Saturday, July 27, 2013

Photo of the Week: Bee and Bloom

203/365: Bee and Bloom by jchants
203/365: Bee and Bloom, a photo by jchants on Flickr.
I caught this bumblebee enjoying a hydrangea blossom in my garden. The blossoms are a much deeper blue, but I love the way the 50 mm lens focused so well on the bee and flower, and also showed the leaves as a muted Impressionistic backdrop.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Weekly Hike #8: A Photo of the Week, and a Mishap,

I'm going to get the photo of the week over with right away. That's Annette Lake, the destination for Weekly Hike #8. Isn't it beautiful? This is one of my favorite hikes, and we have done it in both 2011 and 2012.

This year, however, the hike wasn't as much fun as usual. Why, you ask? Well, about a half mile from the lake, I tripped over a tree root and fell and cut my forehead on a rock and jammed my elbow. Do you have any idea how much a head wound bleeds? Fortunately, I didn't have a concussion, my head stopped bleeding pretty quickly, and I didn't even notice how much my arm hurt until we had our picnic at the lake and hiked down the mountain. The next day I went to see the doctor and had my arm x-rayed (nothing broken), and everything has healed up nicely.

Because the hike wasn't much fun—though it certainly was memorable—I'm just going to treat you to a couple photos, and let it go at that. The next hike should be more fun and less eventful.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Weekly Hike #7: Beyond the Ledge

On Friday, July 5th, Mr. D and I decided to return to Rattlesnake Mountain—where there are, in fact no rattlesnakes—and do the short hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge. We did this same hike in both 2011  and 2012 and it is a great choice when you want to hike but don't want to hike all day.

The trail is short, but steep. There are a few level spots, however, like this one:

The last two times we have done this hike, we have stopped at the Ledge, had lunch and hiked back down. This time, it wasn't quite lunchtime, so we decided to hike for another half-hour and then go back down to Rattlesnake Ledge for lunch.

As we hiked further up the trail, we spotted a little side trail, and decided to explore. It turned out that it led to another ledge, high above Rattlesnake Ledge. Even on a cloudy day, it had a great view, and unlike Rattlesnake Ledge, there were no people.

We decided that we would hike a bit further, and then return to that private spot for lunch, which is exactly what we did. While we ate, we enjoyed the view to the east.

That's Chester Morse Lake in the distance, and in the foreground you can see some of the hordes of people that were flocking to Rattlesnake Ledge that day (it was a holiday weekend, after all). We only had one visitor on our picnic spot: this little guy who picked up and enjoyed a grape that Mr. D had dropped. Who wouldn't want to share their lunch spot with him?

Our lunch over, we headed back down the trail. It turned out that stopping to eat where we did was a great idea, because we passed at least 50 people heading up to the Ledge. Lesson learned: if you are looking for solitude, climb a little higher.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekly Hike #6: Lots of Tradition

On Friday, June 28th, the forecast was for HOT weather (mid-to upper-80s), so Mr. D and I decided to do a hike that was relatively level: the Tradition Plateau at Tiger Mountain. We had explored this area a bit back in April, and we wanted to hike some of the other trails. Besides, the word "plateau" sounds good on a hot day: no hills, we thought.

We started out on the Bus Trail.

Odd name for a trail, isn't it? Well, here is where the name came from:

I'm not sure what kind of bus this is—a Volkswagen bus, maybe?—but the big mystery is how it ended up here in the middle of the woods.

We continued on the Bus Trail for a while, and then branched off on a trail that led through a stretch that was out in the open, where I saw this butterfly, basking in the sun. It is likely a Small Apollo (Parnassius phoebus).

Soon after we spotted the butterfly, we came to the Nook Trail, which Mr. D suggested we follow, because it would loop us back toward our starting point. It started out in the cool shady woods, but then the trail narrowed and began to climb, and climb, and climb. I was afraid that we were going to end up climbing to the top of Tiger Mountain, not a fun prospect on such a hot day, but after about a half-hour, the trail leveled off, and then turned back down to the plateau. Unfortunately, by this time we were both hot, sweaty and hungry, and it took us almost another half-hour to get to our lunch spot on Tradition Lake. Despite the trials we experienced in getting there, the view by the lake was worth it. Take a look:

What a great place eat lunch on a hot, sunny afternoon!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Photo of the Week: Opening

185/365: Opening by jchants
185/365: Opening, a photo by jchants on Flickr.
Amazing blossoms on the Hen and Chicks plant in a strawberry pot on my patio.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Photo of the Week: Before Sunrise

180/365: Before Sunrise by jchants
180/365: Before Sunrise, a photo by jchants on Flickr.
One of the benefits of waking up really early is seeing the start of the dawn.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Photo of the Week: Green Grass. Blue Sky. Clouds

I'm two weeks behind on my photos of the week, so over the next few days I will get caught up and treat you to a couple hikes, and maybe even some knitting!

This photo was taken with my iPhone, and I didn't even include it as part of my Project 365 set on Flickr—a very nice old barn was my choice—but the more I looked at this photo, the more I liked it. It was taken by the side of the road on Whidbey Island on Mr. D's and my anniversary.

Can't you just hear the rustle of that green, green grass in the wind?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Weekly Hikes 3, 4 and 5: A Cougar Mountain Sandwich

A Cougar Mountain Sandwich? No, not what I ate on a Cougar Mountain hike, although I did eat sandwiches on those hikes. I'm calling this post a Cougar Mountain Sandwich because I'm going to talk about two Cougar Mountain hikes, with a Twin Falls hike in between.

The first hike at Cougar Mountain was on June 4th, Mr. D's birthday. All he wanted to do on his birthday was go for a hike with me and his sister, so off the three of us went. Here is what the trail looked like on that sunny day:

I did more chatting than photography that day, but I did get a shot of Mr. D's birthday blueberries, complete with candle, thanks to my sister-in-law, who provided both. It was a great, outdoorsy birthday party!

A week later, Mr. D and I decided to do the Twin Falls trail at Olallie State Park in North Bend. The weather was alternately sunny and rainy, and the hike was not the most fun, but we still logged over six miles, and there were many photo opportunities.

It was the height of salmonberry season.

The Upper Falls was beautiful during a sunbreak.

These young ferns looked like green corkscrews.

The following week, on June 18th, Mr. D and I went back to Cougar Mountain, but we took a trail from a trailhead on the other side of the park. This was a trail that I had never been on, and I was treated to many visual pleasures.

There were wildflowers:

Billowing clouds and a blue sky:

And best of all, there was the "Million Dollar View". High on the side of Cougar Mountain there is a pergola and a picnic table and this spectacular vista, with blue Lake Sammamish in the distance. It was a sweet reward after the long uphill to get there.

I hope you enjoyed the "sandwich". There are still many weeks of summer hiking ahead and lots of weekly hikes to come!