We went to Mt Rainier in September –

-on a midweek getaway, to a self-contained cabin in Packwood, Washington, with our own food, following all Covid-19 precautions. We have seen the stunning wildflower displays of summer a few times, and had long been wanting to see the the mountain in fall colors.

Mount Rainier area hikes.

September 29, 2020 – Comet Falls/Van Trump Park

This trail, west of the Nisqually River and Paradise, follows Van Trump Creek all the way up to the stunning Comet Falls, then farther up the slopes to magnificent views of Mt Rainier from Van Trump park. (P.B. Van Trump  was one of the first to stand on the summit of the mountain, in 1870). A very challenging and satisfying hike (7 miles, 2500 feet).

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Smaller falls near the trailhead.

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Trail through the woods.

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I first thought this was our waterfall, then continued over the next ridge:

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Comet Falls! About 400 feet, counting smaller tiers above and below the main falls. Snow bank on lower right.

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With rainbows in the mist!

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Our trail continues up, with better views of Comet Falls.

The trail continued upward steeply, into Van Trump Park.

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Above the waterfall, the mountain came into view.

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Fall foliage on the slopes of Van Trump Park, glowing red!

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Mount Rainier from our lunch stop in Van Trump Park.

Views of the glaciers from a new angle:

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The trail down seemed steeper than the trail going up; that might just be my knees talking.

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Mt Adams on view beyond the Tatoosh Range.

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Glacial striations/polish and Mt Adams.

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Uppermost tier of Comet Falls.

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A particularly steep trail section.

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A few late gentians in the upper meadows.

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Vine maples just beginning to turn red.

We stopped at a couple of roadside viewpoints on our way out of the park.

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Highway bridge over the Nisqually River canyon.

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Nisqually River downstream.

We could not resist stopping to see the mirror image in Reflection Lakes.

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September 30 – Naches Peak/Tipsoo Lake Loop, smoke haze at Sunrise, Silver Falls.

We hiked this loop trail (4 miles, 600 feet), with our views increasingly shrouded in haze. Wildfire smoke began drifting diffusely in, creating a grayish white sky that was so startlingly blue yesterday.

We were almost alone as we walked around Tipsoo Lake, admiring the beautiful reflections in its mirror-like surface.

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Tipsoo Lake

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Yakima Peak

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Mt Rainier, slightly obscured by haze.

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Mt Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake.

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Yakima Peak – our trail rising along its base.

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Pasque flower seed head

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Meadow of huckleberry and aster seed heads.

Then we hiked the loop around Naches Peak – following the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Crossing Hwy 410.

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Hwy 410, headed down the canyon, to the east.

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A new wilderness area for us!

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Trail up over the shoulder of Naches Peak.

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Naches Peak.

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Looking back.

We passed a small lake with a friendly chipmunk.

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Once over the shoulder of Naches Peak, we could see the Dewey Lakes to the southeast as the smoke haze increased.

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One of the Dewey Lakes.

The trail circles back west,  with stunning views of Mt Rainier when there is no haze, as it passes more small lakes. 

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Mt Rainier is ahead through the haze.

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One of the trailside lakes.

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More beautiful meadows!

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Mt Rainier disappearing before our eyes!

We stopped to admire Upper Tipsoo Lake near the trailhead before finishing the hike.

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Upper Tipsoo Lake.

After lunch we drove up to Sunrise, elevation 6400 feet, but the smoke haze obscured views, so we didn’t stay.

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Dotted Blue line shows Mt Rainier skyline behind the smoke haze.

Instead we hiked to Silver Falls, on the Ohanapecosh River, through old and mossy forest, to see clear turquoise waters, and bright falling waters cutting through a slick rock gorge. All in all a lovely ‘recovery’ day from yesterday – the hikes being not so steep. We hope the smoke will blow out for tomorrow.

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Small fairy falls in the mossy old growth forest.

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Looking down on the blue waters in Ohanapecosh gorge.

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Overlook at the top of Silver Falls.

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Downstream view of the Ohanapecosh River below the bridge.

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Silver Falls.

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October 1 – Paradise, Golden Gate Trail, Panorama Point

The mountain was ‘out’ behind a thin veil of translucent haze! Smoke would gather throughout the day below us to the south on the flanks of the Tatoosh Range. 

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View from the parking lot at Paradise.

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Iconic gateway to the trail system.

We hiked across Paradise Valley, and up the Golden Gate switchbacks and granite steps, to the High Skyline Trail that circles the valley (6 miles, 1700 feet).

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Looking up toward the red huckleberry foliage on Alta Vista, which would be our return trail in the afternoon.

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Looking toward the Skyline trail on the east side of Paradise Valley.

We saw a black bear foraging in the meadows below, and at least eight marmots foraging and nest building on our way up.

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While looking across at the waterfall,

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I noticed a moving black spot in the valley below.

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Black bear.

The slopes were still green, and full of fading wildflowers with a few remaining blooms.

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Switchbacks of the Golden Gate Trail ahead.

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Up the last switchback to the Skyline Ridge.

Once to the ridge, stark, glaciated landscape dominated.

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High Skyline Trail

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A glimpse over the ridge to the east to the next glaciated valley.

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Our destination is around the cirque and above the snowfield – there are tiny humans on that ridge.

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Rocky trail.

A mountain goat was resting near one of the snow fields in the cirque.

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This is the closest we would get to the mountain goat (to the right of the snow field).

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Mountain goat, zoom lens.

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Looking down on the mountain goat after we climbed higher.

Over the rocky top above Panorama Point, near Pebble Creek, we sat on the rocks and ate our lunch with a full mountain view: 7000 feet of vertical relief, glaciers and sculpted rocks. We heard an occasional boom as something up there, heeding gravity, fell.

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Lunch view.

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Chipmunk on the rock.

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Glacier close-ups.

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We made our way back down the steep granite steps, past Panorama Point and more glacier views.

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Heading down to Panorama Point.

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Panorama Point, with views in all directions:

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East, where we have been.

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South, toward our starting point, and the smoky Tatoosh Range.

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West, to our downward trail and the Nisqually Valley.

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Continuing down…

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Rocky steps to Glacier View.

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We saw one late pasque flower in the meadow.

The bear was still roaming in the valley below.

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We crossed through the brilliant red huckleberry foliage on the flank of Alta Vista.

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After a last stop at Edith Creek and Myrtle Falls, I was done walking for a while. My legs were tired, my cup full! I have to agree with the sentiment carved in the steps at the trailhead. This is one of the most beautiful places I have been. I feel so lucky to have seen it in the fall!

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Myrtle Falls

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Edith Creek

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This hungry deer near the trailhead paid no attention to the people taking his photo!

Knitting update, neighborhood walks, an art exhibit, and waterfalls…October 2020

Knitting

My fingers have been busy:

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Stripey socks – finished!

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Rio Calina Cowl – getting longer, and I might just make it into a long scarf instead of a cowl.

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Dissent Socks, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsberg – I’ve finished the ankles – on to the heels!

Walks around the neighborhood,

New signs, whimsy, architectural elements:

Fall colors evolving…

I have been hunting witches and other Halloween displays, to be shared in a later post.

Portland Textile Month, Tiny Pricks Art Installation

We visited the exhibition window to see the stitchery, made by artists who embroider a quote onto a vintage textile as a form of protest. It is not how I want to spend my crafting time – but I was glad to get a chance to see a small sampling of the thousands of pieces that have been contributed to this crowd-sourced artwork.

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Silver Falls State Park

October 19th – We hiked the 5 mile waterfall loop. It was hard to relax and enjoy the scenery –  there were a fair number unmasked, seemingly Covid-protocol-oblivious hikers. We cut our day shorter than usual. The waterfalls are always beautiful, and the light streaming through the yellow big leaf maples enchanting.

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South Falls

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Lower South Falls

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Double Falls

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Middle North Falls

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Deschutes River/Ferry Springs Trail, Oregon – October 14th, 2020

 

Image 10-18-20 at 12.36 PMDeschutes River trail, a smattering of rain, it feels like walking through a purifying mist, and there’s no Covid out here.

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Deschutes River

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Rabbit brush

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Sumac along the trail

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Sumac

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Raindrops on leaves

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Raindrops in the creek

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A place to rest

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Burned tree from 2017 fire

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Golden grasses

I could be wrong, we have passed a few hikers, anglers, a hydrologist; there are boats on the river, workers on the railroad across the river, campgrounds and powerlines nearby.

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Looking uphill to the east.

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Our trail continues south, upstream.

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Columbia Hills to the north.

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Rocky cliffs

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Seagull in the river

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Maybe because in this low desert landscape, with golden light on the black cliffs and the dry grass of late summer, I feel like I can really breathe out here; the scent of the high desert, and a smattering of rain only enhancing the sense of free fresh air.

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Climbing up the cliffs..

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Golden grasses

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Lunch view north.

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Looking down at the river from our lunch stop.

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Looking down to the river through the rock arch.

Up on the hill now after lunch, golden and desolate views of the rivers, views of the black volcanic rocks that used to enclose cascading waters of Celilo Falls, cascading waters that used to have salmon leaping up them every year, salmon leaping up into the nets of the Celilo people, before the dam.

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Ascending the hills.

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Closer view of the Deschutes/Columbia Confluence

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Windmills on the hills, power transmission lines to the dam, cell towers, highways, train tracks, campgrounds, and yet I feel alone on this golden hillside.

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Golden grasses

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Dried balsam root will bloom bright gold in spring.

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Approaching the upper Ferry Springs crossing.

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Ferry Springs

I feel alone even though the powerlines are buzzing above us, the powerlines are transmitting the thoughts and bytes of millions, and yet I feel blessedly alone.

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Its all downhill now to the trailhead.

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Dry waterfall and power lines humming above.

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Back down to river level, with power lines.

I’m not really alone of course – hiking with Dan, in a respite from the city; the desert is a place of wide open freedom – harsh, spiky, dry, rocky, steep, prickly; hidden hazards beyond each cliff, under every rock, yet wide open above, on an autumn day, I am lucky to be here, to be breathing freely.

Bonus content: More River otters! There were six otters playing in the river near the trailhead – 

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River otters

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River otters and ducks

Celilo Falls, Salmon fishing, before the dam:

“Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine” 

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/timeline/632.html

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

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. 

Eleven Lakes and a bear in Indian Heaven Wilderness, and more pandemic knitting

We took two hikes in Indian Heaven Wilderness, a beautiful patch of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest between Mt Adams and Mt St Helens in southern Washington. A few small volcanic peaks rise above the rolling forested landscape that is also spotted with dozens of lakes, and covered with ripe huckleberry bushes in August.

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August 20, 2020 – Indian Racetrack Lake and Red Mountain

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Trailhead into the forest

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Racetrack Lake – the only lake on this hike

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Looking Across Racetrack Meadow to Red Mountain

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View of Mt Adams on the way up to Red Mountain

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Closer view of Mt Adams,

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And closer.

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Nearing the top of Red Mountain

Views from the top:
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Mt Hood beyond Red Mountain Lookout

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We climbed up to the viewing platform on the lookout.

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Some other hikers pointed out a bear cub down on the other side of the mountain, eating huckleberries.

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Looking back east at Mt Adams – clouds now covering the top

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Mt St Helens to the north

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And starting down again, we can see our trail dropping into the woods, and beyond we see the spine of Indian Heaven Wilderness: Berry Mountain, Gifford Peak, burned East Crater, and Lemei Rock.

Some details along the trail:
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Lily pads and grass, Racetrack Lake

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Falls Creek

Hike #57, 6.8 miles, 1500 feet

August 28, 2020 – Thomas Lake trailhead to Junction Lake

The other ten lakes were seen on this hike.

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Once again we enter the forested wilderness…

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Thomas Lake

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Heather Lake

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Dee Lake

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Eunice Lake

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Nuha Lake

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Rock Lakes

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Unnamed lake beyond Rock Lakes

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View of burnt East Crater from the Old Cascade Crest trail segment

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A glimpse of Mt St Helens as we cross the shoulder of East Crater

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Unnamed lake near the trail junction

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Junction Lake, our turnaround point

Some details along the trail:
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Reflections in the lakes…

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Huckleberry bushes turning red

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Mountain ash berries

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Hellebore

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Most likely the last beargrass bloom of summer

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And another view of Mt St Helens above Eunice Lake on the descent.

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Hike #58, 6.8 miles, 630 feet.

Meanwhile, we are floating along through more days of pandemia – some days we see no one at all, only virtual connections to the outside world. Our neighbors leave us tomatoes. We leave them apples and plums and wave across the rose bushes. Downtown is still burning up with civil unrest while I go on placidly through the days of late summer, of pandemia, of this administration… I virtually hold my breath, knock on wood, pray, cast spells, wish for a begin to a return to ‘normalcy’; hope for a late summer without a local fire season, hope for a scientifically tested efficacious vaccine, and hope for a fair election that will allow us to emerge from impending climate change, covid and facism. And I knit…

Knitting –

I cast on a hat and some socks…

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Rafa by Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo, Blue green

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Sock, Berroco Sox yarn

Neighborhood sights:

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fern shadows

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Poetry Post

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yard sign

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neighborly tomatoes

And nationally…

My daughter attended the 57th March on Washington,

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The march

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Lincoln Memorial

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The Mall

-and this artwork crossed my social media feed:

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I am still struggling a bit with the new WordPress format….

Another couple of pandemic weeks with a birthday, two hikes on Mt Hood, and knitting…

8/17/2020 – I’ve had a birthday, which we celebrated with a hike and a socially distanced takeout Thai dinner with our two sons. Despite the palpable pandemic/political chaos tension in the world I have much to be grateful for. Although I am missing having our usual summer get togethers with extended family, so is everyone in the world right now. I am especially grateful that we saw almost every relation last year, between two weddings and a graduation trip to the east coast. My latest acromegaly lab tests all look good, and, we are eating homegrown tomatoes and basil almost every day.

Birthday cake, flowers from my daughter,
and a few lovely presents.

I have been knitting, knitting, knitting away on a few projects, fingers keeping the anxiety away.

My neighborhood walks continue to reveal signs of encouragement and solidarity.

Also in the neighborhood, late summer flowers, shadow play, interesting architectural elements, and tinges of the autumn ahead….

Two hikes on opposite sides of Mt Hood  –

Burnt Lake August 5, 2020

My birthday hike on the west side of Mt Hood was mostly through shady forest, on a hot day, with a few stream crossings, and late season flowers. The other time we hiked here the mountain was under a cloud, so today we were very glad to see the beautiful reflections of Mt Hood in the lake. Hike #55, 8.5 miles, 1500 feet.

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The shady forest

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Tree scorched in the early 1900’s.

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Mt Hood, Burnt Lake

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Mountain close up

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Reflection

Notable flowers and plants:

Newton Creek to Timberline Trail,  August 10, 2020

We started from the Elk Meadows trailhead, then walked uphill along the Newton Creek Trail, stopping for lunch near the Timberline Trail junction where we enjoyed lovely views of Mt Hood and Gnarl Ridge. We then walked south on the Timberline Trail toward Mt Hood Meadows for a short distance before turning back. Hike #56, 7.7 miles, 1600 feet.

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Moon over Clark Creek

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Newton Creek trail

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Ghost tree in the forest

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Gnarl Ridge beyond Newton Creek

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Upstream

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Downstream, fireweed

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Mt Hood ahead

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Lunch view of Gnarl Ridge

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Gnarl Ridge closeup

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We saw a few tiny hikers crossing Newton Creek on the Timberline Trail.

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Glacier closeup

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The peak

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Backside of pea gravel ridge, which we walked along as far as the descent into Clark Creek.

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Return hike down Newton Creek.

Editing note – This is my first post with the New WordPress Editor, so there are lots of formatting inconsistencies. Not loving it, but I suppose I will get used to it as I continue hurling forward into the future, keeping my synapses sharp by constant novelty….

Posting from my peaceful Portland neighborhood –

A trifecta of crises descends on my town –

I have been distracted from posting by current events. All I have been able to think about is how my community has been attacked by our own government. Federal gestapo-like forces have invaded Portland’s mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations, and created a war zone in the four downtown blocks around the federal building. Click-bait and spot news entertainment have focused on the four square blocks of federally-incited violence that occurs after most demonstrators have gone home. The leadership void in DC is trying to distract from inept pandemic management and interrupt local progress toward ending white supremacy. The ‘stormtroopers’ sent by a failed president are causing the violence. Today there is an announcement of an agreement to withdraw the troops. Our state and city have serious antiracist/police reform legislation proposals underway. I am cautiously optimistic.

I am speaking from a condition of white, middle class privilege. I myself have not been downtown, although I know people who have. I am of an age and health situation that I  think the best thing I can do to help is to stay home, not contribute to spreading Covid-19. I stay aware of what is going on, donate money, and hope that the trifecta of political, economic, and public health crises our country is experiencing will begin to resolve after November elections.

I honor the Black Lives Matter protesters. I appreciate the wall of moms, the dads with leaf (teargas) blowers, the wall of vets, the volunteer medics, street cleaners, and cooks, all the folks who have put themselves on the line to keep the conversation about systemic racism and police reform going.

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Meanwhile, in my neighborhood…

The quiet and calm in my neighborhood are uninterrupted. I see signs of support and blooming flowers on my walks.

We have been eating sungold tomatoes and basil from our garden, and we’ve celebrated another family birthday.

I seem to be obsessed with knitting dishcloths and have also cast on a new sweater.

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We have been out hiking in the past two weeks to places we have been before.

Lookout Mountain, July 22, 2020

Wildflower meadows and views of nine Cascade volcanoes, from Mt Rainier to Broken Top. Hike #53, 3.5 miles, 650 feet.

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Mt Adams beyond the wildflower meadows of High Prairie.

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Mt Hood from the volcanic spire overlook.

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Glacier close up.

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Mt Adams from the summit approach trail.

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Mt Hood from the summit approach trail.

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Washington Cascades from the summit.

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Oregon Cascades from the summit.

Notable wildflowers:

 

Salmon River, July 28, 2020

A mostly shaded trail on a hot day along the Wild and Scenic Salmon River through old growth forest on the slopes of Mt Hood. Hike #54, 4.5 miles, 300 feet.

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Peaceful lunch spot along the river…

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arnica

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monkey flower

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Notable flowers…

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Ghost pipe

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Clarkia and blue gillia on a sunny cliff

Finding some peace in the old growth forest…

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Two trails on Mt Hood –

7/6/2020 – Cloud Cap/Timberline Trail high point –

A favorite hike on the Timberline Trail along the high east edge of the mountain.

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Washington Cascades from the crest of the East Eliot Moraine.

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Eliot Glacier, Mt Hood under clouds.

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Cloud Cap shelter.

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 The clouds lifted while we walked south on the Timberline Trail.

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Crossing snow fields –

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with a view of the mountains.

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Timberline trail high point – 7350 feet.

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Hiking back north on the Timberline Trail along the edge of the sky.

We met this bird along the way:

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And lots of alpine flowers:

(Hike #51, 6 miles, 1650 feet)

7/10/2020 – Barlow Pass to Timberline on the PCT

A new trail for us on the south side of Mt Hood. The first three miles ascend steadily through lovely shaded forest on the gently graded Pacific Crest Trail. As we reached the junction with the Timberline Trail, blooming beargrass with Mt Hood beyond gave us a  breath taking trail moment – both stunning and unexpected! (Hike #52 for 2020!, 11 miles, 1750 feet)

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Barlow Pass Trailhead

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A new Wilderness Area for me.

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Beargrass in the forest.

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Beargrass in the upper meadows.

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Beargrass, and Mt Hood!

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Mt Jefferson and a faint glimpse of the Three Sisters to the south.

Zooming in on Mt Hood:

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Timberline Ski area on the left.

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Top of the mountain.

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Glaciers and crevasses.

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Tiny people walking around up there!

We walked along the Timberline Trail to where we could see Timberline Lodge from an overlook above the Salmon River.

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On our way back, we noticed a waterfall in the White River drainage.

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Knitting

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I finished a Rafa Hat to be gifted (Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo Piedras).

Quilting!

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I actually pieced a quilt block, for a Local Quilt Shop raffle quilt.

Garden

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My husband finished making a table for the yard so he can eat breakfast in the garden.

4th of July moonrise

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From Camas, Washington – Columbia River, and alpenglow on Mt Hood.

 

Sisters hiking interlude…

June 28 to July 1, 2020 –

We escaped to Sisters, Oregon, about a three hour drive from home, for a few days of hiking. Our motel room was self contained, we brought all of our own food, and chose uncrowded trails during the week to satisfy pandemic safety concerns for ourselves and others. The trip was successful! It was wonderful to get out of our neighborhood and into the mountains we love so dearly, to see so many wildflowers and mountain views, and to hike both new and familiar trails.

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Cone Peak Meadows June 29, 2020

Famous for wildflowers! We hiked in the fog most of the day – few views, lots of flowers, including some new to me. We didn’t go up to the Iron Mountain Lookout because of the fog, but did hike the entire loop for the first time. (Hike #48, 6.6 mile, 1300 feet)

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Trail map

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Rocky outcrops above the forest slopes were covered with blooming larkspur, Oregon sunshine and blue gillia.

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Lower Cone Peak meadows in the fog.

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Lunch view.

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Fog rising, Cone Peak almost visible.

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Upper Cone Peak Meadows – death camus, larkspur, paintbrush and more.

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Crossing the upper meadows.

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Forested section just north of Iron Mountain.

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Foggy glimpse of Iron Mountain, which we decided not to climb.

Prolific wildflowers in the meadows and forests!

Tam McArthur Rim, June 30, 2020

A favorite hike, often very crowded, was pleasantly unpeopled today. Also, not as windy as expected, and the views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top were stunning from our endpoint – the 7950′ red cinder ridge that leads to Broken Top. We lost the trail briefly in some of the snow patches, but the wide open volcanic landscape made it hard to actually get lost.  Hike #49, 8 miles, 1500 feet.

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Ascending above Three Creeks Lake. That sharp prow on the left  is the overlook.

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Enjoying our lunch view of Broken Top and the Three Sisters from the overlook, while not feeding the chipmunk.

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All the chipmunk got were some close up photos.

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Three Creek Lakes from the overlook.

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We hiked on across the high plateau to the ridge, crossing a few snow patches along the way.

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View from the saddle of the red cinder ridge.

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Our endpoint – the top of the red cinder ridge. Broken Hand and Broken top seem just a few steps further…

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Broken Top and South Sister.

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Three Sisters

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Middle and North Sisters, and the clouds sitting on the Cascade peaks to the north.

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Our trail across the high plateau, back to the lookout.

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We stopped again at the lookout before heading down.

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Western pasque flowers and heather near the lookout.

McKenzie Pass and Clear Lake, July 1, 2020

We drove up to the Dee Wright Observatory at McKenzie Pass, one of my favorite places on the planet, to look at the volcanic landscape and hope for some views. The clouds wafted away from some of the peaks briefly, though the bitter wind was not hospitable to hanging around.

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Black Crater from the observatory.

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The Belknap Craters

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North and Middle Sisters appeared briefly.

We also stopped at Clear Lake, hoping to see the submerged fossil forest under the turquoise clear waters we have heard so much about. We could not see it from the trail. We did find the Great Spring, from which the McKenzie River is born, and a few new flower sightings. We will have to come back and rent a boat to see the underwater forest. (Hike #50, 5 miles, 200 feet).

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Turquoise blue Clear Lake from the trail

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The ripples near the bank are where the water emerges as a spring from under the lava flows.

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Another view of the Great Spring.

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My first time seeing candystick, one of the more unusual flowers in the western Cascades forests.

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Candystick

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Twinflower

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Pink pyrola

Knitting

I brought my latest traveling socks on the trip, and they are finished!

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Hermione’s Everyday Socks, pattern by Erica Lueder, made from Red Heart – Heart and Sole yarn in the Bayou colorway.

Everything that is happening right now-

I keep hearing this expression on the airwaves, to describe the intersection of pandemic, political chaos and antiracist activism. I have been reading the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, journaling about the prompts, and discussing the ideas with my family. I feel not exactly guilty, but impatient, with myself and the world for having accepted a racist society as status quo for so long.

Wildflower Rainbows along the trails during Pride month; some knitting, and neighborhood views –

Friday, June 19, 2020, Grassy Knoll, Washington

Wildflower meadows filled the open slopes near the trailhead.

White dogwood, lilies and anemones led us through the shady forest up the steep trail to the ridge crest.

More flowers all the way to the top of Grassy Knoll, and beyond.

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Pink cliff penstemons along the rocky ridge, Mt Adams beyond.

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Grassy Knoll looks green from here,

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but the green slopes are full of flowers!

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Summit view toward Mt Hood.

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Summit view toward Mt Adams.

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Continuing up the ridge, Mt Hood, the Columbia River, and more wildflower meadows.

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And more blooming meadows near our turnaround point.

Every color of wildflower was in bloom today!

It was a great day in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. (Hike #46, 6.2 miles, 1350 feet.)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

We saw many of the same flowers that we saw at Grassy Knoll, though we were a thousand feet higher in altitude, so earlier in the bloom season. (Hike #47, 7.5 miles, 1450 feet.)

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Wahtum Lake, near the trailhead.

A few early season flowers still in bloom here:

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Ascending into the rainbow meadows on Chinidere Mountain.

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Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams from the summit.

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Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson from the summit.

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Wahtum Lake and Mt Hood.

A highlight was walking north of Chinidere Mountain on the Pacific Crest Trail, into the upper margin of the 2017 burn zone. Beargrass blooms sparkled in the recovering forest.

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Wahtum ‘Express’ back to the parking area.

Knitting

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Finished mitts.

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A nearly finished Meris cardigan – still have to sew on the buttons.

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Sock progress.

Around the neighborhood:

Black Lives Matter signs blooming everywhere, along with summer flowers.

And more action nationally…

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