Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Horsetail/Ponytail Falls with Dave

I dragged Dave along for my weekly hike. This time I wanted to do a shorter hike, so we went to Horsetail Falls Loop, which is 2.6 miles,m and only 610ft elevation gain. We started out by parking at Horsetail Falls, which wasn't too bad because the big crowds were at Multnomah Falls, and started heading up the switchbacks. It was a beautiful day, couldn't hardly ask for a nicer temperature, especially in the shade of the trees.


After hiking a short distance, we came to Ponytail Falls.


The trail goes behind the waterfall, into a great cavernous area in the rock wall.





What a cool place to sit around and watch the activities and listen to the water for a bit.



Daredevil Dave on the edge. Seriously, it was a scary drop off just a few steps away.


What a view!


Continuing along we came to Oneonta Gorge and Middle Oneonta Falls.


What a lovely forest trail!


Finally we were back on the old highway. Looking up, we could see these amazing rock formations overhead.





The walking path goes through this old tunnel.


And finally we were back to Horsetail Falls. A nice easy hike on a hot day, and just far enough for Dave since his boots aren't as broken in as mine are yet. It was nice he had a day off so we could get out together.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena Falls Loop


Back to my weekly hiking trip, I decided to do the Multnomah Falls - Wahkeena Falls Loop.  That is 5 miles and 1600ft elevation gain, so not as bad as Tom, Dick, and Harry a couple weeks ago. Oh wait, it's a mile shorter, and only 100ft less elevation - that probably means it's about the same or worse. Well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Last time I hiked to the top of Multnomah, when I came home all my friends said I should have kept going! Well, I wasn't quite up to it that time, but this time I am a bit lighter and a lot stronger, so I was up for it. First I had to sit in traffic on the old highway for half an hour just to get to the parking lot, then weave my way through approximately one billion tourists speaking every language you could imagine, I love to see all these people coming to see what we can drive out here and enjoy anytime. 





Luckily the farther you go, the fewer people there are. Some people never go past the lower viewing platform. Many more stop at Benson Bridge. A few more head on up the switchbacks, but it definitely thins out at that point. I was stopping to rest halfway up and chatted with a nice Pakistani couple where were also catching their breath. They were discussing if they could make it up all 11 switchbacks, and I told them the last few switchbacks go downhill - and he translated that for his wife and she seemed relieved :) Indeed, 9 is the last uphill switchback, then you go over the top and back downhill the next couple to the river at the top of the waterfall. 

This time I didn't even go check out the top-of-the-falls viewing platform, instead I headed upriver. I chatted with some folks coming from that direction to confirm I was going the right way. In this picture, the trail hugs the rock wall to the right.



Then you come to Dutchman Falls, which was a nice little waterfall, with water roaring past on this day, making a cool spot to sit for a few minutes and relax after the long hike up. 



Pretty view back down Multnomah Creek in the direction I came. The trail hugs the rock wall to the left in this shot.



The trail goes under this cool basalt overhang called Dutchman's Tunnel. Oregon Hiker's site says this trail was built in 1915!




My favorite shot of the trip. Heck, my favorite shot of the summer so far! Weisendanger Falls. I had to wait a few minutes for the small crowd to clear, but that was the end of crowds on this journey. After this it was just passing by single hikers here and there along the way.



The trail passed right by the top of Ecola Falls, but I only got this peek-a-boo look at it, since I didn't want to go sliding down the muddy bank to get a better view. 



This whole walk is just ridiculously pretty. It's like something out of a fairy tale.



Things were a little confusing here. I KNOW I don't want to go to Larch Mountain, and I am already on #441, but what I'm looking for at the junction is #420. Luckily someone added the note on the bottom to help me out - Wahkeena Falls -> Thataway. That was my guess, but I've heard of people getting lost up here, and since I was alone I really wanted to be sure!



Pretty, peaceful walk.




Why can't someone pay me to do this?

The camera is level in this next shot, to show how steep the hill behind the sign is - VERY steep!



This is what I'm looking for. Definitely on the right trail, and finally heading back downhill. That was a long climb up. 



I saw these cool Indian Pipe plants. I only saw this one little patch of them on the whole walk. They survive on fungus that survive on trees. What a cool adaptation!



Now I guess I'm following Wahkeena Creek back down.



This beauty is Fairy Falls. It is a lovely cascade of water. 



There was a Japanese family I kept passing and then they would pass me, so I asked them to take my picture. I wasn't sure if they spoke English because I heard them talking to each other in Japanese, but they spoke perfect English, of course! So here I am in front of Fairy Falls (it's only 20ft high).



And..my last shot of Wahkeena Creek before my camera battery died! 



After this I came to Lemmon's Viewpoint, named after a firefighter who died fighting fires in the area. Beautiful little overlook of the Gorge, and a nice place to rest up a little. 

I guess I should have shot a pic of Wahkeena Falls with my phone, but I didn't think of it. I sat on a bench and loosened up my boots for a few minutes (my toes were complaining from the long downhill), then crossed the little bridge that goes right in front of Wahkeena and the water makes a delightful spray on a hot day. Then at the bottom I just had to follow a half mile trail that followed the Old Highway back to Multnomah Falls, and my waiting car. It was a great hike, and the most waterfalls I'd ever seen on one hike! I'm glad my friends told me to go back and do it!

I'll have to go back and get pics of Wahkeena Falls sometime.

_

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Johnny - My Miracle Mustang

I don't normally post on this blog about the Mustang so much, because it has it's own blog, and this is where I post home and family stuff. But this is big news, and Johnny IS family - and Johnny is running again. I sent him over to my friend Jim's house in October, right before getting laid off from my job :( Jim did an amazing job of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again for as little $$$ as he could manage. Maybe this should be called the Bionic Mustang, because he is better, stronger, faster than ever before!

Jim squeezed a 302 under the hood. This is considered nearly impossible in some circles, because 74 Mustangs have a smaller engine bay that was never intended to hold a V8, in fact when I discussed it online someone had the gall to tell me I was lying because it was impossible! Nope, not impossible.




Either way, Johnny is my Miracle Mustang, because Johnny was my first car in 1987, and I sold it in 1993 shortly after we got married. Then I kicked myself for doing so for years while I bought and restored other Mustangs, until I couldn't stand it anymore, and knowing that the odds were that someone had junked it and cut it up by then, I went looking for it in 2005. Thanks to help from other Mustang lovers online, I found it. I handed over the cash and brought my old friend home, not running. Then I proceeded to have rough times that stopped me from really spending the money on it that I wanted to for years, until I met Jim (completely coincidentally - he came to look at a part I had for sale - not even a Mustang II part, but he saw my pony in the garage and said 'hey, I have one of those, and a bunch of extra parts too'). He had the parts, and the know-how to make it happen. And he is just an all-around awesome guy!

So I pulled the old drivetrain out, rebuilt the brakes, resealed the gas tank and cleaned out the fuel lines, and sent it over to his house. He did all the magic.



It's got a ways to go before other people will be too impressed by it, but to me..sigh, I'm more than a little in love with this silly yellow Mustang that my Grandpa found for me 29 years ago! Back then I paid $1000 which I had saved up from my afterschool job at the pet store. Today, I've got more than that in the engine.

Here's my reward:



Mustang II - New 302 Engine from Stephanie Roberts on Vimeo.


Seeing it roll out of the garage under it's own power for the first time since..well, it wasn't running when I brought it home in 2005, so..first time in a LONG time. And it sure as heck didn't SOUND like that back in the day!

A couple days later he declared it finished enough to go home. Still lots of work to do:




but it's running and driving.






We rearranged the garage to make room. Now I have TWO completely impractical cars! Lucky me!




I started playing around with polishing off the oxidation to make it look a little nicer. I plan to take it to some cruise-ins this summer, even if it is ugly.



And I can even drive it on errands, like here where I drove it to the gym. It's a real car now, it runs and drives!

So, that's my amazing project Mustang. Mustang #7 for me, and yet also Mustang #1. It's something so many car enthusiasts wish they could have - their first car, the one they drove their friends around in at school, the one they took their first dates in, and I'm so incredibly lucky to have sold mine, and then found it again. Not one 'like' it, but my actual, honest to goodness, first car. Grandpa never would have guessed I'd still have my yellow pony all these years later!





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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Just for fun

I wanted to get the dogs photographed against a beautiful blue-sky-puffy-cloud background. Finally had the perfect sky for it, so I enlisted Dave's help to get Navi to pose up on a bench, while I got down low to try and get the sky behind her. Barclay wasn't interested in participating.



Nice Profile



Navi is so eager to do right and be good, she is just delightfully goofy sometimes.



What a pretty girl!


"The hand of God" :)



_

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain

I screwed up my courage and headed off on another solo adventure - to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain. This is my first hike outside of the Gorge. It is a 6 mile hike, with 1700ft elevation gain, so the most strenuous hike I've done so far. It is up by Mt Hood, with spectacular views, and along the way you pass by Mirror Lake, with a beautiful reflection of Mt Hood. On a clear day, anyway.

The trailhead is right on Highway 26, so I found a spot and started walking. Among other firsts, I got to cross a scree slope, which I've always thought would be pretty scary, but the well-used trail was actually quite stable on the slope. I crossed several of these by the time I was done.



The trail continued on through lovely forests. Everything was a little muddy, because it had been raining, and was actually raining off and on during my hike. Enough that everytime I thought it was over and tried to take off my rain jacket, it would start sprinkling again. So I had my jacket and hat on the whole hike.




Notice the rhododendrons blooming along the trail - neat!


Finally I came to Mirror Lake, which is only a mile and a half in. This was a nice place to stop and rest a little, have a snack, and enjoy the view. That lump on top of the ridge straight ahead is where I'm going. At this point I was looking at it and thinking, no, there's really no way I'm going all the way up there! It looked pretty high from the lake.




I started to walk around the lake to see the view of Mt Hood, but I could tell it was clouded over. I got to the trail to Tom Dick and Harry and thought about it. No way, I'll never make it, I told myself. There was a family at the trail junction with three little kids, and they said 'you go ahead, we don't want to slow you down!' I thought, NO ONE has ever slowed ME down, I'm the slowest hiker out there! But seeing them was the push I needed, and I thought, I'll just go up the trail a ways and see what it looks like - I can always turn around when  I'm halfway tired.

Another first for me - hiking in a Wilderness area!


Bear Grass



A pretty view of the valley, but no mountain.




Pretty, whatever it is! I think it's Indian Paintbrush.




Still plugging along, another beautiful viewpoint, but no mountain.



Pretty little flowers,



Getting closer to the top. Still no mountain.




Funky moss on a rock.




I was stopped for a rest from the relentless uphill climb, and saw a couple coming downhill, so I chatted them up about the hike. They said it was worth it, and they got a view of the mountain at the top! But they warned me, I was about ten minutes from the rockpile, and after that it got 'climby'. Ok, not sure what that means...

Rockpile!



Oh, THAT'S what 'climby' means...




So, it looked like that off and on for the last 20 minutes, and then finally, I climbed up a rocky bit, and tah dah! On top of the world! Looking down on Mirror Lake - and no mountain.




Tom Dick and Harry is cool, look at all those rocks pushed together! I read it was formed through glacial action, as opposed to all the basalt/lava I've been seeing in the gorge.




There was another family at the top and I chatted with them. They were visiting from North Carolina, and they were eating lunch and hoping it would clear up and give them a view before they had to head back down.

Nope.



So I sat down against a boulder to eat my lunch..and it started SNOWING on me!!




The snow cleared up and I walked around and took some pictures. I think this is Columbine.




TD&H also has a beautiful view of Mt Jefferson to the south. On a clear day...




So my new friends and I took pictures for each other, and they reluctantly headed on down. Here I am with Mt Cloudy in the background.




Now I had the top of the world to myself, so I settled down on top of a boulder and decided to soak up the sun and rest a bit.




I closed my eyes and opened them when a raven flew by so close I could hear his feathers rustling! Cool. I closed my eyes again. So quiet. Just the wind...and some rocks clinking together. I heard it again. I was not alone up here!





Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels! There were two of them, running around. One even came up and sat right next to me on the boulder, and then took off before I could catch a selfie with him!




After about an hour of resting on the top, I decided to head back down. It was beautiful, and I can't wait to go back. On a clear day, next time!




___