April 2022

We returned from our east coast trip early in the month, happy to see our bulbs and crabapple tree in full bloom.

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Checker lilies

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Tulips

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Crabapple

On April 11th we had an unusual late season snowstorm covering all the blossoms. It melted within a day, and though hail, wind and rain hit sporadically that week, we were also treated to several rainbows.

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Snow on the crabapple blossoms

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and tulips

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Hail and crabapple blossoms

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Sunny deluge

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Rainbow

We hiked the Lyle Cherry Orchard West Loop on April 6th, – our second time on this new trail. Today we saw the early spring flowers, the always spectacular views, and a lot less wind compared to our hike here last December!

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Eastern gorge, red poison oak beginning to leaf out.

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Death camas in abundance throughout the lower plateau.

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Death camus

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Mt Adams from the upper trail

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Pink filaree carpeting the upper oak groves

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View to the western gorge and early balsam root blooms.

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Balsamroot

On April 15th, we took a quick loop through Tryon Creek on our annual spring hike to see the trillium and skunk cabbage….

April 21st to 27th we travelled to the southwest, Nevada and Utah, the subject of my next post.

On return to Portland, the neon green of our city glowed from the airplane window. I was pleased to see the dogwoods and azaleas in the neighborhood in full bloom.

My knitting this month:

And…I celebrate the approval of our new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson…though her presence will probably not be enough to thwart the regressive decisions looming….

January 2022 in Portland

The first couple of weeks were very cold, followed by many days of rain dripping down the windows, yarn loops sliding by on the needles, and just a few sun breaks. A tsunami from Tonga, the Omicron surge just beginning to decline, a trip to Joshua Tree cancelled…another pandemic month in Portland.

Hikes:

1/9/2022 Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion in Portland – A rare sunny day – everyone out on the trails – we continued our section hike of the Wildwood Trail, completing about 3 more miles as we hiked up and back to Pittock Mansion from the arboretum, crossing the new Barbara Walker Bridge for the first time.

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Up until last year, hikers had to scurry across the very busy Burnside Street.

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 Barbara Walker Bridge.

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Urban trail graffiti

We reached the 1914 Pittock Mansion, and walked around to the viewing areas…

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Pittock Mansion

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Views from the property to the Cascade Mountains…

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Mt Hood

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Portland and Mt Hood

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Mt St Helens

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Mt Rainier beyond Mt St Helens

Returning back over the Barbara Walker Crossing…

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1/12/2022 Eagles and snow near Lyle, WA – Our annual trip to see the eagles at the Balfour/Klickitat Preserve:

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Calm Columbia River looking east from the Hood River Bridge.

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Snowy ground near Coyote Wall.

We walked to the eagle viewing area near the mouth of the Klickitat River:

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Osage oranges along the trail

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Frozen lakeshore, eagle flying above the island

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Eagle and ducks

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Looking up Klickitat Canyon – white eagle heads in the trees

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Bald Eagle

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Bald eagle

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We saw more than twenty today.

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Looking south to Tom McCall Point.

Next we walked some of the trails at nearby Catherine Creek.

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Snowy slopes at Catherine Creek

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Frozen Fairy Ponds

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The arch

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Mt Hood and the orchards of Mosier

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Eastern Gorge

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Grass widow foliage, but no blooms.

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The waterfall.

1/18/2022 Swans at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, WA – We walked the 2.5 mile Oaks to Wetland Trail.

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Swans in the distance, from the railroad bridge

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Fungus

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Belted kingfisher

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Trumpeter swans

Then we drove the auto tour, looking for more swans.

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Plenty of tundra and trumpeter swans in the northern lake…

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American coot

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Northern harrier next to the road.

1/28/2020 Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, OR – Our first visit to this new park south of Forest Grove. We walked almost six miles on the trails, quiet today with a few views of the distant mountains.

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Chehalem Ridge Nature Park

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Mt St Helens and Mt Adams

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Farmlands and Coast Range to the west

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Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens

Neighborhood:

On our first sunny day, I went outside for what seemed like the first time in weeks, to see blue sky and low angle winter shadows:

1/16/2022 – Another sunny day, we met friends and walked a long loop on the hilly streets south of downtown Portland.

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Mt Hood from SW Portland

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Mt Hood and the Tilikum Bridge over the Willamette River

By the end of the month, viburnum and crocus were beginning to bloom…

Knitting:

I did get a lot of knitting done this month, since the outdoors were so inclement. And I am still meeting once or twice weekly with my knitting group over Zoom.

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Winding yarn on my new swift.

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Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawl, in progress

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New pile of yarn from the guild to make hats for our service project.

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I used online tutorials to learn Tunisian crochet.

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I finished a languishing WIP – The Ella Improv Cowl, by Cecelia Campochiaro, using marling and sequence knitting techniques.

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A Gnoah gnome, (Imagined Landscapes), sent via Intergalactic Gnome Transport to the burgeoning colony in Washington DC.

Addenda:

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The volcano in Tonga!

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The snow in DC.

Other adventures – January 10th was the 4th anniversary of my pituitary surgery. With constant vigilance and good doctors, all my hormone levels are now within the normal range. I feel healthy and strong and grateful for early diagnosis and the miracles of modern medical science, especially the monthly injections that keep the acromegaly in check.

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On to February – pandemic numbers are going down in our neck of the woods – we may actually travel somewhere – stay tuned.

December 2021, Walking adventures

We went on a couple of hikes, and walked among Van Gogh paintings in a digital art experience.

Lyle Loop, 12/2/2021, 5 miles, 1250 feet

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Clockwise track

A new loop has been carved out of the Nature Conservancy Lyle Cherry Orchard property. We tried it on a windy (but not tooo windy) day- lovely blue sky and puffy clouds our backdrop. We climbed up the familiar tiers of basalt flows, above the Convict Road,

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Looking down on the Convict Road

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Windy blue skies above

then headed west, to a new trail carved into the grassy slope.

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It curves around the mountain above the town of Lyle.

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As the trail circled to the north, Mt Adams appeared on the horizon.

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Zooming in

On the northern side of the loop, out of the wind, we walked through lovely oak woodlands, occasionally switching back past views of Lyle, and of Mt Adams again.

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Lyle, Klickitat River delta

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Lyle town sign, in white rocks

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Mt Adams again,

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now with clouds.

Eventually, our trail intersected the Cherry Orchard Loop, and we descended on the familiar trail.

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A lovely day on the sunny side of the mountains.

Tracy Hill, Catherine Creek, WA, 12/8/2021,  5.3 miles, 1200 feet

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Our counterclockwise trail map 

Calm and bright; clouds topping the highest hills; some blue sky distant:

DSC01336some of our plant friends in their winter garb:

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bitteroot

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parsley

Ravens and cows:

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ravens

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cows

Columbia River shining:

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oak and ponderosa sharing the sky:

Ent on the skyline: 

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It’s very birdie in this section, chirping and calling, flashes of blue, rust, white and black between trees, I can’t quite see them; blue jays and woodpeckers?

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Up Tracy Hill’s open slopes:

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View up Major Canyon, to the east

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Seating at the top of Tracy Hill

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A well earned rest

and down again:  

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halfway down

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above the arch

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Looking back at the top of Tracy Hill

It felt a bit like walking in a painting. I was interested to compare it with walking in digital paintings the next day…

Beyond VanGogh, Oregon Convention Center, 12/8/2021 – We did actually walk in pictures, as the digital imagery swirled around us, and the paintings painted themselves on the walls. All beautiful and colorful, and an excellent reminder of Van Gogh’s work. I loved seeing:

the flowers that melded together then blew away:

the swirls of starry night whirling:

walls of self portraits:

buildings appearing from simple sketched lines to full color paint strokes:

signatures writing themselves in a patchwork of squares:

dark starry skies dripping down the walls:

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However, Beyond Van Gogh was not a wilderness experience. I enjoyed the visual imagery, but would have liked to see it in an Imax setting. Perhaps if we had been stationary, I would have felt more in control regarding Covid precautions, especially now that omicron is spreading. There were too many people wandering around in the hall. I was constantly checking over my shoulder to get away from someone standing tooo close with their mask slipping down. I guess I’m not ready to resume life in the peopled world yet.

For the rest of December it has been raining, and now is cold (for us) and snowing. Not conducive to driving to the trails or hiking.  I’ve mainly been taking neighborhood walks in the brief dry spells. I will be glad to return to walking in the real hills after this Canadian cold front moves on.

12/14/2021 Waiting for the winter solstice…

Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes near Vancouver Lake, WA

I had heard rumors, and we had a day with some sunshine amidst the weeks of rain…

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Sandhill cranes and snow geese near Frenchman’s Bar

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We found a couple of view points through the berms and fencing around the Columbia Land Trust cornfields where we could see the flocks of birds wintering there. We saw the cloud of white geese stir up, then settle.

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Sandhill cranes were grazing near the cornfield, often flying in groups of three…

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We were using our zoom lenses, far from the birds, but could hear the honking of the geese, and that special purring trill of the sand hill cranes. And were grateful to see and hear them!

Meanwhile…

New York Times notice today:

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November 2021 report…

 A month that sped by, interludes of rain and wind and another atmospheric river, a few hikes, some knitting, and a family Thanksgiving celebration indoors…

Hikes:

November 5th – Wildwood Trail, miles 0 to 1.5, Portland, OR

On a sunny afternoon, we walked the first section of the Wildwood Trail as part of a 3 mile loop. We saw some late fall color, a bald eagle, and a few other interesting trees.

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liquidambar


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oak


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bald eagle

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Redwood trees


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Huggable!


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Monkey puzzle trees

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Not huggable! 

I only have about 3 miles left to have completed all 30 miles of the trail.

November 10th – Catherine Creek – Bitterroot/Stringbean/Rowland Wall trails, WA

Another 4.5 mile loop on a sunny day in the eastern Gorge, Washington side. 

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Up the Bitterroot Trail, view to Catherine Creek Arch.


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Oak groves on the west side of Rowland Wall.


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Spotted towhee


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Lunch view to the east toward Rowland Wall

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another towhee?


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Handsome old tree snag


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Westward view


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Back over Rowland Wall

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Orchards of Mosier

We took a quick stop to check out the bald eagle nesting grounds on the nearby Klickitat River, knowing it was probably too early to see them.

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No bald eagles yet,


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but plenty of Osage Oranges,

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and some small birds in the bushes.

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Three bushtits


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Spotted towhee

November 18th – Deschutes River Trail, OR

A two hour drive to get out of the rain – a pleasant 5 mile walk with friends…

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Canada geese near the trailhead


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The river level is high!


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Some fall colors along the banks


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Cliff views as we start uphill…

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View back to the river mouth.

November 23rd – Stonehenge, WA

Again we drove east, looking for good weather. We found sun, but too much wind! We drove through the wind power installations in the hills, then stopped for our lunch break at the Stonehenge replica/ WWI Memorial near Maryhill, WA. 

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Rainbow and white caps on the Columbia River, from the Hood River Bridge.


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Driving through wind power country…

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Stonehenge Memorial out on a bluff over the Columbia River…

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West toward Hood River

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Eastward views

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Sun on the cliffs near Lyle, WA, as we drive back west into the rain.

Thanksgiving:

We celebrated with friends, 

while this bird feasted on the rudbeckia seedheads in our front yard:

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Knitting

Mostly on a brioche project. I have become quite experienced at repairing knitted purls and vice versa.

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Neighborhood

Many walks during the dry intervals. Leaves saying goodbye…

and this guy looking to the future…

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The rest of October, 2021: knitting, neighborhood, more hikes…

A transitional month – the last of the summer flowers, leaves turning and falling, more rain, an atmospheric river event. We got our Covid booster shots, are poised for reentry, again, again, again, again….

Knitting, etc: 

I knitted some little creatures – a gnome, three cats and a witch, and finished a pair of socks. My collection of twelve hats and a cowl are blocked and ready for donation to a local women’s shelter. I sewed potholders and a door light curtain for my daughter.

Around the neighborhood:

Colors of the season:

Two more hikes, besides our Mt Adams and Eagle Creek adventures:

With more frequent rain in western Oregon, we go east of the mountains, beyond the rain shadow. 

10/21/2021 Tom McCall Point, Oregon: Orange oak trees, views of Mt Adams and Mt Hood, and a surprise viewing of a buck near the top of the mountain.

10/27/2021 The Labyrinth, Washington: A saunter with our son through some of my favorite basalt piles and oak groves on an overcast day with sun breaks.

New Zealand Albatross update: The chick Tiaki that I watched in the webcam from the time it was laid as an egg last fall, to its fledging in September 2021, has flown across the South Pacific Ocean to the coast of South America.

And some inspiration for staying positive…

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Internet meme – author unknown.

Three Fall Hikes near Mt Adams, WA Oct. 6-8, 2021

We stayed two nights in Trout Lake, Washington, to be closer to some far flung trailheads in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The distance may not be far, in miles, but the nature of the roads requires slow and patient driving. The trails were beautiful, in their fall colors, despite a a bit of rain and early snow.

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Trail location map

Lewis River Falls – October 6th

Knowing it would probably rain, we chose a waterfall hike through the forest. This area is extremely popular in summer. However, on this rainy fall day, we had the trail entirely to ourselves beyond the Lower Falls Overlooks near the campground.

Lower Falls: We looked from above, then from one of the downstream side trails.

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Lower Falls from the overlook

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Closer view of the holes in the rocky platform

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Fallen leaves near the downstream viewpoint

The Lower Falls were mesmerizing:

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Lower Lewis River Falls

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We walked back upstream along the Lewis River for about three miles, toward the Upper Falls. We passed the Lower Falls again:

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Lower Falls with a bit of fall color

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We found a beach during a pause in the rain for our lunch break.

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Lunch rock

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Rock hopper nearby

We continued upstream to the Middle Falls:

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Rainy trail – the trees sheltered us much of the time.

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Middle Lewis River Falls

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The main channel cuts into the rocky bench below the falls.

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We passed Copper Creek Falls, a tributary to the Lewis River:

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Copper Creek Falls

We paused for a rest at the Upper Falls lower viewpoint:

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Upper Lewis River Falls

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From here we turned back, retracing our steps through the woods, quite satisfied that we have seen most of the Lewis River Falls.

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We drove on various Gifford Pinchot National Forest roads to our lodging in Trout Lake. These roads were very slow going, shifting from paved to gravel and extremely potholed!

Killen Creek Meadows, Mt Adams – October 7th

We woke to a glorious blue sky day! The mountain was out, and we looked forward to our hike to Killen Creek Meadows on the northwest flanks of Mt Adams.

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Mt Adams from Trout Lake

The Killen Creek Meadows to High Camp trail begins in the forest, then emerges into tiers of meadows. We started at about 4500 feet elevation, ascending to about 6000 feet on the 12,281 foot tall stratovolcano.

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Lots of red huckleberry bushes along the trail.

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Fresh snow from yesterday’s storm began at about 5200 feet.

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In one forest opening we could see Mt Rainier to the north.

The open meadows provide great views of Mt Adams:

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We reached the junction of the Pacific Crest Trail and the High Camp trail at lunch time, after hiking 3.5 miles. The snow was getting deeper, so we decided this would be our turnaround point. We did meet one northbound hiker, Tortoise, while we rested there.

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Trail junction/lunch stop

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High Camp is somewhere up on this ridge

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Sparkling snow

We made our way back, admiring the views and the foliage.

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Clouds forming in the afternoon

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Huckleberries in the snow

Killen Creek Meadows are known for summer wildflowers, and we plan to return for a future summer adventure.

Takhlakh Lake is not far from the Killen Creek Trailhead. We stopped by for the iconic view on our way back to Trout Lake.

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Mt Adams from Takhlakh Lake

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Glacier close ups

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Northern flank

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An ice cave?

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Adams Glacier

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Hummocky topography on the south flank

Bird Mountain Loop, Indian Heaven Wilderness – October 8th

We chose this hike on the northeast side of Indian Heaven Wilderness for our last day. Clouds were coming in, but we had excellent conditions for seeing lots of lovely fall foliage around the meadows and lakes. The trail begins in the forest, and heads up hill to the flanks of Bird Mountain.

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Once again, our trail leads through red huckleberry foliage.

From the shoulder of Bird Mountain, we got views of surrounding peaks, near and far.

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Mt Adams to the east

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Goat Rocks to the northeast

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Sawtooth Mtn, with Mt Rainier in the distance

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Scree slope beneath Bird Mountain, near our return trail this afternoon.

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Continuing south, we would pass near Lemei Rock.

Beautiful foliage, mushrooms, small lakes appeared in the meadows along our trail.

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Mountain Ash

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Small lake

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Mushroom

We stopped by this small unnamed lake to eat lunch and admire the reflections and colors.

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We took the side trail to Deep Lake, passing the Cultus Lake outlet on the way.

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Cultus Lake from the Deep Lake Trail

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Deep Lake

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Back on the main trail, we passed Cultus Lake before taking the junction toward the Pacific Crest Trail and Clear Lake.

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Cultus Lake

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Clear Lake

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Back on the Pacific Crest Trail, northbound

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One of the scree slopes on the west side of Bird Mountain.

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Another unnamed lake by the trail.

We crossed back over the northern shoulder of Bird Mountain, where we could see some views again, before descending through the scree slopes back to the trailhead. Lots of late blooming flowers and seedheads in this area.

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Sawtooth Mountain, from Bird Mountain

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Mt Adams

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Descending the scree slope – rougher trail in here

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Seedheads

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The very last lupine of summer.

This was a very successful trip – three new trails for us, and more added to our list for the future. We’d hiked more than 22 miles, and 4000 feet elevation, and fully immersed ourselves in the autumn foliage.

Artist Point trails near Mt Baker, WA, September 12 – 15, 2021

We stayed in a condo near the small town of Glacier, WA and drove to trailheads near Artist Point each day. During previous visits, we had some lovely hikes, but were impeded by snowed-in trails in August of 2010, and rain in October of 2015.  We felt lucky to have a good weather window this trip.

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Our four hiking trails – the Ptarmigan Ridge and Chain of Lakes Trails share the same trail from Artist Point for the first mile.

September 12 – Bagley Lakes

The cloud level was just above the Bagley Lakes – no mountain views today, and a bit of rain, but not many people either.

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Hiking down the glaciated columnar basalts to the lakes

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Mountain ash, pearly everlasting, and clouds

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Lower Bagley Lake, asters

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Bridge across Upper Bagley Lake outlet

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First we hiked partway around Upper Bagley Lake:

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Small waterfall and late paintbrush along the trail

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Huckleberry bushes turning red

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Fringed grass of parnassus in abundance!

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Upper Bagley Lake shore and meadows. On our previous visit this area was full of snow.

We turned back and walked along the southern shore of Lower Bagley Lake:

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Meadows full of fringed grass of parnassus – previously only seen rarely by me!

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Bridge over the check dam at the lower end of Lower Bagley Lake.

We returned along the north shore of Lower Bagley Lake,

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Columnar basalt waterfall

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Cascade between the lakes

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Pool above the cascade

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Fireweed

then climbed back up the glaciated basalt surface, having completed the 3 mile loop, clouds lifting just a bit.

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On our drive down the road, we stopped at the Picture Lakes – no mountain views today, but plenty of colorful wildflowers and  foliage in the surrounding meadows.

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Picture Lake

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I realized the foliage colors are all there in the Hitchhiker Shawl I am knitting.

September 13 – Ptarmigan Ridge

When we arrived at the Artist Point trailhead, Mt Baker was out, though hiding a bit behind fast-moving clouds.

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Mt Baker from Artist Point

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We started along the first mile of trail that is carved into a high cirque, toward the saddle where the Ptarmigan Ridge trail begins.

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Trail along the cirque

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Saddle, Mt Baker beyond the clouds.

From the saddle, we dropped down into another cirque, then back up to Ptarmigan Ridge, heading toward Coleman Pinnacle.

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Hiking up the next cirque to the ridge.

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Ptarmigan Ridge

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Rock hopping bird

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View along the Ptarmigan Ridge trail

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Closer view of our next saddle

Once over that saddle, we hiked toward Coleman Pinnacle.

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Coleman Pinnacle

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Glacial striations

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Hiking up the barren, glaciated surface.

We were high enough to look down on Goat Lake,

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Goat Lake

but the mountain remained elusive. One shoulder peeked out, giving us our best view for the day.

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Looking for the mountain

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Mt Baker’s shoulder

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Glacier close ups

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Meanwhile, I was also admiring the foliage colors, and the sea of lily seed heads. This must have been an amazing wildflower meadow a few weeks ago.

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Lily and pasque flower

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Lily and huckleberry

The clouds became thicker, so we decided to turn back, after 4.5 miles.

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Another look at Goat Lake.

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Goat Lake, a few people for scale.

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The clouds parted for a minute, giving us a glimpse of this outlet valley below.

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One last look back at Mt Baker before we turned the corner at the high saddle.

Returning along Ptarmigan Ridge…

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Partridge foot, Happy Bunny Butte

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Trail across the western cirque toward the saddle at Table Mountain

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Back along the eastern cirque, Mt Shuksan still under clouds

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Marmot crossing

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Almost back to the trailhead, Mt Shuksan beginning to peek out.

We hiked 9 miles, 1500 feet for the day. We had packed food in our car, just in case the sunset looked promising – one never knows in the  mountains.

September 13 – Artist’s Point Sunset / Huntoon Point

We rested for a while in the trailhead area, and were rewarded with more cloud clearing, and some beautiful sunset views. We walked along the Huntoon Point Trail for about a mile, watching the sky, the glaciers, the reflections in the several ponds and tarns along the way. A lovely evening.

Mt Shuksan:

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The peak

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Glaciers

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Tarn and trail between Huntoon Point and Mt Shuksan

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More stunning reflections

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Last look.

Mt Baker:

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Mt Baker; Coleman Pinnacle, which we walked around earlier today, in the foreground.

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September 14 – Chain of Lakes

The mountains were out at the trailhead under a higher cloud cover, rain pending…

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Mt Baker

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Mt Shuksan

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Cascades to the north

Knowing it might rain by afternoon, we started out on the Chain of Lakes Trail…

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Cirque trail

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Today we can see the Cascade peaks to the south, and Baker Lake below,

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and the glaciers on Mt Baker

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Crossing the stone ledges in the cirque

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Fireweed and Mt Baker, and our trail junction in the saddle.

From the saddle, we had a better view than yesterday of the Ptarmigan Ridge trail.

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Ptarmigan Ridge trail

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Today we are going north, down the scree slope below Table Mountain, into the Chain of Lakes basin.

We passed by four lakes in the basin…

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Mazama Lake

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Stream between Mazama and Iceberg Lakes

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Iceberg Lake

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Hayes Lake

We followed the side trail around Hayes Lake, toward Arbuthnot Lake, and found shelter under a few trees to eat lunch just as the rain began.

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Hayes Lake and Table Mountain

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Lunch spot view of Hayes and Arbuthnot Lakes

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Closer view of Arbuthnot Lake

The rain was beginning in earnest, so we turned around to retrace our steps, walking quickly as conditions got worse.

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Mushroom forest

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Outlet stream

By the time we were hiking back up the scree slope, I was getting pretty tired, after three days of hiking. I paused, and heard a whistle, and saw a marmot down on the rocks below the trail.

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Marmot giving me the side eye as they enjoy their shower.

We still had more than a mile to go in the pouring rain, no more photos today. But we were very happy with our three days of hiking, and seeing the mountains, and came up with a new list of trails to return to, not just here, but along other trailheads in the North Cascades.

September 15 – Billy Frank-Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Halfway through our six hour drive home to Portland we took our lunch break at this wildlife refuge at the southern end of the Puget Sound. We walked about two miles, to the beginning of the boardwalk that extends for another mile out into the Puget Sound.

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The trail begins near a bog where we spotted a great blue heron.

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We continued on wooden boardwalks through the woods,

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with views to grassy lowlands.

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Some other hikers pointed out the tiny frogs on the marsh grasses.

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and I spotted a hummingbird.

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After passing the barn,

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we emerged to wide open views of the southern Puget Sound,

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and spotted another heron.

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We walked to the very beginning of the mile long boardwalk out over the water,

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but decided to turn around for the day,

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saving our visit to the farthest viewing platform for another day.

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We will return!

Thus ended another adventure, leaving me with tired legs, and a new list of places to hike next time.

What happened in September 2021…

Home and garden:

Knitting:

I finished more hats for the Women’s Shelter donation, made progress on socks and a shawl, both excellent travel knitting, and began knitting the fall Mystery Gnome. And I received a late but welcome crocheted bag as a birthday gift from my sister.

Hiking:

We spent a lot of time on hiking trails! In addition to two out of town trips to the Olympic Peninsula and Mt Baker, and a day hike at Cloud Cap on Mt Hood, all described in separate posts, we went on six other adventures:

September 9, East Crater Trail, Indian Heaven, Washington. Return to Junction Lake.

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Into the woods

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East Crater

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Junction Lake

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Mountain ash

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Huckleberry

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Mt St Helens from the PCT Southbound

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Birds in a water hole in a mostly dry creek

September 17, Portland Arboretum. Early fall color on a beautiful day.

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Aralia

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Sumac

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Hop hornbeam

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Douglas fir with sap

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September 24, Kiwa Trail, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. Looking for Sandhill Cranes while we can still hike the trail before it is closed for the winter nesting season.

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Nightshade berries near the creek

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Woodland

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Grassland with teasel

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These are the sandhill cranes we are looking for!

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Resident nesting pair with colt

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September 26 – Saltzman Road in Forest Park, Portland. Our first time on this particular trail through the park, we walked 6 miles while catching up with friends.

September 28, Crawford Oaks, Washington. A return to an oft hiked trail, we escaped the rain in Portland and saw only 4 other hikers the entire day.

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Columbia Hills from The Dalles Bridge

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Geologic context

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Eight Miles Falls

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Pear tree

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Our usual lunch spot

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Clouds and wind

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Eastward

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Tufts

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The “one tree”

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Dried balsamroot, Dalles Mountain Ranch

Some foliage for the day:

September 30, Coyote Wall, Washington. Another often hiked trail, again with friends. A beautiful day up there!

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Puffy clouds and rocks

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Coyote Wall

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Mt Hood in the clouds

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Return hike

Other news:

Tiaki, the Albatross chick I have been watching in New Zealand via webcam, has fledged!

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The blue line is a tracker on Tiaki, the red line is one of her parents.

A family member acquired a new-to-him car.

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I attended an in-person book group meeting, where we watched the moon rise over the Willamette River from Sauvie Island.

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Olympic Peninsula, WA, late summer, 2021

Aug 29 to Sept 3, 2021 – We scheduled a trip to the Olympic Mountains after our Iceland plans were cancelled due to increased spread of the Delta variant of Covid 19. We have been to the Olympics a few times, and have wanted to go back and explore more in the Hurricane Hill/Deer Park area where there are higher altitude hiking trails, the only ones that can be accessed without overnight backpacking. The weather was perfect, but a different sort of human pathology foiled our plans. The night we arrived in Port Angeles, the Olympic National Park website posted a closure alert due to police action. The closure continued for the three days we were in the area, so each day we found alternative hikes.

Location map...

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Driving north on 101 toward the Olympic Mountains – great weather ahead!

Port Angeles

Our hotel on the hill right above the center of town had an expansive view across the harbor, all the way to Victoria and the San Juan Islands. Port Angeles is home to the ferry to Victoria, BC. On previous visits, long lineups of vehicles filled the ferry loading zone at the dock, while people waiting to cross filled the town with activity. The ferry has been closed due to Covid since March of 2020. The town felt eerily quiet  as we walked along the waterfront, admiring the beautiful setting and the shipping activity in the harbor.

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View across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mt Baker poking above the marine layer

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Another view of Mt Baker beyond the ship

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Hotel balcony view across Port Angeles Harbor to Vancouver Island

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Stairs down to town

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Evening lights

Sol Duc Falls

Monday, August 30th – A short trail leads to a beautiful triple falls.

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Sol Duc Falls

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We explored the river above the waterfall.

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American dipper on the rocks.

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Calmer water

We continued farther up the Sol Duc Trail to extend our hike.

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Shelter near Sol Duc Falls

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Trail beyond the waterfall…

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Corydalis

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The blue bead berries of the Queen’s cup or bead lily

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Vanilla leaf

Ediz Hook

In the afternoon, we drove out onto Ediz Hook, the long jetty that shelters Port Angeles Harbor from the Salish Sea. There are beaches on both north and south sides of the jetty, and a Coast Guard Station at its far end.

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Looking north toward Canada…

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and westward from the north shore of the jetty.

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A seal in the Salish Sea

We walked along the south shore of the jetty, looking back to land:

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Southeast to the Coast Guard Station,

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South to Port Angeles and the Olympic Mountains,

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Southwest to the mountains and harbor industrial buildings.

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Seagull on the north shore

Striped Peak

Tuesday, August 31 – We found an interesting hike at nearby Salt Creek Recreation Area on the Washington Trails Association website. This was a 7 mile hike through beautiful forest and not so beautiful clearcuts, with a visit to a lovely beach cove near the end of the loop. 

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Trail map

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We began in the forest, hiking up almost 1000 feet to the top of Striped Peak.

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We passed military bunkers from WW2 along the ridge, similar to bunkers we saw in Cornwall a few years ago.

A trail around the peak leads to views in all directions:

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Crescent Beach to the west,

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Olympic Mountains to the south,

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Vancouver Island to the north,

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Port Angeles, and our trail through the clearcuts to the east, taken from a bench near the top of Striped Peak.

As we walked more than a mile through the clearcut, we could look back and see the top of Striped Peak.

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Eventually, the trail reentered the green forest, and we made our way back along the coastal cliffs .