35. Dreaming of White River, 12/11/2017

A little under the weather, so I missed the hike with Dan and a friend to White River on Mt Hood. He sent me this photo from our usual lunch stop:



This is a favorite adventure because the grade is gentle and the mountain is in view almost all the way up to a spectacular lunch spot. A few photos from previous years:


March 2012 – Close up of the peak of Mt Hood


February 2013


January 2014


March 2016


March 2017


A little of each- knitting, plying, stitching the leftover clams for the back of Atmospheric River, and what fun! deciding to use Fossil Fern as the focus fabric for my long planned hue shift quilt.


Flyaway Twist: begin the brioche, with lifelines


Panel of leftover clams for the otherwise light blue backing for the Atmospheric River quilt


Color wheel of fabrics for a new quilt


Other adventures:  Mostly a waiting week – I tried one new med, and also contracted a common cold from my son, so snowshoeing did not seem like fun.


34. Lyle Cherry Orchard and Other Adventures

Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail, Washington   12/3/2017   (#57)

What joy to step with boots on the trail again today, – a bright blue sky, bitter wind, December-low-angle light sparkling on the water day -in the eastern Columbia River Gorge.  Trail of dirt and stone and oak leaf duff winding up alternately through golden grasslands and black cliffs of the Missoula flood scoured columnar Columbia Plateau basalts.  White caps on the river, bare oak branches, luminous grey clouds to the west raining on the Cascade crest, with only the eastern flank of Mt Hood visible in the clouds if you know where to look. Sounds of wind and ravens and the occasional train. Deep memories of where the yellow bells, purple grass widows, golden stars (and poison oak!) will be come spring….


Approach trail

Views from the Convict Road:


East view


West view

Views from the lower plateau:

Along the trail to the upper tier:

Views from our high point:


The way down:


And looking back up from the Convict Road to where we were:


Some details:

We hiked about 3.5 miles, 1000 feet today. We turned back at the cliff high point where the trail heads inland then farther east toward the remnants of the old cherry orchard.

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We saw a beautiful interplay of sun and clouds while driving back west.


West view from the Hood River bridge into the gorge


Spring wildflowers:


Yellow Bells on the lower trail, March 2017


Gold stars along the upper switchbacks, March 2017


Grass widows at the upper viewpoint, March 2017

Fall colors:


Poison Oak, October 2016


Orange oak leaves, October 2016


I distracted myself this week by sewing all the clamshells together on my Atmospheric River quilt.


Each clamshell is 17.5″wide; quilt is 87.5″ square.

I began knitting on Emily’s green scarf.


Other Adventures this week were less pleasant, including a horizontal trip in an MRI machine, several blood draws and waiting rooms, as well as scheduling a surgery date in January to remove something that a doctor discovered by chance while looking for something else.  What luck, really – if all goes as planned the long term prognosis is great and there will be no lasting harm.  Still it is an unexpected and unasked for journey. So after the emotional trauma of this week, it was with great joy that I ventured on to a dirt and stone trail today in the blue sky, bitter wind, golden hills, and black cliffs of the eastern gorge.





33. Sun and Rain at Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge, WA, Thanksgiving weekend

Our Thanksgiving drama:  Emily home from Oberlin for the long weekend, Sean here, but covering college basketball games at the PK80 tournament at the Rose Garden, Brian also here and working, but not on Thanksgiving. Good friends to join us for dinner. I baked the pies in the morning, the casseroles in the early afternoon and started the oven to roast the 9 pound turkey at 3 pm.  I rinsed the brine and trussed the bird – and the oven was only at 170 degrees.  Ten minutes later, only 175 degrees.  Eventually realized the oven is never going to get to 500 – it gradually rose to 300 degrees, hot enough to reheat the casseroles, but something is wrong!  Our neighbors generously allowed us to use their oven when their turkey was done, so we were able to eat about 2 hours later than planned – another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat (thank you Arlo Guthrie), with plenty of leftovers for the next day. The silver lining was that Sean was home from work by the time dinner was ready.

Steigerwald Lake and Columbia River Dike      11/26/2017 (#56)

Post-Thanksgiving time/sun window Sunday morning after other family members delivered to airport/work. We drove about 25 minutes to the trailhead near Washougal, Washington.


Bright sun and clouds at the start of the trail.


Clouds closing in from the west. Tundra Swans in the lake beyond the closed art trail gate.


Noisy Canada geese in the distance as a bald eagle flies above them then alights in a tree above the first bridge. We also saw a smaller hawk rustling up the geese.


On to the second bridge as the sun dims and the clouds close in — a few wind gusts, a squall, large fat raindrops spatter us and cast rings in the lake.  Three ducks in a row swim away.  Other hikers heading back to the trail head.  By the time we get our hoods up, lenses wiped, the rain has lessened to sprinkle, drizzle, mist.  We are prepared for this.


We continue on to the dike and walk east above the Columbia River, Vista House on the horizon through a shroud of clouds closing in.  We walk all the way to the closed gate, though I believe the land beyond is soon to be added to the conserved space. Wind blowing east with the clouds, and the wave caps give the illusion of the river flowing upstream…



Vista House across the Columbia River

Returning the same way, and the rain returns.


Back to the trailhead, with a few more photo stops.  Light has changed again.  Time to get inside, get dry.



White tundra swans in the far lake


We walked about 4 miles round trip.

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The Steigerwald is a close-in go-to place for us – the light is always spectacular, there is often a resident bald eagle, we often see waterfowl – heron, duck, geese, swans, and on a clear day, the top of Mt Hood is on view.


March 2015


August 2015


March 2016


Vista House, March 2015


Vista House and Mt Hood, August 2015


Ice on the lake, December 2016  

Flying geese:


March 2016


March 2016


Our Thanksgiving tableau includes one of Emily’s glove turkeys and several knitted pumpkins.


Woven apple pie crust.


New yarn for a green scarf for Emily


There is a medical issue to be dealt with, so I am adding some words of wisdom for the days ahead:


32. Trillium Lake Snowshoe, Mt Hood

Trillium Lake Snowshoe  November 18, 2017    (#55)

We walked the loop around Trillium Lake from the Trillium Lake snowpark. It was a beautiful blue sky day with plenty of fresh snow.


View to Mt Hood from the snowpark


Access road from snowpark to the lake

We stopped near the dam for lunch.


The lake has a thin ice layer.


Ice layer


Snowy lake shore


Lunch view


Ski runs above Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood

Continuing around the lake:


Lake view from the southern trail


Mt Hood ahead

Summit meadows


5.5 miles/500′

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A summer view of Trillium Lake and Mt Hood:


June 2013

Looking back toward Trillium Lake and Mt Jefferson from the slopes of Mt Hood:


February 2015



Two more washcloths, 2 small skeins of handspun yarn.

31. Sauvie Island: Looking for Sand Hill Cranes

Wapato Greenway Trail     November 11, 2017     (#54)

I felt lucky to use a brief dry weather window for a trip to Sauvie Island despite the cold in my head and a rainy weekend. We had heard there are sandhill cranes and snow geese, though many of the trails are closed for hunters. We saw and heard a few cranes off of Reeder Road, but a gunshot chased them away before we could get a good look.


From near the bird blind on Reeder Road

We saw another crane in a wet field on Sauvie island Road. We decided to walk the Wapato Greenway loop trail down to Multnomah Channel.




Virginia Lakes


Dock, Multnomah Channel


The highlight was a white egret in Virginia Lakes.



The egret is the tiny white speck in the foliage at left of center


Closer view of white egret in red foliage

We also saw Canada geese, smaller birds, a few hawks, lots of interesting foliage, clouds and reflections.

This was a new walk for us, but I am sure we will be back. 2.5 miles

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Since I didn’t get a any pictures of the Sand Hill Cranes at Sauvie Island, I am posting this photo from last March near Burns, Oregon.


Sand Hill Crane near Burns, Oregon, March 2017

30. Coyote Wall, WA

Little Moab trail on a misty day.   Nov 6, 2017  (#53)


Monday was supposed to be clear in the eastern gorge after a rainy weekend, but the clouds did not move out until afternoon.  Fortunately, the misting rain at the Coyote Wall trailhead dried up about the time we got our boots on.  We walked the old road section, admiring the remains of fall colors, then wound our way up the cliffs of the Little Moab trail.


Dried flower seed heads in the grass,


lichen and moss on the rocks,


fog on the top of the wall,


all the views across the windless glassy Columbia River to the Mosier/Lyle/Rowena viewpoints.


‘Twas a good hike at Coyote Wall, with only a few other hikers and bikers sprinkled through our day.


4.6 miles/1300’

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We have hiked here many times – to see the first grass widows in February,


February 2015

the brilliant balsamroot in April,


April 2017


April 2017

the autumnal colors of fall, as we saw today, and snow in winter:


December 2015


December 2015

I am hoping someday the trail below the wall will reopen to hikers – it would be a lovely loop.

Knitting, spinning, quilting:

I have spun more singles and plied, skeined and washed my first practice yarn.


I cast on a Sonic Six hat with the tubular 1×1 rib cast on in Total Eclipse yarn and am enjoying knitting the slip stitch pattern.


I finished the fourth of the blue and purple washcloths.


I have sewn the first two rows of the Atmospheric River clamshell quilt – so far, so good.


29. Palmateer Point and Drop Spinning

Palmateer Point, Mt Hood       October 27, 2017      (#52)

When we were at Frog Lake Buttes in September, we saw the view of Mt Hood included a closer viewpoint at Palmateer Point.  We put that on our list for a future hike, and this late October fall day was perfect.  The hike starts at Barlow Pass, then proceeds south on the Pacific Crest Trail for 1.3 miles before heading east across Palmateer Creek to the rocky bald that is Palmateer Point.  There were landscape views that included the bright yellow triangular larches. Huckleberry and vine maple provide the reds and gold of autumn.   DSC09580DSC09583DSC09571DSC09626From the lunch spot at the top of Palmateer Point we identified the bright orange of Barlow Butte as another spot to put on our future hike list.


Approaching the top of Palmateer Point, with Mt Hood coming into view


Mt Hood and Barlow Butte


Mt Hood


Barlow Butte


Looking back toward Frog Lake Buttes

We circled around to the meadow called Devil’s Half Acre on our return trip.  The descent to the meadow on a steep hillside crossed by several small streams was really lovely and secluded. We will be back in spring to see the wildflowers in this meadow.



Devil’s Half Acre

Total mileage for the day – about 6.5 miles, 800 feet.

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Jonsrud Viewpoint, Sandy, Oregon

We stopped on the way home to take in the view back to Mt Hood:


Drop Spinning

I took a drop spindle class at my local yarn shop, Twisted. I have long been fascinated with how it works as it looks like magic.  I’m glad to have a chance to try it – it is not that hard, but must take lots of practice to make a smooth, even yarn.  I don’t think I will take it up as an obsessive hobby, but I can see the appeal.


My first spinning

28. Atmospheric River Quilt / Tryon Creek Hike 10/22/2107

Heavy rain predicted for the weekend. Meteorologists describe an atmospheric river headed our way. Hiking questionable. Time for some quilting!

I have finally drawn a successful template for my giant clamshell quilt, and spent some enjoyable moments sorting fabric for the clams. It began with a stack that I purchased approximately 20 years ago at a quilt shop in Bend, Oregon – blue-green-purple with gold metallic accents in geometric patterns.


I have used small pieces in scrap quilts, but have been more recently plotting to use these in a giant clam shell quilt, inspired by one I saw on a bed at the Metolius River Lodge in August of 2012.  That one had 19 1/2″ wide clams.


The dimensions of my available stash limit my clam size to 18 inches maximum. It took me a while to design the clam shell template. I resorted to creating a compass with a piece of graph paper, a pin, and a mechanical pencil.  I traced the half-clam onto freezer paper, and will use the freezer paper template to cut 40 whole clams on the fold, and 20 different half clams, 5 each left, right, top and bottom.  I watched the Latifah Saafir YouTube video on sewing clams without pins, but I have already made drunkard path, apple core and half-circle quilts, so I am familiar with the technique.  These curves will be relatively easy to sew, I hope, with such large circles.


I visually selected a palette of cool colors to go with the focus fabrics. It makes me happy that I can make this a charm quilt in the sense that each fabric is used only once. After cutting the large clams from my larger fabrics, I placed the smaller pieces around the tentative layout to audition for the half clams.


As I looked at the flood of cool, watery colors on the floor, the perfect name popped into mind – Atmospheric River. In the week ahead I plan to finish cutting the half clams and finalize the layout. Then, on to the sewing.

Tryon Creek Hike  10/22/2017   (#51)

Meanwhile, by Sunday afternoon, the atmospheric river had passed over our area, and we headed to Tryon Creek State Park, only 20 minutes away, for a brief hike in the drippy forest.  This beautifully maintained park is one of the oases of nature surrounding Portland. A maze of trails and bridges cross and recross Tryon Creek, providing peaceful moments.

Big leaf and vine maples showing fall color:


Moss, fern and cedar:


Muddy creek reflections:


About 3 miles/300 feet.

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We have hiked in Tryon Creek many times – it is famous for blooming Trillium in the spring.


Trillium at Tryon Creek, April 2015


Kimono robe and socks I made for my daughter for her birthday.


27. Cape Horn Loop, Columbia River Gorge, Washington

Cape Horn Loop     October 14, 2017    (#50 – hikes in 2017)

On a beautiful fall day, after several days of rain, we went with friends to the Cape Horn trail just east of Washougal, WA.  This view shows the massive cliffs of Cape Horn from Angel’s Rest on the Oregon side of the river. Our trail will follow the road down to the lower green fields, then traverse west along the lower cliffs before heading back up hill to the top of the mountain.


October 2014  Cape Horn viewed from Angel’s Rest

Fog draped the summit when we arrived, so we chose to hike clockwise around the loop, our first views being the highway 14 viaduct above us as we completed the road walk.


From the road, the trail then enters the forest, and emerges onto the open mossy scree slopes above the cliffs adjacent to the waterfall (which was at very low flow).


We reached the lowest part of the trail above the Columbia River, and could look east to see Cigar Rock.



Eastward view toward Beacon Rock, Phoca Rock; fog topped cliffs

We continued across the cliffs, and opted for the westernmost loop that leads onto a promontory above the western entrance to the train tunnel that cuts through the cliff beneath us.


From here, the trail heads upward through various switchback sections, with spurs to the Oak and Waterfall viewpoints, then through the trail tunnel under highway 14, and finally up to the Nancy Russell Overlook, where plenty of other hikers were resting.


We saw two giant baguettes being transported by barge (or was it sawdust)?



There is a distinct sandbar in the river channel below glinting in the sun.


Next, the traverse along property boundaries to the actual highest point – Pioneer viewpoint. By this time the fog had evaporated.


View to the east upriver from Pioneer Point


View to west from Pioneer Point, including Hwy 14 viaduct

From there it is all downhill, down the steep switchbacks to the trailhead.  We were a bit early for the fall color display, and saw only one flower, a penstemon, whereas in the spring the trail is lined by hanging gardens of wildflowers.

It was a lovely day for a hike. On a side note, the turftoe plate I was using in my right boot seemed to delay the onset of pain in my arthritic big toe for a couple of miles, and I hope this tool will allow me to continue with longer hikes.

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Total for the day: 7.5 miles, 1350 feet.

Look back:

We have hiked this trail several times – though we have only completed the full loop a couple of times because the lower cliff area is closed from February to July for peregrine falcon nesting. In 2014, when we hiked the lower loop, we saw a train exit the tunnel beneath us.



The most striking comparison is the new view of burned up Angel’s Rest, almost directly across from Cape Horn on the Oregon side of the river.  Green in the past, it is now brown.


Angel’s Rest 2014


Angel’s Rest 2017


I have knit two more tortillas and a square purple wash cloth, as well as mended four pairs of hand knit socks in time for winter.

I have been planning my giant clam shell quilt, but have not yet made a satisfactory template.  More on that later.


26. The Perfect Fall Hike on Mt Hood

Mirror Lake and Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain, Mt. Hood     October 6, 2017    (#49)

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Sunny skies, shady forest, bright red huckleberry and vine maple on the scree slopes, reflections of Mt Hood in Mirror Lake, five cascade volcanoes in view at the top. Total distance 6.6 miles, 1500 feet.



Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier and Mt Adams to the north


Mt Jefferson to the south



We have hiked here in every season, including with micro spikes on on New Years Day 2014, a low snow year; and a failed snowshoe attempt in January of 2016, when the snow above the lake was too deep to find a safe trail.  Spring and summer flowers, brilliant fall color, fabulous views when not cloudy.  The trail is overly popular for good reason.

Comparison photos: 

Views from Mirror Lake to Mt. Hood:


September 27, 2010


January 1, 2014


January 8, 2016


November 4, 2016


October 6, 2017

Views to Mt Hood from the top of Tom Dick and Harry Mtn:


September 27, 2010


June 1, 2013


January 1, 2014


November 4, 2016


October 6, 2017