Thursday, July 27, 2023

Lazy Thursday

Pink lilies still there

Another Thursday without a hike. I didn't want to go with either group that were both heading up into the High Country. It wasn't appealing, thinking of the long drive and the long hike up to Yellow Aster Butte. I did look back at some of my previous trips up to the area, and it reminded me that I am older now and not nearly as excited about the effort needed to see the beautiful views. 

So I went for a walk around my own neighborhood and saw that the pink flowers are still going strong.  And I also took myself to the Zumba class at the Senior Center and enjoyed working up a good sweat before heading home. For those who are interested, John has been working hard to lose some weight and has already lost five pounds by cutting back on how much he eats daily. It makes me realize that he really wants to stick around and be able to keep up his daily activity more than what he can do right now. And he's still not drinking coffee, so that's probably also helping things along. 

Spotted fawns

On the way to the bus, I also saw these three spotted fawns who were following a beautiful doe, who isn't in the picture. The first of these three is a little larger than the other two, and it might be adopted by the mother; who knows what might have happened to cause this? I've seen the two smaller fawns following the mother around for the past few weeks, but not three. In any event, I do worry about these sweet creatures because they really don't seem to know about traffic and don't stay close enough to Mama. They also seem quite prolific, with many baby deer in the vicinity this summer. 

I went to see Barbie yesterday and really enjoyed it. It's certainly not for everybody, but I had a great time and laughed a lot. I was alone, but the theater was about half full for the matinee, with only one man and lots of young women in attendance. John and I will see Oppenheimer together soon, with several showings at our local theater for the next week or so.

Well, that's about it for today. I feel an obligation to write something, since I usually post about my hikes on Thursday, but instead you get to hear my ramblings pretty much about my lazy Thursday.


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Chanterelle and potluck

Some of today's large group

 The Happy Wanderers Senior Trailblazers group met either at the trailhead for the Chanterelle trail hike or at the Senior Center to carpool. After the five-mile hike, we went to Kris's home for a potluck, where she provided grilled hot dogs. There was, as usual when you attend a potluck, a massive amount of food, and I did my part.

Most of us on the trail

It was overcast with an occasional spit from the skies as we hiked slowly up to the overlook. There were nineteen hikers in all, and some were not very fast, so we meandered our way upwards and then downwards. The main event of the day was to meet at Kris's place, which is on the way to the trailhead, and enjoy some food together after the hike. Many others joined us at her home who didn't hike. 

Leann hugging a tree, as usual

Leann says she's been hugging trees like this for at least ten years, and they never seem to mind her attention, and it makes for an interesting picture. She's only been with the Trailblazers for a year, but she has certainly become a fixture with at least two of the three groups.

After the hike, we drove in our carpooled full cars to Kris' where we put out quite a spread to accompany Kris' hot dogs. I ate a lot of salads and some wonderful desserts, and when I was finished (and quite full), I went looking for something to drink, but some rascal had put out tubs of ice cream, and I managed to eat more on top of all that food. 

The patio where we feasted and visited with one another

I went inside looking for her bathroom at one point, and I was captivated by her living room. She lives alone and manages this enormous place by herself, with some help from her numerous grandkids, she said. I asked for permission to show the living room, and she agreed.

Serene and comfortable all at once

She pointed out that she doesn't have any curtains on the windows, because she enjoys looking out at the green landscape. It was so lovely to see such a beautiful home, and I feel very privileged to be able to visit. I don't know her situation, but I was really impressed to see all that she manages to accomplish. It can't be easy, but she also makes time to hike every week with the Happy Wanderers.

Crocosmia in bloom

I spied this lovely bloom with a few bright drops of rain on the underside, making it a perfect finale for our day's endeavor. Whether we hiked and ate, or just ate and talked, everyone had a great time. I will stop being so full sometime soon.


Thursday, July 20, 2023

More changes every day

John at the coffee shop

 There we were, just minding our own business at the coffee shop, when John told me he didn't feel quite right. Feeling a little woozy and disoriented, for one thing. I asked him if he would do me a favor and head to a local Urgent Care place to get his vitals checked. He's 83, after all, and he said he thought maybe he'd just head on over to the Emergency Room instead. He did, and next thing I knew, he had been admitted and put on an IV diuretic. I just spoke to him, and he's still in the hospital, "having some issues," whatever that means. So he is in the best place for now, and I'm glad he's in good hands. 

Beautiful flower I spied in a garden

I am a little concerned, but hopefully he's strong and will recover from whatever is ailing him. He's got COPD and uses an inhaler, but so far it's not been a problem, and he's been his usual self until about a week ago, when he began to feel tired and a little out of sorts. I won't lie, I'm worried about him. I didn't go on the usual Thursday hike today with the Senior Trailblazers; the weather has turned hot and I have unpleasant memories of not doing well on the exposed part of this hike in the past when it's been hot. 

Low fog as we pulled away from Guemes Island

However, I had a great hike with the Happy Wanderers on Tuesday, so I don't feel too awfully bad about not going today with Group 2. Yes, more changes every day, and things never stay the same, do they? I remember when we left the dock on the little ferry (I wrote about the hike on my previous post), it was so cool and delightful, and the higher temperature today just didn't feel nearly as inviting. Next Tuesday, the hike is one Melanie and I did often, so it will be just fine, even if it's on the warm side. I know it well. And so I might be writing about those hikes more often than the Thursday one, but who knows for sure? 

Fragrant lilies

I see these flowers every day on my walk home from the rose garden, and today I saw that they have bloomed. Every year I wait for this moment, when they finally open and burst forth into fragrant extravagance. They don't last long, but every time I've seen them lately, they have not been nearly ready to open. Today, they are at their peak, and in a few days they'll be gone for another year. Glad I was there to capture and appreciate them today. There are always tradeoffs when things veer off established pathways. I was fortunate that they waited for me.

I'll keep you updated about John. I wonder if I should wait to call him until he's feeling better. Again, as I said, being in the hospital under a doctor's care is the best place for him right now. I've done everything I know how to do, and I've sent him lots of love and healing vibes, which is all anybody can do when our loved ones need it, right?


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Guemes Island

Walking on to the Guemes Island ferry

 Today, sixteen Happy Wanderers made the day trip to Guemes Island, near Anacortes, about a half-hour's drive from Bellingham. It's a separate ferry from the main ferry terminal, and it holds a few vehicles with has a nice walk-on path (see above) that takes you onto the small ferry.

The ferry itself

It was cool and a little foggy as we boarded the ferry for a quick five-minute hop onto the small island. Guemes Island isn't very big, with maybe 13 miles of road across the 5,500 acres that make up the island. We walked along one of the roads for about two miles until we got to the trailhead leading us up to the summit of Guemes Mountain. 

Hiking poles and sticks for the trip up

Although you can't see it all that well in this picture, on the right side of the tree were lots of poles and walking sticks for people to borrow while making the 1.2-mile trip to the top. It is an easy climb, but you definitely need a little help on the final stretch, at least I did.

View from the trail

If I lived on the island, I would probably be making plenty of trips up to enjoy the summit and get a good workout as well. It was sunny, but we had a breeze most of the time, and were in the shade on the way up.

Viewing the surrounding islands

We then needed to find a spot to have lunch. There wasn't a lot of shade on the summit, but we found a place where we could enjoy the view and the light breeze. 

Our lunch spot

It was actually pretty perfect. We had walked a little more than three miles to get here, and nobody was tired or out of sorts. It was just lovely to be in the company of so many Happy Wanderers.

My view at lunch
It was really hard to get myself up to leave this wonderful place and return to the road below and make it onto the ferry. Before leaving, I was instructed to take a short walk on the summit to the view to the north, which was of our old friend, Mt. Baker.

Mt. Baker across the water

Finally, we all made it off the island and onto the ferry, after a quick stop at the local store for a few supplies. We were accompanied on our return trip by a female eagle who was obviously looking for her own lunch. It was a good day, fun and sweet to find another place to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I'll definitely return here again, maybe to see it in a different season, which I understand is beautiful in springtime with lots of flowers.

Farewell, eagle, and Guemes Island, for now

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Church Mountain

My Best Buds for today's hike

I am sitting here in my PJs after having had a wonderful day with Group 2 of the Senior Trailblazers. We walked from this spot, eight of us, to the meadows on a warm and mostly sunny day. I took the picture, but we were all willing and able to make it up the almost 3,000-foot elevation gain from this spot to the meadows.

Heading up the steep trail

I've done this hike many times in previous years, with Group 1, but I am no longer able to keep up the faster pace. This group, led by Linda, went more slowly up the steep trail to the meadows, and I was able to keep up without any problems. I really wanted to avoid the need to complain in any way, helping to keep the group from seeing me as a drag. I didn't need to worry, since there were many others who had never before made the trip, and they also found it rather challenging.

Our trail up to the meadows

I've actually made it all the way up to the top in previous years, which is another major hike from the meadows, but today I was happy to have my friends and I accomplish our destination to the beautiful green meadows.

Linda and Helen at the beginning of the meadows

It is such an amazing feeling to reach the end of all the uphill, and see the green cornucopia of flowers and vistas as far as the eye can see. We did have some clouds that obscured a good view of the mountains, but it didn't daunt anyone's delight at being here, in this gorgeous place.

Our lunch spot

We hiked a short distance through the meadows to where we could stop for lunch. We spent almost an hour enjoying the view, the company, and the food we brought, before going back down the way we had come.

Our incredible view

Just take a look at what we saw while we had our lunch. Although the clouds obscured some of the mountains, we were in a place that has few equals in beauty. I was so glad to be able to be there myself, not sure whether I would ever see it again before today's hike.

Looking towards the mountains

It was such a wonderful day, with incredible views, and such fine friends to share it with. We went, in total, about seven miles up and down almost 3,000 feet. Heading back down, I realized it was as hard to descend as it had been to ascend, but in a different way. I made it, but not without some discomfort. But nothing I couldn't handle.

Goodbye to the meadows for now

When it was time to head back down the trail, we went the way we had come up. It was actually harder for me in the descent, since there was a constant need to pay attention to the trail, and the long descent meant not losing my focus, even for a moment, to keep from falling. Then, finally, we were at the trailhead again, and we had just finished a very wonderful and unforgettable hike. I am feeling pretty good now, after having eaten dinner, had a nice bath, and am looking forward to more of these wonderful excursions with my new friends!


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Another fun day in the sun

Today's Happy Wanderers (taken by Julie)

I joined the Tuesday Senior Trailblazers group again today, called the "Happy Wanderers," and this time we all met in a parking lot near a frequently used hiking trail. Many times I've been on this trail before, which leads to the Big Rock Garden, a place that is pretty, shady, and filled with local and international art. I didn't spend much time taking pictures, so I snagged a few from the video sent around by Julie. The above picture was one of her parting shots, and a few people had already left, but I like seeing all the happy wanderers, mostly women (and one man) who had a great time covering around four miles at a leisurely pace.

Pavilion in the garden

You can see how lovely and serene this garden is in the above picture. I'm sorry I didn't take more shots, but I was enjoying just walking around and chatting with numerous people I hadn't met before. Apparently it's pretty usual for a dozen or more hikers to show up for this Tuesday walk. There is one person who looks a bit like me, and I asked Julie to take a couple shots to see if it's my imagination or not.

DJan and Ina

Well, I guess we are both older women with white hair and big smiles. I loved her t-shirt showing some "squirrel yoga," and although being taller and a bit slimmer than me, I guess we do look somewhat alike.

Now who's taller?

We are standing in front of a beautiful old growth tree, and since we were playing around, I said I wanted to be the tall one for a change, so with the help of a big rock I guess you can see that I was, temporarily, the taller senior. Ina is a very good sport.

A beautiful creature, don't you think?

I didn't actually catch the name of this art, but it seems to fit the mood of the day. If you'd like to know more about this beautiful spot in Bellingham, you can check it out here. It was a wonderful walk, some of it spent horsing around with my new friend Ina. I look forward to more Tuesday walks with this group!


Thursday, July 6, 2023

Hot but delightful hike

Today's Group 2 participants

I joined Group 2 today, so that we could enjoy a lovely hike up the Chanterelle Trail, from the bottom to the top, a five-mile excursion from the trailhead start to the very tippy-top of the existing trail. It's been awhile since I've done the entire trail, since Melanie would always be willing to turn around when I began to complain. Well, with the others anxious to cover the distance, I did, too.

Lake Whatcom from the halfway spot

It was a little hazy when we got to the viewpoint, but it was very pleasant and we began our next segment with everyone doing just fine. That included me; I didn't actually have a problem until we were less than a few hundred feet from the terminus.
The terminus and the beginning of a new trail

Once we were at the terminus, we could see where the trail that will finally join the Hertz trail with the upper one will meet. Although it will be awhile before it's finished, it's nice to see that work is still in progress. We stopped here, at the five-mile mark, for a nice lunch break before heading down the way we came.

Our overhead canopy

Although it was pretty warm, we were mostly protected from the direct sun by a wonderful canopy of trees. We began our descent after lunch, and we were glad to have such a delightful environment, with the occasional sighting of fruits still to come this season.
Blackberries almost ready to eat

One person saw these wild blackberries almost ripe, and pointed them out to me. I don't think I ever eaten these before, and by the time I see them next, it will be too late.
Our trail, with our leader for today

Linda is there, hanging out on the shady trail that led us back to our starting point. We covered ten miles and around 2,300 feet of elevation gain and loss. A really lovely day, with me feeling happy that I can sit here at home writing this post after a wonderful bath and some food (and an IPA, too) and knowing that I did well enough to consider an even harder hike next week! Well, maybe anyway.

Beautiful shroom on the trail

That was my adventure today, and I am now happy to wrap it all up in the bow I consider my post. I had a great day today and am happy to feel this good! Yay!


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Feeling independent today

Lily and Lamont's cozy home

Today is one of those days that feels like it's a weekend, even though it's Tuesday. It's also Independence Day, the Fourth of July, and my dear friend Lily and her partner invited John and me over for coffee and breakfast to start the holiday off in a festive manner. They will be leaving early in the morning to head to Canada to celebrate Lily's birthday. 

But before that, she made a wonderful breakfast for us to enjoy. We also brought some flowers and cards to make sure she knows how much we love her. I've known Lily for at least a decade now. She once lived here in our apartment complex, but after she moved away, has kept in touch with me during the entire time. Although we don't see each other all that often, I still really value her friendship and make sure she knows it. She and Lamont have gotten me interested in bowling, which we now do together every month or so. She recently got her own custom bowling ball, but doesn't actually get much time to bowl, since she works a minimum of 40 hours a week.

I am still very enamoured with my new laptop, not yet used to all its advantages, but since I'll have it for at least the next three years, I'll learn more as time goes by. After this morning's breakfast was digested, I went out for a four-mile walk, but unfortunately the heat made it feel hotter than it was. It's now more than 80°F, which is hot to me. I usually don't try to exercise when it's that warm, but I managed just fine. I'll be hiking this Thursday in similar temperatures, so it was good to take a test drive and see how I did. We will travel ten miles on Thursday, but it should mostly be in the shade (I hope).

I will probably have to shut the bedroom window in order to sleep through the booms and fireworks tonight. I won't be staying up long enough to see them, which is perfectly okay to admit, right? It won't let up until way after midnight, but it only happens once a year. Although it's only midday, I am having a celebratory glass of wine. Why not? By the time the sun goes down tonight, hopefully I'll be slipping into slumberland.
Independence is a heady draught, and if you drink it in your youth, it can have the same effect on the brain as young wine does. It does not matter that its taste is not always appealing. It is addictive and with each drink you want more. —Maya Angelou

Happy Independence Day, America!