Archive for August, 2009

Sail on the Bay

Sail1(blog)It was my friend Rita’s birthday a week ago last Friday, the 21st. Computer “issues” have kept me away from my blog upon my return.

Rita’s friends have a long-standing open sail on the bay every Friday. It was balmy and warm — even on the water! There were cubbies for ice and beer everywhere (and an on-board toilet for the demure — infinitely superior to the public piss bucket).

The sun set behind Mt. Tamalpais to ooh’s as the balmy air wisped our hair and cast faces in golden glows.

The nightly Hornblower “sunset Bay cruise” passed us on our way back.

The Bay Area no longer felt like home. It seemed sprawling, congested and ARID after my 18 months in the Pacific NW.


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Actually, this is just a wee note. I’m off for the next 5 days to visit the Bay Area. Here are some photos from the bird bath and feeder at my brother’s place in Ojai, California.

Female American Goldfinch at fountain:

Lunchtime! I just don’t get these crowds in Vancouver.

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Eagle Creek Trail

A friend and I hiked the Eagle Creek trail. Don’t go there if you want solitude! It’s very popular. But it offers a steady gentle grade, continual views of waterfalls and swimming holes.


This is a well maintained trail that’s broad and flat in many places. Portions of the trail were blasted out of the rock face and are quite stony and uneven. I was glad I was wearing boots.

Many of the college kids on vacation were hiking in bathing suits and sandals — heading for the first swimming hole turn-off. The canyon echoed with Yahoo!’s and ker-plunks.

There were several ponds. Some hiked the creek bed from pond to pond.

This is the famous Punchbowl Falls:

This is Loowit Falls:

Our destination was the “high bridge” — some 100 ft above a narrow chasm.

This is looking straight down:

We’d gained about 600 ft and hiked some 7 miles round trip.The forest shade protected us from the 90 degree heat. But we were pretty hot on the return trek.

We spotted this loon just before the trailhead:

The de rigueur ice cream stop in Cascade Locks was more than welcome!

Two great links with more history and  info on Eagle Creek: Wikipedia and Portland Hikers’ Field Guide.

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By the Book

Afoot-afieldIn my attempt to improve my hiking skills, I bought the aptly named “Afoot &Afield: Portland/Vancouver“. I chose a nearby hike at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

Alas, trail maps are not road maps. Trails themselves are far more mutable and the surrounding environment subject to change without notice.

Below is my edited version of the map (replete with trails that weren’t mentioned and the corrected location of the gate):

All in all, the hike was a disappointment. It was soggy, flat and engulfed in head-high Canary Reed Grass.

The misplaced gate sent me sloshing off on a half mile detour.

This is not a “seldom used service road”:

Whereas this is:

It’s obvious after the fact. But all was not lost. This is August after all. Trail-side fruit was abundant and ripe. My first encounter was a heavily burdened pear tree. The trail was full of crushed and rotting fruit.

The himalayan blackberries were copious, plump, ripe and very sweet!

I picked and ate and picked some more.

This is the lovely Spiraea Douglasii with a resident bumble bee hanging over the duckweed filled Gee Creek. It’s hard to photograph because the slightest breeze sends it aflutter.

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Joanie Rocks!

Joan2b(blog)Who knew that the Portland Zoo held concerts? I didn’t. That’s where it helps to have a sibling who keeps an eye out for these things.

It was a sell-out crowd. We spread out our blanket and chairs in the “back 40” and noshed on deli items and beer. Some folks had very elaborate homemade spreads laid out. Hmm. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next time. Lots of Tupperware and rolling ice chests.

One perk of a concert at a zoo was that they opened with a performance of wild hawks. They called in three eagles to the stage from somewhere in the surrounding woods. Cool!

Here’s a bald eagle soaring over our heads.

Another perk was getting to walk around and spy on the animals before the concert. The arena was right next to the elephants.

The concert was great. I spend very little time in my assigned ‘seat’. Mostly, I was  down by the stage. Folks were dancing and having a grand time. It’s amazing that more people don’t do this.

Joan Baez is nearly 70. She’s 68 to be exact. (She looks a lot better than Bob Dylan, who’s the same age!) I thought she looked GREAT. She sang about 50/50 oldies and newer, less known songs. “Diamonds and Rust” was my favorite of the evening. This review in Portland, ME applies equally here.

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Observation Peak

The 50+ hiking group took us on a hike to Observation Peak. It was only 5.6 miles, give or take. But unlike previous hikes, the 1,400 elevation gain was not by switch-backs, but strait up. Or should I say, up and down and up again. I barely made it!

Lunch at our destination was more than welcome. An old lookout post was once here. We found dozens of square nails still strewn about.

The views were sweeping. This is looking SSE down the Trapper Creek Wilderness area. That’s Oregon on the far horizon.

Were it not for the cloud ceiling, we would have seen Mt. Adams to our near NW and Mt. Jefferson to the far south. We were due south of the east end of Swift Resevoir and Mt. St. Helen’s.

Out of the group of 21, about 4 people had GPS devices and many others had compasses (that they knew how to read).

The Gentian were out in force. I believe this is the  Rainier Pleated Gentian (Gentiana calycosa Griseb.)

I forget exactly which Harebell this is, but it was everywhere. They’re a member of the Campanula family.

We were surrounded by Sickletop Lousewort at our feet. I didn’t get a photo, but found this detiail shot of similar Lousewort flower on the web.

As per usual, we had an ice cream stop on the way home. Tillmook ice cream was served at the Johnnie’s Ice Cream & Deli in Cascade Locks. It’d be awesome even without the rigorous hike.

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County Fair

What’s summer without a fair? Parking at large events is usually sufficient deterrence to keep me away. But a friend had entered some jam and wanted to go see how she fared. The overwhelming quantity of (dare I say?) mediocre entries in everything from jams, to quilts, drawing, photos, clothing (sewn and knitted) and what not … argh! … I wilted in the onslaught.

I fared a little better with the animals, although the lighting was dim and I didn’t want to further stress the caged beasts with a flash. There was every type of cow in every color. This pair was lovely.

The goats were charming in their awkward square pupilled way.

This lop-eared rabbit looks just like the Beth Van Hoesen painting. Truth is, the chickens and roosters won the day. I didn’t get any photos but OMG, they are beautiful and so varied.

I took this picture from atop the Ferris Wheel (even though heights scare the pee-woddy out of me).

I was dazzled / horror struck by watching the “sling shot” ride. As the name suggests, a double seater basket is shot straight up into the air. It then tumbles and rolls as it bounces bungy-style till it’s brought back down. Yikes! They didn’t have this ride when I was a kid.

Here’s a pix of the larger Ferris Wheel (that we didn’t ride).

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