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Archive for September, 2009

Zigzag Overlook

The 50+ hikers led an easy hike from Timberline Lodge to Zigzag Overlook — about a 2 mile walk each way with some 500 feet of elevation difference to give us a workout.

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It was brisk in the morning but warmed up to a beautiful day. Here we are at our destination. (That’s Mt. Hood in the background.)
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At this time of year all but the glacial snow is gone. Looks odd to my eyes. That’s the Palmer glacier behind Timberline Lodge — looking pretty sad.
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There was a 2-man crew upgrading a microwave tower. (Tourists gotta use their cell phones!) It was “high wire” work. They had a great view — not that they had much time to enjoy it.
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It was a short hike but plenty of a workout for me. The air smelled terrific! The sky is so blue at higher elevations. It made a great back drop for the flags in front of the lodge.
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I spied this marker on the steps up to the lodge. Clearly it was built at a time when the word “public” wasn’t a dirty word! Built by the WPA in the 30’s it is now privately operated.
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Camano Retreat

I made my fist solo drive to Seattle to visit my friend Lolli. It was a breeze except for the northbound section between Tacoma and Seattle. Yikes! There must have been 10 lanes of traffic. Nothing like looking in your rear-view mirror at an ocean of oncoming cars.

But I made it.

We took Lolli’s mom, Margaret to their cabin at Elger Bay on Camano Island.
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Oh my! It’s so soothing to gaze out at the bay’s flat waters, the open sky and listen to the gentle lapping while the tides come in … and out; the sun came up and down. Ahhhhhh! My blood pressure’s dropping just thinking about it.

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We threw balls for the dogs …
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Ate picnic style …
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Took walks on the beach …
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Lit a big outdoor fire and contemplated the stars and planets (Jupiter) in their path across the sky. Everyone chilled. Lolli and I played LOTS of Scrabble. (She’s getting harder to beat with all this practice! We were probably tied in wins.)

I did some astronomy research on my return — to figure out just which way (and why) the stars were going. Here’s a short clip.

Google Earth even has a sky map now!

I came across this video of whales in the bay. Could have been taken from our cabin (but it wasn’t).

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End of Summer Cleanup

It’s time to start battening down the hatches.  First on my list was checking the bird houses to see if they’d been used and clean up anything left inside.

Yep, we got a nest in here! I’m not sure this was ever occupied with chicks but there was lots of coming and going.
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I had no idea they were using moss as a nesting material. Ironically, cat hair seems to be the other prime ingredient. A little clorox-water scrub should kill any mites. We’re all ready for next spring!

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The other chore was cleaning the gutters. I broke down and bought an 8-foot step ladder and then found a free 8/16 ft extension ladder on Craig’s List.

My gutters  don’t drain thoroughly so there’s 1/4 inch of standing water in spots. This produces a  “pond muck” and roof gravel mix.  It’s dirty, sloppy work and very awkward with the ladder and shrubbery.

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Yeah, that’s a spent firecracker. It’s awkward pulling stuff out in oversized gloves (they didn’t sell smalls). But overall they weren’t as bad as I’d feared and I feel virtuous for my efforts.

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Morning Visitors

I like to look out my bedroom window when I first get up. It’s a ritual of getting acquainted with the day before it’s gotten used to itself. It’s still quiet and tinged with the night’s leaving.

So imagine my surprise when I spy this pair of raccoons intent on their business.
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I know they can be a nuisance. But this morning they were a pleasing curiosity. One of them had either lost its tail or been born without it.
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Yes, summer is ebbing. It’s actually a lovely time of year. The afternoons are warm (low 80’s) and the evenings balmy with a faint breeze. Life is sweet.

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Amature Astronomy

Okay, I can’t seem to find any information as to which planet it is that’s so bright these days. The full moon has been very bright and has company to boot.

It’s not easy to photograph with my pedestrian camera.
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The exposure was so long to catch the light that wiggles were inevitable. Plus, the clouds were moving at a brisk clip.
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I think the planet is Venus because it’s so bright. But what’s this? An eclipse? It’s how this planet looked in my camera.
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Hope you all have clear skies to enjoy the view.

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Sorry, I’ve been distracted with all sorts of stuff and have neglected my blog duties. While I was in the Bay Area my friend Rita and I visited a lovely (and very quirky) sculpture garden in Berkeley based on a newspaper article.

A hallmark of the landscape is the novel use of everyday things — like a wheel hub for a vase. Salvaged bowling balls purchased for $1 each from foreclosed bowling alleys were ubiquitous.
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Another example is this pot of silverwear.
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Marcia Donahue is the artist / gardener. Her plant-inspired sculpture is interspersed among the densely planted pathways. Sometimes it was hard to distinguish the real from the natural. Take these bulb sculptures for example.
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There was a functioning chicken coop, a large Koi pond, fruiting kiwis and lots of bamboo. Marcia’s gardening skills were none too shabby. Her semi-public backyard garden is 30+ years in the making.

See my full photo albumn here.

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