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. 

January 2022 in Portland

The first couple of weeks were very cold, followed by many days of rain dripping down the windows, yarn loops sliding by on the needles, and just a few sun breaks. A tsunami from Tonga, the Omicron surge just beginning to decline, a trip to Joshua Tree cancelled…another pandemic month in Portland.

Hikes:

1/9/2022 Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion in Portland – A rare sunny day – everyone out on the trails – we continued our section hike of the Wildwood Trail, completing about 3 more miles as we hiked up and back to Pittock Mansion from the arboretum, crossing the new Barbara Walker Bridge for the first time.

DSC01567

Up until last year, hikers had to scurry across the very busy Burnside Street.

DSC01571

 Barbara Walker Bridge.

DSC01577

Urban trail graffiti

We reached the 1914 Pittock Mansion, and walked around to the viewing areas…

DSC01578

Pittock Mansion

DSC01580DSC01582DSC01599DSC01606

Views from the property to the Cascade Mountains…

DSC01583

Mt Hood

DSC01586

Portland and Mt Hood

DSC01589

Mt St Helens

DSC01590

Mt Rainier beyond Mt St Helens

Returning back over the Barbara Walker Crossing…

DSC01612

1/12/2022 Eagles and snow near Lyle, WA – Our annual trip to see the eagles at the Balfour/Klickitat Preserve:

DSC01627

Calm Columbia River looking east from the Hood River Bridge.

DSC01635

Snowy ground near Coyote Wall.

We walked to the eagle viewing area near the mouth of the Klickitat River:

DSC01639

Osage oranges along the trail

DSC01647

Frozen lakeshore, eagle flying above the island

DSC01651

Eagle and ducks

DSC01665

Looking up Klickitat Canyon – white eagle heads in the trees

DSC01668

Bald Eagle

DSC01672

Bald eagle

DSC01655

We saw more than twenty today.

DSC01683

Looking south to Tom McCall Point.

Next we walked some of the trails at nearby Catherine Creek.

DSC01686

Snowy slopes at Catherine Creek

IMG_4863

Frozen Fairy Ponds

DSC01703

The arch

DSC01709

Mt Hood and the orchards of Mosier

DSC01690

Eastern Gorge

DSC01712

Grass widow foliage, but no blooms.

DSC01728

The waterfall.

1/18/2022 Swans at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA – We walked the 2.5 mile Oaks to Wetland Trail.

DSC01749

Swans in the distance, from the railroad bridge

DSC01773

Fungus

DSC01788

Belted kingfisher

DSC01804

Trumpeter swans

Then we drove the auto tour, looking for more swans.

DSC01809

Plenty of tundra and trumpeter swans in the northern lake…

DSC01822DSC01806DSC01808

DSC01834

American coot

DSC01837

Northern harrier next to the road.

1/28/2020 Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, OR – Our first visit to this new park south of Forest Grove. We walked almost six miles on the trails, quiet today with a few views of the distant mountains.

IMG_1813 (1)

Chehalem Ridge Nature Park

DSC01844

DSC01840

Mt St Helens and Mt Adams

DSC01845

Farmlands and Coast Range to the west

DSC01849

Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens

Neighborhood:

On our first sunny day, I went outside for what seemed like the first time in weeks, to see blue sky and low angle winter shadows:

1/16/2022 – Another sunny day, we met friends and walked a long loop on the hilly streets south of downtown Portland.

IMG_4922

Mt Hood from SW Portland

IMG_4929

Mt Hood and the Tilikum Bridge over the Willamette River

By the end of the month, viburnum and crocus were beginning to bloom…

Knitting:

I did get a lot of knitting done this month, since the outdoors were so inclement. And I am still meeting once or twice weekly with my knitting group over Zoom.

IMG_4803

Winding yarn on my new swift.

IMG_4980

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawl, in progress

IMG_4944

New pile of yarn from the guild to make hats for our service project.

IMG_4979

I used online tutorials to learn Tunisian crochet.

IMG_4870

I finished a languishing WIP – The Ella Improv Cowl, by Cecelia Campochiaro, using marling and sequence knitting techniques.

IMG_4823

A Gnoah gnome, (Imagined Landscapes), sent via Intergalactic Gnome Transport to the burgeoning colony in Washington DC.

Addenda:

IMG_4938

The volcano in Tonga!

IMG_7293

The snow in DC.

Other adventures – January 10th was the 4th anniversary of my pituitary surgery. With constant vigilance and good doctors, all my hormone levels are now within the normal range. I feel healthy and strong and grateful for early diagnosis and the miracles of modern medical science, especially the monthly injections that keep the acromegaly in check.

IMG_4774

On to February – pandemic numbers are going down in our neck of the woods – we may actually travel somewhere – stay tuned.

December 2021, Walking adventures

We went on a couple of hikes, and walked among Van Gogh paintings in a digital art experience.

Lyle Loop, 12/2/2021, 5 miles, 1250 feet

IMG_80436D695ED1-1

Clockwise track

A new loop has been carved out of the Nature Conservancy Lyle Cherry Orchard property. We tried it on a windy (but not tooo windy) day- lovely blue sky and puffy clouds our backdrop. We climbed up the familiar tiers of basalt flows, above the Convict Road,

DSC01214

Looking down on the Convict Road

DSC01221

Windy blue skies above

then headed west, to a new trail carved into the grassy slope.

DSC01223

It curves around the mountain above the town of Lyle.

DSC01237DSC01244

As the trail circled to the north, Mt Adams appeared on the horizon.

DSC01250

DSC01252

Zooming in

On the northern side of the loop, out of the wind, we walked through lovely oak woodlands, occasionally switching back past views of Lyle, and of Mt Adams again.

DSC01260

Lyle, Klickitat River delta

DSC01261

DSC01267

Lyle town sign, in white rocks

DSC01298

Mt Adams again,

DSC01293

now with clouds.

Eventually, our trail intersected the Cherry Orchard Loop, and we descended on the familiar trail.

DSC01308DSC01311

A lovely day on the sunny side of the mountains.

Tracy Hill, Catherine Creek, WA, 12/8/2021,  5.3 miles, 1200 feet

IMG_4537

Our counterclockwise trail map 

Calm and bright; clouds topping the highest hills; some blue sky distant:

DSC01336some of our plant friends in their winter garb:

DSC01334

bitteroot

DSC01341

parsley

Ravens and cows:

DSC01448

ravens

DSC01326

cows

Columbia River shining:

DSC01343

oak and ponderosa sharing the sky:

Ent on the skyline: 

DSC01363DSC01365

It’s very birdie in this section, chirping and calling, flashes of blue, rust, white and black between trees, I can’t quite see them; blue jays and woodpeckers?

DSC01370DSC01393DSC01378DSC01415DSC01422

Up Tracy Hill’s open slopes:

DSC01409

DSC01404

View up Major Canyon, to the east

DSC01430

Seating at the top of Tracy Hill

IMG_4466

A well earned rest

and down again:  

DSC01436

halfway down

DSC01442

above the arch

DSC01457

Looking back at the top of Tracy Hill

It felt a bit like walking in a painting. I was interested to compare it with walking in digital paintings the next day…

Beyond VanGogh, Oregon Convention Center, 12/8/2021 – We did actually walk in pictures, as the digital imagery swirled around us, and the paintings painted themselves on the walls. All beautiful and colorful, and an excellent reminder of Van Gogh’s work. I loved seeing:

the flowers that melded together then blew away:

the swirls of starry night whirling:

walls of self portraits:

buildings appearing from simple sketched lines to full color paint strokes:

signatures writing themselves in a patchwork of squares:

dark starry skies dripping down the walls:

IMG_4525IMG_4527IMG_4529

However, Beyond Van Gogh was not a wilderness experience. I enjoyed the visual imagery, but would have liked to see it in an Imax setting. Perhaps if we had been stationary, I would have felt more in control regarding Covid precautions, especially now that omicron is spreading. There were too many people wandering around in the hall. I was constantly checking over my shoulder to get away from someone standing tooo close with their mask slipping down. I guess I’m not ready to resume life in the peopled world yet.

For the rest of December it has been raining, and now is cold (for us) and snowing. Not conducive to driving to the trails or hiking.  I’ve mainly been taking neighborhood walks in the brief dry spells. I will be glad to return to walking in the real hills after this Canadian cold front moves on.

The rest of October, 2021: knitting, neighborhood, more hikes…

A transitional month – the last of the summer flowers, leaves turning and falling, more rain, an atmospheric river event. We got our Covid booster shots, are poised for reentry, again, again, again, again….

Knitting, etc: 

I knitted some little creatures – a gnome, three cats and a witch, and finished a pair of socks. My collection of twelve hats and a cowl are blocked and ready for donation to a local women’s shelter. I sewed potholders and a door light curtain for my daughter.

Around the neighborhood:

Colors of the season:

Two more hikes, besides our Mt Adams and Eagle Creek adventures:

With more frequent rain in western Oregon, we go east of the mountains, beyond the rain shadow. 

10/21/2021 Tom McCall Point, Oregon: Orange oak trees, views of Mt Adams and Mt Hood, and a surprise viewing of a buck near the top of the mountain.

10/27/2021 The Labyrinth, Washington: A saunter with our son through some of my favorite basalt piles and oak groves on an overcast day with sun breaks.

New Zealand Albatross update: The chick Tiaki that I watched in the webcam from the time it was laid as an egg last fall, to its fledging in September 2021, has flown across the South Pacific Ocean to the coast of South America.

And some inspiration for staying positive…

IMG_4242

Internet meme – author unknown.

Our first return to Eagle Creek since the fire of 2017

October 12, 2021  Eagle Creek Trail to Twister Falls

We had been planning to hike all the way to Tunnel and Twister Falls in the autumn of 2017, after the summer crowds cleared out. Alas, the Eagle Creek Fire started on Labor Day weekend that year, scorching 48000 acres of the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the river. After years of trail maintenance, the Eagle Creek Trail has reopened intermittently this year, occasionally reclosed by landslides. I was wary of hiking this trail, and many of the reopened Gorge trails, for just this reason. Burned trees will fall. Burned, denuded slopes, will slide. And yet… we have been waiting to hike this trail for years.

21640885_123414854982697_7881458328682540061_o

Map showing extent of 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. Our trail up Eagle Creek to Twister Falls shown in blue.

The trail extends for 13 miles up Eagle Creek, from the Columbia River, to its outlet on Wahtum Lake (elev. 3700′). We have hiked above this trail, from Wahtum Lake to Chinidere Mountain, many times. And we have hiked the lower trail, past various of the waterfalls, many times before the fire, but never all the way to Twister Falls, which is 6.5 miles from the trailhead.

A notable feature of this trail is that several sections are carved out of the vertical basalt rock walls that line Eagle Creek. Trail ledges were blasted out of the cliffs in the early 1900’s, around the time the old Columbia River Highway was built. People with fear of heights do not like this trail.

We chose a clear fall day, no recent rain, and not windy. Onward!

The trail begins near the banks of Eagle Creek, but mostly stays well above the creek on the east bank.

DSC00552

Trailhead

DSC00553

DSC00557

Eagle Creek trail along the cliffs

The trail passes by several waterfalls – we were not stopping much – keeping our end goal in mind.

DSC00582

Punchbowl Falls

 

DSC00597

Almost to High Bridge

 

DSC00599

Loo Wit Falls, near High Bridge

 

DSC00602

High Bridge, 3.3 miles

 

DSC00603

Looking down from High Bridge

After crossing High Bridge, the trail is on the west side of Eagle Creek. 

DSC00618

New undergrowth in the burned forest beyond High Bridge

 

DSC00619

Skoonichuck Falls –  the farthest we had been on previous hikes.

 

DSC00623

4.5 Mile Bridge – crossing back to the east side.

 

DSC00636

Fungi

 

DSC00638

“Potholes” section

DSC00641

Grand Union Falls

After 6 miles, we reached the first view of Tunnel Falls:

DSC00646

Tunnel Falls, East Fork of Eagle Creek, 175 feet.

 

DSC00650

Approaching the tunnel

 

DSC00651

View across to the cliffs and ledge trail on the other side

 

DSC00653

Into the tunnel

 

DSC00654

Looking up at the lip from the other side

 

DSC00658

Fern-lined trail ahead

 

untitled-26

My husband took this photo of me after I walked through the tunnel.

We continued around the corner, and upstream another quarter mile to Twister Falls:

DSC00665

Twister Falls, West Fork of Eagle Creek, 148 feet.

 

DSC00668

We couldn’t really get a good look at the full drop of this waterfall from the cliffside trail.

 

DSC00672

Eagle Creek, just above Twister Falls.

We found a quiet place beside the creek to rest and eat lunch before heading back down the trail.

DSC00673

Top of Twister Falls

 

DSC00680

Back through the tunnel,

 

DSC00681

and out the other side.

 

DSC00682

My turn…

Hiking back through the “Potholes”, where the trail surface is a parquet of columnar basalt:

DSC00684

Potholes

 

DSC00686

Columnar basalts

DSC00687We continued hiking downstream:

DSC00692

Vine maple turning orange in the burned forest

 

DSC00699

Big leaf maple turning yellow

 

DSC00714

We hadn’t noticed Wy’East Falls in a side canyon on the hike up.

 

DSC00720

Basalt cliffs on the east

 

DSC00726

4.5 mile bridge again.

There were many areas of obvious trail repair in the burned forest.

DSC00741

Scree slopes, burned and fallen trees

DSC00746

DSC00749

High Bridge again…

We successfully completed this hike – 13 miles, 1600 feet for the day. I was glad to have seen Tunnel and Twister Falls, but I also felt a bit of vertigo on that section of the trail, and thought that maybe I won’t need to repeat this hike. The week after our hike, the trail was closed again briefly after an atmospheric river event caused more trail damage (quickly repaired by the valiant trail-keeping organizations in the area). It is a special place, and I am glad to have finally been able to see it.

DSC00759

Last look at Punchbowl Falls.

What happened in September 2021…

Home and garden:

Knitting:

I finished more hats for the Women’s Shelter donation, made progress on socks and a shawl, both excellent travel knitting, and began knitting the fall Mystery Gnome. And I received a late but welcome crocheted bag as a birthday gift from my sister.

Hiking:

We spent a lot of time on hiking trails! In addition to two out of town trips to the Olympic Peninsula and Mt Baker, and a day hike at Cloud Cap on Mt Hood, all described in separate posts, we went on six other adventures:

September 9, East Crater Trail, Indian Heaven, Washington. Return to Junction Lake.

DSC09034

Into the woods

DSC09048

East Crater

DSC09085

DSC09062

Junction Lake

DSC09060

Mountain ash

DSC09061

Huckleberry

DSC09076

Mt St Helens from the PCT Southbound

DSC09097

Birds in a water hole in a mostly dry creek

September 17, Portland Arboretum. Early fall color on a beautiful day.

DSC09801

Aralia

DSC09806

Sumac

DSC09798

Hop hornbeam

DSC09815

Douglas fir with sap

DSC09816DSC09817

September 24, Kiwa Trail, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. Looking for Sandhill Cranes while we can still hike the trail before it is closed for the winter nesting season.

DSC09943

Nightshade berries near the creek

DSC09944

Woodland

DSC09966

Grassland with teasel

DSC09950

These are the sandhill cranes we are looking for!

DSC09947

Resident nesting pair with colt

DSC09952

September 26 – Saltzman Road in Forest Park, Portland. Our first time on this particular trail through the park, we walked 6 miles while catching up with friends.

September 28, Crawford Oaks, Washington. A return to an oft hiked trail, we escaped the rain in Portland and saw only 4 other hikers the entire day.

IMG_4028

Columbia Hills from The Dalles Bridge

DSC09982

Geologic context

DSC00091

Eight Miles Falls

DSC00001

Pear tree

DSC00007

Our usual lunch spot

DSC00024

Clouds and wind

DSC00028

Eastward

DSC00030

Tufts

DSC00042

The “one tree”

DSC00056

Dried balsamroot, Dalles Mountain Ranch

Some foliage for the day:

September 30, Coyote Wall, Washington. Another often hiked trail, again with friends. A beautiful day up there!

DSC00103

Puffy clouds and rocks

DSC00105

Coyote Wall

DSC00107

Mt Hood in the clouds

DSC00120

Return hike

Other news:

Tiaki, the Albatross chick I have been watching in New Zealand via webcam, has fledged!

IMG_1677

IMG_1675

The blue line is a tracker on Tiaki, the red line is one of her parents.

A family member acquired a new-to-him car.

IMG_4013

I attended an in-person book group meeting, where we watched the moon rise over the Willamette River from Sauvie Island.

IMG_3995

More hiking in August, 2021: a witch’s castle, an artesian spring, and waterfalls

In addition to our walk at Nehalem Bay earlier in the month, we hiked three other days in August before going on our trip to the Olympic Mountains at the end of the month.

8-17-2021 – Wildwood Trail/Witches Castle

We added another 2 miles to our section hike of the Wildwood Trail.

IMG_1653

A five mile loop – Wildwood Trail to Birch Trail to Holman Lane

DSC08275

The forest was dry and dusty today

DSC08278

Balch Creek

This segment of the Wildwood Trail passes by the “Witches Castle”, formerly a visitor center, now a destination for various graffiti artists and partiers, and a colorful landmark in the green forest.

DSC08280DSC08296DSC08285DSC08301DSC08302DSC08290DSC08303

Meanwhile, in the forest, harbingers of fall in the maple trees….

DSC08294DSC08292DSC08277

We only have 5 miles remaining in our pandemic thru hike.

8-22-2021 – Dry Creek Falls

We returned to this short hike in the gorge with our visiting  daughter. And I noted that, while we were not in Iceland, we were looking at a waterfall and columnar basalts…

DSC08313

Dry Creek

DSC08322

Dry Creek Falls

DSC08323

DSC08324

Columnar basalts

DSC08325

Columnar basalts, vine maples and cedar branches

DSC08328

Bridge on the PCT over Dry Creek

DSC08331

There were a few colorful flowers and berries along the trail…

DSC08307

Fireweed

DSC08312

Penstemon

DSC08310

Solomon seal

DSC08332

And the evil poison oak, showing its fall colors

DSC08333

A ghost tree along the path.

8 26-2021  Little Zigzag Falls and Little Crater Lake, Mt Hood

We planned to hike up high on Mt Hood today, but the cloud cover directed us otherwise.

Little Zigzag Falls – We’ve never stopped here before because the hike is so short – less than a mile round trip. This trail through beautiful green forest along a mountain stream will be a good one to keep in mind for visitors on the grand round-the-mountain tour.

DSC08336

Remnants of the old Mt Hood Highway near the trailhead

DSC08341

The trail follows along the edge of Little Zigzag Creek

DSC08346

Little Zigzag Falls

DSC08349

Rock-hugging tree at the top of the falls

DSC08350

View upstream from the top of the falls

DSC08361

Another view of Little Zigzag Falls

DSC08367

Exposed tree roots near the falls

Little Crater Lake – This lake, south of Mt Hood, has long been on my ‘to visit’ list.

IMG_3884

The lake is an easy walk from the trail head.

DSC08371

DSC08379

Little Crater Lake

DSC08377DSC08395

DSC08402

The true blue color…

DSC08488

The lake is not actually a crater – it was formed by an artesian spring.

The blue clarity of the water is mesmerizing. I love the reflections. My little camera has a hard time catching the actually vibrancy of the turquoise blue, but none of the brighter blues here are exaggerated.

We continued to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail that follows the northern arm of Timothy Lake, where we found more lovely views and foliage.

DSC08412

PCT to Timothy Lake

DSC08414

DSC08418

Northern arm of Timothy Lake

DSC08432

More reflections…

DSC08443DSC08446

We passed by Little Crater Lake again on our return hike – once again admiring the deep blue and the reflections.

DSC08464

Little Crater Lake again

DSC08467

Siltstone stratigraphy

DSC08487

Reflections and abstractions

DSC08476DSC08484

I plan to return next spring when the wildflowers are blooming!

Eastern Gorge Trip, April 2021

We spent a few days hiking east of the Cascade crest and the rain. We stayed in a small hotel in the small town of Moro, and explored two Oregon State Parks for the first time, then visited the Columbia Hills in Washington on our way home.

Image 5-16-21 at 5.31 PM

IMG_3228

Driving south of the Columbia River to White River Falls State Park – low hills and agricultural buildings our new scenery.

April 13th,  White River Falls State Park, Oregon

We admired the White River Falls from the overlook, then walked downstream to see the lower tiers of the falls. We were about 2 miles upstream from the confluence with the Deschutes River, and about 50 miles from the source, the White River Glacier on Mt Hood, near a favorite winter snowshoe location. Here, the White River tumbles over cliffs, past the ruins of a hydropower plant that was abandoned in 1963, when a giant dam on the nearby Columbia River was built.

DSC06403

White River Falls

DSC06406

DSC06411

Abandoned power plant.

This is a beautiful falls, though the surrounds are a bit of a wasteland – cement and disconnected pipes, wire grids, a broken building with roof gaps, graffiti, tumble weeds and leaves blown in, plants growing out of the cracks, moss in the crevices.

DSC06428DSC06441DSC06443DSC06447DSC06446

Bright yellow balsamroot and parsley were blooming around the canyon, and gold fiddle neck striped the edges of the rocky path.

DSC06465

Balsamroot, parsley

DSC06416

fiddleneck

Down by the river we had a bit of a wind shelter. Quiet today, but in summer people come to swim. We walked a ways down stream to see the third tier of the falls, the smoothed rocky shelves with potholes, now exposed, and smooth, sandy banks.

DSC06450

Sandy beach above the lower falls.

DSC06460

Lower falls; upper falls visible to the upper right.

DSC06468

Downstream along the White River.

We walked back up to the rim, past the ruins of the powerhouse and almost post-apocalyptic scenery.

DSC06476

Return hike.

DSC06480

More of the ruins of the old power plant.

From White River Falls, we drove east across the Deschutes River on our way to Moro, along a long, smoothly curved road on the Warm Springs Reservation. Balsamrooot blooms were sprinkled on cliffs above the canyon.

IMG_3229

We passed sagebrush uplands and cultivated green fields, a 360 degree horizon punctuated by white windmills gleaming in the afternoon light.

IMG_3230

Many white wind turbines on the horizon.

April 14th, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon

We drove across the uplands between the John Day and Deschutes Rivers on a beautiful clear blue morning.  Mt Hood, Mt Adams and Mt Rainier were on the horizon, and more windmills.

DSC06485

Mt Hood

DSC06486

Mt Adams and Mt Rainier

DSC06490

Mt Adams, windmills

DSC06491

Mt Rainier and the Goat Rocks, windmills

The Lost Coral Trail in Cottonwood Canyon State Park is 9.6 miles out and back. The trail follows an old road along the John Day River, sometimes beneath river-cut cliffs, sometimes across the point bars, as the wide blue river sweeps down stream.

DSC06497

Trailhead

DSC06510

Under the cliffs

DSC06507

Balsamroot above

DSC06506

Bicolored cluster lilies

DSC06512

Desert parsley and lichen

DSC06515

Balsamroot and parsley

DSC06518

DSC06522

milk vetch

DSC06508

Cottonwood Canyon campground across the river.

Continuing along the river, the slopes were speckled with wildflowers; willows on the bars and a few trees were beginning to leaf out.

DSC06526

Flowering alluvial fan across the river.

DSC06528

Cliffs and reflections, serviceberry in bloom.

DSC06547

Sagebrush

DSC06548

A welcome bench for rest and contemplation.

DSC06563

Lovely desert colors in the rocks, river, plantlife.

At our turnaround point, we found a phlox-covered slope and beautiful views of the river. We saw three equestrians – our only other people on the trail today.

DSC06580

Three equestrians in our downstream lunch view

DSC06576

Upstream lunch view.

DSC06583

phlox

We retraced our steps upstream after lunch, admiring the views along the river in the changing light.

DSC06595

Walking upstream.

DSC06601

Many colors along the river.

DSC06603

Grassy tufts in the river.

DSC06604

Larkspur

DSC06605

Back under the cliffs near the trailhead.

DSC06609

Parsley

I don’t know if I still love the desert as much as I used to. The rocky, prickly, isolation of it has caught up with my age. Dust and wind, and there must be snakes around somewhere …I just don’t know…

April 15th, Dalles Mountain Ranch, Columbia Hills State Park, WA

We drove back across the windmilled uplands, in view of the three mountains on the skyline, all the while watching the painted slopes of the cliffs and hills on the north side of the Columbia River. Distinct patches of yellow, white, and purple across the green and brown indicate the slopes are blooming with the wildflowers that we are going to see.

IMG_3248

Looking at the Columbia Hills in Washington from Oregon.

We hiked the Ranch Loop clockwise from the Dalles Mountain Ranch Trailhead – we have been here before, most recently in February, when only the early flowers were on view. Today there were so many flowers out – gold balsamroot, purple lupine, pale pink phlox, and always the yellow parsley and pink filagree creating a pastel underglaze on almost every slope.

DSC06621

Mt Hood and ranch buildings from near the trailhead.

DSC06638

The “one tree”, still no leaves, with a flowery background

DSC06653

Balsamroot all the way down to the Columbia River.

DSC06669

Lower east-most view.

DSC06671

Lupine and western view from the high point on the lower trail.

DSC06674

Large head clover

DSC06695

Fleabane

DSC06696

Lunch view – in February this area was covered in purple grass widows.

DSC06700

Back up Eight Mile Creek to the ranch.

DSC06713

We finally spotted the old car that is so often photographed among the flowers at the ranch.

We enjoyed this hiking trip, a chance to get out of town and enjoy the spring flowers at a couple of new locations.

Blooms of early April 2021

The crabapple tree in our front yard finally bloomed during the second week of April. This tree was in full bloom the day we moved into our house in mid March almost 30 years ago.

IMG_3203

April 9th

IMG_3207

April 11th

IMG_3254

April 15th

Other garden blooms:

And some cupcakes for a friend’s birthday:

IMG_3195

Hikes:

April 2nd, Memaloose Hills, OR –

DSC06216

Begin at the Memaloose Overlook…

DSC06253

Today’s star is balsamroot!

DSC06232

Buttercup carpet in the woods.

DSC06243

Balsamroot all the way up Chatfield Hill.

DSC06254

Looking back.

DSC06272

North view from the top – Mt Adams, paintbrush, yellow parsley.

DSC06283

Columbia River, Columbia Desert parsley, balsamroot

DSC06294

Mt Hood to the west.

DSC06304

Willows and bees near the spring on the return hike.

DSC06310

Popcorn flowers on Marsh Hill.

DSC06313

View from Marsh Hill back to the Memaloose Hills.

More wildflowers:

 April 8, Coyote Wall, WA – Our first hike with friends in more than a year! We are all fully vaccinated!

DSC06322

Starting up The Old Ranch Road.

DSC06337

Service berry in bloom on the Little Moab Cliffs.

DSC06344

The edge of the Coyote Wall, yellow parsley.

DSC06357

And balsamroot, eastward view.

DSC06358

Southward view.

DSC06364

And we are going higher!

DSC06372

Upper cliff edge view.

DSC06378

A nice meadow near Atwood Road, as we loop eastward before hiking down.

DSC06392

A day when every blade of grass seems to have a bloom!

DSC06397

So many flowers!

DSC06398

Desert parsley along Old Hwy 14 cliff, return hike.

And more flowers:

Knitting

Some progress on two projects:

IMG_3216

I finished the yoke on this bamboo cardigan, and it is way too big, despite careful swatching, so this one is in time out for a while.

IMG_3213

A mystery project for a gift…

Quilting

I am starting a baby quilt for a new family member!

Hiking in February 2021

Despite the mid-month ice storm, we managed three hikes in February – all in the eastern Columbia River Gorge of Washington.

Lyle Cherry Orchard / Lower Catherine Creek – Feb. 2nd

We were hoping for good weather east of the mountains, but were foiled by a squall.

DSC05612

Starting up the Lyle Cherry Orchard trail, we could see nothing but blue sky from the Convict Road…

DSC05610

But there are clouds over the Columbia River to the east,

DSC05609

and west.

DSC05607

We saw our first Columbia Desert Parsley of the season,

DSC05618

and scattered grass widows.

DSC05620

As we continued up the tiers of basalt,

DSC05624

we noticed more ominous clouds to the west.

DSC05629

We continued up,

DSC05630

to about this point, when we encountered wind and driving rain on the unsheltered slope

DSC05627

We sheltered briefly under one of the oak trees, then headed down. 

By the time we reached the car, the skies were blue again, so we decided to stop at Catherine Creek before going home.

DSC05649

We walked the Lower Loop, with views of the waterfall,

DSC05651 (1)

and of our Ponderosa guide tree, up on the slopes above the Labyrinth.

We saw a few early wildflowers, and finished just in time for another squall to blow through.

DSC05637

Blue jay

DSC05640

Bitterroot foliage

DSC05645

Rain in a vernal pool.

We saw rainbows in our rear view mirror as we drove back to rainy Portland.

IMG_2686IMG_2683

Coyote Wall – Labyrinth Loop – Feb. 9th

We started cold and overcast, but hiked into a bluer, warmer day.

DSC05653

Looking up at the wall from the trailhead – we would soon be looking down from there….

DSC05661

View to the east from the lower slopes.

DSC05662

Ice on the trail.

DSC05657

First yellow parsley of the season,

DSC05666

and first prairie stars, with salt and pepper.

DSC05663

A bald eagle below us, watching the river.

DSC05668

Continuing up the Little Moab trail to the edge of the cliff…

DSC05670

Heralded by this raven the whole way.

DSC05673

Looking down at the trailhead,

DSC05675

and up the edge of Coyote Wall toward our lunch stop.

DSC05686

Trail continuing up the slope…

DSC05688

to the rocky edge where we took our lunch break.

DSC05695

The clouds began to part after lunch.

DSC05699

We headed east toward the Labyrinth across the upper slopes,

DSC05701

into a bluer sky.

DSC05702

Icicles in the upper Hidden Creek crossing.

DSC05718

Eastward view from our Ponderosa guide tree viewpoint on the Upper Labyrinth Trail.

DSC05721

Continuing down, we could see Mt Hood on the skyline peeking out from the clouds.

DSC05731

Through my favorite oak grove,

IMG_2701

Past the columnar basalt buttes,

DSC05736

Following the waterfalls of Hidden Creek down the Labyrinth,

DSC05747

beneath the blue sky.

DSC05739

DSC05756

These falls were nearly dry in November,

DSC05758

now the pool is overflowing.

DSC05764

Goodbye to the ghost tree.

DSC05766

And back to the trailhead beneath the wall. A successful day!

Dalles Mountain Ranch – Vista Loop – Feb. 24

After two weeks of snow and ice storms, we were finally able to find a blue sky day at Columbia Hills State Park, an hour and a half east of Portland. A beautiful day, edged by snow on the skyline. Take a peek here if you want to see this trail in full spring bloom!

DSC05809

View south and west from Dalles Mountain Ranch trailhead – Mt Hood in Oregon, far across the Columbia River. We are heading downhill toward the river.

DSC05822

Looking back to the ranch as we hike down Eight Mile Creek.

DSC05824

Creek crossing.

IMG_2816

Our lunch stop along the Missoula Floods scoured lower bench. Mt Hood, Columbia River, The Dalles and Horsethief Butte. Lots of purple grass widows in the foreground.

DSC05849

Eastward lower viewpoint.

DSC05843

Salt and pepper, grass widows.

DSC05830

Yellow bells

DSC05827

Gold stars

DSC05856

Another desert parsley

DSC05852

Looking back up to the ranch on the return hike.

DSC05853

One tree to rule them all.