Early June, 2022

The sun came out for a few days, and the roses finally bloomed, seemingly all at once.

Hiking: We hiked twice on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, where wild flowers are also blooming late this year.

June 1 – Hardy Ridge – We found some of the earliest blooming wildflowers on top of Hardy Ridge (8.2 miles, 2100 feet).

DSC00430

Fading trillium

DSC00431

Oregon anemones

DSC00447

Glacier lilies

IMG_5861

Eastward view toward Table Mountain.

DSC00433

Phlox Point, and plenty of black flies photobombing us.

DSC00425

Blue jay near our lunch stop.

DSC00445

Looking south toward Oregon on our return hike. Service berry bushes in bloom.

June 7 – Cape Horn – We started in the middle, at the Strunk Road Trailhead, since the full loop is not open this time of year. We were hoping to see the tall larkspur, which can be profuse along this trial.

DSC00452

Lupine blooming in reclaimed fields along the trail to the Nancy Russell Overlook.

DSC00506

Cow parsley also in full bloom.

DSC00458

Tall ferns unfurling

DSC00459

Tall ferns

DSC00505

And we found the larkspur!

IMG_5884

Larkspur blooming all along the trail…

DSC00470

More larkspur…

DSC00471

Also, candy flower and buttercups.

DSC00466

More buttercups.

DSC00495

Maple trees were leafing out.

DSC00493

Avens at the Hwy 14 underpass.

DSC00489

We made our way to the Lower Oak Overlook, where the trail is closed for falcon nesting season. The river viewpoints were very windy, but it was calm and protected in the forest. We retraced our steps, back up the larkspur lined trail, for a 4 mile, 650 foot hike for the day. Lovely!

Knitting – I finished my June gnome for the ‘Year of Gnomes’, and made progress on socks, a hat and a sweater…

IMG_5680

June Jester Gnome, Oh, Gnome, You Didn’t pattern by Sarah Schira

IMG_5697

Side view, with jingle bells and pockets.

IMG_5653

I was inspired by a Cirque du Soleil show from 20 years ago, and some other knitters’ Mardi Gras interpretations of the pattern.

IMG_5895

Works in progress.

And spent much time preparing for our overseas adventure to Scotland and Iceland… finally! Postoned and postponed and postponed again. I will report back!

NZ2020: Day 17, Onawe Peninsula Trail

February 10, 2020

Today we began our independent travels after two weeks on guided tour.  We slept in bit, then decided to walk the Onawe Pa Track (2.7 miles, 300 feet), on the Banks Peninsula. We drove about an hour to the carpark, then spent most of the afternoon looking at the rocks, tide pools and views along the trail.

Image 6-3-22 at 5.52 PM (1)

Route from Christchurch to the Banks Peninsula, an eroded volcano.

DSC07617

View from the Hilltop Lookout showing the long narrow Onawe Peninsula in Akaroa Harbour.

DSC07611

Location Sign at the Hilltop Lookout

The far end of the Onawe Peninsula is an island at high tide. We began by walking along the tidal flats on the west side of the peninsula, on a dark cobbled beach with iron-stained yellow and orange volcanic tuffs in the adjacent cliffs.

DSC02353

Trailhead

DSC07448

Walking south along the westside of the peninsula

DSC07453

The low point that is flooded at high tide. We walked through the gap and saw a few birds.

DSC07455

Cormorant

DSC07459

Heron in the tidal flats

DSC07465

Closer view of the heron

We walked back through the gap, and continued walking south and up onto the hill to the top of the peninsula.

DSC07469

Track going up to the top of the peninsula.

DSC07473

Looking south as we walk up the road/trail

DSC07474

Continuing on

DSC07496

Grey boulders at the top of the peninsula

DSC07494

View to the south of Akaroa Harbour, including a cruise ship

DSC07490

View back to the north, showing the coastline and skyline of the Banks Peninsula.

On our return, we explored the beaches and cliffs on both sides of the peninsula, looking at marine life in the tide pools, and ‘picture rocks’ in the cliffs.

DSC07501

Back down to the beach

DSC07506

Tide still out…

DSC07552

Through the gap again.

Tidepools:

We enjoyed photographing the differentially stained tuffs, or ‘picture rocks’:

DSC07515

DSC07521DSC07533DSC07537DSC07540DSC07570DSC07587DSC07589

I decided to climb up the first hill, to look at the view from there:

DSC02528

Me, atop the hill.

DSC02534

View from the top…

DSC07600

Looking back at Onawe Pa

DSC07601

Tide coming in on the tidal flats, as we make our way back to the car park.

DSC07618

Last view from the Hilltop Viewpoint on our way return drive.

Back in Christchurch, we had dinner at a Thai restaurant. We had done well with left-side driving, and were ready to make our way to Lake Tekapo tomorrow.

May 2022, at home

It has been a rainy month in Portland. Many spring flowers were late, but they did bloom. I planted tomatoes and basil and marigolds, and I hope they grow. There was plenty of knitting time for gnomes, hats and socks. The terrible school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24th has put a damper on everything, though it is a sunny 74 degrees out today.  I may live in a bubble, and I don’t think all guns are bad, well somedays I do, but the lack of action on this issue is so frustrating, and deadly, and it happens everywhere in our country and rarely anywhere else. I find some comfort in seeing so many social media posts that agree with me. I have collected quite a few via screenshots, and I am posting them here, for me, to remind me that many share my anguish and sadness and frustration.

Knitting –

IMG_5858

Make Gnome Mistake – the May Mystery Knitalong with Imagined Landscapes

IMG_5667

New socks for a gift

IMG_5654

Two sets of Knitted Knockers, made for donation to KnittedKnockers.org, who provide prosthetics to mastectomy patients.

I made three hats for donation to the Puddletown Knitters Guild service project.

I started a new pair of travel knitting socks to take on our upcoming Scotland and Iceland trip.

DSC00335

IMG_5775

Not knitting – we painted one of the bedrooms.

Garden

Anti-Gun Violence Memes, mostly from Instagram:

Background checks and limits on assault weapons and ammunition could prevent these senseless deaths. This time I am privileged to be witnessing from a great distance, though it has happened nearby – an average of 544 gun deaths per year in my state. And, ‘no person is an island’ – we all suffer each time.

My actions:

We donate money to advocacy groups, and vote in every election.

Next month we have some international travel planned, so it may be a while before I post again…..

Hiking in May 2022

Our four hikes in May were all repeat hikes for us, east out of the Portland rain, to see spring wildflowers in the Columbia River Gorge.

5/4 – Tom McCall Point

One of our favorite hikes (3.5 miles, 1000 feet) with wildflowers and mountain and river views.

DSC04731

Balsamroot and lupine on the lower plateau

DSC04764

Fern-leaf desert parsley and poison oak in Parsley Alley

DSC04786

Paintbrush and balsamroot all the way up the mountain

DSC04810

Chocolate lilies

DSC04812

View to Lyle and Rowena Crest

DSC04820

Mt Adams

DSC04835

View to the Cherry Orchard cliffs from the top of Tom McCall Point

DSC04852

And, a flock of American pelicans flying upriver…we’ve never seen that before!

5/10 – Bitterroot Trail at Catherine Creek

Another easy loop (3.5 miles, 800 feet), my favorite bitterroot flowers in bloom, and amazing views the whole way.

DSC04858

Bitterroot blooming on the rocky balds near the trail head.

DSC04857

Poppies and bachelor buttons along the road

DSC04880

Bitteroot, camas and monkey flowers near the fairy pools.

DSC04890

Bitterroot – Lewisia rediviva

DSC04931

Cluster lilies, orchards of Mosier

DSC04937

Meadowlark

DSC04960

Rosy plectritis and bitterroot

DSC04978

Upriver view at the Balsamroot cairn

DSC04983

Downriver view, giant anvil cloud southeast of Mt Hood

DSC05000

Top of Rowland Wall. I found that one giant cluster of bitterroot that I always look for.

DSC04999

Giant bitterroot cluster, not in bloom;

DSC05018

Another beautiful bitterroot cluster, in bloom.

5/13 – Weldon Wagon Road

A hike with friends along gorgeous slopes of blooming balsam root flowers (5 miles, 1200 feet).

DSC05020

Lower oak woodland

DSC05025

Western tanager flying near the balsamroot

DSC05034

The open slopes in bloom

DSC05038

Open slopes

DSC05043

Parsley and balsamroot

DSC05053

Flowery meadows along the trail

DSC05057

Lupine dew

DSC05060

Balsamroot

DSC05079

Dogwood in the lower forest

5/26 – Hamilton Mountain

This can be a more difficult loop hike (8 miles, and 2200 feet), but we chose to go just to the upper set of rocky switchbacks, then return the way we came (5 miles, 1550 feet). I got to see the smaller cousin of the bitterroot – Lewisia columbiana, on the upper cliffs just as the weather was starting to turn.

DSC00343

Lots of white flowers blooming in the forest

DSC00344

Equisetum (horsetail)

DSC00356

Rodney Falls

DSC00352

Pool of the Winds

DSC00376

View across the gorge from the Little Hamilton summit meadows

DSC00380

Larkspur, parsley, and chickweed blooming down the slope

DSC00370

Bonneville Dam and the eastern gorge

DSC00372

Hamilton Mountain- we are only going to the upper rocky switchback section, circled.

DSC00386

Most of the Lewisia columbiana was not blooming yet,

DSC00389

but there were some patches on a sunny cliff.

DSC00402

Chocolate lilies, phlox and parsley on the lower cliffs

We felt a smattering of rain as we hiked down, but managed to sneak this hike out from under the nose of the weather gods. The real rain didn’t start until we were on our way home.

Southwest hiking trip, April, 2022: Part 3 – Tropic, Utah

April 26

We spent the day hiking at Kodachrome Basin and nearby Grosvernor Arch.

Image 5-22-22 at 8.39 PM

Location map for our hikes and landmarks in southern Utah.

Kodachrome Basin – This State Park, about 12 miles south of Tropic, has its own unusual form of round hoodoos.  67 sedimentary pipes stand up above the landscape, up to 170 feet tall. There are several theories about why the sediment in these spires is more resistant than the surrounding rock that eroded away. It likely has to do with fluid migration, possibly in hot springs or geysers, and differential cementation. The pipes add a spiky element to the already beautiful eroded landscape of Jurassic Carmel and Entrada Formations.

DSC04513

Sedimentary pipe near the entrance station.

Panorama Trail – There are a few intersecting loops to choose from here. We hiked a 5 mile loop that included The Secret Passage, Mammoth Spire and Panorama Point.

DSC04277

Hiking toward the spires and cliffs of Kodachrome Basin

DSC04286

Fred Flintstone spire is one of the first along the trail.

DSC04278

Many spires in the landscape,

DSC04292

and pink cliffs in the distance.

DSC04288

A few wildflowers scattered across the desert floor.

DSC04303

Ballerina Spire – looks like a pointed toe

DSC04315

More hoodoos along the trail.

DSC04317

Many photo opportunities…

DSC04322

Into the Secret Passage,

DSC04333

where we could get very close to the cliffs,

DSC04342

and walk on the slick rock surfaces

DSC04347

between oddly eroded landforms.

DSC04354

Looking back….

DSC04359

The trail continued under high red cliffs toward Mammoth Spire.

DSC04367

We were watched by a scrub jay.

DSC04373

Entrada Formation cliffs

DSC04387

We found a shady spot near Mammoth Spire to eat lunch.

DSC04401

Next, we took the Panorama Point spur…

DSC04400

DSC04414

View to the north

DSC04412

View to the east

DSC04441

Returning to the trailhead…

DSC04442DSC04444DSC04450

Angel’s Palace Trail – We hiked a little over a mile on this trail that loops around the red clifftops on the east side of the basin.

DSC04467DSC04477DSC04484DSC04490

DSC04491

Looking toward the campground.

DSC04500

The ‘Angel’s Rest’ of Kodachrome Basin

DSC04504

DSC04510

Shortcut back down the trail

Grosvenor Arch – We had time to drive the 11 miles to this location, and admire the view to the sky through this double arch.

DSC04515

DSC04516

A short trail leads to the foot of Grovesnor Arch

DSC04528

On closer view, we realize it is a double arch.

DSC04525

We wandered around the base, taking views from different angles.

DSC04537DSC04543

On our return drive to Tropic, we once again admired the view to Powell Point in the distance.

DSC04569

April 27

It was time for me to go home to Portland, via a flight from St George, Utah.

Bryce Canyon – We made a quick stop at the Fairyland Viewpoint on our way.

DSC04573

DSC04574

Fairyland Canyon view, Sinking Ship in the distance.

DSC04587

Hoodoos below the rim.

DSC04575

Boat Mesa

DSC04580

Taller than trees

DSC04582

A bird on the hoodoo

DSC04584

Trail into Fairyland; Powell Point on the far horizon.

On to St George….

IMG_5562

Back through the rock tunnel…

I flew from St George to Salt Lake City to Portland.

DSC04622

Leaving the Great Salt Lake, flying into the clouds.

DSC04682

Mt Hood peaking out from the clouds,

DSC04688

at eye level.

DSC04703 (1)

The green green land surrounding the Sandy River, just east of Portland, and home.

I was happy to be home, and would love to explore more of southern Utah another year!  Meanwhile, my husband returned to Tropic for his photo class. He took this shot in Bryce Canyon one of the nights.

IMG_1893

Milky Way above Fairyland Canyon; glow from the town of Tropic in the distance.

Southwest hiking trip, April, 2022: Part 2 – Escalante, Utah

April 23, To Escalante, Utah

Escalante is about 5 hours drive east of Las Vegas, so we spent most of a day driving there, but it is a beautiful drive!

DSC03735

I thought this was a lake, in the desert along Highway 15 east of Las Vegas, but it is actually a large array of solar panels.

DSC03747

Snow capped Pine Valley Mountains on view as we cross into Utah.

We stopped for a lunch break with a family member who lives near St George, Utah.

DSC03749

View from the garden.

After lunch, we continued on to Cedar City to buy groceries for the next few days. Then we took the scenic route, Hwys 14 to 89 to 12, over mountains, and onto the Colorado Plateau, where the ‘lower’ elevations are above 5000 feet.

DSC03751

We passed the turnoff to Zion Canyon, not on our agenda this trip.

DSC03762

Over snowy mountains on Hwy 14,

DSC03786

Back down to the Sevier River, along Hwy 89.

DSC03790

Highway 12 deserves it’s scenic designation!

DSC03792

Hoodoos of the Claron Formation along the road near Bryce Canyon.

DSC03794

Everyone loves a rock tunnel!

Beyond Bryce, Powell Point of the famous Grand Staircase Pink Cliffs began to dominate our view.

DSC03803

Powell Point

We stopped at the overlook on Highway 12 to admire Powell Point from another angle.

DSC03808

View of Powell Point from the Hwy 12 Overlook.

DSC03805

Hwy 12 Overlook sign

IMG_5534

Our stratigraphic column for the week.

We arrived in Escalante around dinner time.

DSC03809

Escalante hotel room view – very different from Las Vegas!

Image 5-22-22 at 8.39 PM

Location map for our hikes and landmarks for the next few days.

April 24 – Toward Boulder and the Burr Trail

We began the day by driving east on Hwy 12 into this remarkable landscape:

IMG_5537

Lower Calf Creek Falls –  We hiked six miles round trip along Calf Creek, mostly between steep red sandstone walls of Navajo Sandstone. 

DSC03815

The trail begins near the campground, and stays close to the river most of the way.

DSC03818

Red sandstone walls loom above,

DSC03822

On both sides of the river.

DSC03834

Photogenic scenery in every direction.

DSC03845

DSC03847

Beaver dams in the river.

DSC03855

The paper trail guide pointed out pictographs across the canyon,

DSC03854

identified as Fremont-style rock art,

DSC03851

painted with red pigment.

DSC03865

A rock arch across the creek, where the canyon walls narrow.

DSC03871

At river level, the vegetation forms a tunnel,

DSC03873

and then the waterfall appears through the trees.

DSC03886

Lower Calf Creek Falls, 126 feet

DSC03880

Upper lip

DSC03890

Lower drop

This was a great lunch stop! We admired the falls for a while.

IMG_5546

Tripod nation

DSC03900

Upper lip again

DSC03913

After lunch, we returned down the sandy trail.

DSC03918

Desert varnish on sandstone

DSC03911

Spotted towhee

DSC03925

Navajo Sandstone

We continued driving east on Hwy 12, toward Boulder. We stopped at the pullout that is just above Calf Creek Falls, to see the view across the canyon.

DSC03936

Looking west

DSC03927

Our trail down in the canyon

DSC03931

Blue arrow points to the narrow part of the canyon, and approximate position of Lower Calf Creek Falls.

Long Canyon Slot – We continued east on Hwy 12, to the small town of Boulder, then turned onto Burr Trail Road for eleven miles, to the Long Canyon slot canyon. Once again, the road cut through amazing scenery. These white sandstone hills just outside Boulder remind me of Checkerboard Mesa, near Zion Canyon.

DSC03940

Navajo Sandstone

DSC03943

By the time we reached Long Canyon, we had driven lower into the stratigraphy to the older Wingate Formation, also a massive red sandstone layer. The slot canyon here is less than a quarter mile long and easily accessible. 

DSC03947

Wingate Formation

 

DSC03945

The slot

DSC03951

Slot entrance

DSC03952

Looking up at the sky between the walls

DSC03961

The end of the canyon

DSC03954

Much narrower above.

Head of the Rocks Viewpoint

On our drive back to Escalante, we stopped at the Head of the Rocks Viewpoint, with all the world displayed around us.

DSC03997

Head of the Rocks viewpoint

DSC04005

Panorama

DSC04007

Farther east

DSC04017

Close up of slick rock Navajo Sandstone surface

DSC04001

Navajo Mountain in the far distance

April 25 – Hole in the Rock Road

Zebra Slot Canyon – We drove down Hole in the Rock Road, south of Escalante, to the trailhead to Zebra Slot. This was another six mile round trip hike, first across open desert, then into canyons cut into Navajo Sandstone. For most of the hike we were admiring wall after wall of cross bedded sandstone.

DSC04018

Open desert and cliffs west of Hole in the Rock Road

DSC04029

A desert vetch in bloom

DSC04035DSC04041DSC04048

DSC04056

Slumping within the original sand dune layers

DSC04055

Closer view

DSC04059

Microfaulted crossbeds

DSC04063

DSC04075

Harris Wash

DSC04082

Entrance to Zebra Slot

DSC04095

Passage becoming narrower

DSC04094

An open chamber between narrow passages

DSC04122

Stripes of varnish and concretions

DSC00413

Squeezing through – we didn’t make it much farther – we would have had to chimney up the slot – a bit out of our skill set.

DSC04115

Some of the beautiful striping suggesting the Zebra name

DSC04123

Daylight above

DSC04129

Coming out of the slot

On the hike out, we wandered across the beautiful slick rock surfaces.

DSC04145DSC04146DSC04147DSC04149DSC04171DSC04177

Devil’s Garden – We continued down Hole in the Rock Road for a few more miles, to the Devil’s Garden – an area of hoodoos eroded from the Entrada Sandstone. We wandered around this area for about an hour enjoying the photo opportunities.

DSC04189DSC04199DSC04204DSC04210

DSC04211

Metate Arch

DSC04216

Metate Arch

DSC04224

Metate Arch

DSC04230

Mano Arch

DSC04239

More hoodoos in the distance

DSC04242

DSC04240

A rock wren?

DSC04257

DSC04258

Eroding sandstone layers

DSC04250

To Tropic – At the end of the day, we drove back west for about an hour, relocating to the town of Tropic, just east of Bryce Canyon, where my husband would be based for his photo class. And we still had a whole day to explore in this area.

DSC04273

View to Powell Point from our cabin in Tropic.

Coda:  When I was at Joshua tree in February, I was wondering if I still liked the desert, and this trip to the redrock country has answered that question. This is the desert I like…sandstone slickrock, slot canyons,  and cliffs – I realized it was the Colorado Plateau I was seeking. Each day, we noted trails and views we didn’t have time to explore, and made a list for next time…

Southwest hiking trip, April, 2022: Part 1 – Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

I accompanied my husband for a week of hiking before he attended a long delayed outdoor photography course in southern Utah. We began by flying to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the friend we planned to visit there had a last minute family emergency. And much as we wanted to see the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show, we were not ready to be with unmasked people indoors for that amount of time. So, we kept to our hotel, and to the great outdoors, of which there is plenty to go around in this part of the world!

April 21 – Flying to Las Vegas

DSC03472

Flying over Mt Jefferson on our way south…

DSC03492

And directly over Red Rock Canyon, with its beautifully displayed Keystone Thrust Fault (gray Paleozoic Limestone lying atop tan and red Mesozoic sandstones), where we would be hiking tomorrow.

DSC03501

We circled the Las Vegas strip before landing.

We could see the strip skyline from our hotel:

DSC03732

By day;

DSC03734

including the marquee for the show we wanted to see;

DSC03506

And by night.

April 22 – Red Rock Canyon

As we drove west toward Red Rock Canyon, we could see a storm coming in…

DSC03512

We began at the Visitor Center, which has excellent outdoor exhibits that explain every category of natural and human history of the area.

DSC03524

Sheepshead Peak and Calico Basin redrocks

DSC03542

Geology exhibit, storm clouds

DSC03520

Desert tortoise

DSC03535

Wildflowers, storm clouds

Then, instead of being allowed to drive the 13 mile one way scenic drive to trailheads and viewpoints, we were asked to leave, as they were evacuating the park. We assumed it was due to flash flood hazard. Fortunately we had noticed nearby Calico Basin Trailhead, which was not closed. We waited in our car as the brief storm passed through, then hiked the Calico Basin and Red Springs trails.

In Calico Basin, it was lovely to walk among the cross bedded sandstones and spring flowers, to a small canyon. I heard, for the first time in many years, the descending scale of the Canyon Wren song, though I never did see the bird.

DSC03555

Trailhead

DSC03557

Sheepshead Peak again, beyond Calico Basin

DSC03561

Paper daisy? Lots of new to me wildflowers on this trip.

DSC03562

Hedgehog cactus

DSC03565

Crossbedded sandstone

DSC03596DSC03597

DSC03603

Canyon at the end of the trail

DSC03609

White crowned sparrow?

As we walked the boardwalk around Red Springs, we saw more birds, flowers, and interesting rocks, all the while being serenaded by violin music from an ongoing wedding.

DSC03617

Red Springs

DSC03612

California Quail

DSC03621

Petroglyphs, orange globe mallow, white evening primrose

DSC03637

View back to Las Vegas from the ridge above Red Springs

DSC03643

View back into Calico Basin

We decided to check the park entrance again, and it had just reopened, so we drove the Scenic Loop, stopping for views at the High Point Overlook:

DSC03649

Toward the southeast, Calico Basin

DSC03652

Sheepshead Peak, Paleozoic limestone to the northeast

DSC03657

More Paleozoic limestone to the north

DSC03658

Northwestern slopes of Red Rock Canyon

DSC03647

Western slopes

Then we drove into the Willow Springs area, and took two short walks into the rocky landscape.

First, the Petrogyph Trail:

DSC03662

Trailhead

DSC03670

We spotted a pale pink penstemon in the wash.

DSC03677

Signage at the Petroglyph Wall

DSC03675

Pictographs

DSC03676

Petroglyphs

Next, we walked a labyrinthian maze to Lost Creek:

DSC03690

Trailhead

DSC03698

Around the tree, up the stairs,

DSC03700

Under the overhanging rock,

DSC03710

To a trickling waterfall at the end of the trail.

Finally, we stopped at Red Rock Wash Overlook for a last view of the area.

DSC03725

Late afternoon light over Sheepshead Peak and Calico Basin.

We enjoyed our day in this beautiful landscape; and were next looking forward to a few days of hiking in southern Utah.

DSC03522

Last words from the Visitor Center.

April 2022

We returned from our east coast trip early in the month, happy to see our bulbs and crabapple tree in full bloom.

IMG_5350

Checker lilies

IMG_5347

Tulips

FullSizeRender

Crabapple

On April 11th we had an unusual late season snowstorm covering all the blossoms. It melted within a day, and though hail, wind and rain hit sporadically that week, we were also treated to several rainbows.

IMG_5401

Snow on the crabapple blossoms

IMG_5404

and tulips

IMG_5453

Hail and crabapple blossoms

IMG_5454

Sunny deluge

IMG_5455

Rainbow

We hiked the Lyle Cherry Orchard West Loop on April 6th, – our second time on this new trail. Today we saw the early spring flowers, the always spectacular views, and a lot less wind compared to our hike here last December!

DSC03289

Eastern gorge, red poison oak beginning to leaf out.

DSC03288

Death camas in abundance throughout the lower plateau.

IMG_5383

Death camus

DSC03372

Mt Adams from the upper trail

DSC03354

Pink filaree carpeting the upper oak groves

DSC03379

View to the western gorge and early balsam root blooms.

DSC03401

Balsamroot

On April 15th, we took a quick loop through Tryon Creek on our annual spring hike to see the trillium and skunk cabbage….

April 21st to 27th we travelled to the southwest, Nevada and Utah, the subject of my next post.

On return to Portland, the neon green of our city glowed from the airplane window. I was pleased to see the dogwoods and azaleas in the neighborhood in full bloom.

My knitting this month:

And…I celebrate the approval of our new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson…though her presence will probably not be enough to thwart the regressive decisions looming….

DC-MD-PA-CT-DC, March 25-April 3, 2022

We visited family and friends who live 3000 miles away, most of them not seen since 2019. We flew to National Airport, in Washington, DC, and stayed near our daughter for the first weekend. Then we drove north, and visited folks in Baltimore, rural Pennsylvania, and near New Haven, CT. We returned to DC for the second weekend, before flying home.

I have not spent very much time in the eastern US, so every time I visit I am wide eyed and curious, taking in all the scenery, buildings, and landscapes that are so different from the west. The 300 mile drive from DC to Connecticut is along a low relief coastal plain, gently sloping toward the sea, incised by rivers, and fringed with the bare branches of deciduous trees this time of year. The prominent vertical elements are city skylines. When a highway overpass allowed an elevated view, I could see how vulnerable the coastal plain is to hurricanes – there is so little relief (compared to the west coast) to alter trajectories!  That is my old geocuriosity showing up here, and my first time actually driving this route and seeing it with my own eyes…

Friday, March 25 – We left our Washington Cascade peaks behind, flew over the central plains, and arrived with a long distance view of the National Mall. We took the Metro into town and met our daughter at a Peruvian-Sushi-fusion restaurant, followed by gelato, before finding our way to our AirB&B near Columbia Heights.

IMG_5260

Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier

DSC02793

Iowa

DSC02800

DC Metro area

DSC02808

National Airport from the Metro

IMG_5267

Dinner

Saturday morning we visited a local Farmers Market, ate amazing felafels, then took the Metro to the National Mall. This was the second weekend of the cherry blossom festival, and the trees were in bloom. After a quick look at the very crowded Tidal Basin, we decided to walk east up the Mall.

DSC02810

Farmers Market

DSC02817

Cherry blossoms

DSC02821

Looking across the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial

DSC02826

Walking past the Washington Monument

DSC02831

A brief stop in the Smithsonian Castle

DSC02827

Kite flyers out on the Mall on this windy day.

DSC02833

Zoom in on the Capitol

We visited the National Gallery of Art.

DSC02836

Azaleas in the Foyer

DSC02838

Knitters!

DSC02839

Western landscape

Sunday, we visited an Art Fair at the  Kennedy Center REACH – again so cold and windy we were glad to eat lunch in the sheltered cafe nearby that looks toward the Kennedy Center out of one set of windows, and toward Roosevelt Island on the Potomac on the other side.  Then we said goodby to our daughter for the week and drove north to Baltimore to see cousins there.

DSC02843

Kennedy Center

DSC02847

A new Kennedy statue near the REACH complex

DSC02844

President Kennedy

DSC02845

Nordic Swan sculpture near the Art Fair; the swan is made of more than 300 upcycled plastic buckets.

Monday afternoon we headed north again, this time to rural Pennsylvania, just north of Wilmington, Delaware. We had snow squall warnings on our phone just as we arrived at our destination. This cold spell was not in the weather predictions when we packed for our trip!  Our cousins in PA have a lovely old home with an amazing kitchen, and we spent lots of time there, with a sight seeing break to see an old oak tree and a walk in a nature preserve.

IMG_5332

Good news about boosters, bad news about the weather.

DSC02854

Pennsylvania house

DSC02859

DSC02863

Ancient oak tree

DSC02874

Nearby landscape view

A chilly walk at the Laurels Preserve:

DSC02877DSC02886DSC02888DSC02894DSC02903DSC02920

Wednesday – On to Connecticut – about a 3.5 hour drive. We visited the New Jersey Palisades just west of the George Washington Bridge. My husband was interested in seeing them, as he had recently been reading about their role in some of the American Revolution battles. I wanted to see the rocks – diabase sills that originated near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge as the North American Continent was slipping away from Europe much longer ago – 200 million years. We both got our wish, and this was a perfect place to eat our lunch as we looked south at the skyline of New York City.

DSC02974

George Washington Bridge from the Ross Dock Picnic area, New Jersey

DSC02977

The Palisades

DSC02985

Looking up the Hudson River

DSC02986

New York skyline

DSC03000

Over the bridge…

We had lots of lovely family time in Connecticut, catching up with family and meeting some new members.  On Thursday we walked up East Rock with some of my husband’s childhood friends, followed by lunch in New Haven.

DSC03022

East Rock Park

DSC03026

View to New Haven and Long Island Sound

IMG_5333

Dog of Connecticut

Friday was the 300 mile drive all the way back to DC, a long stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike, previously only known by me in the Paul Simon song: “We all come to look for America!”… passing the most industrial of views, and also wetlands and natural areas when crossing rivers. It was very efficient for us – we managed to avoid heavy traffic until we arrived in DC at dinnertime.

DSC03051

Back over the George Washington Bridge,

IMG_5335

through New Jersey,

DSC03065

Over the Delaware River,

DSC03087

Into the Fort McHenry Tunnel to Baltimore,

DSC03088

DSC03095

Back to Columbia Heights, in DC.

Saturday, we visited the Farmers Market again for more of those delicious felafels, then took a bus to the Mall for a private tour of the Federal Reserve building. We were thoroughly screened by security, then our family member escorted us through the newly refurbished building. We looked at some of the artwork on the walls, took a peek into “the room where it happens”, then admired views from a cubicle window and  from the upper balcony and outdoor dining area.

Wall art (unattributed):

Views from the balcony:

DSC03128

Southwestern view over the Mall

DSC03130

Jefferson Memorial

DSC03136

Southeastern view to the Capitol

Next, we visited the nearby Art Museum of the Americas.

DSC03139

Walking down Virginia Avenue

DSC03141

Art Museum of the Americas

The main exhibit was ‘Mapping The Layers’ by Julio Valdez.

Beautiful tile work in the Interior Courtyard of the building:

Tilework and a sculpture outside the building:

DSC03168DSC03169

Some views from the bus on our way back to Columbia Heights:

DSC03172DSC03173DSC03175

Sunday we helped with house and bicycle repairs before flying home. On our way to the airport we had time to take a short walk on Roosevelt Island in the Potomac, say Hi! to Teddy, and see a few spring flowers, before our flight.

DSC03190

DSC03193

View from the bridge

DSC03200

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

DSC03205

DSC03211

Into the woods

DSC03199

Spring flowers

DSC03219

Back over the bridge, looking toward VA.

I had a great view of the Pentagon before flying up through the clouds and toward the setting sun.

DSC03230

Pentagon

DSC03240

It felt very satisfying to reconnect with so many important people in our lives, hopefully,  a harbinger of cautious return to the ‘new normal’.

March, 2022

March was cold, rainy, windy, with a few sun breaks and early flowers:

We went on three repeat hikes:

Memaloose Hills – March 3rd:

DSC02654

Cold and windy at the Memaloose Overlook


DSC02652

Looking to the westward cliffs…


DSC02680

Zooming in on the blue heron rookery.


DSC02670

Chatfield Hill – mostly still dormant,


DSC02659

with a few yellow bells.


DSC02673

We tried a (new to us) side loop up the lower hill on the return hike.

White River with micro spikes – March 11th:

IMG_5183

Clouds wafted across Mt Hood throughout the hike.


IMG_5185

Our usual lunch spot – snow level is low!


DSC02712

Return hike – lenticular clouds forming…

DSC02705

The Labyrinth – March 16th:

DSC02714

Plenty of water in the Old Hwy. 8 waterfall; Mt Hood on the far horizon.


DSC02717

Slightly frozen grass widows.


DSC02721

Labyrinth waterfall


DSC02726

Yellow bells and buttercups


DSC02727

My favorite oak grove


DSC02745

Our guide Ponderosa


DSC02746

View from the guide tree


DSC02756

Early yellow parsley


DSC02761

The haunted tree

Knitting and sewing:

IMG_5171

Quilt for my new niece, born at the end of the month.


IMG_5249

New laptop sleeve.


IMG_5217

‘Brave Enough’ Hitchhiker – yarn by Knitted Wit, pattern by Martina Behm


IMG_5203

Gnome Pun Intended, pattern by Sara Schira, Year of Gnomes, scrap yarn.


IMG_5226

Ripples Make Waves hat for the Guild Service Project; pattern by Casapinka; Knit Picks Hawthorne yarn.


IMG_5192

I started a new pair of socks for travel knitting.

At the end of the month we flew to the east coast to visit family – that will be my next post.