Friday, 23 September 2016

Somerset Trail - Mt Mee

Thursday 22nd September

Spring is here and thankfully not rushing into summer. Our nights are still cool and crisp and by day, the skies are an intense clear blue. Such a joy to be out and about. Regular spring rainfall has meant the landscape is a paradise of green.

I've hiked the Somerset Trail, [14.5 kms] numerous times now and it never fails to make my spirits soar. Yesterday was no different. The clarity of the atmosphere was stunning and the sunlight constantly shimmered on the leaves of the soaring gums.

The trail took us through a variety of open forest, pine forest and pockets of rainforest.
We felt small below the canopy of the trees especially where the native flowering acacia's and grevilleas were taller than us.


On this visit, this purple ground orchid was flowering prolifically. It was just so determined to show itself above the thick undergrowth, for kilometre after kilometre.

The Wallum Gold Pea Bush was passed its peak bloom, but here and there, they gave a burst of golden yellow.

Amongst the undergrowth were tiny flowering bushes of pinks, purple and yellow.

The pearls of green on this plant caught my eye.........

As did the reds of the new gum leaves.

As this gum shed its dead bark, it has left colourful patches and patterns on the new living bark.

Halfway along the circuit we crested a cliffed faced ridge, giving us 180 degree views west to the 
Toowoomba Range, with views of both the Somerset and Wivenhoe Dams. It was to be our lunch spot, but the westerly wind roaring up the valley, had us finding a less open view.

The lady birds and thorny devil lizard, managed to shelter here, from the westerly gale.

It was amazing to watch the wind roaring through these gum leaves. 


There is very little water on this trail, but this waterhole, towards the finish of the trail, never fails to give lovely reflections.

Just a fantastic day to be out and about, in the great outdoors, down under.

I would love to read your comment.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Portland, Oregon

Monday 6 June

Sad farewells had been said in Banff, but our journey home included a flight to Portland and several days in the Columbia Gorge. Having devoured 'Linda's Lens', for the past  4 years, I just had to visit, as we were so close.

We left Banff at 5.30 am and drove in misty fog to Calgary airport. The day cleared and I had wonderful views of the amazing Columbia River and I think Mt Rainier, as we flew south to Portland. [Bill / Linda, please correct me if I am wrong.]

Downtown Portland was a delight to stroll around, when we arrived about 2.30.

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Our stroll took us down to the banks of the Willamette River, and its many bridges.

I was enthralled by a large group of Canadian Geese and goslings. They appeared to be on a 'guided' tour of the Willamette's shoreline. At its completion, they marched single file back to the river, the tiny goslings jumping over the rocks, trying to keep up with the adults. 

Mt Hood was spotted in the far distance.

A pioneer sculpture, in a most welcome shady park.

I had arranged to meet my friend Linda outside her office in The Portland building. It was not difficult to find, with the sculpture of Portlandia dominating the front of the building.

"Portlandia is a sculpture by Raymond Kaskey located above the entrance of the Portland Building, in downtown Portland, Oregon, at 1120 SW 5th Avenue. It is the second-largest copper repouss√©statue in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty.[1]
The statue is based on the design of the city seal. It depicts a woman dressed in classical clothes, holding a trident in the left hand and reaching down with the right hand. The statue is above street level and faces a relatively narrow, tree-lined street." 

It was wonderful to finally meet Linda and we made arrangements to travel to and hike Mt St Helen's the following day, Tuesday. Frank opted not to join us, but to further explore Portland.


Much of Frank's Tuesday was spent exploring Washington Park and I was very grateful that he took all these rose photographs for me. It was Rose festival week.

Wednesday we collected our hire car from the airport and set off down Highway 84, beside the Columbia River, to Cascade Locks. The heat wave of the past few days had passed We were again looking for our winter gear. The cloudy sky didn't allow The Columbia to show its full splendour, but it was mighty impressive. I lost count of the number of freight trains we saw.

Enjoying the view from our Cascade Lock's accommodation.

Bridge of the Gods
I have followed many hikers on their adventure along the PCT Trail from Mexico to Canada. The crossing of this bridge is always a milestone for them. It was just fantastic to cross it, even if it was by car. 

Looking back to our accommodation from the bridge.

And the view up the river from the opposite side.

After checking into our accommodation, we continued along H'wy 85 to Hood River.

At Hood River we found H'wy 35 to take us to Mt Hood, a peak I've fallen in love with, through Linda's many visits, in all seasons of the year. Our visit will make another post.

I would love to read your comment.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Things that made me smile.

1. Fairy Wren
As I sit at my desk, I often hear the high, pitched trill of the fairy wrens in the native bushes of our garden. Eventually they tempt me outside with my camera and tripod, but the usual result is frustration. They constantly flit about giving me only glimpses of them. This week I was sitting at the back of our home with a friend, when 7 or 8 of them started trilling in the shrubbery.
I was not going to be teased by them, so didn't bother getting my camera. On this occasion however, they quite boldly sat on branches where we could see and enjoy their beauty. I still didn't rush for the camera, as I thought my movement would frighten them. Finally I could bare it know longer and the camera was quickly found. Soooooo glad I did!

As I sit typing I can hear them outside again, but for the moment I am happy with these photographs.

2. The little bit of spring in my garden.

3. My early morning walks up Mt Warren Hill.
The chill of winter has abated, but the humidity and heat of summer at this time of day, has yet to arrive. There is a spring to my step, as I listen to the birds, spot wallabies and enjoy the rugged beauty of the bush where I walk.
I've decided that Mt Warren Hill should be called Crow Mountain. A large flock appears to have taken possession of the hilltop. There are so many of them, that their raucous symphony almost has a melodic quality to it. 


4. Birdsong
This morning as I descended from the hilltop and escaped The Crow Symphony, I was delighted to hear 2 sets of Kookaburras laughing and the happy morning song of numerous other birds.

5. Taking a dare.
Yesterday I returned to Woodridge State School to volunteer at their Spring Fair. It was wonderful to be back with these good friends even if I had to have my hair braided. Alas I had a haircut appointment for 3.30, so the braid didn't stay in long!

I hope you have lots of things to make you smile. 
I would love to read your comment.