Posts Tagged ‘Dahlias’

Stehekin-Dazzle

July 28, 2017

We made our annual trip to Stehekin last weekend.  Stehekin, Washington is a place that awakens the nature-loving adventurer and dazzles the eye of the outdoor enthusiast.  I didn’t see any bears this year, but I did see a grouse, big as a hen, on the trail.  Leslie and I also spotted a baby osprey in its enormous nest. The baby osprey was squawking for its parents.  While there, we hiked, read by the river, visited Karl’s Stehekin Garden.  And I got in a lot of restful sleeping time.  The bed in the cabin is so comfortable, the night so quiet, and the air coming in from the open window so pure, fresh, and soothing.  I slept deeply and dreamed of the night forest.

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Stehekin is a wilderness place of forests, waterfalls, mountains, and tumbling creeks (26 creeks flow into the river). It is a place where time seems to stand still.

Stehekin refers to the grand 17-mile long river, which carries glacial water from the Cascade Mountains. The Stehekin River a surreal blue as a result of the glacial melt.  It flows into Lake Chelan, a 50.5 mile lake.Stehekin also refers to the community, which sits in the Stehekin Valley and is part of the North Cascades National Park.

One reason why Stehekin remains so pristine and wild is because the area is not accessible by road.  You can only reach Stehekin by hiking, float plane, boat, or ferry.

Below are some photos from last weekend’s visit.  It was not quite as hot this year and the mosquitoes were not so bothersome as they have been in the past.  And there were no forest fires this year so the vistas on our hikes were very clear.

Our champ, Miss Winnie, resting at a creek after a long deep drink of cold water:

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Morning Sun on Cabin:

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The Stehekin River greets us in the morning:

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Reflections, a perfect Stehekin morning:

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And I found these waders drying on the clothesline amusing (along the forest path leading to Karl’s Garden):

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Old cars like this Chevrolet, in excellent running condition, abound in Stehekin:L1390773

Refreshing water stop during one of the hikes:

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A trip to Stehekin requires:

  • Hiking and a visit to Rainbow Falls
  • Fly-fishing (if you are a fisher-person)
  • A visit to the Stehekin Bakery (their pies are ridiculously delicious)
  • A visit to Karl’s Organic Garden

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A visit to Karl’s garden is one of my Stehekin highlights.  Karl’s produce is beautiful.  He keeps bees and sells honey.  And he has goats and sells goat cheese.  The perimeter of his vegetable garden is studded with flowers.  This time of year, Karl’s dahlias are in full bloom.  I could not help myself.  I kind of went crazy on the flower photography.

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Karl also offers food for thought on his white boards.  Here are some examples of his words of wisdom:

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I love Stehekin  (one of our hiking lunch spots below):

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Sweet Summer

August 29, 2016

Summer time is my favorite of all seasons.  It comes after so much anticipation and seems to be over in no time at all.  Included in this email are some of my favorite photos from this summer, including some from this past weekend in Cle Elum and Roslyn.

I truly love taking photos.  And living in Washington state makes taking a great photo easy to do.

A visit to Vashon

A visit to Vashon and a hike on Shinglemill Creek Trail

Biondo Farm tomatoes!

Biondo Farm tomatoes!

Heritage Tomatoes (Biondo Farm)

Heritage Tomatoes (Biondo Farm). It was a 95 degree day so we missed out on Pizza Night at Karen Biondo’s farm (who wants to fire a 700 degree oven on a 95 degree day??)

Dahlias Forever!  Karen Biondo's farm

Dahlias Forever! Karen Biondo’s farm

We saw a wonderful paper art show at the Blue Heron Art Center (Vashon Center for the Arts). The new art center is magnificent!

We saw a wonderful paper art show at the Blue Heron Art Center (Vashon Center for the Arts). The new art center is magnificent!

Got my horse fix today in Roslyn

Got my horse fix today in Roslyn

Cosmos in Roslyn at the Farmer's Market

Cosmos in Roslyn at the Farmer’s Market

FRUIT: gifts of summer!  Roslyn farmers' market

FRUIT: gifts of summer! Roslyn farmers’ market

"fishnet" stockings...shadow on my leg in the beer garden in Cle Elum

“fishnet stockings”…shadow on my leg in the beer garden in Cle Elum (thanks, Nellie, for the idea)

Old mining town..on our way to the historical cemetery in Roslyn

Remnants from an old coal mining town..on our way to the historical coal miners’ cemetery in Roslyn

Stehekin!

Stehekin!

Stehekin hiking buddy: Winnie!

Stehekin hiking buddy: Winnie!

My other Stehekin hiking buddy: Leslie!

My other Stehekin hiking buddy: Leslie!

Relaxing at the cabin: Stehekin

Relaxing at the cabin: Stehekin

Have to include a foot photo:  soaking our hot feet when we break for lunch

Have to include a foot photo: soaking our hot feet while we break for lunch

Fantastic Rivers of Stehekin

Fantastic Rivers of Stehekin

Green and Trees at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

Green and Trees at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

Flowers at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island

The Japanese Garden at the Boedel Reserve on Bainbridge

The Japanese Garden at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge

 

The Forest Breathes

July 28, 2015

I get a natural high from walking along forest trails and this year I have had ample opportunities to be out in nature, hiking through the most alluring landscapes.  Rick and I just got back from our annual trip to Stehekin, Washington with Leslie.  While Rick fished the rivers for trout, Leslie and I hiked miles and miles of trails with her dog, Winnie.

No roads lead to Stehekin!  In fact, you can only get there by plane, boat, or hiking.  One of the many charms of Stehekin is its remoteness.  Once in Stehekin, there is a road that stretches from the landing to the Stehekin Bakery and beyond to some trail heads.  The only vehicles are the ones that have come over on a barge from Chelan.  In order to have a vehicle, you must be a grandfathered-in property owner or lease holder.  Wild untouched Stehekin is part of the North Cascades National Park.  Around 100 people live here year round.

We took a float plane to the landing.  It is about a 50 minute flight from Chelan to the Stehekin Landing:

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The next two photos are hilarious (to me, anyways!).  You can see how small the plane is.  Rick, in green, to your far right, is smooshed into his seat with two other beefy men!  Leslie and I, on the other hand, had ample space between us because Leslie bought a seat or a “space” for Winnie.   Winnie burrowed and hunkered down into the floor of the plane where she felt secure and Leslie and I got to spread out a bit.  Rick was wedged in so tightly that he was unable to look back to see us. I made sure Rick was in a humorous mood before I showed him these two photos!

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Tight Quarters!

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Ample Space on the flight for Fran, Leslie, and Winnie! (feeling a wee bit guilty about all the space!)

One of the people who lives in Stehekin year round is Karl, the man who, year after year, plants and produces the best organic vegetables in his Stehekin Garden.  In addition to vegetables and fruit, he sells honey, candles made from his bees’ wax, dried herbs and teas, goat cheese made from his goats, whole wheat crackers, muffins, granola made with his honey, salad dressings, and pesto made from his homegrown basil.  Every time we arrive at the cabin, I make a dash for his garden to see what vegetables and fruits are available.  This time around I bought organic nectarines, peaches, blueberries, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, and a muffin!  When I arrived at the garden, I was greeted by barefooted slender Karl.  His earthy wholehearted hugs are most welcoming.  His vegetable garden is fringed with dahlias and other beautiful flowers which, he is quick to tell you, he does NOT sell.

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Karl’s dahlias, after a much-needed morning rain shower, are nearly smiling.  We were at Karl’s when it started to rain.  We sat under the eaves with Karl and waited until the rain let up. 

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Hope you like dahlias because there are many in this blog!

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One of Karl’s bees busily pollinating a dahlia.

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During the winter months, Stehekin is covered in snow.  Karl’s garden and goats rest in the winter and Karl spends his winter days cross country skiing, meditating, doing yoga, reading various books, and writing.  You can see his spirit-infused writing on various white boards at the garden.

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Health is Wealth, written by Karl

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A bearded Rick talking books, poetry, nature with Karl at the garden.

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Inner Peace by Karl

Leslie and I took a hike to the Buckner Orchard and to Rainbow Falls.  This is our favorite hike to do on our first day in Stehekin.  We saw so many deer in the apple orchard on this day.

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Long Term Parking at the Buckner Orchard

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Winnie takes in a long drink at Rainbow Falls. 

Like Cuba, Stehekin has trucks and cars that have been around for a while and still running.  In order to get a car here, it has to be barged over as was this 1967 Chevy back in the day.  I was looking at some of Leslie’s old photos from years ago and noted that today the Forest Green ’67 Chevy Truck looks almost identical to how it looked back then.

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The Cannon’s 1957 Chevy. 

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Winnie, ready to hike!

Another favorite hike is the Lakeside Trail, along Lake Chelan.  The trail starts near the landing and goes on and on towards Chelan.  It is a rolling trail with a constant view of Lake Chelan.  Parts of the forest have been victim to forest fires and as we hiked we saw blackened trees that have survived past fires as well as charred stumps that were not so lucky.

As we stopped for lunch at a bluff overlooking the lake, Leslie was pulling some items out of her backpack and came across her favorite poem, Lost.  She always carries this poem with her and from time to time, on our hikes, she reads it aloud.  I asked her to read it on this hike.  I am always moved by this poem.  The name of this blog post, The Forest Breathes, comes from this poem. She reads it so perfectly:

LOST
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree of a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

David Wagoner was Rick’s professor for the MFA program at the University of Washington.  We went to a reading and heard Wagoner read his poem, Lost.  He prefaced the poem by telling us that he never imagined this poem would be so well received! Wagoner still seemed to be in disbelief that this very poem is the favorite of many outdoor enthusiasts, including Leslie and myself.

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Burnt trees from fires past.

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Another hike: Agnes Creek Trail

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View of Agnes Gorge

Well, since our fisherman, Rick, caught a 19 inch trout (!!!), he decided to join Leslie and me on this morning’s half hour steep hike up to a viewpoint.  From our viewpoint, we had the best view of the Stehekin Valley.

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View of the Stehekin Valley

Rick’s prized trout, was dinner tonight!  We brought it back to Chelan with us and Timothy grilled it with rosemary and lemon slices.  Four of us feasted on the best trout ever!  Here it is below, about to be grilled.

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Anacortes

July 20, 2015
Another wonderful place in Washington discovered (for me) this past weekend.  Simone and I drove up to Anacortes, where we stayed with friends Janet and Steve.  Like so many others, I have been to Anacortes before because it is the point where we catch ferries to Lopez Island, Orcas, and San Juan Island.  However, I have never taken time to explore Anacortes.
Beautiful AnacortesThe town is named after Anna Curtis, wife of an early settler named Amos Brown.  And all this time I thought the name of the town sounded very Spanish, but it’s not!  We were there for the Shipwreck Festival, which is basically rows and rows of tables set up on the streets where vendors sell just about anything from used clothing to garage sale type items to crafts and furniture.  Every vendor is ready to make a bargain and, though I had no intention of buying anything, I got some good deals (amongst them a cute sunhat and a set of 6 blue water glasses).  Read on to see the weekend through many photos and captions!  I think this blog post is a record for number of photos posted!  I just can’t trim down to any fewer photos!  Enjoy..

We ate delicious meals.  Ingredients could not have been any fresher: vegetables straight from Janet and Steve's garden and from the Farmer's Market

Dahlias!

Loki the Cat and more from the garden...with all this heat, peaches are ripening early this year!

Anacortes Farmers' Market

Heirloom tomatoes at the market

Beautiful Carrots and Roots

Janet gets down to the business of buying purslane.  The market vendor told us how purslane is really good for the lungs.  Here is what I found out about delicious purslane: "Purslane is a nutritious weed increasingly used in agriculture and cooking recipes. This herb is high in vitamin C and metabolism-regulating Omega-3 fatty acids. "  I even read that it has more Omega-3 fatty acids than most fish oils!  I think I will add it to my herb garden.

Squash and Yellow Zucchini

It's Dahlia season!

Summer bouquets at the market

Seen earlier in the day at the Shipwreck Festival!

Back at Janet and Steve's house, Steve reads to me from his novel in progress!

Postprandial Walk

View along the trail

Since Janet and Simone were admiring this enormous drift log, I thought I'd capture it on film.  The light was divine.

Pugalicious!  A very sweet 14 year-old pug resting on a bench along the trail.

Sunset coming on.  Hot summer days and gorgeous sunsets is how I will always remember this summer.  It has been and continues to be amazing.

Sunset in Anacortes, along the Guemes Trail.  Does it get any better than this?

Sunset in Anacortes

And today's hike through a Madrona Forest!  Madronas are perhaps one of my favorite trees!

Madrona Trunk I

Madrona Trunk II

Dog Days of Summer

August 13, 2014

Here’s a journey that must be told through photographs.  Our annual trip to Stehekin is always filled with such immense beauty and this year’s adventure was no exception.  Stehekin provides a sacred wilderness that seems to defy time.  Leslie, Winnie, and I filled our days with various hikes, while Rick spent his days fishing for trout on the Stehekin River and writing haiku.

Stehekin Garden

Stehekin Garden

Below are the many photos that should come with the scent of pine and pitch, the smell of the glacial light-blue river, the ever-present distant smell of a camp fire which, sadly, comes from the forest fires that are raging in various areas in Washington state.  The following photos should also come with sounds:  the tired fearless engine of the ol’ family truck as Leslie shifts it into gear and gets going, the rushing river, the tumbling waterfall of Rainbow Falls, the sound of our footsteps on the trails, the chattering of the squirrels as Winnie scares them up trees, the wisps of the wind coming off Lake Chelan, the never ending conversations that Leslie and I share on the trail, the high pitched hum of mosquitoes on the River Trail, and the occasional loud clapping of our hands as we come around a bend on the trail in order to warn any bears that might be just around the corner because,  no, we don’t want to surprise a bear!

Enjoy Stehekin, Washington and a few photos at the end from Chelan.

Our first evening sunset in Stehekin.  The smoke from the fires was kept at bay because of the wind (blowing in our favor), but once the wind died down, the Stehekin Valley slowly filled with smoke.  Oddly, the smoke made for what Leslie referred to as  "dramatic Cathedral lighting".

Our first evening sunset in Stehekin:  Tradition calls for a postprandial walk to Rainbow Falls.  On our way back from the falls, the sky turned red.  The smoke from the fires was kept at bay on this first night and the whole next day because of the wind (blowing in our favor). However,  once the wind died down, the Stehekin Valley slowly filled with smoke. Ironically, the smoke made for gorgeous photos and dramatic Cathedral lighting.

Back at the cabin, Winnie kept busy chasing squirrels up trees.

Back at the cabin, Winnie kept busy chasing squirrels up trees.

A visit to Stehekin is not complete without a visit to The Garden, where I stocked up on the garden's veggies, fruit, and goat cheese.

A visit to Stehekin is not complete without a visit to The Garden, where I stocked up on the garden’s veggies, fruit, and goat cheese.

Dahlia I (dinner plate size!)

Dahlia I (dinner plate size!)

Dahlia II

Dahlia II

Dahlia III  Karl grows these dazzlers in his garden. I love the variety in the Dahlia family of flowers.

Dahlia III   Karl grows these dazzlers in his garden. I love the variety in the Dahlia family of flowers.

And this year, Karl added a roofed structure to protect his fridge and tables bearing honey, beeswax candles, salves, and herbs.  Beautiful Navaho weaving.

And this year, Karl added a roofed structure to protect his fridge and tables bearing honey, beeswax candles, salves, and herbs. Beautiful Navaho weaving.

Winnie is very comfortable in the old truck!

Winnie is very comfortable in the old truck!  We think she had a truck in her pre-rescued life.

Reminders of fires past....

Reminders of fires past….

Ah, this cold water feels good on my hot paws!  And it is oh-so-refreshing to drink!

“Ah, this cold water feels good on my hot paws! And it is oh-so-refreshing to drink!”

Woman's Best Friend  (I think of all the photos, this one captures the Lakeside Trail the best).

Woman’s Best Friend (I think of all the photos, this one captures the Lakeside Trail the best as well as the JOY these two have found in each other!).

Hair whipping wind coming off Lake Chelan

Hair-whipping wind coming off Lake Chelan

My friend Winnie

My friend Winnie  (Oh, by the way, the water really is that blue!  The water comes from melted glacial water carrying silt that creates this unique blue color.)

Back at the cabin, our Haiku-Fisherman Rick has caught us a dinner sized trout!

Back at the cabin, our Haiku-Fisherman Rick has caught us a dinner sized trout!

Rick in his fishing raft on the Stehekin River.

Rick in his fishing raft on the Stehekin River.

Sit and Stay a while!

Sit and Stay a while:  my reading bench

I know it says "River Trail" but it could have said "Mosquito Trail" and would have been more descriptive.  We have never encountered mosquitoes like this on the River Trail!  Deet Jungle Juice Off Repellent needed to be reapplied again and again, but worked and kept us going.  Met some firefighters at the trail head, one who tried to warn us about the mosquitoes (we thought he was being wimpy and exaggerating the whole thing because we have done this hike before and it is buggy but worthwhile, but, in fact, the firefighter was right!)  We later met a baby-faced forest ranger on the River Trail.  He had countless welts on his arms, so I sprayed him down with OFF and he was very thankful!

I know it says “River Trail” but it could have said “Mosquito Trail”, which would have been more descriptive. We have never encountered mosquitoes like this on the River Trail!  DEET Jungle Juice Off Repellent needed to be reapplied again and again, but worked and kept us going.

All good things come to an end and our time in Stehekin went by quickly.  This was taken before departure by float plane.  Here is our float plane waiting for us.  Rick had to carry Winnie.  Winnie looked like a damsel in distress hanging on to Rick. with her hind legs clamping down on his hip bones and her front paws on his shoulders!  You can see how much smoke from the forest fires has moved into the Stehekin Valley.

All good things come to an end and our time in Stehekin went by quickly. This was taken before departure by float plane. Here is our float plane waiting for us. You can see how much smoke from the forest fires has moved into the Stehekin Valley.

Back in Chelan:  Miss Coco

Back in Chelan:  Full-Figured Coco (she is adorable!)

Mr. Tickman with his pose of total abandon and his belly that begs to be pet.  This little boy magically wriggled his way into the Fichtner household.

Mr. Tickman with his pose of total abandon and his belly that begs to be pet. This little boy magically wriggled his way into the Fichtner household.

Irresistible Tickman

Irresistible Tickman

I think this bowl of kibble says it all!

I think this bowl of kibble says it all!

And lastly, this is MY hydrangea!  Leslie's mom planted her and called her Francesca.

And lastly, this is MY hydrangea! Leslie’s mom planted this bush and called her Francesca.  This makes me so happy!


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