Someone turned on the waterfall! June Lake and Chocolate Falls, Mt St Helens, July 4th, 2019

We went with good friends to the June Lake Trail northeast of Cougar, Washington, on the south side of Mt St Helens. Image 7-4-19 at 10.33 PMThe walk to the lake is easy, with flowers blooming along the way, and magical mirror reflections at the lake.


June Lake


Mirror reflections


View to the waterfall across the lake.

In February 2016 we snowshoed to this spot – a couple of comparison look back views:


June Lake and waterfall, July 4, 2019


June Lake and waterfall, February 20, 2016


July 2019


February 2016

Today we continued beyond June Lake, up a steep ridge, to the Loowit (around the mountain) Trail, and walked east for a ways.


Beargrass blooming at the edge of a lava flow along the trail.


Large trees

We turned back west to visit the elusive Chocolate Falls. Our well traveled companion had never ‘seen’ the waterfall, although he had been there a few times. We arrived at the horseshoe shaped cliff, but there was no waterfall.


Dry lip of Chocolate Falls, 2:44 pm.


The waterfall is now “on”, 2:46 pm.

Then some nearby hikers noticed water beginning to flow in the channel above the cliff, and lo and behold, a couple of minutes later, water was plunging over the cliff through a well-worn, polished slot in the cliff edge.


Looking upstream at the channel.


Narrow but steady stream of Chocolate Falls


Looking down at the polished slot at the lip of Chocolate Falls.

The snow fields on the mountain above had warmed enough to send fresh meltwater down the channel. Apparently this is a documented phenomenon here. To us it was a surprise, like a rainbow or a special wildlife sighting – a serendipitous moment of grace and beauty.


Mt St Helens remained slightly cloud covered, with partial views. The temperature was perfect. Our plan to take the loop trail back to June Lake for the return hike also offered a ‘surprise’. This connector trail is really only a good option in the winter, on snowshoes or skis, when the lava flow boulderfields are snow covered. It took us almost an hour to navigate the half mile connecting trail, and we were very happy not to have twisted an ankle or knee in the process.


Picking our way across the lava flow.

The unexpected elements, the waterfall and the boulder field, added to our adventures on a day suited to celebrating our nation’s commitment to protecting our wilderness areas! (Hike #30, 7.5 miles, 1500 feet)


Mt St Helens from the south.

New or notable wildflowers today:


I have seamed and added the top edging to Le Petit Sac, and knit the icord strap.




A June Wedding

July 2, 2019

No hike this week. We flew from Portland to Los Angeles for a very happy wedding. We spent most of the weekend biding time with family.


Cape Chestnut tree that framed the ceremony at the Fullerton Arboretum.



Gifts for guests, handmade by the brides.


Handmade wedding cake.

Views from the flight home:


Mt Lassen


Mt Shasta


I finished most of the knitting on Le Petit Sac,


turned the heel on the Traveling Socks,


and bought some yarn for a new project….


Wahkeena-Multnomah Loop After the Fire – A Glorious Wildflower Explosion Amidst the Blackened Trees…

June 6, 2019  – Wahkeena-Multnomah Falls Loop

This area was burned by the Eagle Creek Fire of September 2017. The trails above the waterfalls were closed for over a year, then have been reopened and closed periodically since fall 2018. Instability along the trail, falling trees and sliding slopes have been valiantly repaired by our intrepid trail keepers. The trails were open today. We hiked up Wahkeena Creek and down Multnomah Creek. Much of the understory removed by fire has returned as lush greenery. It was a beautiful hike on a beautiful day, and there were sooo many flowers!!! Of course, by the time we circled back around to Multnomah Falls there were also sooo many people, but most don’t  go above the Benson Bridge. I enjoyed my first foray back onto these trails. (Hike #26 for 2019, 5 miles, 1600 feet)

Wahkeena Trail


Approaching Multnomah Falls from the parking area.

We started by climbing past Wahkeena Falls, and up several hanging garden switchbacks to  Lemmons Viewpoint:



Tiger lily blooming near the viewpoint.


View across the Columbia River


View upriver to Beacon Rock

The trail continues up Wahkeena Creek beyond Fairy Falls and onto the ridge between the drainages:


Fairy Falls


Millions of candy flowers line the burned forest floor.

The next section of trail, along the upper ridgecrest, has always felt very special to me – a quiet flat trail in the deep forest, high on a steep ridge above the river – immensely peaceful and idyllic. My first time through after the fire was trepidatious, but the trail retains it’s magical quality. Despite the scorched trees and more open view, the feeling of peace remains. These trees will all come down at someday. Today I marvel at the explosion of flowers the extra sunlight has nurtured.


A couple of comparisons from a June 2014 Hike:










View downslope to the river.

From here, the trail crosses a couple of flowery drainages before heading down to Multnomah Creek:



Larkspur ahead!



Arnica and columbine


Arnica, bleeding heart


Columbine, iris, bleeding heart

Multnomah Creek

The trail passes several waterfalls along Multnomah Creek:


New sign, burned sign


Multnomah Creek


Flower lined trail


Monkey and candy flowers


Ecola Falls


Wiesendanger Falls


Dutchman Falls

A side spur leads out to the viewpoint at the top of Multnomah Falls (where the crowds of people begin):


The top of falls viewpoint


Looking straight down the falls


View of the parking area, river and beyond

A dozen or so paved switchbacks lead down to the trailhead. Lots of people and flowers along the way:


Rebuilt rock wall along the trail


Burned trail post


Approaching the Benson Bridge


Looking down to the view plaza from the bridge


Multnomah Falls from the view plaza


Looking back from the approach area


Burned trees along the ridgeline



More flowers:

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt

I started this blog two years ago with the goal of writing about my quilting. Instead, the blog has become more of a hiking and travel journal, with a side of crafting. Here, at last, is my first quilt story! It is a common lament in the quilt world that many quilts are unlabeled and their stories are lost to history. My first quilt story, which includes a bit of my history, is about my oldest, my first quilt.


Sunbonnet Sue   68″ x 82″   by Margaret Klute 1975

Quilt Story 1: Sunbonnet Sue, 1975

My childhood best friend, Susan, moved from Minnesota to our neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley of southern California in the early 1960s. Her Mom, Sally, often gave us projects to keep us busy – everything from polishing their family’s antique whaling lamps and silver, to baking bread and cookies, to making candles, macrame and clothing.  Sally showed us how to make Sunbonnet Sue blocks when we were about 14 or 15 years old – this would have been about 1970 or 1971.


The dress on this Sue was a scrap from a blouse I wore in high school.

We began by cutting templates out of construction paper. Then we raided our family’s overflowing scrap boxes for fabric.  Both of our moms sewed, and my sisters and I also made some of our own clothing.  We had fun choosing fabrics for the dress, bonnet, arm and shoe patches.  We sewed the pieces onto white background fabric, possibly from an old sheet, using an overcast hand appliqué stitch. We each created a stack of blocks but then lost momentum. My blocks sat in a drawer for a few years.


In 1975 I wanted a warm quilt to take with me to college in northern California.  I made additional Sunbonnet Sues using scraps from recently made clothes, but did not have enough blocks for a bed-sized quilt.  I raided both families’ fabric stashes again and cut out 5 inch squares from a wide mix of scraps.  I sewed the squares together with half inch seam allowances, and determined a layout that would float the Sunbonnet Sue blocks between rows of patchwork.  I found a backing fabric at the discount fabric shop, and I also bought a roll of 2″ thick polyester batting.  I finagled a quilt sandwich with straight pins, and somehow managed to force the quilt under the foot of my Mom’s sturdy Kenmore sewing machine, stitching in the ditch around all the squares.  I found fabric for the binding, again from the scrap box, and attached it by hand.


Backing fabric, which I always thought of as batik saw blades.

I brought the quilt with me to college and continued to use it for a good 20 years. I patched it and restitched much of the appliqué, and eventually the batting flattened down to about a quarter inch thick.


Front binding close up. These fabrics include cotton, polyester, and wool; both prints and wovens; and light to heavy in weight. The edge of the middle faded pink spotted patch shows the bright original color along the seam allowance.


The binding on the back was much wider, and hand stitched. I only added the signature recently!

Construction commentary: This quilt represents to me a big chunk of my youth – and also, I love the audacity of youth that this quilt reveals.  I finished Sunbonnet Sue in a way that made sense to me at the time. I remember thinking I didn’t need the full 5/8 inch seam allowance used for garment sewing – 1/2 inch should be plenty.  I also had  the idea that a patchwork quilt should not be made of new fabric, and should have as many different scrap fabrics as possible – though I did have the option to not use fabric that I didn’t like. There were no blogs or online tutorials – we had one Dover quilt book. I consulted my Mom, but she had never made a quilt, though she had made curtains, bed spreads and cushion covers as well as clothing. (She could also knit, crochet, tat, and change the oil and spark plugs and adjust the carburetor in an automobile engine while single handedly feeding and clothing nine children – but that’s a story for another day.) The wide seam allowances, thick batting and wide binding are not what I do today, but they worked to complete my quilt.


The orange dress print is leftover from our Shasta travel trailer curtains. The streaky red, white and blue fabric reminds me that both tie-dye and pre-bicentennial patriotism were part of the pop culture of the time. The pink striped floral fabric is a pillow ticking weight fabric.


The uppermost flowered patch, now needing a patch, was another favorite blouse fabric. The middle patch is an example of the psychedelic graphics of the time.

I love the personal history of the fabric in this quilt – I see mine and my sisters’ and my friends’ childhood wardrobes, with many fond memories of people, place and time. I also love that this quilt reflects what I considered at the time to be the true spirit of patchwork quilting – making something from the scraps of both material and memories. This was during the early seventies anti-establishment/anti-war/back to the land movement, which defined the paths that I and a few of my siblings would choose as young adults.  We went to war protests, dug up our lawn to plant a garden, joined a food coop, and eventually moved out of the city to northern California or Oregon. Susan never finished her quilt, but during a visit a few years ago we enjoyed looking at all the fabrics and remembering when and where we wore them when we were young. I wish I had photos of us in some of the clothes, but alas, I do not. Just the patches in this well worn quilt.


Weldon Wagon Road, WA


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).


Lupine along the trail in the lower woodlands.


First view of the open flowered slope.


Our trail ahead across the balsamroot slope,


and a view of Mt Hood across the valley.


Friends ahead.




Looking straight up at the steep slope above.



Turnaround point


And back the way we came,


Back into the shade on a hot day.

New or notable flowers:

Neighborhood and Garden


Birthday bouquet


Our rhododendron in bloom,


And our native irises.


Giant camas in a neighborhood garden.


Local fairy garden.


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.


Yarn for travel knitting!


((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.


First view of Crater Lake from Rim Village


Panorama shot


We were heading toward The Watchman for our destination.


Stopping for views along the way.



Mt Shasta to the south, in California


Mt McLoughlin


Panorama view at our lunch stop


Perfect view of Wizard Island


Closer view of the crater on Wizard Island,


the trees,


and the curvy shoreline of the lake.


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


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


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.



Pearsony Falls


Avenue of the Boulders


Avenue of the Boulders highway bridge


Lip of Mill Creek Falls


Lip of Mill Creek Falls, lunch stop


Mill Creek Falls and Rogue River


Madrone trees along the trail


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



Looking down the Avenue of the Boulders from the bridge.


Perspective exercise


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


Mill Creek Falls


Closer view of Mill Creek Falls


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


Barr Creek Falls

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

Calypso Orchid




Snow queen


Pioneer violet


Oregon grape





Lungwort lichen


Lungwort lichen




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.



Upstream view of the Rogue River


Downstream view of the Rogue River



Rogue River flowing over the top of the lava tube


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


The bridge to the Natural Bridge


Group shadow portrait



(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.


Lower Table Rock – our destination


Swales of rosy plectritis and buttercup meadows


Oak tree


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


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!


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.


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.


Crags at our lunch stop.


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


Rogue River valley


Rogue River below


The top of Mt McLoughlin emerging from the clouds

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 9.49.02 AM

Location map

(Hike#19/ 5.1 miles/ 750 feet)

Weekend parting shots:


The Cabin


Nearby farm with grazing elk and Mt McLoughlin at sunset




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.


Knitting Slippers


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!


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.


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


Two eagles on this branch…


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.


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.


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.


The salmon


Juvenile eagle lands nearby


and pounces



Drags the salmon onto the mudflat



Joined by other eagles.

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


Two great blue herons, circled in blue.


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.


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)


The Old Highway waterfall



The upper waterfall


My favorite oak grove


Views of Mt Hood





Phlox, eastern gorge dusted with snow


Salt and pepper


Oak trees in low light



Columnar basalts

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


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.


Bald eagle near the trailhead.



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.


From dry grass to burn zone, though the bench is intact, as were the other benches along the lower trail.


We passed below, then above the arch as the trail looped back north and uphill towards Ferry Springs.



Looking up at the arch.


Looking down through the arch.


I was looking forward to resting on the bench on the upper trail, but it was burned. 


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.


January 2018, pre-burn


January 2019, post fire

After crossing Ferry Springs, we headed back to the trailhead, looking down at the fire scars along the way.


This wooden gate survived, though the area around was scorched.


Looking back upriver.


The dry waterfall


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)


A yellow composite flower


New foliage on burned shrubs.



Cross stitch of Jane Austen’s house – I just need to add the windowpanes and french knot flower centers.


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.


Trail to the Nancy Russell Overlook


View from the Fallen Tree Overlook to the eastern gorge.


Silverstar Mountain to the north.


I finished three quilts this year.


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

Image 12-31-18 at 11.39 PM

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….