Lewisia and Clarkia on Hamilton Mountain, Washington

Hamilton Mountain trail, Beacon Rock State Park, Washington, June 14, 2019

We hiked to the top of the upper rocky switchbacks, looking for wildflowers.  I have previously hiked here earlier in the wildflower season – being slightly later meant getting to see both Lewisia and Clarkia in bloom. We had cloud cover most of the day, then Mt Hood peeked out as we began our descent. Hike #28 for 2019, 6 miles, 1500 feet.

Our destination:

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Hamilton Mountain from the power line trail cut.

The waterfall area:

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Pool of the Winds

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Rodney Falls

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Below the bridge

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More woods:

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Up the lower cliffs and out onto Little Hamilton Mountain viewpoint:

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Hamilton Mountain still ahead.

Wildflower meadows in this area:

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Drying out, but full of the Clarkia called Farewell to spring, and blue-eyed Mary.

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Farewell To Spring

Farther up the trail, on the rocky upper switchbacks, Columbian Lewisia clings to the cliff edges.

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Upper meadows with both Lewisia and a few Clarkias up on the slope, as well as bluehead gilia, Oregon sunshine, death camas and blue-eyed Mary:

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We stopped near here at the top of the switchbacks for lunch. On the way down, Mt Hood peaked out from under the clouds.

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More flowers of the day:

Balsamroot, Bitterroot, and a Birthday

May 2, 2019 Dalles Mountain Ranch, WA

On a very windy double birthday, we followed the lure of the wildflowers to Dalles Mountain Ranch, Columbia Hills State Park, WA. We hiked the Middle Loop, from the Ranch, downhill and then back up again, over rolling slopes and across streams. Balsam root, biscuit root, lupine, and filaree painted  gold, yellow, purple and pink highlights on the hills, and neither words nor pictures can really describe the beauty! But I try…

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We started from the ranch trailhead, Mt Hood in the distance.

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Down the balsmroot and lupine filled slopes.

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As the trail winds down, the view changes from Mt Hood

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to the Columbia Hills.

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The Columbia River comes into view,

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and so many flowers!

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Under oak trees,

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Down hill, closer to the river.

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Stream crossing,

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Puffy mounds of phlox,

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A patch of death camas

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Another stream crossing,

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Back up the last slope to the trail head.

A few less common flowers seen today:

Later, the same day – camas lilies and bitterroot!

On our way home, we took a short hike at Catherine Creek where the open slopes are already beginning to dry out.

DSC03831I was hoping to see swales of blue camas lilies in the vernal pools, and we found them!

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Blue camas lilies growing where the vernal pools are drying up.

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A few white camas in with the blue camas lilies.

A bonus was finding the first blooming bitterroots of the year! We completely missed them last year when we were in Cornwall, so I took extra pictures to make up for it.

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The large pink flowers are so delicately beautiful, and yet grow out of tough black lava outcrops.

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Bitterroot blooming on the rocky foreground, camas lilies and buttercups beyond.

This was hike #21 for 2019, about 6 miles, 600 feet overall, but a million in flowers.

Even later, birthday cake and new socks

I made the requested traditional chocolate cake. After dinner out at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Brian blew out XXVI candles.

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Dan will blowout his LXV candles on Sunday when he has his party. Both had ‘medical insurance significant’ birthdays this year. Brian was wore his new socks the next day while watching the Portland Trailblazers squeak out a win over Denver in quadruple overtime! I don’t think there is any adrenaline left in town.

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I finished these just in time for Brian’s birthday!

Meanwhile in the garden….

Dogwood trees are blooming all over town in glorious pink, salmon and cream colors. And in our yard:

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Only one of twelve camas bulbs bloomed.

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Chinese fringe flower and phlox still going strong

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Iris

Columbia Hills, WA, Tryon Creek, OR, and some Brioche Knitting

Crawford Oaks 4/4/2019

We had to drive 75 miles east to the Columbia Hills to find a dry hike this weekend. We started up the road to Eight Mile Falls, then continued on the Vista Loop. It was a bit late for grass widows and yellow bells, and a bit early for full balsamroot display, so we had a bit of each, on a windless day. A lovely hike, and pretty easy, compared to when we hiked here about a year ago and I was less than two months post surgery. Next spring, we will attempt this hike a few weeks later to get the full balsamroot experience.

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Bird welcoming us to the trail.

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The graphic showing the depth of the Missoula Floods here always impresses me.

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Eight Mile Falls

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Looking back west toward the river and Horsethief Butte.

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One of the scattered early blooming balsamroots.

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View to the west, toward The Dalles

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View to the east toward Biggs

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Looking north to the Columbia Hills

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One swale of shooting stars – first of the season

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A blue jay near the trailhead

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Last look at Horsethief Butte

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Hike #15, 5 miles/1000 feet

The wildflower suite:

Sunday dash around Tryon Creek to see the Trillium

4/7/2019   A rainy weekend in Portland, a weather window, so we went:

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Trillium in swathes in the woodlands, and individually along the trail.

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After a weekend of rain, some flowers were becoming transparent

Other flowers included skunk cabbage in the bogs near the creek.

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Lots of water dripping, but we mostly avoided actual rain.

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cedar

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violets

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Oregon grape

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(Hike#16, 2.2 miles, 200 feet)

Knitting

Progress on the Vintage Prim hat, with brioche:

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I will just say that there has been frogging, and use of lifelines. I have even learned to fix one or two stitches, but a big fix is still beyond me with this technique. I do love how it looks!

Spring Break 2019 – Knitting and Cherry Blossoms

Knitting – Frost Slippers

I crocheted the steeks,

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and cut,

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and cut again.

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I have basted the edges, and blocked.

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Frost Slippers – uppers and soles, blocked.

Next I will sew soles to uppers, then add cuffs. There is a lot of finishing work in these slippers, but so far I am intrigued enough by the process to keep going!

Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA    3/29/2019

A beautiful day to hike up the cliffs above the Columbia River with friends, and try the new trail switchbacks. There are a few old cherry trees along the uppermost cliff loop that were not in bloom today, but we saw many wildflowers, including some balsamroot. (Hike #14, 5.6 miles, 1500 feet)

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We are headed to the top of the cliffs…

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The second bench

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River cruise below…

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One of the vernal ponds along the upper trail

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View to the east from the Cherry Orchard

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And to the west

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One of the new switchback legs – nowhere  near as steep or cliffy as the former trail.

Plenty of new flowers along the way:

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Yellow parsley and gold stars

Neighborhood flowers…

Lots in bloom these days,

including poetry:

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Portland Cherry Blossoms –  Sunday, March 31

The waterfront on a sunny day with cherry trees in bloom. Today is a day for embracing the crowds.

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We decided to walk up onto the Steel Bridge to look down on the waterfront.

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Views from the Bridge:

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I love the railing shadows.

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Wandering around amongst the trees and crowds:

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A maple tree budding out, with bugs!

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White Stag and Old Town Water Tower behind the trees.

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View of the eastside of the Willamette River.

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And a little Portland weirdness, because it is always here.

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Group-peddled brew cycle.

Spring Flowers, Coyote Wall and Portland

Coyote Wall, WA,  Thursday, March 21, 2019

Up the Little Maui trail, more up on the Old Ranch Road and Coyote Wall trails, then, down the Little Moab trail, with the early flower suite just opening…(Hike #13, 4 miles, 1100 feet)

Hiking up the waterfalls of the Little Maui trail:

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Gold stars and Salt and Pepper (biscuit root) sprinkled across the landscape.

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Long banked switchbacks to aid the cyclists

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Lunch stop

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Columbia Desert Parsley guiding the way

Looking up to our cliff-edge destination along Coyote Wall from Old Ranch Road:

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Views from the cliff:

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First look.

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We go a little higher

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Looking back toward Oregon; Mt Hood a faint wisp on the horizon.

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Our highest viewpoint for the day.

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Starting down – looking east toward the Columbia Hills and Tom McCall Point.

The flowers:

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Grass widows

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Gold and Prairie stars, Spring whitlow-grass

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Spring whitlow-grass, my pinky for scale

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Swales of gold stars and whitlow-grass

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Yellow pungent desert parsley

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Columbia desert parsley

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Salt and pepper, and grass widows all the way down the slope.

Knitting

Learning the increases and decreases that make brioche knitting look so magical…with a lifeline!

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Vintage Prim Hat, pattern by Andrea Mowry.

Garden – the first tulip! and Star Magnolias!

Better late….flowers are opening in the neighborhood:

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Our first tulip

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star magnolias

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I don’t remember the name of these.

White herons at Ridgefield

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, Washington,  2/7/2019

Cold and snowy in the Pacific Northwest. We went to the wildlife refuge to stretch our legs and look for birds. We walked the Oaks to Wetlands trail in the Carty Unit. Hike #8, 3.2 miles.

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Bridge into the refuge.

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Old oak tree.

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Great blue heron on the path.

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Wild geese in the distance.

We saw several great blue herons, and two of them seemed to have a white egret companion, but after a little googling, we found that there is a white morph of the great blue heron.

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Two herons across one of the lakes.

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We saw another pair in the distance across the northernmost lake.

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Icy shoreline, two herons in the far distance.

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Zoomed in – the two herons.

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Crafting

I knit a Brioche Headscarf, pattern by Margaret K. L. Thompson, out of the leftover Berroco Millifiori hat yarn. Two evenings of knitting, I just need to add a button.

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I am working on framing my Jane Austen’s House cross stitch.

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Lewis River Waterfalls, a hat finish, and snow in Pdx

January 31, 2019  Moulton Falls, Bells Mountain trail, and Lucia Falls, Washington

Our first time hiking here. We have passed through on our way to Silver Star Mountain in the summer, and noted the crowds enjoying the swimming holes along the Lewis River near Battleground, Washington. Today we stopped to see the waterfalls in the off season, and to hike up the nearby Bells Mountain trail for a view of Mt St Helens.

The rails to trails path along the Lewis River goes over this beautiful bridge, the East Fork High Bridge, which is apparently a popular jumping spot in summer.

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Downstream from the bridge.

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Upstream from the bridge.

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Looking down…

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My shadow self portrait.

Up the Bells Mountain trail – about 1000 feet up in 1.5 miles, so a good work out.

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Uphill through ferns and second growth forest…

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Until we cross a clear cut area, and the view to Mt St Helens opens up.

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Ice on the trail

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Lunch time view – across the Lewis River area to Mt St Helens.

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Passing Moulton Falls on the return hike

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Nearby Yacolt Falls

And Lucia Falls:

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Total for the day:  6.7 miles, 1100 feet, hike #7.

Knitting

I finished my Brioche Watch Cap, after having to buy an extra skein of Berocco Millifiore yarn, just in time for snow in Portland.

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Neighborhood, 2/5/2019

Snow…

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And a view of Mt St Helens and the Ross Island and Tilikum Crossing Bridges from the OHSU eighth floor waiting room. Latest follow up results are all good!

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1/29/2019

 

Silver Falls and Steigerwald

1/27/2019 Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA

A short walk on a foggy day with one of our sons.

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Ducks

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Swans

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Great Blue Heron near the bridge

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Ephemeral reflections

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Bald eagle pair watching over all.

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2.3 miles, hike #5 for 2019.

1/28/2019 Silver Falls, OR

Windy and cold in Portland, but warmer to the south. We drove to Silver Falls State Park in the Cascade foothills east of Salem, Oregon, where the North and South Forks of Silver Creek fall in steep drops or shorter cascades over ledges of volcanic rock. We hiked the Trail of Ten Falls, though we skipped one – so the Trail of Nine Falls. One or more waterfalls every mile of the seven mile loop keeps the trail interesting. Lots of water in the falls, compared to my last visit in August of 2017!

South Falls 177 ft

We started at South Falls, but skipped the path behind the falls as I didn’t want to start out the hike wet.

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South Falls from the upper viewpoint

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South Falls from the bridge.

Lower South Falls 93 ft

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Stairs down the cliff.

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Walking behind the falls.

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Dan on the left, emerging from behind the falls.

The trail follows the river, with occasional bridge crossings.

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Lower North Falls 30 ft

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Double Falls 178 ft

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Drake Falls 27 ft

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Named for the man who created the park.

Middle North Falls 106 ft

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Twin Falls 31 ftDSC01557

North Falls 136 ft

The trail leads behind North Falls.

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Behind the falls.

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Looking back.

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And now we have to climb up out of the canyon.

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Looking back down at North Falls.

We did not walk the extra distance to Upper North Falls (65 ft), but followed the Rim Trail toward –

Winter Falls 134 ft

We only saw the upper lip of this one, though there is a trail down to the base.

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Winter Falls rim.

This was the last waterfall of the hike (7.0 miles, 1200 feet, hike #6 for 2019).

Wildlife

There was a ladybug picnic on one of the fence posts:

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Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge birds, a lunar eclipse, and new knitting projects

1/19/2019 Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA, in the fog

We drove the auto tour in the southern, River S Unit, to see if anyone was out today.

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We saw several bald eagles through the fog all along the route.

It was a great day for Great Blue Herons near the road.

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Great blue heron standing in the field beyond a flock of Canada geese.

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We also saw swans and more geese,

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lots of nutria swimming, and this one crossing the road:

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lots of ducks,

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We watched a hawk take a bath on a sign near the exit.

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1/20/2019 Lunar Eclipse

The clouds cleared for about 10 minutes. We saw the moon just as it was entering totality. My camera could not see it once it went dark, but we briefly saw the orange glow of the blood red moon before the clouds closed in again.

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My best image, hand held and zoomed in.

New knitting

I cast on another pair of socks from Berocco Sox yarn – plain vanilla with a 3×3 cable down the sides.

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And a Brioche Watch Cap from  Berroco Millifiori yarn – this makes a cushy and shiny fabric, and works up fast!

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Good deeds for the week – I cleaned out my sewing cabinet and organized my threads and notions, so now I should be able to find things and get back to sewing. And I enabled a new sock knitter!

Neighborhood Poetry Posting

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Rest In Peace, Mary Oliver. Your poems will live forever.

Hummocks Trail, Mt St Helens, WA, and some finished projects!

1/14/2019 Hummocks Trail

We drove north from Portland through fog and hoarfrost, up the Toutle River Valley on Hwy. 504, then out of the fog to the Hummocks Trailhead, the end of the road this time of year.

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Mt St Helens with hummocky landscape in the foreground.

The Hummocks Loop Trail winds through hummocks, which are mounds of poorly consolidated pulverized volcanic deposits that were dropped here like a house out of a tornado, as the debris avalanche produced by Mt St Helens’ eruption passed over the area. Since that time, 38 years ago, lakes and primitive drainages have formed between the hummocks, and trees and plants have grown on their slopes, every form of life younger than 38 years old. Today we saw bare alder trees, iced lakes and dry grass in the stark landscape, but the hummocks also protected us from the wind.

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Walking along an icy lake

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Lake ice

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Another lake between the hummocks

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Icy surface

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Alders

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Trail companions

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Small creek between hummocks.

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Our lunch time view of Mt St Helens, slightly sheltered from the wind.

We continued to the Toutle River viewpoint.

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Looking downstream – the river carves through the hummock deposits.

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Upstream – the Toutle River braid plain and the mountain.

We also saw the Science and Learning Center situated high above Coldwater Lake.

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Another lake in the hummocks.

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The white and windy mountain – stunted by eruption, wide maw open to the north, wind blown dust and snow hazing our view.

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Half moon rising over 38 year old stumps on the ridge to the east.

The present is the key to the past, in geological thinking. Except when it isn’t – that is, when the present hasn’t yet revealed how the rocks got that way. On May 18, 1980, about three weeks before I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, Mt St Helens revealed to scientists all over the world how these particular deposits form. It was a moment of instant enlightenment, as my professor excitedly told us, once the ash finished falling and the studies begun. Wide ranging theories about how similar hummocky landscapes all over the world were formed were replaced by the lateral blast model. Going forward, Red Evacuation Zones would be wider, and more lives protected.  It was just a blip in geological time, but a catastrophe in human time, a moment that changed everything.

Coldwater Lake

Coldwater Lake was not even here before the eruption. The blast debris dammed up the drainage, and then engineers stabilized it. It is now a lovely place to contemplate the surrounding landscape. Dan and I completed the 12 mile hike around the lake a few years ago in a low snow year. Along the way we witnessed the rusting logging equipment that survives on the lee side of Coldwater Ridge, while walking through a mostly new and revegetating landscape. Today, we walked past the “shutdown” locked gate to the shore.

dsc01186We held onto our hats while the wind whipped the water into white caps, and looked at the barren knife edge of Minnie Peak at the far end of the lake. The surrounding slopes were all denuded by the 180 mph lateral blast of volcanic debris, ash, and gas.

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Coldwater Lake

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A large hummock right in the middle of the lake.

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Closer view of Minnie Peak.

The lake, and all the vegetation are less than 38 years old. It is an awe inspiring sight!

(4.2 miles, 200 feet, for the day, hike #4 for 2019)

Elk Rock Viewpoint

On our way home we stopped at a high point on Hwy 504 – the Elk Rock Viewpoint. No elk today, but another look at Mt St Helens, the adjacent Mt Margaret back country, and Mt Adams peeking over her shoulder, volcanic cone intact for now.

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Mt St Helens

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The Mt Margaret back country.

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Closer view of Mt Adams.

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Panoramic view.

Crafting

I finished knitting the toe of the second sock.

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I relearned how to stitch French knots, so placed the final stitches in Jane Austen’s house. My next step is to figure out how to frame it. And then move on to my Nova project, teach myself the canvas stitches – tent, cashmere, mosaic, Scottish. A new stitching adventure awaits.