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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2018

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2014

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2018

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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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Late Summer Adventures Part 3 – Three Sisters, Oregon (18-40)

Rest Day    9-14-2018   Whychus River Overlook

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I slowly walked the easy one mile loop (#51) and contemplated distant views of mountains and close up views of the high desert forest. My legs were not up for much more today. Dan hiked down to the river and wandered there for a bit.

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Nearly flat trail through the Ponderosa forest

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Looking down to Whychus Creek

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Middle and North Sisters

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Mt Washington, Pole Creek Fire forest

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Rabbit brush

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Manzanita

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Manzanita bark

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Manzanita leaves

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“Little apples”

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Ponderosa

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Sage

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Sky

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Whychus Creek recovery team logo

 

Back in town I visited The Stitchin’ Post, a wonderful quilt store.

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Window display

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Window display

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I bought a small package of Australian-themed fabric.

On a related note, we enjoyed having a Double Wedding Ring quilt on the bed in our lodge room.

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Tam McArthur Rim    9-15-2018     (#52)

This trail provides another entrance point to the Three Sisters Wilderness, from the east toward Tam McArthur Rim along a ridge that leads toward Broken Top. We had hiked this trail in September two years ago on a clear day. Today we watched clouds cover the peaks, lifting occasionally for views. By the time we reached the top, a bitter wind was beginning to blow and the cloud cover was increasing. We didn’t stay long.

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Tam McArthur Rim and Three Creek Lake as seen from the trail

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Broken Top appears as we cross the upper plain

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Almost to the top, with Little Three Creek Lake below

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Middle and North Sisters from the End of Trail overlook

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Broken Top and South Sister from the overlook

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Closer view of the glaciers on Middle and North Sister

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All three Sisters, with clouds

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North view beyond Tam McArthur overlook. Pole Creek fire burn zone in the foreground; Black Butte beyond.

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Late blooming lupine

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Neon lichen

Lookback to our hike in September of 2016 to compare the views:

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Middle and North Sisters, September 2018

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In September 2016, on a clear day

We hiked about 5.5 miles/ 1200 feet today.

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Back to Dee Wright/Mckenzie Pass at sunset

We took our last opportunity this year to spend a little time at the lava lands of Mckenzie Pass – and one of my favorite places in the world. Despite the cold wind we wanted to see the sunset. The Sisters were still covered in clouds, but as the lowering sun streamed in from under the western clouds, Black Crater lit up a bright, ethereal red orange that seemed magical. To the west, the streaky clouds glowed pink and gold.

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Lenticular cloud over Mt Washington

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Black Crater at 7:01 pm

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Black Crater at 7:04 pm

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Clouds continue to hide North and Middle Sisters

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What North and Middle Sisters look like – from September 2016

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Sunset colors to the west

A fitting end to our late summer adventures – back to Portland tomorrow.

 

 

Cloud Cap and Timberline Trail, Mt Hood, Oregon (18-37)

Eliot East Moraine and Timberline Trail High Point     8/31/18       (Hike#46)

We have hiked here a few times. This is our first time taking the Eliot East Moraine trail along the crest of the moraine.

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Once up the steep sandy ascent to the crest of the moraine, there is a fabulous view to the Eliot Glacier, and the glacial valley below, the entire way to the Cloud Cap Shelter.

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Mt Hood and the Eliot Glacier

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Looking east to the high desert

I enjoy zooming in on the textures, crevasses, and steep edges of the Eliot Glacier and the rocky exposed top of Mt Hood in late summer.

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The moraine trail joins the Timberline Trail near Cloud Cap Shelter:

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Approaching Cloud Cap Shelter.

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Cloud Cap Shelter; Cooper Spur and Mt Hood beyond.

After visiting the Cloud Cap Shelter we continued south on the Timberline trail, up and down the wrinkles of the mountains’ flank, to the 7300’ high point of the trail. Clouds intermittently floated across the top of Mt Hood. We could see the faraway peaks of Mt Adams, Rainier and Jefferson above the blanket of clouds in the distance.

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The only snowfield we crossed this year.

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North view to Mts Rainier and Adams

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South view to Mt Jefferson, Lamberson Butte and the Timberline Trail continuing south.

By the time we retraced our steps north, the clouds had diminished.

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Cloud Cap Shelter again.

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The high desert beyond the clouds

We saw a marmot on the Eliot Moraine, and a blue bird on the Timberline Trail.

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marmot

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blue bird on the rock, Mt Adams beyond

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Not many flowers.

The rusty, red and yellow fall hues are beginning to color the vegetation on the rocky alpine slopes.

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6 miles, 1600 feet.

Lookback:

I like to review my photos from previous hikes to compare conditions. There was a lot more snow during our hike a month earlier last year.

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Mt Hood from Timberline trail, August 31, 2018

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Mt Hood from Timberline trail, July 28, 2017

And a lot more flowers, and a better view of the distant mountains last year.

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August 31, 2018

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July 28, 2017 – lupine, Mt St Helens, Rainier and Adams

CRAFTING

I cast on another round washcloth, and I have been swatching the Song yarn, trying decide what to make with it.

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We walked through the Art In The Pearl street fair on Labor Day and admired the beautiful artwork. This piece, by artist Kathy Ross, I found especially inspiring.

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Kathy Ross, artist, Art in the Pearl, Portland, Oregon, September 2018

 

Elk and Summit Meadows, Mt Hood, Oregon, and ‘Tour de Craft’ (18-29)

Elk Meadows trail  7/13/18 (Hike #41)

We started this hike on a hot day. The shade of the forest didn’t really take the edge off and my “condition” has been affecting me this week.

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By the time we started up the eight long switchbacks, about a mile and a half into the hike, I realized I was never going to make it to the top of the hill. We decided to turn back. I had been hoping to see bog orchids and gentians, but I did see the mountain blue bells for the first time this year.

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Lots of other flowers along the way:

Meanwhile, we braved the log crossing on the Newton Creek twice.

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Here is a “real” cairn doing a cairn’s job – marking the trail to the log crossing.

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Zooming in on Mt Hood’s Newton/Clark Glacier:

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Today we only went 3.2 miles, 500 feet. Last year we made it all the way to Elk Meadows and saw all the flowers.

Summit Meadows

We stopped and poked around in this meadow off the Trillium Lake road on our way home. We have skied or snowshoed this road a few times,

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November 2017

and always wondered what the meadows would look like in summer.

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I think we are late for the bigger bloom, as the paintbrush were faded, but the pink spirea along the road were lovely.

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Paintbrush

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Aster

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Spirea

I zoomed in on Mt Hood for a closeup view of the ski area above Timberline Lodge.

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Tour de Craft

I have only dabbled in spinning, so can’t really participate in the Tour de Fleece, but I do love to watch the Tour de France – for the views of France, and the drama and the stunning athletic effort that goes into these races. We DVR the coverage, then watch/fast forward through in the evening while I knit or quilt.

I have made a lot of progress on my Welcome quilt – I was planning to whip it together quickly, but I keep getting new design ideas….but that is the point for me – to play with the fabrics till I am satisfied and have learned something new by trying something new. Fun.

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And I finished the first Cornwall sock and cast on the second.

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Garden

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Some quilting! and Chinidere Mtn hike (18-26)

Quilting!

I started the Pinwheel Baby Quilt I am making for an expected family member.

Chinidere Mountain    6/22/2018     (Hike#38)

This trail starts at Wahtum Lake, on the upper end of the Eagle Creek fire zone. The area has been off limits since last September, but this particular trail recently reopened to public use. Connecting trails down Eagle Creek are still closed.

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6 miles/1200 feet

The trail immediately descends down 250 steps to Wahtum Lake.

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From the shore we can just see the rocky promontory that we are hiking to – Chinidere Mountain.

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(Photo taken on the return trip after the fog had lifted)

We continued on the Pacific Crest Trail around the east side of the lake, through an area with several hanging gardens and lots of flowers.  The Chinidere cutoff at about 2.5 miles switchbacks up the side of this rocky promontory that stands above the forest. When we arrived, the top was still covered in fog and a cold wind swept the spine of the mountain.

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Approaching the top

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Cliff penstemon

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Summit

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Flowers, fog, wind

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Mt Hood beyond the clouds

Just 10 feet away we could sit comfortably in the windless sunshine and enjoy our lunch, hoping for the clouds on Mt Hood to lift.

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Wahtum Lake from the summit

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Wahtum Lake after the clouds lifted

Below us to the north, we could see the mosaic burn of the upper part of the Eagle Creek fire.

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Brown areas burned by the Eagle Creek Fire

As we headed down the trail we walked out onto the ridge viewpoints to admire the wildflowers growing in the sunny rocky meadows and watched the clouds blow across Mt Hood.

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Lots of wildflowers today – lovely.

 

By the time we drove down the road the mountain was free and clear!

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Lookback:

On a clear day we could see all the volcanoes, north and south, from the top of Chinidere Mt.

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June 2016 – Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson

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June 2015 – Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams

 

 

Starvation Creek again (18-22)

Lower Starvation Loop Hike, June 10, 2018      (hike #36)

We did this hike in early May last year, in the rain, with rainbows, and with early spring flowers. This year it was still a bit rainy, but we managed to hike on a wet weekend when Mt Hood actually received more snow! We saw the late spring flowers – always interesting to see what blooms next. And our daughter, temporarily home from college before heading off for her summer adventures, joined us. I got to practice my uphill in a steep section, but the hike was much shorter than last week. And I don’t think my new treatment regimen gave me any setback at all, so Yay!  (3.2 miles, 800 feet)

Views from the high point:

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East – Columbia River and trailhead parking below

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North to Dog Mtn

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West, Wind Mtn, no rainbows this year

Cabin Creek crossing, a fairy glen:

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Photo shoot with Dad:

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Wildflower suite:

Wet foliage:

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lupine

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ferns

Waterfalls:

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Lancaster Falls

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Hole In The Wall Falls

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Cabin Creek Falls

Wildflower Lookback:

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May 2017 – monkey flower, rosy plectritis, blue eyed Mary and shooting stars in the meadow

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June 2018 – dry meadow

CRAFTING

I finished cross stitching the Elgol scene, and removed the guidelines.

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Next I will decide how to frame it. And get started on one of two new cross stitch projects waiting in the wings.

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I find the focused attention of counted cross stitching soothing these days. I also ordered fabric to make a baby quilt for our niece.