art retreats, Cannon Beach, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Pam Patrie’s Creative Retreat, May 2016

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Later that afternoon, we arrived at Pam’s cabin where Jeanne and Jenny and Glen had already arrived. It was so great to see them and meet Glen. He and Sandy spent most of Saturday together exploring Lewis and Clark National Park, Fort Stevens and Cannon Beach while the women played with dyes and silk yarns. I painted a second weft to try again at home.

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As usual, Pam pampered us with incredible meals. On the first night this lemon pasta dish blew me away. That reminds me, I need to put lemons on my grocery list.

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I didn’t take a lot of photos here, but that is a sign of a good retreat for me. I was too caught up in the present moment to pick up the camera, and the hours whizzed by. For more photos of Pam’s retreats from 2014 and 2015, please see these links:

A winding path to the sea

So fresh was the air, like a breath taken from the stars

What beholds a given day, an hour, a moment

Tapestry retreat with Susan Maffei and Archie Brennan at Pam’s Cabin Part I, Part II, and Part III.

The June 2015 Trip to Oregon – Pam’s Place

Astoria, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Astoria, Oregon, May 19-20, 2016

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Sandy and I arrived at the Commodore Hotel in downtown Astoria in the early evening. The Commodore is a restored hotel with tiny rooms and (in our case) bathrooms on the hallway, but big on style and absolutely clean as a whistle. The staff was great. We were offered a glass of local beer before we headed to our room on the second floor, where we had the street view.

Astoria is a big tourist place but it is also one of the oldest towns on the west coast. The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean here at the mouth of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark National Park as well as several historic sites and state parks surround it. There are lots of interesting shops and artists and several breweries here. Our first stop was at Fort George Brewery. I ordered the Plaid Scotch Ale and the Quick Wit. Not my favorites. But we ate dinner at the bar and I pronounced both the Wallapa Bay oysters and the “Buddy Rich” beet and arugula salad the best I ever ate.

Behind the bar at Fort George Brewery Public House

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The next morning we walked along the harbor. There were a lot of murals. We shopped in a good thrift store and Sandy bought me a beautiful batik tunic from La Luna Loca. We ate lunch on the waterfront at Bridgewater Bistro, where I had the salmon.

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Before we left Astoria, we had to go see the sea lions. I was surprised at how big and loud they were. We saw some of the boats that were the subjects of the paintings in the restaurant.

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Click on the photo to go to Flickr for the video and audio of the sea lions.

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Montana/PNW trip, National Parks and Monuments, Washington, Wildflowers

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

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On Thursday, May 19, we decided to drive in the rain to Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. When we stopped at the state-run visitor’s center near the edge of the park, they showed us the view we could expect at the observatory, which was solid white. We decided to go anyway, and I’m glad that we did. The ride was beautiful and by the time we got to the top it was snowing.

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In the observatory center, we talked to a ranger, looked at exhibits telling the stories of people who did and didn’t survive the blast, and watched a film about how the biodiversity in the blast plain increased because of the introduction of sunlight. Some burrowing creatures and those on the sides of the mountains away from the blast survived. Many new species moved in.

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When the film screen came up after the first film, it showed a wall of white cloud behind the large windows. We decided to watch the second film, which was focused on geology. This time, when the screen lifted, the clouds had cleared up just enough for us to see the plain in front of the blast, not the mountain. Everyone hustled outside and we took a few photos before it faded back into white.

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On the way back we stopped at Patty’s Place to have some delicious cobbler. When a man at the table next to us asked for Texas Pete for his elk burger, Sandy asked them where they were from. Lexington, NC, right down the road from Greensboro. Patty’s Place had a big wrap-around porch and I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds in one place in my life. I’m sorry that I didn’t have an elk burger. Sounded good.

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Then we headed to Astoria, Oregon, driving along the Columbia River on the west side of I-5. I could see living in that area if it wasn’t for earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides and volcanoes. Those make me a bit nervous.

Montana/PNW trip, National Parks and Monuments, Washington

Whitefish to Portland

Somewhere on the way to Seattle, taken from the train:

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We had a few hours to kill in downtown Seattle so we visited the Klondike Gold Rush National Park, a museum located in an old hotel, and I got another stamp for my national park passport book. Woo hoo! We visited the other end of this park in Skagway, Alaska back in 2009 when we took a train ride along the White Pass trail of 1898.

Photos from Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle:

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^^^Yummy lunch at Pho Fuschia in Seattle.

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By the time we arrived in Portland, we had had enough of the train. We took the TriMet light rail to the airport, the shuttle to the rental car agency, drove to a musty Four Points hotel in NE Portland (to which I’ll never return), ate some forgettable Chinese food, and crashed.

Glacier National Park, Montana, Montana/PNW trip, National Parks and Monuments, Wildflowers

Glacier National Park, May 17, 2016, Part II

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Next we headed north to the east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road at St. Mary’s Lake. I wanted to do a bit more hiking but we had no water left in our bottles and every store in the little town there was closed. We drove up as far as we could to the point where you could see Jackson Glacier. It looked like a snowfield in the distance, which was a bit disappointing after some of the dramatic glaciers we saw in Alaska. I took photos of wildflowers everywhere that I could.

Near the bottom of the road a grizzly bear ran in front of the car ahead of us out of a meadow into a little stand of trees. I only got a glimpse because I was fumbling with my camera. Lesson learned – I mostly missed seeing the bear AND I didn’t get the shot. But still! A grizzly bear!

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^^^There it is. “Jackson Glacier is approximately the seventh largest of the remaining 25 glaciers in Glacier National Park…In 1850, there were an estimated 150 glaciers in the park. Glaciologists have stated that by the year 2030, many if not all of the glaciers in the park may disappear completely.”

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^^^This was a lovely little stream with several waterfalls and a good trail. Those are colorful rocks, not leaves.

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^^^The sedimentary layers in the Lewis Overthrust were fascinating.

In front of the East Glacier Depot

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^^^We returned the car, hung out at the historic depot, and got on the train with no problem. Taking clear photos from the train was not easy, so I don’t have many. I smuggled a few Montana beers with us which I ended up lugging around for most of the trip! We had dinner on the train and I got off for a few minutes at Whitefish, but after that we slept through the rest of Montana, Idaho, and the edge of eastern Washington.