The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


Leave a comment

England: Looe to Polpero Walk-Stunning!

Peter and I took a fine walk one bright, sunny day. Paul kindly shuttled us. The Looe to Polperro walk is a fine 5.7 mile stroll that hugs the coast. Each step was surrounded by beauty.

The Southwest Coast Path website provides good detail on the walk and information on how to use public transportation to shuttle to and from.

Coastguards initially created the  South West Coast Path as a way of monitoring for smuggling.  Every little inlet was subject to the illegal practice. 

In Looe, another picturesque sea-side village, we started  at the end of Marine Drive.  Paul and Max joined us for the first part of the walk.

img_1625

img_1624

Off we set. It was hot out, much too warm for all the layers I packed.

After passing a wide open area with cows milling about, one looks back and sees the coastline.

img_1632

The island you see is called Looe Island, also known as St George’s Island. Legend says Phoenician tin trader Joseph of Arimathea  landed on this island with his teenage great-nephew, Jesus Christ, on their way up the coast to Glastonbury with a mission to spread Christianity in Britain. An earthenware fragment from the Eastern Mediterranean, dating from about that time, establishes trading links between Looe and the Middle East.  No direct evidence confirms this legend.

A medieval chapel once sat on this island.  A popular place for pilgrimages,  many drowned trying to reach it.  A new Benedictine chapel replaced it on the mainland sometime in the 12th century.

We did not walk uphill to the reportedly scant remains of a site of a Celtic monastery.

In the 1960’s two sisters owned Looe Island. Upon the lasts death, it was gifted to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Now, critters benefit from the island and waters as a wildlife sanctuary.  The Trust’s site explains how to get to the island.  Only guided boat shuttles are allowed, numbers restrained.  It is a popular spot for diving and kayaking.

Beaches and tide pools abound:

img_1635

img_1639

The trail is well-worn.

img_1638

Approaching the small village of Talland, its bay you see below.

img_1642

There were rose hips of an elongated shape foreign to me.

img_1644

The right of way for walkers, in England, is such a treasure.  Here in our little town of Port Townsend, walking paths connecting streets and hiking trails abound.  In England, one can set out through private property (fields) as long as rules are followed and the animals are respected.

This walk took us past some pretty little horses.

img_1645

img_1646

Unfortunately, I did not do my homework before the walk. There is an old church up on the hill.  Wikipedia will give you some pics and information on it.   Pretty cool to see these horses working their way up the hill it sits on, look to the right in the pic below.

img_1647

A stop on the beach made for a sweet little lunch spot.  when done, up a steep hill we marched.

I turned around and drank in the view of where we came from.

img_1652

One thing I sorely miss is the Marin and Sonoma coast of CA.  The steep bluffs, empty beaches (at least the ones I looked for), wind-swept vegetation, and rolling views really feed me.  WA state coastlines are gorgeous in other ways.

But this-this was a welcomed re-kindling.

img_1654

img_1655

Our hike wound up in Polperro, a place I’ve taken you.  Down the mouth of the bay we walked. check out the low tide!  It was very high the last time were there.

img_1661

Boats sat stuck in the mud, a sight I’m not used to seeing in the U.S.

img_1662

Paul kindly met us there and brought us home.

What a delicious, sunny, bright and beautiful day. How I would love to someday, backpack on, walk as much as able. It’s 630 miles long.

 


Leave a comment

A fall walk – Anderson Lake State Park

Fall arrived and I am a happy girl. My favorite season, hands down,  our maritime climate allows a lingering fall.

In search of fall color I walked at a local state park, Anderson Lake, one I frequent.  It’s quiet. It’s rare to see anyone else while there. Sometimes I really need that.

The autumnal light’s hanging low theses days, casting a calm glow.

img_1061

img_1010

It’s a beautiful time of year.

img_1002

Setting out after 5, I was conscientious of the fading light.  I approached the upper loop I usually favor for its huge maples.  No light filtered through the trees up there, it was d-a-r-k.  I closed my loop on the trail that encompasses the lake for it’s exposure to the sun.

I rather like examining the banks of the lake. Low-hanging trees and water plants provide habitat for many critters. Usually there are herons to watch. I saw none today.  I also looked for the parasitic  ground cones and Indian Pipe plants but cool nights must have sent them back into the ground from which they came.

img_1004

Fall color can be spotted in the profusion of rosehips.

Like rubies they glow.

img_1049

Big Leaf Maples are just starting to brown at the edges. Some of the smaller saplings are more decisive in their change to yellow.

The intersection of the Quimper and Cascade Trail marks some of my favorite specimens.  I stand and gawk upwards each time I pass.

With minimal light at this hour, you see just black tracings. Peek at this post for more revealing photos.

Such grand, primeval-looking trees.

img_1003

 

The Indian Plum shrubs sport a peppering of yellow leaves.

The Memorial Trail has tunnels of them that glow. Note that due to the waning light I couldn’t capture the true haze of gold I saw.

img_1056

As more fall gold appears I’ll do my best to share.

 

 


Leave a comment

Hawaii – Part 4 of ? – ‘Akaka Falls State Park

Let’s finish up the trip to Hawaii.  The drive up the Hamakua Coast was beautiful, lush, dramatic in that wooded gullies sliced down to the coast constantly. Remember, we were there in a rare, dry spell. Leaving Hilo, the Pepe’ekeo scenic drive was a fun detour off the main hwy. The narrow road crosses several one lane bridges through lush rainforest.  Here’s a glimpse of Onomea Bay. There’s a botanical garden and some hiking here I was sad to have to pass up.

IMG_8684

Our main destination that day was ‘Akaka Falls. A turn left led up hill to the little town of Honomu, described as a former sugar town that stays alive due to tourists heading to the falls. I found the town charming, spending some time chatting with an eclectic gallery owner who demonstrated his silk painting.

Open vistas framed Mauna Kea, the highest point on the island at 13, 796’.

IMG_8693

This detour out of the trees with a green, sweeping view to the ocean fueled my draw to open spaces.

IMG_8741

Up we continued until the road dead ended at ‘Akaka Falls State Park.  A short, concrete path makes a loop through forest, so unlike what I’ve ever seen.

IMG_8707

It was hot and very muggy.   Vines and trees entwined.

 

IMG_8703

The blooms were vivid. I dallied to enjoy.

IMG_8698 IMG_8708

We made it to the falls, all 442 feet of it. I’ve never seen such a large waterfall.  Of note, you do pass the 100′ Kahuna Fall, off in the distance, before this one. My photo of it did not turn out.

IMG_8720 IMG_8712

More exotic flora:

IMG_8732 IMG_8735 IMG_8736

This was one of my fave stops on the trip and a do-not-miss place in my book.

 


Leave a comment

In Search of Rhododendrons – Fort Townsend

The wild Pacific Rhododendron are in bloom down low. I hear they’re getting close above 3000′.  Liking filtered sunlight, they are especially happy along roadsides and forest margins.   Spindly arms dressed in pink blooms and fresh, pale green new leaves punctuate dark green woods and brighten up a gray day.   Our state flower, they can reach up to 8 meters tall.

I just love them!

img_9591-1

We chose Fort Townsend State Park for our evening walk the other night knowing there’d be plenty. I’ve been on this particular trail, aptly named the Rhododendron Trail, minus the blooms.  Giddy with anticipation we set out.

From my estimate about 25% of the shrubs were in bloom with much more to come.

From emerging buds to partial blooms to full blossoms, all stages we enjoyed.


Wild honeysuckle is also in bloom. It smells so sweet. This is also called Western Trumpet Honeysuckle, I believe.

It’s such a privilege to live somewhere so beautiful.  Here, new Elderberry foliage fans out under a dark green background. Every value of green known to man must exist in PNW forests.

Out of focus elderberries, not yet ripe, and likely the red variety. These guys prefer moisture via stream banks, swampy areas and damp clearings. The berries are only palatable when cooked and may cause nausea when raw. Some make wine from the berries. The stems, roots, leaves and bark are toxic.

Thimbleberry blossoms symbol the seedy berries to come.  Some like them. Some don’t. I find them rather bland. Full of moisture, the berries tend to fall apart when picked. Native Americans apparently dried them and mixed them with other berries.

We’ve had great rain this spring, promoting a profusion of blooms. I’ll keep sharing them with you.

 


Leave a comment

Low Tide Amble

These pics turned out so pretty, I just had to share.

A very low tide begged for a beach walk the other day.

It was cold. Note Pete has a sweater on? That means it’s cool’ish in his book. I needed a puff jacked and my Northmavine Hap shawl a sweet friend made and mailed to me. The colors reminded her of a blustery winter day on a WA beach and she couldn’t have been more spot on.  A habitat hat I knit of Swans Island All American Worsted (in love with it) and Pete’s Windschief in Lamb’s Pride worsted provided wooly warmth.

The North  Cascades barely show behind Point Wilson.

The tide pools with really unusual critters tent to be further west on the peninsula.

Regardless, we found some sea stars.

Crabs

Chiton:

Anemones and barnacles sharing real estate:

Opened, they have such vivid colors, a contrast to the day’s gray.

Low tides are a treat!


Leave a comment

Deer Ridge Trail

It’s spring. And we’ve got the hiking bug. Not that it ever goes away, it just settles down for the winter a bit.   I chose the Deer Ridge  hike for a few reasons:  1) it’s not raging popular and we wanted some quiet  2) the guide’s promise of views  3) a chance to peer into the Gray Wolf River Valley and scout the rhododendrons.

All were achieved!

It was a beautiful hike and much, much steeper than I’d anticipated. We put in a good effort for about three miles up when we decided to turn back. One could con’t on and meet up with Grand Ridge. That would make a great (and long) shuttle hike.  It was a beauty of a hike with peeks into the mtns and green, deep valleys that slice and scoop across this gorgeous place.

The lower portion of the trail (before the steepness started, just the thing to soften one up before the grunt-work begins) was lined in Pacific Rhododendrons getting ready to pop their pink flowers.  I’ve never seen such a large concentration of them.

IMG_0207

img_9473

Spring wildflowers are enjoying a wet spring. Here’s the Western Trillium. I vaguely remember these in the woods where I grew up back in MN.  They grow like mad in this climate.  Consulting my plant bible, the Plants of the Pacific Northwest book by Pojar and Mackinnon, I learned these guys have an oil-rich appendage that ants love to grab and carry back to their nests to feed their larvae.   In turn, the ants put the seeds in “rubbish piles” and hey!  Instant dispersal.  Bleeding heart and wild ginger also spread via ants.

The petals may turn purple-tinged as it ages.

img_9425

Here’s the sweet, delightful little Calypso Lily AKA Fairy Slipper.  The floor was heavily dotted with these in spots. Apparently they smell sweet. Next time I’ll kneel down to enjoy. Be cautioned that the plant’s attachment to its roots is very delicate. They will break off if tugged slightly which kills the plant.

A real treat, the Fawn Lily, spreads by corms.  There are two thoughts to the origin of its common name. It’s leaves have a mottled (fawn like) green coloration (tough to see in my photo) and the leaves look like two little fawn ears.

And spread it does!  Just look up this hillside.

And along the trail:

img_9467

 

Wild strawberries:

The red flowering currant, done blooming at lower altitude, is in full bloom up here, 3,000+ feet above sea level.


Lichen and a ground-covering plant:

A well-earned view appears after the trail meets a knoll. It was breathtaking.

img_9438

Pete promptly napped.  He falls asleep in seconds. I worked on my niece’s little sweater.  The pattern is called In Threes and in Tosh Vintage. Candlewick is the color. More on that later.

img_9447

img_9449

A happy clump of manzanita and Oregon grape soak up the sun on this knoll as it’s rocky and sun-exposed.

img_9464Manzanita was a familiar site in CA. I was surprised to see it up here.  Its flowers, a pretty pink, turn to red berries. The wood is hard and smooth, reminding me of Madrona trees.

IMG_0208.jpg

More twisting up more steep trail gained another peek-a-boo spot where we could sit on a little outcrop of rocks and peer waaaay down into the valley and across to the mountains.  One very large raven provided a complex and vocal  aerial show.  It was quiet. So quiet. Excepting the Gray Wolf river below, the birds and the breeze in the trees.

A small panno:

img_9453

The diversity of flora in these mountains just floors me.

It’s been an unusually warm spring. There will be more hikes to share.