the clouds and sunbeams were looking promising for a great sunset. We hurried to The Point Overlook, known for excellent vistas. For the next hour, the rolling waves of mountain silhouettes, clouds and sunbeams put on a stunning display, nearly impossible to capture (but we tried!)

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10/27- Old Rag hike from Berry Hollow

Old Rag (3274′) is a craggy mountain to the east of the main ridge of Shenandoah National Park, and a popular hiking destination. This was our longest hike for the week (6 miles, 1750 feet). The trailhead was about an hour’s drive from our lodging. We had purchased limited access permits online ahead of time, and passed three ranger check points along the trail. Many hikers choose the challenging Ridge scramble trail up the eastern rocky slopes. We opted for the slightly shorter, nonscrambly route from the Berry Hollow Trailhead.

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Old Rag, as seen from the road to the trail head

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Berry Hollow Trailhead

We hiked upward through beautiful fall foliage.

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The lower trail follows roads

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Old Rag Shelter, the rockier trails begin here

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yellow foliage

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A glimpse of the top

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Through the slabs

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Another view toward the summit, and an overhanging boulder

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Large slab just below the summit, where we stopped for a lunch break.

The summit is covered with rocky boulders and slabs that more intrepid hikers scrambled up. We settled for circling the perimeter, and viewing the landscape to the west, north and east.

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Panorama of the Shenandoah Mountains from Old Rag Summit

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The scar of Skyline Drive is visible along the ridgeline

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Colorwash of foliage…

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Green, yellow, orange, red

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Rocky outcrops on the summit

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Panning to the east

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The flat eastern seaboard comes into view

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Farther east

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Balancing boulder

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Berries along the downward trail

We returned the way we came, the steep downward trail challenging to my recently injured knee, but we made it, thank you hiking poles!

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Shelter below the summit

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Last view toward the top

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And back through the colorful forest

We drove back up to Skyline Road and stopped at the Old Rag Overlook, to look back at where we had been:

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Old Rag from the Old Rag Overlook on Skyline Drive

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Zooming closer

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and closer

This was a successful trip. We wanted to see the fall foliage. The peak foliage was a little past at the top of the mountains, especially in Big Meadow, but was still sweeping in waves down the slopes, and is much more colorful than what we see in our home evergreen forests in Oregon.

The next morning we stopped for a last look from the Buck Hollow Overlook before driving back to Washington DC…

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View from Buck Hollow Overlook

Washington DC, October 2022

We flew to Washington DC for the last week of October, to visit our daughter. We took a midweek trip to the Shenandoah Mountains to see fall colors and hike while she was working.  There is always so much to see in our nations’ capital. We visited all three branches of government, several museums, had some delightful meals with our daughter and her friends, and also visited some cousins in Maryland. Plenty of scope for thought, and art to appreciate, on this trip.

10/21 – Flying east –

We had cloud cover until after the Rockies. From my window seat, I watched the land beneath me change from the flat patchwork of the agricultural midcontinent to the wrinkles of Appalachia.

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Possibly Iowa?

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Wisconsin?

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Lake Michigan

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Ohio? large power plant on a river

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Pennsylvania? wind mills on the ridges

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Swooping into National Airport over the Mall – Lincoln Memorial

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Potomac River, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the Capitol

10/22 – National Portrait Gallery, and Alexandria, VA

On Friday we had some business downtown, then had time for a brief visit to the National Portrait Gallery.

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Chinatown Gate

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My daughter wanted to show us the new portraits of the Obamas. Unfortunately, they were on loan to another museum, but we did visit some favorite presidents:

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This Shepard Fairey portrait of Barack Obama was in the place of the official portraits.

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John F. Kennedy by Elaine de Kooning

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Abraham Lincoln

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George Washington

I also found a few women to admire:

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Eleanor Roosevelt

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The Four Justices, by Nelson Shanks. Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagen, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg

After driving through a slow traffic jam that provided a great view of the Washington Monument from every angle, we followed the traffic out of town, and ended up at the Alexandria Waterfront, where we found a delicious Thai dinner on an outdoor patio overlooking the Potomac River.

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Washington Monument

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Alexandria River Walk

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“Virginia is for Lovers” – we saw a formally dressed wedding party pose for pictures here, among the many people taking selfies by this sign.

10/24 – Old Ellicott City, MD

During our stay with cousins in Baltimore we visited Old Ellicott City on the Patapsco River.  This city dates back to the 1600s, and is famous for its historic mill, railroads, and frequent flooding. The architecture reminds me of towns I’ve seen in England. Recent flooding repairs are ongoing. The town is known for public art, though being a Monday, most shops and museums were closed.

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Mural and sculpture

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Old brick work

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Public mosaic, made from objects collected from the riverbed.

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Steep streets above the river

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Patapsco River

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Fall color

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B&O Railroad Museum

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Bricks and siding

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Ellicott’s Mills

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Shop windows showed Halloween decorations. Pumpkins made of many media caught my eye: ceramic, glass, wire, beaded, painted, fabric, even knitted!

We spent the next three days in Shenandoah National Park, to be described in the next post.

10/28 – The Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, the US Capitol, the National Museum of the American Indian

On Friday afternoon, we returned to DC and set out to see more sites. Our first stop was the Supreme Court Building, which I had never been to before.

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The Supreme Court Building from across the street.

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The plaza has two large fountains.

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We walked up the steps to the portico.

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View from the top tier back to the Capitol

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Looking up between the pillars – light fixture

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Ceiling carvings

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Window grill

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Library of Congress, right next door.

We had time for a quick look around the Library of Congress before our US Capitol tour.

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Library of Congress building

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Entryway

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The main chamber has beautiful marble carvings and murals representing classical literature and scholarship.

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There is an upper balcony,

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and a beautiful glass ceiling.

There were many exhibits I would have liked to examine in detail, but will have to hope to return another day.

Our daughter’s friend offered us a Capitol tour. I had been once before, more than ten years ago. There is so much to see in this building – I was glad to go again. We began in one of the Congressional office buildings, then were escorted through underground tunnels and security checkpoints to the Visitor Center.

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Side dome, where media interviews are given

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Dome ceiling

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Skylight with view to the Capitol Dome, and the Statue of Freedom on top.

The main hall of the Visitor Center has lots of space for tour groups, and a selection of statues of famous Americans.

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U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

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Helen Keller

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Sarah Winnemucca

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Sojourner Truth

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Replica of the Statue of Freedom on the top of the building

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Statue of Freedom

Next we passed the original Supreme Court Chambers.

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Original Supreme Court Chambers

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with Original Clock. Much of what is in this room has been replicated.

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We also passed a giant bust of President Lincoln on our way to the main Rotunda.

The main Rotunda is massive, and nearly impossible to photograph. Our guide said the Statue of Liberty would fit in this space.

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Paintings, carvings, friezes…

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Ceiling carvings, windows, painting

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Close up of the center of the dome.

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The Frieze of American History circles the upper level

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Upper gallery, special tours only.

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Paintings all around the lower level,

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and more statues – Lincoln again.

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Pioneers for Women’s Suffrage

Our next stop was The Old Senate Chamber.

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The Old Senate Chamber

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Replica of the original desk

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Intricate floor tiles

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Speaker’s Office

We didn’t go into the active chambers – but it was pointed out to us where the building had been repaired after the January 6th insurrection. Next we walked through Statuary Hall. Here are a few of the women represented there:

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Our time was up. We returned to the Office Building where we began, with a stop to see artwork celebrating the western states.

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Maps of the western territories

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A one hour tour is hardly enough time to begin to see all that the U.S. Capitol building holds. Each wall, floor and ceiling is embedded with meaning, signifying historical events. As we walked through, our guide told us interesting facts about the architecture, the statuary, the building’s history. We could hear other guides emphasizing different aspects of the building. It was a privilege to get to view a slice of it, and I would be willing to go back again, for another view.

And we were not done yet! On our way back to our hotel, we walked through the National Museum of the American Indian, with just enough time to view one exhibit hall:

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Entrance to the National Museum of the American Indian

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Inner dome – a more modern architecture than the Capitol.

There were many styles of indigenous art on show. We passed these hallway pieces on our way to the gallery with the Preston Singletary exhibit:

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Preston Singletary is a Tlingit American artist, who represents traditional stories and subjects using various forms of glass. Part of the gallery was a walk through the story of the raven, and there were many other beautiful pieces on display. :

It was nearly closing time for the museum, so we left without seeing the other galleries – another place I would like to return to. We exited the mall side of the museum.

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As we crossed the mall, we got another view of the Capitol, with the current construction scaffolding, and the Washington Monument.

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Capitol

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Washington Monument. This was Friday afternoon – I think they were setting up for a festival on the weekend.

10/29 – Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden, National Mall, the White House, Potomac River Walk, Flying Home

Our last day in DC was a beautiful sunny fall day so we opted to do outdoor things. We started with a picnic lunch in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, a sunken green space filled with a variety of outdoor art pieces.

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View across the garden

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The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin

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King and Queen by Henry Moore

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Double Candle by Stirling Ruby.

This modern glass and steel grid had interesting reflections and transparencies:

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Next, we walked across the mall, past the Washington Monument, and then the White House.

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Washington Monument

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Looking up

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Stonework

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Looking west to the Lincoln Memorial

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North side of the White House

Later, we took a walk along the Potomac River near Mt Vernon before heading to the airport for our flight home.

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After we boarded the plane, I could see the quarter moon rising. We flew west, chasing the sunset, with the moon visible over the wing the entire way, until we dipped below the clouds in Oregon.

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Quarter moon over the airport…

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Rivers of light below,

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Quarter moon and sunset still on our horizon.

I was ready to be home, in time for Halloween in Portland.

October 2022 – Hiking

Three mostly repeat hikes in October: Vista Ridge on Mt Hood, Indian Heaven Wilderness in Washington, and Oaks Bottom in Portland.

10/3 – Vista Ridge, Mt Hood

This is one of my favorite hikes on Mt Hood – especially during wildflower season. Today we enjoyed the fall colors in the burn zone – bright red huckleberries, white pearly everlasting, pink fireweed; and greeted a few of my haunted tree friends.

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Huckleberries, pearly everlasting, and Mt Hood

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Fireweed

We stopped in Wy’East basin (5800 feet) for lunch, then hiked a little higher, toward Barrett Spur.

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Wy’East Basin above the Timberline Trail

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Huckleberry foliage and faded wild flowers

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Toward Barrett Spur and Mt Hood

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North view, toward Mt Adams and Mt Rainier, behind the haze

We returned back down the Vista Ridge Trail, about 6.5 miles, 1500 feet for the day.

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Pasque flowers

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Huckleberry foliage

I stopped to look more closely at the fireweed – the four-petal flowers produce curly and fuzzy seedheads. On closer look, I noticed the seed casing split into four strands that curled away as the fuzzy seedheads emerged. I am not a botanist but found this fascinating.

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Very few fireweed flowers still on view.

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This four-part split seed caught my eye as I walked by. That is when I noticed this pattern on all the plants, though most were more fuzzy or curly, and less noticeable.

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Fuzzier seeds, ready to fly.

We took a moment to look out east from Vista Ridge, toward The Pinnacle and Mt Hood, and the remains of the Dollar Lake Fire of 2011.

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Farewell for the year to the haunted trees, by now knee deep in snow….

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10/11 – Thomas Lake to Rock Lake to the Old Cascade Crest Trail, Indian Heaven Wilderness

A beautiful fall day. We found the huckleberry foliage still changing – some bright red, some still green, in the faded summer meadows, and no mosquitos!

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Thomas Lake – Rock Lakes – Old Cascade Crest Trail Loop. About 7 miles, 800 feet.

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Beautiful reflections in Heather Lake.

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We continued past the first lakes on the trail, up hill, to the viewpoint of Mt St Helens,

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and a glimpse of Mt Rainier.

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Rock Lakes lunch stop

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After lunch, we continued east beyond Rock Lakes, toward East Crater, to the junction with the Old Cascade Crest Trail. We had followed it north before, today we were trying the south trail.

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There are many small lakes along this route.

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The trail eventually crosses a large meadow, with a view of Gifford Peak beyond.

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Looking back north toward East Crater, shortly before this trail intersects the Blue Lake Trail.

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A shrinking lake near the trail junction.

At the trail junction, we headed north again to complete the loop. The Old Cascade Crest Trail is still used, and easy to walk, though it does not show up on recent trail maps.

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Another peek at Mt St Helens beyond Eunice Lake on our return hike.

10/17 – Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Portland

The standard 3 mile loop around the Wildlife Refuge, partly on the bike path, partly on dirt trails around the wetlands.

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Wetlands and mausoleum mural from the bike path

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Cooper’s hawk

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Wood ducks

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Oaks Amusement Park across the wetlands

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Reflections

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Hint of fall…

Later in the month we went to Washington, DC, where there were some long city/mall/museum walks, and to Shenandoah National Park, VA, where there were three other hikes, described in the next post.

October 2022

Autumn comes to the neighborhood:

Witches, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns:

I finished knitting hats for the guild service project, socks, and a new witch gnome for the Halloween decor:

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Witch gnome, for the October #YearOfGnomes

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Back, showing her hair

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Joining the local coven

We flew to Washington DC to visit our daughter and hike in the Shenandoah Mountains (next blog post). We returned just in time to greet our neighborhood trick-or-treaters from our porch for the first time in a few years, in the pouring rain this year. I even carved a (two-sided) pumpkin.

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And I took note of the annual witch paddle in the Willamette River (photo credit to the Oregonian online). Someday I hope to see it in person.

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September 2022 Hiking….

I went on three hikes in September, in Portland, Mt Adams and Indian Heaven.

9/14 – Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion: Finishing the Wildwood Trail, Portland, OR

During the early pandemic in the spring of 2020, travel was restricted. Many parks and trails were closed. We tried long neighborhood walks, but concrete is hard on the feet! I missed the dirt trails and nature. When local trails reopened, we turned to the Wildwood Trail in nearby Forest Park to keep our hiking habit going. We had hiked parts of Forest Park over the years, but usually prefer further destinations with views, waterfalls or mountain tops. The Forest Park trails are fine for nearby forest hikes, but are often crowded with trail runners and neighborhood hikers, and there aren’t many views. Nevertheless, we set a goal to try to hike the full 30 mile length of the Wildwood Trail in sections – especially after the realization set in that the pandemic restrictions were going to last longer than we first imagined. As of this month, there was one section left (not counting the section between miles 14 and 15 that is closed for repair). Early September had been too hot and/or smoky in our usual destinations to hike much, but after a day of rain we found time to hike this last section.

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Upper Macleay Park Trailhead

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Pittock Mansion

The views were limited on this overcast day, but the seasonal flowerbeds provided some bright colors.

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Views to downtown Portland from Pittock mansion

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Seasonal flower beds

We returned to our starting place, then added to our mileage by hiking a few of the trails on the nearby Audubon reserve – again a bit nondescript on this between seasons day – too late for summer flowers, too early for fall colors. Our total for the day was about 4 miles, and 700 feet.

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Trail map for the Bird Sanctuary

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Muddy trails

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Douglas Fir deck

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9/20 – Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams, WA

This area has been mostly closed since the 2015 Cougar Creek Fire. The Yakama people have opened the hiking trails for the month of September the last two years, and we finally made it out there this year. Our pre-fire hikes in the area were during peak wildflower season in a place where the bloom is as fine as any in the Cascades. We saw the beginnings of fall color on our hike today, while appreciating the repairs that have been made to the fire damaged trails. It was beautiful!

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Our GPS track – 7 miles, 1350 feet

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Bird Lake Trailhead, Mt Adams

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Up toward Bluff Lake through the 2015 burn zone.

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Green undergrowth

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View to Mt Hood through the haze.

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Bluff Lake, Mt Adams through the trees on the left.

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Huckleberry foliage

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Staircase Falls

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Mt Adams

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Hellebore, huckleberry

We reached the Hellroaring Viewpoint, then continued upward on the Climber Trail for a short way:

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Hellroaring Viewpoint

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Hellroaring Falls

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Mt Adams Glaciers

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Glacier View

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Moraine and ridge toward the Climbers’ trail

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Higher meadows

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View east – Little Mt Adams and Heart Lake

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Our turnaround point, looking north…

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and looking east.

Our return hike circled through the western meadows, past Crooked Creek Falls, and then down through the burn zone again, to Bird Lake.

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Gentian blooming in the huckleberry patches

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Late season meadows

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Crooked Creek Falls

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Back down into the burn zone

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Crooked Creek

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Back to Bird Lake

Lookback photos from 2013 compared to 2022, looking south from the below Hellroaring Viewpoint –

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August 2013

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September 2022

And one of the wildflower meadows of summer 2013:

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Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams, August 2013

9/27 – Indian Heaven Wilderness – Cultus Campground to Wapiki Lake Overlook

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GPS track – about 8 miles, 1700 feet.

We had also hiked this trail before. Again, we caught the beginnings of the fall colors in the higher elevations, and in the more open meadows and huckleberry fields.

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Trailhead

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Panorama looking north from the shoulder of Bird Mountain

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Sawtooth Mountain and Mt Rainier

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Mt Adams

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Mt Adams

We passed Cultus Lake on our way to the Wapiki Lake overlook:

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Cultus lake

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Lemei Rock

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Huckleberry foliage

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A very few late huckleberries

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Wapiki Lake Overlook

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Mt Adams

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Wapiki Lake

On our return hike, the smoke had blown in from a nearby fire, obscuring the mountain views we had enjoyed earlier…..

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Toward Sawtooth and Mt Rainier

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Toward Mt Adams

We were too early for full fall color. We passed this same pond near Cultus Lake last year, in early October, after there had been rain. I remember spending a lot of time here marveling at the colors. This year, late September, only a little color and no pond yet.

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Pond near Cultus Lake, October 8, 2021

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Same pond area, September 27, 2022

It is lovely to see these places in different seasons!

I am catching up on blog posts – on to October…

September 2022….

A transition month: one son moved out; after a hot and smoky spell, the weather turned to autumn, but it  hasn’t rained much yet. In Scotland, the Queen died; in New Zealand the albatrosses fledged. Meanwhile, we harvested tomatoes, basil and cucumbers; our other son moved back in (temporarily?..), and we have had more post(?)-Covid social meetings – with new neighbors and old friends – that feels good. New vaccines, a new clothes dryer, some new knitting and three hikes (in the next blog post). 

Knitting…

I finished four more hats for the guild service project, a Musselburgh Hat (Ysolda Teague) for a family member, and the Choose Your Gnome Adventure mystery gnome by Sarah Schira for the September/Year of Gnomes.

Neighborhood and garden…

The Queen and the albatrosses…

I have no particular relationship with the Queen, except that she has always been there my whole life. She modeled devotion to duty, and lived a life of extreme privilege, but seemed to learn from her mistakes. She represents some part of the fictional world where I have spent so much of my reading time, as many of my favorite authors are British. I feel compelled to remember her here.

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Family friend, meeting the Queen in BC about 20 years ago.

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Working until the end…

Image 10-6-22 at 3.35 PM

Inspirational message during the pandemic lock down.

Britain Prince Philip Funeral

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, April 17, 2021(Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP). A heartbreaking image depicting what many experienced during the pandemic (though in less posh surroundings).

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Rainbow over Buckingham Palace, from News media

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And I continue to watch the albatross web camera, from Dunedin, NZ. The chicks were fledging all month – this one in the pouring rain.

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September 3rd, 2022. The Royal Cam chick, 220 days old, fledging. She has been named Lilibet in honor of the Queen.

Inspirational thought:

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Blog note: I am trying to resize my photos to address storage issues on this blog. There is so much I don’t know about how it all works, but I will try, as I want to keep the blog going.