Hindsight is Always 2020 – A look Back

We started 2020 in the Pacific Northwest lamenting the rain and planning an escape to where the sun always shines. For us that was Oahu and the timing in February was perfect – a month later would be too late.

In early March we celebrated my mom’s 90th birthday with only a hint that something was brewing. The next day she was in lockdown and all of Washington State would soon follow with only essential services remaining open. For the first time I wore a mask in public – homemade – until they were available everywhere for purchase.

Webex and Zoom became our lifeline to church and family and friends. We slowly learned the technology and got (mostly) comfortable speaking to one another from our little boxes – much like Hollywood Squares I thought.

There was a new language of the pandemic – coronavirus then covid, handwashing and social distancing. We prayed and hoped and coped with walks in the woods.

As time went on and rules permitted we ventured farther out and spent a few days at Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park. Other local trips would follow but always by car.

Or truck and trailer in this case – a final camping trip to Fort Stevens (turns out we like lodges better.)

Benji and Tiger knew nothing different. They continued on in their cat ways – sleeping and playing and carousing at night – providing both joy and comic relief.

It was a year like no other and I’m thankful my family and friends made it through. My heartfelt condolences to those who weren’t as fortunate.

Now here’s to 2021. I pray we would all stay safe and healthy and at peace through stormy days still to come.

~ Susanne

A Day trip to Paradise with Moonrise Over Mt Rainier

Every trip to Mt Rainier promises something special and so it was on Monday as we headed south to Paradise.

We arrived at the Nisqually Entrance to the Park, the only one open to vehicles year-round. We had lunch at Longmire where visitors had stayed for the holidays, something we would think about for the future.

We continued up the road to Paradise stopping at scenic overlooks for as long as we dared without chains. (Yes we carried them as required but no we didn’t want to mess with putting them on.)

As the snowy road conditions worsened and having gotten our fill of the mountain, we headed back before sunset. The best was yet to come.

After we left the park, traffic slowed to a crawl and cars were parked on both sides of the road. It reminded me of a buffalo jam at Yellowstone. A bear or moose perhaps? But no.

The moonrise over the mountain was the reason why and we stopped to admire the scene with the rest of them.

It was tremendous. And though I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it justice I would nevertheless try.

So we didn’t make it to the Visitors Center at Paradise, but it was a day in paradise just the same.

~ Susanne

Breathing Nature’s Fresh Air

During this strange Covid year we’ve had to be hypervigilant about the very air we breathe, wearing masks and distancing ourselves to avoid transmitting the insidious virus to each other. Thankfully we can breathe deeply in nature where no such prohibition exists.

So come along with me for a walk in the woods and take in some deep cleansing breaths.

Feel better?

~ Susanne

The Sun Also Rises

We saw torrential downpours on the first day of winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Those further north enjoyed the first snow though none of it made it to the ground at my house.

But yesterday dawned clear and cold and temperatures rose during the day. This was the view from Ivars at Coulon Park where we had fish and chips for lunch.

On our walk afterwards we saw a bald eagle doing the same – having lunch that is – fish only without the chips.

This morning also dawned clear and cold and I noticed a lovely sunrise happening.

While I stood on my deck I heard the chatter of a hummingbird in the tree nearby.

It was a beautiful start to the day reminding me that after a storm the sun also rises.

~ Susanne

A Walk through Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge

Not the river itself of course but the town named after the river.

Last month – before the latest round of lockdowns went into effect – we spent the night in Hood River. Getting there was the best part – traveling the Historic Columbia River Highway through the Columbia Gorge.

There are dozens of waterfalls in the area. I already shared them in earlier posts but what’s a few more pictures among friends? My favorites were Latourell, Horsetail and Multnomah Falls – click to enlarge the slide show.

Hood River is a thirty minute drive east of Multnomah Falls. It was our first time staying there and we picked a hotel on the banks of the Columbia. We woke to sunrise over the river and went out for a walk despite the threat of rain. The path along the waterfront was perfect passing by lovely harbors and a small museum.

We took it as far as the the bridge over Hood River – whose waters flow from the nearby mountain into the Columbia – before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.

It was one of the last times we’d be seated in a restaurant, at least this year. I don’t normally take pictures of my breakfast but this was so pretty I did. Can you guess what it is?

Wrong! It’s baked oatmeal. I loved the berries and whipped cream the most – the ‘oatmeal’ not so much. That’s okay. It came with the room and since I rarely eat breakfast I thought I’d try something new. Bob opted for more traditional fare – eggs, potatoes, pancakes.

Next we headed to the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum where we walked through giant warehouses full of of antique airplanes and cars, one of the most extensive collections in the country.

This was of course my husband’s pick though I admit I enjoyed the colors and history of the cars and planes. Scroll through the gallery if you want to enlarge the pictures.

Behind the museum is one of the best views of Mt. Hood I’ve ever seen.

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed the tour. πŸ™‚

~ Susanne

Tis the Season for Raindrops and Berries

~ Susanne

Fun with Snowberry

I’m still dreaming of snow but until it arrives I’ll have to settle for snowberrry!

A few years ago we planted some common snowberry shrubs and they thrived – filling in empty spaces with bright green leaves and tiny flowers in the spring. But in the winter the tiny snowball berries take centerstage after the leaves are gone.

I was hoping to catch the tiny water droplets as they fell from the berries but even as the wind blew and the branches swayed they hung on tight. Water droplet photography is a thing but I doubt I have the patience to pursue it.

For Cees Flower of the Day.

~ Susanne

Colors of the Pacific Northwest

Despite my dreams of a Winter Wonderland there’s no snow yet in the Great Northwest only rain, rain, and more rain. What’s a person to do? Time for an indoor project and it so happens I’ve got one.

For the last couple of months I’ve been going through the photos on my blog and resizing them to save up media space. I use free software, either ‘Paint’ or Sony’s ‘Play Memories’ that came with my camera. (Remember file size matters? )

In so doing, I’m cheered by the beautiful colors of the Northwest which I happen to need during this gray and dreary time and I’m hoping they’ll cheer you too!

Here’s an oldie but a goodie, a visit to Skagit Valley a few years ago during the Tulip Festival with Mt. Baker in the background. Hopefully by April the Tulip Festival can safely resume with the rollout of vaccines to curtail this miserable virus!

How about some purple hydrangeas? I’ve never seen any prettier than these at Soos Creek Botanical Garden. Fortunately the garden was open to masked visitors all season long.

I found the azaleas at the Washington Arboretum – the yellow and orange are my favorites. I hope to return in the spring to breathe in their sweet fragrance.

The salmon are all colors of the rainbow as they return to the Cedar River to spawn.

Finally I’ll close with one of my favorite hummingbirds who seemed to wink at me while I took his picture.

That’s enough for today.

~ Susanne

Winter Wonderland #Sunday Stills

Good Morning! I’m delighted to be hosting this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge while Terri Webster Schrandt is off the grid and on the road! πŸ™‚

Today’s theme is Winter Wonderland. Do you hear sleigh bells ringing?

Well maybe not but in the lane snow is glistening!

In my version of Winter Wonderland I wake up to snow falling on evergreens.

I’m happy when it continues all day and through the night until the world is covered in white and you can hear the sounds of silence.

We don’t get much snow in Seattle – just a few inches most years – and it doesn’t usually stick around for long. So when it does I’m HAPPY!

So is Benji who can be seen flying through the backyard.

I join him outside to take care of the birds – adding fresh water to the birdbaths and thawing out the nectar. The hummingbirds appreciate it and reward me by posing at the feeders.

And at the end of the day – doesn’t sunset look better when accompanied by snow?

So that’s my version of Winter Wonderland – what’s yours?

Tell me about it in the comments. Or create a post and link up below!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge
  • Create a new post for the theme with a different title than mine
  • Create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. You can also add your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week. Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Thanks for joining. Terri will be back next week!

~ Susanne

Plovers in Black and white

Yesterday we stopped by Potlatch State Park at the southern end of Hood Canal, on our way home from Port Townsend. While Bob practiced casting I enjoyed watching the shorebirds.

I think they were Plovers though I’m not certain of the particular variety even after consulting a field guide. Regardless, they were so charming. They stood perfectly still on the shore, their colors blending in with the sand and fragments of oyster shells.

Then they started running along the beach in fits and starts, as fast as their little legs could carry them. Use the arrow slide to take a look at them in color.

I kept my distance but they still eyed me warily. When I dared approach further they flew off in a hurry giving me an earful of their delightful chatter.

Aren’t they beautiful?

For Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge – Birds.

~ Susanne

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