Flying home from London, May 2018

The last post for our UK 2018 trip!

May 12, 2018    It is a long flight, but luckily for us, there was a nonstop from London to Portland.

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Last views of the British Isles

Northern Canada – lots of pretty ice to  look down upon.

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The Rocky Mountains come into view,

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Our own volcanic mountains pop up under the wing, and finally, the Columbia River and Mt St Helens and we are home.

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Mt Adams, Mt Rainier and the Goat Rocks

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Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, the Columbia River

My favorite memories from the trip, as I am writing this 11 months later, are many.

The Jane Austen locations are at the top of the list – her portrait in London, her home and the big house in Chawton, the Quilt!, the Cobb in Lyme Regis, and then wandering around Bath, knowing that many of these sights were in her daily view while she lived there.

I enjoyed knowing my way around London for our brief stop there, revisiting some locations we had previously enjoyed, and also seeing the Natural Science Museum and Portrait Gallery.

It is always about the landscape! I love British literature, and have seen many of these locations or similar places on film, but there is nothing like boots on the ground for really feeling a place. Thus, the chalk cliffs, the Jurassic cliffs of Charmouth,  the downs, the hedgerow counterpanes and Dartmoor ponies on the moors, the blue water of Cornwall; the old castles and cottages juxtaposed with modern buildings, and then the Roman baths and Georgian Crescents in Bath – all fill in my minds eye where imagination leaves off, and I feel richer for the experience. I can see hobbits on the moors, Winnie the Pooh in the woods, mole and water rat on the river.

I would love to spend more time in Cornwall, and we have on our list another trip to Scotland. New Zealand, the Alps, and other destinations also call. This year we will remain stateside for reunions, weddings and graduations…exploration of new places are part of those plans as well. I feel very lucky to be able to travel with my husband on these fabulous adventures!

Winter Gardens, Portland

Hoyt Arboretum  2/15/2019

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

 

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

Crystal Springs   2/17/2019

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

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

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

Water birds and reflections:

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Crystal Springs Creek trail in Reed Canyon:

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The bicycle/pedestrian bridge across the canyon.

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Walking east along Reed Canyon.

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A great blue heron near the marsh.

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The spring inlet on the east end of campus.

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The lake on the west end of campus.

Cross Stitch

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

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

Knitting

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

 

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White herons at Ridgefield

Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, Washington,  2/7/2019

Cold and snowy in the Pacific Northwest. We went to the wildlife refuge to stretch our legs and look for birds. We walked the Oaks to Wetlands trail in the Carty Unit. Hike #8, 3.2 miles.

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Bridge into the refuge.

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Old oak tree.

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Great blue heron on the path.

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Wild geese in the distance.

We saw several great blue herons, and two of them seemed to have a white egret companion, but after a little googling, we found that there is a white morph of the great blue heron.

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Two herons across one of the lakes.

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We saw another pair in the distance across the northernmost lake.

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Icy shoreline, two herons in the far distance.

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Zoomed in – the two herons.

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Crafting

I knit a Brioche Headscarf, pattern by Margaret K. L. Thompson, out of the leftover Berroco Millifiori hat yarn. Two evenings of knitting, I just need to add a button.

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I am working on framing my Jane Austen’s House cross stitch.

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Hummocks Trail, Mt St Helens, WA, and some finished projects!

1/14/2019 Hummocks Trail

We drove north from Portland through fog and hoarfrost, up the Toutle River Valley on Hwy. 504, then out of the fog to the Hummocks Trailhead, the end of the road this time of year.

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Mt St Helens with hummocky landscape in the foreground.

The Hummocks Loop Trail winds through hummocks, which are mounds of poorly consolidated pulverized volcanic deposits that were dropped here like a house out of a tornado, as the debris avalanche produced by Mt St Helens’ eruption passed over the area. Since that time, 38 years ago, lakes and primitive drainages have formed between the hummocks, and trees and plants have grown on their slopes, every form of life younger than 38 years old. Today we saw bare alder trees, iced lakes and dry grass in the stark landscape, but the hummocks also protected us from the wind.

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Walking along an icy lake

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Lake ice

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Another lake between the hummocks

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Icy surface

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Alders

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Trail companions

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Small creek between hummocks.

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Our lunch time view of Mt St Helens, slightly sheltered from the wind.

We continued to the Toutle River viewpoint.

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Looking downstream – the river carves through the hummock deposits.

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Upstream – the Toutle River braid plain and the mountain.

We also saw the Science and Learning Center situated high above Coldwater Lake.

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Another lake in the hummocks.

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The white and windy mountain – stunted by eruption, wide maw open to the north, wind blown dust and snow hazing our view.

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Half moon rising over 38 year old stumps on the ridge to the east.

The present is the key to the past, in geological thinking. Except when it isn’t – that is, when the present hasn’t yet revealed how the rocks got that way. On May 18, 1980, about three weeks before I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, Mt St Helens revealed to scientists all over the world how these particular deposits form. It was a moment of instant enlightenment, as my professor excitedly told us, once the ash finished falling and the studies begun. Wide ranging theories about how similar hummocky landscapes all over the world were formed were replaced by the lateral blast model. Going forward, Red Evacuation Zones would be wider, and more lives protected.  It was just a blip in geological time, but a catastrophe in human time, a moment that changed everything.

Coldwater Lake

Coldwater Lake was not even here before the eruption. The blast debris dammed up the drainage, and then engineers stabilized it. It is now a lovely place to contemplate the surrounding landscape. Dan and I completed the 12 mile hike around the lake a few years ago in a low snow year. Along the way we witnessed the rusting logging equipment that survives on the lee side of Coldwater Ridge, while walking through a mostly new and revegetating landscape. Today, we walked past the “shutdown” locked gate to the shore.

dsc01186We held onto our hats while the wind whipped the water into white caps, and looked at the barren knife edge of Minnie Peak at the far end of the lake. The surrounding slopes were all denuded by the 180 mph lateral blast of volcanic debris, ash, and gas.

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Coldwater Lake

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A large hummock right in the middle of the lake.

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Closer view of Minnie Peak.

The lake, and all the vegetation are less than 38 years old. It is an awe inspiring sight!

(4.2 miles, 200 feet, for the day, hike #4 for 2019)

Elk Rock Viewpoint

On our way home we stopped at a high point on Hwy 504 – the Elk Rock Viewpoint. No elk today, but another look at Mt St Helens, the adjacent Mt Margaret back country, and Mt Adams peeking over her shoulder, volcanic cone intact for now.

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Mt St Helens

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The Mt Margaret back country.

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Closer view of Mt Adams.

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Panoramic view.

Crafting

I finished knitting the toe of the second sock.

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I relearned how to stitch French knots, so placed the final stitches in Jane Austen’s house. My next step is to figure out how to frame it. And then move on to my Nova project, teach myself the canvas stitches – tent, cashmere, mosaic, Scottish. A new stitching adventure awaits.

New Years Eve hike at Cape Horn, Washington; and Farewell 2018 (18-60)

Cape Horn, Washington 12/31/2018 (Hike #66 for 2018)

We started in the middle, hiked down to the Nancy Russell Overlook and a little beyond, then hiked back up and to the top viewpoints on Cape Horn. It was cold and a bit windy, but nice to be out in the bright sun as we bid farewell to 2018. 4miles, 500 feet.

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Trail to the Nancy Russell Overlook

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View from the Fallen Tree Overlook to the eastern gorge.

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Silverstar Mountain to the north.

Quilting-

I finished three quilts this year.

Knitting-

I knit 4005 yards in 10 projects according to my Ravelry project pages.

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Hiking –

I completed 66 hikes/adventures for a total mileage of 310 miles, and 47,315 feet elevation gained. The longest hike, the 12 mile Obsidian Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Central Oregon was also my favorite hike of the year. The steepest hike was Phlox Point on Hardy Ridge in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington – 2200 feet elevation gain over the 8.2 mile trail. The hardest walk was my first lap around the neurosurgery ward at OHSU after my pituitary surgery. And my favorite of our hikes in the UK was The Lizard in Cornwall.

Books Read in 2018 –

93 total, which I keep track of on Goodreads. My favorite fiction book was  Gentleman in Moscow  by Amor Towles, and my favorite nonfiction book of the year was Becoming by Michele Obama.

Blog –

This is the 60th post for the year. I am glad I am keeping it up, but I may do something different with the format next year – still thinking about it. And I still owe three posts from our trip to southern England.

Poem –

from a poetry post in my neighborhood – a hope for the future….

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Memaloose Hills Hike, and Christmas (18-59)

Memaloose Hills Hike, Oregon 12/27/2018

We went east through the gorge again to the sunny Memaloose Hills, and walked 3.2 miles, 600 feet, through the dormant winter landscape. (Hike #65 for 2018). This area is known for abundant wildflowers in spring.

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View north, with a peak at Mt Adams, from the upper trailhead on old highway 30.

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Ponderosa bark

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Trail up to the lower viewpoint.

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Chatfield Hill – our upper destination

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Dan heading up Chatfield Hill in the dormant winter.

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Same view in springtime….

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View to the east and lower viewpoint.

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View to the west from the top

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Northern view toward Mt Adams

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Mt Adams

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Mt Hood

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An apple tree and Mt Adams, on the return hike.

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Apple tree

Dalles Dam

Another hiker reported seeing bald eagles at the Dalles Dam, so we drove to the Visitor Center to see them. We walked some of the paths in that area and saw interesting views of the infrastructure, but no bald eagles.

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Under the freeway bridge

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Looking toward the dam

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A dusting of snow in the hills

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Mt Hood in the distance

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Zooming in – Mt Hood and The Dalles.

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Bald eagles should be here

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Fishing platforms

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Another westward view in the low winter light.

Driving Landscape Views

I snapped photos from the freeway as we drove back through the gorge. There are great views of our hiking spots on the Washington side of the Columbia River, and I thought I did fairly well at freeway-speed photography!

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Lyle Cherry Orchard

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Lyle, Washington

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Catherine Creek

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Rowland Wall

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The slope above Coyote Wall

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Coyote Wall

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Coyote Wall

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Snow dusting the black-fringed cliffs above Cascade Locks

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Corbett Point

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Closer view of Vista House

Knitting

I knit a star ornament for my friend who has made the costumes for a local production of Mary Poppins, I finally finished seaming the Ivy Cardigan, and I finished another round washcloth.

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Mary Poppins Star

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Ivy Cardigan

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Wash cloth

Christmas

Lovely quiet Christmas with family and friends.

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Our tree.

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My only new ornament – from the Jane Austen Museum in Bath, England.

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Viburnum in my garden

 

 

Return to Angel’s Rest (18-53)

Angel’s Rest Trail, Oregon   November 24, 2018

A few trails in the Columbia River Gorge that have been closed since the September 2017 Eagle Creek Fire were reopened for the first time this past weekend. We went to Angel’s Rest on Saturday morning, along with hundreds of other local hikers. It was with care, scrutiny, appreciation, and gratitude that we made our way up 1500 feet to the iconic views over the gorge. The trail was in great shape, thanks to the many trail keepers who have worked on recovery.

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Into the woods

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Views of Cape Horn, the Columbia River and Phoca Rock emerge on the lower trail.

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Coopey Falls

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Angel’s Rest – our destination.

The trail begins to switchback up the front of Angel’s Rest.

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Burned tree trunks and open views line the trail.

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First view west toward the trailhead.

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Well repaired trail surface next to blackened trees.

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Blackened stump.

Nearing the top, the views unfold:

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To the west, from near the top.

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The Hilary Step of Angel’s Rest – leads to the ridge crest. Sometimes there is a line of hikers waiting to go up or down.

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From the top, looking toward the overlook where many rest.

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Open view west – toward Portland, Cape Horn in Washington and Phoca Rock.

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Open view east – toward Hamilton Mountain in Washington.

We wandered around on top for a while, admiring the view from various perspectives, and found a place to eat lunch.

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Closer view of Cape Horn in Washington.

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The bench is still there.

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We saw a single blooming white yarrow near our lunch stop.

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Yarrow

We headed down, stopping for a few more views along the way.

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Looking back toward the top, where the first views are seen.

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My shadow in the low November light.

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My favorite sculpted shoreline of the Columbia River.

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View through the rock piles.

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Seasonal berries

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Trees that are burned, dying, no longer evergreen.

Looking back as we hiked down:

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Where we were – and much more visible with all the undergrowth burned away.

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White berries lined this part of the trail – not sure what they are – possible snowberries, or the dreaded poison oak.

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Golden Hike of the year, #62, 5.2 miles, 1500 feet.

Look back:

I found a couple of comparison photos from previous hikes – this one in January of 2013:

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January 2013 – the white tree trunks are left from a fire in 1991.

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November 2018 – the white trunks are blackened, and the green trees are now dying.

A closer view:

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January 2013

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November 2018

An image taken in 2017 from Cape Horn looking over to today’s hike to Angel’s Rest.

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Angel’s Rest, October 2017, From Cape Horn, WA.

Pumpkin Pie

A lovely Thanksgiving dinner with a small gathering of family and friends.

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Knitting

Another round cloth. Some new sock and hat yarn acquired from my LYS on Black Friday.

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Jane Austen House Cross Stitch

I have been rather obsessively cross stitching in the evenings.

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Neighborhood

Leaves fully gone from the flame ash tree.

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Other Adventures

It has been about a year since I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. I had another trip through the MRI this week to evaluate the tumor surgery site, accompanied by a Joni Mitchell soundtrack in my head this time. Fortunately, all appears well. And I could see all three mountains from the OHSU tram view patio.

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Mt St Helens on the left; the top of Mt Adams just right of center on the horizon. Tillikum Bridge over the Willamette River on the right.

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Tillikum Bridge on the left; Mt Hood on the horizon – looking east from the OHSU tram patio.

Charmouth Fossils and the Lyme Regis Cobb, with another glimpse of Jane Austen/ May 1, 2018 (18-34)

Tuesday, May 1st. We left Chawton and the bad weather behind and drove to the Dorset coast in search of fossils, views, and another peek at Jane Austen.

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Canola fields through the car window

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Canola field

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The sea comes into view

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and sheep! with lambs!

Ammonites, Charmouth Beach

Charmouth Beach is flanked by eroded cliffs that shed fossils. The Coast Heritage Center at Charmouth had excellent displays about the geology and the fossils to be found in the cliffs.

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I always appreciate a good location map.

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Geologic overview

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Large ammonite

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We didn’t see any of these, but we didn’t stay very long.

We had timed our visit to coincide with low tide. We walked both the east and west beaches.

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Walking down to the west beach; Lyme Regis in the distance.

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Beach huts

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Shale cliffs along the west beach

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Lots of beach glass in the sand

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Walking back toward the River Char.

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One of Her Majesty’s swans near the bridge over the river.

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Dan walking along the east beach

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Dan with his camera

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Low tide

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The cliffs above the fossil beach.

With a tip from a local collector, I learned to spot the cylinders of belemnites, and spirals of pyritized ammonites.

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A bit of pyritize ammonite in the sand – about a half inch long.

I kept just a few tiny bits for my collection, and otherwise enjoyed a beautiful beach day.

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Bits of beach glass and rock – the little snail shell is about half an inch long.

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Bits of belemnites and ammonites, plus a small polished ammonite I bought at the shop near the beach.

Lyme Regis

In nearby Lyme Regis, we checked into a B&B on the hill above town, then walked down the path to the seafront. There was a great view over the coastline – where we had been in Charmouth, and where we wanted to go on the Cobb.

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Lyme Regis

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Lyme Regis Harbor and Cobb

The Cobb is the local name for the curved manmade breakwater around the harbor.

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The walk along the Cobb has been immortalized by Jane Austen in her novel Persuasion.  Teenager Louisa Musgrave flirted with Captain Wentworth by having him jump her down from the steps on the Cobb – could have been these steps,

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The first set of Cobb steps – not too scary….

these steps,

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The second set of Cobb steps

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A little more precarious…

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Looking down from the top

or these steps.

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The third set of Cobb steps

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The pavement at the bottom was equally hard when she jumped too soon, landed on her head, and was taken up lifeless. She recovered slowly with the help of a different sea captain, learned to appreciate poetry and curb her impulsiveness, and left Captain Wentworth free to marry our heroine Anne by the end of the story. Jane Austen lived here in Lyme Regis for a time, and must have walked along the Cobb, maybe even seen a boisterous teen be jumped down the steps.

We walked along the Cobb, on the lower, wind shielded side, to the end. I went up the steps to see the view, but the wind and sea spray made staying on the high path feel unsafe.

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Looking west from the top of the Cobb

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Upper Cobb views

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From the far end of the lower Cobb we looked back across the harbor to the town and to Charmouth beach where we had been earlier today.

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The far end of the Cobb path

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Looking back to Lyme Regis

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Looking across to Charmouth

After retracing our steps, we walked around the shops and gardens near the Cobb, including the rather run down Jane Austen tribute garden.

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An interesting old door

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Slate tiles

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Persuasion gift shop

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Later, we went to the lovely Harbour Inn for a delicious early birthday dinner for Dan. I had the gurnard, a local fish, and he had the vegetarian special.

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As we walked back up the hill after dinner, we took in the views again, punctuated by silhouettes of the charming ammonite light posts.

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The Cobb

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In the morning we set off for Fowey on the southern coast of Cornwall, where we had reserved a cottage for a four day stay.

Some quilting! and Chinidere Mtn hike (18-26)

Quilting!

I started the Pinwheel Baby Quilt I am making for an expected family member.

Chinidere Mountain    6/22/2018     (Hike#38)

This trail starts at Wahtum Lake, on the upper end of the Eagle Creek fire zone. The area has been off limits since last September, but this particular trail recently reopened to public use. Connecting trails down Eagle Creek are still closed.

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6 miles/1200 feet

The trail immediately descends down 250 steps to Wahtum Lake.

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From the shore we can just see the rocky promontory that we are hiking to – Chinidere Mountain.

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(Photo taken on the return trip after the fog had lifted)

We continued on the Pacific Crest Trail around the east side of the lake, through an area with several hanging gardens and lots of flowers.  The Chinidere cutoff at about 2.5 miles switchbacks up the side of this rocky promontory that stands above the forest. When we arrived, the top was still covered in fog and a cold wind swept the spine of the mountain.

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Approaching the top

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Cliff penstemon

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Summit

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Flowers, fog, wind

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Mt Hood beyond the clouds

Just 10 feet away we could sit comfortably in the windless sunshine and enjoy our lunch, hoping for the clouds on Mt Hood to lift.

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Wahtum Lake from the summit

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Wahtum Lake after the clouds lifted

Below us to the north, we could see the mosaic burn of the upper part of the Eagle Creek fire.

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Brown areas burned by the Eagle Creek Fire

As we headed down the trail we walked out onto the ridge viewpoints to admire the wildflowers growing in the sunny rocky meadows and watched the clouds blow across Mt Hood.

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Lots of wildflowers today – lovely.

 

By the time we drove down the road the mountain was free and clear!

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Lookback:

On a clear day we could see all the volcanoes, north and south, from the top of Chinidere Mt.

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June 2016 – Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson

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June 2015 – Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams

 

 

Jane Austen Day! Part 2, Winchester (18-25)

Winchester Cathedral,       April 30, 2018

We drove the 20 miles from Chawton to Winchester to see the cathedral. After finding parking in the narrow winding streets of the cathedral town, we walked a few blocks toward the cathedral.

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Walking toward Winchester Cathedral entrance

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Interesting wall in the courtyard

The enormous size and architectural details on the outside of the cathedral are amazing:

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North side of Winchester Cathedral

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Closer view

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Passage under the flying buttresses

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Main entrance, Winchester Cathedral

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Exterior stonework

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Gargoyles

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Entry detail

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Entry detail

Once inside, we continued to marvel at scale and detail beyond comprehension: the high ceiling, the carved stone and wood, the arching windows.

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The main aisle

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Detail of upper windows

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A side aisle

As a quilter, I was especially drawn to the patterns in the medieval floor tiles.

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The Jane Austen exhibit had placards describing her life and the monuments that have been installed in her honor near her grave.

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Jane Austen window and monuments in Winchester Cathedral

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Jane Austen’s grave

 

Building stone:

Walking back toward our parking space, I particularly noted the texture and stone in the walls along the street –

which brought to mind the chalk and flint cliffs we had seen at Seven Sisters:

Chawton

Back in Chawton, we stopped for dinner at the local pub, The Greyfriar,

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then spent another night at the Garden House B&B, formerly a gardener’s cottage on the Chawton House estate, though thoroughly modernized since that time. The setting up on the hill was lovely, the gardens were flowering.

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Garden House B&B

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Sheep!

We just happened to be here during a storm so didn’t get to explore much of the outdoor beauty, but all in all it was a satisfying day! Tuesday we were off to our next stop – Lyme Regis, to see fossils and the steps on the Cobb where Louisa Musgrave fell.

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