May 31, 2009

Washington State - Stonehenge

We drove up the Columbia River Gorge, hiking along the way and stopping at Hood River for lunch, then crossed the river into Washington State. There was a remarkable line of demarcation where the temperate rain forest ended and the desert high plains began. Along the ridge there was a huge windmill farm, below is just a small portion of it:
We toured the Maryhill Museum, in the mansion built by Sam Hill, a railroad and highway baron. (Perhaps you recognize the euphemism "What in the Sam Hill?) It houses a wonderful eclectic collection of art, artifacts including a throne and crown from the Queen of Romania, and an excellent collection of Native American objects, including lots of beadwork that had me mesmerized:
At one point Sam toured England and saw Stonehenge, and decided he needed one of his own. His was built as a memorial to slain soldiers from WWI. It's made from concrete, and is nice and solid--no broken bits here!

It was a pleasantly surreal discovery, and the late afternoon shadows made for some great photo ops:
A view through the arches of vineyards and orchards:

I love the way they textured the concrete:

The nearby gift shop was scheduled to close up soon due to the slow economy, so we scored one of the last of the "Stonehenge, Washington " mugs and t-shirts. Good thing I have lots of pictures to also help me remember a lovely day:

May 29, 2009

Images 2009 Acceptance

I'm pleased to announce that Cold Cave has been accepted into Images 2009, an art/fine craft show at the Robeson Gallery at Penn State University, June 10 - July 12. I'm planning on attending the opening reception on June 12th.
This is my third time in this show, and I'm always very impressed with what an excellent job they do hanging and lighting the artwork. I'm really looking forward to seeing this year's offerings. Here's my post about last year's exhibit, where my Mystery Fern won Viewer's Choice.
You can track back Cold Cave as a work in progress by clicking under Labels in the right sidebar.

May 28, 2009

Portland - Cape Lookout

Another day trip out of Portland led to Cape Lookout State Forest, on the coast just outside of Tillamook. The trail started out gently winding through lush old growth forest, above, then quickly turned into another adrenaline inducing adventure with narrow passages along precipitous drops like this:
And this:

In just a few places there were minimally reassuring cable guides:

The risk was worth it for glimpses of the peninsula and ocean like this one:

And stunning views like this:
And this:

Along the way, I spotted two whales spouting in the ocean, a small salamander being chased by a large black snake, was dive bombed by a hummingbird, and saw lots of wildflowers including this Indian Paintbrush:

May 24, 2009

Portland - Eagle Creek

Once again I have managed not to plummet to my doom, not that I didn't have plenty of opportunity. The hiking trails I've been on lately often skirt the edge of steep ledges with no rails or protection; I need to keep my wits about me, watch my footing, and rely on my trusty hiking pole. This day trip outside of Portland was to Eagle Creek, and the trail started out innocently, and beautifully, enough.
I saw a variety of small fern new to me, above, which sprouted on a single stem then split into individual fronds. The stems were a dark blue, and the fronds a pale, silvery green. If anyone knows the name of this treasure, please let me know. We seemed to have timed our trip perfectly, as the weather has been outstanding, and the wildflowers are at their peak. Below is a shot of the larkspur that was plentiful in the sunnier sports on the trail.

The trail was rife with waterfalls, some of them large, and some of them little sprinklers that dripped and sparkled on us as we walked under them. Below you can see the cable handrail that helped us negotiate a very slippery spot under a small fall:

Below is a shot of Melatku falls glimpsed through the trees:

And here I am carefully not falling into the creek as I forded it about halfway up the trail:

Here's a shot of the Lower Punch Bowl falls. Some one near and dear to me heroically waded into very cold water to get this picture:

A view from one of the high spots on the trail:

May 20, 2009

Portland - Japanese Garden

As a contrast to the wilderness areas I've been hiking in, I made a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden. It's very intricately laid out and meticulously maintained, and a real pleasure to stroll about in. I have only a casual knowledge about the principles of Japanese garden design, but it was easy to enjoy the experience without specialized knowledge. Above is part of a moss garden, and below is a small fountain, one of many water features.
Below is a perfect white camellia:

A raked gravel and rock garden:

A landscape view with an elegantly pruned tree:

Another landscape view:

The rhododendrons were at their peak of bloom:

A rhododendron close-up:

A conifer being supported and shaped by a bamboo framework:

Portland - Philomath

I've known Gerrie Congdon and Terry Grant online for years; I've admired their work and thought they would be lovely people to know in person. Yesterday they proved me right by picking me up and taking me along to see Karen Miller's solo show of her beautiful katazome work at the Historical Society Museum in Philomath, followed by a meeting of their 'High Fiber Diet' quilt group, where I was treated to images from their new 'Line Dancing' exhibit.
Above is Terry on the left, and Karen on the right, sharing a happy moment.

Above is Karen on the left, and Gerrie on the right, discussing a fine point of technique. Below is a partial view of the display space.

I also got to see Gerrie's charming home and studio, meet her new puppy Scooter, and see some of her work up close and personal--a real pleasure. Thanks a lot, Terry and Gerrie, for showing me some of the back roads of rural Oregon and treating me to splendid day out, I really appreciated your hospitality!

May 18, 2009

Portland - Ecola closeups

Some closeup photos from the hike at Ecola-- a flower I didn't recognize gone to seed: A plant I did recognize--skunk cabbage, growing in low lying swampy areas:

The spathe from the skunk cabbage:

Barnacles growing on boulders of volcanic rock on the beach:

An unidentified flower, no less beautiful for going unnamed:
Cones growing:

Portland - Ecola State Park

We got to Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast just as the fog was starting to roll in, which made for some fabulous pictures. Above is a view of Cannon beach with just the tip of Haystack Rock visible ; in the lower left you can see two people in the surf for a sense of scale. Below is the same beach from a higher perspective. The fog ebbed and flowed all afternoon, but never blanketed the whole area.
We hiked along a trail leading to Indian beach, which veered between the deeper woods and the edges of the cliffs, offering spectacular glimpses of our destination:

A slightly tricky bit of the trail, where it was important to pay attention:

Every turn and twist of the way provided another stunning view and photo op:

An open spot on the interior of the trail:

A fallen giant with ferns sprouting from ruins. Everything was incredibly verdant and lush: