2019 review/2020 preview

High points for 2019 were two weddings, a reunion, and a graduation that gave us multiple opportunities for connecting with family and friends. We travelled to San Francisco, southern Connecticut, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado,and twice to Los Angeles.

I look at my intentions set for 2019, and I completed about half of them.  I have kept up with this blog (58 posts), though I know it is occupying time I might have previously spent quilting during late night inspiration sessions.

Hiking – 58 hikes, 289 miles, 51180 feet in elevation. Snowshoeing at Crater Lake, and hiking through the lush wildflower meadows of Mt Rainier were among our amazing experiences last year.

Knitting- According to Ravelry I knit 3353 yards in 17 projects. I made a spectrum of items – hats, a headband, a shawl, a cowl, socks, slippers, fingerless mitts, washcloths, a bib, a cup cozy, a peach and an acorn. I have found a weekly knit group, and I am so enjoying getting to know the other knitters.

Reading- According to Goodreads I read 75 books.

Quilting/sewing- Quilting is mostly in hibernation mode. I mended a lot of hiking pants and altered clothing that were no longer fitting well.

Health update- My health is good. My body has adapted to the acromegaly medications, and I have managed to beat back some of the metabolic issues that the excess growth hormone was amplifying before my diagnosis and surgery. I am maintaining a healthy weight, and hope to keep up with my husband as he heads into retirement.

2020 Plans- Retirement will bring more travel – I am pre-exhausted with the planning, but also looking forward to our upcoming adventures! We have New Zealand, Washington DC, and Italy on our calendar for next year.

I plan to keep up with this blog, though it may have gaps during travel times.

Crafting-  I hope to finish some of those languishing quilts, sew some clothing, set up my embroidery frame, and finish some scrap books that are done but for the writing.  And I have new yarn for three different knitting projects:

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Lows – I like to celebrate high points and the beauty in the world on my blog. There have been private losses this year as well. The low I feel it important to acknowledge is the dementor-like gloom of the political climate, the constantly ratcheted upward incivility and threats to democracy, my fear of impulsive ignorance and that someone wants to be the one to start world war three or some facsimile thereof. I return to this poem, found on a neighborhood poetry post last year, that expresses the optimism I try to feel going forward.

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Colorful holidays, and a visit to Eugene

Christmas week, 2019

Various Christmas trees, lights, candles and sweets:

We drove to Eugene for a day to visit family and walk along the Willamette River.

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Leaving Portland via the Macadam Bridge.

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Dense fog in the Willamette Valley.

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Sunny skies and lunch at the Public Market in Eugene.

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View upriver from the Peter DeFazio Bridge.

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Downstream view- a heron, and the Ferry Street Bridge.

Four of the twenty four American Nobel Peace Prize Laureates that are honored in the Peace Plaza at Alton Baker Park.

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Downstream view from the Ferry Street Bridge.

Knitting

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I  finished the Rafa’s Hat for my son after he tried it on – thankfully it fit and he wore it for the rest of the day.

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I unsuccessfully searched my button collection for buttons for the Meris cardigan.

Christmas Eve at Dry Creek Falls, and knitted ornaments

December 24, 2019, Cascade Locks, Oregon

A foggy day – a good time to head into the forest. The trailhead park at the Bridge of the Gods was decorated for the holidays. We hiked in the other direction, south on the Pacific Crest Trail, and up hill away from the Columbia River. It is about 2.5 miles to this lovely waterfall that pours over a columnar basalt cliff. We had it to ourselves for lunch and a photo session. Then back down the trail, back to town, to finish up some elf work.

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Bridge of the Gods trailhead

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Into the foggy forest that is scarred by the 2017 fire.

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Dry Creek just below the waterfall.

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Dry Creek Falls

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Closer views:

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Still foggy on the cliffs as we drive home.

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Hike #58, 5.5 miles, 1050 feet

Back home, I baked a few cookies, wrapped a few presents, and constantly rechecked the airline website as our daughter’s flight from DC was on a long delay. She eventually arrived about 1 am. Her visit for the week is the best present!

Knitted ornaments

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I made a little acorn for my friend’s tree – a last minute project. I collected the acorn caps last year after seeing some knitted acorns on Ravelry. It was a very quick project, using a bit of scrap yarn.

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A knitting group friend gave us all ornaments that were knitted by a mouse.

 

Up the Labyrinth and down Coyote Wall in fog and sun

12/13/2019  Coyote Wall, Washington

Once again we drive through the foggy, rainy Columbia River Gorge to the east side of the Cascade Mountains…

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Rainbow over White Salmon, from the Hood River Bridge.

Once again, we walk along Old Highway 8, parallel to the Columbia River…

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Look Lake reflections.

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Columbia River, Oregon beyond.

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Geese on those rocks above the river.

Once again we hike up the winding trails of The Labyrinth, through layers of shifting fog.

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Red Oregon grape along the trail.

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Labyrinth waterfall

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Fog ahead

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My favorite oak grove

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The sun is trying

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Mt Hood’s flattish top peaking in and out at us as we go higher.

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Our favorite landmark tree viewpoint – one moment in the fog, 

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then clear skies for a while.

Once again we hike higher, then across Atwood Road to the sudden cliff edge of Coyote Wall.

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Cliffs of Coyote Wall are just beyond the oak tree

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Coyote Wall, Look Lake, Columbia River.

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Looking north to the upper slopes of Coyote Wall.

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Eastern Columbia River Gorge.

Once again we hike down the ankle breaking bike trails, one called the Crybaby trail, while the fog layers shift and disperse.

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East view from Old Ranch Road

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Looking back up the wall, fog descending again.

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Summer parsley.

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Looking East toward the Rowena orchards.

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Almost back to the Coyote Wall trailhead.

(Hike #57, 7 miles, 1500 feet)

Knitting…

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Button bands on the Meris cardigan done; and about two thirds of a Rafa Hat.

Oaks Bottom, a rainbow, and a knitting update

12/8/2019  Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

We went for a quick walk around the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Portland. The last time here I was in the slow walk mode, recovering from my pituitary surgery. Today we walked briskly along – not too many birds out, but a nice dryish respite from the rainy days behind and ahead. (Hike #56, 3.1 miles, 100 feet)

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Oaks Bottom

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Bald eagle on a perch in the Willamette River.

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Neighborhood

Lots of rain, and a rainbow…I am looking forward to the solstice.

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Knitting

I finished a foxy bib for a baby shower present,

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I put the thumbs on the mitts,

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and have finished the body and icord hem on the Meris cardigan; on to the button bands….

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Ridgefield birds, and darning success

11/30/2019  Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA

On a cold morning we walked the Oaks to Wetlands Trail in the northern unit – the best views are from the railroad bridge. (Hike #55, 2 miles)

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Swans in the lake…

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Frosty leaves

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Bird, oak galls.

We then drove the Auto Tour Route in the southern River ‘S’ unit and saw many more birds than were here in early October.

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View from the bird blind – swans and geese will be closer on the far side of the driving loop.

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Beyond the lake, a large flock of tall birds…

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Zooming in-

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sand hill cranes, a heron,

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and an egret.

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A great blue heron landed right next to the road.

Meanwhile, in the lake:

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Lots of geese and swans,

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and a black swan.

Knitting and the darning pile:

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Fingerless mitts – just need the thumbs. Malabrigo Arroyo in the Jupiter color way.

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Darned and depilled – three pairs of socks and a sweater!

Reflections and birds at Steigerwald Lake, WA

11/23/2019

This is the place we go to see upside down trees that don’t exist except as reflected imagery in water.

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Mt Hood beyond the lake.

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And birds. We enjoy spotting them in their home, though we are not true ‘birders’.

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Northern Harrier

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We saw this Great Blue Heron several times from different vantage points:

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Hiding in plain sight. I didn’t notice the heron in the middle of the picture until I was looking at my photos later.

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Green Heron

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Egret

Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge is in the early stages of a major overhaul. Dikes to the Columbia River will be breached, the lake will be enlarged, and wild salmon will return to the streams in the surrounding hills. Trails will be rerouted. Today we see early work – large logs have been placed to provide underwater wildlife habitat throughout the area that will become the enlarged lake.

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Hike #54, 3.8 miles

Knitting, etc

Cold front in Portland this week, Thanksgiving supplies are in – I am chopping and baking and decorating for a small gathering.

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One pair of sock toes mended so far.

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Chocolate silk pie!

Rowland Wall, WA, and a Darning Pile

November 16, 2019

We left Portland’s dense fog behind as we drove through the Columbia River Gorge to Catherine Creek Recreation Area east of White Salmon, WA. The fog was lifting to the east. I  saw the wintering swans in Mirror Lake below Crown Point as we drove past.

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Driving east on I-84 toward Crown Point.

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Those tiny white dots are swans at freeway speed.

The upper reaches of the Catherine Creek area were still under fog as we hiked upward on the Rowland Wall trail.

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Fog above us.

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Orange oak trees, black volcanic rocks, golden grasses, Ponderosa pines, Rowland Lake.

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Rowland Pinnacle

The clouds rose higher as we zigzagged up the trail.

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Mt Hood in view as the clouds lift.

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A relic apple tree from some past life.

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Apples

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Blue sky!

We lost the trail when hiking here last year and returned the way we came. Today we lost the trail again, but we were close enough to the top to bushwhack our way up to Atwood Road.

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Lunch view – toward our starting point just beyond the Rowland Wall cliff.

After eating lunch with a stunning view of the land rolling away beneath us – river, cliffs, orchards of Mosier, we hiked down Sunflower Hill. At the edge of Rowland Wall, we saw the other end of the connecting trail we missed – we will find it next time! A story in every trail. Not many other people here today. We returned to Portland which was reported to be under cloud all day.

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Walking down Sunflower Hill,

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to the edge of Rowland Wall – reflections in Rowland Lake.

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Orchards of Mosier across the Columbia River.

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Mt Hood

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Another train

Pre wildflower bonus shot:

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Bitteroot foliage.

Hike #53, 5.1 miles, 1100 feet.

Knitting

I continue to make progress on my Meris Cardigan – but at three or four 300 stitch rows a day, it is slow going. That includes a little extra knitting when I have to find a dropped yarn over in the lace repeats. Meanwhile, I have isolated my Darning Pile – I hope I can show it finished by next week.

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Three pairs of sock toes, and a sweater with a few holes.

Tamawanas Falls, OR

November 10, 2019

I returned to this popular trail on the east side of Mt Hood with some trepidation, and conquered my fear. The last time I was here, in January of 2016, on snowshoes, my husband slipped over a cornice edge on the trail. He was rescued by some passing snowshoers, but then one of the rescuers slipped all the way down to the riverbank, and had to be rescued by Search and Rescue. I have avoided the trail ever since, even though it is not hazardous when snow free. I do love this trail – I saw my first Columbia Windflowers here one spring, and have enjoyed the hike many times. This day we were late for full fall colors, but saw yellow larches amid the evergreens.  (Hike#52, 5 miles, 800 feet)

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East Fork of Hood River, near the trailhead.

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First view of Tamanawas Falls.

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Lunch view, from the island in Cold Spring Creek at the base of the falls.

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We explored a bit higher on side trail to Elk Meadows, and have plans to go farther in the future.

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Yellow larches.

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Mt Hood from Highway 35 in the afternoon.

Knitting

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I finished the Spiral Cowl, and this biography of Edith Nesbit, a favorite children’s author.

Silver Falls again, knitting update, and the last of the Halloween witches

Silver Falls Loop Trail, November 1, 2019

Some fall colors still about, some frost in the canyon. Always lovely at Silver Fall State Park, Oregon. (Hike #51, 5 miles, 700 feet)

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South Falls

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Lower South Falls

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View from behind Lower South Falls

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Double Falls

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Middle North Falls

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Winter Falls

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Frost

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Knitting

I have knit past the joining on the Meris Cardigan, and the fit is good. The rows are long, so I will be at this for a while, knitting down the body.

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I also finished a striped dish cloth,

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and made progress on the Spiral Cowl.

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The last witches of Halloween