17 December 2016

Sew Much Fun

These past few weeks, Santa's elves have been busy making little needle books.

I gave these seven away to my coworkers.

Then, because I used postal themed fabric, I decided to make one for our letter carrier.  Our dog absolutely LOVES her for her pocket full of doggie biscuits.  We think she is great too.

We usually give her cash at Christmas but this year I'm going to slip the cash in the inside front pocket...

... while the fabulous little fold-up Fiskars scissors will occupy the inside back pocket.

Who are you surprising this year?

05 November 2016

Huge News!

Once upon a time Lucy crocheted two little ducks, one yellow and one pink.  She attached travel bug dog tags to them and launched them in my direction (Oregon) from her country, the Netherlands.

You may remember that in 2015 Lucy's yellow duck travel bug made it to Oregon in just three weeks time and I drove to Wildcat Mountain to retrieve the duck from the cache.  You can read all about that here.

Yeah, well, I am SO SO SO excited to share with you that not only did her yellow duck make it to Oregon, but yesterday, a year later, the pink duck also made it.

I retrieved the pink duck!!!

the cache

In the hands of other geocachers this duck traveled around the Netherlands for a long time.  It spent some time traveling around France.  It visited Paris, Spain, Germany, Texas, Missouri, and Wisconsin, before finally making it to Oregon.

And not just anywhere in Oregon, but Portland. I didn't have to drive very far to get it.  I'm fortunate today was Saturday and I didn't have to work.  I was able to head out early to find it before someone else did.

See the pink duck in a baggy on the second floor of this "inn"?  It's a great place to take shelter on a rainy day.  I guess the duck was lounging in the dining area.  The bottom floor of the inn is the spa and has a hot tub.  I'm not sure what the top floor was for but each level was lit.

I brought the little pink duck home to join its twin.  When I hold these ducks in my hand, it's amazing to think that Lucy made these and once held them in her hands.  That yarn was twisted around her fingers as she worked it with a hook to form a couple of little ducks that would have an amazing adventure and fly all over the world and eventually arrive at their destination.  In my hands. Reunited.  They once sat on her dresser and now they sit on my shelf.  I shake my head in wonder.

Back when Lucy launched her travel bugs, I also launched a couple of travel bugs (duck calls - lol) in Lucy's direction but they have not had as much success in reaching her as her ducks have had in reaching me.  I'm not giving up hope that at least one of them will reach her some day.  I want her to experience the thrill of holding something in her hands that I picked out and launched for her and her daughter (they are a team).

Anyway, I'm so happy to be able to share this news with you.  It is truly amazing that both ducks made it without getting lost or stolen.  Sometimes the greatest thrills in life don't cost much at all.  And wonderful friendships grow from playing the craziest games.

28 August 2016

Tamanawas Falls

It's been a month since we hiked on Sauvie Island.  On that hike I aggravated an earlier foot injury and even after a month it is still bothering me somewhat but I was pretty sure another hike would not make it worse.

Yesterday we decided to drive highway 26 and veer off onto 35 to the east side of Mount Hood and hike the Tamanawas Falls trail.  We got an early enough start because the pullout for parking at the trailhead wasn't full yet.  We knew by the amount of cars there that only a handful of people were ahead of us on the trail.

The trail follows Cold Spring Creek much of the way.  There are many places to take off shoes and socks and wade in the creek.

It's not a difficult hike although there are boulders to step over and rockslides to cross.  Eventually we rounded a bend and caught our first glimpse of the falls.

It was just a short distance after that to the falls where we joined the small group who arrived before us. There isn't really anything but a slope of rocks and boulders from a rockslide to serve as a place to sit or stand.  The mist from the waterfall was cool and refreshing.  After sitting a while and enjoying the scenery, we retraced our steps back to the trailhead and headed home.

An easy hike, it was the perfect distance (3.8 miles round trip) and elevation gain (500 feet).  My foot handled it well.

The school year has begun.  Gone are the long lazy days of summer but in their place is the gentle rhythm of schedule and routine.  Both are good.

31 July 2016

Taking Stock - July


Making: an alphabet quilt
Cooking: not much
Snacking: sweet onion Maui potato chips
Drinking: pitchers of ice tea
Reading: Pride and Prejudice
Wanting: to find a good hairdresser
Looking: around me and counting my blessings
Deciding: to stay put in this house for now 
Wishing: vacation were longer
Enjoying: "spring" cleaning my house 
Wondering: who will win the election - Trump or Hilary
Pondering: whether I should have the dog professionally groomed for a change
Listening: to the ringing in my ears and the dog's nails click on the wood floor
Considering: checking out Mount Tabor hiking trails
Buying: a ceiling fan
Watching: eleven seasons of Frasier on Netflix
Needing: to pay a visit to the dentist
Smelling: geranium scented Mrs. Meyers cleaner
Wearing: tiny silver hoop earrings
Following: a routine
Noticing: leaves beginning to fall from trees signaling Autumn will be here soon
Knowing: there are only a few more weeks before school starts
Thinking: I would like to be successful at weight loss
Admiring: successful weight loss people
Avoiding: the doctor because I haven't lost the weight yet
Bookmarking: tent trailers sites
Memorizing: Ephesians
Loving: being an introvert
Disliking: the garage band at the end of our street but thankful we are not next door neighbors
Opening: a package containing a quilting stencil
Laughing: at myself
Feeling: okay

25 July 2016

Warrior Rock Lighthouse on Sauvie Island

Floating houses near Sauvie Island

We set out this morning in rush hour traffic on Interstate 5 through Portland to Sauvie Island.  I've always wanted to go to Sauvie Island.

I always thought Sauvie Island was pretty uninhabited and quite small.  Boy, was I wrong.  Turns out it is Oregon's largest island.  It's quite nice really.  From the bridge to the trailhead there are twelve miles of farm land, you-pick farms, pumpkin patch farms, cows, lavender farms, and fields upon fields of the most fragrant tiny little flowers that caused me to inhale deeply of their heavenly aroma as we drove by.

Once we reached the trailhead there were 3.5 miles of forest service road to trek to reach the end of the trail.  No unauthorized motor vehicles were allowed so we set off on foot, walking through the woods toward our destination - a miniature lighthouse and a secluded sandy beach.

There are actually many nice sandy beaches on the north shore of Sauvie Island but not many people seemed keen on hiking 3.5 miles with all their gear to enjoy the one near the lighthouse.  We had the beach to ourselves today.

I wish I had packed a picnic lunch to enjoy.  There's a log that runs along the front of the lighthouse facing the river where one can sit and enjoy the breezes and the views of the Columbia River.

We could have continued another half mile to the northernmost tip of the island, to a hidden viewpoint of the city of St Helens across the river, but we decided to make the lighthouse our turn around point. 

After enjoying the beach for a bit and letting the dog have a swim (she was thrilled that we included her in our adventure), we retraced our steps to the car and headed home.

Distance: 7 miles round trip
Elevation gain: none
Other hikers: three
Fee: $10 Sauvie Island Wildlife Area Parking Permit at Cracker Barrel Grocery
Favorite part: the lighthouse and discovering there are beaches closer than the Pacific coast
Least favorite part: driving through Portland traffic to get there

04 July 2016

Lava Canyon Trail - Mt St Helens

The view just before Lava Canyon trail head.

Do you remember where you were or what you were doing in 1980 when you heard Mt St Helens had erupted?  I was nineteen, adapting to my first year as a U.S. resident and blissfully unaware of this huge event.  

Last weekend Ralph and I decided to hike the Lava Canyon Trail.  Two hours of driving into Washington and to Mt St Helens, this is the greatest distance we have ever traveled to a trail head - so far.  The good news is that all the roads were paved.  Yeah!

This is the most treacherous trail we've ever been on.  Signs warned us many times that we could die on this trail.

There were three hike options available: Easy (to the suspension bridge), More Difficult (to the suspensions bridge), and Most Difficult but what I call Treacherous.  Guess which one we took?  We took the treacherous path, of course, because we always make things hard.

The hike starts out innocently enough descending into the canyon on a paved path lined with many unique benches.

Unlike every other trail we've hiked, we had to hike downhill first.  All the elevation gain was reserved for the return trip.

It wasn't long before we crossed a foot bridge and came to water cutting through lava cliffs and chutes.

Water cascading over the cliff.

Meanwhile we continued to descend hundreds of feet into the canyon.  This is one of several stair cases secured into the cliff walls.

The trail beside a basalt cliff.

Next we came to the suspension bridge located above Lava Canyon Falls.  It has cables that run longitudinally underneath the deck boards which gives it an awesome bouncy trampoline feel when crossing the bridge. Quite fun.

The cables are visible in this view looking down between the boards of the bridge deck.

Lava Canyon Falls, the glorious view from the suspension bridge.  The roar from the water drowns out all other noise.

We could have spent a long time here.  At this point people taking the Easy and More Difficult hike options would loop back to their cars.

We pressed on.  Just after the suspension bridge the trail forked downstream on a rugged, steep, scary, slippery descent to the bottom of the canyon.  At one point there was a gash in the cliff with a stream running over it that we had to step over.  Ooo-boy!  I was worried about getting across without slipping but there was a cable to hold onto and it wasn't as bad as it looked.

Parts of this trail were insane.  Seriously.  Some paths were no more than a foot wide with the cliff on  one side and a steep drop off to the canyon bottom below on the other. 

Just as we were wondering how much farther we had to go before reaching the end, we came to a 40 foot ladder that brought us to the canyon floor.  It was awesome. 

After the ladder we continued down stream for two tenths of a mile to the third bridge which overlooks a mudflow plain.  We deemed this a good place to sit a bit and enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

Unless a person has arranged for a shuttle car to meet them on the other end of the trail, this is the turn around point for the treacherous hike.  Now the real work begins - retracing our steps.  Only this time climbing 1100 feet in just a little over 1.5 miles.  I don't know which was harder, descending or ascending.

Lahar (mudflow from the eruption)
It was a beautiful hike.  I loved being so close to Mt St Helens and getting a glimpse into what I missed so many years ago.  I'm thankful for cell phones with camera capability because my camera battery died just minutes into our hike and all these pictures were taken with our phones.  If I didn't have pictures, I'd have to do the hike again!  Cell phone pictures will suffice.

24 June 2016

Coyote Wall

Our original plan was to hike Lava Canyon in Washington today but the weather did not cooperate.  Seeing as it is a slightly treacherous trail, rain would have made it more slick so we decided to save that for another day and check out Coyote Wall instead.

From the parking area we walked an old abandoned road around the base of Coyote Wall's cliff before veering off onto the trail.  There are actually quite a few trails to choose from and we got a little confused.

We headed for the cliff's rim before circling around to do the Labyrinth Loop trail.

This is a view of the parking lot below.  As always, clicking on the picture will make it bigger.  Ours is the only car in the parking lot.  No crowds today.  We had the whole trail to ourselves.

The wind gusts were so strong it was a bit freaky looking over the edge like this.

This trail is directly across the river on the Washington side from the Mosier Twin Tunnels and Tom McCall Point.  We could see Tom McCall Point in the distance and the windows of the Twin Tunnels at various points along our trail today.

This is my favorite trail so far this year.  It may be my favorite trail ever.  There are quite a few trail options. The views of the Gorge are Gorge-ous.  The frequent wind gusts make the hike feel close to effortless. Crowds don't seem to be an issue from what I can tell.  I love it.

My fellow adventurer who likes to run the trails and scale the walls.

I will definitely return to this trail.  There's more to explore.  I only got a taste of it today.

To the fence:
3.7 mile loop
680 feet elevation gain