NZ2020: Day 6, Franz Josef Glacier

January 30, 2020 –

After our rainy drive yesterday, we were delighted to see the mountains above Franz Josef this morning.

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Blue sky and snow capped peaks, Franz Josef, New Zealand.

Franz Josef Glacier hike

We had an early start for our walk to the Franz Josef Glacier viewpoint. I remember thinking, as we walked up the Waiho Valley, that this was our best hike so far!

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Waiho River Valley

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The glacier is filling the valley on the left.

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The trail emerges from the forest at an overlook that marks the advanced position of the glacier in 1908.

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We still have a bit of a walk to get closer to the glacier.

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Zooming in on the glacier from the 1908 overlook.

We continued walking up the glaciated Franz Valley on sediment eroded from the mountains above.

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Haast Schists – beautiful metamorphic rocks!

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We reached the river crossing, and continued walking up the valley.

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A huge waterfall is gushing out of rocks below the glacier on the right – we can see the mist cloud from here.

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Jagged glacier surface

We passed waterfalls and beautiful, glacially polished schists in the valley walls.

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The last viewpoint is ahead, on the low hummocks.

We reached the end of the trail, the closest viewpoint, due to safety concerns.

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From here we can see the waterfall mist cloud, but not the waterfall. Helicopter tours were landing in front of the dark rocky area on the left side – they looked like ants from here.

The bare scraped rocks and talus piles were covered in colorful lichens and mosses.

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Turbulent water full of glacial dust in the outflow stream.

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View down the Waiho Valley from the upper endpoint of the trail.

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Last look back at the Franz Josef Glacier from the valley trail.

We continued walking on the local trail network to a couple of other viewpoints, first to Sentinal Rock.

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Franz Josef Glacier from Sentinal Rock.

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Winding Waiho River.

We continued on a short distance to Peter’s Pool.

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Reflections in Peter’s Pool

By the time we were leaving the area, the clouds had moved in again among the peaks. I’m glad we got an early start to our day! (Hike#6, 5 miles, 400 feet)

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Car park view: I love that this tour bus has kiwi-shaped grill openings.

Alpine Fault geology interlude. I loved learning about New Zealand geology on this trip. I didn’t research much before our travels. As the landscape unfurled before me, I enjoyed looking, learning and speculating. Now I am investigating in more detail as I process my photos and thoughts. I learned in Franz Josef that the giant, active Alpine Fault runs right through the center of town. The Alpine Fault is a major transcurrent fault and tectonic plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates. The Southern Alps are constantly rising along the fault zone that connects subduction zones to the north and south. The metamorphic rocks I saw along the Waiho River were deformed along the plate boundary.

On with our tour:

After our hike we continued south on Hwy 6, with much beautiful scenery ahead for the day. Our guide spotted and pointed out many recent land slips in the mountains, and we had several road repair delays. There had already been flooding this year, with more to come! But we didn’t know that yet.

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Lake Matheson

We stopped for a walk around Lake Matheson.

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Hike #7, 3 miles, 200 feet.

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New Zealand pigeon (kereru) posing near the trailhead.

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At this viewpoint, the Southern Alps may be seen reflected in the lake.

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We were not so lucky today – the clouds had moved in.

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It was a lovely hike, with beautiful lunchtime views of the lake, and interesting foliage to admire.

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Kidney ferns

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Lancewood

Knights Point

Farther south on Hwy 6, we stopped at this clifftop viewpoint over the Tasman Sea.

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Treeferns, lancewood and flax covered the coastal cliffs to the north.

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To the south we could see to a headland. When I zoomed in, I could see that some of the ‘rocks’ were actually Elephant seals.

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Elephant seals

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Ship Creek

The highway descended back to sea level. Our stop at Ship Creek was our last chance to walk on a West Coast beach before we turned east to cross the mountains at Haast Pass. We climbed up the Observation Tower for a wide view, then spent a little time on the beach.

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View of the beach from the Observation Tower.

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View inland from the tower.

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Sand dunes

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Beach boardwalk, going north.

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Pebbly shingled beach – great skipping stones!

Onward! Our views were diminished by clouds as we headed east into the mountains.

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Driving view as we cross over the Haast River on the longest one lane bridge in New Zealand .

 

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In Haast Pass, where rivers change direction.

We made a brief stop in Mt Aspiring National Park to see Thunder Creek Falls.

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Thunder Creek Falls

Our overnight destination was a lodge at Makarora.

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Evening sky above Makarora.

We would be headed to Lake Wanaka tomorrow.

Note: The most difficult thing about these posts is paring down the photos. I love to remember every view!

 

NZ 2020: Day 3, Christchurch to Punakaiki

January 27, 2020

Our guide picked us up in the morning in Christchurch to begin a two week guided hiking tour of the South Island of New Zealand.  The agenda for the first day was to cross the Southern Alps at Arthur’s Pass, and to arrive in Punakaiki on the West Coast by the end of the day.

Image 3-22-20 at 11.10 PMThe South Island is about 500 miles long, and 150ish miles wide, with steep mountains along the west coast. The mountains create a rain shadow for the eastern part of the island. We were on our way to experience the rain forests and wetter climate of the west coast.

Castle Hill

Our first hiking stop was Castle Hill. We walked up the hill and through the maze of giant, weirdly eroded limestone boulders and knobs that standout in the landscape.

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We learned early on that most of the wildflowers we would see are non-native, and considered weeds. (“If it’s pretty it’s a pest!”) The national effort to remove alien wildlife, both plants and animals, was an ongoing theme during our trip.

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Wandering among the limestone boulders.

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View back to the car park.

Hike #2 of 2020, 2.2 miles, 150 feet.

Arthur’s Pass National Park

We could see we were headed for clouds and rain as we continued west toward the mountains.

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We stopped to look at the Waimakariri River, one of the largest of many broad, braided glacial outwash rivers that cross the eastern plains of the South Island.

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Waimakariri River

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We made a quick stop to view Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, 131 meters high.

Rain began as we drove through Arthur’s Pass.

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One of many road preservation structures and roadworks we would see in this geologically active country.

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Rata tree blooms – these are native!

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Quintessential New Zealand green pastures with sheep and cows.

We reached the west coast near Kumara, then headed north to Punakaiki, admiring the beautiful beaches and lush green, misty slopes along the way. It had been a lovely first day of our tour.

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Driving north along the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

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West coast sun, clouds and beaches!

Trip note: Our tour was with the New Zealand company Active Adventures. I have only good things to say about our experience with them. Amazingly, because of some last minute changes, we were the only two people on the first five days of our tour. We had been expecting up to twelve people, and instead we had a private tour, with an entire small bus and guide to ourselves. This is the first time we have taken this type of tour, and we were not sure what to expect, but we soon became good friends with our guide. We appreciated being able to simply enjoy the adventure without worrying about  the logistics of meals and lodging, or the left-sided driving.  As the trip went on, there were challenges from the weather, and we were very glad that our local, experienced guides could nimbly create alternative itineraries – more about that later.

Tomorrow we would explore the landscape around Punakaiki.

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.

Christmas Eve at Dry Creek Falls, and knitted ornaments

December 24, 2019, Cascade Locks, Oregon

A foggy day – a good time to head into the forest. The trailhead park at the Bridge of the Gods was decorated for the holidays. We hiked in the other direction, south on the Pacific Crest Trail, and up hill away from the Columbia River. It is about 2.5 miles to this lovely waterfall that pours over a columnar basalt cliff. We had it to ourselves for lunch and a photo session. Then back down the trail, back to town, to finish up some elf work.

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Bridge of the Gods trailhead

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Into the foggy forest that is scarred by the 2017 fire.

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Dry Creek just below the waterfall.

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Dry Creek Falls

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Closer views:

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Still foggy on the cliffs as we drive home.

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Hike #58, 5.5 miles, 1050 feet

Back home, I baked a few cookies, wrapped a few presents, and constantly rechecked the airline website as our daughter’s flight from DC was on a long delay. She eventually arrived about 1 am. Her visit for the week is the best present!

Knitted ornaments

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I made a little acorn for my friend’s tree – a last minute project. I collected the acorn caps last year after seeing some knitted acorns on Ravelry. It was a very quick project, using a bit of scrap yarn.

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A knitting group friend gave us all ornaments that were knitted by a mouse.

 

Tamawanas Falls, OR

November 10, 2019

I returned to this popular trail on the east side of Mt Hood with some trepidation, and conquered my fear. The last time I was here, in January of 2016, on snowshoes, my husband slipped over a cornice edge on the trail. He was rescued by some passing snowshoers, but then one of the rescuers slipped all the way down to the riverbank, and had to be rescued by Search and Rescue. I have avoided the trail ever since, even though it is not hazardous when snow free. I do love this trail – I saw my first Columbia Windflowers here one spring, and have enjoyed the hike many times. This day we were late for full fall colors, but saw yellow larches amid the evergreens.  (Hike#52, 5 miles, 800 feet)

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East Fork of Hood River, near the trailhead.

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First view of Tamanawas Falls.

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Lunch view, from the island in Cold Spring Creek at the base of the falls.

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We explored a bit higher on side trail to Elk Meadows, and have plans to go farther in the future.

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Yellow larches.

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Mt Hood from Highway 35 in the afternoon.

Knitting

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I finished the Spiral Cowl, and this biography of Edith Nesbit, a favorite children’s author.

Silver Falls again, knitting update, and the last of the Halloween witches

Silver Falls Loop Trail, November 1, 2019

Some fall colors still about, some frost in the canyon. Always lovely at Silver Fall State Park, Oregon. (Hike #51, 5 miles, 700 feet)

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South Falls

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Lower South Falls

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View from behind Lower South Falls

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Double Falls

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Middle North Falls

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Winter Falls

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Frost

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Knitting

I have knit past the joining on the Meris Cardigan, and the fit is good. The rows are long, so I will be at this for a while, knitting down the body.

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I also finished a striped dish cloth,

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and made progress on the Spiral Cowl.

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The last witches of Halloween

 

Finally some knitting! And two new hikes…

Flyway Twist Shawl

This shawl has been delivered to it’s recipient, so I am happy to share the pictures! The solid yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Reflecting Pool colorway. The real star of the show is the Fully Spun colorful gradient called ‘Voices in My Head’. It was fascinating to knit with the gradient, watching the colors emerge and play against the teal backdrop. The brioche section in the middle adds variety to both the look and the knitting experience. The pattern is by Veera Valimaki, and is easily obtained on Ravelry.

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Salmon River Trail 8/12/2019

We hiked with friends on a flat easy trail where we could enjoy a shady beautiful setting with lots of time to chat. This was my first time hiking this trail, near Welches on Mt Hood, and I can see why it is often recommended.

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Salmon River from the trail.

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Hike #39 – 4 miles/200 feet

Cheater hike on the Timberline Trail, Mt Hood Meadows 8/15/2019

I would like to walk all of the 40 mile Timberline Trail around Mt Hood. This is a section I hadn’t done yet.  We rode the Mt Hood Meadows chair lift up 700 feet of elevation (thus, cheating) then began walking north along the trail, as far as Clark Creek. Beautiful flowers, creek crossings and wildflower meadows along the way.

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Our cheating enabler – the Stadium Lift

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Looking back as we silently rise – Mt Jefferson and a hint of the Sisters.

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Aster and goldenrod meadows along the Timberline Trail.

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Several small, easily crossed creeks along the trail.

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We eventually reached views of ‘Pea Gravel Ridge’, a glacial moraine just beyond Clark Creek.

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Pea Gravel Ridge

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Downstream view of a branch of Clark Creek.

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Upstream view toward a waterfall on Clark Creek.

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Mt Hood, summer view

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Glaciers

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We then retraced our steps and walked south along the Timberline Trail until it began to descend through the woods to the White River crossing – we’ll save that for another day. We passed through beautiful meadows, under ever-present ski infrastructure and views of the mountain. We walked the mile and a half and 700 feet down to the trailhead instead of going back to the chairlift, so we only ‘cheated’ one way.

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Clark Creek

 

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Asters, paintbrush, goldenrod, false hellebore, with ski lift.

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Mt Jefferson, and a very hazy view of the Three Sisters from the trail.

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Tall cotton grass, aptly named, in this moist meadow.

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The Timberline Trail continues down through the forest to White River, but we turned back.

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GPS track (with some wandering points). Hike #40, 6 miles/1000 feet.

New or notable flowers:

A few days in Paradise…

Mt Rainier National Park, August 5 – 9, 2019

For my birthday my dear husband planned a visit to Paradise at the height of wildflower season. We stayed in the newly refurbished Paradise Inn, authentically both rustic and lavish, perched at 5420 feet above sea level, and 8990 feet below the top of Mt. Rainier. We hiked many trails in the area from Monday evening to Friday morning, alternately focusing on the incredible wildflower blooms at our feet, and the massive  glaciers looming above us on the slopes of this active volcano. We had sunny days – it was almost too warm on the shadeless trails above timberline. On Thursday the clouds rolled in below us, and we watched their flowing patterns throughout the day. I took more than 700 photos on three long and four shorter hikes. My knees and toes held out admirably. We mostly ate out of our ice chest and suitcase pantry, but had one lovely meal at the restaurant. There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonder – but John Muir’s words, carved into the stairs leading to the mountain from the Visitor’s Center, come close.

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Paradise Inn

We were lucky to have a room with a view of the Tatoosh Range, immediately to the south.

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Looking down from the trail at Paradise Inn and the Tatoosh Range.

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Sunset view from our window.

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Paradise Inn and Mt Rainier from Paradise Valley Road.

Hiking Highlights:

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Hikes #34 -38, 28.8 miles, 4520 feet

August 5th – Alta Vista – An evening walk with picnic dinner at this amazing viewpoint:

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Mt Rainier

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Across Paradise Park, preview of the Golden Gate Trail.

August 6 – Pebble Creek and Panorama Point via Golden Gate and Skyline Trails

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Edith Creek in Paradise Park

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Tatoosh Range from the Golden Gate trail.

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The lower humps in front of Mt Rainier are our destination.

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Snow and pasque flowers along the Skyline trail.

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Tiny people on the overlooks ahead.

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A peek over the ridge to the barren, recently glaciated valley to the east, where the Paradise Glaciers have receded.

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Lunch view, below us – Panorama Point, Paradise Park and Inn, Tatoosh Range.

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Nisqually River and highway bridge.

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Our high point – Pebble Creek. People planning to summit the mountain will camp at the Muir Snowfield on the high ridge above.

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Mt Rainier from Pebble Creek crossing.

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Looking down on the anastomosing trail system above Paradise Inn.

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We walked to Myrtle Falls in the evening.

August 7 – Lakes Loop – We hiked downhill from Paradise Inn, past Reflection Lakes, then back up to the Skyline Trail. The ranger assured us the wildflowers along the return hike were incredible, and that was an understatement!

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Another morning in Paradise!

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Our reflections in a stream crossing.

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Small waterfall along the way, in the shady forest.

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Reflection Lake, a little too much breeze for the reflection today.

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Hiking back up – lunch view of Reflection Lakes and Stevens Canyon from Faraway Rock.

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Small reflective lake along the trail.

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As we entered the meadows along the ridge, the wildflowers were stunning,

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and continued to be so for a couple of miles!

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I am out of words to describe amazing wildflowers at this point, but they do help to pull me along the trail when I get tired.

August 8 – Deadhorse, Glacier Moraine and Glacier Vista trails – This was a lower mileage, less elevation day. We found a bit of solitude on the Glacier Moraine trail, and more amazing flowers, including some marshy, wetland species we hadn’t seen yet.

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The clouds rolled in overnight, and stayed all day at about 5000 feet, so we hiked above the clouds most of the day.

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Mt Rainier had a few cloud caps coming and going.

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Lush stream meadows along the Deadhorse Trail.

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The Glacier Moraine trail leads to a viewpoint on the Nisqually Glacier Moraine.

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Neon moss, monkey flowers, saxifrage, etc. along the damp slopes.

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We are headed to the lip of the moraine.

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Panorama of my view – can’t begin to take it all in!

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I am sitting on the edge of the moraine, overlooking the Nisqually Glacier.

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Dan taking the above photo of me as the fog creeps up the Nisqually Valley beyond him.

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The fog stayed at about that level all day.

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Zoomed view of Stevens Peak in the Tatoosh Range, and the Goat Rocks beyond.

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After dinner we walked the Nisqually Vista trail.

August 9 – Christine Falls – On our way out of the park on Friday morning, we took the short hike to the bridge over Christine Falls.

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Christine Falls

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Longmire.

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Old gas pumps at the Longmire Visitor’s Center

Glacier Closeups:

Nisqually Glacier – a river of ice.

Waterfalls:

Top of the Mountain:

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Wildlife

We saw several marmots, deer, and various birds as well as the usual marauding chipmunks.

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Marmot eating marsh marigolds near the top of the Gold Gate trail.

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Marmot at a stream crossing on the Glacier Moraine trail, dwarfed by the Mountain above.

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Marmot, Mt Rainier

New or notable Wildflowers

So many flowers! I tried to note all that I could identify – at least 65 different types, but I am no expert in discerning the many varieties of some of these:

In all this was a fabulous trip! We had nearly clear views of Mt Rainier during our entire stay. We didn’t move our car all week. No internet or cell service away from the Visito’s Center. I am so appreciative of the National Park Service, and laws that preserve our national treasures such as Mt Rainier!

And a brief Look Back…

In 1995, when our boys were two and six years old, we spent a long September weekend with my Mom at Paradise. She loved the mountains, and this was her first chance to visit Mt Rainier. She was 71 years old, and not in hiking shape of late, so was proud of herself to make the three mile hike to Glacier Vista overlook, helping to guide our two young ones more than 1000 feet up the trail. This was a couple of years before macular degeneration, and then later, ALS. I thank her for taking us hiking and camping in our youth, even after our father died and she was on her own with nine children. I remember her naming the flowers – paintbrush and lupine and aster, in Tuolumne Meadows. She was a wonder woman, and I wish she was here to wish her a Happy 95th Birthday today! I hope there is chocolate cake on the other side!

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Someone turned on the waterfall! June Lake and Chocolate Falls, Mt St Helens, July 4th, 2019

We went with good friends to the June Lake Trail northeast of Cougar, Washington, on the south side of Mt St Helens. Image 7-4-19 at 10.33 PMThe walk to the lake is easy, with flowers blooming along the way, and magical mirror reflections at the lake.

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June Lake

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Mirror reflections

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View to the waterfall across the lake.

In February 2016 we snowshoed to this spot – a couple of comparison look back views:

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June Lake and waterfall, July 4, 2019

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June Lake and waterfall, February 20, 2016

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July 2019

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February 2016

Today we continued beyond June Lake, up a steep ridge, to the Loowit (around the mountain) Trail, and walked east for a ways.

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Beargrass blooming at the edge of a lava flow along the trail.

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Large trees

We turned back west to visit the elusive Chocolate Falls. Our well traveled companion had never ‘seen’ the waterfall, although he had been there a few times. We arrived at the horseshoe shaped cliff, but there was no waterfall.

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Dry lip of Chocolate Falls, 2:44 pm.

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The waterfall is now “on”, 2:46 pm.

Then some nearby hikers noticed water beginning to flow in the channel above the cliff, and lo and behold, a couple of minutes later, water was plunging over the cliff through a well-worn, polished slot in the cliff edge.

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Looking upstream at the channel.

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Narrow but steady stream of Chocolate Falls

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Looking down at the polished slot at the lip of Chocolate Falls.

The snow fields on the mountain above had warmed enough to send fresh meltwater down the channel. Apparently this is a documented phenomenon here. To us it was a surprise, like a rainbow or a special wildlife sighting – a serendipitous moment of grace and beauty.

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Mt St Helens remained slightly cloud covered, with partial views. The temperature was perfect. Our plan to take the loop trail back to June Lake for the return hike also offered a ‘surprise’. This connector trail is really only a good option in the winter, on snowshoes or skis, when the lava flow boulderfields are snow covered. It took us almost an hour to navigate the half mile connecting trail, and we were very happy not to have twisted an ankle or knee in the process.

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Picking our way across the lava flow.

The unexpected elements, the waterfall and the boulder field, added to our adventures on a day suited to celebrating our nation’s commitment to protecting our wilderness areas! (Hike #30, 7.5 miles, 1500 feet)

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Mt St Helens from the south.

New or notable wildflowers today:

Knitting:

I have seamed and added the top edging to Le Petit Sac, and knit the icord strap.

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

 

Crater Lake – April 19, 2019

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

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First view of Crater Lake from Rim Village

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Panorama shot

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We were heading toward The Watchman for our destination.

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Stopping for views along the way.

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Mt Shasta to the south, in California

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Mt McLoughlin

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Panorama view at our lunch stop

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Perfect view of Wizard Island

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Closer view of the crater on Wizard Island,

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the trees,

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and the curvy shoreline of the lake.

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

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

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Rim Village buildings under snow.

(Hike#17/ 5.6 miles/ 600 feet)

Rogue River/Mill Creek Waterfalls – April 20, 2019

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

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Pearsony Falls

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Avenue of the Boulders

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Avenue of the Boulders highway bridge

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Lip of Mill Creek Falls

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Lip of Mill Creek Falls, lunch stop

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Mill Creek Falls and Rogue River

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Madrone trees along the trail

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

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Looking down the Avenue of the Boulders from the bridge.

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Perspective exercise

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

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Mill Creek Falls

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Closer view of Mill Creek Falls

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

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Barr Creek Falls

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

Calypso Orchid

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Trillium

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Snow queen

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Pioneer violet

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Oregon grape

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Manzanita

 

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Lungwort lichen

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Lungwort lichen

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Mosses

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

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Upstream view of the Rogue River

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Downstream view of the Rogue River

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Rogue River flowing over the top of the lava tube

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

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The bridge to the Natural Bridge

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Group shadow portrait

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Lizard

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

Lower Table Rock – 4/21/2019

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

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Lower Table Rock – our destination

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Swales of rosy plectritis and buttercup meadows

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Oak tree

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

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

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

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

Tolmie’s Mariposa Lily, also called cat ears –

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

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

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

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

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Crags at our lunch stop.

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

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Rogue River valley

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Rogue River below

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The top of Mt McLoughlin emerging from the clouds

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Location map

(Hike#19/ 5.1 miles/ 750 feet)

Weekend parting shots:

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The Cabin

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Nearby farm with grazing elk and Mt McLoughlin at sunset

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Elk

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Mt McLoughlin

The Knitting

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