September 26, 2016
Hydrangeas are maybe my favorite flower. I love their colors, a changing palette — they age so beautifully. And I love their round shape. Even this late in the season, I see hydrangeas as fresh as the one above, which I photographed at the ocean in Bandon, Oregon. But more common are those that are past their peak, fading, fading.
September 24, 2016
Do you know the meaning of this traffic sign?
We saw this sign along the road to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. I looked at it askance. What could it possibly mean? Be alert for hula-hooping pedestrians?
This is one of those times when the internet is your friend. I found out that the hula hoop is a decal applied by vandals/pranksters. Apparently they can be found all around the country. It’s not an official warning sign. Hah!
September 22, 2016
I find that art and nature make an almost irresistible combination, and the bayside gallery of sculptures in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is particularly wonderful. The outdoor art trail takes you past several sculptures in a natural setting. Take a look:
September 21, 2016
The final stretch of our road trip took us along the Oregon Coast from Bandon to Astoria. Every Pacific coast beach seems unique in some way — different from its neighbors near or far away. Part of our drive took us through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, giving us a taste of a landscape with high, wind-sculpted dunes.
Here are some photos from our drive along Highway 101 in Oregon:
September 20, 2016
“. . . I think anybody who travels knows that you’re not really doing so in order to move around — you’re traveling in order to be moved.”
— Pico Iyer
By this stage in our vacation, I was experiencing moments of exhaustion. Our whirlwind tour of the Pacific Northwest national parks was rewarding us with some peak experiences, but there was a lot of driving. I was beginning to yearn for a stopping place, time to sit and do nothing.
“Speed diminishes the gifts that a journey can give you, the gift, for instance, of moving through a landscape slowly enough to be able to watch it, take in its characteristics, observe the land’s relationship to the sky, the patterning made by boundaries, whether of hedge or stone, the way that trees, banks in the lanes signal changes in the underpinning of the landscape: limestone turning to chalk, clay to sandy loam. Traveling fast . . . there is not enough time to clear away the mental baggage you have brought with you from the ordinary and make a space in your mind for the extraordinary.”
— Anna Pavord, Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places
The drive up to Crater Lake along Oregon’s Highway 138 was itself a scenic route following the Umpqua River. While everyone else was snoozing in their seats, I was following the long and winding road, and I have to admit, beautiful as it was, it also felt endless!
And yet, the first view of Crater Lake refreshed my soul. I was reminded that the effort to get out to our national parks is always worth it.
Have you ever seen such a blue blue?
“The deeper the blue becomes, the more urgently it summons man toward the infinite, the more it arouses in him a longing for purity, and, ultimately, for the supersensual.”
— Wassily Kandinsky
“The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this unscattered light, the purer the light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.”
— Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
I could have sat for hours on the rocking chairs lining the porch at Crater Lake Lodge! But we stopped there only to “smell the coffee” as we took a coffee break and soaked in the magnificent view.
September 19, 2016
We continued our exploration of national parks with a road trip to Mount Rainier. We had to hit the road at 4:30 a.m. in order to arrive at Sunrise for the sunrise at 6:50 a.m. Our timing was perfect, and we pulled into the Sunrise viewpoint with two minutes to spare!
We breakfasted with a picnic in the brisk, clear air — hard-boiled eggs, small tomatoes, pre-cooked bacon, cheese slices, rice crackers, mango juice. Snow-capped Mount Rainier loomed over our picnic table. Then we drove to the Naches Peak Loop Trailhead where we stepped out for an early morning hike.
“I could walk forever with beauty. Our steps are not measured in miles but in the amount of time we are pulled forward by awe.”
— Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land
Here are some photos from the trail:
And finally, we ended our visit to Mount Rainier with a gondola ride up Crystal Mountain where we had lunch at the Summit Restaurant. We sat on the outside patio in the blazing sun so that we could enjoy the view.
Our visit to Mount Rainier National Park was about as perfect as we could have wished.