Saturday, June 28, 2014

Picture of the week - Infusion pitcher

Water with - Raspberries, Pineapple sage, Basil & Choc. Mint leaves, all from our own garden.
Mmmmmm, good!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Oyster Dome from Barrel Springs Trailblazer hike

Oyster Dome is generally approached from the Chuckanut drive trail head. Our fearless leader "Pat" had other plans for our Thursday hike, we would hike from Barrel Springs road.
20 of us headed up the Lily and Lizard lakes trail for our Oyster Dome hike 

& ever upward on Max's Shortcut trail.

We were hoping for some great views when we got to Oyster Dome for lunch,

but this is as good a the view got -

While we were there a Coast guard helicopter buzzed by a couple of times going quite fast and fairly close to our side of the hill. A little distracting, but if you like to get buzzed by large, fast helicopters you would have been thrilled.

As our group walks along we like to hear the names of the pretty or unusual plants we see near the trail. Our "chief botanist" is Penny. She can usually come up with not only the common name of plants but their scientific name as well.
This time as we were hiking along, Penny was a bit ahead of the group I was with so we couldn't tap into her knowledge bank. Jean, Owen and I were having a discussion about some plants we had noticed and voila Jean whipped out a flower identification book. I was thinking that if I were to bring along all of the various identification books I own for the out of doors, my pack would be very full indeed.

A couple of the pretty flowers we saw were the Twin Flower -

and the Ginger flower,

both were very small and delicate looking.

Just as we were nearing the end of the hike there was a Cedar tree beside the trail, that had a large area of the bark removed from it.

I had been to a museum in British Columbia a few years ago and had watched a video on Native Americans relearning things from their past and trying to keep their culture alive. This tree reminded me of a short video I had seen there on the practice of bark pulling. The bark is then used to make baskets and hats by weaving the Cedar strands together. I searched on YouTube and found this video on the activity. I hope you take the time to watch it, I found it very interesting and informative. If the video doesn't work for you, here is the link -

I don't really know if the tree we saw in the forest had been pulled in this way, but it sure looks like it had.

I am very thankful that I am able to be a part of this caring and fun group. They are ever watchful of each other and eager to help in whatever way they can. 
Water, snacks, first aid: we are well supplied, along with a smile and maybe a good joke or two ;-)

Endomondo stats:
Total miles hiked - 9.85 miles
Min. altitude - 831 feet
Max. altitude - 2126 feet
Total ascent - 3180
Total descent - 3247

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ed's trail Trailblazer hike

These words from "The Hobbit" should have come out of Ed's mouth today as he met us to lead us up his trail - Ed: "I am looking for a someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone. Us: "I should think so - in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"
20 Trailblazers gathered at Lake Samish Park today to hike "Ed's trail", it's really the trail from the Whatcom county park, but Ed lives near there and hikes it all the time. 
Hence "Ed's trail". 

The hike today was on dirt trails and old logging roads and some bushwhacking on a "bit" of a trail marked out with surveyors tape.

We were blessed with a nice sunny day and we had fun watching Karen help out Gary with his head cover.

We stopped for a snack break and enjoyed the incredible view of Lake Samish below. I had invited my dad to join us for the hike today & thanks to Cookie I have a memory photo of our day together.

While we were taking our break, Pat & Ed checked out the map,

& I checked out the flowers.

Gloria, the flower child!

Thanks to Ed and his wife for treating us to coffee and treats after a long day on the trail.

A good bit of wisdom learned by our group today, "Not all who wander are lost" - Tolkien.

Endomondo stats:
8.71 total miles hiked
336 Min. altitude
1733 Max. altitude
2877 Total ascent
3095 Total descent

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Afternoon run on the Centennial trail

My regular Thursday schedule is to hike with the Trailblazers, but my husband had the day off so I opted out of my routine for the day. He suggested I run on my favorite trail "The Centennial Trail" and he would drive to Arlington and jump on his bike and ride up to meet me, and then ride by me for the rest of my run. How could I resist. 
I really enjoyed the solitude of the first 4 miles, just me in the forest all the way to Bryant, the first town and trail parking access heading south from Nakashima barn. Just before the Pilchuck river bridge I saw this sign on a log jutting out towards the trail. Yikes! Thankfully I didn't see any.

By the time we arrived at Legion Park in Arlington, I had run 8 miles. Woohoo! 

I had blogged about our backyard pond restoration HERE, and last night my husband finished the lower pond. All of the benches and planters are in.

I hope the Trailblazers enjoyed their day hiking in the Mt. Erie area today, can't wait to join them next week as we hike from Samish park to North Ridge.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Interurban trail run

I went for a run on the Interurban trail yesterday. I chose to start in Fairhaven near the Village green parking lot and connect with the trail at the Padden Creek (or lower Padden) trail at 10th avenue. It's great to run this trail on sunny days, since most of it is in the shade.

Near the Old Samish rd. crossing is a wonderful retaining wall that had been planted with succulents. They have been there for several years and seem to be thriving.

I turned around at the Chuckanut Crest dr. road crossing - 

When I got to 10th street, I started walking to cool down before I got in my car at Village Green. 
A very nice 6.25 mile run.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lost Lake Shuttle Trailblazer hike

Our Trailblazer group was scheduled to hike the Lost Lake trail from Cleator road, but our fearless leader "Pat" had other plans. We would be hiking from the Gates Overlook parking lot instead. Going from the Rock trail one-way to the North Chuckanut trailhead. We did a shuttle for the beginning and ending of our hike. Pat parked his car at the North Chuckanut trailhead parking lot and then he got a ride with the rest of us up the road to Gates Overlook.
What a beautiful day for a hike!

Gates Overlook
13 of us were happy to hear we would be going... 

down the Rock trail!

My husband and I had hiked down and up the Rock trail in April. 
To read about it and to see more pictures, click HERE.
The Rock trail stays close to a wide rock wall, a really beautiful area.

There was a bit of mud on the trail to Lost lake, but not too bad.

Margot, (a new hiker with us) trying to stay out of the mud.
We stopped and had an early lunch on a rock overlooking the lake.

The hike out was mostly down hill, thanks to Pat's one way route.

The remainder of our group waiting patiently?!, for the return of the cars. Pat had driven the other driver's up to the Gates Overlook parking lot in his car. 

Fun day with a fun group, I think I'm liking this shuttle hiking.

Endomondo stats:
7.5 total miles hiked
85 Min. altitude
1858 Max. altitude
1023 Total ascent
2726 Total descent

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pond restoration

We have 3 ponds in our yard, they were put in about 25 years ago. Our 2 level pond was just getting too overgrown with cattails and other pond plants. The top pond is no longer a pond, it's more of a wetland. The redo for that one will be done another time. The lower pond has about 30 goldfish in it. Since the plants are so overgrown the water level was getting too low for the fish to be happy, especially on hot days. So it was time to get to it. 
Day 1 -
The first item to be done was to remove the plants, the cattails were as thick as the ones in the upper pond.

We had garbage containers set up to fill with pond water and fish. We didn't want to shock the fish too much by putting them in water straight from the hose. So we filled the 3 cans with their own pond water.

then to remove the fish -

Looking for the last of the fish in the muck and rocks. It was a very messy job.

Finally free of muck, rocks and fish. 

The bowl shape in the bottom of the above picture is the kiddie pool that our original fish lived in all those years ago before our ponds were built. We had used it as a part of the foundation of the pond. I know that none of the fish are still alive from that original batch, but we have never bought new goldfish for this pond. The fish that are in it now are direct descendants of those fish we "rescued" from the pet store so many years ago.
Now to start adding the layers. Our last version of this pond only had two layers, it held up pretty well even after a springer spaniel leaped into it and ripped up some of the edges as he scurried to get back out. We decided to put 5 layers in this time. As my husband says that will really make it "Skookum" (this word means strong).
Here is the base layer -

The next layers would be out of the dark plastic that we have always used in our ponds.
5 layers thick -

We filled the pond first with the three cans of original pond water, then added the fishies.

After adding the original water, the fish and the rest with fresh water, the sides were folded over for the night. A long day, but a lot accomplished.

Day 2 -
putting on the frame and trimming the plastic liners. We added a few floating pond plants and are deciding if we should put any potted plants in later, since they can grow and really choke out the pond.

Feeding the fish this morning I was happy to see that they are all alive after being so disturbed. I think the key was keeping so much of their original water.

The floating piece of wood is for the two big frogs to lay on. They both survived the pond changeover. I should have taken a video of the capture of one of the frogs. He kept settling down in the muck to hide, but he was eventually found and was stored in the g. can with the fish and then poured back into the pond. 

our froggie with some sun patches shining on the net
The future plans for this pond will be putting benches to sit on in the planter that surrounds the pond. Then the areas between the benches will be replanted.
Big job, glad it's done!