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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Alex's Overlook or All That Work For A View?

The story of the spring and summer of 2016 has been all about rain. Here's another result of one of our torrential downpours in late June... that's over 3 inches again! 
So all that rain means that the Cascade River has never run higher or fuller for longer in the summer, at least not in our limited experience since 2006. I used this exceptionally high river run as an excuse to make good on a "project"... yes, another project ... to explore more of our river edge. Our land mostly have pretty steep slopes by our river, so the exploration involved a fair amount of scrambling and climbing down. 

Once there, a few shots of the river's edge near to our north boundary....
...some lovely blue flag wild iris, like the image on the "front page" of this blog...some river foam in the background.... 
Looking upstream...
...and down...
...and proof that it was me taking the pix...
Hard to get a sense from this 2 dimensional photo, but the bank was very steep looking back up! 
Along the way I found a few new-to-me wildflowers and plants... this little starry flower caught my eye...
... it is nestled in next to some ground strawberry plants (not in bloom or berry at the moment) but I had not seen this down-turned star before. Digging through the books back up at the cabin and I discovered this is called a one-flowered wintergreen. Cute! Also, not rare - once I found it I started seeing it lots of places...
Here is an interesting fern-like plant, there was lots of these and they are larger than they appear in the pic. Couldn't find these in the books... anyone know what this is?
These big green leaves were as large as extra-large dinner plates...
...and underneath was a small packet of green seed pods. My friend Kent says that this is the late summer leaves and seeds of marsh marigold, which blooms a nice yellow in the early summer. I'll have to come back next year for another look! 
One more mystery plant - kind of looks like tobacco! 
I didn't succeed in finding a better route to the river than we already have, and no good places to clear a spot for a better "overlook" than we already had started on the road. So, the story unfolds like this - our friend Alex visited last year in September and helped us clear brush and get a really good start on an excellent "river view" overlook on our road. So this year, when Alex decided he hadn't had quite enough punishment in his regular life and he needed a few bug bites and some scraped knees, we put him to work helping buff up and further develop that overlook! Here he is with Val muscling a small tree up and out of the way... all of the brush we cut got hauled up to the road to the truck...

Many hours of labor, about 18000 steps (on the FitBit) and a few hundred "flights of stairs" later... 

...we could stand at the top...
... and show off...
"Alex's Overlook"!! 
And here is the roadside view up the river ... all this view is new as of Alex's visit at the end of June! Wow, what a view and you have NO idea how much work this represents!! 
And here is the "old" view looking downriver from the road side, spiffed up with more open to catch a better glimpse of that blue water...
Alex and I slid and clambered down to the riverside to clip a few branches and brush right at water level...and managed to not fall in.
Just above river level... beautiful! 
...and a peek from the slope down into that clear but tea-colored river water. 
Underneath the layers of moose maple, scraggly balsam fir, skinny birch, half-dead cedar and other stuff we'd just as soon get out of the way, were several very healthy looking Canada Yew bushes.
Not for consumption - poisonous - but quite lovely, very slow growing and reportedly a sign of good healthy land and biodiversity. We'll take it! 
This was the first of ...umm.. 3 loads of brush from the work that Alex helped us with that day... wow! 
We are fortunate that it is a short drive for us to haul brush to one of the County brush deposits, ie, our gravel pit that sits along our access road. About 3 miles away. We haul brush there all the time and are "big contributors" as they say. In late fall the county will bulldoze all of this into one enormous pile and burn it. 
Thank you Alex, thank you so very much... and you are invited back anytime! 


Back down by the riverside again, on another day... sweet...



I think we might have found our new "best spot" to enjoy the river! Though getting there might involve stairs, or perhaps a tow rope...

Finally, rain means, of course... 
Hard to capture the image but this was a complete "bow" half circle from one horizon to the other! Gorgeous! Makes all that rain completely worth it! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello from Georgia!
    Wondered when the next update will be? Lots going on in our neck of the woods. G & Lori

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