Colorful holidays, and a visit to Eugene

Christmas week, 2019

Various Christmas trees, lights, candles and sweets:

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


Leaving Portland via the Macadam Bridge.


Dense fog in the Willamette Valley.


Sunny skies and lunch at the Public Market in Eugene.


View upriver from the Peter DeFazio Bridge.


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

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


Downstream view from the Ferry Street Bridge.



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


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

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)


Oaks Bottom



Bald eagle on a perch in the Willamette River.



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



I finished a foxy bib for a baby shower present,


I put the thumbs on the mitts,


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


Hiking to St Helens Lake / A Peek at Beatlemania and Halloween in Portland

St Helen’s Lake, Sunday, October 27, 2019

We hiked from Johnson Ridge Observatory in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument to the St Helens Lake overlook for stunning 360 degree views.  It was cold, but not too windy.


From the trailhead, Coldwater Peak is the highest point in view. St Helens Lake is tucked behind the ridgeline on the right, behind the arch.


Frost along the trail,


and Mt St Helens, herself.


Nearing our destination, nice view of Mt Adams and Spirit Lake.


One last ridge to traverse.


Lunch view and turnaround point – St Helens Lake. Mt Rainier, about 40 miles away, peeking over the ridgeline of the Mt Margaret backcountry.


Zooming in on Mt Rainier,


the Goat Rocks,


Spirit Lake, the silhouette of Mt Hood, and Mt St Helens, with Harry’s Ridge in the foreground.


One last look at St Helens Lake before heading down.

This entire area is off limits to off trail exploring, so there is no trail to the lakeshore. Before the 1980 eruption, the bare slopes were covered with soil and forest. New plants are growing, but the relic tree stumps and log rafts remain as they were after the blast.


Closer view of the 39.5 year old log rafts.


Zooming in on the dome and glacier in Mt St Helen’s crater.

We hiked partway up Harry’s Ridge on the return.


Another view of Spirit Lake and Mt Adams from Harry’s Ridge.


And a last look at Mt St Helens in afternoon light.

Some details:


We met a birder on the return trip who was very excited to have spotted this Northern Pygmy Owl on a fir tree. Nice display of tree stumps and blast-oriented logs in the background.


Northern pygmy owl.


A few very late wild strawberry blooms along the trail, nestled into the pumice..

SCREEN SHOT 2019-11-03 AT 11.53.50 AM

(Hike #50, 10 miles, 2300 feet)

Downtown Portland

I met a friend at the Portland Historical Society Museum to see a photo exhibit about the making of flax into linen in the 1930s. It was fascinating, but not photogenic. I popped in to see an exhibit celebrating The Beatles’ 1965 concert in Portland. I was a preteen when the Beatles invaded, but my older sister swept us into fandom with her enthusiasm, and their music is timeless. My own children have had their Beatle years. We visited Abbey Road in London, and then went on the Magical Mystery Tour and to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool during our UK trip in 2011. It was fun to see a little slice of Beatlemania in PDX.


We had plenty of Beatle magazines and trading cards at my house, but not this game. It’s funny now to think how shockingly long their hair was considered- it looks pretty clean cut by today’s standards.


It was a gorgeous fall day in downtown Portland.


Oregon Historical Society Museum


First Congregational Church


Central Library

Neighborhood Witches and more:

There are many elaborate halloween decorations in my neighborhood to enjoy while out walking and admiring the beautiful fall colors on the day before Halloween.



The light was just right to bring out the face on this tree.


Eagle and salmon carved from a cedar that had to be removed.




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:


October 2019


May 2017

Looking west toward the Memaloose Hills from the trail:


October 2019


April 2016

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


October 2019


April 2019

Oak trees:


October 2019


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.


Coopey Falls


Fall reflections in Coopey Creek



Angel’s Rest –  our destination.



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


Closer view of Mt Adams.


Western view of the Columbia River.


Trees in the burn zone – 2017 Gorge Fire.


Heading down on a beautiful fall day.

Neighborhood walk and more witches!


First fall for this new black tupelo



Two wildlife refuges, Indian Heaven, and trying to keep up with fall colors, Sept-Oct 2019

It has been a busy couple of weeks – a quilt show, a fiber festival, hikes at two wildlife refuges and Indian Heaven Wilderness. Meanwhile, the Mac hard drive is off at the Genius repair shop. I am learning blog work-arounds via iPad.

Friday, September 27 – I attended the Northwest Quilt Expo, admired all the quilts and photographed many. This vintage Tile Friendship Quilt (circa 1900, maker unknown) from the Latimer Quilt Museum, was very interesting. Seemingly random shapes are appliquéd to a plain background, each signed by a different maker in true Friendship Quilt style. It looks very modern, but it is old and entirely hand stitched!

I bought a few fat eighths to add to a batik quilt in my mental UFO list.

Sunday, September 29 -I visited the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon, just long enough to buy a lighter weight spindle and more fiber to practice drop spinning.

Then we went to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, our first visit there, and walked around the perimeter. Not many birds have arrived yet, but there are great overlooks and a nice winter trail for future visits. (Hike#44, 3.6 miles)

Great Blue Heron

Hawthorne berries

Looking across the refuge – soon this will be flooded with water and birds.

Great Blue Heron on the return trail.

Saturday, October 5 – We went to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington during their season closing bird fest. We walked the Kiwa Trail and part of the newly opened Carty Lake trail, and also went inside the Chinook Plankhouse to look around. (Hike#45, 3.2 miles)


Sand Hill Cranes

Sand Hill Cranes in flight.

Great Horned Owl

Carty Lake

Chinook plank house

Inside the plankhouse.

Chinook Salmon trap

Sunday, October 6 – We joined friends for a hike in Indian Heaven Wilderness – from the East Crater trailhead to Junction and Lemei Lakes. Late fall colors, thawed mushrooms and blueberries, very pretty. (Hike#46, 8.8 miles, 1000 feet)

East Crater beyond one of many small lakes along the trail.

Junction Lake

Lemei Rock

Lemei Lake

Neighborhood walks – Meanwhile, in Northeast Portland, the days grow shorter, the light angles lower, the leaves more colorful.

Katsura trees


Neighborhood witches hunting…

More witches…

Ash trees reflected in nearby windows.

Rain chain shadows

Knitting – I am making progress on my Meris cardigan….

Tech problems as the season turns

September 30, 2019

Our five year old Mac is complaining about the many thousands of photos my husband and I ask it to manipulate. Not being digital natives, and having shared this computer and its predecessors with our three now grown digital natives who downloaded all kinds of unknown items into our shared memory space, we have been told by the very helpful people at tech support that our hard drive hygiene is not good. That is just a long way of saying that I can’t post about some recent adventures until I can free the photos from their well backed up hard drive.

Meanwhile, the sun shifts ever slightly to the south….

Leaves turning orange

Late roses

Yarn bombing in the neighborhood

Future quilt patterns?

Morning light in my kitchen

Katsura turning orange

I got my ring back!

At least three years ago I had my wedding ring cut off because I could no longer remove it, due (I thought) to arthritis in the knuckle or weight gain. I didn’t know that the insidious excess growth hormone of acromegaly had caused my bones to grow. About a year later, the missing wedding ring was one of the keys to diagnosis. Now almost two years since the pituitary surgery and about a year since the medication regime has controlled the growth hormone to ‘normal levels’ for now, we took my ring to a jeweler who put it back together and polished it up, nice and shiny, in a size that fits! It is nice to have it back! Only about 3 months until our 35th anniversary.

Seasonal art…

And because I can’t resist, and it seems seasonal in more ways than one, a screen shot from the artist Shanalee Hampton’s instagram post:

A quiet week with a visit to the frogpond…

Some rain, helping someone move, house painting, future trip planning, but no actual hiking this week.


A new home 


A late birthday present

Reverse knitting during La Vuelta de Espana:

Last year I knit a long loose vest, but it doesn’t fit or hang well, so I decided to ‘frog’ it during La Vuelta de Espana. The Vuelta is the three week bicycle stage race through Spain, one of the three European grand tours. People spin for The Tour de France, and I chose this for my project as we review the coverage of the Vuelta each evening. The mountains of Spain look amazing, and once again, the cyclists are incredible.


Farewell, Ivy Cardigan


Unravelling (frogging), and reskeining;


Drying the skeins after a good soak to remove the kinks;


Reskeined, ready to knit again.


Late summer Gentians at Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

8/23/2019  Chinidere Mountain hike

The trail leads down to Wahtum Lake,



Chinidere Mountain, our destination, on the skyline.


Endemic cutleaf bugbane blooming along the lake trail.


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.


Mt Hood to the south,


and Mt Jefferson on the horizon just to the right.


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


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


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.


Explorer’s gentian



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.

Image 8-23-19 at 5.42 PM

Hike #41, 5 miles, 1200 feet


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.


Signs of Fall in the neighborhood

Wildwood Trail and Tour de Fleece


July 19, 2019  Wildwood Trail

A short hike this week on the Wildwood trail in the Portland Arboretum. We stayed in the shade, though it is not as hot here as other places right now. Hike #32, 2.6 miles, 200 feet.

Tour de Fleece

It is Tour de France time, which we love, and I have joined the parallel Tour de Fleece. I took a drop spindling class in the fall of 2017 at my local yarn shop. Shortly thereafter, spinning fell by the wayside as I dealt with my acromegaly diagnosis. For Tour de Fleece 2019 I pulled out my drop spindle and remaining fiber samples. I borrowed the Maggie Casey Getting Started on a Drop Spindle DVD from my library. I have been spinning a bit of fiber each night as we fast forward our way through each day’s stage in France. I love seeing the landscape, mountains, castles of France, and the bike race has been exceptionally unpredictable this year. And I feel like I am getting a new feel for spinning, and would love to take another class.


I have also been knitting my traveling socks, and have started a shawl that is a gift for someone…


It is berry time at the farmer’s market,

and we have more blooms in the garden.