We have a saying, here in the Seattle area…that when the skies are blue and Mount Rainier is shining in all its glory, we say loud and clear, “The ‘mountain’ is out!” And boy, was that phrase heard far and wide over the past few days! We have been blessed with some of the most perfect weather for this time of year. I had been waiting for just these days to visit Mount Rainier National Park for the first time this year. The Cascade Mountains had received so much snow this past spring and late winter, and so there is still snow completely covering the Paradise meadows and trails. The Reflection Lakes are covered with snow and ice as well.
At the lower levels of the park, one can hike through forest settings, such as the Trail of the Shadows and the Twin Firs Trail. The Paradise River is running full force and Narada Falls is spectacular, right now, with the trail to the falls viewing area fully accessible.
Spreading Phlox – the only flower species I came across that is growing along the sides of the road near the Reflection Lakes. It smells wonderful!
Along the Trail of the Shadows, located in the Longmire section of the park.
I have visited a couple more of my favorite, botanical gardens, recently: Heronswood Garden and the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, both located in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. I have decided to combine photos from both gardens into one blog post. I hope you enjoy these spring blooms!
Barrenwort Flowers (Epimedium species)
False Solomon’s Seal
Giant White Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) and Barrenwort leaves
Spending time this past month walking through local botanical gardens, as this is my favorite time of year for colorful varieties of blooming plants and flowers. It was such a cold spring, and almost all of the usual spring blooms were a few weeks late blooming. But already we’re past peak bloom time for cherry blossoms and plum blossoms. As usual, I’ve made a few visits to some of my favorite gardens in the region. Yesterday I visited Lakewold Gardens, located in Lakewood, Washington. They are noted for their many varieties of rhododendrons and other flowering species of plants. Here are a few photos that I hope you will enjoy!
Wintertime is usually my time off from traveling and photography. So in its place, today I will post some images of a favorite place of mine, Timberline Lodge, located at the 6,000 ft level on the side of Mount Hood, one in the string of volcanoes in the Cascade Range, and the tallest peak in Oregon. It’s the only place in the US where one can ski year-round, except for one month, so that the resort can get ready for the winter ski season. From the lodge, looking south, one can see Mount Jefferson in the distance, the second tallest peak in Oregon.
Timberline Lodge is a national historic landmark, built by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and dedicated September 28, 1937, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It’s combined stone masonry and timbers remind me of a castle. I felt taken back in time upon entering this magnificent structure. Below are photos taken from the archive of images I have taken over the years.
“And into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” Most of us are familiar with the popular John Muir quote. It’s one of my favorites. And as one who loves to walk in the woods and forests nearby, I find the quote to be quite introspective for me. Forest bathing, as it is called now, is so soothing and relaxing.
Over this past weekend, I took advantage of the sunny and dry, autumn weather to immerse myself into our lush Pacific Northwest forests. Green ferns, moss-covered trees and gnarly branches along with fallen leaf-covered trails awaited my arrival. The deeper I advanced into the forest, the darker it became and the quieter it became. It was so quiet that one could hear individual leaves falling to the ground, bumping into other branches on their way down. Some never make it to the ground but instead land up being impaled on a sharp branch stub, where it ultimately withers and turns into a crinkly, dried out, brown leaf.
Included are several photos I took along my forest walk. I showed some to a friend, who remarked that they reminded her of LOTR (Lord of the Rings). “Quick! Call Peter Jackson and tell him to send his film crew there,” she said. All that was missing were a few dwarfs, elves and other fantasy forest characters.