Fresh Air at the Oregon Coast

September 20 to 23, 2020

We were able to reschedule our planned trip to the central Oregon Coast until after the wildfire smoke cleared out. We stayed in a hotel, brought our own food, and walked on the beaches and trails, following all the covid-safety protocols. Many of the parks and trails along the coast were closed due to the recent windstorms and wildfire smoke event, or due to Covid precautions. But all of the beaches were open for walking.

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Central Oregon Coast, and places we walked on our trip.

Sunday, September 20th

Yachats, Oregon

We arrived in Yachats in the evening, in time to walk along the rocky outcrops near our hotel as the tide was receding, and watch a lovely sunset, with pelicans and gulls.

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Yachats sunset

Pelican

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Yachats sunset

Pelican peleton

Pelican peleton

Monday, September 21st –

Washburne to Hobbit Beach at low tide – A lovely three mile walk toward Haceta Head.

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Tidal pools and sand bars on the beach as we walk south toward Haceta Head.

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Rocky outcrop with tide pools.

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Sea anemones, barnacles, and mussels.

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Blue sky, blue sand.

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Ripples.

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Return walk north.

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A skittering of sand plovers.

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Sand plovers, doubled.

Darlingtonia Wayside

After our beach walk we continued south along the coast looking for more adventures. Our next stop was to see a swath of carnivorous plants.DSC03030DSC03026

North Jetty

We followed the north side of the Siuslaw River to it’s mouth and took a walk along the North Jetty, where we again saw pelicans and plovers.

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Entry to the North Jetty.

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Walking seaward on the North Jetty – those shadows in the distance are birds!

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Another skittering of sand plovers! It makes me so happy just to watch them!

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Plovers.

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Pelicans and other sea birds far out on the jetty.

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Pelican in flight!

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I spotted one seal nearby.

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The dunes and lifeguard tower near the North Jetty entrance.

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A line of rocks in the estuary make perfect perches for the seabirds.

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Pelicans and gulls on their perches.

Exploding Whale park

As we drove back toward Florence, this park caught our attention. It is named for the infamous attempt to dispose of a washed up dead whale with dynamite, on a nearby beach, about 50 years ago.

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Local citizens voted for the park name.

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A short walk here reveals nice views of the highway bridge, and the dunes to the south.

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Haceta Light House

We stopped briefly south of Haceta Head in the early afternoon to see the lighthouse through the fog. On our return trip north in later in the day, the view was much clearer.

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Haceta Head Lighthouse from the beach, through the fog.

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Lighthouse from the highway viewpoint, early afternoon.

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Lighthouse from the highway viewpoint, late afternoon.

Monday, September 22nd

Wax Myrtle Trail and Lagoon Trail, Siltcoos River

Campgrounds in this area were closed, and the trails were particularly empty on this beautiful September day.

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The walk to Wax Myrtle Beach follows the Siltcoos River.

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We spotted a heron in the estuary as we got closer to the beach.

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Heron.

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We followed the Siltcoos River to the sea.

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A line of sand dunes border Wax Myrtle Beach.

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Dunes and beach.

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We walked north to the mouth of the Siltcoos River, where birds were out on the low tide sandbars.

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Pelican.

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More plovers in the foreground!

As we walked back upriver on our return hike, another hiker pointed out three river otters who were swimming upstream and eating fish along the way. We followed along with them until they disappeared upriver. This is my first time seeing them in the wild!

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All three otters in this photo – the third one in the upper left corner. They are very fast and hard to photograph!

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We walked partway around the nearby lagoon, where these beautiful plants floated on the surface.

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South Jetty, Siuslaw River

We drove back north toward Florence, and decided to drive out to the South Jetty of the Siuslaw River, just across from where we had walked on the North Jetty the previous day. There were plenty of people out there, also plenty of room to walk on beaches and in the dunes. 

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Looking seaward between the jetties. The North Jetty lifeguard tower is on the horizon.

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Waves crashing against the South Jetty. Not as many pelicans on the outer jetty.

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South Jetty beach from South Jetty.

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Seaweed on South Jetty beach.

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Swash zone.

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Looking south.

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Sand dunes to the east all along the beach for miles.

Sunset in Yachats

We had a lovely colorful sky outside our hotel.

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Wednesday, September 23rd Yachats

We woke up to wind, and predictions of a storm coming in. We walked a short way on the beach in the wind before heading north toward home.

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Seal Rock and Ona Beach

On our drive north, we stopped to look at the Seal Rocks, in the wind. 

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Seal Rocks to the south.

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Seal Rocks to the north.

We stopped at Ona Beach, just to the north of Seal Rocks, and walked out to the beach.

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Crossing Beaver Creek on our way to the beach.

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Beaver Creek estuary

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Squirrel getting ready for winter.

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Ona Beach.

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Windblown sand across the tidal flats.

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Sand ripples, birds on the low tide bars.

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These might be our last pelican sightings for the year.

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Ona Beach, looking south toward Seal Rocks. Too windy to explore today – we will have to come back another time.

Rain started as we headed back to the car. I felt so refreshed from our few days in the fresh air and wide open spaces of the Oregon coast, and thankful that I could be there during this difficult year of pandemic, climate and political crises. 

Forest Park again…

May 15, 2020 – Wildwood Trail: Newberry Road/BPA Road Loop

We returned to the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park on the west side of Portland for another pandemic hike. It had been raining off and on all week, and the forest was a little drippy. Clouds blocked the view of mountains we saw from the BPA Road last week, but there were lots of new wildflowers this week. (Hike #40, 6.5 miles, 1250 feet)

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Newberry Road trailhead

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Fern-lined trail

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Forest

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Powerline cut – no mountains this week.

In other good news, nearby forests and state parks are gradually reopening, so we will soon have a wider geography available.

Knitting

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A finish!  Patons Kroy Celestial Purple traveling socks.

Neighborhood walks-

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nasturtium

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dogwood

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Porch parade

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Porch pig

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Tethered horse

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More words of encouragement!

Addendum – Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, May 5, 2020

When Washington State reopened some public lands, we went to the driving loop at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. The wintering birds – swans, geese, and sandhill cranes – had flown on. Today we saw turtles, redwing blackbirds, egrets and herons. This was our first foray out of our neighborhood in two months, and it was great just to see some wide open spaces from the safe space of our car!

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Egret in the distance.

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Turtles

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Red wing blackbirds in the meadows.

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NZ2020: Day 6, Franz Josef Glacier

January 30, 2020 –

After our rainy drive yesterday, we were delighted to see the mountains above Franz Josef this morning.

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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!

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Waiho River Valley

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The glacier is filling the valley on the left.

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The trail emerges from the forest at an overlook that marks the advanced position of the glacier in 1908.

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We still have a bit of a walk to get closer to the glacier.

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Zooming in on the glacier from the 1908 overlook.

We continued walking up the glaciated Franz Valley on sediment eroded from the mountains above.

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Haast Schists – beautiful metamorphic rocks!

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We reached the river crossing, and continued walking up the valley.

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A huge waterfall is gushing out of rocks below the glacier on the right – we can see the mist cloud from here.

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Jagged glacier surface

We passed waterfalls and beautiful, glacially polished schists in the valley walls.

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The last viewpoint is ahead, on the low hummocks.

We reached the end of the trail, the closest viewpoint, due to safety concerns.

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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.

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Turbulent water full of glacial dust in the outflow stream.

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View down the Waiho Valley from the upper endpoint of the trail.

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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.

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Franz Josef Glacier from Sentinal Rock.

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Winding Waiho River.

We continued on a short distance to Peter’s Pool.

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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)

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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.

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Lake Matheson

We stopped for a walk around Lake Matheson.

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Hike #7, 3 miles, 200 feet.

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New Zealand pigeon (kereru) posing near the trailhead.

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At this viewpoint, the Southern Alps may be seen reflected in the lake.

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We were not so lucky today – the clouds had moved in.

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It was a lovely hike, with beautiful lunchtime views of the lake, and interesting foliage to admire.

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Kidney ferns

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Lancewood

Knights Point

Farther south on Hwy 6, we stopped at this clifftop viewpoint over the Tasman Sea.

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Treeferns, lancewood and flax covered the coastal cliffs to the north.

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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.

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Elephant seals

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Ship Creek

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.

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View of the beach from the Observation Tower.

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View inland from the tower.

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Sand dunes

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Beach boardwalk, going north.

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Pebbly shingled beach – great skipping stones!

Onward! Our views were diminished by clouds as we headed east into the mountains.

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Driving view as we cross over the Haast River on the longest one lane bridge in New Zealand .

 

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In Haast Pass, where rivers change direction.

We made a brief stop in Mt Aspiring National Park to see Thunder Creek Falls.

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Thunder Creek Falls

Our overnight destination was a lodge at Makarora.

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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!

 

NZ 2020: Day 4, Punakaiki

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The sun was still shining when we woke up to a beautiful morning in Punakaiki!

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Morning view from our lodging.

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Southern rata and cabbage tree

We spent the day hiking in Paparoa National Park.

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Our destinations for the day.

Pororari Punakaiki River Track

We had our first chance to fully immerse ourselves in the rain forest. It was beautiful, and very different from our usual forests in Oregon.

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The red line shows our trail. Our guide dropped us at the Pororari River, then hiked in to meet us from the Punakaiki car park.

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Limestone cliff above the Pororari River.

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Tree ferns

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Nikau palms

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Each turn in the trail revealed interesting views.

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Palm trunk

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Cut trunk of a tree fern?

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Pororari River, looking west toward the ocean.

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We were learning the unusual (to us) foliage – this is the Rimu, or red pine, a member of the native Podocarp family. We would see these throughout our travels on the South Island.

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The red blooming tree is the Southern Rata, a native evergreen tree.

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Our guide had us taste the inner core of the supplejack vine – a bit like asparagus.

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We were excited to see a few weka birds running across the trail and in the parking area. They are flightless native birds about the size of chickens, sometimes regarded as nuisances, but are a protected species, as are all the native birds.

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Weka

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

After lunch we visited the famous Pancake Rocks. The tide wasn’t quite high enough for spouting during our visit, but we admired the weirdly eroded limestone rock formations and ocean views.

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View to the south.

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Closer look

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Limestone layers

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Red-billed gull

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Imaginative viewing.

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View north to the next destination – the Truman Track.

Truman Track

The Truman Track leads through rainforest to the beach.

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It was a little misty in the forest.

By the time we reached the beach the sun was out.

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View to the south back toward Punakaiki.

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Truman Cove beach to the north.

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The tide was going out as we walked along the sand.

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Pebbly “sand”

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Marine fossils in the sandstone cliffs and ledges

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Overhanging sand stone cliffs, and view to the beach stairs.

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Stairs up through New Zealand flax back to the trailhead.

We had a lovely day exploring interesting rocks, fossils, pebbly beaches, and rainforest palms and tree ferns of Paparoa. Tomorrow we would go south along the West Coast toward Fiordland. Our three hikes for the day added up to about 7 miles/600 feet (#3 for 2020).

Oaks Bottom, a rainbow, and a knitting update

12/8/2019  Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

We went for a quick walk around the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Portland. The last time here I was in the slow walk mode, recovering from my pituitary surgery. Today we walked briskly along – not too many birds out, but a nice dryish respite from the rainy days behind and ahead. (Hike #56, 3.1 miles, 100 feet)

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Oaks Bottom

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Bald eagle on a perch in the Willamette River.

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Neighborhood

Lots of rain, and a rainbow…I am looking forward to the solstice.

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Knitting

I finished a foxy bib for a baby shower present,

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I put the thumbs on the mitts,

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and have finished the body and icord hem on the Meris cardigan; on to the button bands….

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Ridgefield birds, and darning success

11/30/2019  Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA

On a cold morning we walked the Oaks to Wetlands Trail in the northern unit – the best views are from the railroad bridge. (Hike #55, 2 miles)

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Swans in the lake…

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Frosty leaves

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Bird, oak galls.

We then drove the Auto Tour Route in the southern River ‘S’ unit and saw many more birds than were here in early October.

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View from the bird blind – swans and geese will be closer on the far side of the driving loop.

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Beyond the lake, a large flock of tall birds…

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Zooming in-

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sand hill cranes, a heron,

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and an egret.

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A great blue heron landed right next to the road.

Meanwhile, in the lake:

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Lots of geese and swans,

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and a black swan.

Knitting and the darning pile:

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Fingerless mitts – just need the thumbs. Malabrigo Arroyo in the Jupiter color way.

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Darned and depilled – three pairs of socks and a sweater!

Reflections and birds at Steigerwald Lake, WA

11/23/2019

This is the place we go to see upside down trees that don’t exist except as reflected imagery in water.

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Mt Hood beyond the lake.

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And birds. We enjoy spotting them in their home, though we are not true ‘birders’.

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Northern Harrier

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We saw this Great Blue Heron several times from different vantage points:

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Hiding in plain sight. I didn’t notice the heron in the middle of the picture until I was looking at my photos later.

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Green Heron

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Egret

Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge is in the early stages of a major overhaul. Dikes to the Columbia River will be breached, the lake will be enlarged, and wild salmon will return to the streams in the surrounding hills. Trails will be rerouted. Today we see early work – large logs have been placed to provide underwater wildlife habitat throughout the area that will become the enlarged lake.

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Hike #54, 3.8 miles

Knitting, etc

Cold front in Portland this week, Thanksgiving supplies are in – I am chopping and baking and decorating for a small gathering.

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One pair of sock toes mended so far.

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Chocolate silk pie!

Two wildlife refuges, Indian Heaven, and trying to keep up with fall colors, Sept-Oct 2019

It has been a busy couple of weeks – a quilt show, a fiber festival, hikes at two wildlife refuges and Indian Heaven Wilderness. Meanwhile, the Mac hard drive is off at the Genius repair shop. I am learning blog work-arounds via iPad.

Friday, September 27 – I attended the Northwest Quilt Expo, admired all the quilts and photographed many. This vintage Tile Friendship Quilt (circa 1900, maker unknown) from the Latimer Quilt Museum, was very interesting. Seemingly random shapes are appliquéd to a plain background, each signed by a different maker in true Friendship Quilt style. It looks very modern, but it is old and entirely hand stitched!

I bought a few fat eighths to add to a batik quilt in my mental UFO list.

Sunday, September 29 -I visited the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon, just long enough to buy a lighter weight spindle and more fiber to practice drop spinning.

Then we went to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, our first visit there, and walked around the perimeter. Not many birds have arrived yet, but there are great overlooks and a nice winter trail for future visits. (Hike#44, 3.6 miles)

Great Blue Heron

Hawthorne berries

Looking across the refuge – soon this will be flooded with water and birds.

Great Blue Heron on the return trail.

Saturday, October 5 – We went to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington during their season closing bird fest. We walked the Kiwa Trail and part of the newly opened Carty Lake trail, and also went inside the Chinook Plankhouse to look around. (Hike#45, 3.2 miles)

Turtles

Sand Hill Cranes

Sand Hill Cranes in flight.

Great Horned Owl

Carty Lake

Chinook plank house

Inside the plankhouse.

Chinook Salmon trap

Sunday, October 6 – We joined friends for a hike in Indian Heaven Wilderness – from the East Crater trailhead to Junction and Lemei Lakes. Late fall colors, thawed mushrooms and blueberries, very pretty. (Hike#46, 8.8 miles, 1000 feet)

East Crater beyond one of many small lakes along the trail.

Junction Lake

Lemei Rock

Lemei Lake

Neighborhood walks – Meanwhile, in Northeast Portland, the days grow shorter, the light angles lower, the leaves more colorful.

Katsura trees

Sumac

Neighborhood witches hunting…

More witches…

Ash trees reflected in nearby windows.

Rain chain shadows

Knitting – I am making progress on my Meris cardigan….

Late Early Flowers at Catherine Creek, WA, with Robins

March 14, 2019    Bitterroot Trail to Rowland Wall

We hiked a Catherine Creek loop, up past the vernal ponds along the Bitterroot Trail, then down Rowland Wall. (Hike#12, 3 miles, 1000 feet)

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Fairy ponds

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View to the east from the Bitterroot Trail

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The Arch

We saw the first wildflowers just beginning to bloom.

On the upper grassy slopes we noticed robins hopping in the grass all around us.

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There are probably a dozen robins bobbing and hopping in this view, though they are hard to photograph as they don’t stay still for long.

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Here is one…

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And another one in the snow.

The snow level was about 1000 feet, and we could see extensive snow covered landscape in every direction, though it is melting out.

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Still looks very snowy out in the high desert

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The orchards of Mosier, and Mt Hood

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Rowland Wall, Rowland Lake, Mt Hood beyond the Columbia River

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Mere

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Returning via the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks. Burnt trees on the Oregon Gorge skyline.

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Knitting

I finished the soles for the Frost Slippers, but haven’t yet crocheted the steeks.

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I have started the brioche patterning on a Vintage Prim hat.

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Garden and Neighborhood

The hyacinths finally bloomed out front,

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and there was our annual neighborhood St Patrick’s Day parade down the street.

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Winter Gardens, Portland

Hoyt Arboretum  2/15/2019

Two hours with no rain – we took a walk to the Winter Garden in Hoyt Arboretum, Washington Park. (Hike #9, 2 miles, 200 feet)

 

We saw more blooming witch hazel near the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial:

Crystal Springs   2/17/2019

A dry day – we met friends at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and walked all around the lakes and garden paths. We then crossed the road and walked along Crystal Springs Creek through Reed Canyon on the Reed College campus. (Hike#10, 3 miles, 150 feet).

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Bridge at the north end of the gardens near the entrance.

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Winter plants were blooming, though nothing like the riot of color during rhododendron and azalea season.

Water birds and reflections:

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Crystal Springs Creek trail in Reed Canyon:

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The bicycle/pedestrian bridge across the canyon.

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Walking east along Reed Canyon.

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A great blue heron near the marsh.

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The spring inlet on the east end of campus.

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The lake on the west end of campus.

Cross Stitch

I mounted the Jane Austen House Cross Stitch on foam board using sequin pins and a few stitches at the corners. The piece is now hanging on my wall!

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Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, May 2018. I realize now the cross stitch kit view is the side facing the garden, not the street front.

Knitting

I found buttons for my Brioche Headscarf, and have worn it!

 

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