Category Archives: travel

Kilauea Iki volcano hike, beaches

A little more aloha: On our trip to the Big Island last month, we made a day trip to Kilauea to hike the Kilauea Iki (small Kilauea) crater. This was the site of a huge 1959 eruption. All is calm now.

fern forest

The 4 mile hike starts off at the edge of the crater, going though a beautiful forest with glimpses of the crater below.

kilauea iki crater hawaii

CollegeKid noted that the floor of the crater looks like “a giant brownie pan.” Why yes it does.

kilauea iki crater hawaii

But it’s not as smooth as it looks when you get down in the crater. These brownies are cracked!

kilauea iki and halema'uma'u

You can see the steam rising from Halema’uma’u, the crater inside the larger Kilauea caldera, on the other side of the Byron Ledge. You definitely know that you’re standing on an active volcano. Science rocks!

Pu'u Pua'i and Halema'uma'u

The blown out cinder cone between Kilauea Iki and the larger Kilauea caldera is Pu’u Pua’i (gushing hill). It doesn’t look that big from the edge of the crater, but when you get down into the crater, it’s a different story.

Pu'u Pua'i Kilauea

The kids decided to see what it looked like up top.

Kilauea Iki crater Hawaii

The second half of the hike crosses the crater floor. It was pretty windy the day we were there. The floor is mostly barren, but little bits of vegetation are making their way back. Steam rises from vents in the floor. After crossing the floor, there’s a climb back up to the crater’s rim. The trail is forested again, and the birds do a great job of singing but keeping out of sight. This is a great hike! I liked it even more than the one we did last year, and that was good, too.

punalu'u black sand beach

On our way back from Kilauea, we stopped at Punalu’u, a black sand beach. Yes, the volcanic sand really is black! And the water looks very blue by comparison.

punalu'u honu

Hawaiian green turtles (honu) come hang out here. It was pretty late in the afternoon, so we didn’t stay long. We wanted to get poké from Da Poké Shack on the way home, and watch the sunset from our lanai.

kona sunset

We made it with 15 minutes to spare.

We spent time on two other beaches on this trip. We visited Kahalu’u in Kailua-Kona, twice (second time because it beat sitting in traffic trying to go somewhere else). This is very civilized with a parking lot, concessions, and the easiest snorkeling ever.

convict tang hawaii convict tang

urchins urchins

pencil urchin hawaii pencil urchin

You can even just walk around on the rocks and see fish in the water, but that was so tempting that we had to get in and snorkel anyway.

K4 honu Kahalu'u

K8 honu Kahalu'u

Apparently this year they’ve started numbering the honu. I’m curious if it’s always the same one up on the beach. Guess I’ll have to go back to find out.

manini'owali kua bay

The other very fun beach is Manini’owali at Kua Bay. The water is spectacularly pretty here, as is the white sand beach. The waves are pretty strong in the winter, and the ocean pulls the sand offshore. Next month there will be a lot less beach. It all comes back in the summer.

santa hats kua bay

I dubbed these guys the Santa Society. There were three of them; I’m not sure how they kept their hats!

We came home just before Christmas, for a whirlwind of Hanukkah and Christmas parties. I’m happy to be home, but I do miss the warm sunshine.

yellow billed cardinal

And these guys. Yellow billed cardinal. They’d come after breakfast and pick up any crumbs we left on the lanai. Tidy is as tidy does!

Desperately seeking sea arch (Hawaii edition)

We made a return trip to the Big Island just before Christmas to get a little sunshine and warmth.

kona sunset

We wanted to do a hike south of Kona that promised a number of sea arches. Having seen Holei Sea Arch at the end of the Chain of Craters Road last year, I was pretty excited.

Holei sea arch

Either we missed the trailhead, or the directions were wrong, but it was going to be a long hike over uneven lava rock gravel down to the shore. No thanks. We opted to go to another beach, Ho’okena, which was supposed to have one nice arch.

shingle urchins hawaii

We wandered the pahoehoe lava shore for a while, and found these.

shingle urchins hawaii

A consultation with Facebook friends later determined that they are shingle urchins. They’re about the size of a quarter, and look like purple leather buttons with flower petals under them. Cool!

sea arch ho'okena beach hawaii

Heading back, we found what we think is the aforementioned arch. It’s over an opening in the rock, so water pushes up through the hole behind the arch when the waves come in.

It wasn’t overwhelming, but at that point we were just trying to declare victory.

When the kids came to join us a couple days later, I told them of our quest. CollegeKid pointed out that there was an arch right below our condo’s lanai. Much easier to get to, and much more interesting!

sea arch kanaloa at kona hawaii

hawaii big island waves

This isn’t as terrifying as it looks; there is a lot of rock in front of/below them.

But it wasn’t all beach and waves. I got some knitting done! Malabrigo worsted + champagne corks = Korknisse!

korknisse hawaii

Volcano hike and more aloha in a later post…for now happy new year’s eve!

Astoria StitchFest: Check!

Last weekend’s first ever Astoria StitchFest was a delight. It was a small event, but very nice. The weekend began with a delightful Stitch Feast at the Baked Alaska, right on the river. We had a little show-and-tell fashion show after dinner.

The classes were held in the light and bright rooms above the Liberty Theater, across from the historic Hotel Elliott. Mary Scott Huff and I taught knitting, and Laurinda Reddig taught crochet. I taught Cast On Bind Off, Slip Stitch Cowl Design, and Blocking: It’s Magic. I think everyone went home with new skills.

blocking with pdxknitterati

I had a free afternoon, so I sat in on Mary Scott Huff’s Sassy Selbuvotter class. She is a fabulous teacher, and also fun to hang out with! Here’s the beginning of my mitten.

selbuvotter

Classic Selbuvotter (mittens in the traditional style of the town of Selbu, Norway) have a gusset thumb, but these sassy mitts will only have a slot thumb. I was curious about Norwegian mittens, because I had knit these many years ago.

selbu mitten

These are the Selbu Mittens from Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski. The have a fake gusset (no increases, just patterning to look like a gusset) and a slot thumb. They’re kind of a mix of thumb techniques. My next Selbuvotter will have a traditional, real thumb gusset, because I like the way they fit!

Astoria sits at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a fun mix of the old and the new. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but I popped on down to Coffee Girl for lunch on Saturday because my singing buddy Claudia loves it, and used to sing there.

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I didn’t realize that Coffee Girl is right on a pier that houses the West’s oldest cannery building.

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I worked at a salmon cannery on Kodiak Island for five summers to pay for college. We even canned for Bumble Bee. This brought back all sorts of memories.

cannery workers

We didn’t look quite like this, but aprons, hair nets, and steel toed rubber boots were the uniform!

pier 39 astoria

Canneries were a big part of Astoria’s history. Even the waste baskets on the streets downtown acknowledge this.

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Mary and I had rooms at the Grandview Bed & Breakfast, a very interesting Victorian house. My room was breathtakingly gorgeous, with lace draperies around the bed, and at the entrance to my sitting room

grandview b & b

which was a great place to relax.

Grandview b&b

The sitting room had a view of the Columbia River, and the bridge that crosses to Washington.

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Many thanks to Bonnie Lively and LeAnn Meyer, the organizers of Astoria StitchFest. I had a fabulous time, and hope that all the participants did, too. I’d love to do this again next year, and you should come, too!

Horsetail Falls Loop Hike

I took a favorite hike with a friend last week; it’s the Horsetail Falls Loop Hike, 2.6 easy miles. You’ve seen it before on this blog, here and here. Same same, but different. At the end of summer, the water flow is much lighter, but still pretty. We’ve had a hot, dry summer, and it shows in the reduced waterflow. Still pretty, though.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls, which is right on the Old Columbia River Highway.

Ponytail Falls

Ponytail Falls, which feeds into Horsetail Falls.

Ponytail Falls

I love that you can go behind it; that’s the reason I chose this hike for this particular friend.

Middle Oneonta Falls

Middle Oneonta Falls.

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Looking down at the top of Lower Oneonta Falls. There’s a big logjam, and then it goes over the edge. You can’t see this waterfall from the trail, but you can hear it!

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Coming off the trail, you walk back along the Old Columbia River Highway, and pass Oneonta Gorge, which is where Oneonta Creek ends up after the waterfalls. You can hike up the creek, but we were not prepared for wet feet, so we just went a little way. I love how big the rocks are here, and how narrow the canyon is.

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It looks like a knitter was leaving a trail marker for someone.

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My favorite picture of the day is in the creek under the old highway. The sun was shining through the very clear water, and the shadows of the water striders really showed why they can walk on water.

Multnomah Falls

On the way back home, we stopped at Multnomah Falls, because it’s right there. It’s the 100th anniversary of the Benson Bridge. I think I’ll have to do the hike to the top of Multnomah Falls this autumn. Soon!

New pattern: quick knit Big Leaf Scarf

Knitted Wit has a new super bulky yarn, and she asked me to design something fun with it. She gave me some blue yarn, but I saw the color she was knitting, and I coveted it right off her needles!

Big Leaf Scarf

This is the Big Leaf Scarf. It’s a series of leaves, knit end to end. I knit mine on size US 17 needles. Big leaves, big fun! This color is called Sea Glass. The yarn is Knitted Wit Cotton Candy, 100% merino wool, 250g/140 yards/skein.

Big Leaf Scarf detail

It only took two days to make this scarf. I think it would be great for quick and easy holiday gifting.

Big Leaf Scarf

The pattern is available for $6 USD through Ravelry. Use the coupon code BIGFUN for $2 off through September 24.

What else is going on? I had a great weekend with friends at the coast, helping celebrate a birthday. On Friday we kayaked down the Nestucca River to the ocean (but not too close; no ocean kayaking for us!) and back.

kayak

The weather was gorgeous all weekend. (This is the other Haystack Rock, at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City.)

Haystack Rock Cape Kiwanda

Haystack Rock Sunset Cape Kiwanda

I even did some knitting on my Snowy Woods KAL!

snowy woods kal

We just had the second weekly prize drawing for the KAL. Here’s this week’s prize: A notebook with part of “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” printed on the cover.

snowy woods notebook

There’s still time to join the KAL. One more weekly prize drawing, and then we’ll have a grand prize drawing for the finishers!

How was your weekend? Did you knit?

Punchbowl Falls hike

At the beginning of the summer, I put Punchbowl Falls on my short list of must do hikes. I love waterfall hikes, but summer slipped away from me. No matter. September is perfect hiking weather here in Oregon.

This is about 4 miles, easy hiking. It begins at the Eagle Creek trailhead at exit 41 on I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge.

There’s a short spur trail about 1.5 miles in that goes to a view of 100 foot Metlako Falls. Pretty!

Metlako Falls

Punchbowl Falls falls (ha!) into a shallow area that is very popular in the summer. I waited for people to get out of my picture…

Punchbowl Falls

Lower Punchbowl Falls empties into a deeper pool. The water below is a gorgeous greeny blue color. (See all the tiny people up by the upper falls?)

Lower Punchbowl Falls

My friend V was my hike/photobomb pal.

Lower Punchbowl Falls photobomb

There is no westbound freeway access from exit 41 to return to Portland post-hike; you have to go east to Cascade Locks and turn around. While we were there, we went to Thunder Island Brewing and tried the pear cider from HR Ciderworks. Great cider, great view.

pear cider

We headed back west for a stop in Troutdale and dinner with V’s dad at the iconic Tad’s Chicken & Dumplings. I love that they never fixed their sign. Chic, indeed!

Tad's

On to knitting! The winner of the first week’s prize drawing for the Snowy Woods KAL is getting this in the mail:

snowywoodskal prize

Tiny scissors, tiny tree stitch marker, and some fun HiyaHiya yarn needles. Congratulations to Kelli! Kelli has finished her cowl already, and so has one other knitter. These are quick, addictive knits, perfect for gift-giving. It’s not too late to join the KAL; we still have 2 more weeks of prizes, and a finishers’ drawing, too. Check out the Ravelry thread for more info.

snowy woods knitalong

What’s on your needles? The seasons are changing!

Nashville: Music, Music, Knit!

Nashville. So much music. So. Much. Fun. There is so much musical talent in this town, both old and new, and so much respect for the history of it all. From the young people playing for tips at the honky tonk bars on Broadway hoping to be heard over the beer fueled partyers, to the old pros playing clubs like the Station Inn to a respectful audience who came for the music, to the Country Music Hall of Famers playing the Grand Ole Opry, showing us that they still have it. So wonderful.

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The Jones. We were pulled into Layla’s Bluegrass Inn on Broadway by the sound of their kickass rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” as we were walking by at midnight.

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John Jorgensen Bluegrass Band at the Station Inn. My reaction: “They look like math teachers!” Great music, fun show.

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Little Jimmy Dickens at the Opry, still singing at 94. Love the spangly suit.

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Nathan East playing bass with Vince Gill on guitar. A great story: It was Nathan’s first time playing at the Opry, and he confided to a friend that he was a bit nervous. Friend (whose name I didn’t quite catch) owns a suit that belonged to Carl Perkins. He offered up the suit for the show, and so here’s Nathan, wearing Carl Perkins’ suit, standing on that circle of flooring preserved from the Ryman Auditorium, playing at the Opry. The old and the new, so wonderful.

Nights were all about listening to music, and days were filled with more music-related activities. We toured the Ryman Auditorium (so much history!), the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Historic RCA Studio B.

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Windows at the Ryman

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For you fans of the TV show Nashville, the (teeny!) dresses that Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton wore onstage at the Ryman.

onstage at the Ryman
I stood on the stage at the Ryman and played a single G chord. (It costs $10 for a pic, at which point you can also have your buddy take a pic for you. I liked this pic by DH better.)

Cool things at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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My friends and I often sing “Turn Your Radio On” by the Blue Sky Boys, so I was thrilled to see this banner and mandolin.

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Webb Pierce’s Silver Dollar Bonneville convertible customized by Nudie Cohn of Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors. Six-shooter door handles, a saddle between the front seats, steer horns…

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Piano
The piano (Kimball?) that Priscilla Presley had refinished in gold, and gave to Elvis on their first anniversary.

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Taylor Swift’s first sparkle guitar, and the MacBook she used to edit her first video.

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DH outside the RCA Studio B, where the signature Nashville sound was developed. Elvis recorded many hits here. The sound in here is amazing, a perfectly acoustically dead room, no reverb. Everything is so perfectly clear. You can read more about it here.

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This is Floyd Cramer’s piano in Studio B, part of that Nashville sound. Elvis played it, too. And I touched it. It was the 37th anniversary of his passing, so I played a silent glissando in his memory.

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Music, old and new. Stephanie Layne was our guide for the studio tour. I chatted her up after the tour. She’s a singer-songwriter from Minnesota, and put out an album in 2012. Check out her music; you can find her on iTunes and more. I’m listening on Spotify right now. Stephanie was a great guide, too, and a wealth of information. Did you know that Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You”? Whitney Houston had a big hit with it, too. Dolly has earned over $25 million dollars in royalties from that song. Whoa.

What else? Well, this is a knitting blog, so here’s the knitting content. I met up with the delightful Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting. We went to Pinewood Social for breakfast and knitting. (She’s knitting a Honey Cowl. I’m swatching for the next fun design.) We talked about knitting, making jam, Nashville, life…

bloggers

I had this amazing fried chicken biscuit, which was all that and so much MORE. I gave up after half.

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There’s a bowling alley at Pinewood Social, and along the wall there are these cans with fun printed labels in several colors, arranged in a mosaic. They are rearranged from time to time. I especially liked these.

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A very fun morning. A very fun long weekend. And my very fun souvenir:

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Right now I’m in Sisters, Oregon, for a trunk show and knitalong at the Stitchin’ Post, and the boots fit right in.

How was your weekend?

Montreal, and knitting progress

Knitting away over here; I finished one project for a pattern I’ll be re-releasing soon, but I want to tweak it to add an additional size, so one more knit coming up. The smaller size was perfect airplane knitting.

snowy woods cowl 2

This is an update of the Snowy Woods cowl, which was released last winter as an exclusive for one of WoolGirl’s club kits.

snowy woods detail

So far I’ve changed this up with a fatter, smooshier yarn which means it can be knit with fewer repeats and be closer to the neck, and I also want to make a version that will double loop around the neck. The current yarn is Knitted Wit’s Superwash Merino Aran, a heavy worsted/light Aran bouncy round fun to knit delight. More on this soon.

Other yarn was delivered while I was on vacation, and I was knitting away madly on it, until I looked closely and said to myself, “clown barf.” It’s a fabulous variegated paired with a semi-solid, but the stitch pattern I chose isn’t bringing out the best in the variegated, so it’s back to the drawing board on that one. No worries; I have time and determination.

Vacation: We went to Montreal for six days, and had a blast! It’s almost like going to Europe, very charming, bilingual, and much closer. We stayed in the old part of Montreal, and it was lovely. Our hotel had this bronze outside, which is a smaller version of the one we know and love in DH’s home town of Clayton, Missouri. We felt right at home.

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Our hotel was near the Basilica of Notre Dame. The square in front of it always has something fun going on. There’s music at noon.

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We saw a gorgeous bridal party…

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And at night, Notre Dame’s windows glow blue.

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We happened to be there during Just for Laughs, a comedy festival. We also enjoyed the Festival des Nuits Afrique. Montreal has a short summer, and they seem to make the most of it! So many people walking around, enjoying the sunshine and the warm evenings.

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I don’t know if this police officer lost a bet, or if this is just part of his summer wardrobe.

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This troupe was offering mariages gratuits, free weddings. No one took them up on it.

I saw a rendition of a very Canadian song, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, in a way I’d never heard it before. Sorry the sound isn’t very good; half the speakers weren’t working ’til later in the song. But I like the beat of this, in four instead of three.

There was a lot of good food, and wine.

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(Breakfast of champions. Or champignons.)

My food mission was to check out poutines. This one was from Au Pied du Cochon’s food truck at the festival. Poutine avec foie gras.

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And we had to try the poutine at McDonald’s, because, photo op. It was underwhelming, as far as poutine goes.

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But I learned that chicken McNuggets are Poulet McCroquettes, which made me laugh out loud. Really, doesn’t everything sound better in French?

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Whew! That was a big catch up. Back to my knitting. No more clown barf!

Road trip with the Traveling Ewe

It was a fiber-full weekend! On Saturday I went on The Traveling Ewe‘s inaugural road trip. JJ Foster is putting together fiber-related tours, and this one was grand.

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How awesome that the license plate on our bus said “YARN”? Too funny. Our trip took us out of rainy Portland to the drier side of the Cascades. We shopped at Knot Another Hat in Hood River, a very lovely store with a view of the Columbia River.

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We had lunch at Celilo. I’m thinking these hefty picks through my sandwich would make very cute little knitting needles.

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From there we hopped back on the bus and visited Cascade Alpacas of Oregon, which has a cute little yarn shop and even cuter alpacas. Thomas demonstrated spinning and weaving for us.

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And Connie told us about raising alpacas.
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Can you get more bucolic than this?

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Snack time!

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This cria (baby alpaca) is 2 days old.

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And this cria is 3 hours old. Check out the wobbly walk!

Our last stop was at Mt. Hood Winery. We sampled some wines, and had show and tell with the day’s purchases. (Angela wins. She did some major shopping!)

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Melissa is going through a blue-green knitting phase. All her yarn seems to match.

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Mt. Hood made a valiant effort to peek through the clouds. All in all, it was a fun day! JJ Foster has a knack for planning. We had just enough time at all the places we visited, and the bus was a great venue for chatting with other knitters. I’d do this again! You can, too. The next trip is August 16, and will visit Corvallis and Eugene. More details here. Bring knitting you can multi-task with, because you’ll be chatting and laughing the whole time.

Sunday’s fiber fun? Open studio at Knitted Wit; Lorajean is doing this on the second Saturday and fourth Sunday of each month. Stop by and craft, and shop, too. This weekend Lorajean was getting ready for Tour de Fleece. Me? I just knit. Oh, and we are coming up with a very cool color for a pattern I’m releasing soon. I edited and formatted two patterns this weekend. Lots of fun things in the works; I’m looking forward to showing them all to you. Soon!

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Fiber appreciation starts early!

How was your weekend?

She Who Watches

Last week, I did a quick camping overnight at Washington’s Maryhill State Park. It’s about 2 hours from home, on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. I drove through that area a couple months ago; you may remember my fascination with wind turbines.

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Still fascinated.

Here’s the daylight view, with knitting.

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I met up with my friend Vickie so we could visit Tsagaglalal, She Who Watches.

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She’s a Native American petroglyph that was etched and painted into the rock perhaps 250 to 300 years ago. She Who Watches is located in what is now Columbia Hills State Park in Washington, and is only viewable through a guided walk with the park.

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Along the way, one can also see other pictographs (rock paintings, as opposed to etchings or carvings).

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Salmon Shaman

she pano edit

She Who Watches is at the end of this guided walk. Very cool! There are also some petroglyphs that have been relocated to this park from Petroglyph Canyon, which was flooded when the Dalles Dam was built.

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You can read more about these petroglyphs and pictographs here.

The knitting? It’s the second knitting of the Lantern Moon Indochine, this time in the color Viridian. This piece is done and blocking. On to the companion piece! All will be revealed, soon.

In other news, the blueberries are early this year! Ripe and ready for picking. I made my first cobbler of the season from my favorite recipe that I’ve been using since 1986. You can find the recipe here.

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It was deiicious, as usual. We had it a la mode, in the back yard, as a belated Father’s Day celebration.

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What did you knit this weekend? Did you go to Black Sheep Gathering? I’ve never been, but some day…