Cherry blossoms and snow in Portland, and a White River snow hike, March 2020

Cherry blossoms, Portland waterfront, March 11, 2020

We took our annual walk along the waterfront just as the cherry trees were beginning to bloom.

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View from the Burnside Bridge.

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Refections of clouds and trees in downtown buildings on this beautiful day:

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White River microspike hike, March 12, 2020

On a blue sky day we walked up White River toward Mt Hood. The snow was packed and not deep, so we could wear our micro spikes instead of snow shoes. We walked past our usual stopping point, up the snow covered moraine, to a closer viewpoint of Mt Hood.

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Walking along White River toward Mt Hood.

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View from our lunch stop – near where the Timberline Trail crosses the river under the snow.

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We walked to a high point on the moraine between the ridges.

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Closer view of Mt Hood.

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Zooming in on the peak – the black speck is a mountain climber.

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Dormant lupine and penstemon on the moraine.

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Wind patterns.

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Hike #32, 5.2 miles, 1000 feet.

Snow in Pdx, March 14, 2020

We had a few inches of snow that did not last long – but added a layer of white to the star magnolia blooms.

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I am posting from caronavirus social isolation. We are still allowed to go out walking and hiking as long as we keep our distance. Wishing all who read this patience and good health! There will be a lot of knitting going forward!

Hamilton Mountain, WA, and first knit socks of 2020

January 3, 2020 – Our first hike of the New Year was to Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We’ve been many times, usually to see the cliffs become hanging gardens in the spring. Today we had perfect winter hiking conditions – not too cold, a bit muddy, full waterfalls, clear views from the top.

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The first summit of Hamilton Mountain, as seen from the power line cut on the lower trail.

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Approaching the upper cliffs, eastern gorge beyond.

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Bonneville Dam, with Mt Hood appearing to the south.

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First view from the summit- Mt Adams glowing in winter white beyond Table Mountain.

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Wide view from the summit.

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Mt Hood to the south, in low winter light.

After lunch at the summit we continued the trail to the northern saddle/plateau –

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A last look back at Mt Hood.

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Western gorge, filling with mist and a painterly sky.

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Columbian lewisia foliage in the saddle.

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Crossing over a very full Rodney Falls on the return hike.

Hike #1 for 2020, 8.2 miles, 2250 feet.

Knitting

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First knit finish in 2020 – traveling socks that I started last May.

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!

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.

Return to Mirror Lake and beyond…

9/12/2019  Mirror Lake and Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, Mt Hood, Oregon

Our first time on the rerouted trail to Mirror Lake – the trail is slightly longer than before, but not as steep, and crosses several small streams on new bridges.

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Mirror Lake was popular on this not quite fall day.

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Tom Dick and Harry Mountain beyond Mirror Lake.

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Mt Hood reflected in Mirror lake.

We continued to the top of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, and enjoyed clear views of the Cascades north and south while eating our lunch.

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Mt Hood and Mirror Lake from Tom Dick and Harry summit.

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Mt Jefferson to the south.

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Panorama – St Helens, Rainier and Adams to the left of Mt Hood.

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Late summer glaciers of Mt Hood.

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Mt Hood in view on the descent.

There were a few scrappy wildflower blooms hanging on to their petals, and tinges of autumn on the vine maples and huckleberries.

Hike #43, 7.4 miles, 1600 feet.

Knitting

I pulled this sweater yarn out of the hibernating pile, measured and swatched a bit, and recast on….we’ll see how it goes.

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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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Late summer Gentians at Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

8/23/2019  Chinidere Mountain hike

The trail leads down to Wahtum Lake,

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Chinidere Mountain, our destination, on the skyline.

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Endemic cutleaf bugbane blooming along the lake trail.

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After crossing the log bridge at the lake outlet, our trail leads steeply up hill, eventually reaching the top of Chinidere Mountain, with views of five Cascade volcanoes.

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Mt Hood to the south,

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and Mt Jefferson on the horizon just to the right.

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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams to the north.

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The burned drainage of Eagle Creek, with Mt St Helens on the far right.

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Wahtum Lake below us to the east.

I was pleased to find many patches of Explorer’s gentian blooming along the trail and at the top of the mountain.

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Explorer’s gentian

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Previous hikes here earlier in the season had a different suite of flowers. Today we saw the later season flowers and berries: 

Other new and notable flowers:

Berries of late summer:

We found plenty of ripe huckleberries to supplement our lunch. We saw a few north and south bound PCT through-hikers, but not many other people on the trail today. It was a fairly perfect late summer hike.

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Hike #41, 5 miles, 1200 feet

Spinning

I finished plying the last of my Tour de Fleece yarn. I am planning to try Easter Egg dye on this yarn – stay tuned for updates.

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Signs of Fall in the neighborhood

Finally some knitting! And two new hikes…

Flyway Twist Shawl

This shawl has been delivered to it’s recipient, so I am happy to share the pictures! The solid yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Reflecting Pool colorway. The real star of the show is the Fully Spun colorful gradient called ‘Voices in My Head’. It was fascinating to knit with the gradient, watching the colors emerge and play against the teal backdrop. The brioche section in the middle adds variety to both the look and the knitting experience. The pattern is by Veera Valimaki, and is easily obtained on Ravelry.

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Salmon River Trail 8/12/2019

We hiked with friends on a flat easy trail where we could enjoy a shady beautiful setting with lots of time to chat. This was my first time hiking this trail, near Welches on Mt Hood, and I can see why it is often recommended.

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Salmon River from the trail.

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Hike #39 – 4 miles/200 feet

Cheater hike on the Timberline Trail, Mt Hood Meadows 8/15/2019

I would like to walk all of the 40 mile Timberline Trail around Mt Hood. This is a section I hadn’t done yet.  We rode the Mt Hood Meadows chair lift up 700 feet of elevation (thus, cheating) then began walking north along the trail, as far as Clark Creek. Beautiful flowers, creek crossings and wildflower meadows along the way.

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Our cheating enabler – the Stadium Lift

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Looking back as we silently rise – Mt Jefferson and a hint of the Sisters.

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Aster and goldenrod meadows along the Timberline Trail.

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Several small, easily crossed creeks along the trail.

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We eventually reached views of ‘Pea Gravel Ridge’, a glacial moraine just beyond Clark Creek.

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Pea Gravel Ridge

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Downstream view of a branch of Clark Creek.

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Upstream view toward a waterfall on Clark Creek.

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Mt Hood, summer view

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Glaciers

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We then retraced our steps and walked south along the Timberline Trail until it began to descend through the woods to the White River crossing – we’ll save that for another day. We passed through beautiful meadows, under ever-present ski infrastructure and views of the mountain. We walked the mile and a half and 700 feet down to the trailhead instead of going back to the chairlift, so we only ‘cheated’ one way.

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Clark Creek

 

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Asters, paintbrush, goldenrod, false hellebore, with ski lift.

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Mt Jefferson, and a very hazy view of the Three Sisters from the trail.

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Tall cotton grass, aptly named, in this moist meadow.

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The Timberline Trail continues down through the forest to White River, but we turned back.

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GPS track (with some wandering points). Hike #40, 6 miles/1000 feet.

New or notable flowers:

Revisiting haunted trees on Vista Ridge, and winning the Tour de Fleece

Vista Ridge to Wy’East Basin on Mt Hood, July 25, 2019

We like to hike Vista Ridge on the north side of Mt Hood at least once a year. I posted previous reports from 2017 in June before full snow melt, 2017 in August, and 2018 in August.

Today was hot going through the burned trees, but I found a few old and new ghost friends along the way:

Eventually we made it to the blooming alpine meadows of Wy’East basin.

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Barrett Spur and Mt Hood

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Looking north toward Mts Rainier and Adams

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After lunch we continued hiking above the basin to a remnant snowfield, and a view over to the other side of the mountain.

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Snow surface covered with debris

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Looking over the lip of the moraine to Mt Hood and MacNeil Point.

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View north from our high point – Wy’East Basin, Dollar Lake Fire scar, Washington Cascade peaks.

Hike #33, 7.7 miles, 1700 feet.

Flowers of note:

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Fleabane just beginning to bloom.

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Pasque flowers – an all-time favorite!

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Tour de Fleece Podium

I finished spinning, plying and setting the brown fiber:

I have made headway on this white fluff:

Version 2I spun while cheering on the superhuman athletes who propel themselves on bicycles for 21 days! So many ways to win in Le Tour de France – jerseys, stages, sprints, mountain tops, combatitiveness, even a red lantern for the last place finisher, and I feel I have won too, by spindling every day. I am looking forward to adding more spinning to my crafting time.

 

 

A trail carved out of the edge of the sky….

7/12/2019 – East Glacier Trail and Timberline Trail, beyond Cloud Cap on Mt Hood, OR

Walking above Cloud Cap on a blue sky day, the same hike we did last year in August.

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Beyond the ridgeline of the Eliot East moraine, Mt Hood rises another 5000 feet.

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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams on view to the north.

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We walked up the crest of the moraine another 1000 feet.

Close-ups of the glaciers from our lunch stop:

Continuing south beyond Cooper Spur shelter, to the trail high point::

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Cooper Spur Shelter

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meltwater

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Cascade peaks to the south: Broken Top, the Three Sisters, Mts Washington and Jefferson.

As we headed back, clouds began collecting and spinning around the peak, 4000 feet above us.

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Another glacier closeup.

It almost seemed like I could step up into the sky….

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northbound

A few flowers for the day…

Dwarf alpine flowers and trees, butterflies, rocks, glaciers, meltwater creeks, sublimity. Hike #31, 6 miles, 1650 feet.

Driving down the many switchbacks through the burn zone – white on white.

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beargrass, burned forest, clouds

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Mt Adams beyond