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The Gitchi Gami State Trail runs through Gooseberry Falls State Park.  When completed, this will be an 89-mile paved recreational trail along the North Shore between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota.  We enjoyed the many wildflowers that grew along the trail.

Walking along the Gitchi Gami trail

Walking along the Gitchi Gami trail

Missouri goldenrod

Missouri goldenrod

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Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

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Tansy

Tansy; this grew everywhere along the roads Up North

Fireweed

Fireweed

Flat-topped asters

Flat-topped asters

Joe pye weed

Joe pye weed

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Watercolor sketches in my Minnesota travel journal

Watercolor sketches in my Minnesota travel journal

 

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Wildflowers in the alpine meadows at Sunrise, Mount Rainier

Wildflowers in the alpine meadows at Sunrise, Mount Rainier

It was early in the season for hiking at Mount Rainier — the trails were still covered with snow patches — but the wildflowers were in bloom.  That spectacle alone made the day trip worth while.  Enjoy!

Magenta Indian Paintbrush dotted the ditches along the road to Sunrise

Magenta Indian Paintbrush dotted the ditches along the road to Sunrise

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Western anemones

Western anemones

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Lupines

Lupines

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Bear grass

Bear grass

I think these are yellow avalanche lilies

I think these are yellow avalanche lilies

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Avalance lilies.  They simply carpeted the forest floor along a trail near Tipsoo Lake.

Avalanche lilies. They simply carpeted the forest floor along a trail near Tipsoo Lake.

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Avalanche lilies (sometimes I can salvage a blurry photo by editing it using a posterized effect)

Avalanche lilies (sometimes I can salvage a blurry photo by editing it using a posterized effect)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
— John Muir

Looking out at the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Looking out at the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

My niece is visiting from Israel, and her top sightseeing priorities are some of the American national parks.  So we took a two-day, 500-mile road trip circumnavigating Olympic National Park in Washington State.  You can get to different parts of the park from inroads along Hwy 101, and our destinations offered extraordinary natural diversity, from mountains, to rain forests, to ocean beaches.

Our first stop was Hurricane Ridge high in the Olympic Mountains.  But first we crossed the Sound in a ferry, and then drove through some pretty amazing scenery just to get to the winding road that would take us from sea level to nearly a mile in elevation at Hurricane Ridge.

Field of daisies near Sequim, WA

Field of daisies near Sequim, WA

"I see the wild flowers, in their/summer morn/Of beauty, feeding on joy's/lucious hours."  -- John Clare, from "Summer Images"

“I see the wild flowers, in their/summer morn/Of beauty, feeding on joy’s/luscious hours.” — John Clare, from “Summer Images”

Old ruin along Hwy 101 near Sequim

Old ruin along Hwy 101 near Sequim

The winding road to Hurricane Ridge

The winding road to Hurricane Ridge

The view from Hurricane Ridge is awesome, with majestic, snow-capped peaks as far as the eye could see.  We ate a picnic breakfast amidst some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere, joined by a curious (and smart, crumb-seeking) bird.  The meadows at the top were beginning to emerge from snowfields, and they were covered with tiny yellow flowers.

Parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

Parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

Mountain view

Mountain view

Picnic breakfast

Picnic breakfast

Avian friend

Avian friend

Snow-capped peaks

Snow-capped peaks

Melting snow

Melting snow

Scavenging raven (lovely feathers)

Scavenging raven (lovely feathers)

Motorcycle riders (I rarely go to a national park without seeking motocyclists)

Motorcycle riders (I rarely go to a national park without seeing motorcyclists)

My next post will be a continuation of our road trip. . . stay tuned!

Audrey's and Alberto's home on the kibbutz

Audrey’s and Alberto’s home on the kibbutz

As a wayfarer in foreign lands, I saw myself as a pilgrim.  But I was not on a religious pilgrimage, even in Israel, where holy sites for three major religions — Islam, Judaism, and Christianity — anchor the many diverse communities.  I went to Israel to stay with my sister and her husband.  They’ve lived on Kibbutz Gazit in northern Israel for nearly 30 years, raised three daughters there, and were the perfect hosts and guides for my stay.  It had been 25 years since I last visited them (they travel to the United States to see us every few years), and back then they lived in a tiny apartment and ate most of their meals in the communal dining hall.  On this trip, I got to see their “new” house (it was built for them 8 years ago) on the kibbutz.  It was spacious, airy, and had a full kitchen — we ate only one meal at the communal dining hall on this trip.

The kibbutz and Israel in general were pretty green in April — their dedicated tree-planting efforts have resulted in a much greener landscape than I remembered from my previous trip.  It was the end of harvest season.  Flowers and trees displayed showy blossoms.  Birds sang and trilled and cooed.  Storks passed by the kibbutz on their yearly northern migration.

The kibbutz is a hybrid of farm and village and natural area.  Its agricultural roots still hold strong.  They raise sheep and cows and chickens.  They grow organic produce and big crops like wheat.  They also have a plastics factory on site, which helps to diversify their income.  And some residents, like Alberto, work in jobs off the kibbutz.  But unlike the isolated farmsteads in the U.S. midwest, the residents of the kibbutz live in clusters of houses and apartments and dorm room-like dwellings, offering the benefits of community and support.  There are on-site day care and elder care, for example.  And while most people now cook at home and eat as a family, the communal dining hall is still in operation for those who need it.  At every meal and social event, the area outside the hall is a virtual parking lot of golf cart-like “vehicles” used by the elder residents to get around.

And you could see why mechanized transport is needed by the frail and elderly, because the kibbutz covers a big area.  There are the residential clusters, the barn and livestock areas, the orchards, the fields.  And surrounding all that is a huge natural area of rolling hills and wadis (creek valleys).  It was a beautiful setting.  Here are some photos:

Mount Tabor seen from the kibbutz

Mount Tabor seen from the kibbutz

Feeding time in the sheep barns

Feeding time in the sheep barns

Sheep (who is this stranger looking at me?)

Sheep (who is this stranger looking at me?)

Some of the earliest trees planted on the kibbutz were these pines.

Some of the earliest trees planted on the kibbutz were these pines.

Field across the road from my sister's backyard (the air was full of sand from Libya)

Field across the road from my sister’s backyard (the air was full of sand from Libya)

Harvesting hay on the kibbutz

Harvesting hay on the kibbutz

Almonds growing

Almonds growing

Flowers, Rudbeckia Tiger Eye

Flowers, Abutilon Tiger Eye

Rolling hills with Jordan in the far, far distance

Rolling hills with Jordan in the far, far distance

Migrating storks

Migrating storks

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Grapefruit blossoms from one of the orchards

Grapefruit blossoms from one of the orchards

We saw this baby donkey just moments after its birth

We saw this baby donkey just moments after its birth

Kibbutz fields

Kibbutz fields

One of our daily walks on the kibbutz

One of our daily walks on the kibbutz

Wildflowers Near Mount Rainier

September 14, 2012

Beargrass in the meadow by Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass

The wildflowers are definitely one of the highlights of hiking the Naches Peak Loop Trail near Chinook Pass on Hwy 410.  They peak in late summer, so this is still a great time to go and see them.  Here are some photos of the wildflowers I saw along the trail:

Beargrass

Paintbrush

I believe this is rosy spirea.

And I believe this shrub is mountain ash.

Mountain ash with Mount Rainier

The colorful red berries of mountain ash

Meadows with Queen Anne’s Lace and lupine, among other wildflowers

Lupine

Foliage of lupine

I am not sure what this is — perhaps yellow dot saxifrage or slender mountain sandwort? Does anyone know?

It looks like this shrub is growing matchsticks!

Possibly Cascade penstemon?

Pen and ink sketches of wildflowers from my Moleskin journal

Watercolor sketch of magenta paintbrush

Another watercolor sketch of paintbrush

 

 

The Earth Laughs

July 30, 2012

“The Earth laughs in Flowers.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wildflowers on the hillside, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

Lupine and other wildflowers

Bird (robin?) on a tree at the Olympic Sculpture Park

 

The hillside at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle is a delight of blooming wildflowers.  The groundskeepers there have mowed paths so that you can stroll on the tilted terrain overlooking Elliott Bay.  I can’t decide which I like better, the natural view or the impressive sculptures.

Looking west across Ben's wildflower field

My brother Ben planted a wildflower field next to the farm’s driveway.  It provides a spectacular profusion of mixed flowers during the summer months, but it has its own kind of beauty during the winter.  I particularly like that the seed dispersal structures are so evident at this time of year.

Seed heads in varying states of dispersal

I love the calligraphic lines of these grasses, punctuated by flower seed heads.

Dried flower stalks

This dried cone flower looks like it has a Mohawk haircut!

Dried wildflowers

Dried seed heads

Looking across the wildflower field to the red barn

Ink sketch of Ben's wildflowers in winter

Ink sketch of Ben's wildflowers in winter

Watercolor sketch of Ben's wildflowers in winter

Watercolor sketch of goldenrod

Watercolor sketch of milkweed and pods