Knitting finish! and another Forest Park hike –

May 22, 2020

For the third week in a row we went to Forest Park on Portland’s west side to hike. We chose the segment of the Wildwood Trail from Germantown Road to Springvale Road, looping back to where we started via Leif Erickson Drive and the Cannon Trail (5.6 miles, 500 feet, hike #41 for 2020.) There was a 20% chance of rain for the day – I think we got all of it during our hike. The last time I hiked in this much rain I was in a rainforest in New Zealand! 


We began our hike in the rain.


A cedar dripping with rain and moss.


There were some sun breaks.


Returning down the wide, social distance friendly, Leif Erickson Drive.


Robins were hopping along the trail.



Honeysuckle blooming along the Cannon Trail.


Thoughts of New Zealand!

Knitting Finish!

The Which Came First? shawl by designer Cheri Clark used three full skeins (1260 yards) of Malabrigo Mechita in the Piedras color way! I will be mailing this to my daughter, who chose the yarn when I saw her in January.



From bottom to top, eggs (eyelets), chicken feet, chicken wire.


Remains of the three skeins of yarn.

Garden and neighborhood:


Penstemon blooming in our front yard.

Two kinds of poppies in the neighborhood:


California poppies


Oriental poppies

More words of encouragement on a local Poetry Post:


Peninsula Park Rose Garden


April 23, 2020 – Another urban hike-

We walked to the Peninsula Park Rose Garden through northeast Portland. Neighborhood gardens are bursting with flowers, but it was much too early for the rose garden.


It is pink snow season in Portland! (cherry blossoms)



These red and white camellias reminded me of the “Painting the roses red!” scene from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Our route took us through the Alberta Arts neighborhood where personal artistic expression is abundant!

We finally reached the Peninsula Park Rose Garden after walking about 4 miles. 


The rose garden was built in 1913.


The rose beds are sunken below street level.


Peonies near the entrance were the brightest color there today.


Brickwork paths.



The gazebo


The only blooming roses.



Looking west across the rose garden.

Image 4-23-20 at 10.43 PM (1)

Hike #37, 8.4 miles, 200 feet. We are hoping to find a dirt trail nearby to walk next week – the cement is very hard on my poor arthritic feet, as I am trying to keep my fitness levels up for the duration…



I finished the ‘eggs’ and the ‘chicken feet’ on the Which Came First shawl. On to the ‘chicken wire’!

PS. Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me – I published my first post in April of 2017!


Rocky Butte

Another week of Pandemic, another urban volcano hike, new spring blooms, a bit of crafting, and some good advice from George Washington.

April 16, 2020 – Hike of the Week

Rocky Butte is another Boring Volcanic Field volcano in Portland. We walked there from the Rose City Golf course, and had a great view of the High Cascades Peaks, with a coyote sighting along the way.

Image 4-22-20 at 10.09 AM

After walking flat city streets, we began the uphill climb on Rocky Butte Road.


A coyote, crossing the road ahead.


The coyote continued up into the forest.


Meanwhile, we walked up the road and through the tunnel.


The road, tunnel, and stone walls were built in the 1930’s as part of a WPA post-depression infrastructure project.


Eventually, we reached the park on the summit.


Views in all directions:


East to Mt Hood


North to Mt St Helens


Columbia River, Mt St Helens


Mt St Helens


Northwest, down the Columbia River


West to the Fremont Bridge, Portland


West to downtown Portland


Southeast to Mt Jefferson


Mt Jefferson


Mt Hood again

And a last look at Mt St Helens before heading down.


I always love a Peak Finder!


Hike#36, 6.5 miles, 420 feet.

New blooms in the neighborhood and garden this week:


I made forward and reverse progress on my Meris sweater. While playing yarn chicken, I made the sleeves too short. I have knit just about every part of this sweater three times, so now I will reknit the lower sleeves.  I sewed more masks, started sewing a new bathrobe to replace the one I left behind in Queenstown, and continued knitting Emily’s shawl, and the purple socks.


Meanwhile in Portland:


Physical distancing demonstrated by our founding father!

Mask sewing, knitting, neighborhood walks, and hiking a local volcano…

I’m not exactly sure – I think it is the second week of April…

We are lucky to be just sheltering in place, only venturing out for walks, weekly grocery replenishing, and the occasional medical appointment. So far we are healthy and doing our part by staying home.


I made masks for family and friends.

I am enjoying meeting my knitting group via the internet, and making progress on a shawl for my daughter.


Which Came First shawl, pattern by Cheri Clark, Malabrigo Mechita, Piedras colorway.

We are busy with home projects, both inside and out.


We made a nice dinner for the first night of passover, which we shared virtually with one of our sons.

I continue my usual neighborhood walks. We have had some amazingly beautiful spring days. Trees are blooming, leafing out, glowing in the sunshine!

Our crabapple tree has come into full bloom this week.


Earliest blooms



Looking out from the upstairs window


Queen Catherine has come out of retirement to show solidarity with the neighborhood!

We walked to a farther distant park in town to make up for not being able to take our usual hike of the week in wilder surroundings just now.

Mt Tabor Park, Portland, 4/9/2020

Mt Tabor is a relict 300,000 year old cinder cone, over 600 feet high, that is a popular park on the east side of Portland. It is about 3.5 miles from our house, so by the time we walked up and around the reservoirs and to the top of the hill we had covered over 8 miles for the day, with a little bit of hill climbing.

Image 4-9-20 at 9.41 PM

Our route was through residential neighborhoods.

Native wildflowers, which I am so missing from our hikes, are blooming in front yards.

When we reached Mt Tabor Park, we continued uphill, past the reservoirs and through the woods to the top. No cars are allowed on the roads, and trails are wide, so we were easily able to keep our distance from other people.

We found a bench to eat lunch with a westward view toward downtown Portland.


After lunch, we walked down past the amphitheater where the excavated hillside reveals the volcanic structure of Mt Tabor.


On our walk to and from Mt Tabor we saw encouraging signs of pandemic solidarity throughout the neighborhoods…

We saw a tribute to John Prine – sadly, one of the coronavirus victims this week.


More words of encouragement! One of my knit group members shared a photo of this plaque from the FDR Monument in Washington DC…a message of hope and guidance that applies to our times as well.


Meanwhile, in Portland…

Back in Portland after our trip to New Zealand, we were greeted by blooming daffodils, hyacinths and wind flowers.

Catherine Creek hike, February  27, 2020

We went to Catherine Creek in the eastern Columbia River Gorge to see what early blooming spring flowers were still on view. We lucked upon a windless, blue sky day, with Mt Hood reflected in the Columbia River. DSC00152Grass widows were waning, desert parsleys, gold stars, yellow bells and buttercups were emerging.

We hiked the lower paved loop, then the upper Bitterroot Trail above the fairy ponds all the way up Sunflower Hill to Atwood Road. We walked down the connector trail to Rowland Wall, for the first time.


Trail connection to Rowland Wall



Going down Rowland Wall.

We still want to try the inside out switchback on the upper Shoestring Trail that we missed last time. I love that there are so many trails to follow in this area, and that each visit during the next couple of months will present a different wildflower suite.

Image 2-27-20 at 9.33 PM

Hike #29, 5.5 miles, 1300 feet.


I knit a small amount while in New Zealand.


Geology shawl, and my current traveling socks.

Late summer Gentians at Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

8/23/2019  Chinidere Mountain hike

The trail leads down to Wahtum Lake,



Chinidere Mountain, our destination, on the skyline.


Endemic cutleaf bugbane blooming along the lake trail.


After crossing the log bridge at the lake outlet, our trail leads steeply up hill, eventually reaching the top of Chinidere Mountain, with views of five Cascade volcanoes.


Mt Hood to the south,


and Mt Jefferson on the horizon just to the right.


Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams to the north.


The burned drainage of Eagle Creek, with Mt St Helens on the far right.


Wahtum Lake below us to the east.

I was pleased to find many patches of Explorer’s gentian blooming along the trail and at the top of the mountain.


Explorer’s gentian



Previous hikes here earlier in the season had a different suite of flowers. Today we saw the later season flowers and berries: 

Other new and notable flowers:

Berries of late summer:

We found plenty of ripe huckleberries to supplement our lunch. We saw a few north and south bound PCT through-hikers, but not many other people on the trail today. It was a fairly perfect late summer hike.

Image 8-23-19 at 5.42 PM

Hike #41, 5 miles, 1200 feet


I finished plying the last of my Tour de Fleece yarn. I am planning to try Easter Egg dye on this yarn – stay tuned for updates.


Signs of Fall in the neighborhood

Wildwood Trail and Tour de Fleece


July 19, 2019  Wildwood Trail

A short hike this week on the Wildwood trail in the Portland Arboretum. We stayed in the shade, though it is not as hot here as other places right now. Hike #32, 2.6 miles, 200 feet.

Tour de Fleece

It is Tour de France time, which we love, and I have joined the parallel Tour de Fleece. I took a drop spindling class in the fall of 2017 at my local yarn shop. Shortly thereafter, spinning fell by the wayside as I dealt with my acromegaly diagnosis. For Tour de Fleece 2019 I pulled out my drop spindle and remaining fiber samples. I borrowed the Maggie Casey Getting Started on a Drop Spindle DVD from my library. I have been spinning a bit of fiber each night as we fast forward our way through each day’s stage in France. I love seeing the landscape, mountains, castles of France, and the bike race has been exceptionally unpredictable this year. And I feel like I am getting a new feel for spinning, and would love to take another class.


I have also been knitting my traveling socks, and have started a shawl that is a gift for someone…


It is berry time at the farmer’s market,

and we have more blooms in the garden.

Back in Portland, June 5, 2019

We returned last weekend from two and a half weeks visiting in Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado. There were planes, trains, subways, busses, automobiles, a boat, and bicycles; a baby, dogs, cats and the Blue Angels; tornado damage, lakes, rivers, mountains, wildflowers, poison oak, and topiary; a birthday, a graduation, ice cream, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Appalachian Trail!  I will report on all that later. Meanwhile, back in Oregon, the weeds have grown and new flowers are blooming.



I made a bit of progress on my travel socks


and started a new project at a knit-in at my local yarn shop.


Weldon Wagon Road, WA


We walked Weldon Wagon Trail on a hot day in May. Balsamroot beginning to fade in the heat. I craved the shade, wished for a breeze in the still air, unlike the windblown walk last week at The Dalles Mountain Ranch. Lupine, clarkia, manroot, various parsleys, cutleaf violets, no sasquatch sighting this year. An enjoyable walk with friends. This will likely be my last of the balsamroot hikes this year! (Hike #22, 5.5 miles, 1300 feet).


Lupine along the trail in the lower woodlands.


First view of the open flowered slope.


Our trail ahead across the balsamroot slope,


and a view of Mt Hood across the valley.


Friends ahead.




Looking straight up at the steep slope above.



Turnaround point


And back the way we came,


Back into the shade on a hot day.

New or notable flowers:

Neighborhood and Garden


Birthday bouquet


Our rhododendron in bloom,


And our native irises.


Giant camas in a neighborhood garden.


Local fairy garden.


I finished the Frost Slippers. The fit is a bit tight, but they should fit someone! Interesting construction, including stranding, steeking, and seaming, and I used up a lot of the leftover Dr Who Scarf yarn.


Yarn for travel knitting!


((This post has the first photos using my new camera (Sony HX90V).)

Balsamroot, Bitterroot, and a Birthday

May 2, 2019 Dalles Mountain Ranch, WA

On a very windy double birthday, we followed the lure of the wildflowers to Dalles Mountain Ranch, Columbia Hills State Park, WA. We hiked the Middle Loop, from the Ranch, downhill and then back up again, over rolling slopes and across streams. Balsam root, biscuit root, lupine, and filaree painted  gold, yellow, purple and pink highlights on the hills, and neither words nor pictures can really describe the beauty! But I try…


We started from the ranch trailhead, Mt Hood in the distance.


Down the balsmroot and lupine filled slopes.


As the trail winds down, the view changes from Mt Hood


to the Columbia Hills.


The Columbia River comes into view,


and so many flowers!


Under oak trees,


Down hill, closer to the river.


Stream crossing,



Puffy mounds of phlox,



A patch of death camas



Another stream crossing,



Back up the last slope to the trail head.

A few less common flowers seen today:

Later, the same day – camas lilies and bitterroot!

On our way home, we took a short hike at Catherine Creek where the open slopes are already beginning to dry out.

DSC03831I was hoping to see swales of blue camas lilies in the vernal pools, and we found them!


Blue camas lilies growing where the vernal pools are drying up.


A few white camas in with the blue camas lilies.

A bonus was finding the first blooming bitterroots of the year! We completely missed them last year when we were in Cornwall, so I took extra pictures to make up for it.


The large pink flowers are so delicately beautiful, and yet grow out of tough black lava outcrops.


Bitterroot blooming on the rocky foreground, camas lilies and buttercups beyond.

This was hike #21 for 2019, about 6 miles, 600 feet overall, but a million in flowers.

Even later, birthday cake and new socks

I made the requested traditional chocolate cake. After dinner out at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Brian blew out XXVI candles.


Dan will blowout his LXV candles on Sunday when he has his party. Both had ‘medical insurance significant’ birthdays this year. Brian was wore his new socks the next day while watching the Portland Trailblazers squeak out a win over Denver in quadruple overtime! I don’t think there is any adrenaline left in town.


I finished these just in time for Brian’s birthday!

Meanwhile in the garden….

Dogwood trees are blooming all over town in glorious pink, salmon and cream colors. And in our yard:


Only one of twelve camas bulbs bloomed.


Chinese fringe flower and phlox still going strong