Weldon Wagon Road, WA

5/10/2019

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

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Lupine along the trail in the lower woodlands.

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First view of the open flowered slope.

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Our trail ahead across the balsamroot slope,

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and a view of Mt Hood across the valley.

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Friends ahead.

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Balsamroot

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Looking straight up at the steep slope above.

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Turnaround point

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And back the way we came,

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Back into the shade on a hot day.

New or notable flowers:

Neighborhood and Garden

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Birthday bouquet

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Our rhododendron in bloom,

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And our native irises.

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Giant camas in a neighborhood garden.

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Local fairy garden.

Knitting

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

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Yarn for travel knitting!

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

Balsamroot, Bitterroot, and a Birthday

May 2, 2019 Dalles Mountain Ranch, WA

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

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

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Down the balsmroot and lupine filled slopes.

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

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to the Columbia Hills.

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The Columbia River comes into view,

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and so many flowers!

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Under oak trees,

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Down hill, closer to the river.

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Stream crossing,

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Puffy mounds of phlox,

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A patch of death camas

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Another stream crossing,

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Back up the last slope to the trail head.

A few less common flowers seen today:

Later, the same day – camas lilies and bitterroot!

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

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

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

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A few white camas in with the blue camas lilies.

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

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

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

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

Even later, birthday cake and new socks

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

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

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

Meanwhile in the garden….

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

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Only one of twelve camas bulbs bloomed.

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Chinese fringe flower and phlox still going strong

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Iris

Eastern Columbia River Gorge Wildflowers, April 25, 2019

1) Memaloose Hills

A favorite wildflower hike, we found a perfect day – not windy, balsam root fully blooming, lupine and paintbrush just beginning to open. Splendid!

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Balsam root, lupine, paintbrush and yellow parsley near the trailhead.

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Oak woodlands

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Lower meadow with buttercups and balsam root.

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Emerging from the woods to the yellow slope of Chatfield Hill.

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Mt Hood to the southwest.

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More flowery slopes to the east.

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Mt Adams to the north near the top of the hill.

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So many flowers!

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Mt Adams, the river, the northern Memaloose Hill with fewer flowers.

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Columbia River to the west.

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Mt Hood and Mt Adams bookend this panoramic view from the top.

 

 

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Back to the lower meadow, Tom McCall Point in the distance.

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Last peek at Mt Adams.

Many other flowers among the showy balsam root!

2) Lower Tom McCall trail at Rowena Crest

We just had time to walk the lower mile through one of my favorite trail sections, desert parsley alley. The upper Tom McCall trail will be in full bloom soon.

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View of Tom McCall Point from the trailhead.

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Plenty of balsam root blooming here!

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Lower Parsley Alley

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Columbia desert parsley

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Looking back at Rowena Crest viewpoint, Mt Adams on the horizon.

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Columbia River and Lyle, WA

From our high point, just past the first switchback, we could see the bright yellow backside of the Memaloose Hills where we had hiked earlier today.

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We walked back through Upper Parsley Alley, where the fern leaf parsley waves it’s regal flower heads.

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Map of our two hikes:

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Hike #20 for 2019. 4.7 miles and 600 feet for the day.

Knitting

I finished attaching the uppers to the soles on the Frost Slippers. Next to pick up the cuffs and knit upward….

Garden

New blooms in the garden this week:

Crater Lake Snowshoe, Rogue River Waterfalls, Table Rock Wildflowers, and Knitting

 

Crater Lake – April 19, 2019

My husband has been eager to see Crater Lake with winter snow, so we waited for a promising weather weekend, and our friends found a cozy cabin in Prospect, Oregon. Friday morning we drove to the rim of Crater Lake where a small parking area provides access to the rim road, which is otherwise covered in several feet of snow. The views were stunning – the sky, the lake, the snow each so pure of color! We snowshoed about 2.5 miles clockwise along the road, nearly to the base of The Watchman.

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First view of Crater Lake from Rim Village

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Panorama shot

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We were heading toward The Watchman for our destination.

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Stopping for views along the way.

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Mt Shasta to the south, in California

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Mt McLoughlin

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Panorama view at our lunch stop

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Perfect view of Wizard Island

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Closer view of the crater on Wizard Island,

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the trees,

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and the curvy shoreline of the lake.

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Looking back at The Watchman and Hilman Peak before we return.

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Mt  Scott and Garfield Peak ahead as we snowshoe back to Rim Village.

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Rim Village buildings under snow.

(Hike#17/ 5.6 miles/ 600 feet)

Rogue River/Mill Creek Waterfalls – April 20, 2019

Saturday morning was rainy, but mostly dry by the afternoon. There are several waterfalls along the Rogue River near Prospect, Oregon. We followed a beautiful wooded trail along Mill Creek to Pearsony Falls, and then farther, to a view of The Avenue of Boulders, and then followed the canyon rim to the lip of Mill Creek Falls for a lunch stop.

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Pearsony Falls

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Avenue of the Boulders

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Avenue of the Boulders highway bridge

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Lip of Mill Creek Falls

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Lip of Mill Creek Falls, lunch stop

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Mill Creek Falls and Rogue River

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Madrone trees along the trail

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We also admired the views from the Highway bridge over The Avenue of the Boulders.

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Looking down the Avenue of the Boulders from the bridge.

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Perspective exercise

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After lunch we went to the Mill Creek Falls Trailhead and followed the path to the viewpoint of Mill Creek and Barr Falls.

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Mill Creek Falls

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Closer view of Mill Creek Falls

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Mill Creek Falls lunch stop was just to the left of the lip.

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Barr Creek Falls

We saw many forest wildflowers, lungwort lichen, and moss:DSC03061

Calypso Orchid

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Trillium

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Snow queen

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Pioneer violet

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Oregon grape

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Manzanita

 

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Lungwort lichen

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Lungwort lichen

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Mosses

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We then drove to the Natural Bridge area of the Rogue River near Union Creek. We had to walk in from the highway, as the access road is not yet open. Here the river is supposed to disappear from surface view into a lava tube, but there is so much spring runoff just now that the water is overflowing the top of the lava tube, and the natural bridge is not obvious.

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Upstream view of the Rogue River

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Downstream view of the Rogue River

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Rogue River flowing over the top of the lava tube

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Rogue River flowing over the top of the lava tube as well as through it.

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The bridge to the Natural Bridge

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Group shadow portrait

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Lizard

(Hike #18/ 5.4 miles/ 500 feet – for the day)

Lower Table Rock – 4/21/2019

Sunday, we drove back toward Medford to Lower Table Rock, renowned for spring wildflowers. We saw at least thirty one different varieties that I could name. The wide, well maintained trail up the mesa passes through oak woodland that is completely permeated, entwined, carpeted and otherwise overgrown with shiny oily red and green poison oak.

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Lower Table Rock – our destination

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Swales of rosy plectritis and buttercup meadows

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Oak tree

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Buttercup meadows under the oak trees at the base of the mesa.

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Another view of the Lower Table Rock about halfway up the trail, with fiddle neck and buckbrush in the foreground

Wildflowers in the lower meadows and along the trail to the top:

I was excited to see two new-to-me dramatic flowers:

Tolmie’s Mariposa Lily, also called cat ears –

Scarlet fritillary or red bells were right near the top of the trail, and were the only two stems of these I saw. I literally gasped when I looked over and saw them, they were so beautiful. And I could not get any closer due to the proximity of poison oak!

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Beyond the red bells, we emerged onto the top of the mesa, which was nearly flat with a long trail, formerly a runway landing strip, across the top to viewpoints of the surrounding landscape. The flowering meadows on top were Sound of Music scenic, and lovely to walk through.

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There was a different suite of flowers on the top of the mesa.

We had our lunch at the south edge of the mesa with views toward Medford, the Rogue River valley, and back east toward Crater Lake and Mt McLoughlin.

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Crags at our lunch stop.

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East view toward Upper Table Rock, also covered with yellow flowers, and the shoulders of Mt Mazama (Crater Lake)

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Rogue River valley

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Rogue River below

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The top of Mt McLoughlin emerging from the clouds

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Location map

(Hike#19/ 5.1 miles/ 750 feet)

Weekend parting shots:

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The Cabin

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Nearby farm with grazing elk and Mt McLoughlin at sunset

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Elk

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Mt McLoughlin

The Knitting

I finished the Vintage Prim Hat, pattern by Andrea Mowry! Brioche can be tricky, and I fixed a lot of mistakes – both tinking and frogging.

San Francisco Interlude

April 11-14, 2019

We flew from rainy Portland to sunny San Francisco, with no views until we emerged from the clouds just in time to see the cliffs of Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge, and all of San Francisco beneath us.

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Marin Headlands

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Golden Gate Bridge!

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The City

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Financial District and Bay Bridge

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The wide view as we circle to the south

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South Bay wetlands

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Foster City

We lived, studied and worked in San Francisco and surrounds from the mid-70’s to mid-80’s, but I have not been back for more than ten years. We were there for a 35th Reunion for my husband. Activities were set in the Embarcadero/Financial District, so we spent most of our time there. We walked a lot (16 miles!), talked a lot, and had some delicious food. A very pleasant, if exhausting weekend.

We rode BART from the airport, mostly underground, but above ground long enough to see the ‘Little Boxes’ near Daly City.

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My first view of downtown, emerging into sunshine from the underground Embarcadero BART Station onto Market Street, was of the Ferry Building, while a street busker was singing Hallelujah.

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That evening we took the Muni Metro to The Castro to meet a friend for dinner at Tara Indian.

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Queen Anne Houses along Market Street

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Intersection of Market and Castro

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One of the old-style street cars

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Looking down Castro Street

Friday we walked to the Ferry Building,

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The Ferry Building

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along the Embarcadero,

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Treasure Island, Bay Bridge, arriving ferry

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Coit Tower to the north

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The new Salesforce Tower on the skyline

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Cherry Blossoms across the way.

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Pier 7

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Crossing lattice

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Transamerica Pyramid beyond the bookstore

then up Broadway to City Lights Books,

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then back to the Ferry Building.

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Walton Square

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101 California Building

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Cherry blossoms

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Ferry Building, with moon and palm trees!

After dinner at Osha Thai on the Embarcadero, we walked down to see the lights on the Bay Bridge.

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Bay Bridge, daytime

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Bay Bridge, night

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Ferry Building, night

Saturday we visited the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building, then walked up to Chinatown.

In the evening we attended the main reunion event in the Hyatt Regency. The Atrium is an amazing indoor space that brought to mind the Ministry of Magic. Lighted elevator capsules slide up and down, sharply angled walls are juxtaposed with an organic sculpture in the foreground.

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elevators

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reflected patterns

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carpet

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seating areas

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tile pattern used throughout the Embarcadero District

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shadows, light, curves, angles

Sunday, we attended a brunch in a friend’s home near the Presidio before heading to the airport. One last look at Mt Diablo and the North Bay, then we were above clouds until the Columbia River and Portland.

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Mt Diablo

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North Bay – Carquinez and Benecia Bridges

 

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Columbia River

I have many fond memories of places that did not fit our schedule on this brief trip, especially Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, the beach areas. I am from California, and of California. Being in California feels like going home though it has not been my home for a very long time. I hope to visit again soon!

Knitting

I managed to turn the heel on the second sock while flying home.

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Garden

And our crab apple tree is finally in bloom!

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Columbia Hills, WA, Tryon Creek, OR, and some Brioche Knitting

Crawford Oaks 4/4/2019

We had to drive 75 miles east to the Columbia Hills to find a dry hike this weekend. We started up the road to Eight Mile Falls, then continued on the Vista Loop. It was a bit late for grass widows and yellow bells, and a bit early for full balsamroot display, so we had a bit of each, on a windless day. A lovely hike, and pretty easy, compared to when we hiked here about a year ago and I was less than two months post surgery. Next spring, we will attempt this hike a few weeks later to get the full balsamroot experience.

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Bird welcoming us to the trail.

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The graphic showing the depth of the Missoula Floods here always impresses me.

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Eight Mile Falls

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Looking back west toward the river and Horsethief Butte.

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One of the scattered early blooming balsamroots.

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View to the west, toward The Dalles

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View to the east toward Biggs

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Looking north to the Columbia Hills

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One swale of shooting stars – first of the season

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A blue jay near the trailhead

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Last look at Horsethief Butte

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Hike #15, 5 miles/1000 feet

The wildflower suite:

Sunday dash around Tryon Creek to see the Trillium

4/7/2019   A rainy weekend in Portland, a weather window, so we went:

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Trillium in swathes in the woodlands, and individually along the trail.

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After a weekend of rain, some flowers were becoming transparent

Other flowers included skunk cabbage in the bogs near the creek.

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Lots of water dripping, but we mostly avoided actual rain.

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cedar

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violets

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Oregon grape

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(Hike#16, 2.2 miles, 200 feet)

Knitting

Progress on the Vintage Prim hat, with brioche:

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I will just say that there has been frogging, and use of lifelines. I have even learned to fix one or two stitches, but a big fix is still beyond me with this technique. I do love how it looks!

Spring Break 2019 – Knitting and Cherry Blossoms

Knitting – Frost Slippers

I crocheted the steeks,

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and cut,

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and cut again.

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I have basted the edges, and blocked.

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Frost Slippers – uppers and soles, blocked.

Next I will sew soles to uppers, then add cuffs. There is a lot of finishing work in these slippers, but so far I am intrigued enough by the process to keep going!

Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA    3/29/2019

A beautiful day to hike up the cliffs above the Columbia River with friends, and try the new trail switchbacks. There are a few old cherry trees along the uppermost cliff loop that were not in bloom today, but we saw many wildflowers, including some balsamroot. (Hike #14, 5.6 miles, 1500 feet)

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We are headed to the top of the cliffs…

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The second bench

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River cruise below…

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One of the vernal ponds along the upper trail

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View to the east from the Cherry Orchard

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And to the west

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One of the new switchback legs – nowhere  near as steep or cliffy as the former trail.

Plenty of new flowers along the way:

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Yellow parsley and gold stars

Neighborhood flowers…

Lots in bloom these days,

including poetry:

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Portland Cherry Blossoms –  Sunday, March 31

The waterfront on a sunny day with cherry trees in bloom. Today is a day for embracing the crowds.

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We decided to walk up onto the Steel Bridge to look down on the waterfront.

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Views from the Bridge:

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I love the railing shadows.

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Wandering around amongst the trees and crowds:

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A maple tree budding out, with bugs!

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White Stag and Old Town Water Tower behind the trees.

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View of the eastside of the Willamette River.

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And a little Portland weirdness, because it is always here.

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Group-peddled brew cycle.

Spring Flowers, Coyote Wall and Portland

Coyote Wall, WA,  Thursday, March 21, 2019

Up the Little Maui trail, more up on the Old Ranch Road and Coyote Wall trails, then, down the Little Moab trail, with the early flower suite just opening…(Hike #13, 4 miles, 1100 feet)

Hiking up the waterfalls of the Little Maui trail:

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Gold stars and Salt and Pepper (biscuit root) sprinkled across the landscape.

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Long banked switchbacks to aid the cyclists

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Lunch stop

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Columbia Desert Parsley guiding the way

Looking up to our cliff-edge destination along Coyote Wall from Old Ranch Road:

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Views from the cliff:

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First look.

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We go a little higher

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Looking back toward Oregon; Mt Hood a faint wisp on the horizon.

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Our highest viewpoint for the day.

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Starting down – looking east toward the Columbia Hills and Tom McCall Point.

The flowers:

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Grass widows

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Gold and Prairie stars, Spring whitlow-grass

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Spring whitlow-grass, my pinky for scale

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Swales of gold stars and whitlow-grass

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Yellow pungent desert parsley

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Columbia desert parsley

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Salt and pepper, and grass widows all the way down the slope.

Knitting

Learning the increases and decreases that make brioche knitting look so magical…with a lifeline!

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Vintage Prim Hat, pattern by Andrea Mowry.

Garden – the first tulip! and Star Magnolias!

Better late….flowers are opening in the neighborhood:

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Our first tulip

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star magnolias

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I don’t remember the name of these.

Late Early Flowers at Catherine Creek, WA, with Robins

March 14, 2019    Bitterroot Trail to Rowland Wall

We hiked a Catherine Creek loop, up past the vernal ponds along the Bitterroot Trail, then down Rowland Wall. (Hike#12, 3 miles, 1000 feet)

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Fairy ponds

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View to the east from the Bitterroot Trail

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The Arch

We saw the first wildflowers just beginning to bloom.

On the upper grassy slopes we noticed robins hopping in the grass all around us.

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There are probably a dozen robins bobbing and hopping in this view, though they are hard to photograph as they don’t stay still for long.

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Here is one…

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And another one in the snow.

The snow level was about 1000 feet, and we could see extensive snow covered landscape in every direction, though it is melting out.

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Still looks very snowy out in the high desert

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The orchards of Mosier, and Mt Hood

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Rowland Wall, Rowland Lake, Mt Hood beyond the Columbia River

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Mere

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Returning via the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks. Burnt trees on the Oregon Gorge skyline.

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Knitting

I finished the soles for the Frost Slippers, but haven’t yet crocheted the steeks.

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I have started the brioche patterning on a Vintage Prim hat.

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Garden and Neighborhood

The hyacinths finally bloomed out front,

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and there was our annual neighborhood St Patrick’s Day parade down the street.

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Daffodils and Knitting

March 12, 2019

The wildflowers I like to hike to are still under a foot of snow out in the Columbia River Gorge, but the garden is finally starting to bloom. Daffodils in my front yard are opening and not freezing.

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Knitting Slippers

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I found a free pattern from Knit Picks for Frost Slippers. I already have the same wool yarn,  leftover from my son’s Dr Who Scarf, which I knit for him in 2011. The yarn, Wool of the Andes, is a bit toothsome, but perfect for stranded color work, and I got the itch to make these slippers. The trick of the project is that the uppers and soles are knit two at a time, magic loop method, then steeked and sewn together. So the knitting looks like a crazy balaclava, but is very fun to do. I have finished the uppers, and am making good progress on the soles. We’ll see how much I do or don’t like the steeking and sewing, but I am enjoying the interesting construction so far.

And just for fun, I’m adding a photo of the Dr Who scarf – 120″ long!

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