Thursday, December 29, 2022

Last hike of the year

Viewpoint today

Melanie and I decided last week that if the weather might be passably good today, we would hike up to Fragrance Lake, one of our favorites. As you can see, the view was pretty monochromatic, with little difference between the sky and the water. Plus, it was not really all that cold, with only a few "sprinkles" expected early. It did not disappoint, and we ended up having a pretty wonderful day.

Our trail, with a special old tree

I've taken pictures of this particular tree before, but it always catches my eye as we ascend the Fragrance Lake trail on our way to the lake. We usually take the trail to the lake, go once around (and sometimes go a little farther down the Two Dollar trail) and then head back taking the logging road rather than retracing our steps.

Still lots of green to soothe the eye

This being the Pacific Northwest, anything fallen and beginning its journey back into the ground is covered with moss. Even live trees often are a little mossy, but it doesn't seem to keep them from flourishing.

Fragrance Lake 

There was little wind to make it feel colder than it was (right around 5°C (42°F), so we were even able to take off a layer for a short while. We never were in any danger of seeing the sun, and after we went around the lake, seeing pretty winter scenes such as the one below, we began to feel a bit chilly.

Woodland scene

It was the little leaf, glistening in the wet, with a tiny mushroom above it, that caught my eye. And before long, the sprinkles increased by just a little bit, enough for the light wind to make us ready to put our layer back on.

Just a little rain at first

If you look carefully, you can see a few drops are falling on the lake. We decided to skip our usual trip down the Two Dollar trail, but we went far enough to visit one of our favorite spots at the beginning of the trail.

Mel's shot of me

Although my eyes are closed, you really do need something in the picture to show the size of these logs and rocks, so I thought what the heck. At least you can see that we were having fun, right? When we were here last, we ran into two women and we chatted with them for awhile. But, try as we might, we couldn't recall their names. 


And then, as we walked back down the logging road, we saw that the waterfall is once again full and looking beautiful. Last time we were here, it was almost completely dry, with only a little trickle keeping it from being totally absent. This is just about the perfect amount of water to enjoy its beauty.

By the time we got back to the car, we had traveled 6.5 miles and traversed 1,500 feet of elevation gain and loss. We also had a little more rain, which I'd call "moderate sprinkles" until we began our drive home, when  it picked up yet a little more. All in all, I would consider it a magnificent final hike for the year. Special thanks to Melanie for gifting me with her brilliant buckwheat cardamom chocolate chip cookies! It was all very lovely and delightful.


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Our belated Christmas breakfast

Our holiday gathering, a few days late

Although it's not a very ancient tradition, both Lamont and Lily have invited a few special friends to join them at Avenue Bread for a lovely Christmas Eve gathering for the past few years. This year, we couldn't even get out of our driveways, so we had a belated gathering this morning, the Tuesday after Christmas. In the foreground on either side of the table are Paula, Gene's special friend, and Gene, looking very Santa-ish with his lovely full beard. Next on the left are me and Lily, and Lamont and John on the right. I had a smoked salmon omelette with their famous home fries, which are different from other places but very, very tasty. I was very full after we finished, but I didn't let that stop me from finishing it all. I did leave a little of the sourdough bread, but I ate everything else.

Lily and Lamont have started bowling a couple times a week, since they now live near an alley, and they asked me if I would join them today. Since I had promised to do so awhile back, I agreed that today would be a good day. We played two games, and I was surprised at how much fun it was, even though you can probably guess who was thrilled to have made two spares (no strikes) in two games, and came in last but still had a very good time with a couple of forgiving friends. The game has changed somewhat since I last played many years ago. It's all computerized now, and when you make a gutter ball, the entire screen makes sure everyone knows it! I will join them again, and I can see how you can get quite obsessed with the game.

Me at the bowling alley

I hope my arm will not be too sore from throwing the nine-pound ball down the alley twenty times, but it reminded me that I need to get back to some regular weight lifting. Another thing the pandemic cost me was my usual twice-a-week strength and tone classes at the Y. You don't think you're doing much, but I was accustomed to some light soreness the next day even using just three- and five-pound weights.

I'm eating that nose right now

I am also accustomed to getting up and finding such delights as this one on the kitchen counter created by my dear partner. There's no doubt he'll see some whimsy and find a way to share it with me. I'm pretty lucky, with friends and family like I've got, there's no dearth of smiles and happy moments around here. Now that the weather is actually kind of nice, back to wind and rain, our old friends, it's like all the holiday diversions never really happened. Only one more week to navigate before we enter a brand-new shiny year!


Thursday, December 22, 2022

No hike today

Behind the counter at my favorite coffee shop

We, Melanie and I, didn't venture out to hike anywhere today. Although it's way more conducive to outdoor activity today than it has been for the past few days, it's still super cold and, even if the wind has moderated, it's still not much fun out there. Both Senior Trailblazer groups canceled their hikes and suggested that people stay indoors during the worst of the weather. We have a foot of snow (still) on the ground, and such cold temperatures that slick sidewalks are not an issue. There aren't any exposed sidewalks!

Where did the chickens go?

John picked me up and drove me to our coffee shop, where we enjoyed a very nice time inside a warm and cozy place, and then he took me home. I didn't want to venture out after my last attempt, when the cold wind made me really miserable. But today, a little after noon, I realized that the wind had moderated somewhat, so I walked to the bus stop. I noticed that the chickens in the chicken coop have been taken out of the severe weather, and I hope they are enjoying their vacation from the pen and have not been turned into dinner. I think I'll see them again once the weather improves. I hope.

There's a path under the snow

I walked in the street for most of the way, since the sidewalks are knee-deep in snow. As you can see from this picture, it's not a very easy walk. See the huge snowdrift behind? That was from the snowplow, I suspect.

Little snowdrifts making patterns

I do like looking at the wind sculptures in the many places where the snow accumulates. And I did need to find something to put into my usual Thursday post. Although it's not much, at least I got a teeny bit of exercise (but needed to dodge cars every few minutes). We have more snow coming tonight, so I don't know if I could repeat or add onto today's venture out. We'll see. 

This bad weather is pretty much everywhere right now, or if not in your area yet, it's on the way! So, please stay safe and warm, if possible. I am so blessed to have a warm apartment that is so much nicer than being outdoors with nowhere to get out of the elements. My heart goes out to those who are homeless and hope they can stay safe during this awful weather.


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Not our usual weather

Scene when we arrived at the coffee shop

It was very cold and blustery when I went to bed last night, but I really didn't know whether the forecast for snow would pan out or not. We have been told many times that it would snow, a fair amount even, and then not show even a stingy snowflake or two. 

It was so cold last night that I began to think it was too cold for snow. Hah! Color me wrong, as I woke to heavy snowfall and really frigid temperatures, like –10°C (15°F) and the scene looked like the picture above. John called me and said he had cleared off his truck and would be around to pick me up for our usual coffee date within a few minutes. He said to BE READY. I walked outside to consider what clothes I might need, pulled on long underwear for insurance, and found a pair of short gaiters to add to my shoes to keep the snow out of my socks and boots. Finally all geared up, I walked out to see a real winter wonderland. John's chariot pulled up in the dark, ready to take me on an adventure!

My front porch "flowers"

Yes, there is no doubt that we received somewhere close to ten inches or so of snow! And for tomorrow, while the snow may be over, the cold is not. It will be extremely cold for another couple of days, before the weather moderates and the snow changes over to rain, our familiar winter companion. Until then, we will muddle through. 

I found my missing Microspikes to strap onto my boots for walking, and I might try them out today if the sun actually makes an appearance. I can see that there are some breaks in the clouds already, and it sure would be nice to get in a few steps. You know I am addicted to exercise, right? But I am also cautious and don't want to hurt myself by taking too many unnecessary chances.

This cold weather looks like it will reach most of the nation before it's all said and done. And hopefully you will also take precautions and happily find some joy and holiday cheer for the upcoming week. Saturday is Christmas Eve!


Thursday, December 15, 2022

Cold but lovely

Wintry scene, sans snow

Melanie and I decided to make our holiday hike up to Lily Lake, just the two of us. It was supposed to be sunny and cold, but it was mostly cloudy when we started out. Although the forecast was for partly sunny skies, it wasn't that way at first. However, later on the sun did make an appearance. Everything is definitely looking wintry.

Me in front of the decision spot

By the time we climbed up most of the elevation to this spot, we had a decision to make: go to Lizard Lake and make our hike longer, or head to Lily Lake and then return the way we had come. Until we got here, the trail was mostly free of snow, and then it all changed.

Does it look slippery? Yep, it was indeed

This is the first place where we thought that our spikes might be useful to strap onto the bottom of our boots. Unfortunately, I couldn't find mine this morning, but Mel had spares. I thought maybe I could make it to the lake without them.

Lily Lake

We did finally make it to the lake, only to find it frozen solid, and a brisk wind had picked up by this time. We huddled under a tree, while Mel put on her spikes with frozen fingers. I decided to try to make it back myself without falling, which I did, but it was with a lot of careful stepping and caution. The distance where it was icy and snowy was brief. Mel was happy to have put on her spikes, and I'll find mine before we go out next week.

Brief spots of sun broke through the clouds

As we headed back the way we had come, we saw that the sun was definitely beginning to show through all those clouds. And by the time we had returned to the car, having covered seven miles and 1,500 elevation gain and loss, there was more sun in the sky than clouds. Before we hit the freeway, it was full-on sunshine.

Happy holidays from Mel!

We went to the Evolve Cafe for a wonderful late lunch. Although it's been quite awhile since we finished, I am still full and happily so. Mel had a peppermint schnapps hot chocolate with hers, and I enjoyed some cheesy biscuits. It all went very delightfully together with a polenta dish that we both ordered.

As the sun set today at 4:13pm, we were both ensconced in our respective homes, me with my partner, and she with Torquil, her cat. And both feeling pretty good about our choice for the day. I do hope that everyone had a great day, filled with lots of good cheer!


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Decorations abound

Down the street, two decorated homes

 As I walked out the door this morning, armed with my headlamp, I saw these two well decorated homes just a few doors down from my own apartment dwelling. You cannot really see how pretty they are from this picture, as my iPhone camera lightened the dark sky and the street in front to make it more visible, I guess. But in any event, you can see that these homeowners decided to make it really pretty for those of us admiring their handiwork. 

It was an hour before sunrise, and without my headlamp I wouldn't have felt comfortable walking, as it was nowhere as light as the picture seems to indicate. I stopped to take the picture and then turned and headed off to catch the bus. I always give myself a few extra minutes, just in case of something like this, a need to photograph the scene. It is just over a half-mile walk and I manage it within a few minutes. But I don't walk all that briskly when I'm not sure of my footing. Although it was cold, well below freezing, it was dry and no wind to make it feel even colder.  I was dressed warmly and didn't feel the cold all that much.

John at "our" table in the coffee shop

When I walked up to the coffee shop door, I saw John sitting inside, and although again the camera decided to "help" the picture, I saw the reflection of lights on his right shoulder, and a few colored lights reflected on the right part of the window, as well. It was much more dramatic in my mind's eye, let me tell you, but I needed something to put in the Tuesday blog post, so here you are. I usually sit across the table from John, and our baristas know our orders so well that they don't even ask, just tell me to sit down and they bring it to me. It's nice to have such a well-oiled routine, don't you think?

Today I'll make a concerted effort to find a new yoga studio. It's time for me to reconcile to accept something less than the perfect place I had that is no more. Sigh. The pandemic was cruel to many shop owners, and our dear studio owner as decided to move back to Sweden, after so many years here in Bellingham. Times change, and people move on in life, after all.


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Looking a lot like winter

    Always a good day to kayak

 This morning, Melanie and I headed over to Fairhaven to walk the Interurban trail, one of our winter favorites. We saw this kayaker out at Marine Park, just getting ready to take a nice tour around the bay. We almost always see at least one person out there, no matter the weather. It looks like a gull in the foreground is also taking note of this activity.

Dr. Seuss would have loved it

There was very little color as we walked more than six miles around the area, and I took very few shots, since nothing actually looked all that interesting. This moss-covered tree was fun to see, looking like something that might have been created by Dr. Seuss. You can see the there is very little (actually no) sunshine to brighten things up. The rain had lessened, however, and was not forecast to return until later in the afternoon.

Not much challenge here

This is pretty much what the entire Interurban trail looks like: straight, flat, and just a little on the ho-hum side, except for the company, conversation, and smiles we shared with each other. But Melanie had something else in mind for the remainder of the morning: how about a nice birthday lunch? After we had walked as much as we wanted, we headed over to Keenan's at the Pier, just a short distance away, where Melanie treated me to a very special birthday lunch.

Me considering the menu

We ended up ordering (both of us) the blackened tacos and a wonderful pinot noir for our luncheon. The only word I can think of that would sum it up is "divine." Just about the most perfect lunch I've enjoyed in ages, and the scenery was perfect, as well.

Melanie in her holiday sweater

I also enjoyed a lovely creme brûlée for dessert, while Mel had a chia-seed pudding. Both of them were outstandingly good and helped me metabolize the alcohol in the wine, which was really good, too. It was more than just divine, it was also wonderful to be taken care of so well by such a good friend. She also gave me a gift of rain pants and a back-scratcher that collapses so I can carry it in my pack. 

And now I am home, feeling great after such a nice walk and such a fabulous treat from my dear friend. She's a keeper! Oh, and the rain started up again just after I got home, so it was perfect timing as well.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Old memories

Taken more than a decade ago

I recently found a bunch of old photos on a thumb drive (actually, SG did), and I loved seeing this old memory again. It was taken, I'm pretty sure, by an old friend, Mike, who no longer hikes with the Trailblazers. Then again, neither do I. These days I go out with one or perhaps two others, mostly Melanie, because I have trouble going as fast these days as I once did. No matter, I am happy to still be able to go out in the wonderful wilderness that surrounds Bellingham. This was taken on a snowshoe trip, obviously in the middle of winter. The picture has a February 2011 date. Those camp robbers are everywhere and extremely bold, but it made for a nice picture, don't you think?

These last three nights I have gotten plenty of sleep, which makes everything look better. I have recovered from the time change, and although it was really cold when I first arrived home last Thursday, the temperature has moderated considerably. However, the trails and places not directly in sunlight are quite slippery. Every step is taken with the awareness that my footing might not be secure. Yep. Not worrying so much about the speed I'm walking as much as whether it's safe to venture forth. A fall at my age needs to be avoided at all costs. 

Today I have an appointment with my acupuncturist, and I'll be asking for more serenity, which usually means more needles in my scalp. They are actually my favorite ones: I get a wonderful rush of pleasure that goes right from the top of my head all the way down to my toes. Now who wouldn't enjoy that? He told me that some of his clients call them "the sparkles." I will also ask if he might be able to help my digestive system get back to normal. Other than those minor little problems, I'm feeling pretty darn good, considering. The holidays take it out of everyone to some degree. We've got another month of holiday gatherings, unhealthy foods, and dubious weather conditions. We'll make it, with a little help from our friends. 


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Home again jiggity jig

My hotel room last night

Norma Jean dropped me off in front of the Mariott Hotel at the Tampa Airport yesterday, and I went directly up to my room (see above) and collapsed after a very long week. You can see how close I am to the gates, which were literally a few short steps away, once I checked out this morning. I did sleep well, but not for long, since I was not sure about anything and once I woke up I couldn't get back to sleep. So I did my exercises and took a nice long shower, and then I went out to explore the details of the hotel. It turns out that everyone opens up there at 5:00am, so I had a not-so-good breakfast sandwich instead of a sit-down breakfast. 

Once I got onto the airport, my flight was fifteen minutes late (I worried it might be longer, but it was just fine). I was seated just behind the first class seats, which allowed me a fairly quick exit when we landed. I caught the first shuttle to Bellingham with ten minutes to spare.

As we lost altitude and we approached Seattle, I was amazed at the amount of snow I spied on the ground.

Unusual to see all that white stuff

My friend Melanie told me that it started to snow in Bellingham, but then it changed to rain and melted it away. Seattle got it instead. Although Bellingham doesn't have snow, it's really really cold. It was close to freezing when I left the airport, and the temperature has continued to fall as the day wore on. It's not even 5:00pm, but I am very tired, even though my day lost three hours. I'll try to stay awake so I won't wake in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for an afternoon massage, which I believe will be well received by my tired body. I think I managed to avoid catching anything during the trip, but I won't really know for sure for a few more days. But the stay in the hotel room got me off to a good start. I'll do that again. It's so nice to be home, to see my best friend SG once again, and enjoy another beginning!


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Loving the sun, but heading home soon

Hibiscus flower

I am so enjoying this incredible weather here in Florida, but even though it's snowing, blowing and overall yucky at home, I will be very glad to return to my own Pacific Northwest environment and my sweet partner, and my friends at the coffee shop. I've had a long enough vacation in the sunshine. 

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and allow my flight to take off on time at 7:15am. I see there is a big weather disturbance in the Midwest, but I don't see anything that we shouldn't be able to avoid. But who knows?

Because my flight is early in the morning on Thursday, which also is my birthday, I decided to give myself a treat and spend the night before my flight at the Tampa airport in a cushy hotel room. It will provide a more serene beginning to my long trip. Plus, Norma Jean won't need to drive me to the airport before dawn; instead we will head down to my sister Markee's home in Apollo Beach tomorrow, the day before, and enjoy her and her husband Bob's company. They want to take us out to dinner, which will be fine. Afterwards, we will get into Norma Jean's car and she will drive me directly to the airport, less than an hour away.

All the rest of my family members made it to their respective homes safe and sound, and once I look out the airplane window and see Seattle's Space Needle below (assuming we can see anything, that is), I'll be only one three-hour shuttle ride away from my own home in Bellingham. You know I will be very happy to pull into the end of that ride, looking around for SG's car. He's bringing me three overcoats, just in case!

My Thursday post will not be on time, probably. Nothing is ever guaranteed when one is traveling. So, who knows? Until then, I'll be happily getting accustomed once again to the Pacific time zone. And I look forward to my first visit back to the coffee shop!


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Holiday today, a good day in Florida

Youngest and the oldest

Yesterday, after a long red-eye plane trip (with unfortunately a screaming baby in a seat across the aisle), I arrived in Tampa. My sister Norma Jean greeted me and drove me to her home in Zephyrhills. Then we drove south for another almost-hour to Apollo Beach, where my youngest sister Fia and her husband Russ had already arrived days before. Fia's birthday was last week, and mine is next. But we got to get big hugs from all the family members who had already arrived. Fia just turned sixty, and I'll turn eighty.

It's so warm and filled with family, everywhere I look is another person I haven’t talked to, in a long, long time. I try to keep myself in a happy place, but I keep finding feelings and emotions spilling out, and I have to go find someplace where I can just relax. It’s been so long since I have been around others, that are not constant family and friends. I am beginning to feel what getting old it really means. I am having trouble with my eyes, and I realize that my hearing is not very good anymore, and it’s getting to be a bit of a hassle to try to make somebody understand what I’m trying to get across. I am not anxious to uncover emotions that have been dormant for so long, but I realize that this is the time and place to do so. 

I am hoping hoping that one of these days before I leave, I will have had a chance to have a heart to heart conversation with each of my siblings. But I am missing my Washington family every day. And I suppose that it won’t get better until I actually get back home.

So, on that ambivalent note, I’m going to try to get all this done, so I can post this and forget about the larger world, and concentrate on my beautiful family that I am a part of. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Ready as I can get

Carry-on, travel pillow, backpack purse

I took a picture of my stuff that I will take with me on my trip today. This one will not be over until tomorrow morning, when I arrive in Tampa, hopefully with my sister being able to find me standing in the correct pickup area after a long plane flight, made longer because of adding three extra hours. I'll go from PST to EST. I am scheduled to arrive at 6:00am Florida time, but 3:00am to my body clock.

Hubby and I both laughed when we noticed, in the above picture, the rug being taped down in the corner, but we are old and do this to eliminate or at least lessen falls. I tripped on that corner once, and it was enough to take that precaution. It doesn't look wonderful, but who cares?

Here in Bellingham, we went two weeks without a drop of rain, until now, and we will get probably an inch or even more before it goes away again. It's pouring out there right now. But what a difference it has made in our ambient temperature! We are more than twenty degrees warmer than the frigid temperatures we endured for a week or more.

And Florida, here I come! I am looking forward very much to seeing my family, especially Norma Jean, who until the pandemic I visited every winter since her husband died in 2011. It's been a long time, punctuated with FaceTime visits, but in a few short hours (hopefully) we'll be able to hug in person! And then there's my brother Buz and sister Fia, whom I haven't seen since our dear sister PJ died in 2014.

Lots of family, lots to catch up with, and lots of delicious food to consume. I'll be back on my own feed once I return home. Until then, I will enjoy! I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. I am truly grateful for all my numerous blessings, of which you, dear reader, are one.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Sunny November day

Frosty lawn

 Today Melanie and I decided to head to one of our favorite places, Lake Padden, and hike into the back trails and, if necessary to get enough steps, take a loop around the lake. The baseball field (in the summer months) was completely covered with frost, so we thought we should take our trekking poles in case it was slippery. (It wasn't, surprisingly.)

Interesting moss on that tree

The area had changed a bit since we were last here a few weeks ago. We've had some rain, and then a long dry spell, and plenty of wind and cold temperatures to encourage the leaves to fall. But the sunny day made us quite happy to be out and about. There are so many trails behind the lake, and I've walked some of them but it's easy to get lost or turned around. Fortunately, at most of the junctures you've got a map to help you navigate.

Still some leaves on the trees

In the unprotected areas, the wind was quite strong and coming from Canada, so it wasn't exactly all that warm. But since we were moving at a good pace, we kept warm enough to take off our gloves, eventually. I did notice some valleys where it was much colder, and where the wind had not yet scoured out the frost. 

An animal's cave?

I don't remember ever seeing this tree before, with the enormous hole in its side. It's still alive and seems to be holding its own, even with this part missing. I wonder how old this tree is. I'm not sure I could find it again. However, in any event, we decided to head down to the lake and make one loop around it (2.6 miles).

Mel's brownies

Before we did that, we stopped for a quick snack, since Mel had made these brownies and was convinced that we should have some. She also brought some raspberry jam to spread on them, since she thought they weren't sweet enough. She had cut the sugar in the recipe in half, but I thought they were simply wonderful. Not that I minded having the jam on them. After our repast, we walked around the lake.

Heron taking in the sun

It was so bright and beautiful, and this heron on the buoy had found his place to enjoy the view (and possibly catch some lunch). You can see how much the leaves have fallen from the trees on the far side.

Serenity everywhere we looked

There were plenty of ducks and geese also enjoying the beautiful day, and we saw lots of people out walking their dogs, as well as a few squirrels here and there. Everyone and everything seemed to be enjoying the day, and we ended up covering 6.5 miles in total, with 1,100 feet of elevation gain and loss. Not too shabby for an almost eighty-year-old. I feel so blessed to live in such a wonderful place, and to have a hiking companion who also feeds me such good food!


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Day of 8 Billion

Snapped on my way home this morning

It was really cold this morning as I walked through Cornwall Park on my way home from the coffee shop. Or, at least from where John left me on the sidewalk to begin my two-and-a-half mile excursion. It got really cold last night, and we had a hard freeze, with these frozen leaves telling the tale. Although the brilliant sun was warming things up quickly, the places where it hadn't yet reached were quite beautiful in frosty splendor.
Frost is the most sophisticated of poets. —Peter Davison

 When I got home and warmed myself by the heater, I made a quick check of the news on my laptop. Two things struck me, the first was learning that today is the Day of 8 Billion. Yes, that's right: today is the estimated day that the human population reached that stupendous milestone. It only took us 12 years to increase from 7 billion to 8 billion. And during the past fifty years, two-thirds of the world's population of mammals (other than humans), fish, reptiles and amphibians have been lost. Two-thirds, I guess to make room for humanity. That's pretty terrifying, if you ask me.

The other unfortunate news is that moments after Ukraine President Zelensky spoke to the gathering of the Heads of States and Government in Indonesia, Russia launched a huge barrage of missiles at numerous targets in Ukraine, and one missile apparently landed in Poland, killing two people. Poland is a NATO member, and right now it's being assessed whether this was deliberate or not. If it is, there will be a huge escalation of the war in Ukraine, as the NATO members would need to come to Poland's aid. But I cannot believe it was deliberate, since Russia already has its hands full with a war they appear to be losing. Anyway, it just happened and more will be known in the fullness of time.

In any event, I will be trying my best to keep calm and remain optimistic. I am very grateful for my newfound meditation practice, since it seems to be helping me take world events in stride. At least a little bit. How about you? Have you found a way to maintain your equilibrium as the world shudders?


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Back to the Chuckanuts

Lower Salal trail

Today, Melanie and I set out from the Chuckanut trailhead to find our way up to the Lower Salal trail (one of my favorites) and join the Hemlock trail for our way back to the car. It was overcast but several degrees warmer than we've been experiencing lately, so it was almost up to our usual temperatures for this day in November. Still just a bit cool, but moderating a bit every day. Lots of leaves on the trails, making for a lovely carpet to hike on. Most of my pictures at this time of year are quite similar: lots of fall carpeting and quiet beauty.

Favorite rocket ship root system

I think I always take a picture of this strange root system on the tree, that looks to me like a rocket ship about to launch. It looks different every time I visit, but it never launches, much to my delight relief.

Leaf-strewn bridge

We were still on the Lower Salal trail when we crossed this bridge, and we walked a short distance on the Salal itself, before coming to the Hemlock trail. Although it's obviously November environs, it is still so very pretty to my eyes. In a half year, we'll be scanning the area for trillium.

Melanie suggested we take a side trip to see "the Dude," a tree with an interesting face, which Mel has said is reminiscent of "The Big Lebowski," played by Jeff Bridges in the 1998 film. We had to attach the doobie, because although sometimes there is one already there, today we had to find a stick just the right size to give him a toke.

Chuckanut Falls

And then we took the trail down to Chuckanut Falls, figuring there would be some water in it, after our recent rains. Sure enough, there was a steady stream coming down the falls, although nothing like we sometimes see after a major rainstorm. Still very pretty, though.

Old trees and golden leaves

I love the beautiful trees in this forest, this one showing off its lovely bark, with the golden leaves of the shrubbery behind brightening up the scene. We had no sun at all today, but the leaves brought the light to us.

More gold

We were almost back to the trailhead when I saw this one, and it called out to me to capture its beauty before the next windstorm brings all these pieces of gold onto the forest floor. We covered a bit more than six miles, with 1,500 feet of elevation gain and loss, making it quite a worthy outing. I am blessed by the magnificence of our forests, and by the friendship that I have with Mel. Just another great day in the Pacific Northwest with a really good friend.