Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A major change in the weather

Golden leaves

This is a favorite tree that I like to watch as it moves through the seasons. It's one of the first to sprout leaves in the spring, and one of the first to change to gold in the fall. And we have received so much rain in the past few days that it's gotten a little soggy on the trail. I didn't go with the Senior Trailblazers this morning; instead I just went on my usual 3-mile walk through Cornwall Park. This tree is in the neighborhood. The picture was taken last week before the rain started, and I noticed today that many of those pretty leaves are now on the ground, creating a carpet of gold.

On Sunday I went on a really nice walk to Fragrance Lake with one of my new hiking friends, Barb. We went up to a place that I visited often with Melanie, and it made me feeling wistful, remembering.

Magnificent straight trees

On the road back down from the lake, I always love to see these beautiful straight trees, and once again I captured them to remember the day. It looks like our High Country hikes are over for the season, but you just never know for sure. I'm happy with the many places available around here without having to drive very far. This stand of trees is on a trail less than a half-hour's drive from my home.

One of my sisters just had a birthday (they do come around more quickly as I get older, it seems). My sister Markee is now 62! That's the age our father was when he died, which seems not so long ago, but it's been 44 years. And Markee is now a grandmother; just recently this gorgeous creature, Evelyn, came into the world. I would be over the moon if I had been so lucky to live closer, but in any event, meet our latest family member:

Born June 25, 2023

Isn't she just adorable? She was more than eight pounds when she was born, and perfect in every way possible. I don't know when I'll get a chance to meet her in person, but I'm happy to welcome her today, squeezing those little cheeks in absentia and hugging her from afar.


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Yellow Aster Butte 2023

Linda and Helen on the trail

This turned out to be one of my favorite hikes of the entire season, and it was all rather impromptu. Helen was originally scheduled today to take us on a hike to Park Butte, but the Forest Service has already removed the temporary bridges, so we decided instead to move up next week's hike to Yellow Aster Butte. Not to mention, the weather today was supposed to be clear and cool, both of which actually happened.

Beautiful Mt, Baker

The trail starts on a mountain road that continues on to Twin Lakes, but after five miles of bumpy road, we reached the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead. We saw an incredible number of cars that had arrived before us, in the vicinity of perhaps fifty, and this is on a weekday! Apparently a lot of people realized that the weather is going to change soon and took advantage of today's perfection to hike on a favorite trail before it is gone for the season.

A gaggle of hikers on our way up

It could not have been more perfect: the skies were clear, the full sun was not too hot with a delightful breeze blowing, and everybody was in just the best mood as we headed up a rather challenging 2,000+ feet of elevation. This group tends to follow the rules and we stayed together, until three of our hikers decided to stop part-way up and rest there, while the remainder of us went off to our lunch spot, about a mile farther up the trail.

No wildflowers left, just spent fireweed

At our lunch spot, I gazed up at the rest of the hike, which I've done on earlier attempts, up to the top where there is a wonderful 360-degree view, but we didn't do that today. This is the "Relaxed Hike" group, after all.

John peeling an orange in front of the top

Although I've climbed to the top in previous years, another steep scramble of around 500 feet, I had little to no desire to go the distance from here. I was happy to stop in the beautiful sunshine and enjoy the view, as well as my lunch, with my friends who were also enjoying the day.

Mt. Baker, Helen, Tammy

I love this shot, which shows us just before we started back down, with another picture of Mt Baker with two of my dear (if newly minted) friends in front. We had finished our lunch and it was time to head home.

Mt Shuksan of the left, Baker on the right

I did want, if possible, to capture both of our beautiful mountains in one shot, which I managed as we started back down. Everybody made it back down without a mishap, except for me: I slipped on a rock and hit my knee, hard enough to cause a pretty good sized hematoma, but it didn't stop me from continuing back down to the cars. Since I was in a car with two retired nurses, I was given the treatment, a good wrap with an Ace bandage and admonishments about what to do when  arrived home (RICE, of course, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

And now I am home, still sipping on my glass of wine as I write this post, with a nice hot shower awaiting me after I'm done here. It was, without a doubt, one of the best times I've had on this hike, and I once again thank all my wonderful fellow hikers for a really GREAT DAY.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Definitely feels like fall

Pumpkins and mums

Every year around this time, I am once again reminded that as the seasons pass from summer to fall, the flowers that bloom now are much different from the beauties we see in summertime. But still very, very lovely, if I let go of my preconceived notions of Gorgeous. Comes with the territory. 

When I lived in a tropical climate, we didn't even have seasons, much less such glorious bounty as you see above. In Puerto Rico, I remember thinking how cold it would have been with the temperature we have today, here in the Pacific Northwest. It would have seemed uncomfortably chilly. At 61°F (16°C) I am these days right in my element. Sitting in my easy chair inside, I could not be happier with this environment. Perfect for walking, as well as bundling up with a sweater as I sit here writing this post.

I decided once again to skip the Happy Wanderers hike today. They took a ferry to Lopez Island to enjoy a couple of hikes there, as well as arrange a fabulous potluck feast for everybody. They will catch the 6:30pm ferry back to Bellingham. By that time, I'll be winding up my perfect day and enjoying a glass of red wine. I  will definitely look forward to seeing and hearing all about it, but from my easy chair.

Thursday's hike into the mountains sounds really fun, and the weather looks perfect, so I might decide to go with them. But I'm making no promises to myself. Octogenarians don't need to play by the same rules as everybody else! I'm rather liking this ability to mull over the possibilities and choose whatever feels right in the moment.

More fall flowers

I did make an appointment to get my hair cut, and these pretty flowers smiled at me on the pathway to her studio. It was nice to have just one thing to accomplish today, and now I am sitting here thinking it might be appropriate to find just the right quote for the day.
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization. —Arnold J. Toynbee
Toynbee was a British historian, and in his Study of History he describes the rise and decline of 23 civilisations. His overarching analysis was the place of moral and religious challenge, and response to such challenge, as the reason for the robustness or decline of a civilization. I wonder what he would think about the state of the world today. 


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Another laidback Thursday

Mt. Baker from High Divide

This is the view I suspect that the Senior Trailblazers saw of Mt. Baker today, when they went off to climb Excelsior Peak from the Damfino Lakes trailhead. I last went up on this hike back in August 2021, and I found a couple shots that show how beautiful it was then, and probably is today as well.

I truly didn't know whether I would join them on this beautiful day or not. I got up and arranged all my gear, and then went back and forth about whether to go. By the time I walked out the front door, without my car keys in my hand, I realized I was going to catch the bus to town instead and not join the hikers after all. It was a nice time at the coffee shop with John, and I solved the Wordle puzzle and decided that I could attend the Zumba class at the Senior Center before walking home from the Cornwall Rose Garden. 

Yesterday when I began my walk, a lady approached and told me that she has noticed me starting out from this place often at the same time, and we chatted a bit about getting exercise (which is what she was doing as well) as two women "of a certain age." Although the walk is much easier than what I would have done in the mountains, I did really enjoy being out there today. In the Zumba class I worked up a good sweat, and have managed to close all my exercise rings with little trouble today.

From 2021

Melanie took this picture of me on the trail, with my head covering, which is just a regular baseball cap with a snap-on piece for sun protection. Today is just as sunny as it was back then, too, and I would have had to wear something like this to keep the sun off my neck, just like I did here. It has a French Foreign Legion look to it, don't you think?

The hike is around seven miles round trip, with almost 2,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Now that it's late in the afternoon, I'm wondering how many people went and whether they had a good time. Probably. My walk today was a mere three miles and negligible elevation, but it was quite pleasant anyway. 

It's nice to have so many different choices, and I think I did make the right one for me on this beautiful day. I'm not tired at all and feeling quite happy at the moment. Hope you have had a good day, too.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Happy Wanderers today

 A surprisingly large number of Senior Trailblazers showed up for our Tuesday hike: 22 to be exact, which a few old timers thought might be a record. We piled into quite a few cars to get us all to the trailhead, so we could hike the five miles of trails in the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. When I used to do this hike with Melanie, we'd often take two trips around the shorter loop, to make it a little longer. 

One of our many stops

We didn't do that today, though, so it was over before noon, but we all had a really good time. We were all ready for rain, as it has been forecast for the afternoon, and we did have a few sprinkles, but nothing much, really. It was overcast but pleasantly warm and humid. At every junction, our leader Persis asked us to stop and wait to regroup. Quite a large group to keep track of, any way you look at it.

Geneva Pond

The last time I was here, there was a huge amount of pollen in the air and on the surface of the lake, but today, as you can see, the water was still and clear. We then made our way to the junction that would take us around the larger loop, which also has some elevation (not much; we had less than a thousand feet today).

Persis and a huge old growth tree

Since we didn't have Leanne with us today, our leader Persis did a good job hugging this tree in Leanne's honor. There are many such trees in this magnificent reserve, which doesn't allow horses, dogs, or bikes on the trails, to keep from disturbing the natural environment.

Such a beautiful place

We are so fortunate to have such a magnificent acreage to enjoy so close to town. We were all sad to say farewell for now to our environment, but we all look forward to visiting this place again soon. It's open year round.

Information about the reserve

It was nice to visit with my new friends, the Happy Wanderers group, one of the three Senior Trailblazer groups to choose from. This one is the only one on Tuesday, and both of the other groups gather for a hike on Thursdays. I'm still up in the air about whether to hike later this week, since I had quite a strong reaction to the second Shingrix shot and still have a very sore arm. In any event, today was a delightful way to spend my Tuesday morning!


Thursday, September 7, 2023

My walk home

Side entrance to Cornwall Park

I decided at the last minute not to join the Senior Trailblazers for their hike up to Ptarmigan Ridge. I took a spill the other day and managed to scrape my knee and ended up with my back acting up as a consequence. It's not that I felt I couldn't actually do the hike, but it just didn't seem worth the effort while not feeling entirely healthy. I must keep in mind that there are consequences for not watching every step carefully. So, I decided to take pictures on my way home from the yoga class I took this morning.

Pickleball court

I like to walk through Cornwall Park as I begin my two-and-a-half-mile trek home. This pickleball court is always active with lots of players, making a racket I can hear for blocks before I get there. I take a fairly short route through the park, and then I cross a major street before I cross over to one of my favorite areas, East Maplewood Street. It's not very long, but I always enjoy seeing the sights.

Fantasy Village

There are obviously children who live on the street, who have created this tiny little village with an old tree that has lots of nooks and crannies. I loved to create such places when I was a kid. My imagination knew no bounds, and these little craftspeople are definitely talented too, I think.

Voluminous flowers

There are many front yards that look like this one, filled with lots of late summer flowers. I see the passage of the seasons as I often take the same routes through the year; it's lovely in every single one. 

My favorite color

This pretty pink spirea caught my eye. At least I'm pretty sure that is what we are seeing here. In any event, I spent some time admiring them and decided to share the beauty with you.

Rainbow bridge

After I leave East Maplewood and cross another busy street, I walk across this bridge, which has been painted in the colors of the rainbow. It's a community project spearheaded by Ben Mann, and you can read all about it on that website. It's also the entrance to the Birchwood neighborhood, where I live.

Blackberries galore

I then enter the final trail I follow on my way home, with plenty of these wonderful blackberries to snack on as I make my way home. Although they are from the invasive Himalayan species, that doesn't make them any less tasty.

Apples getting ripe

This tree is filled with bright red apples, which are probably ready to eat now, but since they belong to someone, I don't take any. I can see from the ones that have fallen on the ground that they are pretty wormy, anyway. But they show that the harvest season is in full swing.

 My driveway

And finally I reach the driveway that takes me up to my apartment, one in a series of twenty-six. You can't really see how up it is, which is only a problem when it's icy and cold in the winter. Today I waltzed up to my apartment and came inside to grab some fresh hugs from my honey and have some lunch. It was a good day!


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

September skies

Squalicum Harbor

Now that we are into the unofficial days of fall, the temperatures are moderating, and the skies are beginning to look a lot more interesting, as you can see here. I took this last Saturday while walking by myself. The long holiday weekend is now behind us, and I am very glad to be looking forward to weather that is more comfortable for me. I don't really mind the sun, but it's so much nicer when it's not mid-July, with endlessly long days and short nights. We are just a few weeks away from the actual autumnal equinox (September 22), when the days and nights are at equal lengths. After that, the nights will be longer than the days until we get to the winter solstice.

I have already begun to see leaves changing color, which surprised me. I didn't think it would start so soon. Maybe this year we'll have spectacular color and I can capture the display in photos. I can hope, anyway.

I just listened to an interesting podcast about being kind to oneself. It was an interview with Kristin Neff, who has written several books about the prospect of developing self-compassion. She's got a cool website with plenty of information about how to attend some of her workshops, held around the country as well as virtually. From that website:
Research indicates that self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience we have available to us, radically improving our mental and physical wellbeing. It motivates us to make changes and reach our goals not because we’re inadequate, but because we care and want to be happy. 

Who doesn't want to be nice to ourselves? Well, it turns out that most of us would never treat a friend the way we often treat ourselves when we make a mistake or are ashamed of something we've done (or not done). I know I am much harder on myself than I am on others. So I've decided to treat myself better, more like I would treat a friend. Maybe before it's all over, I'll have forgiven myself for past actions that make me wince when I recall them. 

How about you? Do you easily forgive yourself when you've made a mistake? If so, please feel free to share that information in this safe space. I'm tired of figuratively kicking myself!


Thursday, August 31, 2023

Fragrance Lake and beyond

Group 2 today (me behind the camera)

Our Senior Trailblazer groups are beginning to smoosh together, as you can see from this picture of today's hiking group. Al (third from left) is the usual leader for Group 1, but today he was ours, and since the weather was not all that good for a trip to the mountains, he led us on a local hike that started at the Two Dollar trail and went all the way up to viewpoint looking out over the Sound. 

At the top of the Two Dollar trail

There are hikers who regularly go with the harder group mixed in with the more leisurely middle group. We were blessed with a very congenial mix today, and everyone had what seemed to be a good time.  I was very happy to be on this trail, which was a favorite of Melanie's and mine when it was just the two of us. 

Our dense beautiful landscape

The Pacific Northwest is such a beautiful place to live and enjoy. Many of the hikes that take us through such dense forests remind me once again how fortunate I am to be here, out and about, able to take in such scenery, and to be joined with so many like-minded folks.

Fragrance Lake

When we reached the lake, it was overcast but we had seen a few peeks of sunshine. And then the fog moved in, as you can  see here. It didn't last very long, but the feeling it gave me was one of serenity. Instead of heading back right away, Al suggested that we take the South Lost Lake trail up to the viewpoint before returning the way we had come. 

Looking out at Samish Bay

It was pretty foggy still, but you can see a few islands through the clouds. We had more and more sunshine, but it was still quite cool and perfect hiking weather. At this point, we decided to have lunch, since some of us were getting hungry. From here, we returned the way we had come, as planned, giving us a bit more than eight miles of hiking, with around 1,200 feet of elevation gain and loss.

Heading back down

Although it was a little more distance than I had anticipated, I only got a little grumpy before we stopped for lunch. I really should try to remember that having a little something to snack on as I walk will help my mood immeasurably. But for whatever reason, I forget each time, until it happens again. Maybe one day I'll learn.

In any event, we did have a wonderful day out in the wilderness, and the fun part is that we had no rain until we reached the cars, and then we got a few sprinkles as we piled back in for the trip back to the Senior Center. Another great day!


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Hike canceled this morning

Sunrise yesterday morning

 No, the air quality is not the reason our hike was canceled this morning, because the air quality around here improved quickly when a front moved in, hopefully bringing us some wanted rain. When I went outside, the air felt okay, but I could feel a little irritation, and as you can see from our orange sunrise, it wasn't wonderful.

So, I drove today to the coffee shop and then went off to the Senior Center to meet my fellow Happy Wanderers for a nice around-town excursion. But when I arrived, I learned that our leader had decided to cancel our hike because of possible lightning in the area. However, it didn't happen, but then again, neither did the rain. We received a disappointing .05 inch of rain last night. Barely enough to wet the streets, and certainly not enough to keep the wildfires that surround our area in check.

Fortunately for me, there were seven of us who didn't get the message that the hike had been canceled, so we went off together for a quick walk in the nearby neighborhoods. We did make it all the way to the Barkley area, where I knew there was a grocery store that would allow me to pop in for a quick bathroom break. A couple of my fellow hikers are familiar with the area, so I did get to see a home where the owner was busy revamping his front yard. 

Rocks with some painted ones interspersed

He was busy tearing out some green grass and replacing it with rocks like these, a few small plants, and his wife's painted rocks mixed in throughout. He said that if any of the rocks grabbed us and we wanted to take one, to feel free. We didn't, but I sure did enjoy looking at them. You have to take your time and enlarge the picture, if you want to get the full display. He said he is looking to make his entire garden into one that no longer requires so much water to be beautiful, and he definitely is making progress in that regard.

I was a little sad that we didn't have a wonderful hike like we had last Tuesday, but it was understandable that Barb didn't want to take any chances with the weather. We have another chance at a bit of rain this evening, so perhaps we'll get more, if not a real soaking like we'd prefer. It seems like everywhere these days there is either too much or too little precipitation.

I'm worried for my sister's home in Florida, where she lives a few miles inland and a little south of Tampa. This hurricane Idalia looks very scary, with it projected to make landfall tonight. Looking at the projections on TV, it looks like the storm surge will be substantial, although I do hope everyone is able to stay safe. 

I just saw a text from the person leading our usual Thursday hike, and he's suggested that we modify it because of unsettled weather for the next few days. So, I might be going on another hike if he decides not to drive all the way up to the Artist Point. As he says, there might be some local rain to play in, rather than driving seventy miles for the same chance. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed for Florida to make it through this upcoming storm, as will I.


Thursday, August 24, 2023

Fall is in the air

Falling leaves and overcast skies

 We are definitely seeing the first signs of fall around here, including nice cool weather (I think the high temperature yesterday was 68°F (20°C), but already today (Thursday) it's much warmer. And the picture I show here was taken two days ago; you can already see that the leaves are beginning to fall.

Today I decided once again to skip the long drive for the Thursday hike, since I had such a nice time on Tuesday and didn't feel the need to drive two hours each way for a four- or five-hour-long hike. Plus I woke this morning to another orange sun, although the air quality is in the good range, there is a lot of smoke in the air from distant fires in British Columbia and even a few here as well.

Yesterday I went to a Senior Center monthly meeting, my first time in what is called a "low vision" support group. It made me thankful for the sight I still have, and now I'm beginning to understand what I still have to deal with in the future. Most of the people in the group are suffering from macular degeneration, as I do, or with side effects from strokes. Most of these people use a cane and no longer drive. Next month we will have a speaker from WTA (Whatcom Transit Authority) to find out about special transit and, for those who don't already use it, the regular bus schedules that are offered seven days a week.

I've been using the bus system for years now, since once you reach 75, you receive a "gold card" that allows you to ride for free. Those over 65 but under 75 pay half fare, and those with disabilities have other arrangements as well. I'll learn more next month, but I am feeling very glad to have others to talk with about how they manage, and what's available for those with vision impairments of all kinds.

Right now I am able to function quite normally, and I even drive short distances in bright sunlight. I'm able to use a regular laptop and my iPad normally. I use my Kindle and readers to see larger print, but I need to take breaks often, as my eyes get tired very quickly. After a few minutes of rest, I can pick up a book and continue reading. Gone are the days when I could read for hours at a time and never even notice a problem. I do notice that computer screens are easiest for me to use, since the type is illuminated from behind the letters, and that makes all the difference. It was fascinating to see how others have adjusted to their diminishing sight. And it was encouraging to learn about what options are available to us as we age.

It also makes me very happy that the one ability that doesn't seem to have diminished is my ability to think, write, and contemplate. That doesn't mean I am as mentally sharp today as I was twenty or thirty years ago, but then again, I am doing everything I can to eat right, exercise, and use my brain in new ways. I've learned how to solve sudoku puzzles lately, and although I can't say it's fun exactly, I sure do like the feeling of accomplishment when I've completed one. And of course I love Wordle and play it every day. How about you? Are you enjoying stretching that aging brain? If so, what tricks do you have that you're willing to share?


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Alger Alp 2023

Squires Lake

 One thing I notice about the Happy Wanderers group is that there are a LOT of us on almost every single hike. Today was no exception: 18 of us set out to hike to Alger Alp and then make a short trip around Squires Lake. It is not a long hike, but the first part, on old logging roads to the overlook, tends to feel longer than it actually is. You gain about a thousand feet of elevation in a couple of miles.

Where to go first?

We stopped at the bridge to decide whether we wanted to go to the top of the peak first, and then make our way around the lake. That's what we ended up doing. I don't think I've ever been on this hike in the summer; it was a usual winter hike for Group 1. Frankly, it was quite lovely and enjoyable and not too taxing.

Up and up

You might notice the person on the left, Joe, who has been recovering from back surgery and wanted to see if he could do a Happy Wanderers hike before tackling a longer and harder one with Group 2. He did fine and was quite happy that he's making such good progress.

Our viewpoint from the top

We took the South Ridge trail along the ridge until we reached this spot, only to find that a fierce wind was blowing hard, keeping us from staying there for very long. Much of the view across the Skagit Valley was obscured by clouds, but you can see that we did get a chance to see a good distance anyway. I think Mt. Baker would have been visible if the clouds had parted.

On our way back

We decided after retracing our steps to this spot, to take a trip around the lake before heading back to the cars. That's my newest friend Cindy smiling in front. She almost looks too young to be a Senior Trailblazer, but I allowed that she is really eligible. She has a great sense of humor, too.

Admiring the lily pads on Squires Lake

And then we were back at the cars, everyone in a really good mood and discovering that we covered somewhere around 5.6 miles in total and gained and lost around 1,100 feet. Not a bad day for the group, and I made even more new friends today! I'm hoping for many more days outside enjoying my forest bathing.


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Thinking about the mountains

Looking at Mt Baker from the Boundary Way hike

 I didn't go with the Senior Trailblazers again today, but I did consider it, ruminating hard on whether to go even though it's still pretty hot outside (it's more than 81°F here in Bellingham right now), and partly because of the long drive. I decided not to investigate Cowap Peak and Boundary Way again. This picture (above) was taken in 2009, when I did the hike with the Trailblazers. That was fourteen years ago, and although it wasn't a hard hike, it took all day long to navigate the long access road (15 miles) to get there, make the hike, and return. I just don't have the same oomph or desire these days to spend all day long making the trip.

Don't get me wrong: I am still a little sorry I didn't go, because I enjoy the company of my newest hiking friends, and because I feel a bit like a wimp. We have been having way too hot weather for my liking, and this morning the final straw that made me decide not to go was when I looked at the temperature in Glacier (partway up the Mt. Baker Highway) where we used to stop for ice cream in the old days. The temperature at altitude was five degrees warmer than down here at sea level! Nope, I said to myself, the hot weather is still around and I am not ready to exercise these old bones in the heat. I'm sure they had a good time without me, darn it.

Ward and Linda in 2009

This lovely picture of two of my favorite people was taken in front of the peaks that separate Canada from the United States and are called Boundary Peaks because of it. Plus it was really nice to reminisce once again about these two hikers who also don't venture out on these long treks any more. 

Instead, I went to the coffee shop as usual and decided to take the Zumba class at the Senior Center before heading back home to spend some time with my guy before making a quick trip to the grocery store. I was again surprised to see that a few of my usual items have increased in price. When will that ever end? In any event, I made it back home and have enjoyed catching up on reading the latest posts from my virtual family. Now it's early afternoon and I'm wondering if the hikers have returned yet. One very large portion of my mind was with them all day, anyway. Hope they had a good time.

Whatcom Falls, day before yesterday

I did want to show you the full picture of the usually roaring falls taken on our hike last Tuesday; I did post another picture, but I realized from a couple of comments that, even though they are sparse, they are still very lovely. And also to remind myself that I did get a little "forest bathing" this week, didn't I?


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Wandering to Whatcom Falls

In Whatcom Falls Park

Today was expected to be hot, but eleven Happy Wanderers met at the Senior Center to take a walk from there to Whatcom Falls Park and back. And when we were in the shade, it was pretty darn perfect, but as the morning wore on and we were in full sun, it felt more than a little hot. Yesterday here in Bellingham we reach 86°F (30°C) under an excessive heat warning. Yes, I know this is nothing compared to what much of the country is experiencing, but it sure felt hot to me. Last night our bedroom temperature only fell to 72, which is almost too hot for me to sleep. I did manage some, but this is hard on us PNW fragile flowers.

Ina and totem pole

We had a delightful walk in the park (so to speak), and made it all the way to the restrooms before turning around and going back pretty much the way we had come. Since our leader, Terry, was a little unsure of the best way to return, she kept checking her phone for directions.

"I think we want to turn here"

Fortunately, one of the Trailblazers lives in the neighborhood, and she helped us find a reasonable way for us to return back to downtown and the Senior Center. You can see how lovely a day it was.

Low water

We crossed a familiar bridge, but I hardly recognized the stream below us, since the water level is so low it seemed strange to experience such dryness. Even the falls are just a trickle right now.

What's left of Whatcom Falls

Although the falls are just a shadow of what they will be once the rains return, they are still very beautiful. I loved standing on the bridge and enjoying the moment with my new hiking friends. We dawdled a lot when we were in a place like this, and then finally we found a place to stop and have a bit to eat. We ended up going either as short as 6.5 miles, or as long as 7.8 miles, depending on whose device you believed. It felt around seven miles to me. Once we returned to the Senior Center and made our way home, I decided to stop by the community co-op and have a buffet lunch and a delicious coconut water drink to replenish my electrolytes. 

All in all, it was a lovely day, and we were all happy to be out and about in our lovely neighborhood with our friends. We once again lived up to our name, the Happy Wanderers.