Sunday, June 30, 2013

Garden is looking good

My garden plot 29 June 2013
I took this picture yesterday morning after I watered the garden, just as the sun was hitting it. The grass in the foreground needs to be chopped down, but the next thing you see is my delicious lettuce and beets. The poor cabbage in the next row back might not make it, since the slugs are enjoying it way too much.

Ah, the nasturtiums, those peppery and very tasty flowers, are doing just great. They make a wonderful addition to a salad, but they are also something I never forget to snack on while I'm watering the garden.
So pretty and tasty, too
Last year I snacked on Carol's nasturtiums because I didn't plant any myself. I remedied my oversight this year, and since Carol didn't plant any this season, she is welcome to mine. There are certainly more than enough. Plus I really enjoy looking at them.
Borage in the morning sunlight
I see that my adjacent garden neighbor has also planted some borage in his garden. The plant is supposed to attract insects that keep troublemakers like aphids away. I haven't seen any aphids yet, but nothing seems to keep the slugs away from any cruciferous plants. They don't touch the beets or beans, but they just love the cabbage. I've seen that they also snack occasionally on the nasturtiums, but not to a huge degree.

And then in the very back, near the fence, I have sugar snap peas that are flowering and putting out those incredibly tasty pea pods. You just pop the entire thing in your mouth and it's like almost like eating a piece of candy, they are so sweet and delightful.
Sugar snap peas
Last year I planted kale, collards, and cabbage. Since the aphids and slugs decimated them, I decided only to try the cabbage this year. If they don't survive, next year they will be missing from my garden, too. They did form cabbages last year, finally, and they were so good that I am hoping the same thing will happen this year. We'll see. Anyhow, I am very pleased with my wonderful garden so far this season.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Goat was a great improvement

Jonelle, Al, Peggy (and me behind the camera)
I suspected we wouldn't have much of a crowd again today, when I woke to... you guessed it, rain. More rain after last week's soggy hike. (For the record, Bellingham broke the rainfall record last Thursday for the date by a factor of three!) But the hard core showed up, all right, four of us. We headed for Goat Mountain, a long drive for another possible wet hike, but it wasn't bad at all! A few sprinkles are nothing to intrepid hikers.
Lots of water, but beautiful new growth, too
The first part of this hike is in the trees, with switchbacks carrying us up toward the lookout meadow. We figured, however, that there would be little to see, as the fog and low clouds would obscure our views. Nevertheless, on the way up, we saw lots of flowers that are now gone at lower elevations. I captured these on the trail (you can enlarge by clicking the picture, but you know that, right?)
Top: wild ginger, woodland violets
Bottom: salmonberries, trillium
By the time we hit the meadow, we had moved from green woods to serious snow. Although the snow didn't start until we got to 4,600 feet, the landscape changed completely. We started hiking up the snow, looking for a place to stop for lunch.
Heading toward our lunch spot
As you can see from the way we are dressed, it still wasn't very cold and nobody had donned raincoats or warmer gear. But once we stopped at our lunch spot and turnaround point, we did bundle up. I decided to try to get a photo of all four of us by strapping my camera to a nearby branch. The results were mixed. My first try:
Humor provided by an accidental entertainer
You see that blue pad in the middle of the picture? I set the camera for a 10-second delay and rushed towards it over all the branches in the foreground. Before I reached it, I was head over heels down the slope. Peggy isn't in the picture because a leaf obscured her face. Here's my next attempt:
Al, me, Jonelle, and Peggy
That green decoration in Peggy's face is actually NOT on her hat but a branch that I never saw when I set up the picture. We were still quite comfortable and decided not to try to reach the lookout, since we weren't going to have any view anyway. We'll save that for another day.
Heading back to the car
It was, all in all, a beautiful day, with six-and-a-half miles covered, one of those in snow, and 2,500 feet of elevation gain and loss. Not bad for a day that started out looking to be much more wet and soggy than it was. I never had to put my raincoat on the entire day! Now I am warm and enjoying my well-earned glass of wine and looking forward to a good night's sleep after a fine day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Diet, exercise, and Blogger

Treadmills at the Y
Those of you who have been following me for awhile know that I am addicted to exercise. Five years ago, I retired from working every day, and we moved from Colorado to Washington State. And now instead of working, I work out on an almost daily basis. It's not like I didn't exercise before, but it was not the center of my day. Today, it is. I wake in the morning, have breakfast, dress and take the bus to town. After a leisurely latte at the coffee shop, I leave fifteen minutes before my class starts, walk to the Y, change into exercise clothes, and make it to class by 9:00am.
Exercise class, instructor Joanne on the right
I see the same people there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Another Tuesday-Thursday class is also held at 9:00am, and I'm there on Tuesdays but hike with the Trailblazers on Thursdays. I wrote a blog post back in 2009 where I talked about seeing all the overweight people here in the Pacific Northwest and how different it seemed from Boulder. (I just re-read that link and was pleasantly surprised to find it is still relevant and interesting.)

What triggered this post was a recent visit to the mall and again noticing all the really overweight people in the Food Court. Notice in the above picture, not one person is overweight. The thing we all have in common is consistent exercise. I have had a lifelong struggle with my weight, as some of you know. I wrote a post here about having gained ten pounds in 2011, which was brought home to me at my annual doctor visit. They weigh you every time you come in, and I had been avoiding the scales at home, because I knew I had put on weight and wasn't ready to acknowledge how much.

I read a very good book about Mindless Eating in April of that year, and then I read The End of Overeating. Little by little I was able to lose that extra weight; in fact, I lost more than my goal weight. But I knew I had to maintain it, and that is always the hard part. My sister Norma Jean introduced me to Lose It!, an app available for the web or a smartphone, and I use it religiously. It has helped me know how much I'm actually putting in my body every day.

On another note, a couple of blogging buddies have wondered what those of us dependent on Blogger's Reader are intending to do when the first of July comes and it goes away. I tried Feedly and then The Old Reader, and I am very very happy with the second one. It's really easy to use, and I was able to import all the blogs I follow into it without any trouble. In fact, I like it much better than the one that is being discontinued. It was created when Reader was changed a while back and people preferred the old version, and here it is. There's no advertising or annoying ads, either. Let me know if you've found any other solutions in your comments, so others can know what else might be available.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Another fine day at the DZ

Dave, me, and Kevin, second day of summer 2013
See that beautiful blue sky behind us? Well, that is one of the reasons I was at the Drop Zone (DZ) today. Linny has both days to skydive, and she suggested that we come out today and play, which I was happy to do. Last Sunday I made four skydives with Linny and friends, and today I made three. It's only 6:00-ish or so on the second day of summer, so I know Linny is still skydiving while I sit here writing this post, wine glass in hand.
George wrestling his recent purchase into the bag
George has 55 skydives and was busy packing up his recent new (to him) canopy back into the bag so he could go out and make another skydive. It's a usual thing to make more than one jump each day, but you DO have to get that piece of fabric designed to save your life back into the little bag it came out of. Once Linny arrived, we made a four-way skydive out of the Caravan, but because the weather was so fine, by the time we got back down and packed up, the wait for the next Caravan load we could take was an hour and a half away. Linny suggested we make a "vintage jump," meaning that we would jump out of the Cessna instead of the bigger airplane.
The Cessna with some students and instructor
Now, I never grew up as a skydiver near a place where Cessnas were used regularly. In Colorado, the higher field elevation means that these little guys just can't make it up to altitude in a reasonable time. But I was willing to go today, and although instead of 13,000 feet of elevation, we only got 9,000, it was still a lot of fun, and I was nervous because it was different.
Loading up the Caravan
We made one more jump out of the Caravan, had a great time, and I packed up my parachute and headed back up north to Bellingham. The I-5 bridge that has been out for weeks is now fixed, and it was a non-issue getting home, but it was still an hour and a half before I arrived. If the weather is fine tomorrow, I will go again, but it is not predicted to be good.
My dear friend Linny
However, even though it's been more than two decades since I first learned to skydive, I cannot stand to think of my friends having a wonderful time in the sky without ME, so I'll be obsessively watching the weather in the morning to see if I might have a chance to play again this weekend with my friends.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

At the end, Horseshoe Bend

The washout on Church Mountain road
It was definitely one of our more soggy days, all right. I awoke to the sound of rain and checked the forecast: the entire western side of our state would be wet today, our hiking day. But I knew that at least Al and I, and probably Mike, would be meeting at the Center to head out for a wet slog in the High Country. However, Mike didn't come, but Jonelle and Terry joined us. Al and his ladies. We headed out for our original destination, hoping to get at least to the Church Mountain meadows. But it was not to be. Not only is the road washed out, but once we inspected it more closely, we decided it would be dangerous to try and cross the rushing water of Fossil Creek.
Not much road there, and lots of rushing water
Although you can see that the road continues on the other side, we just couldn't get excited about trying to cross it, not to mention that the heavy rain would make it even more dangerous once we returned in a few hours. Okay then, how about driving up the rest of way on the highway and hike around Bagley Lake? Nice short hike in the rain, what do you think?
Wet trio with snowed-in trail behind
Nope, not a good idea. When we got there, we found that the wind was blowing and the pelting rain didn't make it very enticing, not to mention that the entire trail except the first part is still under snow. Okay, how about we go down the road and take a look at Nooksack Falls on our way to Horseshoe Bend? We climbed back in the car and headed down, out of the wind at least, if not the rain.
Looking at the falls
There were no other cars at the falls, which is unusual, except that we were there in a steady rain in the middle of the week. What are Terry and Jonelle looking at behind that barrier?
Nooksack Falls
The magnificent Nooksack Falls, of course. The roar was so loud that you couldn't talk, and the ground was slippery and waterlogged. And the rain kept falling. We piled back in the car and headed for Horseshoe Bend, a hike we don't do often because it's not very long (three miles round trip), but it sounded pretty good, considering. It's very pretty, even with the rain.
Me with my umbrella
I remembered that this hike was pretty easy, so I decided to try using my umbrella (having learned the trick from Mikey), but I didn't take my trekking poles, since I would have needed a third hand to use them both. Big mistake. I won't do THAT again.
Stream crossing
Al had not taken his trekking poles either, but fortunately Terry and Jonelle did. We shared them as we made our way across this rushing stream. Some feet got a little wet, but I of course had to fall right in. One foot slipped off a rock and I went down, butt first. I felt the cold water on my legs and both boots were immediately filled with water. Once I got up and assessed the damage, however, it was only my feet that were really wet, as my rain pants and rain coat kept me mostly dry. Wool socks and mild temperatures meant we could continue on to our destination.
Jonelle and Al on the Horseshoe Bend trail
It was very pretty, but it never stopped raining the entire day. My feet were still wet from the dip in the stream, so our lunch break wasn't very long. We only hiked three miles in a couple of hours, spent quite a long time in the car driving from place to place, but the company was really good. At the end of the day, I think we all had a good time, even if it wasn't one of those days we'll be thinking of as a favorite. As they say, into every life some rain must fall!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Anniversaries and new beginnings

Gene is lifting up his beard so we can read the t-shirt
This picture was taken yesterday morning when Gene came to the coffee shop before heading to the airport. Every June and July he fishes for salmon with his crew in Alaska. His shirt is from a saloon called the Salty Dawg in Homer Spit, Alaska. We all gave him hugs and lots of wishes for a good season and a safe return. We will all miss him until he comes home, especially Paula, since they have spent the last year or so together, either at his place or hers. This means we won't see her until he comes back, since she's not an early riser on her own.
Leo and his dad on the bus
Last week on my way to get a massage, I saw these two get on the bus, and the seat in front of me had just been vacated, so guess who came to mug my camera? Leo said they were on their way to a different coffee shop than the one we frequent, so he could have a biscotti. And his dad Robert could have an espresso, I suspect. I had a wonderful massage and then caught the bus home.
Roses outside the public library
Yesterday as I was returning a very interesting book to the library, I saw these pretty roses and after sniffing and appreciating them, I snapped their portrait. The book is Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Foods Took Over the American Meal. I saw the author, Melanie Warner, interviewed on some talk show not long ago and mentioned the book to Norma Jean. She of course got on the list at her library and read it when it became available, and I forgot to. She was reading it during our last video chat and I immediately snagged it from my library. The link above will take you to an interview on Grist with Melanie, where she is asked some questions about what she discovered during her 18 months researching the fast food industry.

I was not learning much that I didn't already know, until I discovered where my vitamins are processed, and how. Did you know that Vitamin D3, essential for those of us who live so far north, is processed in China from Australian wool? Yes! The lanolin is shipped there and irradiated to create the vitamin. I checked my own brand of D3, and it says it is processed from wool oil. Eeewww! But once I got over the initial shock, I also learned that very few of the vitamins I consume are processed in this country, because of the environmental damage to land and air. China doesn't have those same regulations, so there you are. How revolting.

I also learned about GRAS (generally recognized as safe). From that article linked above, here's a quote from Melanie:
In a glaring regulatory loophole that dates back to 1958, the GRAS system also happens to be voluntary. It’s perfectly legal for companies to keep the FDA in the dark about new additives, and consequently there are some 1,000 ingredients the FDA has no knowledge of whatsoever, according to an estimate done by the Pew Research Center.
 The closer one can get to eating food that has not become processed Frankenfood, the better. I think I've eaten my last bit of brand-name foods that I thought, once upon a time, were GRAS. And reading labels has become my thing. Not that I didn't read them before, but I wonder when I ate my last French fry? They will never pass my lips again.

I wondered why today's date kept nagging at me. Not only is it my grand-niece's birthday (she's three), it's the thirteenth anniversary of my terrible skydiving accident. And I'm still doing it (skydiving, that is). Sunday I made four wonderful skydives with my friends, and we were gifted with a fantastic day where everything worked just as it should. I had even forgotten the upcoming anniversary, until today's post needed to be written and I pondered the date.

We have a few days of rain in our forecast, and unfortunately one of them looks like Thursday, so the next post is likely to be soggy. Until then, however, I'll be enjoying the afterglow of Sunday and obsessively reading food labels.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The more things change

This morning's nasturtium flower with dewdrops
This is what happens to me all the time: I was thinking of that phrase, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," and I took a quick look on Google to find the source of the proverb. Turns out it's translated from French (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose) and has been around for more than a century:
The proverb is of French origin and was used by the French novelist Alphonse Karr (1808-90). It also appears in George Bernard Shaw's 'Revolutionist's Handbook' (1903) (From
Who knew? And more than that, who cares? Well, I do, and there's the rub. I need to find my way through the thicket of comments that I received from my post expressing some dissatisfaction with my blog. Nobody can ever know for certain how one is received, and I learned that for at least a few of my followers, I am NOT boring and repetitive, which was my main concern. That, and the anxiety I have felt lately when writing about my daily life that I am missing an opportunity. Unfortunately, I can't express it any better, since I don't know just what that opportunity might be.

Perhaps the way forward for me is to remember that I can't really make any mistakes here, except by allowing my old ways of thinking and acting to inhibit what's trying to emerge. Writing from my heart instead of from my head is a good start. I'll try to remember that. One thing I know: I won't be writing more often, since every post takes a while to compose and nothing annoys me quite as much as getting lost in a thread, like I did with the proverb above. I frittered an hour away before I could even START writing.

And so what if I get nowhere? I'm going to flail around here for a bit, maybe, and it's possible that I won't get anywhere new. The more things change...
I've finished my front porch flower garden. I cheated a bit by going to the Farmers' Market today and buying a couple of pre-made gardens. A lady at the market creates the prettiest artistic arrangements, with stuff she's collected from secondhand stores and fills with plants and flowers. One of my purchases is an old basket, maybe it was an Easter basket, and the other is a recycled colander filled with succulents. The basket contains petunias, coleus, and some unidentified flowers, all with lots of growing to do for the summer. I'm enchanted and already enjoy them.
Basket behind, colander in the foreground
When I'm sitting in my favorite chair (where I am composing this post), I can see them through the front window. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and I'm feeling pretty good, after a nice walk this morning with the Fairhaven group, and knowing that tomorrow should be another fine day. I'll be heading down to Snohomish to play in the air with my friends.
The view from my chair
I've still got a pile of books to read, all of which I'm plowing my way through. A couple have been exceptionally good, and a couple didn't grab me at all. Probably just as well. I've got another one waiting for me at the library. Until sometime later, have a great day and stay out of trouble, okay?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Heading up towards Excelsior Pass

Trailblazers on Excelsior Pass attempt (I took the picture)
The Senior Trailblazers knew that there was little possibility that we would actually get to the top of Excelsior Pass today, since it's only mid-June and snow would most likely block our path. Last year at about the same time (June 21), we made it a little bit farther, which I wrote about here We had a larger group today, with Rita's two visitors from last week included, and nobody was inspired to continue a long distance in the snow.
The trail is steep the whole way
They got to see last week what our hiking is like at sea level with sunshine, and then today, the opposite. Our trailhead today in the High Country started at a higher elevation than we climbed anywhere last week. At almost 2,000 feet of elevation, with clouds, our trailhead today was also much cooler with a threat of rain, but we were all prepared for the weather.
Al and mossy rock
At the beginning of the day, we were hopeful that the skies might clear and give us sunshine. This picture of Al shows the best it got all day in the mountains. We almost cast shadows. It was pretty perfect temperatures for us, as we moved steadily upwards. And then, at 4,000 feet of elevation, we encountered the first snow on the trail.
The first of many patches of snow
We were able to navigate our way through another 400 feet of elevation, with the snow going from patches like this until it completely obscured the trail. It's almost exactly a repeat of last year's trip, except that we stopped earlier today for lunch.
LInda and Ward on their blow-up seats
There didn't seem to be much reason to trudge higher through the snow, since it would be another 800 feet or so with no sign of the trail, just lots of snow, and no view as it was cloudy. Lunch was not a long affair, since it wasn't warm and there was no basking in the sun like last week.
Sharon, Sandra and Rita in the SNOW
I had to get a last picture of these three ladies who are old friends. Sharon and Sandra leave in the morning to return home to Virginia. I'm so glad I got a chance to know them, to see how gamely they tackled the elements today, and to be able to capture just a smidgen of their enthusiasm.
Al in the forest
After we finished lunch and started back down, we got some rain showers. Not terrible, but you can see that Al now has his raincoat on and plastic pack cover, giving a splash of color in the middle of the greenery. Although it was nothing like last week, it was still beautiful. We covered more than six miles (I was going to say almost seven but that's a stretch), but we went up and down more than 2,600 feet of elevation in that short distance. My knees know all about it.

And just a short aside: I want to send all my readers a very humble THANK YOU for the comments you left for me after my last post. I am no longer feeling like I might have taken a wrong turn; I know for sure that this is the right path for me. You have no idea how moved I am, and although I might try out a tweak or two, I'm not going to change much. I'm sticking around!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Still softly searching

Borage flowers DO taste like cucumbers
I'm dissatisfied with this blog, and I'm in need of some help here. I write here three times a week these days, and today, Tuesday, is the first one assigned (by myself) for the week. Then of course Thursdays when I hike (I have a bunch of fellow hikers who wait anxiously for the post), I am not done for the day until the pictures and the post are complete. Last of all is one for the weekend, written either Saturday or Sunday, depending on what's happening in my life.

I try to keep it short, because of all the blogs I follow, the ones that give me a taste of another person's life with a minimum of fuss are my favorites. They usually have pictures and some text, and many of the bloggers are retired like me; some are knitters, poets, photographers, grandparents and more. I used to publish more often, but I found that my life began to revolve around the search for "blog fodder." With only a few to compose each week, I have enough stuff to write about and it's not a burden.

But they are not rich and satisfying reads, they feel more like they are written to fill a page and don't usually give me a chance to talk about what's going on inside my head. I do that every Sunday morning on my other blog, Eye on the Edge, where I write as meditation. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not, but it's where I am at the moment.

I love Emily Dickinson poems. They speak to me in ways that most other poetry does not. Years ago I studied her life and sometimes one of her poems will come rising up to my consciousness, unbidden. Last night when I climbed into bed, I pulled out my well-worn book of her complete works and searched for the one that spoke to me of my present state. I found it.
A loss of something ever felt I—
The first that I could recollect
Bereft I was—of what I knew not
Too young that any should suspect 
A Mourner walked among the children
I notwithstanding went about
As one bemoaning a Dominion
Itself the only Prince cast out— 
Elder, Today, a session wiser
And fainter, too, as Wiseness is—
I find myself still softly searching
For my Delinquent Palaces— 
And a Suspicion, like a Finger
Touches my Forehead now and then
That I am looking oppositely
For the site of the Kingdom of Heaven— 
We only get to go around once in this life, and I really do want to use what time I have in a productive manner, so I'm going to ask you a question. Do you read this blog because I come through to you, or is it because of habit, because we all read and comment on each other's posts? Is there something YOU would like?

I just wonder if asking will give me some idea of where I might softly search for my Delinquent Palaces...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June's abundance

Wednesday as I was leaving the gym, this little flower garden right across the street from the Y caught my eye. Wow, I thought, everything is in bloom. When did that happen? I guess while I was inside working up a sweat. Then I saw several bees buzzing around in there, quite busily gathering pollen. I took my camera and placed it close to the flowers, taking at least a dozen pictures, and I captured this:
Bee mining pollen
I've been told that the little ball on his back leg is pollen that he (she?) is gathering for the hive. Might end up being some honey one of these days. This was just a chance shot; none of the others I took were worth saving, so you can bet I was pleased. This time of the year in the Pacific Northwest is just about perfect, with temperatures in the low sixties to mid-seventies and blue skies mixed with clouds.
On our way to Noisy Creek
The two guests (Sharon and Sandra) who came with us to Noisy Creek last Thursday were exclaiming over and over about the beauty of the area. They live in Virginia and it was their first visit to the Pacific Northwest. It made me aware of how accustomed I have become to the beauty around me. It's normal now, but when I was first exposed to ferns and flowers growing everywhere, I was the same way. I wish there were some way for me to keep a beginner's eye.
Hidden Creek, taken last Thursday
When I look at this picture, I can almost hear the sound of the water rushing down the narrow opening, spraying a fine mist that I could feel on my face. We were all smiling as we felt that icy spray before we moved on. It's not that Colorado, where I lived before I retired, was not beautiful as well, but there is something about this area that continues to inspire me. The Colorado area where I lived is considered to be semi-arid, and the contrast makes it feel like I live in a rain forest.
Front porch flowers
With a vegetable garden in the back and my front porch beginning to fill with flowers, I cannot help but be grateful that I live right here in the Pacific Northwest. The thought of all those weeks of rain and the short days of winter are just a distant memory; we are only a few days short of the longest day of the year, the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. I am feeling very fortunate.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Noisy Creek was fabulous

Lucky 13 (if you count Mt. Baker)
Twelve of us met to hike to Noisy Creek, one of our favorite and most beautiful places to travel. It's a long drive, more than 70 miles from Bellingham, and Rita brought two friends along who are visiting her from Virginia. They had never experienced the Pacific Northwest and I believe they had a day to remember. I know I did.
Maidenhair ferns (left) and deer ferns (right)
The scenery was more than lush, temperature in the low to mid-seventies (a little on the warm side for those of us accustomed to cooler weather), a stray cloud now and then, and everything green and abundant as we hiked from the trailhead to Noisy Creek. This hike takes us along the east side of Baker Lake until we reach the Noisy Creek campground. We saw several people hiking out after having spent a night or two at the campground. We crossed a suspension bridge to reach our trail, and our first major stream crossing was at Hidden Creek. After having full sun and feeling a little warm, once we reached this crossing, the temperature dropped by several degrees!
Rita, Sharon, and Sandra on the Hidden Creek bridge
After this well-constructed and sturdy bridge, we still had to cross several more streams that didn't have the luxury of a bridge across them, and we all found our trekking poles to be more than a little valuable to navigate them.
Sandra, Rita, Linda, Diane, and Sharon
I wish there were some way to communicate what a wonderful time we had, all twelve of us, as we laughed and trudged our way to the campground. It's funny: traversing the more than four-and-a-half miles to our destination felt like a piece of cake. But we still had to return, and it seemed it would be a moderately easy day. But then we decided to hike an extra half-mile to look at the oldest of the old growth trees in the area. It was a very steep quarter-mile upwards, but well worth it to pay homage to these old trees, which have never been logged and could be as old as 2,000 years!
Steve, the tree hugger and a beautiful old growth
We not only had these wonderful trees to enjoy, but also some spectacular views of the east side of Mt. Baker. Bellingham lies directly to the west of this view of Mt. Baker. We never see this side unless we travel all the way around. There is a vent between those two peaks on the old volcano that spews steam now and then.
Those little puffy clouds were formed from that vent, and they continued to form the entire time we were there. That low spot between the two peaks is where the steam formed. We could see it quite clearly; it was pretty wonderful to see.
Once when I looked up to capture a picture of a big tree, I saw this rainbow, which I think probably continued right around the whole circle of the sun, but I can't be sure because this is all I saw. Isn't it cool? Maybe one of my readers knows what caused me to see this, I sure don't.

All in all, by the time we had finished our rather long day, we had covered around ten miles and traversed around 1,200 feet up and down. It wasn't an easy day, but it was filled with amazing sights, wonderful company, and more than I could have hoped for on the first week in June!