Weldon Wagon Road, WA

5/10/2019

We walked Weldon Wagon Trail on a hot day in May. Balsamroot beginning to fade in the heat. I craved the shade, wished for a breeze in the still air, unlike the windblown walk last week at The Dalles Mountain Ranch. Lupine, clarkia, manroot, various parsleys, cutleaf violets, no sasquatch sighting this year. An enjoyable walk with friends. This will likely be my last of the balsamroot hikes this year! (Hike #22, 5.5 miles, 1300 feet).

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Lupine along the trail in the lower woodlands.

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First view of the open flowered slope.

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Our trail ahead across the balsamroot slope,

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and a view of Mt Hood across the valley.

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Friends ahead.

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Balsamroot

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Looking straight up at the steep slope above.

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Turnaround point

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And back the way we came,

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Back into the shade on a hot day.

New or notable flowers:

Neighborhood and Garden

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Birthday bouquet

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Our rhododendron in bloom,

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And our native irises.

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Giant camas in a neighborhood garden.

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Local fairy garden.

Knitting

I finished the Frost Slippers. The fit is a bit tight, but they should fit someone! Interesting construction, including stranding, steeking, and seaming, and I used up a lot of the leftover Dr Who Scarf yarn.

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Yarn for travel knitting!

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((This post has the first photos using my new camera (Sony HX90V).)

Eastern Columbia River Gorge Wildflowers, April 25, 2019

1) Memaloose Hills

A favorite wildflower hike, we found a perfect day – not windy, balsam root fully blooming, lupine and paintbrush just beginning to open. Splendid!

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Balsam root, lupine, paintbrush and yellow parsley near the trailhead.

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Oak woodlands

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Lower meadow with buttercups and balsam root.

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Emerging from the woods to the yellow slope of Chatfield Hill.

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Mt Hood to the southwest.

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More flowery slopes to the east.

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Mt Adams to the north near the top of the hill.

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So many flowers!

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Mt Adams, the river, the northern Memaloose Hill with fewer flowers.

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Columbia River to the west.

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Mt Hood and Mt Adams bookend this panoramic view from the top.

 

 

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Back to the lower meadow, Tom McCall Point in the distance.

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Last peek at Mt Adams.

Many other flowers among the showy balsam root!

2) Lower Tom McCall trail at Rowena Crest

We just had time to walk the lower mile through one of my favorite trail sections, desert parsley alley. The upper Tom McCall trail will be in full bloom soon.

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View of Tom McCall Point from the trailhead.

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Plenty of balsam root blooming here!

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Lower Parsley Alley

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Columbia desert parsley

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Looking back at Rowena Crest viewpoint, Mt Adams on the horizon.

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Columbia River and Lyle, WA

From our high point, just past the first switchback, we could see the bright yellow backside of the Memaloose Hills where we had hiked earlier today.

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We walked back through Upper Parsley Alley, where the fern leaf parsley waves it’s regal flower heads.

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Map of our two hikes:

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Hike #20 for 2019. 4.7 miles and 600 feet for the day.

Knitting

I finished attaching the uppers to the soles on the Frost Slippers. Next to pick up the cuffs and knit upward….

Garden

New blooms in the garden this week:

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!

Spring Break 2019 – Knitting and Cherry Blossoms

Knitting – Frost Slippers

I crocheted the steeks,

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and cut,

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and cut again.

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I have basted the edges, and blocked.

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Frost Slippers – uppers and soles, blocked.

Next I will sew soles to uppers, then add cuffs. There is a lot of finishing work in these slippers, but so far I am intrigued enough by the process to keep going!

Lyle Cherry Orchard, WA    3/29/2019

A beautiful day to hike up the cliffs above the Columbia River with friends, and try the new trail switchbacks. There are a few old cherry trees along the uppermost cliff loop that were not in bloom today, but we saw many wildflowers, including some balsamroot. (Hike #14, 5.6 miles, 1500 feet)

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We are headed to the top of the cliffs…

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The second bench

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River cruise below…

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One of the vernal ponds along the upper trail

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View to the east from the Cherry Orchard

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And to the west

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One of the new switchback legs – nowhere  near as steep or cliffy as the former trail.

Plenty of new flowers along the way:

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Yellow parsley and gold stars

Neighborhood flowers…

Lots in bloom these days,

including poetry:

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Portland Cherry Blossoms –  Sunday, March 31

The waterfront on a sunny day with cherry trees in bloom. Today is a day for embracing the crowds.

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We decided to walk up onto the Steel Bridge to look down on the waterfront.

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Views from the Bridge:

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I love the railing shadows.

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Wandering around amongst the trees and crowds:

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A maple tree budding out, with bugs!

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White Stag and Old Town Water Tower behind the trees.

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View of the eastside of the Willamette River.

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And a little Portland weirdness, because it is always here.

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Group-peddled brew cycle.

Spring Flowers, Coyote Wall and Portland

Coyote Wall, WA,  Thursday, March 21, 2019

Up the Little Maui trail, more up on the Old Ranch Road and Coyote Wall trails, then, down the Little Moab trail, with the early flower suite just opening…(Hike #13, 4 miles, 1100 feet)

Hiking up the waterfalls of the Little Maui trail:

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Gold stars and Salt and Pepper (biscuit root) sprinkled across the landscape.

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Long banked switchbacks to aid the cyclists

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Lunch stop

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Columbia Desert Parsley guiding the way

Looking up to our cliff-edge destination along Coyote Wall from Old Ranch Road:

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Views from the cliff:

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First look.

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We go a little higher

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Looking back toward Oregon; Mt Hood a faint wisp on the horizon.

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Our highest viewpoint for the day.

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Starting down – looking east toward the Columbia Hills and Tom McCall Point.

The flowers:

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Grass widows

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Gold and Prairie stars, Spring whitlow-grass

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Spring whitlow-grass, my pinky for scale

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Swales of gold stars and whitlow-grass

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Yellow pungent desert parsley

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Columbia desert parsley

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Salt and pepper, and grass widows all the way down the slope.

Knitting

Learning the increases and decreases that make brioche knitting look so magical…with a lifeline!

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Vintage Prim Hat, pattern by Andrea Mowry.

Garden – the first tulip! and Star Magnolias!

Better late….flowers are opening in the neighborhood:

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Our first tulip

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star magnolias

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I don’t remember the name of these.

Late Early Flowers at Catherine Creek, WA, with Robins

March 14, 2019    Bitterroot Trail to Rowland Wall

We hiked a Catherine Creek loop, up past the vernal ponds along the Bitterroot Trail, then down Rowland Wall. (Hike#12, 3 miles, 1000 feet)

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Fairy ponds

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View to the east from the Bitterroot Trail

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The Arch

We saw the first wildflowers just beginning to bloom.

On the upper grassy slopes we noticed robins hopping in the grass all around us.

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There are probably a dozen robins bobbing and hopping in this view, though they are hard to photograph as they don’t stay still for long.

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Here is one…

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And another one in the snow.

The snow level was about 1000 feet, and we could see extensive snow covered landscape in every direction, though it is melting out.

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Still looks very snowy out in the high desert

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The orchards of Mosier, and Mt Hood

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Rowland Wall, Rowland Lake, Mt Hood beyond the Columbia River

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Mere

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Returning via the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks. Burnt trees on the Oregon Gorge skyline.

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Knitting

I finished the soles for the Frost Slippers, but haven’t yet crocheted the steeks.

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I have started the brioche patterning on a Vintage Prim hat.

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Garden and Neighborhood

The hyacinths finally bloomed out front,

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and there was our annual neighborhood St Patrick’s Day parade down the street.

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Klickitat Bald Eagles and the Labyrinth, WA

1/10/2019 Balfour/Klickitat Bald Eagles

We met up with friends in Cascade Locks, then drove to the Balfour/Klickitat wildlife viewing area near Lyle, Washington. Early January is bald eagle nesting season there, and we saw many eagles in the trees across the pond.

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Our first eagle sighting – white head in the oak trees.

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Two eagles on this branch…

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Actually, there are seven in this picture – four on the lower level and three higher up.

I watched these two eagles for a while – as they looked around.

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For every white head in the trees, there were two or three brown juvenile eagles. They are as big as the mature eagles, but harder to spot because they don’t get their white feathers fully until they are four years old.

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Three juvenile eagles in the tree, one flying nearby.

We witnessed a lone salmon struggling up the stream, and then watched as a juvenile bald eagle grabbed it with his talons, pulled it onto the adjacent mudflat, and ate it. Other eagles joined in after a while. It was the circle of life before our eyes – not pretty, but the way of nature.

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The salmon

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Juvenile eagle lands nearby

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and pounces

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Drags the salmon onto the mudflat

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Joined by other eagles.

We also saw two great blue herons on the nearby cliffs.

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Two great blue herons, circled in blue.

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A closer view of the herons.

Shortly after this drama, a couple of dozen eagles flew in circles above the area for five minutes. My camera telephoto lens is not quite up to clear pictures of all these events, but I enjoyed watching and marveling at the beauty.

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Labyrinth Trail

After a quick lunch we walked up the nearby Labyrinth trail to the tall Jefferson pine  landmark tree. We saw Mt Hood, the Columbia Hills and eastern gorge with snow dusting, and a few early wildflowers on on this misty, cloudy day. A good day with friends. (5.8 miles/1000 feet/#2 for 2019)

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The Old Highway waterfall

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The upper waterfall

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My favorite oak grove

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Views of Mt Hood

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Phlox

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Phlox, eastern gorge dusted with snow

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Salt and pepper

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Oak trees in low light

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Columnar basalts

View under the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, our meeting place.

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Exploring Exmoor, North Devon and Somerset, UK (18-57)

Day 13  May 8, 2018  Lynton, Lynmouth, Dunster, and Porlock

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We began this day walking from our lodging down the steep poetry- and flower-lined path to Lynmouth.

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Almost to the beach at the bottom of the cliff.

There we visited the Exmoor National Park Visitors Center and made plans to visit Dunster and Porlock, to the east of us. Lynmouth is the intersection of four trail systems in Exmoor, marked by this sculpture of a walker, and the trail signs.

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Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railroad

As we walked down the path to Lynmouth, we had crossed the tracks of the Cliff Railroad several times.

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The Cliff Railroad is a Victorian era funicular with two counterbalanced cars connected by cables and pulleys that simultaneously rise or fall as water is released from the water tank of the lower car.  The cars each have 700 gallon water tanks. The tank is refilled from a stream at the top of the cliff, and released to the stream at the bottom of the cliff. The power is completely passive – just gravity imbalance created by the weight differential between the two cars. The railway has been in continuous operation since 1890.

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We returned to Lynton via the Railroad, a much easier way to climb this 500 foot cliff than going back up the path.

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Dunster

We walked through the medieval town of Dunster. Dunster Castle, on the hill overlooking the town, dates back to at least 1086, shortly after the Norman conquest in 1066.

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Dunster Castle

We walked around some of the castle grounds.

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Stables

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Gardens

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The Yarn Market, where trade in cloth was conducted, is about 400 years old.

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Dunster Castle and the Dunster Yarn Market.

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The Water Mill is about 200 years old. We looked at the machinery, but the mill wasn’t in operation today.

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The water wheel

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One of the flour mills.

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Castle gardens near the mill

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More Gunnera manicata, the giant Brazilian rhubarb, growing along the mill stream.

The 15th century Gallox Bridge crosses the River Avill.

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Thatched roofs.

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Porlock Marsh

We drove back west to Porlock, where the National Park Guide had recommended a wildlife walk across the marsh.

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The path to the marsh.

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Boardwalks across the marsh

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Looking back toward town.

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View out to the Bristol Channel from the top of the berm.

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View to the east from the top of the shingled berm.

We did not see any wildlife, perhaps because the tide was out, just the shingled beach and the wide views, but it was good to stretch our legs.

My quilter’s eye noticed geometric patterns in the architecture in Porlock.

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We stopped at an overlook for the wide view of Porlock. From here, we headed back to Lynton for the dinner.

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Our Victorian Lodgings in Lynton:

My husband had selected this lodging, so I hadn’t realized before arriving that we would be staying in a converted Victorian manor house, built by a London mogul for his wife in 1870. The home was built on a ledge blasted from the cliff.

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A large ammonite embedded near the entryway.

The decor is Victorian, and most of the rooms are situated around a large communal open staircase and balcony, invoking the setting of an Agatha Christie novel.

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Our living room.

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Central stairway

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There were few other guests during this off season visit, but I would guess the patio tea service would be popular with walkers going to the Valley of Rocks from the Cliff Railway in the summer.

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Our balcony and stairs leading down to the patio where tea is served with an amazing view.

DSC04361Our self-catering apartment had updated plumbing and kitchen, with a private, very tiny balcony and spiral staircase, and a tremendous view across the bay to Countisbury Hill and Lynmouth Bay. We enjoyed the location and historical ambiance.

Valley of Rocks and Woodlands Walk, Lynton, Devon, UK (18-55)

Day 12, May 7, 2018

Today we walked a loop trail along the Southwest Coast Path through the Valley of Rocks, then circled back on the hills above the town of Lynton.

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Valley of Rocks: The sun position was better today as we retraced our steps into the Valley of Rocks. We climbed up one of the promontories

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Looking back to the east.

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Castle Rock and westward view.

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Steep cliffs here.

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Quartzite and Slate of the Devonian Lynton Formation

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Gorse

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Beyond the rocks, the path continues on the road past Lee Abbey.

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Lee Abbey

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Gardens

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Sheep

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Fog wafting by

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Old door

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View down to Lee Bay

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More sheep

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View back to the Abbey

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A house along the road

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Lee Bay again

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Horses riding up the road near Lee Abbey.

Our trail descended to circle around Crock Point, with the fog settling in on us.

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Steep steps down the primrose path.

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Foggy meadow on Crock Point,

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and foggy views beyond the hedgerows.

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Plenty of flowers,

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And then the fog lifted.

Next our trail wound through Croscombe and Bonhill Woods where we crossed The Lee on Bonhill Bridge.

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Our path was lined with bluebells in Croscombe Wood.

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Bluebells and Campion

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A twisted tree, ferns and bluebells – so very green in here!

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Another steep staircase in Bonhill Woods down to the stream.

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Bonhill Bridge across The Lee.

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The Lee

As we entered the Six Acre Wood we could see back to the Valley of Rocks.

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A small check dam along the way seemed like water sprite habitat.

Our trial emerged onto the slopes of South Cleave, from which we could look down upon the Valley of Rocks and our earlier path.

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Trail up South Cleave.

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Looking down on Lee Abbey.

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Looking down on Lee Bay.

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Valley of Rocks below.

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Another view west from South Cleave.

Our path led us down hill and through Lynton before circling back to our lodgings.

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Downtown Lynton.

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View over the rooftops to Lynmouth Bay.

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Sign showing the paths and the Cliff Railway down to Lynmouth – on tomorrow’s agenda.

 

Image 12-4-18 at 6.17 PM

Southwest Coast Path Website Map for our Walk. We walked about 7.5 miles, 700 feet elevation.

Evening view of Countisbury Hill and Lynmouth Bay from our little balcony:

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