Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer is in full swing

The rosebush taken from inside my car
Last week I mentioned that lovely rosebush I see every time I park my car. If you knew how sparse those roses have been in previous years, you would be even more impressed. The tenants' front porch inside the apartment above is also covered with lots of flowers. I took this picture just moments ago.
John, Carrie and Shane
This morning I asked if I could take a picture at Avellino's to send to Lily, who is having to work the weekend, which means she didn't get to join us either for coffee or the ladies for our walk. We had a small group this morning, just 12 of us, as we walked from the ferry terminal down the Interurban trail. It's almost 80°F here in Bellingham already today, and when I look at the forecast for the future, we'll be sunny and warm, verging on hot, for the next week or so. But it's MUCH better than many parts of the country, so I'm not complaining.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Heliotrope Ridge 2018

Heliotrope Ridge group today
Today sixteen Senior Trailblazers met to decide where to go today. Heliotrope Ridge was on the schedule, but we had too many to stay under the wilderness rule of no more than 12. Al decided to break the group into two, sending one group to Church Mountain, and the other group would go to Heliotrope. Six people volunteered to do Church, and the rest of us went off to hike the relatively short (under three miles one way) trail to the ridge.
On our way
This trail requires crossing many rushing streams, most of which have no bridge across them, and when the glacier melt is really strong, it keeps us from getting across the final one. We had heard that the crossing is possible, however, so we were hopeful.
Jim with waterfall
There are two magnificent waterfalls along the way, and this one sent out a cold mist as we crossed under it. It is so beautiful that we all had to stop to take at least one picture of it.
The hardest stream to cross
As we made our way upwards, most of us managed to get our feet wet. I sure wish I would have brought my water shoes, then I would probably have been able to join the six who went across the final stream. That's Paul and Louann picking their way across. I decided to stay on this side to have lunch, since I've been to the glacier a couple of times in the past. We waited over an hour, enjoying a leisurely lunch, with a fine mist from the rushing water making it quite pleasant. The others stopped at the glacier for lunch.
Coleman Glacier at base of Baker
This is the view that the others had of Coleman Glacier as they had their lunch. Louann took this picture and sent it to me when we stopped for ice cream on our way home. The moraine in the foreground was once covered with glacier, but it is on retreat, joining the global withdrawal of glaciers as our earth warms.
Finding the best way across
And here are the six on their return trip across the stream. They went down quite a ways to find a good place to cross, as the rushing water where they originally crossed had become even stronger as the day warmed up. It doesn't look all that hard to get across, but by the time we were all back to the cars, most of us had wet feet.

It didn't matter, since nobody got hurt and the worst we endured was squishy soggy boots; everybody helped everybody else as we hopped from rock to rock. Some Trailblazers are better at this than others.
See you next week, Mt. Baker
This is the view of Mt. Baker from the road. We bade it a fond farewell, and the other part of the group will visit Heliotrope Ridge next week, while we will see Baker from the viewpoint of Church Mountain. We didn't go all that far, for me around five miles, while those who crossed the stream probably made it closer to six. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful day spent with the best BFFs in the world!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Flowers everywhere

Walking up the steps to my apartment
The neighbor's garden that they inherited from Keith, who moved out earlier this year, greets my eye every time I walk up to my place. And there are flowers simply everywhere. Just a few steps away is this lovely rosebush that has been here at least a decade. This is the best season I've seen of these gorgeous roses, though.
Just beautiful
Some of these roses are mostly yellow; others are peach or pink. I love to see them, as they are right above where I park my car. I can gaze at them and enjoy their abundance whenever I want. Oh, and then there's the garden!
My pretty snapdragons, zinnias, borage
I have taken enough pictures of my spectacular snapdragons that I'll be able to enjoy them for a long time now. I notice that my fennel is beginning to turn yellow. Perhaps I should just harvest the bulbs and enjoy them. The two zinnias are the only ones that managed to survive the slugs, and the borage (in the foreground) are volunteers from plantings of previous years.
Corn and sunflowers
And we have corn coming up quickly. It was "knee high by the Fourth of July" or even taller than that in places. Oh, what we've got to look forward to, although it's an amazing thing to be alive right here, right now. Counting my blessings.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Celebrating a birthday

Lily surrounded by her BFFs
Yesterday Hedi (in red, behind) hosted a very nice birthday party for Lily, in the middle in green. We all live in the same apartment complex and have grown quite fond of our sweet Guatemalan transplant. Lily doesn't look her age, and since she is far younger than I am, she has allowed me to "adopt" her as her American mother. Hedi says since I've usurped the mother label, she'll act as the aunt.
Gene, Lily, John
This morning, Lily and I joined the ladies for a nice five-mile walk, and then Gene treated all four of us regular Avellino customers to breakfast at Greene's Corner. I had a wonderful kimchee breakfast bowl, super healthy and delightful. I sure like it when I get to enjoy someone else's birthday as much as I would my own. In fact, maybe even more, since I didn't have to endure becoming another year older!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Goat Mountain 2018

Hiking up the Goat Mountain trail
Seventeen Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to hike up Goat Mountain today, one of our favorite Mt. Baker Highway excursions. It was sunny and hot the whole day. Hot for us might not be the same as it is for some of you, but it was well over 80°F (27°C). We broke into two groups, since the wilderness area regulations don't allow more than 12 people in one group. The faster group left before us, as we made our way up the steep grade. The first part of the hike is in heavily forested area, with plenty of shade, which was great.
Mel admiring the glacier lilies
The meadow is in full sun, which we had to navigate up to the viewpoint. Although it's hard to see them in this picture, that field is filled with glacier lilies, which emerge for a short while after the snow recedes.
Seeing everybody up ahead
And then the hard part starts: going very steeply uphill to the viewpoint, and I began to fall behind. I was sweating profusely and worried about staying hydrated and got a little dizzy at about this point, so I slowed way down. But eventually we all made it up to the viewpoint.
The viewpoint, Mt. Baker, and our lunch spot
We settled in to enjoy our lunches, with a light breeze making it possible to sit in the full sun and still be relatively comfortable. The shade was sparse, but we didn't stay up there too awfully long. The mountains were splendid.
Mt. Sefrit with Mt. Shuksan on the right
We don't get a chance to see Mt. Sefrit very often, and this is one of the best places to admire it. Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker are often in my pictures, and today they were just beautiful, too.
Me and Mt. Baker
Melanie took this great shot of me. I laughed when I saw that Al is also in the picture, reflected in my sunglasses. I'm not sure why I couldn't see Mel, but we then got busy taking pictures that showed different views. Like this:
What a gorgeous view, eh?
And then it was time to make our way back the way we had come. It was a long but really wonderful day. I'm feeling the warmth from the sun on my cheeks, but otherwise I'm doing quite well. We covered over seven miles and 2,700 feet up and down.
Our return trip
It was a lovely day, and although I had a little problem with the heat and sun before lunch, I rallied and had no problem on the return. There's a reason this hike is rated "hard" -- we will all sleep well tonight!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Rob's ripe raspberries
I've been out in the garden today picking raspberries. These are Ron's, which he is guarding carefully, but he must pick them himself when he's ready. I hauled in three large containers full today, and there's that many more in my garden ready to eat. I'll go out again tomorrow, probably.
Remaining fennel
I picked one of the three bulbs of fennel I had grown in my garden. Hauling out the Crock Pot, I threw in a bunch of vegetables along with the sliced fennel, some black-eyed peas, and cooked it all night long. The resultant soup/stew has a light anise taste from the fennel, which is otherwise unrecognizable. The green fronds didn't cook down or anything, so I pretty much took them out. It was a good experiment, though.

Hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July celebration if that's your thing. I'll be sticking my head under the covers during the loud fireworks! Make sure your pets are inside and safe.