The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


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Mt. Baker: Heliotrope Ridge Hike

August 2017 – yes way back then – I took a long weekend trip to get back to the Cascades. It’d been two years.

Day one I chose a trail that was too busy for my taste but fit the required logistics.  In 6 miles or so round trip I was able to perch above the Coleman glacier and be nose to nose with Mt. Baker  via flower studded meadows. During my last visit to Mt. Baker she was shy and stayed shrouded in clouds the entire time.

Not this time.

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I was itching for views that go on for miles and miles and I found them.  Numerous small streams were crossed.

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The views opened up and meadows were found.

There is one helluva obstacle on this hike.  Heliotrope Creek must be forded. I mustered up some vitamin-brave to do so. The water was swift and icy-cold.  Someone had strung a safety line across. It was handy but I did not rely on it fully not knowing its strength or condition. Poles were helpful.

The water to my knees, across I went. I yelped in icy pain. It was scary. But I made it. Looking up the creek:

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It took some time to get the feeling back into my feet.

It was so worth it.

Today, the sky was bluebird clear. There she is! So thrilling!  And how about that flower-studded meadow?

I believe the fuchsia pink flower on the right and above is Red Willowherb and the orange one might be a saxifrage.

Selfie.

A climbers trail to summit Mt. Baker is way off to the right of this frame. While stopped on the ridge overlooking the glacier I could see dots of people moving upward. Mt. Baker is 10, 781′ tall.

Water and glacier sculpted rock ran with rivulets of water were everywhere.  So lush!

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Pearly Everlasting?

Pink Monkey flower. I think.

My end goal was a picnic perch on the flank of the Coleman Glacier. There were people climbing it, looking like ants from my perspective. Note I’m not referring to the buffoons below me loudly carrying on. Some people are clueless when outdoors.

Isn’t the mountain striking?

Glacial ice:

Some sort of thistle?

A lovely yellow flower that looks like the 100’s of other yellow flowers in my plant book.

Cow Parsnip. I think.  I’m taking a stab at plant names using several guide books.

Here’s one of my favorites, lupine. My last trip up here was in 9/15 and it was a frightfully low snow pack year. The lupines and other usual flowers were long done (water starved) or barely bloomed before I arrived.

I was glad to catch some this time. I’ll show you more in the next post of this series.

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A lovely walk at Anderson Lake State Park

Fall is here. Thank goodness! It’s my favorite season. Gone are the dry, hot days.  I celebrated with a stroll through a local state park that is one of my favorite retreats.

I noticed further out west the other day, towards Port Angeles the maples are changing to yellow. Here, more east, it’s just barely starting. A few yellow leaves lay scattered on the forest floor. This park has grand, noble maples under which I often stand and gawk.

The lake’s been closed to use due to a toxic algae bloom, a shame as it would make for a lovely, quiet paddle. Instead, I enjoy reflections and on this day, cormorant and heron activity from the shore.

This spider built a large web across the trail. I managed a limbo underneath to spare it.

The quiet enclosure of trees was just what I needed.

I’ll bring you golden leaved photos when able—

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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.

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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.

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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:

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The trail is well-worn.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

 


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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.

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It’s a beautiful time of year.

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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.

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Fall color can be spotted in the profusion of rosehips.

Like rubies they glow.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 


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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.

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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’.

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

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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.

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

 

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The blooms were vivid. I dallied to enjoy.

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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.

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More exotic flora:

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