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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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.

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

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Two eagles on this branch…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The salmon

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Juvenile eagle lands nearby

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and pounces

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Drags the salmon onto the mudflat

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Joined by other eagles.

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

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Two great blue herons, circled in blue.

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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.

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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)

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The Old Highway waterfall

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The upper waterfall

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My favorite oak grove

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Views of Mt Hood

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Phlox

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Phlox, eastern gorge dusted with snow

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Salt and pepper

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Oak trees in low light

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Columnar basalts

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

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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.

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Bald eagle near the trailhead.

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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.

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

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

 

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Looking up at the arch.

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Looking down through the arch.

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

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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.

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January 2018, pre-burn

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January 2019, post fire

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

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

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Looking back upriver.

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The dry waterfall

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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)

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A yellow composite flower

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New foliage on burned shrubs.

Crafting

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

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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)