Posts Tagged ‘nature’


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.


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:


Morning Sun on Cabin:


The Stehekin River greets us in the morning:


Reflections, a perfect Stehekin morning:


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


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

Refreshing water stop during one of the hikes:


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


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.






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


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




Sicily 2017 Slideshow

May 13, 2017

Was it one week or two?

It was one hundred lifetimes lived in a single day.

Warm sun on my skin

Within days, my skin goes brown, my eyes grow bright.

A gentle breeze floats in from the sea.

I am surrounded by beauty

and smiles.

How will I ever go back home?

This ancient land clings to my feet, tugs at my heart.

I am trapped by an invisible seaweed netting.

Cherry tomatoes burst with flavor. The local markets display mounds of dried wild herbs and mountains of colorful fruits and vegetables, which will taste as beautiful as they look.

Every morning and evening, we practice yoga to the sound of birdsong

and to soft lapping of waves.

The fragrance of the zagara flower is intoxicating.

Orange blossoms perfume the wall-less outdoor yoga studio.

Mt. Etna lets out a steady stream of smoke, steam, and dreams.

Mongibello stands tall, shrouded in purple at sunset, pink at sunrise.

What do you call the blue of the Sicilian sky and sea?

Flamingos, not yet fully pink, are feeding at the marsh.

Are there words to describe such insane raw beauty?

At night, I wonder how my parents ever left?  I wonder if I  carry the scars of their pain?

Quarry stones, hewn perfectly, stand witness to ancient history and warm today’s cat.

With the click of my camera, I capture the wild red poppies growing in a field of yellow daisies and I offer the poppies’ perfection to my lost friend Adriana.

We do yoga in the ruins of the tuna fisheries.

I feel the solidity of ancient stone under my feet, the mass suffering of the giants of the sea, and the beauty of the moment.

I watch my friends, long-time friends and new ones, do yoga on this ancient island. I lead them in a yoga sequence and I feel  Madre Terra’s energy coursing through us all.

Mother Earth and the Sicilian Sun nourish our spirits.

I breathe and I am renewed.

Fran’s website:

Turn up your speakers and enjoy the slideshow below (about 8 minutes long):

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Say Hello to Autumn

September 16, 2015

No time to post this yesterday (it was written, but I didn’t have time to edit until now)….so it goes out now (from Iceland!). Stay tuned…next blog entry within the half hour is from Iceland.

Written on Tuesday, September 15th:

In my head, it is officially Say-Goodbye-to-Summer-Time.  Today’s walk over to the Volunteer Park Cafe for lunch with Rick was a dose of reality for me.  Autumn is here.  It seems to have come abruptly on the heels of an unusually hot Seattle summer.  As we walked over to our neighborhood cafe, a few red maple leaves brightened the sidewalks, their colors matching the pro-teachers’ strike chalk-graffiti on Steven’s Elementary School stone wall.  (And it felt very eerie to walk past the very quiet empty school on a Tuesday.)

Below are a few photos from an interesting and pleasant hike I did with Leslie and Winnie two days ago to the Lime Kiln Trail. 

As the name would suggest, the trail meanders through a mossy forest and leads to a lime kiln.  Walking through the forest, it is really surprising to come across the old limestone kiln, embedded in the forest, a relic from the past.  It seemed to have jumped out at us when we least expected it.  The kiln is 20 feet tall and covered in moss and ferns.  The forest has almost completely taken over the area and today you can only see remnants of a business that was thriving and employing hundreds of people.  The kiln is in the Robe Canyon Historic Park and the trail is a gentle 7 mile round trip.

The kiln

The kiln with old broken saw blades.  I can only imagine how many trees needed to be cut in order to produce the wood that kept the kiln burning hot.

Below is the explanation I found on the kiln and how the limestone was used:

The kiln was built in the 1890s and used until the early 1930s to convert local limestone into “lime,” i.e. calcium oxide. The product was transported by the adjoining railroad, mostly for use as a “flux” to promote melting of ores in smelters in the Everett area. The limestone apparently was loaded into the open top of the kiln from carts that approached from the uphill side. Unfortunately, none of the loading structure remains. The kiln has stoking ports on three sides where fires would have been tended–gathering sufficient dry wood as fuel in this very moist area must have presented a challenge!

Close up view of one of three kilns

Close up view of one of three stoking ports

Another view of the kiln.  Here you can see the moss and fern covered walls.

Another view of the kiln. Here you can see the moss and fern covered walls.

Broken Saw Blade Composition

Broken Saw Blade and Mossy Tree Composition

Dense mossy forest of Kiln Trail

Dense mossy forest of Lime Kiln Trail

Our girl Winnie at riverside lunch spot.

Sentinel: our girl Winnie at riverside lunch spot

Serene lunch spot.  Already the maples are changing colors.

Serene lunch spot. Already the maples are changing colors.

I will also include a few photos from a summer hike to Pete Lake.  I didn’t have time to post these photos earlier and the place is so beautiful (another long but easy hike!) that I just had to include these few photos:

Gorgeous Pete Lake!

Gorgeous Pete Lake! (Model: Rick Clark!)

Scenes like this make me feel like I am in a movie.  I truly love summer and hiking in Washington!

Scenes like this make me feel like I am in a movie. I truly love summer and hiking in Washington!

Squirrel (one of the most difficult words for foreigners to say in English-especially my Italian cousins and my Japanese friends!).  This friendly guy kept trying to get into our packs in search of food! Probably getting ready for Autumn which is already upon us.

Squirrel (one of the most difficult words for foreigners to say in English-especially for my Italian cousins and my Japanese friends!). This friendly guy kept trying to get into our packs in search of food! Probably getting ready for autumn which is already upon us.

Besides colorful autumn leaves, spider webs are another sign that summer is on its way out!  Spider webs are everywhere at Ocean Shores.  I can’t walk in the garden without barging in on one.  These photos are of the webs up close. I caught the fractured sun beams and imagined this is how the spider admires our garden at Little Renaissance:

Our garden and forest from the Spider's Point Of View

Our garden and forest from the Spider’s Point Of View

Fractured Light from the spider's web

Fractured Light from the spider’s web

Stehekin Magic

July 21, 2013

Our annual trip to Stehekin is magical as ever. We are almost off the grid here, so WiFi comes and goes. Our dreamy days are filled with hikes (Fran and Leslie) and fishing (Rick). Leslie and I come back from our vigorous hikes in the intense heat, wondering if Rick has caught at trout (and yes, he has!). We did not see bears this time, but we did see adorable twin fawns playing and jumping over each other while their mother rested, semi-hidden among the trees. And though we did not see bears this time, we did see cougar scat and not far from that spot, we saw cougar paw prints along the shore!

I’d like to post some photo collages I put together from our stay here!


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