Thursday, June 29, 2023

No Thursday hike for me

This morning's Cornwall Rose Garden beauty

This morning I walked to the bus stop and rode the bus downtown, to have coffee with John, as usual on any day other than Thursday. Because I hardly slept last night, I decided to skip the challenging "Relaxed" hike with the Senior Trailblazers today. I only got three hours of sleep, mostly because I couldn't get comfortable and tossed and turned for most of the night. 

Partly this was due to having received my new Apple laptop computer around 8:00pm (when it was supposed to arrive by noon), and of course SG and I had to take it out of the box and get started transferring all the data from my old one to the new one. I called Apple support, and we learned that the new version comes with a gadget called a "Migration Assistant." We managed to get everything transferred (which took awhile). I went to bed before it was all finished, but SG stayed up and learned all the bells and whistles that are offered in the latest version. Can I say that I LOVE the new keyboard? I was so tired of that old "butterfly" keyboard that often typed words wrongly, and sometimes skipped letters because they would stick until I wrestled them free. This is so much better!

The display, showing the rose, above

In many ways, though, there is very little difference between using my new laptop in writing this post and the old version, because everything transferred over with my settings intact. How cool is that? No fussing around, and I really notice the difference in speed. Nothing is hanging or waiting as happened frequently with the old one.

This is my third or fourth version of the MacBook Air, and many of the things they "improved" in the last version have been fixed in this one. I love the magnetic charging cord, which was taken out of the last version but reintroduced here. And the keyboard just fits my little hands like it was made for me! 

Instead of hiking with the Trailblazers, I did get in my usual three miles before coming home and playing with my new toy. I asked John to let me out in front of the Cornwall Rose Garden, which is displaying so many beautiful roses right now. Along with the first picture, I also took this one:

Pretty and fragrant

I know there is much more to learn about this new setup, but for now I guess you could say I am very happy. And I'll be way happier once I've caught up on my missing sleep. I feel a little frazzled, since I'm used to getting eight or nine hours every night. But I can do this every once in awhile and not be any the worse for wear. And I did get in a really nice walk with the Happy Wanderers on Tuesday!


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

A new Tuesday activity

Some of today' Happy Wanderers

Today I had to decide whether to attend the Zumba Gold class at the Senior Center, or go walking with the Happy Wanderers. In the end, I figured I'd get a good workout and enjoy a lovely day out at Lake Whatcom more than I would going for an hour's dance. And sure enough, I had a great time on our walk. There were seventeen of us, and I learned on my second excursion with this group that it is typically large like this when the weather is good. I got to spend some time on the trail talking to three hikers, two of whom were brand new to me.

I was a little concerned when I learned that Melanie would be moving that I wouldn't get to spend time on some of my favorite walks, like this one, the Hertz trail. It's not that I can't drive there myself, but with my eyesight beginning to fail, I'd rather not drive long distances any more (this is a half-hour's drive on a winding road). So imagine my delight to find that the Happy Wanderers go to a lot of places I went with my pal Mel, so nothing is lost except her company. I remind myself that times change, people move on.

I ordered my new laptop yesterday and have been watching anxiously for when it might arrive. They said it would be delivered today, but I am skeptical, seeing that the tracker says it still has not yet been shipped. It's not critical that it arrive today, but it sure will be nice when it's in my possession. I see they have already taken the money out of my account; they don't waste any time doing such things, do they? Ordered in the morning, paid for by the afternoon. And hopefully soon on its way to me!

I became a great-aunt once more yesterday, when my sister Markee became a grandparent. This marks the moment in time when all my siblings have become grandparents, other than me. It will never be my fate to have my own grandchildren, so I will just have to be happy there are so many children who will remember me as their crazy old auntie! I'll try my best to live up to expectations, my own included.

I've been watching the incredible heat wave encompassing so much of the south, and if you live there, I do hope you are able to keep yourself moderately comfortable, and I'll try not to feel guilty about our perfect weather.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Feast for the eyes and heart

Beautiful purple poppy

 I spied this gorgeous poppy on my way back from my walk this morning, on East Maplewood. I went to the coffee shop, and then over to the Senior Center for an hour's Zumba class, since I didn't want to go either place the Trailblazers were going today. So I am missing a long hike, but really enjoyed walking through Cornwall Park and back onto one of my favorite areas, the East Maplewood short street that would take me home.

The owner of this flower said I was the second person today to stop to take a picture of it, and after a short introduction, he asked if I had ever visited his backyard garden. No, I said, and he opened the gate and said I could stay as long as I wanted. It's a beautiful half-acre garden!

One of many different paths throughout

As I wandered around, seeing all the gorgeous flowers and plants, I also saw lots of glass ornaments, as well as a few others. Lonnie (the guy) told me they are all local artist creations that he and his wife have amassed over the years. I thought some might be Chihuly creations, which I have seen in museums and other local gardens, but he said no. I guess they are all a bit different from Chihuly's original designs. 

A bird and a pretty squiggle amongst the flowers

I found this lovely seating arrangement in the middle of the garden, and I thought how nice it would be to have this place to visit in the middle of a sunny warm Pacific Northwest summer's day:

A nice breeze wafted through

Lonnie told me I could come and visit anytime I might want, but it isn't a place that someone like me would feel comfortable hanging out in without the owners, and he seems very busy and filled with numerous ongoing tasks. The missus was inside doing something, so I never did get to meet her. But it was such a nice gesture.

Foxgloves in splendor

As you can see from the blue, blue sky behind these beauties, it's definitely turning into summer glory and summer heat cannot be far behind. We are already twenty degrees warmer today than we were just two days ago. I will adapt, eventually, but until then, I'll be limiting my full sun hikes and walks. I don't do well when it gets too hot.

Flowers everywhere

And who knows? I might be forced to find my way back to this lovely backyard again, just to enjoy its serene beauty once more. Usually my Thursdays will be spent, as usual, hiking with the Trailblazers, but there might be another hot day when I find my way back to this place. Thanks for letting me wander through your garden, Lonnie!


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Happy Wanderers

South Hill road

Today, I joined the third of the Senior Trailblazers group, called the Happy Wanderers, as we walked from Fairhaven Park to Julie's home for a lovely spread before continuing on our 6.2-mile walk, mostly on streets like this one.

A wonderful spread

Julie, who lives in the South Hill area of Bellingham, opened her home to the group for a delightful repast before we continued on with our hike. Since it was raining lightly, all fourteen of us hikers took off our shoes and raincoats before settling in for an amazing treat. Apparently Julie likes to entertain guests in her lovely home, and since she did this last year, now it's become a tradition. Not one I would skip if I could help it! A few others who were not hiking also joined us.

Terry gazing out at the deck, with Bellingham Bay beyond

It's a truly beautiful home, and I can  see why she likes to share it with friends. You can see that the deck is wet out there, but we really enjoyed the break and the food, before we set out to finish our hike.

Foxglove in a neighbor's garden

By the time we returned to our hike, the rain had lessened to just a light mist, and we went up and down the roads that our hike leader, Barb, had planned out ahead of time. No one minded a little rain, since we have needed it badly, with Bellingham being quite a bit behind its average precipitation for this time of the year.

Everything is in bloom

The abundance of beautiful flowers and trees on this particular part of our town continues to delight my senses. These are roses that smell strong enough that even those (like me) with a damaged olfactory sense could be blown away by the intense fragrance. 

View of the bay

On one street, we saw a really marvelous view of Bellingham Bay, where people who live in the area can see such sights all the time. I, however, soaked up as much gorgeousness as I could, since I only see such sights through a drive or a walk. South Bay residents probably have forgotten what it's like for those who cannot afford to live surrounding with such luxury. Fortunately for me, I can gaze and enjoy it whenever I'm out taking a "forest bath."

So now I have taken a trip, at least one, with all three of the Senior Trailblazer hiking groups. The Happy Wanderers hike on Tuesdays, and the other two on Thursdays. I am incredibly fortunate to have such abundance to choose from. And I'm reconnecting with some old friends, as well as meeting new ones. Life is good.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Two Dollar, Fragrance, and Burnout

Our amazing 12 Trailblazers

Today, twelve Senior Trailblazers gathered to do another hike to Burnout Point, this time led by Barb, who decided we would start from the Two Dollar trail and head from there up to Burnout Point. We did one similar to this a month ago, starting from a different place. Today we had twelve, two men and ten women, and we also had incredible weather, cool but cloudy to start, clearing off to full sun.

Beautiful setting for our excursion

From the Two Dollar trail, we kept on hiking until we got to Fragrance Lake and then went up the logging road to the turnoff to Burnout. 

Barb showing us our route

From this point, we headed up to the service road that would take us to many different parts of our destination. First of all,\ was a visit to our lunch spot, and a view of the beautiful Samish Bay.

Although hazy, it was also beautiful

We settled down around noon for a nice repast and a time to collect ourselves for the return trip, which we thought might be challenging (it was). But so pretty!

The clouds began to lift a little

As we enjoyed our lunch, we noticed that the clouds did indeed lift a bit, but it was still wonderfully warm and sunny when we began our return trip. It turned out to be a little longer than we thought it would be, but gosh it was beautiful.

Return trip

We headed back to the place on the road where we could make our way back to Fragrance Lake and the Two Dollar trail. It was longer and harder than I expected, but I managed to keep myself together, along with eleven others who were feeling tired, too.

Fragrance Lake today

We passed by the lake as we hiked back to the Two Dollar trail. It was just as pretty later in the day as it was earlier, when I didn't actually stop to take a picture. Now, I am going to try something different: Julie, one of the hikers, always takes a video of the day, and I'm going to try to put it in here. I just now received it from her, and after watching it twice, I am hoping I'll be able to share it with you. We went around eleven miles today, with lots of elevation gain and loss, but I'm not sure how much.

I do hope you can see the video. It was a truly memorable day, with twelve fantastic new friends! Oh, and I'm sorry I forgot to write a post last Tuesday, and ask forgiveness for just spacing it out! 


Thursday, June 8, 2023

Lily, Lizard Lakes and North Butte

Our all-female group today (Julie took the picture)

 Another fine day with my newest BFFs, the group I hiked with today. There were eight of us women, and I would have added the picture that I took, but you couldn't see Karen back in the shadows, so this is the one I chose. They are lovely people, and there were no new people to me, although that is about to change. Barb (third from left) is also in charge of another group (the Happy Wanderers, Group 3) and it sounds like it is right for me: shorter hikes at a slower pace, on Tuesdays. The only problem I see is that I wouldn't be able to make the Zumba class on the same day of the week.

Blanchard Mountain has wonderful trees

Again, as I've done before, I looked up to see this glorious view of the trees. We started at the Upper Trailhead on Blanchard Mountain, which also has recently added a new toilet, which we all took advantage of before heading off on our trek to both lakes. We went first to Lizard Lake, which is at the lowest level I've ever seen it.

Lizard Lake

From here, we headed up to North Butte, on a bit of a hazy but very nice day indeed. Traversing up the side of the hill, the trail took us to the Butte, where someone has placed a steel bench, new to all of us! Very heavy, we speculated how it might have gotten here: a wheelbarrow, a helicopter, or some other unknown mode of transportation.

Lunch at the new bench

I've been to this spot before, and I knew that if I were able to squeeze out over the ledge, I could see Mt. Baker. Helen held onto me while I got this picture, without being able to capture the entire mountain, this is as much as I could get.

Mt. Baker peeking from behind the trees

After lunch, we headed back to the trail that would take us to Lily Lake. We didn't actually go all the way down to the lake, but I was able to see it from the trail, and that was good enough.

Looking through the trees at Lily Lake

It was so pretty to see the lily pads, and some of them had flowers as well. This trail would take us to Max's Shortcut, which of course we reminded ourselves doesn't cut off any distance, but gave us a nice way to return to our starting trail. We covered a good nine miles and somewhere around 1,500 feet of elevation, which made it one of the more strenuous hikes I've done in years. And to top it off, I feel pretty good as I sit here at home writing this. It was a wonderful day, with cool temperatures and a light breeze, and really great company! Another fine day in the Pacific Northwest. I am so grateful.


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

A year later

My neighbor's iris

Last year around this time, our front steps were torn down and rebuilt. Since it is the only direct way to gain access to our front porch, we were forced to go down the back steps and onto the short driveway that goes from the back of the apartment complex to the front. This meant I needed to pass by my neighbor Linda's flowers, and I was treated to a view of her lovely iris. I don't think I have ever seen this variety before, and I was enchanted. And I meant to see them again this year.

While pondering what to write about for this Tuesday post, I decided to go outside and see what the iris look like right now. Since the steps have been rebuilt, I have no reason to see them, unless I make an effort to do so, like I did a few minutes ago. Aren't they unusual? I think so, being quite familiar with the lovely purple variety that grows abundantly in most gardens.

Here is also a picture of my front porch flowers for this year. I've been slow getting going with them, but I posted a picture on my other blog and figure one belongs here, too. It will look different later in the season, but for now, here it is:

Lots of panies and other pretty flowers

For some reason, I am reluctant to spend much time on flowers this year, and I've decided to sit out the community vegetable garden, too. I just can't seem to generate much excitement, but that may change. 

Resident unnamed cat

This guy actually belongs to some nearby neighbors, but he seems to have adopted our apartment complex in recent years. Sometimes I see him coming out of other people's apartments, so he must be getting fed by them. It's nice to see him around fir whatever reason. He comes and goes, sometimes I don't seem him for weeks, but then I'll find him asleep here on one of his favorite spots. It's a nice addition to our place, I think. He is a neutered male, I'm told. I wouldn't know how to tell myself.

Well, that's about it for the day. I do hope you are having some nice weather wherever you are, and that you are enjoying the lovely season how, and ahead.


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Raptor Ridge from Gates Overlook

Bellingham Bay from the Overlook

This picture of the view from Gates Overlook was taken after our hike, because at the beginning of the day the view was misty and a bit overcast. But later, it was clear, and here you get to see the lovely view. Our day started out quite cool and cloudy, but as you can see, it got better.

The group starting down the 189 steps

There were ten of us Trailblazers today, making the journey from the Overlook down to the trail to take us to Raptor Ridge and back. It had been quite awhile since I have hiked there from this starting point, and I have to say it was really enjoyable. The company was also very nice, with one person new to me.

Linda, Helen, Persis, Edward, John, Leeann, Karen, Julie, Barb

The only person new to me was Persis, and the others are now becoming friends I am learning more about during each outing. They are a wonderful and caring group, and the hikes, while not completely new to me, are different than I'm accustomed to. I like that I'm learning more about our beautiful Chuckanut mountains.

Rock trail magnificence

I am very familiar with the Rock trail, and we traveled down it from the Overlook, until we came to the North Lost Lake trail, and followed it past Lost Lake until we got to the turnoff for Raptor Ridge. 

Columbines along the trail

We passed lots of flowers, and these red columbines appeared in clusters, looking quite happy and healthy. We haven't had much rain lately, but they don't seem dried out at all. We followed the trail until we found Raptor Ridge.

Leaving the Ridge after lunch

Unfortunately, I was so busy eating lunch and enjoying myself that I totally forgot to take any pictures from the Overlook. There was not all that much to see, other than our group and another with two dogs pretty much covering the entire area. But after having a much-needed break, we started back the way we had come.

Maidenhair ferns

I saw this amazing scene of my favorite ferns against a rock on our way back down, and the picture turned out better than I had hoped. It gives me such pleasure to see and share the beauty with you. Another fine outing with the Relaxed Senior Trailblazers, covering eight miles and 1,500 feet up and down. I will be coming back for more!