Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Day with Mom, Reminiscing - Mon., June 22, 2015

After Mom heard about our river house (where we had lived for 12 years) being abandoned, she wanted to go see it. We made a day trip out of going to see the river house Bob and I  previously owned, along with a trip out to the five-acre farm in Newberg where we had lived while I was in high school.

Once again the back door was unlocked. I don't know why whoever is inspecting or showing the house doesn't lock that door. I looked up the house on the internet and found out it is for sale. It has been empty for at least a year and two months. (There are that many months on the inspection sheet in the house.)

From the river house Bob and I used to own, Mom and I drove back roads to Newberg. Champoeg State Park looked as popular as ever; all the RV sites were full. We passed an organic cattle farm where they put peppermint leaves in the cows' feed. That way their poop doesn't smell so bad. It smells like mint.

Once we drove through Newberg, we went six miles to the house we lived in when I was a teen-ager. I lived there from the time I was 14 until I was 18 and went to southern California to college. The 100-year-old farmhouse is on five acres. When we lived there we had a big garden, raised chickens, turkey, and sheep, and enjoyed the rural lifestyle.


This side of the house overlooks the Chehalem Valley
Chehalem Valley
This side faces the road and overlooks Adelsheim Vineyard
Adelsheim Vineyard
Being an old house, it had issues. Mom told me the last time she and my sister went out, a man was working on the house - he took them on a tour to see the inside. He was there again today working on the house. He again took us on a tour. Lots of great memories from living there. A large family room with fireplace and a second bathroom have been added as well as a new garage. He said the house has been sold to a family and he has to finish up his work because they're moving in in July.

After our trip down Memory Lane, we crossed the street to Adelsheim Vineyards. For $15, we could taste five wines: one chardonnay and four pinot noirs. I chose not to taste as I'm not a big fan of pinot noirs. Mom partook and really liked one of the pinots. She let me taste her chardonnay which was quite good!

Entry into the tasting room

Mom at the Adelsheim Vineyard tasting room.
On our way back to her house, we stopped at Shari's for lunch. Both of us had Atlantic cod fish & chips which were excellent. I spent the afternoon doing laundry and packing for my flight home on Tuesday, June 23, worked on my pictures, and wrote a blog.


The City of Roses - Sunday, June 21, 2015

Walking today in a beautiful, walkable city: Portland, Oregon, the City of Roses. At 9 a.m. I was at the Volksmarch start table raring to go. Once I signed in and had my directions, I was off like a shot.

The first iconic Portland spot we walked was NW 23rd Ave. Northwest 23rd Ave. is a hipster's shopping dream. Eclectic stores, great eateries, and fun people watching make this a unique Portland destination.

NW 23rd Ave
Art on NW 23rd Ave in Portland, Oregon
From NW 23rd, our route went up into Washington Park. First stop was at the Lewis & Clark Memorial. From the memorial there is a great view of Mt. Hood.


The plaque at the bottom of the memorial reads:
Erected by citizens of Oregon to commemorate the achievements of Captains Meriweather Lewis and William Clark who, with the encouragement and under the direction of the President of United States Thomas Jefferson, started from St. Louis May 14, 1804 and through many hardships penetrated the vast continental wilderness to the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River, and returning September 1806 gave to the pioneers a pathway and, to the nation, the Oregon Country. Begun 1904; Dedicated 1908
Mt. Hood from Washington Park
Down a slope, then up again, it was time for a checkpoint on our walk. We then made our way to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park.

Sacagawea leading Lewis and Clark
Lots to do in Washington Park
Magnolia blossom
Hydrangeas
Hardy fuchsias
Climbing roses on a lamp post
Peachy rose perfection
International Rose Test Garden
Lovely lavender roses
Purple roses
Path to the Japanese Garden
Hostas in bloom
Rose arbor with a profusion of blooms
Roses on the rose arbor up close
We made our way back down to the checkpoint and turned to the Holocaust Memorial, dedicated the the Jews who lost their lives during World War II.

Volksmarchers at Holocaust Memorial
Art pieces on the ground to commemorate
possessions left behind when the Jews were rounded up.
Pieces from a former life well lived.
We completed a loop in Washington Park then headed into downtown Portland down the steep Park Place. In this tony neighborhood are many exquisite mansions.

Park Place home
Corner of Park Pl. and King Ave.
Zigging and zagging through downtown Portland, we passed the United States Court House and the Portlandia sculpture, a hammered copper sculpture made by the same process as the Statue of Liberty.

United States Court House
Portlandia sculpture
We then walked along the Columbia River for 1/2 mile, then turned to go through the Saturday Market (which is also held on Sundays). On the far side of the Saturday Market booths, is the well-known Voodoo Doughnuts. I had never been and thought I'd give it a try since I was in the neighborhood. Once I saw the line, I was like, "Ummmm, no!"

Voodoo Doughnuts sign
The line goes down 1/2 a block and winds back to the store.
One of downtown Portland's old churches
As I was walking, a couple stopped to ask if we were on an organized walk. I took a few minutes to talk to them about Volksmarching. He put the website into his Smart phone. They sounded like they were serious about doing the walks. I love meeting people like that.

From Voodoo Doughnuts it was a 1-1/2 mile walk back to the start/finish point. It took me exactly two hours for the 6.2 miles.

I drove home to mom's house and took a two-hour nap. My son Michael and I were heading out to play Laser Tag and have dinner in the afternoon. Little did I know we'd be playing six games of Laser Tag. That was a blast. Pun intended. The laser tag arena we went to was so much fun! One of Michael's friends, Gavin, met us there. By the end of six laser tag games after having walked 6.2 miles in the morning, I was pooped.

We were going to have dinner at Red Lobster, but it was Father's Day and the wait was 45 minutes. Another option was quickly decided upon. We would go somewhere that had a lot of restaurants in one area. If one had too long a wait, we'd try another. First choice: Red Robin. Wait time: 15 minutes. That's where we ended up. Had an excellent meal and reconnected with Michael. We went back to Mom's to watch some TV. I fell sound asleep in the recliner. When Michael got ready to leave they had a hard time waking me up! I was just done in.

Travel Bug out.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Boom! What was that? - Sat., June 20, 2015

Driving up to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument two hours from Portland, Oregon, all I could think about was that spring day (May 18) in 1980 when we were just waking up and heard a huge BOOM! We had no idea what it was. A manufacturing plant explosion? A train crash? We had no idea.

It was only later that the news came out. Mount St. Helens, a dormant volcano, had thunderously exploded causing one whole side of the mountain to blow out and melt down. From south of Portland, Oregon, we could see the ash plume soaring skyward. Who knew that 540,000 tons of ash could rocket into the stratosphere. We all learned firsthand about the geologic forces that shape our earth.

 * * * * * * * *

I remembered a time in high school when our church youth group climbed Mount St. Helens. That was long before the mountain blew up. One of our church elders was an experienced climber. He wanted to take a group of us mountain climbing. I think there were about eight of us. I didn't find out about it until it was too late to get a pair of good hiking boots. Our guide offered to loan me a pair of his. Even with two or three pairs of socks, my feet were swimming in the boots. I felt like a mountain climbing clown.

Because we lived an hour from Portland, we had to leave the house around 3:00 a.m. to meet up with the group at 4:00 a.m. Our guide wanted us to start at dawn. Once at the mountain, we hiked and hiked and hiked on trails, through rockfall and across scree fields before we made it to the snow line.

Once we hit the snow, we had to put cramp-ons on our hiking boots. As the terrain got steeper, the cramp-ons would keep us from sliding down the snow/ice. We all carried an ice axe to arrest a fall if we slipped, and we were all roped together. It was getting late in the day. Glaciers with crevasses appeared. Things were getting scary. Our guide led us, using his ice axe to tap the snow in front of him to make sure there were no crevasses hidden by a covering of snow.

The later it got, the more he realized we weren't going to make it to the top. As the sun was going down, he had us glissade down a snow field so we could make time heading down. Glissading is sliding down the snow field on your butt, you use the ice axe to slow down or stop. To me, that was the most fun part of the whole day! (Although my rear end was wet and numb by the time we got off the snow field.)

At the bottom of the snow field, we came to an area of rockfall. We're talking big boulders with holes between them in which you could break a leg. It was getting dark so we had to carefully thread our way through many, many, many rocks. When we finally got to a place where we could rest it was almost dark. I leaned on a "rock" only to find it was a bush, and I fell into it.

Our guide wasn't exactly sure where on the mountain we came down, so he had to go find the car. It was cold! He left the eight of us there shivering on the mountain. He was gone a long time, but finally got back to us about midnight or 1 a.m. Our parents, we found out later, were frantic with worry.

Once in the car, we must have quickly fallen asleep because we were exhausted. We made it back to Portland around 3:30 a.m. I had been up over 24 hours. I was able to sleep at the home of one of the deacons who also had kids on the mountain climb. I remember waking up around noon and being fed 1/2 cantaloupe filled with ice cream. That really hit the spot.

 * * * * * * * *

But, back to today. The last time I had been hiking on Mount St. Helens was on the Hummocks Trail which is where we were going to do our Volksmarch today. At the time we hiked it about 20 years ago, there was mostly ash and very little in the way of plant life; maybe some wildflowers, weeds and small saplings. I was really looking forward to today's walk to see how it had changed.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Enlarge for better view of where we were
After a long drive, I was very happy to make it to Coldwater Lake, the start point for our 10k Volksmarch. Parking was limited. I checked in at the start table and was told to drive to the parking lot about 1/2 mile away for the start point. Only eight parking sites were left there, so I had to get there quickly. Susan and Darren were waiting for me and we set off on the Hummocks Trail a little before 9 a.m. Temperature was 61 degrees, weather sunny. It wasn't long before we were quite warm.

Surprise, surprise! The forest, composed mostly of alder, had sprung up over the intervening years, joined by ferns, horsetails, and wildflowers. We had shade! Bonus: wildflowers are in bloom now.

Indian paintbrush and lupine
The hummocks are massive mounds (some over 500' tall) of rock, ash and mud that were deposited around the Coldwater Lake valley by Mount St. Helens' debris flow. The ash and mud are so deep they cover massive forests (the ones that weren't carried downstream in the debris flow).

The trail winds up and down through the hummocks, past ponds, to a lookout over the Toutle River, and back into the forest where there are marshy bogs and more hummocks. Elevation gain is 100' and the highest elevation on this trail on the flank of the Cascade range is 2,500'.

Crystal clear pond amongst the hummocks
Toutle River cutting through hummocks
The trail - see how big the trees are.
Mount St. Helens from the Toutle River overlook
Volksmarchers at Toutle River overlook
We finished the 5k Hummocks Trail, then walked across the road to do the other 5k at Coldwater Lake Trail.
The road across the river to Coldwater Lake
Beautiful river, and look at those trees!
The Coldwater Lake Trail traversed the shore of Coldwater Lake. Many wildflowers lined the path. It was a very narrow trail, so we had to pass other walkers carefully or "pull over" and let them go by.

Mount St. Helens from Coldwater Lake
Viewpoint of Coldwater Lake
Coldwater Lake and Mount St. Helens
Boardwalk onto Coldwater Lake

Daisies galore.
Lupine, daisies, dandelions at Coldwater Lake
Daisies and Indian paintbrush
After we finished our Volksmarch, I told Susan and Darren they HAD to go with me to Johnston Ridge Visitor Center. We all drove up to the visitor center, watched the movie, read the true-life stories hanging on the walls and glued our eyes on the fantastic view into the crater of Mount St. Helens.

After the movie in the visitor center, the wall slides open and you see the crater of Mount St. Helens in front of you. Impressive. 

View from the window after the movie
One of the trees snapped by the force of the blast
Ranger talk with Mount St. Helens in the background
To  the east is Mount Adams, a massive mountain
After the visitor center at Johnston Ridge, Susan and Darren continued on to Olympia and Seattle. I headed to Vancouver and a late lunch at Beaches Restaurant on the Columbia River. I had a salad and a couple of glasses of wine, plus dessert. I was hungry! Then I went to Portland and saw Jurassic World in 3-D. Yikes! That movie is intense in 3-D. I screamed about three or four times.

Then I headed back to Mom's house for the night. Tomorrow, the Portland Volksmarch.

Travel Bug out