Early June, 2022

The sun came out for a few days, and the roses finally bloomed, seemingly all at once.

Hiking: We hiked twice on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, where wild flowers are also blooming late this year.

June 1 – Hardy Ridge – We found some of the earliest blooming wildflowers on top of Hardy Ridge (8.2 miles, 2100 feet).

DSC00430

Fading trillium

DSC00431

Oregon anemones

DSC00447

Glacier lilies

IMG_5861

Eastward view toward Table Mountain.

DSC00433

Phlox Point, and plenty of black flies photobombing us.

DSC00425

Blue jay near our lunch stop.

DSC00445

Looking south toward Oregon on our return hike. Service berry bushes in bloom.

June 7 – Cape Horn – We started in the middle, at the Strunk Road Trailhead, since the full loop is not open this time of year. We were hoping to see the tall larkspur, which can be profuse along this trial.

DSC00452

Lupine blooming in reclaimed fields along the trail to the Nancy Russell Overlook.

DSC00506

Cow parsley also in full bloom.

DSC00458

Tall ferns unfurling

DSC00459

Tall ferns

DSC00505

And we found the larkspur!

IMG_5884

Larkspur blooming all along the trail…

DSC00470

More larkspur…

DSC00471

Also, candy flower and buttercups.

DSC00466

More buttercups.

DSC00495

Maple trees were leafing out.

DSC00493

Avens at the Hwy 14 underpass.

DSC00489

We made our way to the Lower Oak Overlook, where the trail is closed for falcon nesting season. The river viewpoints were very windy, but it was calm and protected in the forest. We retraced our steps, back up the larkspur lined trail, for a 4 mile, 650 foot hike for the day. Lovely!

Knitting – I finished my June gnome for the ‘Year of Gnomes’, and made progress on socks, a hat and a sweater…

IMG_5680

June Jester Gnome, Oh, Gnome, You Didn’t pattern by Sarah Schira

IMG_5697

Side view, with jingle bells and pockets.

IMG_5653

I was inspired by a Cirque du Soleil show from 20 years ago, and some other knitters’ Mardi Gras interpretations of the pattern.

IMG_5895

Works in progress.

And spent much time preparing for our overseas adventure to Scotland and Iceland… finally! Postoned and postponed and postponed again. I will report back!

Hiking in May 2022

Our four hikes in May were all repeat hikes for us, east out of the Portland rain, to see spring wildflowers in the Columbia River Gorge.

5/4 – Tom McCall Point

One of our favorite hikes (3.5 miles, 1000 feet) with wildflowers and mountain and river views.

DSC04731

Balsamroot and lupine on the lower plateau

DSC04764

Fern-leaf desert parsley and poison oak in Parsley Alley

DSC04786

Paintbrush and balsamroot all the way up the mountain

DSC04810

Chocolate lilies

DSC04812

View to Lyle and Rowena Crest

DSC04820

Mt Adams

DSC04835

View to the Cherry Orchard cliffs from the top of Tom McCall Point

DSC04852

And, a flock of American pelicans flying upriver…we’ve never seen that before!

5/10 – Bitterroot Trail at Catherine Creek

Another easy loop (3.5 miles, 800 feet), my favorite bitterroot flowers in bloom, and amazing views the whole way.

DSC04858

Bitterroot blooming on the rocky balds near the trail head.

DSC04857

Poppies and bachelor buttons along the road

DSC04880

Bitteroot, camas and monkey flowers near the fairy pools.

DSC04890

Bitterroot – Lewisia rediviva

DSC04931

Cluster lilies, orchards of Mosier

DSC04937

Meadowlark

DSC04960

Rosy plectritis and bitterroot

DSC04978

Upriver view at the Balsamroot cairn

DSC04983

Downriver view, giant anvil cloud southeast of Mt Hood

DSC05000

Top of Rowland Wall. I found that one giant cluster of bitterroot that I always look for.

DSC04999

Giant bitterroot cluster, not in bloom;

DSC05018

Another beautiful bitterroot cluster, in bloom.

5/13 – Weldon Wagon Road

A hike with friends along gorgeous slopes of blooming balsam root flowers (5 miles, 1200 feet).

DSC05020

Lower oak woodland

DSC05025

Western tanager flying near the balsamroot

DSC05034

The open slopes in bloom

DSC05038

Open slopes

DSC05043

Parsley and balsamroot

DSC05053

Flowery meadows along the trail

DSC05057

Lupine dew

DSC05060

Balsamroot

DSC05079

Dogwood in the lower forest

5/26 – Hamilton Mountain

This can be a more difficult loop hike (8 miles, and 2200 feet), but we chose to go just to the upper set of rocky switchbacks, then return the way we came (5 miles, 1550 feet). I got to see the smaller cousin of the bitterroot – Lewisia columbiana, on the upper cliffs just as the weather was starting to turn.

DSC00343

Lots of white flowers blooming in the forest

DSC00344

Equisetum (horsetail)

DSC00356

Rodney Falls

DSC00352

Pool of the Winds

DSC00376

View across the gorge from the Little Hamilton summit meadows

DSC00380

Larkspur, parsley, and chickweed blooming down the slope

DSC00370

Bonneville Dam and the eastern gorge

DSC00372

Hamilton Mountain- we are only going to the upper rocky switchback section, circled.

DSC00386

Most of the Lewisia columbiana was not blooming yet,

DSC00389

but there were some patches on a sunny cliff.

DSC00402

Chocolate lilies, phlox and parsley on the lower cliffs

We felt a smattering of rain as we hiked down, but managed to sneak this hike out from under the nose of the weather gods. The real rain didn’t start until we were on our way home.

Southwest hiking trip, April, 2022: Part 2 – Escalante, Utah

April 23, To Escalante, Utah

Escalante is about 5 hours drive east of Las Vegas, so we spent most of a day driving there, but it is a beautiful drive!

DSC03735

I thought this was a lake, in the desert along Highway 15 east of Las Vegas, but it is actually a large array of solar panels.

DSC03747

Snow capped Pine Valley Mountains on view as we cross into Utah.

We stopped for a lunch break with a family member who lives near St George, Utah.

DSC03749

View from the garden.

After lunch, we continued on to Cedar City to buy groceries for the next few days. Then we took the scenic route, Hwys 14 to 89 to 12, over mountains, and onto the Colorado Plateau, where the ‘lower’ elevations are above 5000 feet.

DSC03751

We passed the turnoff to Zion Canyon, not on our agenda this trip.

DSC03762

Over snowy mountains on Hwy 14,

DSC03786

Back down to the Sevier River, along Hwy 89.

DSC03790

Highway 12 deserves it’s scenic designation!

DSC03792

Hoodoos of the Claron Formation along the road near Bryce Canyon.

DSC03794

Everyone loves a rock tunnel!

Beyond Bryce, Powell Point of the famous Grand Staircase Pink Cliffs began to dominate our view.

DSC03803

Powell Point

We stopped at the overlook on Highway 12 to admire Powell Point from another angle.

DSC03808

View of Powell Point from the Hwy 12 Overlook.

DSC03805

Hwy 12 Overlook sign

IMG_5534

Our stratigraphic column for the week.

We arrived in Escalante around dinner time.

DSC03809

Escalante hotel room view – very different from Las Vegas!

Image 5-22-22 at 8.39 PM

Location map for our hikes and landmarks for the next few days.

April 24 – Toward Boulder and the Burr Trail

We began the day by driving east on Hwy 12 into this remarkable landscape:

IMG_5537

Lower Calf Creek Falls –  We hiked six miles round trip along Calf Creek, mostly between steep red sandstone walls of Navajo Sandstone. 

DSC03815

The trail begins near the campground, and stays close to the river most of the way.

DSC03818

Red sandstone walls loom above,

DSC03822

On both sides of the river.

DSC03834

Photogenic scenery in every direction.

DSC03845

DSC03847

Beaver dams in the river.

DSC03855

The paper trail guide pointed out pictographs across the canyon,

DSC03854

identified as Fremont-style rock art,

DSC03851

painted with red pigment.

DSC03865

A rock arch across the creek, where the canyon walls narrow.

DSC03871

At river level, the vegetation forms a tunnel,

DSC03873

and then the waterfall appears through the trees.

DSC03886

Lower Calf Creek Falls, 126 feet

DSC03880

Upper lip

DSC03890

Lower drop

This was a great lunch stop! We admired the falls for a while.

IMG_5546

Tripod nation

DSC03900

Upper lip again

DSC03913

After lunch, we returned down the sandy trail.

DSC03918

Desert varnish on sandstone

DSC03911

Spotted towhee

DSC03925

Navajo Sandstone

We continued driving east on Hwy 12, toward Boulder. We stopped at the pullout that is just above Calf Creek Falls, to see the view across the canyon.

DSC03936

Looking west

DSC03927

Our trail down in the canyon

DSC03931

Blue arrow points to the narrow part of the canyon, and approximate position of Lower Calf Creek Falls.

Long Canyon Slot – We continued east on Hwy 12, to the small town of Boulder, then turned onto Burr Trail Road for eleven miles, to the Long Canyon slot canyon. Once again, the road cut through amazing scenery. These white sandstone hills just outside Boulder remind me of Checkerboard Mesa, near Zion Canyon.

DSC03940

Navajo Sandstone

DSC03943

By the time we reached Long Canyon, we had driven lower into the stratigraphy to the older Wingate Formation, also a massive red sandstone layer. The slot canyon here is less than a quarter mile long and easily accessible. 

DSC03947

Wingate Formation

 

DSC03945

The slot

DSC03951

Slot entrance

DSC03952

Looking up at the sky between the walls

DSC03961

The end of the canyon

DSC03954

Much narrower above.

Head of the Rocks Viewpoint

On our drive back to Escalante, we stopped at the Head of the Rocks Viewpoint, with all the world displayed around us.

DSC03997

Head of the Rocks viewpoint

DSC04005

Panorama

DSC04007

Farther east

DSC04017

Close up of slick rock Navajo Sandstone surface

DSC04001

Navajo Mountain in the far distance

April 25 – Hole in the Rock Road

Zebra Slot Canyon – We drove down Hole in the Rock Road, south of Escalante, to the trailhead to Zebra Slot. This was another six mile round trip hike, first across open desert, then into canyons cut into Navajo Sandstone. For most of the hike we were admiring wall after wall of cross bedded sandstone.

DSC04018

Open desert and cliffs west of Hole in the Rock Road

DSC04029

A desert vetch in bloom

DSC04035DSC04041DSC04048

DSC04056

Slumping within the original sand dune layers

DSC04055

Closer view

DSC04059

Microfaulted crossbeds

DSC04063

DSC04075

Harris Wash

DSC04082

Entrance to Zebra Slot

DSC04095

Passage becoming narrower

DSC04094

An open chamber between narrow passages

DSC04122

Stripes of varnish and concretions

DSC00413

Squeezing through – we didn’t make it much farther – we would have had to chimney up the slot – a bit out of our skill set.

DSC04115

Some of the beautiful striping suggesting the Zebra name

DSC04123

Daylight above

DSC04129

Coming out of the slot

On the hike out, we wandered across the beautiful slick rock surfaces.

DSC04145DSC04146DSC04147DSC04149DSC04171DSC04177

Devil’s Garden – We continued down Hole in the Rock Road for a few more miles, to the Devil’s Garden – an area of hoodoos eroded from the Entrada Sandstone. We wandered around this area for about an hour enjoying the photo opportunities.

DSC04189DSC04199DSC04204DSC04210

DSC04211

Metate Arch

DSC04216

Metate Arch

DSC04224

Metate Arch

DSC04230

Mano Arch

DSC04239

More hoodoos in the distance

DSC04242

DSC04240

A rock wren?

DSC04257

DSC04258

Eroding sandstone layers

DSC04250

To Tropic – At the end of the day, we drove back west for about an hour, relocating to the town of Tropic, just east of Bryce Canyon, where my husband would be based for his photo class. And we still had a whole day to explore in this area.

DSC04273

View to Powell Point from our cabin in Tropic.

Coda:  When I was at Joshua tree in February, I was wondering if I still liked the desert, and this trip to the redrock country has answered that question. This is the desert I like…sandstone slickrock, slot canyons,  and cliffs – I realized it was the Colorado Plateau I was seeking. Each day, we noted trails and views we didn’t have time to explore, and made a list for next time…

Southwest hiking trip, April, 2022: Part 1 – Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

I accompanied my husband for a week of hiking before he attended a long delayed outdoor photography course in southern Utah. We began by flying to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the friend we planned to visit there had a last minute family emergency. And much as we wanted to see the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show, we were not ready to be with unmasked people indoors for that amount of time. So, we kept to our hotel, and to the great outdoors, of which there is plenty to go around in this part of the world!

April 21 – Flying to Las Vegas

DSC03472

Flying over Mt Jefferson on our way south…

DSC03492

And directly over Red Rock Canyon, with its beautifully displayed Keystone Thrust Fault (gray Paleozoic Limestone lying atop tan and red Mesozoic sandstones), where we would be hiking tomorrow.

DSC03501

We circled the Las Vegas strip before landing.

We could see the strip skyline from our hotel:

DSC03732

By day;

DSC03734

including the marquee for the show we wanted to see;

DSC03506

And by night.

April 22 – Red Rock Canyon

As we drove west toward Red Rock Canyon, we could see a storm coming in…

DSC03512

We began at the Visitor Center, which has excellent outdoor exhibits that explain every category of natural and human history of the area.

DSC03524

Sheepshead Peak and Calico Basin redrocks

DSC03542

Geology exhibit, storm clouds

DSC03520

Desert tortoise

DSC03535

Wildflowers, storm clouds

Then, instead of being allowed to drive the 13 mile one way scenic drive to trailheads and viewpoints, we were asked to leave, as they were evacuating the park. We assumed it was due to flash flood hazard. Fortunately we had noticed nearby Calico Basin Trailhead, which was not closed. We waited in our car as the brief storm passed through, then hiked the Calico Basin and Red Springs trails.

In Calico Basin, it was lovely to walk among the cross bedded sandstones and spring flowers, to a small canyon. I heard, for the first time in many years, the descending scale of the Canyon Wren song, though I never did see the bird.

DSC03555

Trailhead

DSC03557

Sheepshead Peak again, beyond Calico Basin

DSC03561

Paper daisy? Lots of new to me wildflowers on this trip.

DSC03562

Hedgehog cactus

DSC03565

Crossbedded sandstone

DSC03596DSC03597

DSC03603

Canyon at the end of the trail

DSC03609

White crowned sparrow?

As we walked the boardwalk around Red Springs, we saw more birds, flowers, and interesting rocks, all the while being serenaded by violin music from an ongoing wedding.

DSC03617

Red Springs

DSC03612

California Quail

DSC03621

Petroglyphs, orange globe mallow, white evening primrose

DSC03637

View back to Las Vegas from the ridge above Red Springs

DSC03643

View back into Calico Basin

We decided to check the park entrance again, and it had just reopened, so we drove the Scenic Loop, stopping for views at the High Point Overlook:

DSC03649

Toward the southeast, Calico Basin

DSC03652

Sheepshead Peak, Paleozoic limestone to the northeast

DSC03657

More Paleozoic limestone to the north

DSC03658

Northwestern slopes of Red Rock Canyon

DSC03647

Western slopes

Then we drove into the Willow Springs area, and took two short walks into the rocky landscape.

First, the Petrogyph Trail:

DSC03662

Trailhead

DSC03670

We spotted a pale pink penstemon in the wash.

DSC03677

Signage at the Petroglyph Wall

DSC03675

Pictographs

DSC03676

Petroglyphs

Next, we walked a labyrinthian maze to Lost Creek:

DSC03690

Trailhead

DSC03698

Around the tree, up the stairs,

DSC03700

Under the overhanging rock,

DSC03710

To a trickling waterfall at the end of the trail.

Finally, we stopped at Red Rock Wash Overlook for a last view of the area.

DSC03725

Late afternoon light over Sheepshead Peak and Calico Basin.

We enjoyed our day in this beautiful landscape; and were next looking forward to a few days of hiking in southern Utah.

DSC03522

Last words from the Visitor Center.

April 2022

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

IMG_5350

Checker lilies

IMG_5347

Tulips

FullSizeRender

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.

IMG_5401

Snow on the crabapple blossoms

IMG_5404

and tulips

IMG_5453

Hail and crabapple blossoms

IMG_5454

Sunny deluge

IMG_5455

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!

DSC03289

Eastern gorge, red poison oak beginning to leaf out.

DSC03288

Death camas in abundance throughout the lower plateau.

IMG_5383

Death camus

DSC03372

Mt Adams from the upper trail

DSC03354

Pink filaree carpeting the upper oak groves

DSC03379

View to the western gorge and early balsam root blooms.

DSC03401

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….

March, 2022

March was cold, rainy, windy, with a few sun breaks and early flowers:

We went on three repeat hikes:

Memaloose Hills – March 3rd:

DSC02654

Cold and windy at the Memaloose Overlook


DSC02652

Looking to the westward cliffs…


DSC02680

Zooming in on the blue heron rookery.


DSC02670

Chatfield Hill – mostly still dormant,


DSC02659

with a few yellow bells.


DSC02673

We tried a (new to us) side loop up the lower hill on the return hike.

White River with micro spikes – March 11th:

IMG_5183

Clouds wafted across Mt Hood throughout the hike.


IMG_5185

Our usual lunch spot – snow level is low!


DSC02712

Return hike – lenticular clouds forming…

DSC02705

The Labyrinth – March 16th:

DSC02714

Plenty of water in the Old Hwy. 8 waterfall; Mt Hood on the far horizon.


DSC02717

Slightly frozen grass widows.


DSC02721

Labyrinth waterfall


DSC02726

Yellow bells and buttercups


DSC02727

My favorite oak grove


DSC02745

Our guide Ponderosa


DSC02746

View from the guide tree


DSC02756

Early yellow parsley


DSC02761

The haunted tree

Knitting and sewing:

IMG_5171

Quilt for my new niece, born at the end of the month.


IMG_5249

New laptop sleeve.


IMG_5217

‘Brave Enough’ Hitchhiker – yarn by Knitted Wit, pattern by Martina Behm


IMG_5203

Gnome Pun Intended, pattern by Sara Schira, Year of Gnomes, scrap yarn.


IMG_5226

Ripples Make Waves hat for the Guild Service Project; pattern by Casapinka; Knit Picks Hawthorne yarn.


IMG_5192

I started a new pair of socks for travel knitting.

At the end of the month we flew to the east coast to visit family – that will be my next post. 

NZ2020: Day 15, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

February 8, 2020

After the beautiful evening views at Lake Ohau, clouds were hiding Aoraki/Mt Cook this morning. The wind was up, and Lake Ohau was a steel gray. We drove back around Ben Ohau and its landslip-streaked mountain face. Slight rain was in the forecast, but we pressed on to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

DSC07183

Lake Ohau in the morning

Image 1-27-22 at 3.27 PM

Our driving route to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

The road follows the shores of Lake Pukaki, up the Hooker Valley toward Aoraki/Mt Cook. We will hike the Sealy Tarns/ Mueller Hut Track, and stay the night at the Mt Cook Chalets.

DSC07223

A rainbow in Hooker Valley, as we approach Aoraki/Mt Cook Village

DSC07230

Trail map showing our location in orange.

Sealy Tarns Track / Mueller Hut Route

This trail is famous for having about 2000 stair steps up to the tarns. It is one of the hardest I have done, but somehow I keep my legs going up. I count steps in sets, counting up to one fewer number each time (20-19-18-17…), with planned breathing/rest stops between sets. There should be 210 steps per set, 10 sets in all…some of the steps are almost ladders. There are clouds blocking some of our views and spitting rain; cold wind, then warming sun.

DSC02054

Trail stairs

DSC07241

Looking down at the Kea Point Lookout on Lake Mueller (circled in blue). Beyond Lake Mueller is a huge moraine, then Hooker Lake.

DSC07245

Kea Point Lookout on Lake Mueller.

DSC07250

Looking toward the camp on Mt Sefton, circled in orange.

DSC07251

Zooming in on a tent at the foot of the glacier on Mt Sefton.

DSC07252

Looking back down Hooker Valley to where we started the hike.

When we arrive at the tarns, I feel surprisingly strong. We eat lunch at the picnic tables, take some pictures of glaciers, then decide to go higher.

DSC07260

Sealy Tarns

DSC07266

Glacier on Mt Sefton

DSC07263

crevasses

DSC07264

wildfire dust?

DSC07265

DSC07268

rockfall

DSC07270

The Mueller Route, going up beyond the tarns.

Above the tarns the track is rougher, a bit cliffy. I miss the stair steps here! We continue up the rocky, “choose your own adventure”, anastomosing trails, until I decide I can go up no more. We take in the view, eat a snack, then go down.

DSC07296

From our high point we had a good view of Hooker Lake, the terminus of Hooker Glacier, and Aoraki/Mt Cook, still in the clouds.

DSC07302

Closer look at Hooker Lake, and the Hooker Valley Trail

DSC07286

Ice bergs in Hooker Lake.

DSC07297

Looking south down the Hooker valley from our high point.

We saw a few flowers and some interesting flora along the trail.

We returned back down the 2000 murderous steps, knees and legs a little wobbly. On the way down, we stopped often to admire the views of the glaciers, lakes, moraines, and the unveiling summit plateau of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

DSC07322

Down the steps…

DSC07325

Another view of the terminus of Hooker Glacier

DSC07336

Close up of Hooker Glacier

DSC07327

The peak of Aoraki/Mt Cook, coming out of the clouds!

DSC07346

Closer views…

DSC07332

The curved southern edge

DSC07331

Northern slopes

DSC07345

So beautiful!

DSC02264

Aoraki/Mt Cook, completely unveiled by the time we reached the bottom of the trail!

DSC07352

and Mt Sefton, too!

We make our way back to the bus, and check into our room at the Mt Cook Chalets, having hiked about 6.5 miles and 2800 feet. But we are not done with the mountain yet! After dinner in the cafe, we relax in the lounge, where we can see the triple triangle face of Aoraki/Mt Cook glowing bright white, then pink with alpenglow, in the pinky blue cloud streaked sky. Phenomenal!

DSC07353

Lounge with a view…

DSC07357

Mt Sefton, Aoraki/Mt Cook

DSC07359

Aoraki/Mt Cook

DSC02304

Tomorrow we are going back to Christchurch – our last guided tour day. The next two weeks in New Zealand will be on our own – with many more adventures that I am excited to be reliving with these blog posts!

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.

Image 10-26-21 at 12.28 PM

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.

DSC00122

Lower Falls from the overlook

DSC00125

Closer view of the holes in the rocky platform

DSC00127

Fallen leaves near the downstream viewpoint

The Lower Falls were mesmerizing:

DSC00150

Lower Lewis River Falls

DSC00144DSC00142DSC00155

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

DSC00160

Lower Falls with a bit of fall color

DSC00168

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

DSC00175

Lunch rock

DSC00174

Rock hopper nearby

We continued upstream to the Middle Falls:

DSC00176

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

DSC00207

Middle Lewis River Falls

DSC00205

DSC00212

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

DSC00213

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

DSC00242

Copper Creek Falls

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

DSC00226

Upper Lewis River Falls

DSC00230

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

DSC00233

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.

DSC00244

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.

DSC00248

Lots of red huckleberry bushes along the trail.

DSC00276

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

DSC00319

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

The open meadows provide great views of Mt Adams:

DSC00286

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.

DSC00308

Trail junction/lunch stop

DSC00300

High Camp is somewhere up on this ridge

DSC00306

Sparkling snow

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

DSC00315

Clouds forming in the afternoon

DSC00332

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.

DSC00333

Mt Adams from Takhlakh Lake

DSC00345

Glacier close ups

DSC00349

Northern flank

DSC00367

An ice cave?

DSC00362

Adams Glacier

DSC00371

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.

DSC00381

Once again, our trail leads through red huckleberry foliage.

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

DSC00384

Mt Adams to the east

DSC00393

Goat Rocks to the northeast

DSC00398

Sawtooth Mtn, with Mt Rainier in the distance

DSC00392

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

DSC00401

Continuing south, we would pass near Lemei Rock.

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

DSC00404

Mountain Ash

DSC00412

Small lake

DSC00425

Mushroom

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

DSC00434DSC00437DSC00438DSC00455

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

DSC00465

Cultus Lake from the Deep Lake Trail

DSC00472

Deep Lake

DSC00475

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

DSC00487

Cultus Lake

DSC00499

Clear Lake

DSC00506

Back on the Pacific Crest Trail, northbound

DSC00504

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

DSC00510

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.

DSC00529

Sawtooth Mountain, from Bird Mountain

DSC00530

Mt Adams

DSC00534

Descending the scree slope – rougher trail in here

DSC00535

Seedheads

DSC00540

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.

IMG_1670

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.

DSC09105

Hiking down the glaciated columnar basalts to the lakes

DSC09107

Mountain ash, pearly everlasting, and clouds

DSC09110

Lower Bagley Lake, asters

DSC09227

Bridge across Upper Bagley Lake outlet

DSC09133

First we hiked partway around Upper Bagley Lake:

DSC09156

Small waterfall and late paintbrush along the trail

DSC09140

Huckleberry bushes turning red

DSC09158

Fringed grass of parnassus in abundance!

DSC09167

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:

DSC09182

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

DSC09191

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

We returned along the north shore of Lower Bagley Lake,

DSC09210

Columnar basalt waterfall

DSC09216

Cascade between the lakes

DSC09225

Pool above the cascade

DSC09233

Fireweed

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

DSC09243DSC09246

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.

DSC09249

Picture Lake

DSC09263

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.

DSC09277

Mt Baker from Artist Point

DSC09279

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

DSC09284

Trail along the cirque

DSC09291

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.

DSC09318

Hiking up the next cirque to the ridge.

DSC09322

Ptarmigan Ridge

DSC09324

Rock hopping bird

DSC09337

View along the Ptarmigan Ridge trail

DSC09342

Closer view of our next saddle

Once over that saddle, we hiked toward Coleman Pinnacle.

DSC09371

Coleman Pinnacle

DSC09375

DSC09383

Glacial striations

DSC09387

Hiking up the barren, glaciated surface.

We were high enough to look down on Goat Lake,

DSC09390

Goat Lake

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

DSC09395

Looking for the mountain

DSC09400

Mt Baker’s shoulder

DSC09412

Glacier close ups

DSC09413

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.

DSC09405

Lily and pasque flower

DSC09408

Lily and huckleberry

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

DSC09419

Another look at Goat Lake.

DSC09420

Goat Lake, a few people for scale.

DSC09421

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

DSC09444

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

Returning along Ptarmigan Ridge…

DSC09452

Partridge foot, Happy Bunny Butte

DSC09454

Trail across the western cirque toward the saddle at Table Mountain

DSC09464

Back along the eastern cirque, Mt Shuksan still under clouds

DSC09468

Marmot crossing

DSC09470

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:

DSC09489DSC09509

DSC09520

The peak

DSC09518

Glaciers

DSC09523

DSC09527

Tarn and trail between Huntoon Point and Mt Shuksan

DSC09546

More stunning reflections

DSC09583

DSC09595

Last look.

Mt Baker:

DSC09577

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

DSC09591DSC09597

September 14 – Chain of Lakes

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

DSC09605

Mt Baker

DSC09608

Mt Shuksan

DSC09611

Cascades to the north

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

DSC09616

Cirque trail

DSC09615

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

DSC09619

and the glaciers on Mt Baker

DSC09620DSC09622

DSC09626

Crossing the stone ledges in the cirque

DSC09627

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.

DSC09643

Ptarmigan Ridge trail

DSC09646

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…

DSC09666

Mazama Lake

DSC09675

Stream between Mazama and Iceberg Lakes

DSC09687

Iceberg Lake

DSC09694

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.

DSC09695

Hayes Lake and Table Mountain

DSC09698

Lunch spot view of Hayes and Arbuthnot Lakes

DSC09699

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.

DSC09704

Mushroom forest

DSC09709

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.

DSC09715

DSC09716

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.

DSC09720

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

DSC09777

DSC09722

We continued on wooden boardwalks through the woods,

DSC09725

with views to grassy lowlands.

DSC09731

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

DSC09732DSC09736

DSC09743

and I spotted a hummingbird.

DSC09745

After passing the barn,

DSC09747

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

DSC09749

and spotted another heron.

DSC09756

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

DSC09759

but decided to turn around for the day,

DSC09752

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

DSC09769

We will return!

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

More hiking in August, 2021: a witch’s castle, an artesian spring, and waterfalls

In addition to our walk at Nehalem Bay earlier in the month, we hiked three other days in August before going on our trip to the Olympic Mountains at the end of the month.

8-17-2021 – Wildwood Trail/Witches Castle

We added another 2 miles to our section hike of the Wildwood Trail.

IMG_1653

A five mile loop – Wildwood Trail to Birch Trail to Holman Lane

DSC08275

The forest was dry and dusty today

DSC08278

Balch Creek

This segment of the Wildwood Trail passes by the “Witches Castle”, formerly a visitor center, now a destination for various graffiti artists and partiers, and a colorful landmark in the green forest.

DSC08280DSC08296DSC08285DSC08301DSC08302DSC08290DSC08303

Meanwhile, in the forest, harbingers of fall in the maple trees….

DSC08294DSC08292DSC08277

We only have 5 miles remaining in our pandemic thru hike.

8-22-2021 – Dry Creek Falls

We returned to this short hike in the gorge with our visiting  daughter. And I noted that, while we were not in Iceland, we were looking at a waterfall and columnar basalts…

DSC08313

Dry Creek

DSC08322

Dry Creek Falls

DSC08323

DSC08324

Columnar basalts

DSC08325

Columnar basalts, vine maples and cedar branches

DSC08328

Bridge on the PCT over Dry Creek

DSC08331

There were a few colorful flowers and berries along the trail…

DSC08307

Fireweed

DSC08312

Penstemon

DSC08310

Solomon seal

DSC08332

And the evil poison oak, showing its fall colors

DSC08333

A ghost tree along the path.

8 26-2021  Little Zigzag Falls and Little Crater Lake, Mt Hood

We planned to hike up high on Mt Hood today, but the cloud cover directed us otherwise.

Little Zigzag Falls – We’ve never stopped here before because the hike is so short – less than a mile round trip. This trail through beautiful green forest along a mountain stream will be a good one to keep in mind for visitors on the grand round-the-mountain tour.

DSC08336

Remnants of the old Mt Hood Highway near the trailhead

DSC08341

The trail follows along the edge of Little Zigzag Creek

DSC08346

Little Zigzag Falls

DSC08349

Rock-hugging tree at the top of the falls

DSC08350

View upstream from the top of the falls

DSC08361

Another view of Little Zigzag Falls

DSC08367

Exposed tree roots near the falls

Little Crater Lake – This lake, south of Mt Hood, has long been on my ‘to visit’ list.

IMG_3884

The lake is an easy walk from the trail head.

DSC08371

DSC08379

Little Crater Lake

DSC08377DSC08395

DSC08402

The true blue color…

DSC08488

The lake is not actually a crater – it was formed by an artesian spring.

The blue clarity of the water is mesmerizing. I love the reflections. My little camera has a hard time catching the actually vibrancy of the turquoise blue, but none of the brighter blues here are exaggerated.

We continued to a section of the Pacific Crest Trail that follows the northern arm of Timothy Lake, where we found more lovely views and foliage.

DSC08412

PCT to Timothy Lake

DSC08414

DSC08418

Northern arm of Timothy Lake

DSC08432

More reflections…