Artist Point trails near Mt Baker, WA, September 12 – 15, 2021

We stayed in a condo near the small town of Glacier, WA and drove to trailheads near Artist Point each day. During previous visits, we had some lovely hikes, but were impeded by snowed-in trails in August of 2010, and rain in October of 2015.  We felt lucky to have a good weather window this trip.

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Our four hiking trails – the Ptarmigan Ridge and Chain of Lakes Trails share the same trail from Artist Point for the first mile.

September 12 – Bagley Lakes

The cloud level was just above the Bagley Lakes – no mountain views today, and a bit of rain, but not many people either.

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Hiking down the glaciated columnar basalts to the lakes

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Mountain ash, pearly everlasting, and clouds

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Lower Bagley Lake, asters

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Bridge across Upper Bagley Lake outlet

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First we hiked partway around Upper Bagley Lake:

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Small waterfall and late paintbrush along the trail

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Huckleberry bushes turning red

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Fringed grass of parnassus in abundance!

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Upper Bagley Lake shore and meadows. On our previous visit this area was full of snow.

We turned back and walked along the southern shore of Lower Bagley Lake:

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Meadows full of fringed grass of parnassus – previously only seen rarely by me!

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Bridge over the check dam at the lower end of Lower Bagley Lake.

We returned along the north shore of Lower Bagley Lake,

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Columnar basalt waterfall

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Cascade between the lakes

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Pool above the cascade

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Fireweed

then climbed back up the glaciated basalt surface, having completed the 3 mile loop, clouds lifting just a bit.

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On our drive down the road, we stopped at the Picture Lakes – no mountain views today, but plenty of colorful wildflowers and  foliage in the surrounding meadows.

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Picture Lake

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I realized the foliage colors are all there in the Hitchhiker Shawl I am knitting.

September 13 – Ptarmigan Ridge

When we arrived at the Artist Point trailhead, Mt Baker was out, though hiding a bit behind fast-moving clouds.

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Mt Baker from Artist Point

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We started along the first mile of trail that is carved into a high cirque, toward the saddle where the Ptarmigan Ridge trail begins.

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Trail along the cirque

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Saddle, Mt Baker beyond the clouds.

From the saddle, we dropped down into another cirque, then back up to Ptarmigan Ridge, heading toward Coleman Pinnacle.

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Hiking up the next cirque to the ridge.

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Ptarmigan Ridge

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Rock hopping bird

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View along the Ptarmigan Ridge trail

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Closer view of our next saddle

Once over that saddle, we hiked toward Coleman Pinnacle.

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Coleman Pinnacle

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Glacial striations

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Hiking up the barren, glaciated surface.

We were high enough to look down on Goat Lake,

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Goat Lake

but the mountain remained elusive. One shoulder peeked out, giving us our best view for the day.

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Looking for the mountain

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Mt Baker’s shoulder

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Glacier close ups

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Meanwhile, I was also admiring the foliage colors, and the sea of lily seed heads. This must have been an amazing wildflower meadow a few weeks ago.

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Lily and pasque flower

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Lily and huckleberry

The clouds became thicker, so we decided to turn back, after 4.5 miles.

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Another look at Goat Lake.

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Goat Lake, a few people for scale.

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The clouds parted for a minute, giving us a glimpse of this outlet valley below.

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One last look back at Mt Baker before we turned the corner at the high saddle.

Returning along Ptarmigan Ridge…

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Partridge foot, Happy Bunny Butte

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Trail across the western cirque toward the saddle at Table Mountain

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Back along the eastern cirque, Mt Shuksan still under clouds

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Marmot crossing

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Almost back to the trailhead, Mt Shuksan beginning to peek out.

We hiked 9 miles, 1500 feet for the day. We had packed food in our car, just in case the sunset looked promising – one never knows in the  mountains.

September 13 – Artist’s Point Sunset / Huntoon Point

We rested for a while in the trailhead area, and were rewarded with more cloud clearing, and some beautiful sunset views. We walked along the Huntoon Point Trail for about a mile, watching the sky, the glaciers, the reflections in the several ponds and tarns along the way. A lovely evening.

Mt Shuksan:

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The peak

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Glaciers

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Tarn and trail between Huntoon Point and Mt Shuksan

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More stunning reflections

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Last look.

Mt Baker:

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Mt Baker; Coleman Pinnacle, which we walked around earlier today, in the foreground.

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September 14 – Chain of Lakes

The mountains were out at the trailhead under a higher cloud cover, rain pending…

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Mt Baker

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Mt Shuksan

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Cascades to the north

Knowing it might rain by afternoon, we started out on the Chain of Lakes Trail…

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Cirque trail

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Today we can see the Cascade peaks to the south, and Baker Lake below,

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and the glaciers on Mt Baker

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Crossing the stone ledges in the cirque

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Fireweed and Mt Baker, and our trail junction in the saddle.

From the saddle, we had a better view than yesterday of the Ptarmigan Ridge trail.

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Ptarmigan Ridge trail

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Today we are going north, down the scree slope below Table Mountain, into the Chain of Lakes basin.

We passed by four lakes in the basin…

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Mazama Lake

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Stream between Mazama and Iceberg Lakes

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Iceberg Lake

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Hayes Lake

We followed the side trail around Hayes Lake, toward Arbuthnot Lake, and found shelter under a few trees to eat lunch just as the rain began.

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Hayes Lake and Table Mountain

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Lunch spot view of Hayes and Arbuthnot Lakes

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Closer view of Arbuthnot Lake

The rain was beginning in earnest, so we turned around to retrace our steps, walking quickly as conditions got worse.

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Mushroom forest

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Outlet stream

By the time we were hiking back up the scree slope, I was getting pretty tired, after three days of hiking. I paused, and heard a whistle, and saw a marmot down on the rocks below the trail.

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Marmot giving me the side eye as they enjoy their shower.

We still had more than a mile to go in the pouring rain, no more photos today. But we were very happy with our three days of hiking, and seeing the mountains, and came up with a new list of trails to return to, not just here, but along other trailheads in the North Cascades.

September 15 – Billy Frank-Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Halfway through our six hour drive home to Portland we took our lunch break at this wildlife refuge at the southern end of the Puget Sound. We walked about two miles, to the beginning of the boardwalk that extends for another mile out into the Puget Sound.

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The trail begins near a bog where we spotted a great blue heron.

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We continued on wooden boardwalks through the woods,

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with views to grassy lowlands.

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Some other hikers pointed out the tiny frogs on the marsh grasses.

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and I spotted a hummingbird.

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After passing the barn,

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we emerged to wide open views of the southern Puget Sound,

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and spotted another heron.

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We walked to the very beginning of the mile long boardwalk out over the water,

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but decided to turn around for the day,

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saving our visit to the farthest viewing platform for another day.

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We will return!

Thus ended another adventure, leaving me with tired legs, and a new list of places to hike next time.

What happened in September 2021…

Home and garden:

Knitting:

I finished more hats for the Women’s Shelter donation, made progress on socks and a shawl, both excellent travel knitting, and began knitting the fall Mystery Gnome. And I received a late but welcome crocheted bag as a birthday gift from my sister.

Hiking:

We spent a lot of time on hiking trails! In addition to two out of town trips to the Olympic Peninsula and Mt Baker, and a day hike at Cloud Cap on Mt Hood, all described in separate posts, we went on six other adventures:

September 9, East Crater Trail, Indian Heaven, Washington. Return to Junction Lake.

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Into the woods

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East Crater

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Junction Lake

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Mountain ash

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Huckleberry

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Mt St Helens from the PCT Southbound

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Birds in a water hole in a mostly dry creek

September 17, Portland Arboretum. Early fall color on a beautiful day.

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Aralia

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Sumac

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Hop hornbeam

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Douglas fir with sap

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September 24, Kiwa Trail, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. Looking for Sandhill Cranes while we can still hike the trail before it is closed for the winter nesting season.

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Nightshade berries near the creek

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Woodland

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Grassland with teasel

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These are the sandhill cranes we are looking for!

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Resident nesting pair with colt

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September 26 – Saltzman Road in Forest Park, Portland. Our first time on this particular trail through the park, we walked 6 miles while catching up with friends.

September 28, Crawford Oaks, Washington. A return to an oft hiked trail, we escaped the rain in Portland and saw only 4 other hikers the entire day.

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Columbia Hills from The Dalles Bridge

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Geologic context

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Eight Miles Falls

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Pear tree

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Our usual lunch spot

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Clouds and wind

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Eastward

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Tufts

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The “one tree”

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Dried balsamroot, Dalles Mountain Ranch

Some foliage for the day:

September 30, Coyote Wall, Washington. Another often hiked trail, again with friends. A beautiful day up there!

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Puffy clouds and rocks

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Coyote Wall

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Mt Hood in the clouds

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Return hike

Other news:

Tiaki, the Albatross chick I have been watching in New Zealand via webcam, has fledged!

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The blue line is a tracker on Tiaki, the red line is one of her parents.

A family member acquired a new-to-him car.

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I attended an in-person book group meeting, where we watched the moon rise over the Willamette River from Sauvie Island.

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Cloud Cap, Mt Hood, September 23, 2021

To the High Point on the Timberline Trail… September 23, 2021

After the long drive up the rutted road to the Cloud Cap campground (elev 5850′), on the east side of Mt Hood, we begin by hiking up the steep sandy side of the South Eliot Glacier lateral moraine.
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Reaching the crest of the South Eliot Moraine

From here we see all the volcanoes to the north,
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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Mt Adams

but it is the head-on face of the Eliot Glacier that draws us upward over the rock studded surface of the moraine, continuously up toward the mountain, like a scene out of Close Encounters, we move forward.
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We are passed by a few hikers headed for the high point on Cooper Spur, near Tie-In Rock, but we take the turn off to the hut.
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Cloud Cap Shelter

Before we leave the moraine, I give the Eliot Glacier a few minutes to pose for close ups.
We reached the Cloud Cap Shelter at lunch time.
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“Not very crowded up here today”, said my hiking partner.
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We choose to walk south on the Timberline Trail, around the mountain. We play dot to dot with the rock cairns as we walk the gray trail, winding sinuously upward across the wrinkled shoulders of the mountain, contouring around the canyons.
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Timberline Trail, heading south

A solitary raven cry, some humming bees, wild flowers faded to golden seed heads, a few green leaves survive, on the wind blasted slopes paved with rocks and stones – a desert pavement of sorts, peppered with large angular boulders that could only be from above;
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Gravity prevails whether we acknowledge the science or not.
A few fresh snow patches cling to sheltered slopes, left by storms last week that have given all the high peaks fresh white crowns.
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An older, dusty snow field, is preserved in the most sheltered north sloping hollow.
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We reach the High Point of the Timberline Trail (7350′), then the ridge crest to the left where we rest, and enjoy a 360° view. 
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Mt Hood from near the high point of the Timberline Trail

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Closer view of Tie-In Rock on Cooper Spur

Cascade peaks to the south above Gnarl Ridge:
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Mt Jefferson, the Three Sisters and Broken Top

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Of the Washington peaks to the north, only Mount Adams visible from here.
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Mt Adams

On the return hike on this trail carved out of the edge of the sky, more ravens fly above, sweeping in choreographed pairs, swirling in groups above our narrow ridge and over toward Tie-In Rock, stalling and falling and circling around each other; then surprisingly, as I round a bend on the trail, I see them clustered on the snowfield.
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They seem to be sipping from the surface, finding water in this sere late summer landscape where all the rivulets are dry.
A completely fresh air, clear sky, beautiful day up here, no smoke today, as close to the sky as I will get this year I think.
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Cloud Cap shelter, and Washington peaks, on the return hike

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One other creature living up here

And the mountain ash glowed red in the afternoon light.

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Olympic Peninsula, WA, late summer, 2021

Aug 29 to Sept 3, 2021 – We scheduled a trip to the Olympic Mountains after our Iceland plans were cancelled due to increased spread of the Delta variant of Covid 19. We have been to the Olympics a few times, and have wanted to go back and explore more in the Hurricane Hill/Deer Park area where there are higher altitude hiking trails, the only ones that can be accessed without overnight backpacking. The weather was perfect, but a different sort of human pathology foiled our plans. The night we arrived in Port Angeles, the Olympic National Park website posted a closure alert due to police action. The closure continued for the three days we were in the area, so each day we found alternative hikes.

Location map...

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Driving north on 101 toward the Olympic Mountains – great weather ahead!

Port Angeles

Our hotel on the hill right above the center of town had an expansive view across the harbor, all the way to Victoria and the San Juan Islands. Port Angeles is home to the ferry to Victoria, BC. On previous visits, long lineups of vehicles filled the ferry loading zone at the dock, while people waiting to cross filled the town with activity. The ferry has been closed due to Covid since March of 2020. The town felt eerily quiet  as we walked along the waterfront, admiring the beautiful setting and the shipping activity in the harbor.

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View across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mt Baker poking above the marine layer

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Another view of Mt Baker beyond the ship

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Hotel balcony view across Port Angeles Harbor to Vancouver Island

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Stairs down to town

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Evening lights

Sol Duc Falls

Monday, August 30th – A short trail leads to a beautiful triple falls.

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Sol Duc Falls

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We explored the river above the waterfall.

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American dipper on the rocks.

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Calmer water

We continued farther up the Sol Duc Trail to extend our hike.

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Shelter near Sol Duc Falls

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Trail beyond the waterfall…

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Corydalis

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The blue bead berries of the Queen’s cup or bead lily

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Vanilla leaf

Ediz Hook

In the afternoon, we drove out onto Ediz Hook, the long jetty that shelters Port Angeles Harbor from the Salish Sea. There are beaches on both north and south sides of the jetty, and a Coast Guard Station at its far end.

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Looking north toward Canada…

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and westward from the north shore of the jetty.

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A seal in the Salish Sea

We walked along the south shore of the jetty, looking back to land:

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Southeast to the Coast Guard Station,

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South to Port Angeles and the Olympic Mountains,

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Southwest to the mountains and harbor industrial buildings.

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Seagull on the north shore

Striped Peak

Tuesday, August 31 – We found an interesting hike at nearby Salt Creek Recreation Area on the Washington Trails Association website. This was a 7 mile hike through beautiful forest and not so beautiful clearcuts, with a visit to a lovely beach cove near the end of the loop. 

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Trail map

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We began in the forest, hiking up almost 1000 feet to the top of Striped Peak.

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We passed military bunkers from WW2 along the ridge, similar to bunkers we saw in Cornwall a few years ago.

A trail around the peak leads to views in all directions:

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Crescent Beach to the west,

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Olympic Mountains to the south,

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Vancouver Island to the north,

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Port Angeles, and our trail through the clearcuts to the east, taken from a bench near the top of Striped Peak.

As we walked more than a mile through the clearcut, we could look back and see the top of Striped Peak.

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Eventually, the trail reentered the green forest, and we made our way back along the coastal cliffs .

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A side trail leads down to Eagle’s Cove, with its surreal turquoise waters:

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Eagle’s Cove, tide going out

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We spotted a heron out in the cove.

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Heron and sea gull

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We think the heron is standing on a floating log.

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Pebbly sand and shells on the beach

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Pebble close up…

The hike out of the cove is steep.

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Looking down at Eagle’s Cove

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Wednesday, September 1 – We drove from Port Angeles to Lake Quinault, with stops along the way.

Bogachiel Rainforest

First stop, a three mile hike at the Bogachiel Rainforest. This is the dry season in the rainforest. 

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Large tree as bridge.

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Plank boardwalks through what I presume can be a much wetter forest floor

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Fallen tree to the right of the trail

Ruby Beach

After our rainforest hike, we stopped at Ruby Beach, the first of several beaches that can be visited while driving south along the coast. 

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Looking down at Ruby Beach from the overlook

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Sculpted sea stack near the access trail

We walked north along the shore as the tide receded.

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Wave sorted shingle

A flock of birds kept us company…

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Walking south again…

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Tide pools formed around the sea stacks …

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Sea anemones

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Sand, cobbles, clam

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Back beach lagoon

We also walked a short distance south on Ruby Beach. 

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Destruction Island, with lighthouse, in the distance

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Parting view of Ruby Beach

We stopped briefly at the at Kalaloch Beach 4 overlook.

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View from above Kalaloch Beach 4

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Cormorants

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The sun is shining somewhere on this foggy day.

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Roots around a nurse log

Lake Quinault

We stayed two nights at Quinault River Inn, a beautiful property with lovely views of the river and mountains.

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View from our porch to the river and mountains

Thursday, September 2 – We explored the network of trails along Lake Quinault and nearby rainforest, then drove the loop road around the lake.

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Trail sign

We began by walking east along the lake shore, mesmerized by the reflections in the glassy lake surface.

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The spell was broken by a launch crossing the lake, casting wake ripples through the reflections.

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We turned back west, passing by the historic Lake Quinault Lodge.

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We crossed a bridge near Willaby Falls, then headed uphill to the rainforest trails.

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Willaby Falls

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I was continuously awed by the size of the trees in the rainforest.

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Cedar swamp

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Cascade Creek

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After finishing our hike, we drove the roads around Lake Quinault, passing waterfalls and a view into the higher mountains.

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Merriman Falls

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Bunch Falls

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Quinault River upstream (east) from the lake

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We closed our last day back at the Quinault River Inn, watching reflections in the water as the shadows grew long.

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Follow up to the Olympic National Park crime situation:  We learned that a man under the influence of methamphetamine had wrought havoc on the area before disappearing into the wilderness with a long gun. Trails and campgrounds in the National Park were evacuated for three days, interrupting  many people’s trips. The man was located, and the park reopened, about an hour after we departed. Allegations as of time of writing this, according to a news article in the Sequim Gazette (September 14, 2021):  He assaulted his girlfriend, set a 1000 acre fire, cut down a tree to block the road, disabled a park service radio repeater, and tried to shoot down a surveillance drone. After a negotiated surrender, he was placed in custody. He had multiple weapons, ammunition, chain saws, survival gear, a letter announcing a revolution to begin soon, and a quantity of presumed methamphetamine in his possesion. He has many past domestic violence charges.

This crime event did not exactly ruin our trip, as we were able to find other options for hiking and seeing beautiful places, just not the places we had planned to see. We have become accomplished this year at making other plans, and making the best of unforeseen circumstances. We hope to return another year to see the high country.

More hiking in August, 2021: a witch’s castle, an artesian spring, and waterfalls

In addition to our walk at Nehalem Bay earlier in the month, we hiked three other days in August before going on our trip to the Olympic Mountains at the end of the month.

8-17-2021 – Wildwood Trail/Witches Castle

We added another 2 miles to our section hike of the Wildwood Trail.

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A five mile loop – Wildwood Trail to Birch Trail to Holman Lane

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The forest was dry and dusty today

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Balch Creek

This segment of the Wildwood Trail passes by the “Witches Castle”, formerly a visitor center, now a destination for various graffiti artists and partiers, and a colorful landmark in the green forest.

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Meanwhile, in the forest, harbingers of fall in the maple trees….

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We only have 5 miles remaining in our pandemic thru hike.

8-22-2021 – Dry Creek Falls

We returned to this short hike in the gorge with our visiting  daughter. And I noted that, while we were not in Iceland, we were looking at a waterfall and columnar basalts…

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Dry Creek

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Dry Creek Falls

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Columnar basalts

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Columnar basalts, vine maples and cedar branches

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Bridge on the PCT over Dry Creek

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There were a few colorful flowers and berries along the trail…

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Fireweed

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Penstemon

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Solomon seal

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And the evil poison oak, showing its fall colors

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A ghost tree along the path.

8 26-2021  Little Zigzag Falls and Little Crater Lake, Mt Hood

We planned to hike up high on Mt Hood today, but the cloud cover directed us otherwise.

Little Zigzag Falls – We’ve never stopped here before because the hike is so short – less than a mile round trip. This trail through beautiful green forest along a mountain stream will be a good one to keep in mind for visitors on the grand round-the-mountain tour.

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Remnants of the old Mt Hood Highway near the trailhead

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The trail follows along the edge of Little Zigzag Creek

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Little Zigzag Falls

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Rock-hugging tree at the top of the falls

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View upstream from the top of the falls

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Another view of Little Zigzag Falls

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Exposed tree roots near the falls

Little Crater Lake – This lake, south of Mt Hood, has long been on my ‘to visit’ list.

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The lake is an easy walk from the trail head.

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Little Crater Lake

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The true blue color…

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The lake is not actually a crater – it was formed by an artesian spring.

The blue clarity of the water is mesmerizing. I love the reflections. My little camera has a hard time catching the actually vibrancy of the turquoise blue, but none of the brighter blues here are exaggerated.

We continued to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail that follows the northern arm of Timothy Lake, where we found more lovely views and foliage.

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PCT to Timothy Lake

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Northern arm of Timothy Lake

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More reflections…

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We passed by Little Crater Lake again on our return hike – once again admiring the deep blue and the reflections.

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Little Crater Lake again

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Siltstone stratigraphy

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Reflections and abstractions

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I plan to return next spring when the wildflowers are blooming!

August 2021 – summer gardens, knitting an albatross, the wing and the wheel….

August turned out a bit differently than planned, as we had to cancel travel due to the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19. I celebrated another birthday, walked the neighborhood, ate lots of fresh garden tomatoes, knitted, sewed masks, enjoyed my daughter’s visit, and went on a few hikes (next post). 

Neighborhood and garden

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Summer roses

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Echinacea

 

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Shadows

 

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View to downtown from Alameda Ridge from the top of…

 

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the 38th Avenue stairs.

 

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Signs of support in the neighborhood…

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Water splashing in the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden.

 

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Harbinger…

 

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Puffy clouds in the evening sky,

 

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Half moon rising,

 

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Alpenglow

 

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Farmer’s market and garden bounty

 

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Birthday cupcakes and books

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Knitting and sewing

An Albatross –

I finished knitting an Albatross Chick, pattern by Rachel Borello Carroll. The face and legs are perfect, the body and wings a less accurate reproduction, but I love having the chick on my shelf.

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During our travels in New Zealand in February of 2020, we saw albatross chicks in their nests at the Royal Albatross Center in Taiaroa.

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Albatross, taken from the bird blind at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, February, 2020

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After we returned home, almost immediately into pandemic lockdown, I discovered the albatross chick Atawhai, who we probably saw on our visit, was live on camera 24/7 on the Albatross Webcam: https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds…

I spent many a moment of zen during this pandemic, watching Atawhai sitting in the beautiful landscape that we visited, the beaches we walked upon beyond. Atawhai fledged in September of 2020.

This year I have been watching the new season of albatross on the webcam. There is a new fluffy chick named Tiaki, who will also fledge soon. She is down to only a few fluffy feathers, and spends lots of time stretching her wings in the wind (wingspan about 3 meters!) One day in the next month, the wind and wings will catch together successfully, and she will fly off for a few years, somehow knowing how to dive into the water to get food, having never touched it before. And new chicks will be hatched in January. The photos here are screenshots from the Webcam.

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Other knitting and sewing: I finished two more hats for donation, and made new masks for my daughter.

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Not traveling

Our travel destination turned from orange to red the week before departure, so we will not be walking through the Mid Atlantic Ridge, not watching an active volcano in the twilight, not walking along the shores of a glacial lake with floating icebergs, or seeing the birds and marine life of the North Atlantic ocean. We thought we would be too early for northern lights, but I was looking forward to seeing the lopi yarn, the black sand beaches, all the recent volcanic features, and the many waterfalls….   I heard an interesting discussion about the ethics of making the choice to not get vaccinated, and whether people making that choice (excepting those with true medical reasons) should have consequences. I fall squarely on the side of yes they should, and not because my travel plans are delayed. People are dying, people are surviving with long term consequences. Everyone’s life has been interrupted, and will continue to be until herd immunity can be achieved. So yes, I think that those selfishly ignoring the science, unwilling or unable to evaluate all the misinformation out there for what it is (more divisive rhetoric from the right wing patriarchy), should be restricted in their ability to move through public spaces freely, especially when they won’t offer the courtesy of at least wearing a frigging mask! It is a public health emergency!

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RIP Nanci Griffith

We lost one of my favorite singer songwriters this month. I have been listening to her beautiful voice and poetry for more than 40 years, and will continue to listen. 

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There’s a pale sky in the east, all the stars are in the west
Oh, here’s to all the dreamers, may our open hearts find rest
The wing and the wheel are gonna carry us along
And we’ll have memories for company, long after the songs are gone.

Nanci Griffith – Wing and the Wheel

 

A walk on the beach – Nehalem Bay, Oregon

Nehalem Bay State Park, Oregon,   August 3, 2021

Too hot for hiking inland, we decided to drive out to the coast and walk the loop around Nehalem Bay spit.

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The green line is our track – about 5 miles round trip.

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Crossing the spit to the ocean beach.

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View north to Neahkanie Mountain.

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We are walking south, wind at our back, to the Nehalem Jetty.

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Equestrians on the tidal bars.

Most of the birds we saw were near the jetty.

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Nehalem Jetty

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The rock jetty was also a catch for sand and drift wood.

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Nehalem River north jetty

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Looking across to the south jetty and shore.

We found a lunch spot on the jetty with a wind shelter. After lunch, we crossed to the inland shore of the spit, and walked north along the Nehalem River/Bay, with different views and shore features, and the added advantage of being less windy.

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Mussels in the low tide zone.

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Looking back seaward

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Walking north along Nehalem Bay

Some of the marine life washed up in the low tide zone:

Continuing north along Nehalem Bay:

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Looking for clams.

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We enjoyed our day at the beach – fresh air, mountain and ocean views, a few birds.

On our return drive, we stopped at the highway overlook in Oswald West State Park, to look back at Nehalem Bay and the jetty. And to once again thank former Oregon governor, Oswald West, for claiming the beaches in Oregon as public land, in 1911.

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Looking south from Oswald West overlook

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Nehalem River Jetty

July 2021, a miscellany

July has been low key, with an episode of busyness near the end, when we had house guests and a long awaited wedding celebration of a good friend. Otherwise, I have been knitting, hiking, walking the neighborhood, growing  tomatoes, attending zoom and back yard knitting and book group meetings, and watching Le Tour de France and the Tokyo Olympics. And avoiding exposure to the Delta variant of Covid 19, so masking up in stores again, and keeping all contact with non household people as sanitary as possible. Sigh, but it must be done!

Knitting –

I finished a gnome, a charity hat and a pair of gift socks.

I finished the face embroidery on my albatross, and have another pile of works in progress:

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Albatross by Rachel Borello Carrol

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WIPS – Two hats, a pair of socks, a cardigan.

Neighborhood and Garden –

Hot dry days and colorful flowers.

Hikes –

Keeping pace with weekly hikes. Still avoiding weekends, and dodging heat. 

July 6 – Lookout Mountain, east of Mt Hood. Always enjoyable for the flowers and the views this time of year.

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Mt St Helens, from a blooming High Prairie, near the trailhead.

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Mt Hood from the summit of Lookout Mountain.

July 20 – Larch Mountain Crater – north of Mt Hood, a 7 mile loop that circles the top of Larch Mountain through very quiet green forest. At the top there are views to all the Cascades north and south:

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The quiet forest below the summit.

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Some of the views from Sherrard Point:

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Mt Hood

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Close up of Mt Hood

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Mt Jefferson through the haze.

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Mt Adams to the north, beyond the burn zone

July 15 and 28 – Wildwood Trail, Forest Park – We hiked two sections from the NW 53rd trailhead, and now have only 7 miles to go to complete the entire Wildwood trail, a pandemic aspiration.

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Dry and shady, Wildwood Trail near mile 10, July 15, 2021

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Two July hikes on the Wildwood Trail.

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Wildwood Trail near mile 8, July 28, 2021

A few of the flowers in the forest:

 

Other events: 

On to August….

NZ2020: Days 10 and 11, Walking the Kepler Track near Te Anau, lots of rain, and a film

February 3rd and 4th, 2020 – Te Anau, New Zealand. After returning from our Doubtful Sound cruise, we were supposed to go to Milford Sound. As described in my earlier post, we were experiencing extreme rain and flooding throughout Fiordland. Many roads were washed out. Our guides improvised some other adventures for us, based near Te Anau.

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Trail sign, locations of our next two hikes circled. The diagram shows how these lakes are interconnected to the huge hydropower scheme that ends up at Doubtful Sound, where we were the previous day.

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Yes, it rains!

February 3, 2020

After lunch, we zipped up our rain gear and set off on a 6 mile hike near the shores of Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Track.  We passed through beautifully green rainforest, and crossed a river that was swollen with runoff. We paused at Brod Bay on Lake Te Anau, our turnaround point, then walked back the way we came.

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Starting off on the Kepler Track in our rain gear.

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A swollen creek entering the lake.

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Brod Bay beach, turnaround point.

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Walking through the rain forest.

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Another view toward Te Anau across the lake.

February 4, 2020

The next morning, with rain still falling, and many surrounding roads still closed, we set off on a different stretch of the Kepler Track, this time along the Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut, a 7.5 mile hike.

We crossed the Waiau River bridge, above a swollen river.

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Waiau River

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One of the highlights was passing through a wetland near Spirit Lake, with amazingly colorful plantlife and beautiful reflections in the water. On a nicer day I could have spent a lot of time here playing with the lights and reflections with my camera. 

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Wetland side trip

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Spirit Lake, rain.

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We arrived at Moturau Hut, near Lake Manapouri, where we paused long enough to eat lunch. The rain continued to fall during our return hike, again through the lush and green rainforest.

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View from Moturau Hut to Lake Manapouri

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Rainforest trail with possum trap.

 

I took two pictures from the same vantage point, about three hours apart, that show how Waiau River still rising.

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9:20 am

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12:30 pm

Later that afternoon, after we had dried off, we visited a pub in the town of Te Anau, and then went to the Fiordland Cinema, and watched a film called Ata Whenua – Shadowland. The movie was made by some of the Lord of the Rings film makers, and included gorgeous cinematography and ethereal music depicting the beautiful Fiordland landscape that we could not see because of all the rain.

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Serious Jenga at the Redcliff Cafe.

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Another map of our Kepler Track hikes.

Meanwhile, our guides were creating a new agenda for the next day, an impromptu tour of Southland, since all the roads in every other direction were closed by flooding.

 

Six Hikes in June, 2021

We had six hiking days in June, all repeat hikes, so I am showing just a few highlight photos, and linking past posts for trail details.

  1. June 3 – Hamilton Mountain, WA, hike – I love this hike, however challenging (8 miles, 2200 feet), and always feel accomplished to have made the trek again, especially when I get to see the lovely Lewisia flowers on the upper switchbacks.

2. June 10 – Grassy Knoll, WA, hike – Another well loved hike. A bit rainy today, and on the early side for flowers blooming, but so green and lush along the trail!

3. June 17 – Saddle Mountain, OR, hike – We were here last month before the full bloom of the upper meadows, so hiked again on our way to an overnight at the Oregon Coast.

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Saddle and summit

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Pacific Ocean from the summit

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Washington peaks from the summit

4. June 18 – Oregon north coast beaches – We stayed overnight in the Tolvana area of Cannon Beach, with a lovely view of Haystack Rock beyond the parking lots.

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The next day we walked from Arcadia Beach and around Hug Point at low tide, to Big Barnacle Rock. We visited all our favorite landmarks from 30 years of visiting this stretch of beach nearly every summer, often staying for a week when our kids were young. So beautiful!

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The sphinx of Arcadia Beach guards the northern beaches,

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but we are heading south, along these open sands as the tide recedes.

We saw some birds and tide pool creatures:

Next we crossed over the old road carved out of Hug Point, passable at low tide.

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Looking south toward Arch Cape from Big Barnacle Rock – our turnaround point.

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North view, crossing back over Hug Point.

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Walking into the wind, sand rivers pelting our legs.

5. June 22 – Three Corner Rock – Another repeat hike. We were the only ones on the trail today. It was just shady enough in the forest to be comfortable.

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Our big surprise was the profuse bear grass bloom in the upper meadows below the rock. And almost no wind.

Views from near the summit (we didn’t scramble to the upper platform):

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Looking south – Mt Hood and the cell tower, and so much bear grass!

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St Helens, Rainier, Goat Rocks and Adams

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Mt Adams

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Mt St Helens

And a few more flowery views before heading down:

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6. June 30 – Thomas Lake to Rock Lake Mosquito chase – Indian Heaven Wilderness, WA – Why we thought we could out-smart the famous mosquitos of summer in Indian Heaven I do not know, except sometimes you have to find out for your self. Which we did.

There  was plenty of water (mosquito breeding grounds) in Indian Heaven.

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Thomas Lake

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Dee Lake

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Shooting stars, Heather Lake

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Vernal Lake in one of the meadows.

The highest trail section had snow patches, with marsh marigolds and avalanche lilies blooming nearby.

We made it to Rock Lakes, and sat long enough to devour our lunch as quickly as possible, while the mosquitos devoured us through our DEET sprayed clothing.

We had reached our tolerance point, so rushed back down the trail, stopping just long enough to notice Mt St Helens through the trees.

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We learned our lesson! There is not enough DEET in the world to make this a comfortable time in Indian Heaven. We will return in late summer or fall when the mosquitos are gone.