Saturday, 24 September 2016

Chihuly Garden & Glass, Seattle

One of the highlights of our trip to the west coast was our visit last Saturday to the Chihuly Garden and Glass art museum.

Despite the unfortunately very grey skies, the garden and glasshouse sculptures, immediately under the famous Space Needle monument were beautiful and very colourful.

Some of the shapes and forms were familiar from previous Chihuly in the Garden exhibits that we have seen in Atlanta and Miami.

The image of the Space Needle kept popping up - as it does from many viewpoints in Seattle.

Some of the glass sculptures fitted in very well with the flowers and foliage surrounding them.

Others simply stood alone as enormous abstract glass sculptures.

In an outdoor corridor are a series of glass art chandeliers..

We had hoped to get back to see the outdoor exhibits in better light or illuminated in the evening, but it was not to be.

The indoor exhibits were beautifully lit and very effective.. will share some of these tomorrow..

Friday, 23 September 2016

Portland, Oregon

We have spent the last day of our holiday in the city of Portland, Oregon.  Arriving last evening, there was a clear view out over the city and the Williamette River, as well as the mountains that we had left, from our room on the 16th floor.

We decided to take an evening boat trip along the river. 

Portland is known as the City of Bridges and we saw a good number on our trip down the river, beginning with the Hawthorne Bridge outside the hotel which had a novel way of lifting to allow taller ships to pass underneath.

Most of the trip was in darkness and gradually the bridges were illuminated.

This morning, sunrise was the best bit of the day, unfortunately!  We even convinced ourselves that we could see Mount Hood in the distance - which is certainly possible on a clear day.

We spent the day pottering in the city before coming to the airport this evening (so far the first stage of our journey has been delayed by an hour so we are now hoping that we won't miss our connecting flight in Denver...)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

In the Mist

We woke up this morning to find ourselves shrouded in thick mist.  Although we were staying just below Mount Hood, we could not see the mountain at all.

We headed to the nearby village of Government Camp, at the base of the mountain, to visit the museum and cultural centre.  Although we were 'killing time' and hoping for the low cloud to clear, we found the exhibits fascinating and spent ages looking at them.

A reconstruction of the forest watch lookout tower - vital in the summer to watch for forest fires.

Collections of skis - some old, some more modern.

Reconstructions of the interiors of the original cabins at Government Camp - closely resembling alpine chalets with fascinating details making each one individual..

We moved on to visit Timberline Lodge.  At 6,000 feet up on the side of Mount Hood this is a historic monument now - a ski resort built in the 1930's.

When we arrived, some of the mist had gone but the summit was still shrouded in cloud.

We explored Timberline Lodge.  Very solidly built it had a timeless quality about it..

We stopped to have some lunch - amazing views from the window as the mist began to clear...

After lunch we set off on a trail up the mountain..

We weren't brave enough to attempt this one..

Unfortunately the mist rolled back quite soon, obscuring our views both up and down the mountain..

We gave up and headed back to the Lodge, then on to Portland where we are spending our last night before flying back.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Columbia River Gorge & Mount Hood

Our first stop this morning was at an overlook above the Columbia River which marks the state boundary between Washington and Oregon.  As the mist started to burn off, the wide river and towering cliffs were revealed.

We diverted from the River Gorge road to drive and then walk through densely wooded slopes to Lark Mountain where, on a pinnacle of rock surrounded by tall fir trees for miles around, it was possible to see Mount Hood (22 miles away); Mount Adams (64 miles away); Mount Jefferson (62 miles away); Mount St Helens (46 miles away) and even, in the distance and blending in with the clouds, Mount Rainier (92 miles away).  We were very lucky that it was so clear.

The next viewpoint at the Columbia River was Crown Point, high above the gorge.

This is a purpose built (1916) vantage point and visitor centre for the benefit of early motorcar travelers on the Columbia Gorge Highway when it was newly built.

The views from the gallery of the Vista House were amazing.

The Gorge is renowned for the many varieties of wildflower that grow in its many different habitats - here it was an everlasting sweet pea that caught my eye.

Our next stops along the Gorge were to walk the trails to a number of different waterfalls.  All very spectacular and all reached by steep paths!

The trees at the side of the Gorge get little sunlight and the air is very damp - as evidenced by the extraordinary growth of moss on the trunks and branches..

Further along the Gorge we crossed the 'Bridge of the Gods' over the river.

At the end of the Gorge and close to the end of the day we sped on to our hotel near Mount Hood, through apple and pear orchards and past berry farms and wineries, before the road started to climb again and the tall Douglas Firs reclaimed the slopes.

Mount Hood was shrouded in mist when we got close.

We just had time to go to Lake Trillium, a known spot to photograph the mountain, as sunset approached.

There was very little light left in the sky, but it gives the images an interesting colour cast..