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.


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


Ponderosa bark


Trail up to the lower viewpoint.


Chatfield Hill – our upper destination


Dan heading up Chatfield Hill in the dormant winter.


Same view in springtime….


View to the east and lower viewpoint.


View to the west from the top


Northern view toward Mt Adams


Mt Adams


Mt Hood


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


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.


Under the freeway bridge


Looking toward the dam


A dusting of snow in the hills


Mt Hood in the distance


Zooming in – Mt Hood and The Dalles.


Bald eagles should be here


Fishing platforms


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!


Lyle Cherry Orchard


Lyle, Washington


Catherine Creek


Rowland Wall


The slope above Coyote Wall


Coyote Wall


Coyote Wall


Snow dusting the black-fringed cliffs above Cascade Locks


Corbett Point


Closer view of Vista House


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.


Mary Poppins Star


Ivy Cardigan


Wash cloth


Lovely quiet Christmas with family and friends.


Our tree.


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


Viburnum in my garden



Trapper Creek Wilderness, WA (18-46)

October 20, 2018 – Observation Peak and Sister Rocks

We hiked up and down this roller coaster trail, through autumn light and sun, to viewpoints of the surrounding Cascade mountain peaks rising above a bluish haze.

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 8.29.52 PM

7 miles, 1575 feet (#58)

Driving to the trailhead on Dry Creek Road we passed through a tunnel of yellow trees.


View through the front windshield…

Bunchberry and huckleberry along the trail provided some color.


At the top of the first ridge, the views from the rocky outcrop are to Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.



Mt Rainier

We then took the side trail to Sister Rocks, with a great view of Mt St Helens and Mt Hood. Lunch stop.



Dan atop Sister Rock; Soda Peaks on the left.


My shadow and Mt St Helens


Closer view


Mt Hood

The intermediate high point on the Sister Rocks spur provides an excellent view of Mt Adams.



Mt Adams


Returning to the main trail, we headed down hill, then back up to the views from Observation Peak of four tall volcanoes rising above the forested landscape.

Version 2

Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams from Observation Peak.


Mt St Helens and the Mt Margaret backcountry


Mt Rainier


Mt Adams


Mt Hood

As we departed Observation Peak I spotted what may be the last blooming aster of the year.


Mirror Lake

The lake is at the base of Vista Point in Rooster Rock State Park. As we drive through the Columbia River Gorge on I-84 we sometimes see swans here in winter. This morning, no swans, but the fog was lifting poetically, so we stopped to look at the light.



Another dishcloth finished, and I frogged and am reknitting the front of the Ivy Lace Cardigan.




Re-entry/Tom McCall Point (18-17)

After two and a half weeks in London, Cornwall, Devon, and a visit to Jane Austen’s  house and quilt in Chawton, we are back home in Portland, Oregon. I barely had time to jot notes of our adventures, let alone write  blog posts. Historical sites, museums, hiking, and travel days; navigating narrow hedgerows via Lady Google. Wildflowers were in bloom, and the weather mostly cooperated when it really mattered. I am writing this at 4 am because I am still adjusting to the 8 hour time shift. I plan to add blog posts about our adventures as I go through my photos.

Tom McCall Point, OR     5/13/2018       Hike #30 

Meanwhile, we took advantage of our jet lag by going on a hike at sunrise on our first day back. Tom McCall Point is a favorite seasonal wildflower hike in the eastern gorge (3.6 miles/1100 feet).

The early morning low light gave a luminous glow to the landscape.


Tom McCall Point – our goal


Looking back toward the Rowena Plateau trailhead and the Columbia River


Deer in the meadow below


The views opened up as we climbed higher.



Mt Hood


Early spring flowers were mostly past, but the balsam root at the top was splendid, along with lupine, penstemon, and bicolored cluster lilies.

There were only a few other people hiking that early.


Dan approaching the summit, Mt Hood beyond


Mt Adams

We had the summit to ourselves for twenty minutes before heading down.


We also took a short hike at the nearby Memaloose Overlook – I had read that bitterroot (Lewisia) can sometimes be seen blooming on the rocky cliffs nearby. We didn’t find any, but did spot some pink Clarkia blooms for the first time this season, so it seemed a worthwhile side trip.


Clarkia near Memaloose Overlook


I knit a couple of inches on my Cornwall socks while on the plane. It turns out I chose a color that reflects well the fields and seas of Cornwall.



And while we were gone, the spring turned to summer. The yard is a bit overgrown, and new flowers are blooming.

Marquam Hill, Portland, OR (18-2)

1/10/18     A different kind of Adventure of the Week:      Marqham Hill

Begins with a pre-dawn drive up Sam Jackson Road, four flights of stairs in the parking garage, into the entrance hall where I get my wristband; down to the preop suite where I wipe myself with antiseptic wipes and change into a snap on gown, booties and shower cap. That’s when it all gets real. Someone comes to start the IV;  I sign all the forms that admit knowledge of possible bad outcomes including death, and then they whisk me away into the OR ante room. I start shaking uncontrollably as they transfer me to the operating table, but they give me oxygen and then the mask, say “Count down five breaths”.  I only remember three.

Someone is tugging at a mask on my face. There are bright lights in my eyes. They are holding me in place, putting oxygen tubes in my nose, needles in my arms. I am coming awake and it is over and they say I am doing fine.

Then there are a number of hours I am in and out of awake. Dan is there holding my hand. Emily is sitting next to me giving me droplets of water and encouraging me to eat one saltine cracker that takes 2 1/2 hours. There is a light above that is too bright and one doctor says the hospital is full and I may have to stay in this space all night. It is very noisy and bright and I feel discouraged. Eventually they do find a room for me and wheel me in most carefully. Now here I have been for three days with the kindest of nurses caring for me, doctors coming and going in teams all hours of the night, needles poking, measuring ins and outs. Brian and Sean keep me company and take me on walks around the halls and I appreciate their presence. Dan is ever-present and stays the first night. Emily stays the next two nights and I slowly shed tubes and wires and medications until I feel almost ready to go home.

By day three I am feeling very accomplished to make several laps around the 10th floor neurosurgery ward, and a walk to the view plaza above the Portland Tram, resting and looking at all three snow covered peaks on the skyline on a beautiful blue sky day.


Mt Hood and lower waterfront from Portland Tram plaza


Mt St Helens and Mt Adams


Mt St Helens and a peek at Mt Rainier over its left shoulder (photos by Dan)

Friends and family have texted emailed visited called, sent flowers balloons meals good wishes. Now I just look forward to slowly getting better and less dizzy as I adjust to the new me. No more excess human growth hormone seeping from an adenoma on my pituitary. No more hidden acromegaly.

After 4 days on the hill we drive home, me shielding my eyes from the too bright sun and the overwhelming motion around me. I walk as if balancing a marble on my brittle bubble of a head, each day my equilibrium slowly increasing. In a few weeks I hope to be able to move better, drive, smell, hike…continue the adventures.

Meanwhile, the knitting:

I’ve added a few rows to the Girl From the Grocery Store Shawl, though I may rename it Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward.




25. Early Fall in the Gifford Pinchot

September 30, 2017    Rainy weekend predicted; possible dry window Saturday to the east of Portland;  Indian Heaven still closed from the Crater Fire; windy along the Columbia River. We decided to try some short hikes in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest between Mt Adams and Indian Heaven, near Trout Lake, WA.


Our first drive through the Columbia River Gorge since the fire: Good photos are posted in official feeds elsewhere.  I was pleased to see how much is not burned. That said, it was sobering to see the extent of the burn: blackened trees on the skyline, blackened forest floors down to the highway in some places, blackened trunks on still green trees.  I felt great appreciation for the fire fighting, for the massive cleanup that has already occurred, and for the challenge ahead. We will be back someday but not soon.


Through the passenger window of a moving car:  Blackened trees on the skyline; slash piles below.

We got a glimpse of Mt Adams and an intense, wide rainbow just as we entered Trout Lake.


Steamboat Mountain  (#48)

This short hike (1.5 miles, 400′) is touted by Scott Cook in his Curious Gorge book to have some of the best views of the Cascades and a relatively easy trail. The weather was not in our favor, though.  When we parked at the trailhead/quarry, we could just see the top of Steamboat Mountain from the base.


As we hiked up the well graded trail through red huckleberry the clouds closed in.


From the rocky top, I could just make out our Suburu parked at the base, but no mountains, no views.


Looking down at our Suburu (center of photo) from the top


We ate our lunch, hiked down.  We were reminded that we are now in hunting season, as people were firing guns just on the other side of the quarry.

Langfield  Falls

Driving back south toward Trout Lake, we visited Langfield Falls, just east of Tire Junction.  There is a short trail down to the waterfall viewpoint, and another user trail along the creek above the falls. A spatter of rain, a lovely waterfall.


Natural Bridge

Back to Trout Lake, then west about 5 miles, is the Natural Bridge area- a collapsed lava tube with bridges in places of incomplete collapse.  A friend from the Portland Hikers Facebook group had tipped us off to brilliant fall color here, and we found this to be true – even if we were early for the full show.  The inner collapsed tube is overgrown with vine maples that blazed in gradation through the spectrum from bright green, to yellow green, yellow, yellow orange, orange, red orange and red: the analogous colors from half the color wheel on view.  We wandered around for a while, and Dan set up his tripod as we waited for sunbreaks to illuminate the scene.


One of the Natural Bridges



Dan with tripod

18. Late Summer on Mt Adams, Stagman Ridge Trail

Stagman Ridge, Mt. Adams, Washington      8/20/2017     (#42)


Looking for a hike that avoided wildfire smoke and eclipse traffic, we headed to the west side of Mt. Adams, north of Trout Lake, WA.  This was our first time hiking this trail. We like to hike in Bird Creek Meadows this time of year, but that area is closed due to the massive Cougar Creek Fire of 2015. The area around Stagman Ridge was also recently burned, by the Cascade Creek Fire of 2012. The trail traverses through burned forest, with occasional forays into unburned terrain. The silver lining is mountain views through the ghost trees.


In many burned places the underlayer is green, topped by a pink swath of fireweed. Pearly everlasting and golden rod are abundant at lower elevations.

Higher up, the last of the asters, lupine and licorice root were hanging on in shady areas.

The open meadow at about mile 3 was green but past bloom – most likely thanks to the intense two week heat wave of early August.  I would like to return when this meadow is in full bloom – with the open view of Mt Adams to the east – it is a lovely spot.



Glacier close up

We continued on past the meadow to the Graveyard trail junction, then crossed the small creek and headed west toward Lookingglass Lake. Riparian flowers lined the creek crossings.

We decided the crossing of Cascade Creek looked difficult so we turned back after a rest at the water with great views of the mountain.


On the way down, we noticed the distance views of Mt St Helens, Mt Hood and west toward Indian Heaven.



Mt St Helens



Mt Hood


There were plenty of huckleberries for the picking.  Berries, flower seedheads and tints of red foliage in the huckleberry and vine maple foreshadow the coming of fall.

A few other items of interest along the way:


lichen and roots


ghost tree


My first time seeing pine drops

Our hike was approximately 9 miles with 1500 feet elevation gain, and the flower count was 34, with 5 berries.

Mementos from my Peruvian travelers:




two more tortillas for the collection

And of course, the Eclipse, which I watched at 99% in my front yard: