Knitting finish! and another Forest Park hike –

May 22, 2020

For the third week in a row we went to Forest Park on Portland’s west side to hike. We chose the segment of the Wildwood Trail from Germantown Road to Springvale Road, looping back to where we started via Leif Erickson Drive and the Cannon Trail (5.6 miles, 500 feet, hike #41 for 2020.) There was a 20% chance of rain for the day – I think we got all of it during our hike. The last time I hiked in this much rain I was in a rainforest in New Zealand! 

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We began our hike in the rain.

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A cedar dripping with rain and moss.

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There were some sun breaks.

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Returning down the wide, social distance friendly, Leif Erickson Drive.

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Robins were hopping along the trail.

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Honeysuckle blooming along the Cannon Trail.

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Thoughts of New Zealand!

Knitting Finish!

The Which Came First? shawl by designer Cheri Clark used three full skeins (1260 yards) of Malabrigo Mechita in the Piedras color way! I will be mailing this to my daughter, who chose the yarn when I saw her in January.

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From bottom to top, eggs (eyelets), chicken feet, chicken wire.

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Remains of the three skeins of yarn.

Garden and neighborhood:

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Penstemon blooming in our front yard.

Two kinds of poppies in the neighborhood:

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California poppies

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Oriental poppies

More words of encouragement on a local Poetry Post:

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Forest Park again…

May 15, 2020 – Wildwood Trail: Newberry Road/BPA Road Loop

We returned to the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park on the west side of Portland for another pandemic hike. It had been raining off and on all week, and the forest was a little drippy. Clouds blocked the view of mountains we saw from the BPA Road last week, but there were lots of new wildflowers this week. (Hike #40, 6.5 miles, 1250 feet)

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Newberry Road trailhead

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Fern-lined trail

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Forest

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Powerline cut – no mountains this week.

In other good news, nearby forests and state parks are gradually reopening, so we will soon have a wider geography available.

Knitting

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A finish!  Patons Kroy Celestial Purple traveling socks.

Neighborhood walks-

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nasturtium

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dogwood

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Porch parade

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Porch pig

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Tethered horse

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More words of encouragement!

Addendum – Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, May 5, 2020

When Washington State reopened some public lands, we went to the driving loop at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. The wintering birds – swans, geese, and sandhill cranes – had flown on. Today we saw turtles, redwing blackbirds, egrets and herons. This was our first foray out of our neighborhood in two months, and it was great just to see some wide open spaces from the safe space of our car!

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Egret in the distance.

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Turtles

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Red wing blackbirds in the meadows.

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NZ2020: Day 6, Franz Josef Glacier

January 30, 2020 –

After our rainy drive yesterday, we were delighted to see the mountains above Franz Josef this morning.

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Blue sky and snow capped peaks, Franz Josef, New Zealand.

Franz Josef Glacier hike

We had an early start for our walk to the Franz Josef Glacier viewpoint. I remember thinking, as we walked up the Waiho Valley, that this was our best hike so far!

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Waiho River Valley

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The glacier is filling the valley on the left.

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The trail emerges from the forest at an overlook that marks the advanced position of the glacier in 1908.

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We still have a bit of a walk to get closer to the glacier.

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Zooming in on the glacier from the 1908 overlook.

We continued walking up the glaciated Franz Valley on sediment eroded from the mountains above.

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Haast Schists – beautiful metamorphic rocks!

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We reached the river crossing, and continued walking up the valley.

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A huge waterfall is gushing out of rocks below the glacier on the right – we can see the mist cloud from here.

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Jagged glacier surface

We passed waterfalls and beautiful, glacially polished schists in the valley walls.

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The last viewpoint is ahead, on the low hummocks.

We reached the end of the trail, the closest viewpoint, due to safety concerns.

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From here we can see the waterfall mist cloud, but not the waterfall. Helicopter tours were landing in front of the dark rocky area on the left side – they looked like ants from here.

The bare scraped rocks and talus piles were covered in colorful lichens and mosses.

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Turbulent water full of glacial dust in the outflow stream.

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View down the Waiho Valley from the upper endpoint of the trail.

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Last look back at the Franz Josef Glacier from the valley trail.

We continued walking on the local trail network to a couple of other viewpoints, first to Sentinal Rock.

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Franz Josef Glacier from Sentinal Rock.

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Winding Waiho River.

We continued on a short distance to Peter’s Pool.

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Reflections in Peter’s Pool

By the time we were leaving the area, the clouds had moved in again among the peaks. I’m glad we got an early start to our day! (Hike#6, 5 miles, 400 feet)

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Car park view: I love that this tour bus has kiwi-shaped grill openings.

Alpine Fault geology interlude. I loved learning about New Zealand geology on this trip. I didn’t research much before our travels. As the landscape unfurled before me, I enjoyed looking, learning and speculating. Now I am investigating in more detail as I process my photos and thoughts. I learned in Franz Josef that the giant, active Alpine Fault runs right through the center of town. The Alpine Fault is a major transcurrent fault and tectonic plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates. The Southern Alps are constantly rising along the fault zone that connects subduction zones to the north and south. The metamorphic rocks I saw along the Waiho River were deformed along the plate boundary.

On with our tour:

After our hike we continued south on Hwy 6, with much beautiful scenery ahead for the day. Our guide spotted and pointed out many recent land slips in the mountains, and we had several road repair delays. There had already been flooding this year, with more to come! But we didn’t know that yet.

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Lake Matheson

We stopped for a walk around Lake Matheson.

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Hike #7, 3 miles, 200 feet.

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New Zealand pigeon (kereru) posing near the trailhead.

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At this viewpoint, the Southern Alps may be seen reflected in the lake.

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We were not so lucky today – the clouds had moved in.

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It was a lovely hike, with beautiful lunchtime views of the lake, and interesting foliage to admire.

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Kidney ferns

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Lancewood

Knights Point

Farther south on Hwy 6, we stopped at this clifftop viewpoint over the Tasman Sea.

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Treeferns, lancewood and flax covered the coastal cliffs to the north.

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To the south we could see to a headland. When I zoomed in, I could see that some of the ‘rocks’ were actually Elephant seals.

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Elephant seals

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Ship Creek

The highway descended back to sea level. Our stop at Ship Creek was our last chance to walk on a West Coast beach before we turned east to cross the mountains at Haast Pass. We climbed up the Observation Tower for a wide view, then spent a little time on the beach.

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View of the beach from the Observation Tower.

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View inland from the tower.

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Sand dunes

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Beach boardwalk, going north.

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Pebbly shingled beach – great skipping stones!

Onward! Our views were diminished by clouds as we headed east into the mountains.

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Driving view as we cross over the Haast River on the longest one lane bridge in New Zealand .

 

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In Haast Pass, where rivers change direction.

We made a brief stop in Mt Aspiring National Park to see Thunder Creek Falls.

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Thunder Creek Falls

Our overnight destination was a lodge at Makarora.

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Evening sky above Makarora.

We would be headed to Lake Wanaka tomorrow.

Note: The most difficult thing about these posts is paring down the photos. I love to remember every view!

 

Forest Park

Friday May 8, 2020 Wildwood Trail

We hiked out and back, from the Germantown Road trailhead to a little ways up the BPA Road. It was wonderful to be able to hike a good distance on an actual trail. The forest was beautiful, wildflowers were blooming, and we got an unexpected view of two mountains at our turnaround point.

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Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens on view from the power line road

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We decided to hike with masks and careful distance mode, in Forest Park, a huge city park in the hills west of Portland. We don’t often hike here because it is across town, and we usually drive a little farther to go to the Columbia River Gorge. It is one of the few trails close to us that is open, and friends reported that they felt safe on their hike there. The Wildwood Trail is 30 miles long. I hope to complete all the segments over time. Hike #39, 6.4 miles, 1060 feet.

Flowers in the neighborhood

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native iris

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red clover

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rhododendron

Knitting

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One of the sleeves cooperated and the other did not. Maybe next week…

A sad week. We lost a family member to a long standing illness (not Covid). He lives far enough away, that given the pandemic circumstances, we can’t go and be with his family. The key people that need to be together are together, but it is difficult to participate from afar. I will be thinking of him when we go for our next forest walk, because he was a man of the forest.

Pandemic Week 8 – a strange family birthday.

Another week. I continue strategies of sheltering in place, and keeping my distance from too much news – there is too much cognitive dissonance of what is reported, what is predicted, what to expect. We are well trained scientists in this house, so our decisions are logical. But having never chosen to live in Antarctica, or on a submarine, or a space station, I miss living my life in the world among other people. I watch from my window. On my moderately quiet street with bike lanes and good sidewalks I see plenty of bikers and walkers, but the interaction is passive. On we go, though, knowing it may be like this for a while.

On a positive note, people in my neighborhood have been creating flower hearts for all the walkers:

Hike of the week: laps on the dirt path at Wilshire park-

April 28, 2020 – I continue my neighborhood walks, but the cement is hard on my feet. I walked extra laps on the bark chip paths at Wilshire Park to get in a longer distance “hike” that was easier on my feet. And there were a few wildflowers blooming in the native plant garden! Hike #38, 4.5 miles, 180 feet.

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fringe cup

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salal

A double birthday cut in half-

My husband and son share a birthday, 39 years apart. We would normally celebrate together, but our son lives across town in a flat with four flatmates, and is not in our isolation pod. I baked the traditional family chocolate birthday cake and cut it in half. We delivered the half cake and gifts to his front porch, then had a brief conversation from the sidewalk.  My husband said it was his strangest birthday ever, and is grateful to have had a big party last year. Both had plenty of well wishes delivered by various electronic means.

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Sad half birthday cakes, but they tasted good!

I am still knitting…

on the same projects (sock, sweater, shawl). I have made a fair amount of progress, and am clinging to my knit group google hangouts for connection. I might have a finish next week.

Peninsula Park Rose Garden

 

April 23, 2020 – Another urban hike-

We walked to the Peninsula Park Rose Garden through northeast Portland. Neighborhood gardens are bursting with flowers, but it was much too early for the rose garden.

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It is pink snow season in Portland! (cherry blossoms)

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These red and white camellias reminded me of the “Painting the roses red!” scene from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Our route took us through the Alberta Arts neighborhood where personal artistic expression is abundant!

We finally reached the Peninsula Park Rose Garden after walking about 4 miles. 

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The rose garden was built in 1913.

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The rose beds are sunken below street level.

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Peonies near the entrance were the brightest color there today.

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Brickwork paths.

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The gazebo

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The only blooming roses.

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Looking west across the rose garden.

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Hike #37, 8.4 miles, 200 feet. We are hoping to find a dirt trail nearby to walk next week – the cement is very hard on my poor arthritic feet, as I am trying to keep my fitness levels up for the duration…

Knitting

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I finished the ‘eggs’ and the ‘chicken feet’ on the Which Came First shawl. On to the ‘chicken wire’!

PS. Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me – I published my first post in April of 2017!

 

Rocky Butte

Another week of Pandemic, another urban volcano hike, new spring blooms, a bit of crafting, and some good advice from George Washington.

April 16, 2020 – Hike of the Week

Rocky Butte is another Boring Volcanic Field volcano in Portland. We walked there from the Rose City Golf course, and had a great view of the High Cascades Peaks, with a coyote sighting along the way.

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After walking flat city streets, we began the uphill climb on Rocky Butte Road.

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A coyote, crossing the road ahead.

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The coyote continued up into the forest.

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Meanwhile, we walked up the road and through the tunnel.

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The road, tunnel, and stone walls were built in the 1930’s as part of a WPA post-depression infrastructure project.

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Eventually, we reached the park on the summit.

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Views in all directions:

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East to Mt Hood

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North to Mt St Helens

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Columbia River, Mt St Helens

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Mt St Helens

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Northwest, down the Columbia River

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West to the Fremont Bridge, Portland

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West to downtown Portland

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Southeast to Mt Jefferson

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Mt Jefferson

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Mt Hood again

And a last look at Mt St Helens before heading down.

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I always love a Peak Finder!

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Hike#36, 6.5 miles, 420 feet.

New blooms in the neighborhood and garden this week:

Crafting:

I made forward and reverse progress on my Meris sweater. While playing yarn chicken, I made the sleeves too short. I have knit just about every part of this sweater three times, so now I will reknit the lower sleeves.  I sewed more masks, started sewing a new bathrobe to replace the one I left behind in Queenstown, and continued knitting Emily’s shawl, and the purple socks.

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Meanwhile in Portland:

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Physical distancing demonstrated by our founding father!

NZ 2020: Day 5, Point Elizabeth, Hokitika, Lake Mahinapua

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

After our relatively dry day yesterday in Punakaiki, we encountered more of the rain of the rainy West Coast on our way south to Franz Josef.Image 4-14-20 at 5.55 PM

Point Elizabeth Track in the rain – palms and seals

We started the day with a hike through rainforest to a coastal viewpoint at Point Elizabeth.  Highlights were lots of blooming nikau palm trees, and then our first sighting of fur seals for the trip.

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View north toward Rapahoe

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Landward mountains

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View south toward Point Elizabeth

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Into the rainforest

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Tree fuchsias

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Nikau palm trees

Views from Point Elizabeth:

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Looking down at the fur seals near the cliffs.

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Still misty as we hike out.

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Hokitika

We stopped to eat lunch and browse the shops offering Maori greenstone carvings.

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Views from the Hokitika River Quay.

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I discovered a yarn shop with a sock knitting machine museum, here near southernmost part of the settled world!

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Sock knitting machines

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And a Carnegie Library, here on the far side of the world.

Lake Mahinapua

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Another hiking stop – we took the Jum Michel Walk, in the rain, and saw some interesting plants. Once again our guide dropped us at the trailhead, and met us on the other side.

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Into the rain forest

Then we wandered over to Lake Mahinapua to look at what could have been a view to the peaks of the Southern Alps.

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Lake Mahinapua

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Total hike stats for the day: 6 miles, 300 feet.

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Tree Ferns and mountain views, Franz Josef

Our final stop was our lodging in Franz Josef. Tomorrow, if the weather cooperated, we planned to see the Franz Josef glacier.

Mask sewing, knitting, neighborhood walks, and hiking a local volcano…

I’m not exactly sure – I think it is the second week of April…

We are lucky to be just sheltering in place, only venturing out for walks, weekly grocery replenishing, and the occasional medical appointment. So far we are healthy and doing our part by staying home.

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I made masks for family and friends.

I am enjoying meeting my knitting group via the internet, and making progress on a shawl for my daughter.

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Which Came First shawl, pattern by Cheri Clark, Malabrigo Mechita, Piedras colorway.

We are busy with home projects, both inside and out.

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We made a nice dinner for the first night of passover, which we shared virtually with one of our sons.

I continue my usual neighborhood walks. We have had some amazingly beautiful spring days. Trees are blooming, leafing out, glowing in the sunshine!

Our crabapple tree has come into full bloom this week.

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Earliest blooms

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Looking out from the upstairs window

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Queen Catherine has come out of retirement to show solidarity with the neighborhood!

We walked to a farther distant park in town to make up for not being able to take our usual hike of the week in wilder surroundings just now.

Mt Tabor Park, Portland, 4/9/2020

Mt Tabor is a relict 300,000 year old cinder cone, over 600 feet high, that is a popular park on the east side of Portland. It is about 3.5 miles from our house, so by the time we walked up and around the reservoirs and to the top of the hill we had covered over 8 miles for the day, with a little bit of hill climbing.

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Our route was through residential neighborhoods.

Native wildflowers, which I am so missing from our hikes, are blooming in front yards.

When we reached Mt Tabor Park, we continued uphill, past the reservoirs and through the woods to the top. No cars are allowed on the roads, and trails are wide, so we were easily able to keep our distance from other people.

We found a bench to eat lunch with a westward view toward downtown Portland.

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After lunch, we walked down past the amphitheater where the excavated hillside reveals the volcanic structure of Mt Tabor.

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On our walk to and from Mt Tabor we saw encouraging signs of pandemic solidarity throughout the neighborhoods…

We saw a tribute to John Prine – sadly, one of the coronavirus victims this week.

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More words of encouragement! One of my knit group members shared a photo of this plaque from the FDR Monument in Washington DC…a message of hope and guidance that applies to our times as well.

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NZ 2020: Day 4, Punakaiki

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The sun was still shining when we woke up to a beautiful morning in Punakaiki!

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Morning view from our lodging.

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Southern rata and cabbage tree

We spent the day hiking in Paparoa National Park.

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Our destinations for the day.

Pororari Punakaiki River Track

We had our first chance to fully immerse ourselves in the rain forest. It was beautiful, and very different from our usual forests in Oregon.

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The red line shows our trail. Our guide dropped us at the Pororari River, then hiked in to meet us from the Punakaiki car park.

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Limestone cliff above the Pororari River.

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Tree ferns

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Nikau palms

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Each turn in the trail revealed interesting views.

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Palm trunk

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Cut trunk of a tree fern?

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Pororari River, looking west toward the ocean.

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We were learning the unusual (to us) foliage – this is the Rimu, or red pine, a member of the native Podocarp family. We would see these throughout our travels on the South Island.

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The red blooming tree is the Southern Rata, a native evergreen tree.

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Our guide had us taste the inner core of the supplejack vine – a bit like asparagus.

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We were excited to see a few weka birds running across the trail and in the parking area. They are flightless native birds about the size of chickens, sometimes regarded as nuisances, but are a protected species, as are all the native birds.

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Weka

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

After lunch we visited the famous Pancake Rocks. The tide wasn’t quite high enough for spouting during our visit, but we admired the weirdly eroded limestone rock formations and ocean views.

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View to the south.

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Closer look

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Limestone layers

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Red-billed gull

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Imaginative viewing.

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View north to the next destination – the Truman Track.

Truman Track

The Truman Track leads through rainforest to the beach.

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It was a little misty in the forest.

By the time we reached the beach the sun was out.

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View to the south back toward Punakaiki.

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Truman Cove beach to the north.

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The tide was going out as we walked along the sand.

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Pebbly “sand”

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Marine fossils in the sandstone cliffs and ledges

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Overhanging sand stone cliffs, and view to the beach stairs.

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Stairs up through New Zealand flax back to the trailhead.

We had a lovely day exploring interesting rocks, fossils, pebbly beaches, and rainforest palms and tree ferns of Paparoa. Tomorrow we would go south along the West Coast toward Fiordland. Our three hikes for the day added up to about 7 miles/600 feet (#3 for 2020).