Knitting finish! and another Forest Park hike –

May 22, 2020

For the third week in a row we went to Forest Park on Portland’s west side to hike. We chose the segment of the Wildwood Trail from Germantown Road to Springvale Road, looping back to where we started via Leif Erickson Drive and the Cannon Trail (5.6 miles, 500 feet, hike #41 for 2020.) There was a 20% chance of rain for the day – I think we got all of it during our hike. The last time I hiked in this much rain I was in a rainforest in New Zealand! 


We began our hike in the rain.


A cedar dripping with rain and moss.


There were some sun breaks.


Returning down the wide, social distance friendly, Leif Erickson Drive.


Robins were hopping along the trail.



Honeysuckle blooming along the Cannon Trail.


Thoughts of New Zealand!

Knitting Finish!

The Which Came First? shawl by designer Cheri Clark used three full skeins (1260 yards) of Malabrigo Mechita in the Piedras color way! I will be mailing this to my daughter, who chose the yarn when I saw her in January.



From bottom to top, eggs (eyelets), chicken feet, chicken wire.


Remains of the three skeins of yarn.

Garden and neighborhood:


Penstemon blooming in our front yard.

Two kinds of poppies in the neighborhood:


California poppies


Oriental poppies

More words of encouragement on a local Poetry Post:


Forest Park again…

May 15, 2020 – Wildwood Trail: Newberry Road/BPA Road Loop

We returned to the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park on the west side of Portland for another pandemic hike. It had been raining off and on all week, and the forest was a little drippy. Clouds blocked the view of mountains we saw from the BPA Road last week, but there were lots of new wildflowers this week. (Hike #40, 6.5 miles, 1250 feet)


Newberry Road trailhead


Fern-lined trail




Powerline cut – no mountains this week.

In other good news, nearby forests and state parks are gradually reopening, so we will soon have a wider geography available.



A finish!  Patons Kroy Celestial Purple traveling socks.

Neighborhood walks-






Porch parade


Porch pig


Tethered horse


More words of encouragement!

Addendum – Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, May 5, 2020

When Washington State reopened some public lands, we went to the driving loop at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. The wintering birds – swans, geese, and sandhill cranes – had flown on. Today we saw turtles, redwing blackbirds, egrets and herons. This was our first foray out of our neighborhood in two months, and it was great just to see some wide open spaces from the safe space of our car!


Egret in the distance.





Red wing blackbirds in the meadows.


Forest Park

Friday May 8, 2020 Wildwood Trail

We hiked out and back, from the Germantown Road trailhead to a little ways up the BPA Road. It was wonderful to be able to hike a good distance on an actual trail. The forest was beautiful, wildflowers were blooming, and we got an unexpected view of two mountains at our turnaround point.




Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens on view from the power line road


We decided to hike with masks and careful distance mode, in Forest Park, a huge city park in the hills west of Portland. We don’t often hike here because it is across town, and we usually drive a little farther to go to the Columbia River Gorge. It is one of the few trails close to us that is open, and friends reported that they felt safe on their hike there. The Wildwood Trail is 30 miles long. I hope to complete all the segments over time. Hike #39, 6.4 miles, 1060 feet.

Flowers in the neighborhood


native iris


red clover





One of the sleeves cooperated and the other did not. Maybe next week…

A sad week. We lost a family member to a long standing illness (not Covid). He lives far enough away, that given the pandemic circumstances, we can’t go and be with his family. The key people that need to be together are together, but it is difficult to participate from afar. I will be thinking of him when we go for our next forest walk, because he was a man of the forest.

Pandemic Week 8 – a strange family birthday.

Another week. I continue strategies of sheltering in place, and keeping my distance from too much news – there is too much cognitive dissonance of what is reported, what is predicted, what to expect. We are well trained scientists in this house, so our decisions are logical. But having never chosen to live in Antarctica, or on a submarine, or a space station, I miss living my life in the world among other people. I watch from my window. On my moderately quiet street with bike lanes and good sidewalks I see plenty of bikers and walkers, but the interaction is passive. On we go, though, knowing it may be like this for a while.

On a positive note, people in my neighborhood have been creating flower hearts for all the walkers:

Hike of the week: laps on the dirt path at Wilshire park-

April 28, 2020 – I continue my neighborhood walks, but the cement is hard on my feet. I walked extra laps on the bark chip paths at Wilshire Park to get in a longer distance “hike” that was easier on my feet. And there were a few wildflowers blooming in the native plant garden! Hike #38, 4.5 miles, 180 feet.


fringe cup



A double birthday cut in half-

My husband and son share a birthday, 39 years apart. We would normally celebrate together, but our son lives across town in a flat with four flatmates, and is not in our isolation pod. I baked the traditional family chocolate birthday cake and cut it in half. We delivered the half cake and gifts to his front porch, then had a brief conversation from the sidewalk.  My husband said it was his strangest birthday ever, and is grateful to have had a big party last year. Both had plenty of well wishes delivered by various electronic means.


Sad half birthday cakes, but they tasted good!

I am still knitting…

on the same projects (sock, sweater, shawl). I have made a fair amount of progress, and am clinging to my knit group google hangouts for connection. I might have a finish next week.

Peninsula Park Rose Garden


April 23, 2020 – Another urban hike-

We walked to the Peninsula Park Rose Garden through northeast Portland. Neighborhood gardens are bursting with flowers, but it was much too early for the rose garden.


It is pink snow season in Portland! (cherry blossoms)



These red and white camellias reminded me of the “Painting the roses red!” scene from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Our route took us through the Alberta Arts neighborhood where personal artistic expression is abundant!

We finally reached the Peninsula Park Rose Garden after walking about 4 miles. 


The rose garden was built in 1913.


The rose beds are sunken below street level.


Peonies near the entrance were the brightest color there today.


Brickwork paths.



The gazebo


The only blooming roses.



Looking west across the rose garden.

Image 4-23-20 at 10.43 PM (1)

Hike #37, 8.4 miles, 200 feet. We are hoping to find a dirt trail nearby to walk next week – the cement is very hard on my poor arthritic feet, as I am trying to keep my fitness levels up for the duration…



I finished the ‘eggs’ and the ‘chicken feet’ on the Which Came First shawl. On to the ‘chicken wire’!

PS. Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me – I published my first post in April of 2017!


Rocky Butte

Another week of Pandemic, another urban volcano hike, new spring blooms, a bit of crafting, and some good advice from George Washington.

April 16, 2020 – Hike of the Week

Rocky Butte is another Boring Volcanic Field volcano in Portland. We walked there from the Rose City Golf course, and had a great view of the High Cascades Peaks, with a coyote sighting along the way.

Image 4-22-20 at 10.09 AM

After walking flat city streets, we began the uphill climb on Rocky Butte Road.


A coyote, crossing the road ahead.


The coyote continued up into the forest.


Meanwhile, we walked up the road and through the tunnel.


The road, tunnel, and stone walls were built in the 1930’s as part of a WPA post-depression infrastructure project.


Eventually, we reached the park on the summit.


Views in all directions:


East to Mt Hood


North to Mt St Helens


Columbia River, Mt St Helens


Mt St Helens


Northwest, down the Columbia River


West to the Fremont Bridge, Portland


West to downtown Portland


Southeast to Mt Jefferson


Mt Jefferson


Mt Hood again

And a last look at Mt St Helens before heading down.


I always love a Peak Finder!


Hike#36, 6.5 miles, 420 feet.

New blooms in the neighborhood and garden this week:


I made forward and reverse progress on my Meris sweater. While playing yarn chicken, I made the sleeves too short. I have knit just about every part of this sweater three times, so now I will reknit the lower sleeves.  I sewed more masks, started sewing a new bathrobe to replace the one I left behind in Queenstown, and continued knitting Emily’s shawl, and the purple socks.


Meanwhile in Portland:


Physical distancing demonstrated by our founding father!

Mask sewing, knitting, neighborhood walks, and hiking a local volcano…

I’m not exactly sure – I think it is the second week of April…

We are lucky to be just sheltering in place, only venturing out for walks, weekly grocery replenishing, and the occasional medical appointment. So far we are healthy and doing our part by staying home.


I made masks for family and friends.

I am enjoying meeting my knitting group via the internet, and making progress on a shawl for my daughter.


Which Came First shawl, pattern by Cheri Clark, Malabrigo Mechita, Piedras colorway.

We are busy with home projects, both inside and out.


We made a nice dinner for the first night of passover, which we shared virtually with one of our sons.

I continue my usual neighborhood walks. We have had some amazingly beautiful spring days. Trees are blooming, leafing out, glowing in the sunshine!

Our crabapple tree has come into full bloom this week.


Earliest blooms



Looking out from the upstairs window


Queen Catherine has come out of retirement to show solidarity with the neighborhood!

We walked to a farther distant park in town to make up for not being able to take our usual hike of the week in wilder surroundings just now.

Mt Tabor Park, Portland, 4/9/2020

Mt Tabor is a relict 300,000 year old cinder cone, over 600 feet high, that is a popular park on the east side of Portland. It is about 3.5 miles from our house, so by the time we walked up and around the reservoirs and to the top of the hill we had covered over 8 miles for the day, with a little bit of hill climbing.

Image 4-9-20 at 9.41 PM

Our route was through residential neighborhoods.

Native wildflowers, which I am so missing from our hikes, are blooming in front yards.

When we reached Mt Tabor Park, we continued uphill, past the reservoirs and through the woods to the top. No cars are allowed on the roads, and trails are wide, so we were easily able to keep our distance from other people.

We found a bench to eat lunch with a westward view toward downtown Portland.


After lunch, we walked down past the amphitheater where the excavated hillside reveals the volcanic structure of Mt Tabor.


On our walk to and from Mt Tabor we saw encouraging signs of pandemic solidarity throughout the neighborhoods…

We saw a tribute to John Prine – sadly, one of the coronavirus victims this week.


More words of encouragement! One of my knit group members shared a photo of this plaque from the FDR Monument in Washington DC…a message of hope and guidance that applies to our times as well.


Walking in my neighborhood…

March 31, 2020

Walking in my neighborhood in the time of coronavirus

It has become a strange do-si-do as we pass each other…

At each corner, each intersection, I look ahead –
If the sidewalk is clear I keep walking.
If someone is coming my way, I cross to the other side of the street.


If we approach each other on the same sidewalk,
one of us will take the time to step aside or
step into the street
to maintain that magical six feet of separation
that is supposed to keep us safe from infecting each other.

This is in my friendly old neighborhood where I have walked for almost thirty years.
Houses of every style, mostly pre1950’s, some homes dating back to the 1800’s.

This is Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby’s neighborhood, for goodness sake!
Usually people are very friendly, walking together, stopping to greet dogs and children.
I notice my favorite landmarks –
the cedar stump carved into an eagle and salmon,
the fairy houses,
my favorite sidewalk patches,
the old curbstones with horse rings,
and this time of year, the tulips and the cherry trees in bloom.
I visit my favorite poetry posts and sometimes take an extra copy.
I scan the Little Free Libraries, and sometimes take or leave a book.

These days I almost hope no one else will be out
so I won’t have to make the awkward do-si-do,
though we usually nod wistfully and
smile apologetically,
as we pass.


Neighborly fence of encouragement!

Yellow bells at Tom McCall Point, knitting progress, and neighborhood sights

Tom McCall Point, March 18, 2020


Tom McCall Point, seen from near the trailhead.

We got to see the mid-March wildflower suite. Yellow Bells were sprinkled through the meadows at every elevation. I have never seen so many anywhere!


Yellow bells on the lower plateau, Mt Adams beyond.


More yellow bells, midway to the top.


Yellow bells and an early balsam root near the summit.


Compact early blooms of the purple Columbia desert parsley line my favorite trail segment that I call Parsley Alley.


Columbia desert parsley


There is a new geology sign at the summit!


Gold stars were sprinkled in some of the sunny spots.

More flowers along the trail:


Looking eastward toward Rowena as we return to the trailhead.

Hike # 33, 4.3 miles, 1300 feet.   We had no trouble keeping our distance from the few other hikers on the trail, and so far, we are still encouraged to get outside as long as we can keep our distance.

Knitting progress:

I finished the Geology Shawl.


Geology shawl, pattern by Very Busy Monkey, Malabrigo Mechita, Ninfas colorway.


I have been knitting the sleeves on my Meris sweater, put away since before our New Zealand trip.


I cast on 390 stitches for the Which Came First shawl, using the Malabrigo Mechita Piedras that my daughter picked out.

Noticed while walking in my neighborhood:

New blooms:






A camelia left in a hedge

New growth:



Tree trunk

A secret message, and interesting sidewalk cracks and patches:



Cherry blossoms and snow in Portland, and a White River snow hike, March 2020

Cherry blossoms, Portland waterfront, March 11, 2020

We took our annual walk along the waterfront just as the cherry trees were beginning to bloom.


View from the Burnside Bridge.


Refections of clouds and trees in downtown buildings on this beautiful day:


White River microspike hike, March 12, 2020

On a blue sky day we walked up White River toward Mt Hood. The snow was packed and not deep, so we could wear our micro spikes instead of snow shoes. We walked past our usual stopping point, up the snow covered moraine, to a closer viewpoint of Mt Hood.


Walking along White River toward Mt Hood.


View from our lunch stop – near where the Timberline Trail crosses the river under the snow.


We walked to a high point on the moraine between the ridges.


Closer view of Mt Hood.


Zooming in on the peak – the black speck is a mountain climber.


Dormant lupine and penstemon on the moraine.


Wind patterns.

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Hike #32, 5.2 miles, 1000 feet.

Snow in Pdx, March 14, 2020

We had a few inches of snow that did not last long – but added a layer of white to the star magnolia blooms.


I am posting from caronavirus social isolation. We are still allowed to go out walking and hiking as long as we keep our distance. Wishing all who read this patience and good health! There will be a lot of knitting going forward!