Rooster Rock and Memaloose Hills (18-11)

Rooster Rock      3/15/2018       (#10)

We took a short afternoon to explore the trails at Rooster Rock State Park. To the east the beach trail gives views of Sand Island and the burned skylines in the gorge.


Looking east toward Sand Island and the beach trail


Sand Island



Burned Angel’s Rest and trees along the skyline

To the west we hiked to a close view of Rooster Rock. This park is very popular in the summer, but quiet today in the off season. (3 miles).


To the west


To the east


The waterfall above Hidden Lake


A robin


Looking east, Rooster Rock




Rooster rock

Memaloose Hills       3/18/2017      (#11)

This is the earliest we have hiked this April-May wildflower eden between Mosier and Rowena in the eastern gorge.


Pinnacles along the lower trail between I-84 and Rt 30


Grass widows, gold stars, and a view across the Columbia River toward the labyrinth.

From the ledge above the lower trail one can look over to a cliff that hosts a great blue heron rookery. We only saw a few birds here today (grey spots), but in a previous year there were countless herons on this cliff.


Look for the grey blobs on the green slope near the top of the cliff


From the Hwy 30 Memaloose viewpoint one can look directly across the river at Catherine Creek in Washington.


It was interesting to see the early season flowers – gold stars, yellow bells, glacier lilies, early buttercups, Columbia desert parsley, and a few others.

We hiked up a nearly barren Chatfield Hill, with extensive views at the top.


Hiking up


View to the west from the top


To the north and east


To the east, Tom McCall Point and Columbia desert parsley

Since the full flower bloom was not out, we returned by the loop through the oak woodlands on the north side of Chatfield Hill. DSC01798

I hope the next time we take this hike it will be in full wildflower glory: a view from today compared with April 2015.


March 2018


April 2015

4 miles/800 feet.

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I spent a day photographing 13 of my quilts, and adding labels where omitted. I am getting closer to writing the stories of these quilts, which is why I actually started this blog!



I finished the Strong Heel Socks, though I plan to reknit the toe where the knot in the yarn interupted the stripe sequence.

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And in the garden:


Star magnolia




Spring creeping in…. (18-10)

Powell Butte Nature Park          March 10, 2018         (#9)

Rainy week, sun on the weekend, warming trend. On Friday we hiked up this volcanic butte from the 148th Avenue trailhead. Excellent signage at the top explains the history and function of the butte as the main storage reservoirs of the entire Portland water system.


Water distribution schematic


Display of pipes that deliver our water, framing Silver Star Mountain

Cloudy skies so the Cascade peaks were not in view, but the sun was shining to the north on Silver Star Mountain and friends in Washington.


Silver Star Mountain


Old orchard on the top of Powell Butte


Crows in the orchard

We circled back through Douglas fir and cedar forests.  A few early wildflowers were spotted.

The Elderberry Trail stairs allow a quick descent.


A good close in walk, about 4.2 miles/500 feet.

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The Jane Austen quilt is all done except the label and some good photos – hopefully by next week. DSC01346

In my garden:


Crawford Oaks Trail (18-9)

Columbia Hills State Park, WA, Vista Loop    3/3/2018     (#9)

We walked the lower loop from the Crawford Oaks trailhead, passing Eight Mile Falls.


Eight Mile Falls from the trailhead

Signs along the way document the depth of the Missoula floodwaters – always an exercise  for the imagination that this landscape was scoured many times!


Eight Mile Falls from the trail


Back toward the river and Horse Thief Butte


Eight Mile Falls from the trail

The trail continues on a oak lined road along the creek, then crosses the creek.


Gold Stars and oak trees

We then headed south  toward the river on the Vista Loop, along along the Missoula Flood scoured benches of volcanic rock, with views east and west in wide angle view.


View east along the Columbia River


West view back toward The Dalles; shoulders of Mt Hood behind the clouds on the right.

The trail crosses the power line corridor a couple of times.


Mt Hood is behind those clouds.

The crest of the Columbia Hills was draped with snow.


Dalles Mountain Ranch and Columbia Hills

Early spring blooms were sprinkled throughout  the dried grasslands.


A lovely 5 mile/1000foot hike – I had no problems, but I could feel my quads and triceps were a bit out of shape.

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I finished the crosshatch quilting in the center of the Jane Austen quilt, and made the binding.  Still pondering center motifs.



One sock done, another started. The strong heel fits fine – not sure why it isn’t more widely known, especially for people who don’t like to pick up stitches, and don’t like the wrap and turn short row heel.


Also, another scrappy tortilla is in the pile.


In my garden:


The first wind flower

In the meantime:

It has been almost two months since my surgery. I feel almost normal, but unfortunately, the growth hormone levels have not actually decreased as low as expected. It could still happen, but if not, then there will be trials of medication in store for me.  I am visualizing a completely healthy and functional pituitary.

Late season snow (18-8)

More Snow in Portland      2/26/2018

Intermittent snow and rain all week. I went for several long walks in the neighborhood but no hiking adventures.


Quilting Progress:

Stitch in the ditch on the Jane Austen replica quilt.  I have finished the center sashing with an off-white 50 wt thread, and am working on the outside diamonds using the same diamond pattern and a navy 50 wt thread. I still haven’t decided what quilting design to use for the center medallion. And I am contemplating the binding choices. I would like to finish this quilt before we (hopefully) see the real Jane Austen quilt in England later this year.


Knitting Finish!

Bound off the Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward shawl (Girl From The Grocery Store by Joji Locatelli), and posted it as a Ravellenics WIPs Dancing project (Ravelry username knitwish).


And another win!

I won a copy of Margaret Goes Modern, a collection of quilting short stories, from the author, Frances O’Roark Dowell! Frances is one of my favorite quilting podcasters and a great storyteller. In  her podcast, The Off Kilter Quilt, Frances speaks about her quilts in progress, her writing projects (she is a successful children/young adult author, recently branching into quilt-inspired adult fiction), and her adventures in parenting and other life adventures.  I listen to many knitting and quilting podcasts, preferring the homegrown variety where the podcaster shares a bit of their own life, complaints or noncomplaints about the weather, jobs, traffic, etc, along with their creative endeavors.  From these podcasts I feel I get some “real” news about life in other parts of the world from the point of view of someone living there.  I am looking forward to reading this book!





A Painterly Mist (18-7)

Catherine Creek Arch Loop, WA        2/16/2018     (#7)

Sunshine and clouds, spring flowers and just enough misting rain to create wandering rainbows.


We walked the arch loop counterclockwise while noticing the latest spring flowers to emerge.  Purple grass widows sprinkled everywhere in the green, and the first parsleys – yellow, white and purple, as well as white saxigfrage, gold stars, pink prairie stars, and the whorls of green bitterroot foliage.


The bare oak trees around the arch stand out in a textured gray palette.



After crossing the bridge we sidestepped up the next hill to the fairyland ponds.


Constantly changing light created a sense of walking through a painting.


A short, easy hike and I feel I am slowly regaining stamina. 2.5 miles, 500 feet.


More rainbows and clouds driving through the gorge:


Quilting: Thread choices for the Jane Austen Quilt


Knitting: Girl in the Nuerosurgery Ward Shawl – Ravellenic WIP  Dancing.


Shawl with light dusting of snow

New socks: Berocco Sox yarn knit top down with a simple k7p1 leg, then a Strong Heel – a new to me technique. If it doesn’t fit I will rip back and go with a traditional heel flap.


First daffodils in my front yard.


Beacon Rock, Cooper Mountain, Hats, Flowers (18-6)

River to Rock Trail, Beacon Rock State Park, WA    2/10/2018   (#5)

From the switchback staircases on Beacon Rock we have looked down to see a dock on the Columbia River.


August 2015

Today we looked up at the ant-sized people climbing the Beacon Rock stairs from the dock. We walked to the dock from the Doetsch Ranch Trailhead. There are great views of Beacon Rock,


Beacon Rock boat dock


Beacon Rock from the boat dock


Beacon Rock, Table Mountain, Aldrich Butte


Stairs and switchbacks




and of the burnt trees along the ridge line on the Oregon side of the Gorge.


We had planned to continue up the River to Rock trail toward Beacon Rock, but they remove an all important bridge during the winter.


No bridge.


It is parked across the road.

After completing the loop around the former Doetsch Ranch area, we parked at the upper River to Rock trailhead and walked down to the viewpoints around Riddell Lake.



Riddell Lake



Closest view of the stairs and switchbacks.

Spring plants and natural history – the Missoula Floodwaters were 200 feet above the top of Beacon Rock!


Although I have been feeling well, like I turned a corner in stamina this week, I was glad to reach the top of the small hill back to the trailhead. Today was not the day to climb Beacon Rock, but it was great get a close view of its columnar structure from a new vantage.

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3 miles/200 feet

Lookback:  Switchbacks and stairs on the Beacon Rock trail.


November 2013


November 2013


August 2015


August 2015


August 2015


August 2015

 Cooper Mountain Nature Park, OR    2/11/2018     (#6)

We walked the 2.8 mile loop with friends on a clear cold Sunday. Nice to continue stretching my legs, and the 300 feet elevation change was plenty. We enjoyed the view of the Tualatin Hills as we ate our lunch from a well placed bench on the overlook trail. There should be a good wildflower display here come spring.


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Cooper Mountain GPS track


I finished the second Sonic Six hat, easily winning at yarn chicken, and in good time for Valentines Day.


I cast on and finished a bulky weight Brassica hat, out of Collinette Prism yarn in the Fresco colorway. This is the last of the yarn I bought in Scotland last year.

Flowers in the neighborhood:

My yard:

Down the street:


First cherry trees blooming!




Chinese paper bush

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (18-5)

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Loop Trail   2/3/2018   (#4)

Continuing to take things slowly this week, we went for a 3 mile walk around Oaks Bottom in southeast Portland.  This is an easy trail between the river and the bluff that sees plenty of neighborhood walkers and runners. From the bluff side we could look across the lake and see the west hills and Oaks Amusement Park, with cyclists flying by on the Springwater Corridor.

Details along the Bluff Trail:

We later walked north on the Springwater Corridor path and looked back across the lake to the famous mausoleum with enormous wildlife mural painted on the side. We saw a few real birds in the water as well as some decoy/art installation blue herons.


Springwater corridor


Heron decoy in foreground

My longest walk so far – getting better all the time.


Meanwhile, I have been knitting

away on the Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward shawl – I have about half of the purple border to go.


I cast on a second Sonic Six hat using the remainder of the Total Eclipse yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts striped with some leftover grey sock yarn to extend the skein for the full hat.  Playing yarn chicken with this one.


And I finished the second of a continuing collection of cotton tortilla dishcloths. I gave away most of those I made last year, but still have scraps to use up.


The front yard crocuses were in full bloom today.


Back on the Trail – Grass Widows, Bald Eagles and Osage Oranges (18-4)

This has mostly been a recovery week – taking things very slowly, and with awareness to my limitations. I have been able to walk more, drive the slow back way, and gradually increase all my activities.

Catherine Creek Trail, WA   1/28/2018      (#3)

I saved my weekend energy for a walk on one of the easiest trails – the Universal Access  trail at Catherine Creek just east of Hood River along the Columbia River. We often include this trail as a quick stop on our hiking trips to see the latest blooms.  Today at my slow pace I appreciated the paved surface and benches along the way, the small details and micro landscapes. Grass widows are beginning to bloom.



View to the west, labyrinth waterfall in the distance


Lookback: A couple of pictures with snow, and with more flowers:





Balfour-Klickitat Eagles

We also stopped at the Balfour-Klickitat trail near Lyle, WA to look for bald eagles in their nesting area. We saw about a dozen, mostly juveniles, perched in the trees around the pond, and taking occasional practice flights.


White spots are bald eagles


Another highlight of this location are the Osage oranges, at this point, mostly lying on the ground in colorful curious piles. Signage explains that the fruit is inedible, but that the thorny dense foliage was used as a natural fencing material by settlers in the west in the 1800’s.



Lookback : A couple of pictures from snowier days:


12/28/2015    Six eagles


12/30/2016   Osage oranges

Knitting and quilting

Progress on the Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward Shawl:


My sister sent me a bouquet of fabric as a get well gift – a beautiful rainbow of batiks that will fit beautifully into my collection for my rainbow themed quilts in planning stages.


And the first crocus peaked up in my front yard:


A Healing Week (18-3)


Home for a week now, each day I am more awake, more alert, more me.

Each day I walk a bit more, usually with Sean, at a glacial pace. First to the end of the block, then around the block. On Saturday Dan escorted me a full slow mile around the neighborhood, and on Sunday we visited Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Ribsy at Grant Park. I am disappointed not to participate in the Women’s March this year, but have given myself permission to temporarily ignore the outer world as I heal from this event.


Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, Grant Park

I have been thinking about trust. What is it that allowed me to trust people I’ve met only briefly, including some on the team I never will meet while conscious, to thread some sort of mechanism into my brain and perform this surgery. That is the foundation of civilization, I suppose, that the standards put in place by experts will be upheld, that we all expect to do our best by each other, that we trust.


Some time is passed in the evenings with Dan and Sean, watching ‘The Good Place’ and adding several repeats to my Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward shawl. The yarn is Tosh Merino Light in the Mandala and Flashdance colorways.


A mantra for the week from one of my favorite podcasts:


Marquam Hill, Portland, OR (18-2)

1/10/18     A different kind of Adventure of the Week:      Marqham Hill

Begins with a pre-dawn drive up Sam Jackson Road, four flights of stairs in the parking garage, into the entrance hall where I get my wristband; down to the preop suite where I wipe myself with antiseptic wipes and change into a snap on gown, booties and shower cap. That’s when it all gets real. Someone comes to start the IV;  I sign all the forms that admit knowledge of possible bad outcomes including death, and then they whisk me away into the OR ante room. I start shaking uncontrollably as they transfer me to the operating table, but they give me oxygen and then the mask, say “Count down five breaths”.  I only remember three.

Someone is tugging at a mask on my face. There are bright lights in my eyes. They are holding me in place, putting oxygen tubes in my nose, needles in my arms. I am coming awake and it is over and they say I am doing fine.

Then there are a number of hours I am in and out of awake. Dan is there holding my hand. Emily is sitting next to me giving me droplets of water and encouraging me to eat one saltine cracker that takes 2 1/2 hours. There is a light above that is too bright and one doctor says the hospital is full and I may have to stay in this space all night. It is very noisy and bright and I feel discouraged. Eventually they do find a room for me and wheel me in most carefully. Now here I have been for three days with the kindest of nurses caring for me, doctors coming and going in teams all hours of the night, needles poking, measuring ins and outs. Brian and Sean keep me company and take me on walks around the halls and I appreciate their presence. Dan is ever-present and stays the first night. Emily stays the next two nights and I slowly shed tubes and wires and medications until I feel almost ready to go home.

By day three I am feeling very accomplished to make several laps around the 10th floor neurosurgery ward, and a walk to the view plaza above the Portland Tram, resting and looking at all three snow covered peaks on the skyline on a beautiful blue sky day.


Mt Hood and lower waterfront from Portland Tram plaza


Mt St Helens and Mt Adams


Mt St Helens and a peek at Mt Rainier over its left shoulder (photos by Dan)

Friends and family have texted emailed visited called, sent flowers balloons meals good wishes. Now I just look forward to slowly getting better and less dizzy as I adjust to the new me. No more excess human growth hormone seeping from an adenoma on my pituitary. No more hidden acromegaly.

After 4 days on the hill we drive home, me shielding my eyes from the too bright sun and the overwhelming motion around me. I walk as if balancing a marble on my brittle bubble of a head, each day my equilibrium slowly increasing. In a few weeks I hope to be able to move better, drive, smell, hike…continue the adventures.

Meanwhile, the knitting:

I’ve added a few rows to the Girl From the Grocery Store Shawl, though I may rename it Girl in the Neurosurgery Ward.