Hamilton Mountain, WA, and first knit socks of 2020

January 3, 2020 – Our first hike of the New Year was to Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We’ve been many times, usually to see the cliffs become hanging gardens in the spring. Today we had perfect winter hiking conditions – not too cold, a bit muddy, full waterfalls, clear views from the top.

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The first summit of Hamilton Mountain, as seen from the power line cut on the lower trail.

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Approaching the upper cliffs, eastern gorge beyond.

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Bonneville Dam, with Mt Hood appearing to the south.

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First view from the summit- Mt Adams glowing in winter white beyond Table Mountain.

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Wide view from the summit.

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Mt Hood to the south, in low winter light.

After lunch at the summit we continued the trail to the northern saddle/plateau –

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A last look back at Mt Hood.

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Western gorge, filling with mist and a painterly sky.

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Columbian lewisia foliage in the saddle.

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Crossing over a very full Rodney Falls on the return hike.

Hike #1 for 2020, 8.2 miles, 2250 feet.

Knitting

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First knit finish in 2020 – traveling socks that I started last May.

Christmas Eve at Dry Creek Falls, and knitted ornaments

December 24, 2019, Cascade Locks, Oregon

A foggy day – a good time to head into the forest. The trailhead park at the Bridge of the Gods was decorated for the holidays. We hiked in the other direction, south on the Pacific Crest Trail, and up hill away from the Columbia River. It is about 2.5 miles to this lovely waterfall that pours over a columnar basalt cliff. We had it to ourselves for lunch and a photo session. Then back down the trail, back to town, to finish up some elf work.

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Bridge of the Gods trailhead

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Into the foggy forest that is scarred by the 2017 fire.

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Dry Creek just below the waterfall.

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Dry Creek Falls

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Closer views:

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Still foggy on the cliffs as we drive home.

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Hike #58, 5.5 miles, 1050 feet

Back home, I baked a few cookies, wrapped a few presents, and constantly rechecked the airline website as our daughter’s flight from DC was on a long delay. She eventually arrived about 1 am. Her visit for the week is the best present!

Knitted ornaments

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I made a little acorn for my friend’s tree – a last minute project. I collected the acorn caps last year after seeing some knitted acorns on Ravelry. It was a very quick project, using a bit of scrap yarn.

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A knitting group friend gave us all ornaments that were knitted by a mouse.

 

Up the Labyrinth and down Coyote Wall in fog and sun

12/13/2019  Coyote Wall, Washington

Once again we drive through the foggy, rainy Columbia River Gorge to the east side of the Cascade Mountains…

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Rainbow over White Salmon, from the Hood River Bridge.

Once again, we walk along Old Highway 8, parallel to the Columbia River…

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Look Lake reflections.

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Columbia River, Oregon beyond.

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Geese on those rocks above the river.

Once again we hike up the winding trails of The Labyrinth, through layers of shifting fog.

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Red Oregon grape along the trail.

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Labyrinth waterfall

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Fog ahead

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My favorite oak grove

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The sun is trying

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Mt Hood’s flattish top peaking in and out at us as we go higher.

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Our favorite landmark tree viewpoint – one moment in the fog, 

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then clear skies for a while.

Once again we hike higher, then across Atwood Road to the sudden cliff edge of Coyote Wall.

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Cliffs of Coyote Wall are just beyond the oak tree

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Coyote Wall, Look Lake, Columbia River.

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Looking north to the upper slopes of Coyote Wall.

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Eastern Columbia River Gorge.

Once again we hike down the ankle breaking bike trails, one called the Crybaby trail, while the fog layers shift and disperse.

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East view from Old Ranch Road

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Looking back up the wall, fog descending again.

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Summer parsley.

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Looking East toward the Rowena orchards.

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Almost back to the Coyote Wall trailhead.

(Hike #57, 7 miles, 1500 feet)

Knitting…

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Button bands on the Meris cardigan done; and about two thirds of a Rafa Hat.

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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Reflections and birds at Steigerwald Lake, WA

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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!

Rowland Wall, WA, and a Darning Pile

November 16, 2019

We left Portland’s dense fog behind as we drove through the Columbia River Gorge to Catherine Creek Recreation Area east of White Salmon, WA. The fog was lifting to the east. I  saw the wintering swans in Mirror Lake below Crown Point as we drove past.

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Driving east on I-84 toward Crown Point.

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Those tiny white dots are swans at freeway speed.

The upper reaches of the Catherine Creek area were still under fog as we hiked upward on the Rowland Wall trail.

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Fog above us.

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Orange oak trees, black volcanic rocks, golden grasses, Ponderosa pines, Rowland Lake.

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Rowland Pinnacle

The clouds rose higher as we zigzagged up the trail.

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Mt Hood in view as the clouds lift.

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A relic apple tree from some past life.

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Apples

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Blue sky!

We lost the trail when hiking here last year and returned the way we came. Today we lost the trail again, but we were close enough to the top to bushwhack our way up to Atwood Road.

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Lunch view – toward our starting point just beyond the Rowland Wall cliff.

After eating lunch with a stunning view of the land rolling away beneath us – river, cliffs, orchards of Mosier, we hiked down Sunflower Hill. At the edge of Rowland Wall, we saw the other end of the connecting trail we missed – we will find it next time! A story in every trail. Not many other people here today. We returned to Portland which was reported to be under cloud all day.

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Walking down Sunflower Hill,

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to the edge of Rowland Wall – reflections in Rowland Lake.

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Orchards of Mosier across the Columbia River.

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Mt Hood

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Another train

Pre wildflower bonus shot:

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Bitteroot foliage.

Hike #53, 5.1 miles, 1100 feet.

Knitting

I continue to make progress on my Meris Cardigan – but at three or four 300 stitch rows a day, it is slow going. That includes a little extra knitting when I have to find a dropped yarn over in the lace repeats. Meanwhile, I have isolated my Darning Pile – I hope I can show it finished by next week.

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Three pairs of sock toes, and a sweater with a few holes.

Tamawanas Falls, OR

November 10, 2019

I returned to this popular trail on the east side of Mt Hood with some trepidation, and conquered my fear. The last time I was here, in January of 2016, on snowshoes, my husband slipped over a cornice edge on the trail. He was rescued by some passing snowshoers, but then one of the rescuers slipped all the way down to the riverbank, and had to be rescued by Search and Rescue. I have avoided the trail ever since, even though it is not hazardous when snow free. I do love this trail – I saw my first Columbia Windflowers here one spring, and have enjoyed the hike many times. This day we were late for full fall colors, but saw yellow larches amid the evergreens.  (Hike#52, 5 miles, 800 feet)

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East Fork of Hood River, near the trailhead.

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First view of Tamanawas Falls.

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Lunch view, from the island in Cold Spring Creek at the base of the falls.

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We explored a bit higher on side trail to Elk Meadows, and have plans to go farther in the future.

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Yellow larches.

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Mt Hood from Highway 35 in the afternoon.

Knitting

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I finished the Spiral Cowl, and this biography of Edith Nesbit, a favorite children’s author.

Silver Falls again, knitting update, and the last of the Halloween witches

Silver Falls Loop Trail, November 1, 2019

Some fall colors still about, some frost in the canyon. Always lovely at Silver Fall State Park, Oregon. (Hike #51, 5 miles, 700 feet)

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South Falls

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Lower South Falls

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View from behind Lower South Falls

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Double Falls

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Middle North Falls

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Winter Falls

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Frost

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Knitting

I have knit past the joining on the Meris Cardigan, and the fit is good. The rows are long, so I will be at this for a while, knitting down the body.

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I also finished a striped dish cloth,

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and made progress on the Spiral Cowl.

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The last witches of Halloween

 

Hiking to St Helens Lake / A Peek at Beatlemania and Halloween in Portland

St Helen’s Lake, Sunday, October 27, 2019

We hiked from Johnson Ridge Observatory in Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument to the St Helens Lake overlook for stunning 360 degree views.  It was cold, but not too windy.

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From the trailhead, Coldwater Peak is the highest point in view. St Helens Lake is tucked behind the ridgeline on the right, behind the arch.

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Frost along the trail,

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and Mt St Helens, herself.

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Nearing our destination, nice view of Mt Adams and Spirit Lake.

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One last ridge to traverse.

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Lunch view and turnaround point – St Helens Lake. Mt Rainier, about 40 miles away, peeking over the ridgeline of the Mt Margaret backcountry.

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Zooming in on Mt Rainier,

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the Goat Rocks,

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Spirit Lake, the silhouette of Mt Hood, and Mt St Helens, with Harry’s Ridge in the foreground.

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One last look at St Helens Lake before heading down.

This entire area is off limits to off trail exploring, so there is no trail to the lakeshore. Before the 1980 eruption, the bare slopes were covered with soil and forest. New plants are growing, but the relic tree stumps and log rafts remain as they were after the blast.

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Closer view of the 39.5 year old log rafts.

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Zooming in on the dome and glacier in Mt St Helen’s crater.

We hiked partway up Harry’s Ridge on the return.

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Another view of Spirit Lake and Mt Adams from Harry’s Ridge.

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And a last look at Mt St Helens in afternoon light.

Some details:

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We met a birder on the return trip who was very excited to have spotted this Northern Pygmy Owl on a fir tree. Nice display of tree stumps and blast-oriented logs in the background.

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Northern pygmy owl.

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A few very late wild strawberry blooms along the trail, nestled into the pumice..

SCREEN SHOT 2019-11-03 AT 11.53.50 AM

(Hike #50, 10 miles, 2300 feet)

Downtown Portland

I met a friend at the Portland Historical Society Museum to see a photo exhibit about the making of flax into linen in the 1930s. It was fascinating, but not photogenic. I popped in to see an exhibit celebrating The Beatles’ 1965 concert in Portland. I was a preteen when the Beatles invaded, but my older sister swept us into fandom with her enthusiasm, and their music is timeless. My own children have had their Beatle years. We visited Abbey Road in London, and then went on the Magical Mystery Tour and to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool during our UK trip in 2011. It was fun to see a little slice of Beatlemania in PDX.

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We had plenty of Beatle magazines and trading cards at my house, but not this game. It’s funny now to think how shockingly long their hair was considered- it looks pretty clean cut by today’s standards.

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It was a gorgeous fall day in downtown Portland.

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Oregon Historical Society Museum

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First Congregational Church

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Central Library

Neighborhood Witches and more:

There are many elaborate halloween decorations in my neighborhood to enjoy while out walking and admiring the beautiful fall colors on the day before Halloween.

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The light was just right to bring out the face on this tree.

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Eagle and salmon carved from a cedar that had to be removed.

 

 

 

Two Columbia Gorge Hikes and more witches in PDX

Tom McCall Point 10/21/2019

Beautiful fall colors on a trail we usually hike during spring wildflower season.  Hike #48, 4 miles, 1050 feet. A few comparison photos:

We are going to the top of Tom McCall Point:

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October 2019

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May 2017

Looking west toward the Memaloose Hills from the trail:

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October 2019

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April 2016

Looking northeast across the Columbia River to the Lyle Cherry Orchard where we hiked last week:

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October 2019

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April 2019

Oak trees:

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October 2019

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April 2019

And a few lingering  fall wildflowers:

Angel’s Rest 10/24/2019

Another favorite hike with outstanding views! Hike #49, 5 miles, 1500 feet.

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Coopey Falls

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Fall reflections in Coopey Creek

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Angel’s Rest –  our destination.

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Eastward view of the Columbia River; Mt Adams peeking above the Washington Gorge topography.

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Closer view of Mt Adams.

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Western view of the Columbia River.

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Trees in the burn zone – 2017 Gorge Fire.

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Heading down on a beautiful fall day.

Neighborhood walk and more witches!

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First fall for this new black tupelo

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