Weldon Wagon Road, WA

5/10/2019

We walked Weldon Wagon Trail on a hot day in May. Balsamroot beginning to fade in the heat. I craved the shade, wished for a breeze in the still air, unlike the windblown walk last week at The Dalles Mountain Ranch. Lupine, clarkia, manroot, various parsleys, cutleaf violets, no sasquatch sighting this year. An enjoyable walk with friends. This will likely be my last of the balsamroot hikes this year! (Hike #22, 5.5 miles, 1300 feet).

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Lupine along the trail in the lower woodlands.

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First view of the open flowered slope.

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Our trail ahead across the balsamroot slope,

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and a view of Mt Hood across the valley.

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Friends ahead.

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Balsamroot

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Looking straight up at the steep slope above.

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Turnaround point

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And back the way we came,

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Back into the shade on a hot day.

New or notable flowers:

Neighborhood and Garden

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Birthday bouquet

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Our rhododendron in bloom,

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And our native irises.

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Giant camas in a neighborhood garden.

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Local fairy garden.

Knitting

I finished the Frost Slippers. The fit is a bit tight, but they should fit someone! Interesting construction, including stranding, steeking, and seaming, and I used up a lot of the leftover Dr Who Scarf yarn.

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Yarn for travel knitting!

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((This post has the first photos using my new camera (Sony HX90V).)

Crater Lake Snowshoe, Rogue River Waterfalls, Table Rock Wildflowers, and Knitting

 

Crater Lake – April 19, 2019

My husband has been eager to see Crater Lake with winter snow, so we waited for a promising weather weekend, and our friends found a cozy cabin in Prospect, Oregon. Friday morning we drove to the rim of Crater Lake where a small parking area provides access to the rim road, which is otherwise covered in several feet of snow. The views were stunning – the sky, the lake, the snow each so pure of color! We snowshoed about 2.5 miles clockwise along the road, nearly to the base of The Watchman.

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First view of Crater Lake from Rim Village

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Panorama shot

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We were heading toward The Watchman for our destination.

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Stopping for views along the way.

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Mt Shasta to the south, in California

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Mt McLoughlin

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Panorama view at our lunch stop

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Perfect view of Wizard Island

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Closer view of the crater on Wizard Island,

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the trees,

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and the curvy shoreline of the lake.

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Looking back at The Watchman and Hilman Peak before we return.

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Mt  Scott and Garfield Peak ahead as we snowshoe back to Rim Village.

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Rim Village buildings under snow.

(Hike#17/ 5.6 miles/ 600 feet)

Rogue River/Mill Creek Waterfalls – April 20, 2019

Saturday morning was rainy, but mostly dry by the afternoon. There are several waterfalls along the Rogue River near Prospect, Oregon. We followed a beautiful wooded trail along Mill Creek to Pearsony Falls, and then farther, to a view of The Avenue of Boulders, and then followed the canyon rim to the lip of Mill Creek Falls for a lunch stop.

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Pearsony Falls

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Avenue of the Boulders

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Avenue of the Boulders highway bridge

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Lip of Mill Creek Falls

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Lip of Mill Creek Falls, lunch stop

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Mill Creek Falls and Rogue River

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Madrone trees along the trail

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We also admired the views from the Highway bridge over The Avenue of the Boulders.

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Looking down the Avenue of the Boulders from the bridge.

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Perspective exercise

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After lunch we went to the Mill Creek Falls Trailhead and followed the path to the viewpoint of Mill Creek and Barr Falls.

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Mill Creek Falls

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Closer view of Mill Creek Falls

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Mill Creek Falls lunch stop was just to the left of the lip.

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Barr Creek Falls

We saw many forest wildflowers, lungwort lichen, and moss:DSC03061

Calypso Orchid

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Trillium

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Snow queen

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Pioneer violet

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Oregon grape

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Manzanita

 

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Lungwort lichen

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Lungwort lichen

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Mosses

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We then drove to the Natural Bridge area of the Rogue River near Union Creek. We had to walk in from the highway, as the access road is not yet open. Here the river is supposed to disappear from surface view into a lava tube, but there is so much spring runoff just now that the water is overflowing the top of the lava tube, and the natural bridge is not obvious.

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Upstream view of the Rogue River

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Downstream view of the Rogue River

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Rogue River flowing over the top of the lava tube

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Rogue River flowing over the top of the lava tube as well as through it.

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The bridge to the Natural Bridge

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Group shadow portrait

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Lizard

(Hike #18/ 5.4 miles/ 500 feet – for the day)

Lower Table Rock – 4/21/2019

Sunday, we drove back toward Medford to Lower Table Rock, renowned for spring wildflowers. We saw at least thirty one different varieties that I could name. The wide, well maintained trail up the mesa passes through oak woodland that is completely permeated, entwined, carpeted and otherwise overgrown with shiny oily red and green poison oak.

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Lower Table Rock – our destination

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Swales of rosy plectritis and buttercup meadows

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Oak tree

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Buttercup meadows under the oak trees at the base of the mesa.

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Another view of the Lower Table Rock about halfway up the trail, with fiddle neck and buckbrush in the foreground

Wildflowers in the lower meadows and along the trail to the top:

I was excited to see two new-to-me dramatic flowers:

Tolmie’s Mariposa Lily, also called cat ears –

Scarlet fritillary or red bells were right near the top of the trail, and were the only two stems of these I saw. I literally gasped when I looked over and saw them, they were so beautiful. And I could not get any closer due to the proximity of poison oak!

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Beyond the red bells, we emerged onto the top of the mesa, which was nearly flat with a long trail, formerly a runway landing strip, across the top to viewpoints of the surrounding landscape. The flowering meadows on top were Sound of Music scenic, and lovely to walk through.

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There was a different suite of flowers on the top of the mesa.

We had our lunch at the south edge of the mesa with views toward Medford, the Rogue River valley, and back east toward Crater Lake and Mt McLoughlin.

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Crags at our lunch stop.

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East view toward Upper Table Rock, also covered with yellow flowers, and the shoulders of Mt Mazama (Crater Lake)

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Rogue River valley

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Rogue River below

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The top of Mt McLoughlin emerging from the clouds

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Location map

(Hike#19/ 5.1 miles/ 750 feet)

Weekend parting shots:

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The Cabin

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Nearby farm with grazing elk and Mt McLoughlin at sunset

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Elk

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Mt McLoughlin

The Knitting

I finished the Vintage Prim Hat, pattern by Andrea Mowry! Brioche can be tricky, and I fixed a lot of mistakes – both tinking and frogging.

Daffodils and Knitting

March 12, 2019

The wildflowers I like to hike to are still under a foot of snow out in the Columbia River Gorge, but the garden is finally starting to bloom. Daffodils in my front yard are opening and not freezing.

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Knitting Slippers

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I found a free pattern from Knit Picks for Frost Slippers. I already have the same wool yarn,  leftover from my son’s Dr Who Scarf, which I knit for him in 2011. The yarn, Wool of the Andes, is a bit toothsome, but perfect for stranded color work, and I got the itch to make these slippers. The trick of the project is that the uppers and soles are knit two at a time, magic loop method, then steeked and sewn together. So the knitting looks like a crazy balaclava, but is very fun to do. I have finished the uppers, and am making good progress on the soles. We’ll see how much I do or don’t like the steeking and sewing, but I am enjoying the interesting construction so far.

And just for fun, I’m adding a photo of the Dr Who scarf – 120″ long!

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Klickitat Bald Eagles and the Labyrinth, WA

1/10/2019 Balfour/Klickitat Bald Eagles

We met up with friends in Cascade Locks, then drove to the Balfour/Klickitat wildlife viewing area near Lyle, Washington. Early January is bald eagle nesting season there, and we saw many eagles in the trees across the pond.

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Our first eagle sighting – white head in the oak trees.

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Two eagles on this branch…

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Actually, there are seven in this picture – four on the lower level and three higher up.

I watched these two eagles for a while – as they looked around.

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For every white head in the trees, there were two or three brown juvenile eagles. They are as big as the mature eagles, but harder to spot because they don’t get their white feathers fully until they are four years old.

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Three juvenile eagles in the tree, one flying nearby.

We witnessed a lone salmon struggling up the stream, and then watched as a juvenile bald eagle grabbed it with his talons, pulled it onto the adjacent mudflat, and ate it. Other eagles joined in after a while. It was the circle of life before our eyes – not pretty, but the way of nature.

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The salmon

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Juvenile eagle lands nearby

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and pounces

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Drags the salmon onto the mudflat

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Joined by other eagles.

We also saw two great blue herons on the nearby cliffs.

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Two great blue herons, circled in blue.

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A closer view of the herons.

Shortly after this drama, a couple of dozen eagles flew in circles above the area for five minutes. My camera telephoto lens is not quite up to clear pictures of all these events, but I enjoyed watching and marveling at the beauty.

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Labyrinth Trail

After a quick lunch we walked up the nearby Labyrinth trail to the tall Jefferson pine  landmark tree. We saw Mt Hood, the Columbia Hills and eastern gorge with snow dusting, and a few early wildflowers on on this misty, cloudy day. A good day with friends. (5.8 miles/1000 feet/#2 for 2019)

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The Old Highway waterfall

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The upper waterfall

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My favorite oak grove

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Views of Mt Hood

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Phlox

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Phlox, eastern gorge dusted with snow

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Salt and pepper

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Oak trees in low light

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Columnar basalts

View under the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, our meeting place.

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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)

 

New Years Eve hike at Cape Horn, Washington; and Farewell 2018 (18-60)

Cape Horn, Washington 12/31/2018 (Hike #66 for 2018)

We started in the middle, hiked down to the Nancy Russell Overlook and a little beyond, then hiked back up and to the top viewpoints on Cape Horn. It was cold and a bit windy, but nice to be out in the bright sun as we bid farewell to 2018. 4miles, 500 feet.

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Trail to the Nancy Russell Overlook

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View from the Fallen Tree Overlook to the eastern gorge.

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Silverstar Mountain to the north.

Quilting-

I finished three quilts this year.

Knitting-

I knit 4005 yards in 10 projects according to my Ravelry project pages.

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Hiking –

I completed 66 hikes/adventures for a total mileage of 310 miles, and 47,315 feet elevation gained. The longest hike, the 12 mile Obsidian Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Central Oregon was also my favorite hike of the year. The steepest hike was Phlox Point on Hardy Ridge in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington – 2200 feet elevation gain over the 8.2 mile trail. The hardest walk was my first lap around the neurosurgery ward at OHSU after my pituitary surgery. And my favorite of our hikes in the UK was The Lizard in Cornwall.

Books Read in 2018 –

93 total, which I keep track of on Goodreads. My favorite fiction book was  Gentleman in Moscow  by Amor Towles, and my favorite nonfiction book of the year was Becoming by Michele Obama.

Blog –

This is the 60th post for the year. I am glad I am keeping it up, but I may do something different with the format next year – still thinking about it. And I still owe three posts from our trip to southern England.

Poem –

from a poetry post in my neighborhood – a hope for the future….

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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

 

 

Lyle Cherry Orchard, Washington (18-58)

December 15, 2018

Once again we escape east of the Cascades to dry skies, a bit of sun, no wind, at Lyle Cherry Orchard. Quiet on the trail today.  (5.2 miles/1250 feet, hike #64 for 2018)

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Approach trail, up the first set of cliffs.

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View from the Convict Road to the east

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View from the Convict Road north – we are going up those cliffs to the top!

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Hiking up to the second tier..

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We could see the new trail reroute partially cut by WTA workers that will make the upper cliff ascent farther from the cliff edge and less steep in gradient. And lots of native plant seedlings in place.

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Those lines in the slope ahead are the new trail, in progress, with a gentler gradient than the steep track we will climb today.

 

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Looking back at the flagged new trail, not cut yet.

Lunch stop near the top…

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The trail continues in and out of the woods along the top of the cliffs to the remnants of a cherry orchard…

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View to the east from the grasslands near the cherry orchard.

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One of the old cherry trees

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Cherry tree in foreground, Lyle Peak above – our trail doesn’t go there.

We head back down…

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View west toward Lyle

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Closer view of the terrane we hiked, and the Convict Road Viewpoint on the lower left.

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Convict Road viewpoint – where we stood looking up this morning. The grey background is the Columbia River, not the sky!

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A spot of sun on the way down.

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GPS track

Crafting

Another knit dishcloth,

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and I’m now adding backstitch detail to Jane Austen’s cross stitched house….

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Exploring Exmoor, North Devon and Somerset, UK (18-57)

Day 13  May 8, 2018  Lynton, Lynmouth, Dunster, and Porlock

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We began this day walking from our lodging down the steep poetry- and flower-lined path to Lynmouth.

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Almost to the beach at the bottom of the cliff.

There we visited the Exmoor National Park Visitors Center and made plans to visit Dunster and Porlock, to the east of us. Lynmouth is the intersection of four trail systems in Exmoor, marked by this sculpture of a walker, and the trail signs.

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Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railroad

As we walked down the path to Lynmouth, we had crossed the tracks of the Cliff Railroad several times.

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The Cliff Railroad is a Victorian era funicular with two counterbalanced cars connected by cables and pulleys that simultaneously rise or fall as water is released from the water tank of the lower car.  The cars each have 700 gallon water tanks. The tank is refilled from a stream at the top of the cliff, and released to the stream at the bottom of the cliff. The power is completely passive – just gravity imbalance created by the weight differential between the two cars. The railway has been in continuous operation since 1890.

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We returned to Lynton via the Railroad, a much easier way to climb this 500 foot cliff than going back up the path.

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Dunster

We walked through the medieval town of Dunster. Dunster Castle, on the hill overlooking the town, dates back to at least 1086, shortly after the Norman conquest in 1066.

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Dunster Castle

We walked around some of the castle grounds.

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Stables

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Gardens

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The Yarn Market, where trade in cloth was conducted, is about 400 years old.

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Dunster Castle and the Dunster Yarn Market.

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The Water Mill is about 200 years old. We looked at the machinery, but the mill wasn’t in operation today.

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The water wheel

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One of the flour mills.

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Castle gardens near the mill

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More Gunnera manicata, the giant Brazilian rhubarb, growing along the mill stream.

The 15th century Gallox Bridge crosses the River Avill.

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Thatched roofs.

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Porlock Marsh

We drove back west to Porlock, where the National Park Guide had recommended a wildlife walk across the marsh.

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The path to the marsh.

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Boardwalks across the marsh

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Looking back toward town.

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View out to the Bristol Channel from the top of the berm.

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View to the east from the top of the shingled berm.

We did not see any wildlife, perhaps because the tide was out, just the shingled beach and the wide views, but it was good to stretch our legs.

My quilter’s eye noticed geometric patterns in the architecture in Porlock.

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We stopped at an overlook for the wide view of Porlock. From here, we headed back to Lynton for the dinner.

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Our Victorian Lodgings in Lynton:

My husband had selected this lodging, so I hadn’t realized before arriving that we would be staying in a converted Victorian manor house, built by a London mogul for his wife in 1870. The home was built on a ledge blasted from the cliff.

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A large ammonite embedded near the entryway.

The decor is Victorian, and most of the rooms are situated around a large communal open staircase and balcony, invoking the setting of an Agatha Christie novel.

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Our living room.

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Central stairway

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There were few other guests during this off season visit, but I would guess the patio tea service would be popular with walkers going to the Valley of Rocks from the Cliff Railway in the summer.

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Our balcony and stairs leading down to the patio where tea is served with an amazing view.

DSC04361Our self-catering apartment had updated plumbing and kitchen, with a private, very tiny balcony and spiral staircase, and a tremendous view across the bay to Countisbury Hill and Lynmouth Bay. We enjoyed the location and historical ambiance.

Winter trees at Tryon Creek, OR (18-56)

December 9, 2018  Tryon Creek State Park

After two weeks of clear, cold, windy days our clouds have returned, warming us up enough for a short hike through Tryon Creek State Park. It was mostly empty on the trails, unlike in spring when the trillium are in full bloom. Bare trees, stream reflections and a sunbreaks marked the woods this day. (2.2 miles, 200 feet, #63)

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Crafting, etc

I finally cast on a new pair of socks.

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I have finished the cross stitching on Jane Austen’s House – that has been my evening work lately. Next, back stitching and french knots.

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I have done some pre-winter clean up in the garden. We have our Christmas tree standing in the living room, as yet unadorned. I went to see the latest Fantastic Beasts movie with one of my sons at a midweek matinee, and we were the only viewers in the theater. We both enjoyed the movie. Otherwise, I am trying to finish up my blog posts about our UK trip last spring by the end of the year – there are so many photos to sort through – it really was an amazing trip! I am enjoying reliving those experiences.