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.

Columbia Hills, WA, Tryon Creek, OR, and some Brioche Knitting

Crawford Oaks 4/4/2019

We had to drive 75 miles east to the Columbia Hills to find a dry hike this weekend. We started up the road to Eight Mile Falls, then continued on the Vista Loop. It was a bit late for grass widows and yellow bells, and a bit early for full balsamroot display, so we had a bit of each, on a windless day. A lovely hike, and pretty easy, compared to when we hiked here about a year ago and I was less than two months post surgery. Next spring, we will attempt this hike a few weeks later to get the full balsamroot experience.

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Bird welcoming us to the trail.

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The graphic showing the depth of the Missoula Floods here always impresses me.

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Eight Mile Falls

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Looking back west toward the river and Horsethief Butte.

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One of the scattered early blooming balsamroots.

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View to the west, toward The Dalles

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View to the east toward Biggs

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Looking north to the Columbia Hills

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One swale of shooting stars – first of the season

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A blue jay near the trailhead

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Last look at Horsethief Butte

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Hike #15, 5 miles/1000 feet

The wildflower suite:

Sunday dash around Tryon Creek to see the Trillium

4/7/2019   A rainy weekend in Portland, a weather window, so we went:

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Trillium in swathes in the woodlands, and individually along the trail.

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After a weekend of rain, some flowers were becoming transparent

Other flowers included skunk cabbage in the bogs near the creek.

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Lots of water dripping, but we mostly avoided actual rain.

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cedar

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violets

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Oregon grape

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(Hike#16, 2.2 miles, 200 feet)

Knitting

Progress on the Vintage Prim hat, with brioche:

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I will just say that there has been frogging, and use of lifelines. I have even learned to fix one or two stitches, but a big fix is still beyond me with this technique. I do love how it looks!

Lewis River Waterfalls, a hat finish, and snow in Pdx

January 31, 2019  Moulton Falls, Bells Mountain trail, and Lucia Falls, Washington

Our first time hiking here. We have passed through on our way to Silver Star Mountain in the summer, and noted the crowds enjoying the swimming holes along the Lewis River near Battleground, Washington. Today we stopped to see the waterfalls in the off season, and to hike up the nearby Bells Mountain trail for a view of Mt St Helens.

The rails to trails path along the Lewis River goes over this beautiful bridge, the East Fork High Bridge, which is apparently a popular jumping spot in summer.

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Downstream from the bridge.

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Upstream from the bridge.

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Looking down…

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My shadow self portrait.

Up the Bells Mountain trail – about 1000 feet up in 1.5 miles, so a good work out.

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Uphill through ferns and second growth forest…

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Until we cross a clear cut area, and the view to Mt St Helens opens up.

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Ice on the trail

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Lunch time view – across the Lewis River area to Mt St Helens.

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Passing Moulton Falls on the return hike

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Nearby Yacolt Falls

And Lucia Falls:

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Total for the day:  6.7 miles, 1100 feet, hike #7.

Knitting

I finished my Brioche Watch Cap, after having to buy an extra skein of Berocco Millifiore yarn, just in time for snow in Portland.

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Neighborhood, 2/5/2019

Snow…

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And a view of Mt St Helens and the Ross Island and Tilikum Crossing Bridges from the OHSU eighth floor waiting room. Latest follow up results are all good!

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1/29/2019

 

Silver Falls and Steigerwald

1/27/2019 Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, WA

A short walk on a foggy day with one of our sons.

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Ducks

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Swans

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Great Blue Heron near the bridge

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Ephemeral reflections

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Bald eagle pair watching over all.

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2.3 miles, hike #5 for 2019.

1/28/2019 Silver Falls, OR

Windy and cold in Portland, but warmer to the south. We drove to Silver Falls State Park in the Cascade foothills east of Salem, Oregon, where the North and South Forks of Silver Creek fall in steep drops or shorter cascades over ledges of volcanic rock. We hiked the Trail of Ten Falls, though we skipped one – so the Trail of Nine Falls. One or more waterfalls every mile of the seven mile loop keeps the trail interesting. Lots of water in the falls, compared to my last visit in August of 2017!

South Falls 177 ft

We started at South Falls, but skipped the path behind the falls as I didn’t want to start out the hike wet.

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South Falls from the upper viewpoint

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South Falls from the bridge.

Lower South Falls 93 ft

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Stairs down the cliff.

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Walking behind the falls.

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Dan on the left, emerging from behind the falls.

The trail follows the river, with occasional bridge crossings.

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Lower North Falls 30 ft

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Double Falls 178 ft

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Drake Falls 27 ft

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Named for the man who created the park.

Middle North Falls 106 ft

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North Falls 136 ft

The trail leads behind North Falls.

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Behind the falls.

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Looking back.

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And now we have to climb up out of the canyon.

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Looking back down at North Falls.

We did not walk the extra distance to Upper North Falls (65 ft), but followed the Rim Trail toward –

Winter Falls 134 ft

We only saw the upper lip of this one, though there is a trail down to the base.

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Winter Falls rim.

This was the last waterfall of the hike (7.0 miles, 1200 feet, hike #6 for 2019).

Wildlife

There was a ladybug picnic on one of the fence posts:

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Return to Angel’s Rest (18-53)

Angel’s Rest Trail, Oregon   November 24, 2018

A few trails in the Columbia River Gorge that have been closed since the September 2017 Eagle Creek Fire were reopened for the first time this past weekend. We went to Angel’s Rest on Saturday morning, along with hundreds of other local hikers. It was with care, scrutiny, appreciation, and gratitude that we made our way up 1500 feet to the iconic views over the gorge. The trail was in great shape, thanks to the many trail keepers who have worked on recovery.

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Into the woods

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Views of Cape Horn, the Columbia River and Phoca Rock emerge on the lower trail.

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Coopey Falls

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Angel’s Rest – our destination.

The trail begins to switchback up the front of Angel’s Rest.

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Burned tree trunks and open views line the trail.

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First view west toward the trailhead.

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Well repaired trail surface next to blackened trees.

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Blackened stump.

Nearing the top, the views unfold:

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To the west, from near the top.

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The Hilary Step of Angel’s Rest – leads to the ridge crest. Sometimes there is a line of hikers waiting to go up or down.

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From the top, looking toward the overlook where many rest.

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Open view west – toward Portland, Cape Horn in Washington and Phoca Rock.

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Open view east – toward Hamilton Mountain in Washington.

We wandered around on top for a while, admiring the view from various perspectives, and found a place to eat lunch.

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Closer view of Cape Horn in Washington.

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The bench is still there.

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We saw a single blooming white yarrow near our lunch stop.

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Yarrow

We headed down, stopping for a few more views along the way.

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Looking back toward the top, where the first views are seen.

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My shadow in the low November light.

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My favorite sculpted shoreline of the Columbia River.

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View through the rock piles.

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Seasonal berries

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Trees that are burned, dying, no longer evergreen.

Looking back as we hiked down:

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Where we were – and much more visible with all the undergrowth burned away.

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White berries lined this part of the trail – not sure what they are – possible snowberries, or the dreaded poison oak.

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Golden Hike of the year, #62, 5.2 miles, 1500 feet.

Look back:

I found a couple of comparison photos from previous hikes – this one in January of 2013:

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January 2013 – the white tree trunks are left from a fire in 1991.

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November 2018 – the white trunks are blackened, and the green trees are now dying.

A closer view:

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January 2013

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November 2018

An image taken in 2017 from Cape Horn looking over to today’s hike to Angel’s Rest.

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Angel’s Rest, October 2017, From Cape Horn, WA.

Pumpkin Pie

A lovely Thanksgiving dinner with a small gathering of family and friends.

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Knitting

Another round cloth. Some new sock and hat yarn acquired from my LYS on Black Friday.

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Jane Austen House Cross Stitch

I have been rather obsessively cross stitching in the evenings.

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Neighborhood

Leaves fully gone from the flame ash tree.

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Other Adventures

It has been about a year since I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. I had another trip through the MRI this week to evaluate the tumor surgery site, accompanied by a Joni Mitchell soundtrack in my head this time. Fortunately, all appears well. And I could see all three mountains from the OHSU tram view patio.

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Mt St Helens on the left; the top of Mt Adams just right of center on the horizon. Tillikum Bridge over the Willamette River on the right.

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Tillikum Bridge on the left; Mt Hood on the horizon – looking east from the OHSU tram patio.

Falls Creek Falls (18-42)

Falls Creek Falls Trail, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA     9/29/2018    (#54)

This trail provides fall foliage along Falls Creek, and an impressive waterfall at the terminus.

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Colorful vine maples at the trailhead

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Into the woods

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Over the first bridge

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Along the creek

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Over the upper bridge

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Around this turn we hear the falls

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Then look up and see the upper falls

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Middle and lower tiers (about 225 feet high) of Falls Creek Falls viewed from the end of the trail.

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Lower plunge pool

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Downstream view

After eating our lunch, we returned back down the trail,

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Through the vine maple corridor

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Under the big leaf maple canopy

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With a pause by the stream

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And another pause near the trailhead to play with the impressionistic reflections…

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We saw a variety of leaf displays…

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Vine maple – green

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Vine maple – turning orange

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Vine maple – orange

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Solomon seal, with berries

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Vine maple – red

My new identification for the day was Pacific dogwood without the distinctive white flowers. In the fall it has red leaves and red seed pod clusters.

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About 4 miles round trip and 800 feet.

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CRAFTING

I have made knitting progress on my Ivy Lace Cardigan and a round dishcloth.

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Fall Equinox, Indian Heaven, WA (18-41)

East Crater Trail, 9/23/18 (Hike #53)

Indian Heaven is a landscape of lakes, cinder cones, forests and meadows in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest southwest of Mt Adams. The Pacific Crest Trail runs right through the center of the Wilderness on its northward path through southern Washington state. There are abundant wild huckleberries in late summer. By fall, the huckleberry and other foliage display a vibrant spectrum of bright colors – reds, oranges, fuchsias, magentas, yellows, yellow oranges and yellow greens that stand out in sharp contrast to the forest and lake greens and browns, and the sky blue.

Last fall the Indian Heaven Wilderness was closed due to the East Crater Fire that occurred at the same time as the Eagle Creek Fire, so we are back this year after a 2 year absence.

Today we hiked the East Crater Trail to Junction Lake in the center of the wilderness area, then completed a loop that passed several lakes and followed the Pacific Crest Trail back south to Junction Lake.

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Red huckleberry bushes in the forest

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Layers of color

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Unnamed lake just east of East Crater – the burn from last year seen beyond and above.

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Top of East Crater

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Junction Lake

So much color in the meadows!

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Ripe huckleberries

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Amanita

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Dropping down to Lemei Lake where we had our lunch:

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Lunch view

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The southbound section of the Pacific Crest trail was more forested, with views through the trees of a couple of bigger lakes.

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Bear Lake

We passed Junction Lake again, then hiked back to the trailhead.

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Huckleberry and spirea

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Mountain Ash

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Huckleberry stump

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The last little lake on the trail out.

Our total for the day:  9.6 miles/1000 feet elevation.

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Panther Creek Falls

We made a quick stop on our drive home at this massive waterfall complex – there are three creeks that tumble together into the main branch of Panther Creek.

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Quilting

I went to the Northwest Quilt Expo in Portland and purchased some fabric for my next quilt project:

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Late Summer Adventures, Part 2 – Crater Lake and the Obsidian Trail (18-39)

Crater Lake 9/12/2018

We left Boardman to drive to Sisters, Oregon for another few days of hiking. The webcams at Crater Lake National Park showed the smoke haze had mostly lifted, so we added a side trip to see Crater Lake.

We had been to Crater Lake about 20 years ago, but our visit that summer was early in the season and there was too much snow to do much more than admire the view from the one small area that was accessible. It has been a goal to return and hike down to the lake, take the boat to Wizard Island, and hike to the many viewpoints around the lake. We were foiled again this year by the extremely bad air quality that was present during the time we had planned, but at least we got to see the views on a nearly clear day and admire the absolutely blue water.

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Discovery Point – first view of the lake and a sign showing what Mt Mazama looked like before the eruption and collapse that created Crater Lake.

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Close view of Llao Rock; Mt Thielson in the distance.

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Wizard Island

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South view to Garfield Peak

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Wizard Island and Mt Scott beyond

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Crater at the top of Wizard Island

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The tropical blue water in the shallows around Wizard Island

Obsidian Trail 9/13/2018

We have stayed in Sisters, Oregon several times, but have yet to explore all of the trails in the area. This was our first time to hike in the Obsidian Area of the Three Sisters Wilderness (#50) (12 miles, 2000 feet).

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The first few miles are through forest, including part of the 2017 Milli Fire burn zone.

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Obsidian trail

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Bear Grass and huckleberry foliage

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Sims Butte through the Milli burn zone

At about 3.5 miles, the trail ascends over and through a lava flow, with views to the Obsidian Cliff and to North and Middle Sisters – though today the Sisters were hiding in clouds.

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Trail up the lava flow

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Obsidian Cliff with burned forest above

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Trail through the flow

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White Branch Creek on the other side

The trail continues up through forest, meadows and past interesting rock formations.

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Middle Sister in the clouds

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Late summer pasque flower meadow with Obsidian Cliffs beyond

Next we reached Obsidian Falls.

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Beyond the falls is a high basin with a spring and a pond between a craggy cliff and an Obsidian flow.

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A bubbling spring at the base of the cliff

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Another spring

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A pond

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Dan photographing the Obsidian flow

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Obsidian flow

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Closer view of the obsidian

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obsidian

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conchoidal fracture

Over the dividing ridge is another pond.

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We continued around the loop to cloud obscured views of North and Middle Sister, a good view of the Little Brother, and a view down to Glacier Creek.

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The Little Brother

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Glacier Creek, cloud obscured Sisters

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The Little Brother

The trail descends to Sunshine Meadow along White Branch Creek.

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Mt Washington and the Belknap Craters from the trail

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Huckleberry lined path to Sunshine Meadow

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The last magenta paintbrush in Sunshine Meadow

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and an obscured view of the Sisters

We continued down the Glacial Way, back over the lava flow

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Lava flow ahead

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Clearest view of the day of Middle and North Sisters

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Fall colors

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Collier Cone – a future destination.

and back through the burn zone to the trailhead,

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which, after twelve miles for the day, I was very glad to see.

Sparse but welcome wildflowers today:

 

Dee Wright Observatory

We had to drive over Makenzie Pass to return to the town of Sisters at the end of the day, so we stopped for a quick overview:

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Dee Wright Observatory

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Belknap Craters and Mt Washington to the north.

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Cloud covered North and Middle Sisters to the south.

Cascade Lakes Weekend & ‘Tour de Craft’/Week 2 (18-30)

We love hiking in the Three Sisters Wilderness area just west of Bend, Oregon, and so planned a weekend of hikes. Our daughter wanted to join Dan to hike to the top of South Sister, and one of our sons decided to join them at the last minute. Dan and I drove out Wednesday evening. The ‘kids’ joined us Thursday evening, then returned home after the Friday hike. It was hot everywhere, but we had some beautiful hikes through summer meadows.

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A weekend of GPS tracks.

Green Lakes    Thursday 7/19/2018  (Hike#42)

My choice for Thursday was to hike into the Green Lakes basin between South Sister and Broken Top. It is a lovely hike along Fall Creek. The first two miles are through partially shady forest, with numerous waterfalls and cataracts to look down upon.

Eventually South Sister comes into view above the trees.

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South Sister; true summit behind Hodge Crest.

The upper trail is bound to the west by a wall-like volcanic flow studded with large chunks of shiny obsidian that glint in the sunlight.

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After two switchbacks, the remainder of the trail is lined with blooming alpine riparian plants – so pleasant to walk along that I was able to ignore the sun and the gradual climb.

Once into the Green Lakes Basin, the looming Broken Top and a view of the Hodge Crest of South Sister, as well as a peek at the top of Middle Sister to the north, surround the stunning very cold Green Lakes.

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Broken Top beyond the southernmost Green Lake

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South Sister

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Just the top of Middle Sister on the right skyline

We rested in the shade for a while, first with a view of Broken Top,

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Lunch view of Broken Top

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Zooming in…

then with a view of South Sister. From this viewpoint we can only see the Hodge Crest, which is about 300 feet lower than the true summit.

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South Sister

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Zooming in

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Zooming in more

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Artsy view with tree roots

The meadow flowers that grow on the moraine-like surface of the Green Lakes basin showed me a couple of new flowers I hadn’t seen before.

So many flowers in the meadows:

And, for the first time, I spotted a floating rock (pumice) in the wild. We used to float pumice in Intro Geology labs many years ago. Of course it must be a common occurrence in this volcanic landscape where the surface is speckled with pumice stones, but this was a first sighting for me.

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Floating pumice in Green Lake, Broken Top beyond.

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Floating pumice rock

Critters: We saw a frog in one of the creeks, and Dan was photobombed by a butterfly he was trying to photograph:

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frog

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butterfly

We retraced our steps back to the trailhead. The total for the day, 9.2 miles/1200 feet was the longest I have hiked this spring. The elevation rise on this hike is very gradual, so I found I could manage. I am glad my body cooperated today after the fail last week. It was not quite as hot here, and there was a breeze that helped.

Spa Day/Dan and Brian climb South Sister 7/20/2018

Two of our children accompanied Dan up the grueling trail (5000 feet/12miles round trip) to the top of South Sister (elevation 10,358′). I hiked part of this trail in 2015 – about 4000 feet and ten miles of it. I got to the point where I was looking over at the top of Lewis Glacier, about 1000 feet below the summit.

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2015 – My view from my turnaround point, 1000 feet below the summit of South Sister

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2015 – Lewis Glacier on South Sister and view to Green Lakes basin below Broken Top

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2015- Zoomed in view to Green Lakes, where we hiked yesterday.

Emily went about half way up today, but her running injury to her calf caused her to turn back, and so I got to spend part of my down time at the hotel with her. The guys made at the top:

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Brian and Dan on the top of South Sister, 7/20/2018. Middle and North Sisters to the immediate north. Beyond are several Cascade Peaks: Mts Washington, Jefferson, Hood and Adams

Todd and Sparks Lakes 7/21/2018  (Hike#43)  

Today we took two leisurely flat hikes, for a total of 3.5 miles.

Todd Lake

We had never been to Todd Lake before – the challenge here on a summer Saturday is to nab a parking space, but we got one, so we wandered slowly around this sparkling gem, views alternating to the east side of Broken Top and the northwest side of Mt Bachelor above the forests and wildflower meadows. It really was a perfect little stroll along the lakeshore with a nice breeze to cut the heat.

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Broken Top across Todd Lake

Polliwogs were swimming along the lake shore.

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Wildflowers in abundance along the southern shore

This inlet had both magenta and red-orange paintbrush –

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Wide meadows on the west side of Todd Lake had swaths of elephant head that were mostly past bloom, lots of paintbrush, trickling streams lined with flowers, and views to Mt Bachelor.

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We ate lunch near a trickling inlet with views of Mt Bachelor

As we walked into the forested north shore trail, the wildflower suite changed a bit.

Back to the starting point of the loop, Broken Top is in view again.

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SPARKS LAKE

Then we drove down the dusty road to the Roy Atkeson Trail at Sparks Lake. We walked a short way down the trail to the stunning viewpoints across lava rock and the shallow lake to South Sister and Broken Top from a slightly different, southern vantage point.  Hotter here, and fewer flowers, but still a worthwhile visit.

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South Sister and Broken Top from Sparks Lake

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Dan, South Sister

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Broken Top

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The flowers:

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Dee Wright Observatory    7/22/2018

On our drive home on Sunday, we took a side trip to McKenzie Pass to this famous lookout in the lava fields between the Three Sisters and Mt Washington.  I love the expansive views and sere landscape.

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Dee Wright Observatory (2016 photo)

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History

There is also a short trail through the lava field here, with signage about the geologic history of the McKenzie Pass area.

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A lava stairway winds to the top of the observatory with panoramic views the whole way.

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2016 photo

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North and Middle Sisters

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Northward view

The shelter at the top is also a peak finder with windows framing the significant mountains.

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Window framing North Sister (September 2016)

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Historical plaque inside the shelter

The stairs continue to the upper viewing platform above the shelter to 360 degree views.

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2016 photo

The brass peak finder at the top provides reference points in every direction:

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North and Middle Sisters

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Closer view

Belknap Craters, Mts Washington and Jefferson and points north:

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We could actually see all the way to Mt Hood today  – a little white point over the shoulder of Mt Jefferson.

In 2015 we hiked to the Belknap Craters on a windy day.

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Belknap Craters

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Closer view of the where the trail goes through the lava field.

Black Crater, to the east:

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We have experienced sunsets, moonrises, wind and thunderstorms here, and spotted wildfires in the distance. Today, as we drove the 15 miles from Sisters, we passed through the blackened landscape from the Milli fire here last year.

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Black Crater 2018, with blackened forest on the flanks.

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Black Crater, September 2016, at sunset – note the shadow of the observatory in the foreground, and the green trees on the slopes in the background.

Tour de Craft

Tour de France is getting exciting this week – the cobblestones,  Alpine stages, and change of hands of the yellow jersey. I look forward to finishing this Welcome Blanket– just the binding to go – though our central Oregon trip has cut into my craft time.

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I knit about an inch on my Cornwall sock, and added few stitches into the roof of Jane Austen’s cross stitch house.

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Garden

We ate our first ripe tomatoes this week, and we have plenty of basil.

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Ripe tomatoes

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Cucumber flowers but no fruit

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First Rudbeckia bloom!