My favorite, often visited, eastern Gorge trail on a windless day with beautiful low autumn light. (Hike #69 for 2020, 4.4 miles, 1000 feet)
Trailhead, Rowland Lake, perfectly calm and reflective. Our destination is the tall Ponderosa Pine, left of center.
The Old Hwy 8 waterfall is completely dry.
Mt Hood on view to the west across the Columbia River.
The labyrinth waterfall is almost dry…
A few drips in the mossy wall,
and some still pools below in the streambed.
We wind around columnar basalts surrounded by golden grass,
Through the oak grove.
Mt Hood still on view in the glare, as the sun moves west
We pass a favorite trailside oak tree,
Almost to our destination Ponderosa…
The eastern Gorge beyond
Rowland Wall and the Catherine Creek area slopes.
Zoom in on Lyle and Memaloose Island
Tom McCall Point and the orchards of Mosier on the descent.
The haunted oak tree bids us farewell.
Monday November 9th, Dry Creek Falls
We spotted the winter swans in Mirror Lake at the base of Crown Point as we made our way through The Gorge to Cascade Locks.
Dry Creek Falls, which we have hiked many times, is one of the closest waterfall hikes, most of the trails still being closed since the 2017 fire. Today we walked through falling Big Leaf Maple leaves lighting up the partially burned forest. (Hike #70, 4.9 miles, 1050 feet)
Bridge over Dry Creek on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Dry Creek Falls
Monday, November 16th, Finley Wildlife Refuge
Our first visit to this refuge, on a day when the Willamette Valley to the south was the only partly dry place within a two hour drive from home. Recovered farm land is a winter sanctuary for migratory birds. (Hike #71, 2.5 miles, 150 feet)
Our first stop, the Prairie Overlook:
Miles of Willamette Valley grasslands.
From there, we walked the Homer Campbell Boardwalk through a wetter terrain.
Canadian Geese near the trailhead
A bird blind at the end of the winter trail.
Back through the mossy and lichen covered trees.
Another hiker told us we would see swans in the McFadden Marsh, so we headed there for our lunch stop.
Swans, geese and other water fowl.
The weather had cleared a bit, so we hiked the Woodpecker Loop trail to stretch our legs a bit more.
Along the Woodpecker Loop trail.
High point – a shelter, and view of some of the high Cascade Mountain peaks to the east.
As we began our drive home, we found the best view of the Cascades was from a road pullout above some of the historic farm buildings.
North, Middle and South Sisters.
We enjoyed our day at Finley Wildlife Refuge – anything to get out of the house for a few hours and walk in nature. I would like to visit in other seasons, but we usually have destinations closer to home…
-on a midweek getaway, to a self-contained cabin in Packwood, Washington, with our own food, following all Covid-19 precautions. We have seen the stunning wildflower displays of summer a few times, and had long been wanting to see the the mountain in fall colors.
September 29, 2020 – Comet Falls/Van Trump Park
This trail, west of the Nisqually River and Paradise, follows Van Trump Creek all the way up to the stunning Comet Falls, then farther up the slopes to magnificent views of Mt Rainier from Van Trump park. (P.B. Van Trump was one of the first to stand on the summit of the mountain, in 1870). A very challenging and satisfying hike (7 miles, 2500 feet).
Smaller falls near the trailhead.
Trail through the woods.
I first thought this was our waterfall, then continued over the next ridge:
Comet Falls! About 400 feet, counting smaller tiers above and below the main falls. Snow bank on lower right.
With rainbows in the mist!
Our trail continues up, with better views of Comet Falls.
The trail continued upward steeply, into Van Trump Park.
Above the waterfall, the mountain came into view.
Fall foliage on the slopes of Van Trump Park, glowing red!
Mount Rainier from our lunch stop in Van Trump Park.
Views of the glaciers from a new angle:
The trail down seemed steeper than the trail going up; that might just be my knees talking.
Mt Adams on view beyond the Tatoosh Range.
Glacial striations/polish and Mt Adams.
Uppermost tier of Comet Falls.
A particularly steep trail section.
A few late gentians in the upper meadows.
Vine maples just beginning to turn red.
We stopped at a couple of roadside viewpoints on our way out of the park.
Highway bridge over the Nisqually River canyon.
Nisqually River downstream.
We could not resist stopping to see the mirror image in Reflection Lakes.
September 30 – Naches Peak/Tipsoo Lake Loop, smoke haze at Sunrise, Silver Falls.
We hiked this loop trail (4 miles, 600 feet), with our views increasingly shrouded in haze. Wildfire smoke began drifting diffusely in, creating a grayish white sky that was so startlingly blue yesterday.
We were almost alone as we walked around Tipsoo Lake, admiring the beautiful reflections in its mirror-like surface.
Mt Rainier, slightly obscured by haze.
Mt Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake.
Yakima Peak – our trail rising along its base.
Pasque flower seed head
Meadow of huckleberry and aster seed heads.
Then we hiked the loop around Naches Peak – following the Pacific Crest Trail.
Crossing Hwy 410.
Hwy 410, headed down the canyon, to the east.
A new wilderness area for us!
Trail up over the shoulder of Naches Peak.
We passed a small lake with a friendly chipmunk.
Once over the shoulder of Naches Peak, we could see the Dewey Lakes to the southeast as the smoke haze increased.
One of the Dewey Lakes.
The trail circles back west, with stunning views of Mt Rainier when there is no haze, as it passes more small lakes.
Mt Rainier is ahead through the haze.
One of the trailside lakes.
More beautiful meadows!
Mt Rainier disappearing before our eyes!
We stopped to admire Upper Tipsoo Lake near the trailhead before finishing the hike.
Upper Tipsoo Lake.
After lunch we drove up to Sunrise, elevation 6400 feet, but the smoke haze obscured views, so we didn’t stay.
Dotted Blue line shows Mt Rainier skyline behind the smoke haze.
Instead we hiked to Silver Falls, on the Ohanapecosh River, through old and mossy forest, to see clear turquoise waters, and bright falling waters cutting through a slick rock gorge. All in all a lovely ‘recovery’ day from yesterday – the hikes being not so steep. We hope the smoke will blow out for tomorrow.
Small fairy falls in the mossy old growth forest.
Looking down on the blue waters in Ohanapecosh gorge.
Overlook at the top of Silver Falls.
Downstream view of the Ohanapecosh River below the bridge.
October 1 – Paradise, Golden Gate Trail, Panorama Point
The mountain was ‘out’ behind a thin veil of translucent haze! Smoke would gather throughout the day below us to the south on the flanks of the Tatoosh Range.
View from the parking lot at Paradise.
Iconic gateway to the trail system.
We hiked across Paradise Valley, and up the Golden Gate switchbacks and granite steps, to the High Skyline Trail that circles the valley (6 miles, 1700 feet).
Looking up toward the red huckleberry foliage on Alta Vista, which would be our return trail in the afternoon.
Looking toward the Skyline trail on the east side of Paradise Valley.
We saw a black bear foraging in the meadows below, and at least eight marmots foraging and nest building on our way up.
While looking across at the waterfall,
I noticed a moving black spot in the valley below.
Marmots along the trail.
The slopes were still green, and full of fading wildflowers with a few remaining blooms.
Switchbacks of the Golden Gate Trail ahead.
Up the last switchback to the Skyline Ridge.
Once to the ridge, stark, glaciated landscape dominated.
High Skyline Trail
A glimpse over the ridge to the east to the next glaciated valley.
Our destination is around the cirque and above the snowfield – there are tiny humans on that ridge.
A mountain goat was resting near one of the snow fields in the cirque.
This is the closest we would get to the mountain goat (to the right of the snow field).
Mountain goat, zoom lens.
Looking down on the mountain goat after we climbed higher.
Over the rocky top above Panorama Point, near Pebble Creek, we sat on the rocks and ate our lunch with a full mountain view: 7000 feet of vertical relief, glaciers and sculpted rocks. We heard an occasional boom as something up there, heeding gravity, fell.
Chipmunk on the rock.
We made our way back down the steep granite steps, past Panorama Point and more glacier views.
Heading down to Panorama Point.
Panorama Point, with views in all directions:
East, where we have been.
South, toward our starting point, and the smoky Tatoosh Range.
West, to our downward trail and the Nisqually Valley.
Rocky steps to Glacier View.
We saw one late pasque flower in the meadow.
The bear was still roaming in the valley below.
We crossed through the brilliant red huckleberry foliage on the flank of Alta Vista.
After a last stop at Edith Creek and Myrtle Falls, I was done walking for a while. My legs were tired, my cup full! I have to agree with the sentiment carved in the steps at the trailhead. This is one of the most beautiful places I have been. I feel so lucky to have seen it in the fall!
This hungry deer near the trailhead paid no attention to the people taking his photo!
Rio Calina Cowl – getting longer, and I might just make it into a long scarf instead of a cowl.
Dissent Socks, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsberg – I’ve finished the ankles – on to the heels!
Walks around the neighborhood,
New signs, whimsy, architectural elements:
Gnome and spaceman
Rain chain and shadow
Winding stairs with turret
Fall colors evolving…
I have been hunting witches and other Halloween displays, to be shared in a later post.
Portland Textile Month, Tiny Pricks Art Installation
We visited the exhibition window to see the stitchery, made by artists who embroider a quote onto a vintage textile as a form of protest. It is not how I want to spend my crafting time – but I was glad to get a chance to see a small sampling of the thousands of pieces that have been contributed to this crowd-sourced artwork.
Silver Falls State Park
October 19th – We hiked the 5 mile waterfall loop. It was hard to relax and enjoy the scenery – there were a fair number unmasked, seemingly Covid-protocol-oblivious hikers. We cut our day shorter than usual. The waterfalls are always beautiful, and the light streaming through the yellow big leaf maples enchanting.
7/6/2020 – Cloud Cap/Timberline Trail high point –
A favorite hike on the Timberline Trail along the high east edge of the mountain.
Washington Cascades from the crest of the East Eliot Moraine.
Eliot Glacier, Mt Hood under clouds.
Cloud Cap shelter.
The clouds lifted while we walked south on the Timberline Trail.
Crossing snow fields –
with a view of the mountains.
Timberline trail high point – 7350 feet.
Hiking back north on the Timberline Trail along the edge of the sky.
We met this bird along the way:
And lots of alpine flowers:
phlox, aster and sandwort
penstemon and lupine
(Hike #51, 6 miles, 1650 feet)
7/10/2020 – Barlow Pass to Timberline on the PCT
A new trail for us on the south side of Mt Hood. The first three miles ascend steadily through lovely shaded forest on the gently graded Pacific Crest Trail. As we reached the junction with the Timberline Trail, blooming beargrass with Mt Hood beyond gave us a breath taking trail moment – both stunning and unexpected! (Hike #52 for 2020!, 11 miles, 1750 feet)
Barlow Pass Trailhead
A new Wilderness Area for me.
Beargrass in the forest.
Beargrass in the upper meadows.
Beargrass, and Mt Hood!
Mt Jefferson and a faint glimpse of the Three Sisters to the south.
Zooming in on Mt Hood:
Timberline Ski area on the left.
Top of the mountain.
Glaciers and crevasses.
Tiny people walking around up there!
We walked along the Timberline Trail to where we could see Timberline Lodge from an overlook above the Salmon River.
On our way back, we noticed a waterfall in the White River drainage.
I finished a Rafa Hat to be gifted (Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo Piedras).
I actually pieced a quilt block, for a Local Quilt Shop raffle quilt.
My husband finished making a table for the yard so he can eat breakfast in the garden.
4th of July moonrise
From Camas, Washington – Columbia River, and alpenglow on Mt Hood.
After our rainy drive yesterday, we were delighted to see the mountains above Franz Josef this morning.
Blue sky and snow capped peaks, Franz Josef, New Zealand.
Franz Josef Glacier hike
We had an early start for our walk to the Franz Josef Glacier viewpoint. I remember thinking, as we walked up the Waiho Valley, that this was our best hike so far!
Waiho River Valley
The glacier is filling the valley on the left.
The trail emerges from the forest at an overlook that marks the advanced position of the glacier in 1908.
We still have a bit of a walk to get closer to the glacier.
Zooming in on the glacier from the 1908 overlook.
We continued walking up the glaciated Franz Valley on sediment eroded from the mountains above.
Haast Schists – beautiful metamorphic rocks!
We reached the river crossing, and continued walking up the valley.
A huge waterfall is gushing out of rocks below the glacier on the right – we can see the mist cloud from here.
Jagged glacier surface
We passed waterfalls and beautiful, glacially polished schists in the valley walls.
The last viewpoint is ahead, on the low hummocks.
We reached the end of the trail, the closest viewpoint, due to safety concerns.
From here we can see the waterfall mist cloud, but not the waterfall. Helicopter tours were landing in front of the dark rocky area on the left side – they looked like ants from here.
The bare scraped rocks and talus piles were covered in colorful lichens and mosses.
Turbulent water full of glacial dust in the outflow stream.
View down the Waiho Valley from the upper endpoint of the trail.
Last look back at the Franz Josef Glacier from the valley trail.
We continued walking on the local trail network to a couple of other viewpoints, first to Sentinal Rock.
Franz Josef Glacier from Sentinal Rock.
Winding Waiho River.
We continued on a short distance to Peter’s Pool.
Reflections in Peter’s Pool
By the time we were leaving the area, the clouds had moved in again among the peaks. I’m glad we got an early start to our day! (Hike#6, 5 miles, 400 feet)
Car park view: I love that this tour bus has kiwi-shaped grill openings.
Alpine Fault geology interlude. I loved learning about New Zealand geology on this trip. I didn’t research much before our travels. As the landscape unfurled before me, I enjoyed looking, learning and speculating. Now I am investigating in more detail as I process my photos and thoughts. I learned in Franz Josef that the giant, active Alpine Fault runs right through the center of town. The Alpine Fault is a major transcurrent fault and tectonic plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates. The Southern Alps are constantly rising along the fault zone that connects subduction zones to the north and south. The metamorphic rocks I saw along the Waiho River were deformed along the plate boundary.
On with our tour:
After our hike we continued south on Hwy 6, with much beautiful scenery ahead for the day. Our guide spotted and pointed out many recent land slips in the mountains, and we had several road repair delays. There had already been flooding this year, with more to come! But we didn’t know that yet.
We stopped for a walk around Lake Matheson.
Hike #7, 3 miles, 200 feet.
New Zealand pigeon (kereru) posing near the trailhead.
At this viewpoint, the Southern Alps may be seen reflected in the lake.
We were not so lucky today – the clouds had moved in.
It was a lovely hike, with beautiful lunchtime views of the lake, and interesting foliage to admire.
Farther south on Hwy 6, we stopped at this clifftop viewpoint over the Tasman Sea.
Treeferns, lancewood and flax covered the coastal cliffs to the north.
To the south we could see to a headland. When I zoomed in, I could see that some of the ‘rocks’ were actually Elephant seals.
The highway descended back to sea level. Our stop at Ship Creek was our last chance to walk on a West Coast beach before we turned east to cross the mountains at Haast Pass. We climbed up the Observation Tower for a wide view, then spent a little time on the beach.
View of the beach from the Observation Tower.
View inland from the tower.
Beach boardwalk, going north.
Pebbly shingled beach – great skipping stones!
Onward! Our views were diminished by clouds as we headed east into the mountains.
Driving view as we cross over the Haast River on the longest one lane bridge in New Zealand .
In Haast Pass, where rivers change direction.
We made a brief stop in Mt Aspiring National Park to see Thunder Creek Falls.
Thunder Creek Falls
Our overnight destination was a lodge at Makarora.
Evening sky above Makarora.
We would be headed to Lake Wanaka tomorrow.
Note: The most difficult thing about these posts is paring down the photos. I love to remember every view!
Our guide picked us up in the morning in Christchurchto begin a two week guided hiking tour of the South Island of New Zealand. The agenda for the first day was to cross the Southern Alps at Arthur’s Pass, and to arrive in Punakaiki on the West Coast by the end of the day.
The South Island is about 500 miles long, and 150ish miles wide, with steep mountains along the west coast. The mountains create a rain shadow for the eastern part of the island. We were on our way to experience the rain forests and wetter climate of the west coast.
Our first hiking stop was Castle Hill. We walked up the hill and through the maze of giant, weirdly eroded limestone boulders and knobs that standout in the landscape.
We learned early on that most of the wildflowers we would see are non-native, and considered weeds. (“If it’s pretty it’s a pest!”) The national effort to remove alien wildlife, both plants and animals, was an ongoing theme during our trip.
Wandering among the limestone boulders.
View back to the car park.
Hike #2 of 2020, 2.2 miles, 150 feet.
Arthur’s Pass National Park
We could see we were headed for clouds and rain as we continued west toward the mountains.
We stopped to look at the Waimakariri River, one of the largest of many broad, braided glacial outwash rivers that cross the eastern plains of the South Island.
We made a quick stop to view Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, 131 meters high.
Rain began as we drove through Arthur’s Pass.
One of many road preservation structures and roadworks we would see in this geologically active country.
Rata tree blooms – these are native!
Quintessential New Zealand green pastures with sheep and cows.
We reached the west coast near Kumara, then headed north to Punakaiki, admiring the beautiful beaches and lush green, misty slopes along the way. It had been a lovely first day of our tour.
Driving north along the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
West coast sun, clouds and beaches!
Trip note: Our tour was with the New Zealand company Active Adventures. I have only good things to say about our experience with them. Amazingly, because of some last minute changes, we were the only two people on the first five days of our tour. We had been expecting up to twelve people, and instead we had a private tour, with an entire small bus and guide to ourselves. This is the first time we have taken this type of tour, and we were not sure what to expect, but we soon became good friends with our guide. We appreciated being able to simply enjoy the adventure without worrying about the logistics of meals and lodging, or the left-sided driving. As the trip went on, there were challenges from the weather, and we were very glad that our local, experienced guides could nimbly create alternative itineraries – more about that later.
Tomorrow we would explore the landscape around Punakaiki.
January 3, 2020 – Our first hike of the New Year was to Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We’ve been many times, usually to see the cliffs become hanging gardens in the spring. Today we had perfect winter hiking conditions – not too cold, a bit muddy, full waterfalls, clear views from the top.
The first summit of Hamilton Mountain, as seen from the power line cut on the lower trail.
Approaching the upper cliffs, eastern gorge beyond.
Bonneville Dam, with Mt Hood appearing to the south.
First view from the summit- Mt Adams glowing in winter white beyond Table Mountain.
Wide view from the summit.
Mt Hood to the south, in low winter light.
After lunch at the summit we continued the trail to the northern saddle/plateau –
A last look back at Mt Hood.
Western gorge, filling with mist and a painterly sky.
Columbian lewisia foliage in the saddle.
Crossing over a very full Rodney Falls on the return hike.
Hike #1 for 2020, 8.2 miles, 2250 feet.
First knit finish in 2020 – traveling socks that I started last May.
A foggy day – a good time to head into the forest. The trailhead park at the Bridge of the Gods was decorated for the holidays. We hiked in the other direction, south on the Pacific Crest Trail, and up hill away from the Columbia River. It is about 2.5 miles to this lovely waterfall that pours over a columnar basalt cliff. We had it to ourselves for lunch and a photo session. Then back down the trail, back to town, to finish up some elf work.
Bridge of the Gods trailhead
Into the foggy forest that is scarred by the 2017 fire.
Dry Creek just below the waterfall.
Dry Creek Falls
Still foggy on the cliffs as we drive home.
Hike #58, 5.5 miles, 1050 feet
Back home, I baked a few cookies, wrapped a few presents, and constantly rechecked the airline website as our daughter’s flight from DC was on a long delay. She eventually arrived about 1 am. Her visit for the week is the best present!
I made a little acorn for my friend’s tree – a last minute project. I collected the acorn caps last year after seeing some knitted acorns on Ravelry. It was a very quick project, using a bit of scrap yarn.
A knitting group friend gave us all ornaments that were knitted by a mouse.
I returned to this popular trail on the east side of Mt Hood with some trepidation, and conquered my fear. The last time I was here, in January of 2016, on snowshoes, my husband slipped over a cornice edge on the trail. He was rescued by some passing snowshoers, but then one of the rescuers slipped all the way down to the riverbank, and had to be rescued by Search and Rescue. I have avoided the trail ever since, even though it is not hazardous when snow free. I do love this trail – I saw my first Columbia Windflowers here one spring, and have enjoyed the hike many times. This day we were late for full fall colors, but saw yellow larches amid the evergreens. (Hike#52, 5 miles, 800 feet)
East Fork of Hood River, near the trailhead.
First view of Tamanawas Falls.
Lunch view, from the island in Cold Spring Creek at the base of the falls.
We explored a bit higher on side trail to Elk Meadows, and have plans to go farther in the future.
Mt Hood from Highway 35 in the afternoon.
I finished the Spiral Cowl, and this biography of Edith Nesbit, a favorite children’s author.