Monday’s Meander: Daydreamy Travel, a Weekend at Edmonds, WA

Today I’m returning to a Pacific Northwest community I immediately loved. Revisiting from the comfort of my home is not the way I’d like to do it, but the times are what they are. Edmonds, Washington, is a community 15 miles north of Seattle, comprised of 40,000+ people. In October 2017 I attended “Writers on the Sound”, a writers conference. My husband and I had ample time to explore after workshops were done. Though I learned a few writerly helps and enjoyed being with other writers, I was, honestly, more deeply impacted by the area’s natural wonders– including Olympic and Cascade Mountains and Mt. Baker, as well as waters of Puget Sound. (Some are more invigorating than others; some years they are just more useful to me, also.) But the walks and visual beauty provided me with with plenty of inspiration. And the boats! I love to be on a good boat, any size… a rowboat, canoe, sailboat, ferry– or a medium-small yacht. (I will try to locate old pictures of a 2001 family trip on the last sort. We travelled through the beguiling San Juan Islands for 5 days and made fun stops along the way.)

I offer some glimpses into enchantments I discovered that weekend. I plan on returning in person, of course. I suspect you will see why as we spend a few hours around Edmonds and its waterfront along Puget Sound, within 60 miles of the Pacific Ocean.

As the sun lowered, its vibrance charged the lands’ contours, the water’s undulating surface and damp autumn air with sunset’s energy. Such peaceful, awe-inspriing magnificence prevailed.

Monday’s Meander: George Rogers Park, a Winter River Walk

It was sunny yesterday after a week of unremitting rainfall, during which time the Portland area has had over 4 inches of rain. This is about one inch less than the normal amount for the entire month of Jaunary. Flooding in low areas, a few rivers reaching flood stage due to rains plus rapid snowmelt in the mountain ranges, then several landslides–all have impacted people and travel. In Lake Oswego, the Willamette River runs swiftly; it is high lately. But during our Sunday walk, there was no evidence of flooding and no warnings. Folks were walking, running, and cycling alongside the swollen river, and we remaiined above the river’s banks. The day offered higher temps at 50 degrees Farenheit. I have been nursing a repeatedly injured right knee (goes back decades), but enjoyed a simpler mosey. George Rogers Park is very popular, expecially in summer for swimming and kayaking, etc. It has flat paths so that helped with the knee issue. We always continue past the proscribed path and down the roadway for another half hour or more. So much bright beauty after drizzling, wind-tossed, often hammering rains!

Above in the foreground is the shaded side view of a corner of an old cement building. It is likely left over from the old iron ore business here, with ships delivering and picking up ore. It is empty and open in some parts; it’s used by teens getting into mischief and for swimming along the shore (they jump off the building from top floor), but on Sunday it was quiet. The bright sun hit the back of the building facing me as I walked. I snapped pictures that show tagging and open windows, below. It is hard to discern things clearly, but I liked the texures and colors; perhaps you get an idea of the structure in the second shot.

As we finished our walk, we noticed an artist painting en plein air style, thoroughly enjoying himself despite late afternoon sunlight dimming under trees. He didn’t turn around, yet moved aside a bit as I paused to snap him, affording a view of his work-in-progress. Note, too, the pink high heels atop a grill, left side of this shot….now, there’s an interesting story! I might come up with one…

Monday’s Meander: Looking Back at a Snowy City Christmas

Yes, native Portlanders do consider this a major “snow event”! And most who live in the Willamette Valley (and not from northern states) are quite skittish about going out into it. I love our rare snowy times, no matter how light the snowfall is. It might be lovely to have a brilliant white Christmas again. I grew up in snow each winter and have been thinking of the way it changes things, makes the landscape more mysterious and perks up senses and mind. And toughens you up with it’s frequent subzero temperatures, tiny “darts” of pelting snow and howling winds–and treacherous icy roads and sidewalks. There are times I am nostalgiac for the beauties that it can offer. But not too often.

We do get a few days of “dustings” or even more interesting winter snows in Portland metro area–a bit more so where we live, 700 ft. above sea level. (These shots are from our former neighborhood, close-in city center, taken a few years ago.)

I came across these while brwosing my photos and wanted to share them today. It has been raining a great deal–the more usual case–and suddenly snow looks wonderful. But only now and then. I lived with knee-and-thigh-deep snows in my childhood, youth and young adulthood. I more enjoy our temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest. I can just drive to mountains to enjoy fresh snow. I think we have the best variety in Oregon–the ocean, mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, and the high desert.

The most beautiful snowy sight, perhaps, is Mt. Hood’s shining peak–seen from a city viewpoint!

Monday’s Meander: Pumpkin Farm Visit on Sauvie Island

What a glorious afternoon last Saturday on Sauvie Island, one of the largest river islands in the country and an fecund agricultural gem. Sitting at the confluence of the Willamette River and the Columbia River, there are 24,000 acres to ogle and appreciate. Many enjoy the sweeping landscape of prosperous farms, several beaches, abundant fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking. You can find many u-pick farms, gathering or purchasing delicious berries, apples, and the freshest vegetables.

Today’s post highlights our stop at Topaz Farm to see how the pumpkin crop was coming along. Afterward, we circled around the island as usual, stopping at Wapato Greenway for a hike in early fall’s sparkling sunshine.

Enjoy the photo tour with a first photo as we exit from the bridge, with a few of a large community of houseboats that dot the channel.

Though the farm wasn’t packed with people yet, those who came were enjoying themselves.

Why are pumpkins so pleasing to look over and touch? The shapes, colors, textures, likely–they are rotund and fill the hands and promise of good things to come.

On to the few fall flowers, which were U-Cut to take home. As much as I love flowers–marigolds grew so tall!–we were about to go on a long hike so I passed.

This interesting twig and branch structure captured my attention.

So happy the good earth shared her bounties despite the drought….

There will be many more chances to visit apples and pumpkin farms in October, perhaps even next week-end in the Columbia Gorge. So we headed to a state park on Sauvie Island, taking the circuitous way to see more lush agricultural country.

Thanks for reading today. Hope you can stop by next week when I take you on what ended up being about a 3.5 mile hike at Wapato Access of Willamette Greenway. It’s a good jaunt within the 170-acre Oregon state park at the western side of the island. We were surprised after rounding Virginia Lake (now a rather dry wetlands area until seasonal rains fill it) that we came to a spot along serenely resplendent Multnomah Channel.

A preview of Wapato via a wildlife viewing blind, below.

Monday’s Meander: The Sea at Yachats

The Pacific Ocean was moody over that week-end, and it seemed prescient when looking back since our time was cut short by a significant car accident. And yet it always displays a vast array of weather, with the skies changing in a few moments, the sea reflecting wind and light with a mercurial response. I offer you a selection of photos that show you what I saw over the course of about 42 hours.

Some show the hike above Cape Perpetua before our happiness was suddenly taxed. Others were taken about Smelt Sands where tidepools and basalt rocks dominate and we like to climb and explore. And a few more exhibit views of where we stayed at Wayside Lodge, a few rooms and cottages. A favorite place to stay–attractive, homey lodgings with excellent customer care. Yachats is not represented here though it is a quaint village full of creative people. I have spent little time there over decades of visits– other than to grab a bite and a coffee at Green Salmon Coffee House, or to check out some art and books, at times. (Visit Earthworks Gallery outside of town, too– a great place for ceramics, glassworks, handmade wood furniture and jewelry.)

It is always about the ocean and beyond, wide sky above and forested peaks, the sandy beach and bluffs that I\we seek. The beauty and power and peace of it all.

Below, hanging out at Smelt Sands State Park. When the whales migrate, this is a good place from which to see them. The sea was pretty quiet then, and the tide, low. There is also a good trail to walk.

The hike is always good up on part of the larger Cape Perpetua Scenic Recreation Area. The headland that rises 800 feet above sea level is the highest point one can overlook the Pacific on OR. coast by car. We enjoy taking to s ome trails –there are 26 miles of them!–that wind around the headland, through temperate forested land. The views are spectacular of the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve. You can see a horizon 40 miles out on a clear day. Enjoy a slide show of part of our exploration.

The next two photos were taken earlier in the morning as we sat on our little deck relaxing. We enjoyed coffees as we took in the scene. I tried to eat about a third of a pound or more blueberry lemon scone…I think Marc had a cheese croissant…delicious!

The final few pictures are of our last morning–sunny at last–as we awaited out daughter to come get us (my car is inoperable) and return us home in the Portland area. We are grateful to have had a day and a half in Yachats area before the accident. Though we are dealing with some ill effects, we take it day by day. This, too, shall pass… We’ll likely return to the beach before the rains come (we need rain now!), but we admire the coast and ocean in winter, too!