Tag Archives: hike

Tiny harvest is tiny

The blueberry crop is still going strong, despite the best efforts of the birds and squirrels to make me share. The new raspberry plants have given me almost a dozen berries. I wasn’t expecting any this year, so it’s all bonus.

raspberry blueberry

I ate the first raspberries immediately, and then I saw Sue’s raspberry post. Wish I’d seen it earlier. What a great way to make a tiny harvest special! I had to try it. Click the link for her gorgeous photo.

raspberries and chocolate

No, they’re not giant raspberries, but isn’t it cool how close my iPad can get without zooming?

Monday we went for a short hike from the Hoyt Arboretum up to Pittock Mansion. I always think of hiking as something you do elsewhere; it’s so nice to have very local options. This is inside Portland’s city limits.

maidenhair fernMaidenhair fern

buzzWhy hello there! (What kind of flower is this?)


And of course, any outing with Sue, Mimi, and Kelly means food! We had lunch at Pho Tango in Hillsboro. Fabulous!

bun bo hueBun bo Hue

spring roll

I always thought the vegetables were garnish, just eye candy, but Mimi says you eat them wrapped around the spring roll. That makes a spring roll way more interesting.

yucca and coconut

Mimi made dessert. Yucca and shredded coconut tossed with toasted sesame seeds and a bit of sugar and salt. Sounds odd, tastes great!

Summer is in full swing here. It’s supposed to be 100 degrees (fahrenheit) this weekend. Time to water…again.

Sunriver getaway

After the busyness of TNNA and Ryan’s graduation, I headed to Sunriver in Central Oregon for a mid-week rendezvous with friends. I stopped at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters to drop off a look book, and chatted with Paula, Nancy, and Ivy, but forgot to take a picture. Oops!

I had two full days in Sunriver. They were both gorgeous. We kayaked on Wednesday.

kayak Hosmer South SisterSouth Sister from Hosmer Lake

Hosmer Lake is gorgeous. Tons of birds, including red winged blackbirds, yellow headed blackbirds, and a magnificent bald eagle that flew right over our kayaks. I didn’t bring a zoom camera, just my phone, so no bird pix!

Bachelor and lenticular cloud

I watched this lenticular cloud develop all day next to Mt. Bachelor.

kayak hosmer lake

South Sister Hosmer Lake

I love the way the wind distorts the once straight jet trails. You can see that the water is pretty shallow here at the upper end of the lake. We couldn’t paddle up the creek; it was too shallow and muddy. It’s been a pretty dry winter, which isn’t good.

Hosmer Lake panoramaSouth Sister, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor is hiding on the right


Lots of blue damselflies, but it’s hard to catch a picture from a drifting kayak!

We hiked along the Deschutes River near Benham Falls on Thursday.

deschutes river

Deschutes River

This turn in the river is an awesomely beautiful spot.

It sounds great, too.

But it wasn’t all play. I brought my knitting. Of course!


On Thursday night I sat in the hot tub under a canopy of stars. And I saw two shooting stars (meteors). Lucky? I think so.

Friday I came home and picked my first ripe raspberries. These are from the two new shrubs the kids planted for Mother’s Day.

raspberry blueberry

I also see that the birds have been busy while I’ve been away!

bird strike

Guess I should have picked more before I left. Oh, well. It’s been busy around here!

How is your summer so far?

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!

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!


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!

Potpourri post: cook hike knit!

A little of this and a little of that, all in a mad dash.

We celebrated Mother’s Day with the annual boys’ (young men) helping me put the yard in order. They also brought me a Vietnamese clay pot, and they made dinner in it. Catfish and eggplant in clay pot, and Vietnamese beer to go with it.


This was inspired by a cooking class we took in Vietnam in 2009, and a Southeast Asian Flavors class we took at Portland’s Culinary Workshop last month. What a cool gift, and there were no leftovers.

Last week some friends and I went for another urban hike, this time in Macleay Park. We went from Pittock Mansion down to the Stone House and back again. I chose this hike because I wanted the view of Mount Hood from Pittock Mansion, but it was a pretty hazy day.


(Doing a little work up there, clearly)

Most hike guides go from Lower MacLeay Park up to Pittock Mansion and back, but I wanted it to to be a little shorter due to time constraints, so we started at the top and went down and back up again, skipping the portion below the Stone House. This meant all the hard work was at the end. Oof. But it was pretty!



The Stone House was a comfort station built as a 1930’s WPA project; when it was damaged in the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, the city opted not to repair it. The stone walls are all that remain. Kind of creepy cool.

Balch Creek

Maidenhair Fern

Magic lighting!

Share the trail

Is this some kind of rose?


In other news, I’m working on a few design ideas. I’m using this bit of stash for one of them. It’s Knitted Wit Bling in Fuchsia Basket, a CSY color from last year.


I’m knitting at a loose gauge, and blocking even airier for a lovely springtime accessory. Surprisingly, it’s not a shawl this time! We’ll see if it matches my vision. I’ll know soon. I’m also working on a couple things for September…

Road trip over the Cascades, part 1

Sorry for the radio silence last week; I took two road trips totalling about 850 miles. Both trips went to the other side of the Cascade Mountains, the sunnier, drier side, with a stopover at home in between.

The beginning of the week took me to Ellensburg in Central Washington. I went to help Vickie celebrate her birthday; we had a grand time. We caught a bit of the lunar eclipse on Monday, but it clouded over before totality, so no blood moon for us.



On Tuesday we visited a wind farm. The wind was blowing at a constant 35 miles per hour, the perfect speed for generating electricity! These turbines transform that wind into power for 80,000 homes. I love how these look; they are stark and somehow mesmerizing.

Each blade is 129 feet long.


I know wind farms are controversial in some places, but there’s a lot of wind and not many neighbors in this part of the state, so it seems to make sense to have this kind of renewable energy here.


We hiked a trail at Cave B Resort. It’s above the Columbia River next to the Gorge Amphitheater. The views are spectacular. Keep going down the gorge, and you’ll make it to the river. We turned around here due to time limitations.


I nearly stepped on a snake. Whoops!

We made a quick stop (it was really windy!) at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park above the Columbia River to check out the petroglyphs. These were relocated here to save them from the rising water after the Wanapum Dam was built four miles downstream.




The next morning we took a stroll on the banks of the Yakima River. The river takes a wide turn here.

We saw this truck remnant in the woods.


I headed home Wednesday afternoon to get ready for the next trip on Friday. More on that in the next post. For now, it’s time to cast on for the Aloha Shawlette KAL! Are you knitting along with me? Come check out the chatter on Ravelry.

Fall back…

You’d think that gaining an extra hour would give me some bounce, but I feel like I can’t quite catch up on sleep! I’m tired earlier and wake up earlier than I want to because it’s light outside. Give me another week and I’ll have my act together.

I spent the weekend over on the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains, visiting good friends who have fled the gray rainy side. They’re happily ensconced in their new town. We hiked up Umtanum Creek Canyon on Sunday. The sage looked and smelled wonderful, and the mountains look very different over there.

Umtanum Creek hike

We passed an abandoned homestead, complete with the remains of an apple orchard.


I wonder what this stone was for?


The still parts of the creek reflect the mountains, gloriously.

Umtanum Creek hike

There are beaver dams along the creek. Most impressive.


I had a great time, and it was kind of depressing driving back under the cloud cover into the rain. Sigh.

October is over, and that means it’s time to give away books! Thanks for all your comments. The winners of the 2013 Swish Pattern Collection for KnitPicks are:

purple penguin and Lillian Henegar.

Congratulations! I’ve emailed you your ebooks. I hope you enjoy knitting from them!

In other news, I saw my first Christmas ad on TV last week, the Monday before Halloween. Blergh. But it’s definitely holiday season in the stores already. I was in my local Fred Meyer and saw this:


I think that’s cheating. Gluing felt reindeer on an acrylic sweater isn’t the same as digging through closets (or thrift stores!) and coming up with the perfect egregious Christmas sweater. And paying $24.99 for the privilege of faking it? Meh.

I just finished a design project and am mailing it off today. Another is gone to the tech editor. And the yarn for a new one just arrived. I’ll start…after I finish a baby sweater for Lorajean’s impending bundle of joy. Two weeks to go! I started to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket, but it just wasn’t speaking to me. Now I’m knitting In Threes by Kelly Herdrich. I’ve knit one of these before, it’s quick and cute.

What’s hot on your needles now? Do you have an “ugly” Christmas sweater? I have a cute one! Picture in December, when it’s seasonally appropriate.

Autumn waterfall hike

September was hugely rainy, and I was mourning the lack of closure to a spectacularly beautiful summer. October brought back clear skies, but cooler temperatures. I’ve been deadline knitting/designing non-stop for the past month, and feeling the need to get outdoors before the rain returns! I wanted to re-do the waterfall hike we took in July, because the twin waterfalls were a little lacking in water then. Susan and I headed there on Monday, but at the last minute I opted for the Horsetail Falls loop instead, because Pony Tail Falls is more dramatic. Same exit on the freeway, turn right instead of left! The Columbia River Gorge has many options.

The hike begins at Horsetail Falls. I used to come here a lot in the summers when the kids were little. They’d play in the splash pool; it’s nature’s air conditioning.

Horsetail Falls

The trail goes upwards along five switchbacks, and then levels out. About half a mile in is Pony Tail Falls.


I love this one, because you can go behind it.

Pony Tail Falls

Ponytail Falls

Further along the way is Middle Oneonta Falls.

Middle Oneonta Falls

We met a couple hikers who encouraged us to take a side trip to Triple Falls. This one has been on my list for the last two years, so we did it. It was an extra 1.6 miles out and back from the trail we were on.


Spectacularly beautiful! It was definitely worth the trip.

thrill seekers

Can you see the two hikers at the top of the falls? I think they had to cross over on that log. I am not so adventurous.


The moss was really lush; this tree looks like a mossy spider.


Flowers? No, just bloomed out mushrooms.


more shrooms

Four waterfalls on a four mile hike, a great afternoon in the Columbia River Gorge. We’re lucky to live so close to so much beauty. And on the way home, we made a quick stop at Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls

Now I’m back to working on a new design project. Can I just say that I love giant graph paper?


Charts are fabulous. Do you prefer charted instructions, or line by line? What are you knitting now? Are you ready for fall?

Hedging my bets

I finished knitting my Raspberry Vodka Lemonade, and the entire time I was knitting the sleeves, I wondered if I had made it too small. I tend to second-guess myself when I’m nearing the end of something, and it takes all my will-power to push through. Thoughts of completely frogging the piece, or even just abandoning it, dance through my head as I knit on and on.

I’ve learned my lesson about ease in sweaters; too much ease just makes it look like my sweater is wearing me. But I was afraid that I might have gone overboard this time in my quest for a flattering fit with zero or minimal ease. I’m hoping that the seed stitch bands will relax a bit and cover just a bit more in the front.

VL blocking

Which they did. Now I’m just waiting for it to dry so I can try it on again. But you’ll notice that I haven’t sewn in my ends yet…in case I have to frog! But look how delicious all the subtle color shadings are in this Damson colored Luminous DK (85/15 Polwarth wool/Tussah silk) from Sincere Sheep.

While I’m waiting, I’ll show you pictures from our Tuesday hike. We did the Horsetail Falls Loop hike in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s an easy 2.6 mile hike with views of 3 waterfalls. It begins and ends at Horsetail Falls, which is 192 feet high and right off the Historic Columbia River Highway.


There’s a trail that wanders up to Ponytail Falls, which feeds Horsetail Falls.


This part of the trail goes behind the falls, which lends a great perspective.


The third waterfall on this hike is Middle Oneonta Falls. (There are three: Upper, Middle, and Lower)


Lots of greenery along the way…


…as well as some not as green things.



I like how the drops of sap look like beads on knitting. (It always comes back to knitting, doesn’t it?)

The end of the hike loops back to Horsetail Falls, where we spent some time hanging by the splash pool. I used to bring the kids here on hot summer days, a long time ago.


It was nice to get re-acquainted with the falls, and to do something completely different!

I’ll let you know about the Vodka Lemonade after I try it on…