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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Two Columbia Gorge Hikes and more witches in PDX

Tom McCall Point 10/21/2019

Beautiful fall colors on a trail we usually hike during spring wildflower season.  Hike #48, 4 miles, 1050 feet. A few comparison photos:

We are going to the top of Tom McCall Point:

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October 2019

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May 2017

Looking west toward the Memaloose Hills from the trail:

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October 2019

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April 2016

Looking northeast across the Columbia River to the Lyle Cherry Orchard where we hiked last week:

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October 2019

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April 2019

Oak trees:

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October 2019

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April 2019

And a few lingering  fall wildflowers:

Angel’s Rest 10/24/2019

Another favorite hike with outstanding views! Hike #49, 5 miles, 1500 feet.

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Coopey Falls

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Fall reflections in Coopey Creek

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Angel’s Rest –  our destination.

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Eastward view of the Columbia River; Mt Adams peeking above the Washington Gorge topography.

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Closer view of Mt Adams.

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Western view of the Columbia River.

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Trees in the burn zone – 2017 Gorge Fire.

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Heading down on a beautiful fall day.

Neighborhood walk and more witches!

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First fall for this new black tupelo

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Back to the sky/some sewing

8/31/2019 Cloud Cap/Timberline Trail High Point

We returned with friends to this same trail near Cooper Spur on Mt Hood that we hiked in July. Fewer flowers, less snow, still the sky, the swirling cloud cap, the views afar, the plans formulating to complete the Timberline Trail loop someday. Hike #42, 6 miles, 1650 feet.

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Once attaining the crest of the East Eliot Moraine, the Washington Cascade Peaks are on view to the north,

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and Mt Hood is ahead to the west.

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Low growing buckwheat, lupine and yarrow.

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Later in the day, clouds forming on the mountain, knotweed in the foreground showing fall colors already.

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My hiking companions resting near the Timberline Trail high point.

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And, almost back to the trailhead, high desert beyond.

Lookback: A couple of photos comparing snow levels with mid-July:

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View up the Eliot today, 8/31/2019.

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View up the Eliot seven weeks ago, July 12, 2019

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View to the south, toward Lamberson Butte and the Timberline Trail crossings, today.

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Similar view seven weeks ago.

Some sewing

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Two pairs of sleep shorts.

And a random Portlandia street art scene:

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A few days in Paradise…

Mt Rainier National Park, August 5 – 9, 2019

For my birthday my dear husband planned a visit to Paradise at the height of wildflower season. We stayed in the newly refurbished Paradise Inn, authentically both rustic and lavish, perched at 5420 feet above sea level, and 8990 feet below the top of Mt. Rainier. We hiked many trails in the area from Monday evening to Friday morning, alternately focusing on the incredible wildflower blooms at our feet, and the massive  glaciers looming above us on the slopes of this active volcano. We had sunny days – it was almost too warm on the shadeless trails above timberline. On Thursday the clouds rolled in below us, and we watched their flowing patterns throughout the day. I took more than 700 photos on three long and four shorter hikes. My knees and toes held out admirably. We mostly ate out of our ice chest and suitcase pantry, but had one lovely meal at the restaurant. There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonder – but John Muir’s words, carved into the stairs leading to the mountain from the Visitor’s Center, come close.

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Paradise Inn

We were lucky to have a room with a view of the Tatoosh Range, immediately to the south.

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Looking down from the trail at Paradise Inn and the Tatoosh Range.

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Sunset view from our window.

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Paradise Inn and Mt Rainier from Paradise Valley Road.

Hiking Highlights:

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Hikes #34 -38, 28.8 miles, 4520 feet

August 5th – Alta Vista – An evening walk with picnic dinner at this amazing viewpoint:

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Mt Rainier

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Across Paradise Park, preview of the Golden Gate Trail.

August 6 – Pebble Creek and Panorama Point via Golden Gate and Skyline Trails

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Edith Creek in Paradise Park

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Tatoosh Range from the Golden Gate trail.

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The lower humps in front of Mt Rainier are our destination.

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Snow and pasque flowers along the Skyline trail.

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Tiny people on the overlooks ahead.

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A peek over the ridge to the barren, recently glaciated valley to the east, where the Paradise Glaciers have receded.

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Lunch view, below us – Panorama Point, Paradise Park and Inn, Tatoosh Range.

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Nisqually River and highway bridge.

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Our high point – Pebble Creek. People planning to summit the mountain will camp at the Muir Snowfield on the high ridge above.

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Mt Rainier from Pebble Creek crossing.

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Looking down on the anastomosing trail system above Paradise Inn.

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We walked to Myrtle Falls in the evening.

August 7 – Lakes Loop – We hiked downhill from Paradise Inn, past Reflection Lakes, then back up to the Skyline Trail. The ranger assured us the wildflowers along the return hike were incredible, and that was an understatement!

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Another morning in Paradise!

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Our reflections in a stream crossing.

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Small waterfall along the way, in the shady forest.

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Reflection Lake, a little too much breeze for the reflection today.

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Hiking back up – lunch view of Reflection Lakes and Stevens Canyon from Faraway Rock.

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Small reflective lake along the trail.

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As we entered the meadows along the ridge, the wildflowers were stunning,

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and continued to be so for a couple of miles!

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I am out of words to describe amazing wildflowers at this point, but they do help to pull me along the trail when I get tired.

August 8 – Deadhorse, Glacier Moraine and Glacier Vista trails – This was a lower mileage, less elevation day. We found a bit of solitude on the Glacier Moraine trail, and more amazing flowers, including some marshy, wetland species we hadn’t seen yet.

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The clouds rolled in overnight, and stayed all day at about 5000 feet, so we hiked above the clouds most of the day.

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Mt Rainier had a few cloud caps coming and going.

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Lush stream meadows along the Deadhorse Trail.

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The Glacier Moraine trail leads to a viewpoint on the Nisqually Glacier Moraine.

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Neon moss, monkey flowers, saxifrage, etc. along the damp slopes.

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We are headed to the lip of the moraine.

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Panorama of my view – can’t begin to take it all in!

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I am sitting on the edge of the moraine, overlooking the Nisqually Glacier.

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Dan taking the above photo of me as the fog creeps up the Nisqually Valley beyond him.

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The fog stayed at about that level all day.

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Zoomed view of Stevens Peak in the Tatoosh Range, and the Goat Rocks beyond.

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After dinner we walked the Nisqually Vista trail.

August 9 – Christine Falls – On our way out of the park on Friday morning, we took the short hike to the bridge over Christine Falls.

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Christine Falls

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Longmire.

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Old gas pumps at the Longmire Visitor’s Center

Glacier Closeups:

Nisqually Glacier – a river of ice.

Waterfalls:

Top of the Mountain:

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Wildlife

We saw several marmots, deer, and various birds as well as the usual marauding chipmunks.

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Marmot eating marsh marigolds near the top of the Gold Gate trail.

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Marmot at a stream crossing on the Glacier Moraine trail, dwarfed by the Mountain above.

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Marmot, Mt Rainier

New or notable Wildflowers

So many flowers! I tried to note all that I could identify – at least 65 different types, but I am no expert in discerning the many varieties of some of these:

In all this was a fabulous trip! We had nearly clear views of Mt Rainier during our entire stay. We didn’t move our car all week. No internet or cell service away from the Visito’s Center. I am so appreciative of the National Park Service, and laws that preserve our national treasures such as Mt Rainier!

And a brief Look Back…

In 1995, when our boys were two and six years old, we spent a long September weekend with my Mom at Paradise. She loved the mountains, and this was her first chance to visit Mt Rainier. She was 71 years old, and not in hiking shape of late, so was proud of herself to make the three mile hike to Glacier Vista overlook, helping to guide our two young ones more than 1000 feet up the trail. This was a couple of years before macular degeneration, and then later, ALS. I thank her for taking us hiking and camping in our youth, even after our father died and she was on her own with nine children. I remember her naming the flowers – paintbrush and lupine and aster, in Tuolumne Meadows. She was a wonder woman, and I wish she was here to wish her a Happy 95th Birthday today! I hope there is chocolate cake on the other side!

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Someone turned on the waterfall! June Lake and Chocolate Falls, Mt St Helens, July 4th, 2019

We went with good friends to the June Lake Trail northeast of Cougar, Washington, on the south side of Mt St Helens. Image 7-4-19 at 10.33 PMThe walk to the lake is easy, with flowers blooming along the way, and magical mirror reflections at the lake.

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June Lake

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Mirror reflections

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View to the waterfall across the lake.

In February 2016 we snowshoed to this spot – a couple of comparison look back views:

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June Lake and waterfall, July 4, 2019

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June Lake and waterfall, February 20, 2016

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July 2019

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February 2016

Today we continued beyond June Lake, up a steep ridge, to the Loowit (around the mountain) Trail, and walked east for a ways.

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Beargrass blooming at the edge of a lava flow along the trail.

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Large trees

We turned back west to visit the elusive Chocolate Falls. Our well traveled companion had never ‘seen’ the waterfall, although he had been there a few times. We arrived at the horseshoe shaped cliff, but there was no waterfall.

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Dry lip of Chocolate Falls, 2:44 pm.

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The waterfall is now “on”, 2:46 pm.

Then some nearby hikers noticed water beginning to flow in the channel above the cliff, and lo and behold, a couple of minutes later, water was plunging over the cliff through a well-worn, polished slot in the cliff edge.

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Looking upstream at the channel.

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Narrow but steady stream of Chocolate Falls

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Looking down at the polished slot at the lip of Chocolate Falls.

The snow fields on the mountain above had warmed enough to send fresh meltwater down the channel. Apparently this is a documented phenomenon here. To us it was a surprise, like a rainbow or a special wildlife sighting – a serendipitous moment of grace and beauty.

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Mt St Helens remained slightly cloud covered, with partial views. The temperature was perfect. Our plan to take the loop trail back to June Lake for the return hike also offered a ‘surprise’. This connector trail is really only a good option in the winter, on snowshoes or skis, when the lava flow boulderfields are snow covered. It took us almost an hour to navigate the half mile connecting trail, and we were very happy not to have twisted an ankle or knee in the process.

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Picking our way across the lava flow.

The unexpected elements, the waterfall and the boulder field, added to our adventures on a day suited to celebrating our nation’s commitment to protecting our wilderness areas! (Hike #30, 7.5 miles, 1500 feet)

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Mt St Helens from the south.

New or notable wildflowers today:

Knitting:

I have seamed and added the top edging to Le Petit Sac, and knit the icord strap.

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Wahkeena-Multnomah Loop After the Fire – A Glorious Wildflower Explosion Amidst the Blackened Trees…

June 6, 2019  – Wahkeena-Multnomah Falls Loop

This area was burned by the Eagle Creek Fire of September 2017. The trails above the waterfalls were closed for over a year, then have been reopened and closed periodically since fall 2018. Instability along the trail, falling trees and sliding slopes have been valiantly repaired by our intrepid trail keepers. The trails were open today. We hiked up Wahkeena Creek and down Multnomah Creek. Much of the understory removed by fire has returned as lush greenery. It was a beautiful hike on a beautiful day, and there were sooo many flowers!!! Of course, by the time we circled back around to Multnomah Falls there were also sooo many people, but most don’t  go above the Benson Bridge. I enjoyed my first foray back onto these trails. (Hike #26 for 2019, 5 miles, 1600 feet)

Wahkeena Trail

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Approaching Multnomah Falls from the parking area.

We started by climbing past Wahkeena Falls, and up several hanging garden switchbacks to  Lemmons Viewpoint:

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Tiger lily blooming near the viewpoint.

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View across the Columbia River

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View upriver to Beacon Rock

The trail continues up Wahkeena Creek beyond Fairy Falls and onto the ridge between the drainages:

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Fairy Falls

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Millions of candy flowers line the burned forest floor.

The next section of trail, along the upper ridgecrest, has always felt very special to me – a quiet flat trail in the deep forest, high on a steep ridge above the river – immensely peaceful and idyllic. My first time through after the fire was trepidatious, but the trail retains it’s magical quality. Despite the scorched trees and more open view, the feeling of peace remains. These trees will all come down at someday. Today I marvel at the explosion of flowers the extra sunlight has nurtured.

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A couple of comparisons from a June 2014 Hike:

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2019

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2014

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2014

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2019

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View downslope to the river.

From here, the trail crosses a couple of flowery drainages before heading down to Multnomah Creek:

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Larkspur ahead!

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Arnica and columbine

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Arnica, bleeding heart

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Columbine, iris, bleeding heart

Multnomah Creek

The trail passes several waterfalls along Multnomah Creek:

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New sign, burned sign

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Multnomah Creek

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Flower lined trail

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Monkey and candy flowers

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Ecola Falls

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Wiesendanger Falls

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Dutchman Falls

A side spur leads out to the viewpoint at the top of Multnomah Falls (where the crowds of people begin):

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The top of falls viewpoint

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Looking straight down the falls

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View of the parking area, river and beyond

A dozen or so paved switchbacks lead down to the trailhead. Lots of people and flowers along the way:

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Rebuilt rock wall along the trail

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Burned trail post

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Approaching the Benson Bridge

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Looking down to the view plaza from the bridge

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Multnomah Falls from the view plaza

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Looking back from the approach area

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Burned trees along the ridgeline

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Trailmap

More flowers:

Happy New Year 2019!

First Hike of the New Year: Ferry Springs Trail, Deschutes River State Park, Oregon – January 5, 2019 

We did this same hike almost exactly one year ago – January 6th, 2018.  It was a beautiful day with blue sky and long reaching views. Today, was a cloud covered day with no actual rain. We saw the effects of the July 2019 Substation Fire that burned both river banks for about 20 miles upstream from the park.

There was a bald eagle near the trailhead, but it flew off as I watched it.

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Bald eagle near the trailhead.

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Bald eagle – the white tail visible in the center of the photo, flying downstream.

Our trail started along the river, through riparian vegetation, but then we crossed the fire line and saw before us nearly completely denuded and blackened landscape through which grass in now emerging, a green/black palette. In some ways it reminded us of the highlands of Scotland.

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From dry grass to burn zone, though the bench is intact, as were the other benches along the lower trail.

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We passed below, then above the arch as the trail looped back north and uphill towards Ferry Springs.

 

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Looking up at the arch.

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Looking down through the arch.

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I was looking forward to resting on the bench on the upper trail, but it was burned. 

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Lookback: Two views from the Upper Trail toward the mouth of the Deschutes River and Columbia River. In 2018 we were walking through dry grass. This year, the edge of the burn is well defined.

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January 2018, pre-burn

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January 2019, post fire

After crossing Ferry Springs, we headed back to the trailhead, looking down at the fire scars along the way.

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This wooden gate survived, though the area around was scorched.

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Looking back upriver.

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The dry waterfall

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More scorched earth, then back to dry grass.

This landscape is renewed by fire. I don’t think all the green grasses emerging are native grasses, but we did see new growth on some of the native plants. It will be interesting to return next year to see what happens. (5 miles, 560 feet, Hike #1 for 2019)

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A yellow composite flower

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New foliage on burned shrubs.

Crafting

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Cross stitch of Jane Austen’s house – I just need to add the windowpanes and french knot flower centers.

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I finished the second sock, now I have to find the place in the stripe sequence that will match the place where the knot was in the first sock.

Other Adventures 

It has been a busy couple of weeks of the New Year, winding down from the holidays, and getting my daughter and her things sent back to college. I note that today is one year exactly since my surgery. I am adjusting to all my new medications, and am healthier for not having excess growth hormone secretly running around in my body and creating future problems. I am grateful for my recovery. My husband has just stepped down to half time work, with full retirement planned for a year from now. Thus we will likely have many more hikes and adventures in the years to come, including having just booked a hiking trip in New Zealand for a year from now! I am used to hiking at my own pace, but I will need to increase the difficulty of my hikes as the year goes on to prepare for the trip. A good goal, one of many, for 2019. (2019-1)

 

Memaloose Hills Hike, and Christmas (18-59)

Memaloose Hills Hike, Oregon 12/27/2018

We went east through the gorge again to the sunny Memaloose Hills, and walked 3.2 miles, 600 feet, through the dormant winter landscape. (Hike #65 for 2018). This area is known for abundant wildflowers in spring.

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View north, with a peak at Mt Adams, from the upper trailhead on old highway 30.

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Ponderosa bark

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Trail up to the lower viewpoint.

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Chatfield Hill – our upper destination

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Dan heading up Chatfield Hill in the dormant winter.

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Same view in springtime….

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View to the east and lower viewpoint.

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View to the west from the top

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Northern view toward Mt Adams

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Mt Adams

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Mt Hood

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An apple tree and Mt Adams, on the return hike.

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Apple tree

Dalles Dam

Another hiker reported seeing bald eagles at the Dalles Dam, so we drove to the Visitor Center to see them. We walked some of the paths in that area and saw interesting views of the infrastructure, but no bald eagles.

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Under the freeway bridge

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Looking toward the dam

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A dusting of snow in the hills

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Mt Hood in the distance

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Zooming in – Mt Hood and The Dalles.

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Bald eagles should be here

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Fishing platforms

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Another westward view in the low winter light.

Driving Landscape Views

I snapped photos from the freeway as we drove back through the gorge. There are great views of our hiking spots on the Washington side of the Columbia River, and I thought I did fairly well at freeway-speed photography!

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Lyle Cherry Orchard

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Lyle, Washington

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Catherine Creek

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Rowland Wall

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The slope above Coyote Wall

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Coyote Wall

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Coyote Wall

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Snow dusting the black-fringed cliffs above Cascade Locks

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Corbett Point

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Closer view of Vista House

Knitting

I knit a star ornament for my friend who has made the costumes for a local production of Mary Poppins, I finally finished seaming the Ivy Cardigan, and I finished another round washcloth.

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Mary Poppins Star

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Ivy Cardigan

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Wash cloth

Christmas

Lovely quiet Christmas with family and friends.

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Our tree.

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My only new ornament – from the Jane Austen Museum in Bath, England.

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Viburnum in my garden

 

 

Return to Angel’s Rest (18-53)

Angel’s Rest Trail, Oregon   November 24, 2018

A few trails in the Columbia River Gorge that have been closed since the September 2017 Eagle Creek Fire were reopened for the first time this past weekend. We went to Angel’s Rest on Saturday morning, along with hundreds of other local hikers. It was with care, scrutiny, appreciation, and gratitude that we made our way up 1500 feet to the iconic views over the gorge. The trail was in great shape, thanks to the many trail keepers who have worked on recovery.

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Into the woods

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Views of Cape Horn, the Columbia River and Phoca Rock emerge on the lower trail.

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Coopey Falls

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Angel’s Rest – our destination.

The trail begins to switchback up the front of Angel’s Rest.

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Burned tree trunks and open views line the trail.

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First view west toward the trailhead.

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Well repaired trail surface next to blackened trees.

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Blackened stump.

Nearing the top, the views unfold:

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To the west, from near the top.

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The Hilary Step of Angel’s Rest – leads to the ridge crest. Sometimes there is a line of hikers waiting to go up or down.

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From the top, looking toward the overlook where many rest.

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Open view west – toward Portland, Cape Horn in Washington and Phoca Rock.

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Open view east – toward Hamilton Mountain in Washington.

We wandered around on top for a while, admiring the view from various perspectives, and found a place to eat lunch.

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Closer view of Cape Horn in Washington.

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The bench is still there.

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We saw a single blooming white yarrow near our lunch stop.

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Yarrow

We headed down, stopping for a few more views along the way.

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Looking back toward the top, where the first views are seen.

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My shadow in the low November light.

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My favorite sculpted shoreline of the Columbia River.

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View through the rock piles.

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Seasonal berries

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Trees that are burned, dying, no longer evergreen.

Looking back as we hiked down:

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Where we were – and much more visible with all the undergrowth burned away.

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White berries lined this part of the trail – not sure what they are – possible snowberries, or the dreaded poison oak.

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Golden Hike of the year, #62, 5.2 miles, 1500 feet.

Look back:

I found a couple of comparison photos from previous hikes – this one in January of 2013:

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January 2013 – the white tree trunks are left from a fire in 1991.

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November 2018 – the white trunks are blackened, and the green trees are now dying.

A closer view:

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January 2013

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November 2018

An image taken in 2017 from Cape Horn looking over to today’s hike to Angel’s Rest.

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Angel’s Rest, October 2017, From Cape Horn, WA.

Pumpkin Pie

A lovely Thanksgiving dinner with a small gathering of family and friends.

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Knitting

Another round cloth. Some new sock and hat yarn acquired from my LYS on Black Friday.

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Jane Austen House Cross Stitch

I have been rather obsessively cross stitching in the evenings.

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Neighborhood

Leaves fully gone from the flame ash tree.

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Other Adventures

It has been about a year since I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. I had another trip through the MRI this week to evaluate the tumor surgery site, accompanied by a Joni Mitchell soundtrack in my head this time. Fortunately, all appears well. And I could see all three mountains from the OHSU tram view patio.

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Mt St Helens on the left; the top of Mt Adams just right of center on the horizon. Tillikum Bridge over the Willamette River on the right.

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Tillikum Bridge on the left; Mt Hood on the horizon – looking east from the OHSU tram patio.

Coyote Wall, WA (18-49)

As we drove toward Hood River to cross the bridge to the Washington side of the gorge, we noticed fire burning high on the slopes above White Salmon. We realized it must be a controlled/slash burn, not a wildfire, thankfully.

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Little Moab and Old Ranch Road Trails, November 3, 2018 (#60)

We walked up Coyote Wall about half way on an overcast day.

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Walking along Old Highway 8 to the trail up Coyote Wall.

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First view to the east – a different perspective on the fruit orchards east of Mosier from our Catherine Creek hike last week.

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Approaching one of the viewpoints over Coyote Wall on the Little Moab Trail.

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Looking over the wall and up. The sky is a bit smoky from the fire above White Salmon, just over the hill.

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We begin to see the shoulders of Mt Hood under clouds to the south.

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Junction of Little Moab and Old Ranch Road trails. We are headed up.

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Lunchtime view to the east

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Lunchtime view to the south

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Lunchtime view up Coyote Wall

We decided to head down, as the wind was picking up and blowing more smoke toward us. 4.3 miles, 1000 feet for the day.

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Looking back up to where we had been on Coyote Wall from the trail head.

Lookback:

Comparing fall and spring views:

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View to the east, October 2018

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April 2017

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View toward Mt Hood, October 2018

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April 2017

Knitting

I am blocking the Ivy Cardigan, and I finished another round dishcloth.

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Neighborhood

The fall colors have been a pleasure to walk through – my camera can’t quite catch them and yet I try.

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