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

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

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August 20, 2020 – Indian Racetrack Lake and Red Mountain

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Trailhead into the forest

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Racetrack Lake – the only lake on this hike

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Looking Across Racetrack Meadow to Red Mountain

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View of Mt Adams on the way up to Red Mountain

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Closer view of Mt Adams,

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And closer.

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Nearing the top of Red Mountain

Views from the top:
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Mt Hood beyond Red Mountain Lookout

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We climbed up to the viewing platform on the lookout.

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

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

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Mt St Helens to the north

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

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

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Falls Creek

Hike #57, 6.8 miles, 1500 feet

August 28, 2020 – Thomas Lake trailhead to Junction Lake

The other ten lakes were seen on this hike.

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Once again we enter the forested wilderness…

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Thomas Lake

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Heather Lake

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Dee Lake

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Eunice Lake

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Nuha Lake

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Rock Lakes

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Unnamed lake beyond Rock Lakes

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

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

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Unnamed lake near the trail junction

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Junction Lake, our turnaround point

Some details along the trail:
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Reflections in the lakes…

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Huckleberry bushes turning red

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Mountain ash berries

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Hellebore

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Most likely the last beargrass bloom of summer

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

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Hike #58, 6.8 miles, 630 feet.

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

Knitting –

I cast on a hat and some socks…

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Rafa by Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo, Blue green

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Sock, Berroco Sox yarn

Neighborhood sights:

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fern shadows

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Poetry Post

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yard sign

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neighborly tomatoes

And nationally…

My daughter attended the 57th March on Washington,

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The march

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Lincoln Memorial

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The Mall

-and this artwork crossed my social media feed:

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

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

Friday, June 19, 2020, Grassy Knoll, Washington

Wildflower meadows filled the open slopes near the trailhead.

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

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

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

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Grassy Knoll looks green from here,

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but the green slopes are full of flowers!

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Summit view toward Mt Hood.

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Summit view toward Mt Adams.

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

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And more blooming meadows near our turnaround point.

Every color of wildflower was in bloom today!

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

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Chinidere Mountain, Oregon

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

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Wahtum Lake, near the trailhead.

A few early season flowers still in bloom here:

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Ascending into the rainbow meadows on Chinidere Mountain.

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

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Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson from the summit.

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Wahtum Lake and Mt Hood.

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

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Wahtum ‘Express’ back to the parking area.

Knitting

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Finished mitts.

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

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Sock progress.

Around the neighborhood:

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

And more action nationally…

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First Columbia River Gorge hike in a while, another hike on the Wildwood Trail, some knitting, and neighborhood views

June 2, 2020 – Phlox Point, Beacon Rock State Park, WA

A quiet Tuesday. We met only a few other hikers on trails that are mostly wide equestrian trails until they switchback up Hardy Ridge. Lower slopes are shady forest, with shady forest blooms. We passed a few sunny open areas before reaching the rocky ridge crest with the wide angle view of the Columbia River Gorge that we have been missing these last few months of pandemic-closed trails. A mile north along the ridge are the rocky ledges of Phlox Point. I was very tired by the return, but happy to be able to hike here again. Hike #44, 8.5 miles, 2200 feet.

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The wide angle view – Mt Adams, Table Mountain, Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Dam, Hamilton Mountain, Mt Hood.

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Hardy Ridge Crest intersection

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Lunch view of a raven and Mt Hood.

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Heading north along the ridge to Phlox Point.

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Phlox, paintbrush, and parsley on the way up Phlox Point.

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Hamilton Mountain, Mt Hood

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Mt Adams

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Northern Phlox Point ridges and view.

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Some of the wildflowers:

June 10, Wildwood Trail again…

Today we hiked from the Springville/Trillium Trailhead on the Wildwood Trail, east to the detour at the Cleator Trail, and then back. We will have to skip the next mile of Wildwood Trail that is closed for repair. We have now completed approximately half of the 30 mile trail on our five pandemic Wildwood hikes. – Hike #45, 7.6 miles, 615 feet.

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On the Wildwood Trail…

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Salmon berries getting ripe…

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A bridge

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Green!

Knitting

Mitts and a new sock:

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Neighborhood

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Another tethered horse.

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Interesting concrete

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Low light

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A colorful garden

A Black Lives Matter march appeared in our neighborhood. We were able to catch the tail end and join for a short distance, masked and separated, of course.

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Two hikes as our trails reopen…

Boundary Trail, Mt St Helens, Washington –

May 27, 2020 – Trails and parks in Oregon and Washington are slowly reopening for careful, “social distance” hiking. We chose a sunny Wednesday to hike at Mt St Helens. The road to the Visitor Center is still closed, so we began our hike on the Hummocks Trail, and continued on to the Boundary Trail. (Hike #42, 8 miles, 1625 feet)

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Red marks our route.

The trail crosses through the hummocks, which are debris avalanche and landslide deposits from the violent May 18, 1980 eruption. Though once a barren moonscape, the hummocks are now lush and green, covered with plants and shady alder groves, and surrounded by ponds and wetlands.

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Alder groves and ponds near the trailhead.

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The trail comes out into open landscape at the junction with the Boundary Trail, then heads off into lowlands along the Toutle River, before climbing steeply up the flanks of Johnston Ridge. From here on we almost always had a full on view of the mountain.

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Boundary Trail Junction

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Zooming in…

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Crossing the Toutle River lowlands.

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Heading up, Indian paintbrush and Mt St Helens.

Once high enough, we can see north to the west end of Coldwater Lake, and back to the ponds in the hummocks, our starting point.

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Closer view of Coldwater Lake.

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Lovely view from our lunch stop.

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Red current in bloom as we continue eastward.

We reached our farthest view point, not quite to the Loowit Turnout on the road.

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Coldwater Peak

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Mt Adams and a glimpse of Spirit Lake

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Mt St Helens

I felt a bit out of shape on this hike, so we only went as far as a viewpoint where Mt  Adams comes into view, before we reached the Loowit Viewpoint. It was fairly hot, and once out of the hummock zone, there is no shade. What is amazing is how much shade there is in the hummocks area, because everything in sight has regrown since the eruption 40 years ago.

A last look back at the mountain on our return hike:

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40 year old stumps, with younger trees in the foreground.

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Sheep sorrel, Toutle River

Wildflowers are beginning to bloom – in a couple of weeks it will be very colorful here.

We stopped at the Castle Lake Viewpoint on our drive home for a last look today, with plans to return in the not too distant future.

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Castle Lake Viewpoint

Wildwood Trail Hike 4

Friday, May 29, 2020 – In continuation of a pandemic goal to hike all of the 30 mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, we walked another section, from Springville Road to the Wildwood Trail, to the Trillium Trail and back to our trailhead on Fire Road 7. This section of the Wildwood Trail is cut into the sides of steep forested slopes. It was dry and warm today, but well shaded. We saw a few flowers, a few birds, a lot of trail runners, and a few hiking groups. Most of the hikers pulled masks up when passing. Trail runners mostly did not. We did our best to give them a wide space. We all need the fresh air! (Hike #43, 5.2 miles, 460 feet)

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Trailhead

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Springville Road

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The first wild roses I have seen this year.

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Fern shadows

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Ferns

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Our return trail is all uphill!

Knitting

I am getting ready to start new projects, so I have been hand winding yarn, knitting a gauge swatch, and spending lots of time searching the glorious Ravelry pattern library, which in my opinion is the very best place in all of the internet. I also cast on a gift knit – fingerless mitts.

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A note on the times we are living in  I support the Black Lives Matter protests going on this weekend. It may be a long time before the “all are created equal” spirit of our nation is realized, but I try to live my life in support of it. On a more positive note, I was happy to see the successful SpaceX launch this weekend, furthering work my father participated in as rocket scientist.

Meanwhile, in Portland…

Back in Portland after our trip to New Zealand, we were greeted by blooming daffodils, hyacinths and wind flowers.

Catherine Creek hike, February  27, 2020

We went to Catherine Creek in the eastern Columbia River Gorge to see what early blooming spring flowers were still on view. We lucked upon a windless, blue sky day, with Mt Hood reflected in the Columbia River. DSC00152Grass widows were waning, desert parsleys, gold stars, yellow bells and buttercups were emerging.

We hiked the lower paved loop, then the upper Bitterroot Trail above the fairy ponds all the way up Sunflower Hill to Atwood Road. We walked down the connector trail to Rowland Wall, for the first time.

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Trail connection to Rowland Wall

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Going down Rowland Wall.

We still want to try the inside out switchback on the upper Shoestring Trail that we missed last time. I love that there are so many trails to follow in this area, and that each visit during the next couple of months will present a different wildflower suite.

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Hike #29, 5.5 miles, 1300 feet.

Knitting

I knit a small amount while in New Zealand.

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Geology shawl, and my current traveling socks.

Hamilton Mountain, WA, and first knit socks of 2020

January 3, 2020 – Our first hike of the New Year was to Hamilton Mountain in Beacon Rock State Park on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We’ve been many times, usually to see the cliffs become hanging gardens in the spring. Today we had perfect winter hiking conditions – not too cold, a bit muddy, full waterfalls, clear views from the top.

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The first summit of Hamilton Mountain, as seen from the power line cut on the lower trail.

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Approaching the upper cliffs, eastern gorge beyond.

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Bonneville Dam, with Mt Hood appearing to the south.

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First view from the summit- Mt Adams glowing in winter white beyond Table Mountain.

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Wide view from the summit.

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Mt Hood to the south, in low winter light.

After lunch at the summit we continued the trail to the northern saddle/plateau –

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A last look back at Mt Hood.

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Western gorge, filling with mist and a painterly sky.

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Columbian lewisia foliage in the saddle.

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Crossing over a very full Rodney Falls on the return hike.

Hike #1 for 2020, 8.2 miles, 2250 feet.

Knitting

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First knit finish in 2020 – traveling socks that I started last May.

Up the Labyrinth and down Coyote Wall in fog and sun

12/13/2019  Coyote Wall, Washington

Once again we drive through the foggy, rainy Columbia River Gorge to the east side of the Cascade Mountains…

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Rainbow over White Salmon, from the Hood River Bridge.

Once again, we walk along Old Highway 8, parallel to the Columbia River…

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Look Lake reflections.

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Columbia River, Oregon beyond.

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Geese on those rocks above the river.

Once again we hike up the winding trails of The Labyrinth, through layers of shifting fog.

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Red Oregon grape along the trail.

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Labyrinth waterfall

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Fog ahead

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My favorite oak grove

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The sun is trying

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Mt Hood’s flattish top peaking in and out at us as we go higher.

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Our favorite landmark tree viewpoint – one moment in the fog, 

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then clear skies for a while.

Once again we hike higher, then across Atwood Road to the sudden cliff edge of Coyote Wall.

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Cliffs of Coyote Wall are just beyond the oak tree

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Coyote Wall, Look Lake, Columbia River.

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Looking north to the upper slopes of Coyote Wall.

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Eastern Columbia River Gorge.

Once again we hike down the ankle breaking bike trails, one called the Crybaby trail, while the fog layers shift and disperse.

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East view from Old Ranch Road

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Looking back up the wall, fog descending again.

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Summer parsley.

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Looking East toward the Rowena orchards.

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Almost back to the Coyote Wall trailhead.

(Hike #57, 7 miles, 1500 feet)

Knitting…

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Button bands on the Meris cardigan done; and about two thirds of a Rafa Hat.

Ridgefield birds, and darning success

11/30/2019  Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA

On a cold morning we walked the Oaks to Wetlands Trail in the northern unit – the best views are from the railroad bridge. (Hike #55, 2 miles)

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Swans in the lake…

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Frosty leaves

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Bird, oak galls.

We then drove the Auto Tour Route in the southern River ‘S’ unit and saw many more birds than were here in early October.

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View from the bird blind – swans and geese will be closer on the far side of the driving loop.

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Beyond the lake, a large flock of tall birds…

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Zooming in-

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sand hill cranes, a heron,

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and an egret.

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A great blue heron landed right next to the road.

Meanwhile, in the lake:

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Lots of geese and swans,

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and a black swan.

Knitting and the darning pile:

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Fingerless mitts – just need the thumbs. Malabrigo Arroyo in the Jupiter color way.

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Darned and depilled – three pairs of socks and a sweater!

Reflections and birds at Steigerwald Lake, WA

11/23/2019

This is the place we go to see upside down trees that don’t exist except as reflected imagery in water.

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Mt Hood beyond the lake.

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And birds. We enjoy spotting them in their home, though we are not true ‘birders’.

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Northern Harrier

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We saw this Great Blue Heron several times from different vantage points:

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Hiding in plain sight. I didn’t notice the heron in the middle of the picture until I was looking at my photos later.

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Green Heron

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Egret

Steigerwald Lake Wildlife Refuge is in the early stages of a major overhaul. Dikes to the Columbia River will be breached, the lake will be enlarged, and wild salmon will return to the streams in the surrounding hills. Trails will be rerouted. Today we see early work – large logs have been placed to provide underwater wildlife habitat throughout the area that will become the enlarged lake.

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Hike #54, 3.8 miles

Knitting, etc

Cold front in Portland this week, Thanksgiving supplies are in – I am chopping and baking and decorating for a small gathering.

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One pair of sock toes mended so far.

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Chocolate silk pie!

Rowland Wall, WA, and a Darning Pile

November 16, 2019

We left Portland’s dense fog behind as we drove through the Columbia River Gorge to Catherine Creek Recreation Area east of White Salmon, WA. The fog was lifting to the east. I  saw the wintering swans in Mirror Lake below Crown Point as we drove past.

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Driving east on I-84 toward Crown Point.

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Those tiny white dots are swans at freeway speed.

The upper reaches of the Catherine Creek area were still under fog as we hiked upward on the Rowland Wall trail.

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Fog above us.

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Orange oak trees, black volcanic rocks, golden grasses, Ponderosa pines, Rowland Lake.

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Rowland Pinnacle

The clouds rose higher as we zigzagged up the trail.

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Mt Hood in view as the clouds lift.

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A relic apple tree from some past life.

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Apples

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Blue sky!

We lost the trail when hiking here last year and returned the way we came. Today we lost the trail again, but we were close enough to the top to bushwhack our way up to Atwood Road.

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Lunch view – toward our starting point just beyond the Rowland Wall cliff.

After eating lunch with a stunning view of the land rolling away beneath us – river, cliffs, orchards of Mosier, we hiked down Sunflower Hill. At the edge of Rowland Wall, we saw the other end of the connecting trail we missed – we will find it next time! A story in every trail. Not many other people here today. We returned to Portland which was reported to be under cloud all day.

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Walking down Sunflower Hill,

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to the edge of Rowland Wall – reflections in Rowland Lake.

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Orchards of Mosier across the Columbia River.

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Mt Hood

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Another train

Pre wildflower bonus shot:

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Bitteroot foliage.

Hike #53, 5.1 miles, 1100 feet.

Knitting

I continue to make progress on my Meris Cardigan – but at three or four 300 stitch rows a day, it is slow going. That includes a little extra knitting when I have to find a dropped yarn over in the lace repeats. Meanwhile, I have isolated my Darning Pile – I hope I can show it finished by next week.

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Three pairs of sock toes, and a sweater with a few holes.