Hiking, January 2023

January 3rd – Eagle watch near Lyle, WA; Catherine Creek Arch Loop

We drove through the snow-frosted Columbia River Gorge, with a stop at Cascade Locks.


View down river from The Bridge of the Gods.

At the Balfour-Klickitat Natural Area near Lyle, WA, we spotted just a few bald eagles where we sometimes have seen many in early January.


One adult and two juvenile bald eagles


Bald eagle

We followed with a hike around the nearby Catherine Creek Arch, foliage mostly dormant.


View south toward Mosier, OR


Catherine Creek Arch


Eastward, up the Columbia River

January 17 – More eagles; Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA

After two weeks of inclement, unhikeable (for me) weather, we returned to the eastern Gorge. We began with another attempt to see the eagles at the Balfour-Klickitat Natural Area near Lyle. This time, we saw only one bald eagle near the lagoon, and also a great blue heron.


Lagoon near the Klickitat River; bald eagle and heron circled in blue


Bald eagle and heron again


Bald eagle


Great blue heron

Also seen near the mouth of this lagoon and the Klickitat River:


Salmon swimming in from the Klickitat River


Ducks and geese in the Klickitat River

From the southern bluff, we could see that most of the eagles were down on the delta/sand bar where the Klickitat River meets the Columbia River. I took a few fuzzy zoom photos – we counted about a dozen eagles fishing down there.


Bald eagles on the Klickitat River sand bar


Lyle Cherry Orchard Town Loop: Then we drove through Lyle and the railroad tunnels to the trailhead for Lyle Cherry Orchard. We climbed up the first tier, admiring the reflections in the river.


Eastward view from the Convict Road

As we hiked westward on the town loop, we spotted our eagles circling overhead – it was quite thrilling to watch them for a while as they made their way up the Klickitat River Canyon.


Bald eagles circling above Lyle, WA


We also got a glimpse of Mt Adams from the trail:


Mt Adams


And another look at the town of Lyle as we finished our loop. No eagles on the river bar, but one overhead.


January 26 – Tracy Hill, WA

Another gloomy day in Portland. Cold and dry in the Eastern Gorge. We started at Catherine Creek Trailhead, and opted for the eastern loop to the top of Tracy Hill.


Looking up the slope near the trailhead. Bitterroot and grass widow foliage emerging in the foreground.


Vernal pools along the way.


We stopped for lunch with a view up Major Creek.

Continuing upward after lunch, I noticed a ghost tree with an awestruck look on their face:


A face in the trees…


Ghost tree with an amazing view:


The view is of Mt Hood from this point on the trail.

Continuing on to the top of the hill:


To the top of Tracy Hill


A makeshift bench for a short rest


Just beyond the top, a peek at Mt Adams through the bare trees

And another view of Mt Hood on the return hike.


Underexposed, but I can see the glaciers shining in the low winter light on the slopes of Mt Hood.

January 31 – Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA

Our last hike of the month was another visit to Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge in Washington. There was more water in the reconstructed lakes than during our most recent visit in December, and we saw a variety of wildlife.


Tree reflections in the slightly frozen lake, as seen in from the dike.


Geese gathered near the lakeshore.


Deer near the long bridge


Water under the bridge this visit, swan (and Mt Hood) in the distance.


Tundra swan


Two bald eagles out in the lake.

A great blue heron on our path on the return hike.


Great blue heron on the trail


And I zoomed in to this view of Mt Hood from the dike on our return.


Notice Vista House in the right foreground.

January 2023

Quiet and cold in Portland this month. I went on four hikes (see next post), met a few times with my knitting group at the local coffee spot, and walked in the neighborhood when it was dry.


Alameda stairs


Moon, January 1, 2023


I thought I was done with knitting gnomes for a while, but then a request came in for a long time friend, so I made one more. I knit myself a new travel mug cosy, and finished my holiday socks. And made progress on my slip stitch blanket.


I am actually quilting again! I joined the Modern Quilt Studio – Mystery Quilt, as I have learned so much from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr over the years. I’ve finished the first four clues. I have no idea what the final quilt will look like, but I had fun picking two contrasting palettes of fabric from my existing stash. There will be two more sets of instructions before the big reveal.


Blocks for the first four clues.

Family archeology:

While relearning crochet, I was looking through a collection of my mother’s knitting and sewing books for useful material. These are very outdated craft books that I keep for sentimental reasons. As I was leafing through one of them, a piece of thin note paper covered in my mother’s beautiful cursive handwriting fell out. It is just a notation of a crochet pattern, but my heart filled, and I felt her here with me, advising me in her future, playing the role of a ‘time being’. (Credit to Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being, which I read recently, and which gave me a whole new definition of the expression ‘time being’.)


Sad news: In January, more racist violence shocked us all…as a mother, daughter, sister, friend, member of the human race, my heart is pierced each time.


With reference to Tyre Nichols, Memphis, TN (photo from the internet)

Meanwhile, an anonymous someone in my neighborhood is trying to spread good wishes…

Looking back on 2022…

Hiking, reading and crafting, goals and accomplishments, life in pandemia….

We begin 2023, adapted to the new ‘ordinary’ life. We are injected with as many booster shots as we can get, and masking whenever in crowds of people. We will probably go on this way for a while. With the best of intentions we move on in our world, acknowledging privileged survival and a relatively easy life here, now.

TRAVEL: We returned to international travel in 2022, hiking in Scotland and Iceland during long summer days. We also traveled to Joshua Tree and southern Utah for hiking, and went twice to Washington DC, to see our daughter, and other east coast relations.

HIKING: My 76 hiking and walking adventures added up to 332 miles, and 52,272 feet in elevation, many of these while on our travels. New notable local hikes: finishing the last few miles of Portland’s 39 mile long Wildwood Trail, a pandemic project; the return to fire-scarred Bird Creek meadows on Mt Adams; and our first time to walk around Bayocean Spit on the Oregon coast.


View from Pittock Mansion over Portland after finishing the Wildwood Trail.


Bird Creek Meadows, Mt Adams


Sand pipers and plovers on Bayocean Spit

Our many repeat hikes were satisfying for monitoring seasonal changes, exemplified by these views of Mt Hood:


March, White River


August, East Eliot Moraine


October, Vista Ridge

READING: I finished 88 books last year. I learned the most from nonfiction and memoirs (red stars), written by diverse authors, mostly women: a thru hiker, a mountain climber, a senator, musicians, writers, and even an astrophysicist. My favorite fiction books were: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, and Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather. I also enjoyed rereads of classics and old favorites.

QUILTING: I made one baby quilt.


Baby quilt for a new great niece, March

KNITTING: I knit my way through 9933 yards of yarn, the largest quantity into 15 hats for our guild service project. I also knit at least one gnome every month, for the Year of Gnomes. I made hats and socks for family, and a couple of scarves and gift critters.

Image 1-22-23 at 3.26 PM

Ravelry 2022 project thumbnail pictures

Image 1-11-23 at 8.56 PM

Ravelry 2022 knitting stats


12 gnomes, for the Year of Gnomes

FAMILY: Both of our sons, who had been temporarily living at home, moved out: one nearby, the other to Philadelphia. So we are fully empty nest for now. We were able to visit our daughter in DC twice last year, and she came home twice. She is in a gap year, and may be relocating to a new city for grad school next year. We were able to see some extended family members for the first time since the pandemic, but they live far enough away that regular visits are not easy.


A favorite garden in Eugene, OR, August

More of my favorite photos from 2022:

Portland cherry trees:

Scotland, June:


New Zealand Tree Fern in the Glasgow Botanical Gardens


Climbing Stob Dubh


Solstice near Glencoe


On the slopes of Stac Pollaidh

Iceland, July:

Street Art in Reykjavik:

Waterfalls and puffins:








Latrajbarg cliffs

Plans for 2023: I am relearning crochet so that I can make a blanket for the Guild service project, and a coral for the Coral Reef project. I am midway through knitting a slip stitch blanket. I have started the Modern Quilt Studio Mystery Quilt, and am having fun using my stash again. I hope to see more of family, but that is not always up to me. I plan to continue monthly blog updates, with expected travel interruptions. I am working on about a dozen posts from our 2020 New Zealand trip, and from 2022 Scotland and Iceland trips, and quilt documentation posts. I have to resize pictures in older posts to fit storage limits, adding a layer of time consuming work.

We will continue weekly local hikes, and expect to hike almost daily on our upcoming trips to New Zealand and Italy.

My general wish for the New Year is for good health, and for living in a way that honors diversity and contributes to ecological repair, with kindness, honesty, and generosity.


December 2022 Recap

What do I want to remember about December? A freak snowstorm the first week. A lot of grey, rainy cold days which I spent counting down to the winter Solstice. I only went on two hikes this month:

12/6/2022 – Catherine Creek, WA –

We drove through the snowy Columbia River Gorge, and found the early snow at Catherine Creek.


Ice on Rowland Lake


Snow covered slopes on the Lower Trail


We saw a fox run up the slope.


Looking across the Columbia River to Oregon.


Catherine Creek Waterfall


Then we walked up to the snow-covered fairy pools,


and looked across to the Arch.


While eating lunch and warming up in the car, the sun came out, so we decided to walk the trail above the Arch.


Bridge over the creek


I saw a few predator birds in the tree tops – a hawk


American kestrel


Looking up toward Sunflower Hill


We turned around at the top of the Arch, not having adequate footwear for deeper snow and ice.


Eastward view

12/13/2022 –  Portland Arboretum –

Another day, we found a slightly dry weather window, and took a 2.5 mile walk through part of the Portland Arboretum.


We found the most color in the Holly Garden.


Bare deciduous trees and grey skies.


Mahonia in the Winter Garden




I took plenty of walks through the neighborhood looking for cheerful holiday decor.

I remember willing the Solstice and longer days to arrive. For a few days each year, the sun is so low, it shines through our front door windows onto the stairwell wall.

Later in the month, the east winds swept through and pounded our neighborhood, blowing down several very tall fir trees, including one across the street that we had been worried about for years. It fell on the neighbor’s house. Fortunately no one was in the room that was crushed at that moment. Then we watched the street drama of tree removal for several days, front row seat from our living room.


December 22nd, tree down


December 23rd – a thin layer of icy snow over everything…


December 26th – first they removed the other standing tree,


Then used a very tall crane to remove the fallen tree.


Rainproofing the roof; reconstruction and repair will take a while….

Elsewhere in the neighborhood:


Over in the park, Henry Huggins lost his shade tree,


and the tall fir to the left of this nutcracker…


blocked this street for a few weeks until it could be removed.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt an any of these local incidents.

What else…one son moved to Philadelphia at the beginning of the month and was not here for the holidays. We began to settle into our next phase of empty nesting, with no sign of any of the kids living here in the near future. We were glad to have our daughter home for the holidays. Luckily, she moved her flight up one day, and missed the travel craziness that happened this year. We were amazed that our other son arrived home from a business trip on a delayed flight from Denver, at 3 am on Christmas morning…for some reason not cancelled. We enjoyed setting up our tree, admiring the ornaments and the memories they bring; lighting Hanukkah candles, baking cookies, having a lovely Christmas dinner with some of our oldest friends.

Portland Art Museum – 12/28

My daughter and I went with friends to see a few of the current exhibits.

The golden brush strokes on this special exhibit Botticelli painting drew me in.


Very different from the rectangular smudges on this Impressionism work, which I also loved.


The Japanese woodblock prints of Mt Fuji were much more intricate and detailed, also beautiful!


A large retrospective exhibit of the Native American artist, Oscar Howe, was so interesting. His style evolved from representational to fractured, and was very colorful. These paintings are both dancers, with one arm raised, and feathers hanging down. I loved them!


Other December news:

An artist friend gave me a small painting of Mt Hood that we hung in our kitchen adjacent to one of my husbands’ photos of Mt Hood. We love the mountains!

I knit my way through the month, completing a few gifts, and finishing the year of gnomes.


I made three of these Warm One Hats in Knit Picks Mighty Stitch yarn held double, as gifts for each of my kids.


I made the 12th gnome, Gnova, by Sara Schira, for the December Year of Gnomes.


I made three Little Tigers that have new homes.


I continued knitting the Malabrigo Slip Stitch Blanket after all the gift knitting was done. This one is for me.

I plan to write one more post for 2022 – hopefully soon.

November 2022 hiking, and a visit to the Maryhill Museum of Art

We went on three familiar hikes, and to the Maryhill Museum of Art.

11/3  Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA

This used to be our reliable close-in flat walk, for partly rainy days, where we could go to see upside down trees reflected in the lake, and often, many waterfowl. For the past couple of years, the site has undergone major reconstruction. The berm that separates these lowlands from flooding by the Columbia River has been breached in order to reconnect salmon to the Gibson Creek drainage. On our first visit back on the rerouted trails we saw a few birds and drained lakes. I will be interested to walk the rest of the trails when the project is complete.


Looking across the new Steigerwald Lake to the east.


Egret and heron


The bridge that used to have a lake under it.




Crossing the bridge


Trail now closed


Art trail – should be open next spring


View across the Columbia River from the berm




11/10  Angel’s Rest, OR

We save this popular close-in trail for midweek hikes. The trail zigs and zags up, through the forest, then the cliffs, to stunning  panoramic views up and down the gorge, and across to the snowy Washington peaks (4.5 miles, 1500 feet).


Angel’s Rest


View to the west from the upper cliffs


Looking north across the Columbia River


Closer view of Silver Star Mountain


View to the east, northern shoreline highlighted by sunbeams


Blue jay lunch companion


Colorful twice-burned forest in the foreground.

11/14 The Labyrinth, WA

Our reliable eastern gorge hike, especially on windier days when the basalt columns give some protection. I love to visit all my favorite trees along the trail, and check the water levels in Hidden Creek (4 miles, 800′).


Approach trail – Old Hwy 8


Looking south across the Columbia River


Pools in Hidden Creek


Hidden Creek


Dry grass


Basalt cliffs


Up the labyrinth


More basalt cliffs


Favorite oak grove


Lunch view to the east


Farther up, the cliff-edge oak tree


Poderosa at the upper viewpoint


And down, past the haunted tree


Driving home toward rainy Portland through sunbeams

11/8 Maryhill Museum of Art, WA

I was still nursing a knee injury, so instead of hiking, we drove east of our usual winter hiking ground and visited the Maryhill Museum of Art. It is perched on a cliff edge on the northern side of the Columbia River Gorge, in a mansion built by Sam Hill. He was the remarkable American businessman who built railroads and roads, including some of the first roads through the Columbia River Gorge. He travelled through Europe in the early 20th century, and made many artist friends who convinced him to turn his mansion into a museum. The building was started in 1914, but not opened until 1940. It contains an eclectic selection of art, some donated by Sam Hill’s friends, some acquired later. So out in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge, is a museum with galleries of Rodin sculptures, gilt furniture that once belonged to the Queen of Romania, historical exhibits about Sam Hill and friends, and a large and well curated display of Native American art and artifacts. And hundreds of chess sets from all over the world. It is a beautiful collection.


Driving east out of the rain, through the Columbia River Gorge along WA 14


We accidentally parked near the service entrance, so walked to the museum from the western side.


Throne chairs, inspired by those donated to the museum by the Queen of Romania, with excellent views.


View west, to the vineyards and Columbia River

We walked around to the eastern entrance plaza.


Main entrance


Yarn-bombing installation


Dedication by the Queen of Romania


One of the historical exhibits was about pioneering modern dancer Loie Fuller, who encouraged Sam Hill to dedicate his house to art.

There is an entire gallery dedicated to the works of Auguste Rodin, the French sculptor, including a fascinating exhibit with miniatures showing each step in the process of Lost Wax Bronze Casting. We had just seen one of Rodin’s more famous pieces, the Burghers of Calais, in the Washington DC Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and here was a whole roomful of bronze statues, and plaster casts, working models, sketches and completed pieces.


Rodin gallery


Plaster model of The Thinker


More Rodin artwork

Another Gallery, Theater de la Mode, displays miniature mannequin collections from Paris fashion houses.


Native American Art and artifacts are on display in several galleries:


Modern jewelry


Displayed in a glass walled gallery with extensive views.


Modern paintings in another gallery,


these change seasonally.

And extensive displays of beading, basketry, stone, leather, weaving, pottery and other antiquities, organized by regions of the west. This exhibit is scheduled to be overhauled during the winter closure. (The museum is closed from midNovember to midMarch).


The last gallery we visited was the hall of chess sets – over 400, from all over the world, carved or sculpted from many different media, a dazzling display.



A life size cutout of Sam Hill stands overlooking this gallery.

As we exited the museum, we walked again along the outdoor plaza, admiring the views and outdoor art installations.


Looking down on the outdoor plaza


Aptly named “Roll and Play”, by Alisa Looney, 2007


Eastward view


View to the south, with three birds


Three birds


Walking into the wind back to our car. “Brushing” by Mike Sur, 2009.

I can’t believe I had never been here before, but I hope to return next year when they host their annual plain air exhibit.

Washington DC, October 2022

We flew to Washington DC for the last week of October, to visit our daughter. We took a midweek trip to the Shenandoah Mountains to see fall colors and hike while she was working.  There is always so much to see in our nations’ capital. We visited all three branches of government, several museums, had some delightful meals with our daughter and her friends, and also visited some cousins in Maryland. Plenty of scope for thought, and art to appreciate, on this trip.

10/21 – Flying east –

We had cloud cover until after the Rockies. From my window seat, I watched the land beneath me change from the flat patchwork of the agricultural midcontinent to the wrinkles of Appalachia.


Possibly Iowa?




Lake Michigan


Ohio? large power plant on a river


Pennsylvania? wind mills on the ridges


Swooping into National Airport over the Mall – Lincoln Memorial


Potomac River, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the Capitol

10/22 – National Portrait Gallery, and Alexandria, VA

On Friday we had some business downtown, then had time for a brief visit to the National Portrait Gallery.


Chinatown Gate


My daughter wanted to show us the new portraits of the Obamas. Unfortunately, they were on loan to another museum, but we did visit some favorite presidents:


This Shepard Fairey portrait of Barack Obama was in the place of the official portraits.


John F. Kennedy by Elaine de Kooning


Abraham Lincoln


George Washington

I also found a few women to admire:


Eleanor Roosevelt


The Four Justices, by Nelson Shanks. Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagen, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg

After driving through a slow traffic jam that provided a great view of the Washington Monument from every angle, we followed the traffic out of town, and ended up at the Alexandria Waterfront, where we found a delicious Thai dinner on an outdoor patio overlooking the Potomac River.


Washington Monument


Alexandria River Walk


“Virginia is for Lovers” – we saw a formally dressed wedding party pose for pictures here, among the many people taking selfies by this sign.

10/24 – Old Ellicott City, MD

During our stay with cousins in Baltimore we visited Old Ellicott City on the Patapsco River.  This city dates back to the 1600s, and is famous for its historic mill, railroads, and frequent flooding. The architecture reminds me of towns I’ve seen in England. Recent flooding repairs are ongoing. The town is known for public art, though being a Monday, most shops and museums were closed.


Mural and sculpture


Old brick work


Public mosaic, made from objects collected from the riverbed.


Steep streets above the river


Patapsco River


Fall color


B&O Railroad Museum


Bricks and siding


Ellicott’s Mills


Shop windows showed Halloween decorations. Pumpkins made of many media caught my eye: ceramic, glass, wire, beaded, painted, fabric, even knitted!

We spent the next three days in Shenandoah National Park, to be described in the next post.

10/28 – The Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, the US Capitol, the National Museum of the American Indian

On Friday afternoon, we returned to DC and set out to see more sites. Our first stop was the Supreme Court Building, which I had never been to before.


The Supreme Court Building from across the street.


The plaza has two large fountains.


We walked up the steps to the portico.


View from the top tier back to the Capitol


Looking up between the pillars – light fixture


Ceiling carvings


Window grill


Library of Congress, right next door.

We had time for a quick look around the Library of Congress before our US Capitol tour.


Library of Congress building




The main chamber has beautiful marble carvings and murals representing classical literature and scholarship.


There is an upper balcony,


and a beautiful glass ceiling.

There were many exhibits I would have liked to examine in detail, but will have to hope to return another day.

Our daughter’s friend offered us a Capitol tour. I had been once before, more than ten years ago. There is so much to see in this building – I was glad to go again. We began in one of the Congressional office buildings, then were escorted through underground tunnels and security checkpoints to the Visitor Center.


Side dome, where media interviews are given


Dome ceiling


Skylight with view to the Capitol Dome, and the Statue of Freedom on top.

The main hall of the Visitor Center has lots of space for tour groups, and a selection of statues of famous Americans.


U.S. Capitol Visitor Center


Helen Keller


Sarah Winnemucca


Sojourner Truth


Replica of the Statue of Freedom on the top of the building


Statue of Freedom

Next we passed the original Supreme Court Chambers.


Original Supreme Court Chambers


with Original Clock. Much of what is in this room has been replicated.


We also passed a giant bust of President Lincoln on our way to the main Rotunda.

The main Rotunda is massive, and nearly impossible to photograph. Our guide said the Statue of Liberty would fit in this space.


Paintings, carvings, friezes…


Ceiling carvings, windows, painting


Close up of the center of the dome.


The Frieze of American History circles the upper level


Upper gallery, special tours only.


Paintings all around the lower level,


and more statues – Lincoln again.


Pioneers for Women’s Suffrage

Our next stop was The Old Senate Chamber.


The Old Senate Chamber


Replica of the original desk


Intricate floor tiles


Speaker’s Office

We didn’t go into the active chambers – but it was pointed out to us where the building had been repaired after the January 6th insurrection. Next we walked through Statuary Hall. Here are a few of the women represented there:


Our time was up. We returned to the Office Building where we began, with a stop to see artwork celebrating the western states.


Maps of the western territories


A one hour tour is hardly enough time to begin to see all that the U.S. Capitol building holds. Each wall, floor and ceiling is embedded with meaning, signifying historical events. As we walked through, our guide told us interesting facts about the architecture, the statuary, the building’s history. We could hear other guides emphasizing different aspects of the building. It was a privilege to get to view a slice of it, and I would be willing to go back again, for another view.

And we were not done yet! On our way back to our hotel, we walked through the National Museum of the American Indian, with just enough time to view one exhibit hall:



Entrance to the National Museum of the American Indian


Inner dome – a more modern architecture than the Capitol.

There were many styles of indigenous art on show. We passed these hallway pieces on our way to the gallery with the Preston Singletary exhibit:


Preston Singletary is a Tlingit American artist, who represents traditional stories and subjects using various forms of glass. Part of the gallery was a walk through the story of the raven, and there were many other beautiful pieces on display. :

It was nearly closing time for the museum, so we left without seeing the other galleries – another place I would like to return to. We exited the mall side of the museum.


As we crossed the mall, we got another view of the Capitol, with the current construction scaffolding, and the Washington Monument.




Washington Monument. This was Friday afternoon – I think they were setting up for a festival on the weekend.

10/29 – Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden, National Mall, the White House, Potomac River Walk, Flying Home

Our last day in DC was a beautiful sunny fall day so we opted to do outdoor things. We started with a picnic lunch in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, a sunken green space filled with a variety of outdoor art pieces.


View across the garden


The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin


King and Queen by Henry Moore

Double Candle by Stirling Ruby.

This modern glass and steel grid had interesting reflections and transparencies:


Next, we walked across the mall, past the Washington Monument, and then the White House.


Washington Monument


Looking up




Looking west to the Lincoln Memorial


North side of the White House

Later, we took a walk along the Potomac River near Mt Vernon before heading to the airport for our flight home.


After we boarded the plane, I could see the quarter moon rising. We flew west, chasing the sunset, with the moon visible over the wing the entire way, until we dipped below the clouds in Oregon.


Quarter moon over the airport…


Rivers of light below,


Quarter moon and sunset still on our horizon.

I was ready to be home, in time for Halloween in Portland.

October 2022 – Hiking

Three mostly repeat hikes in October: Vista Ridge on Mt Hood, Indian Heaven Wilderness in Washington, and Oaks Bottom in Portland.

10/3 – Vista Ridge, Mt Hood

This is one of my favorite hikes on Mt Hood – especially during wildflower season. Today we enjoyed the fall colors in the burn zone – bright red huckleberries, white pearly everlasting, pink fireweed; and greeted a few of my haunted tree friends.


Huckleberries, pearly everlasting, and Mt Hood



We stopped in Wy’East basin (5800 feet) for lunch, then hiked a little higher, toward Barrett Spur.


Wy’East Basin above the Timberline Trail


Huckleberry foliage and faded wild flowers


Toward Barrett Spur and Mt Hood


North view, toward Mt Adams and Mt Rainier, behind the haze

We returned back down the Vista Ridge Trail, about 6.5 miles, 1500 feet for the day.


Pasque flowers


Huckleberry foliage

I stopped to look more closely at the fireweed – the four-petal flowers produce curly and fuzzy seedheads. On closer look, I noticed the seed casing split into four strands that curled away as the fuzzy seedheads emerged. I am not a botanist but found this fascinating.


Very few fireweed flowers still on view.


This four-part split seed caught my eye as I walked by. That is when I noticed this pattern on all the plants, though most were more fuzzy or curly, and less noticeable.


Fuzzier seeds, ready to fly.

We took a moment to look out east from Vista Ridge, toward The Pinnacle and Mt Hood, and the remains of the Dollar Lake Fire of 2011.


Farewell for the year to the haunted trees, by now knee deep in snow….


10/11 – Thomas Lake to Rock Lake to the Old Cascade Crest Trail, Indian Heaven Wilderness

A beautiful fall day. We found the huckleberry foliage still changing – some bright red, some still green, in the faded summer meadows, and no mosquitos!


Thomas Lake – Rock Lakes – Old Cascade Crest Trail Loop. About 7 miles, 800 feet.


Beautiful reflections in Heather Lake.


We continued past the first lakes on the trail, up hill, to the viewpoint of Mt St Helens,


and a glimpse of Mt Rainier.


Rock Lakes lunch stop


After lunch, we continued east beyond Rock Lakes, toward East Crater, to the junction with the Old Cascade Crest Trail. We had followed it north before, today we were trying the south trail.


There are many small lakes along this route.



The trail eventually crosses a large meadow, with a view of Gifford Peak beyond.


Looking back north toward East Crater, shortly before this trail intersects the Blue Lake Trail.


A shrinking lake near the trail junction.

At the trail junction, we headed north again to complete the loop. The Old Cascade Crest Trail is still used, and easy to walk, though it does not show up on recent trail maps.


Another peek at Mt St Helens beyond Eunice Lake on our return hike.

10/17 – Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Portland

The standard 3 mile loop around the Wildlife Refuge, partly on the bike path, partly on dirt trails around the wetlands.



Wetlands and mausoleum mural from the bike path


Cooper’s hawk


Wood ducks


Oaks Amusement Park across the wetlands




Hint of fall…

Later in the month we went to Washington, DC, where there were some long city/mall/museum walks, and to Shenandoah National Park, VA, where there were three other hikes, described in the next post.

October 2022

Autumn comes to the neighborhood:

Witches, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns:

I finished knitting hats for the guild service project, socks, and a new witch gnome for the Halloween decor:


Witch gnome, for the October #YearOfGnomes


Back, showing her hair


Joining the local coven

We flew to Washington DC to visit our daughter and hike in the Shenandoah Mountains (next blog post). We returned just in time to greet our neighborhood trick-or-treaters from our porch for the first time in a few years, in the pouring rain this year. I even carved a (two-sided) pumpkin.


And I took note of the annual witch paddle in the Willamette River (photo credit to the Oregonian online). Someday I hope to see it in person.


September 2022….

A transition month: one son moved out; after a hot and smoky spell, the weather turned to autumn, but it  hasn’t rained much yet. In Scotland, the Queen died; in New Zealand the albatrosses fledged. Meanwhile, we harvested tomatoes, basil and cucumbers; our other son moved back in (temporarily?..), and we have had more post(?)-Covid social meetings – with new neighbors and old friends – that feels good. New vaccines, a new clothes dryer, some new knitting and three hikes (in the next blog post). 


I finished four more hats for the guild service project, a Musselburgh Hat (Ysolda Teague) for a family member, and the Choose Your Gnome Adventure mystery gnome by Sarah Schira for the September/Year of Gnomes.

Neighborhood and garden…

The Queen and the albatrosses…

I have no particular relationship with the Queen, except that she has always been there my whole life. She modeled devotion to duty, and lived a life of extreme privilege, but seemed to learn from her mistakes. She represents some part of the fictional world where I have spent so much of my reading time, as many of my favorite authors are British. I feel compelled to remember her here.


Family friend, meeting the Queen in BC about 20 years ago.


Working until the end…

Image 10-6-22 at 3.35 PM

Inspirational message during the pandemic lock down.

Britain Prince Philip Funeral

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, April 17, 2021(Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP). A heartbreaking image depicting what many experienced during the pandemic (though in less posh surroundings).


Rainbow over Buckingham Palace, from News media


And I continue to watch the albatross web camera, from Dunedin, NZ. The chicks were fledging all month – this one in the pouring rain.


September 3rd, 2022. The Royal Cam chick, 220 days old, fledging. She has been named Lilibet in honor of the Queen.

Inspirational thought:


Blog note: I am trying to resize my photos to address storage issues on this blog. There is so much I don’t know about how it all works, but I will try, as I want to keep the blog going.

NZ2020: Day 18, From Christchurch to Lake Tekapo via Peel Forest, featuring the Southern Cross

Today we drove from Christchurch to our next stop at Lake Tekapo via the Inland Scenic Route.

Image 6-6-22 at 11.52 AM

We crossed over the Rakaia Gorge, a huge turquoise blue glacial outwash river. The riverbed was full of bleached white rocks, many exposed in the late summer, despite the recent flooding to the south.


Rakaia River


Rakaia Gorge Bridge


Upriver view


Thick glacial outwash / riverbed sediments in the roadcut.

Our guide had recommended a stop at Peel Forest, a reserve of old growth, native forest with some of the largest trees preserved. We walked a few short loop trails into the forest, appreciating its coolness on this warm day.



Cool and shady trails in the Peel Forest.

Big Tree Walk: Totara trees are some of the largest trees in the forest.


Kahikatea trees are among the tallest of the native trees, and date back to the time of the dinosaurs.


While on the Fern Walk, I was especially impressed by the absolute din of insects, and the loud chiming call of the bell birds that echoed through the forest. 


I took a video while on the Fern Walk, mostly for the sound, a bit unsteady in the images…

After our forest stop, we continued our drive toward Lake Tekapo across the dry plains to the east of the Southern Alps, which we could see as a jagged, snowy skyline to the west.


We checked into our motel room at Lake Tekapo, with a view overlooking the lake and mountains beyond.


Motel at Lake Tekapo


View across lake Tekapo

Later that night, in search of astrophotography, we drove around to the north side of the lake, and finally spotted the southern cross.


Sunset over Lake Tekapo


Stars beginning to come out.


My best handheld effort at photographing the Southern Cross constellation; the streakiness highlights the four key stars and the two pointers.


My husband captured this view of the Southern Cross with his camera and tripod.


Closer view of the Southern Cross

For the next two days we days hiked and explored in the area surrounding Lake Tekapo.