Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fortune Creek Pass, Esmerelda Basin, 2018

Sign at the trail head

Where did we go last week?  We took a long drive to the Teanaway in eastern Washington, continued up 10 miles on a dirt, washboard road to the Esmerelda Basin trail to what I kept on calling Fortune Cookie Pass in my head but what is really Fortune Creek Pass.  This was by far the most strenuous hike I have tried.  It is about 7 miles round trip with a 1750 foot vertical gain.  The distance and the elevation were not beyond my abilities, I did Cascade Pass last year and that was 7.5 miles and 1800 ft of gain, but the this trail was extremely rough in places with lots of loose rocks and some more than mildly steep sections.  Going down was particularly treacherous.  Even using trekking poles did not prevent both of us from slips on the rocks that nearly ended in falls.  

Here I am trudging up

Were we rewarded for the effort?  Oh, yes, with brilliant displays of fall colors, a few flowers still in bloom including the Scarlet Gilia, or Skyrocket.  Bob had not seen one of these flowers for about 10 years and we saw about a dozen on this hike.  They only grow on the east side of the Cascades.  

 Scarlet Gilia or Skyrocket

We also had a close encounter with a pica that scurried away at a rapid pace without posing for a picture, and a golden mantled ground squirrel who peeked out of his hole and looked around long enough for photos.  

 Have they gone?

 I don't hear anything . . .

I guess it is safe to come out . . .

Let's take a closer look . . .

 Oops, not safe, better run back inside . . .

The views were grand from the top and along the way we saw several meadows that were filled with pale golden bracken ferns, yellow leaves, and grass juxtaposed with dark green conifers.  

Mt Hinman, a glaciated peak,  in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.   
Side view of Esmerelda Peaks

Looking north from Fortune Creek Pass

Fairly typical trail with rocks, rougher than it looks in the picture

 Red prostate huckleberry leaves, no berries, alas

Esmerelda Peaks from the east

 Mixed meadow colors

Bracken fern in the foreground, meadow and conifers


Mixed fall colors

Most folks starting at this trail head go to Lake Ingalls instead of Fortune Creek Pass.  

Trail junction, right to Lake Ingalls and left to Esmerelda

There were several cars, perhaps as many as 20, in the parking area but our count for the day was:  1 hiker, no dogs.  

Roadside color on the teeth-rattling dirt road

Thursday, September 27, 2018

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 370

"Watching the Dancers," Hopi, 1906
[photo:  Edward S. Curtis]

When we were visiting the Redwoods I found the two postcards shared this week at the Trees of Mystery gift shop.  That shop also had a small museum with a very impressive collection of Native American photographs, artwork and jewelry.  Both cards are unused, published by AZUZA Publishing Co., LLC, Englewood, Colorado and have vintage photographs. 

The hairstyle shown on these two cards caught my interest and was the reason I purchased the cards.   A month or two after that trip Bob and I visited the Seattle Art Museum’s Double Exposure exhibition with photographs by Edward S. Curtis and a few others who specialized in Native American portraits and life scenes. 

The top postcard has a 1906 photograph by Edward S. Curtis titled “Watching the Dancers.”  It shows Hopi maidens looking out and down toward the plaza area where the dancers were performing.   The card below has a 1901 photograph by Adam Clark Vroman and shows the front view of a Hopi maiden with the same hairstyle. 


Hopi maiden, Hoo-n-ym-pka, 1901
[photo:  Adam Clark Vroman]

If the style looks a little familiar it is probably because a modified version of it was used for Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies.  Young unmarried Hopi women wore this style called Squash Blossom or Butterfly Whorl.  The hair is parted and wound around a U shaped wooden hoop in a figure 8 pattern, tied in the middle, then spread or fanned out to make the circle shape.  The description of how it was accomplished reminded me of making pom-poms out of yarn.  They are also wound around a shape, cardboard usually, tied off, and then spread out to make round balls.  The rather complicated hairstyle required a helper and presumably some time to get it just right.  I do not know how often it was unwound and redone but it would have needed at least some repair work after sleeping on it or following hair washing. 

Edward Sheriff Curtis, 1868-1952, spent 30 years photographing and recording Native American people of the western United States.  He carried this camera, glass photo plates, and the tripod with him in his travels.  

With over 40,000 images he filled 20 volumes chronicling the Native Americans.  Many of the scenes were re-enactments staged for the pictures by people who were alive when the events were experienced and could remember the dances, poses, and costumes. 

Curtis’s work started in the 1890s and ended in the 1920s.  A sense of urgency accompanied him especially in the later years when the native people were adopting western European dress and life-styles.  He wanted to record a vanishing life and people before it became totally gone by assimilation into the new emerging American culture.   He used a variety of photo developing techniques and was criticized by some for doing too much manipulation of the images. 

Some of his ethnological ideas and stereotyping may seem odd or offensive to us today but his photographs are beautiful and without them much of the western pictorial history would not exist.  A comment from one man regarding the discovery of an unexpected picture of his grandmother at age 18 was that he had only known her as a very old woman who lived nearly 100 years, full of wrinkles and very tiny in size.  The picture of her as a young woman he treasures as he never imagined he would see her like that.  

Adam Clark Vroman, 1856-1916, took photographs of the Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo people from 1895 to 1904 and is sometimes referred to as the photographer of the Southwest.  His aim was to humanize rather than romanticize the people.  The most complete collection of his photographs can be found in the Pasadena Public Library.

Most of the images on this wall in the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) are part of the Curtis collection.

For additional information, see:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Apples, part 2

Sorted apples going into a bowl

What are we doing with all those apples we picked off our little tree?  We began sorting, preparing (peeling and coring) and cooking the apples for applesauce today.  Others will be made into pies, some we will eat, because although they are tart they are also sweet and very acceptable for eating as it turns out.  We won’t make all the applesauce at once but we have done 5 batches today.  As they cook the apples are filling the house with a heavenly aroma and the warm applesauce (with whipped cream) is yummy.

Easy Plain Old Fashioned Applesauce*

½ cup water
7 cups of cored and peeled apples
½ cup sugar

For a spicy alternative add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and a little nutmeg with the sugar.

1.  Core, peel and quarter apples.  

2.  Bring ½ cup of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the apples. 
3.  Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

4.  Remove from the heat and add ½ cup sugar.  
5.  Mix the sugar thoroughly into the cooked apples.  
6.  Let stand for a few minutes then pour or ladle into clean freezer containers or glass canning jars.  
7.  Put lids on the containers, label with the date and freeze or refrigerate.  

I’m not sure how long it will last in the refrigerator because ours will get eaten up quickly but the frozen applesauce should be good for a year.  


*The original recipe can be found in a 1963 edition McCall's Cook Book, page 280

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Lake Valhalla, 2018

Our destination this past week was Lake Valhalla on the Smithbrook trail just east of Stevens Pass on part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  There is no outhouse at this trail head but there is a backwoods toilet near the lake.  Once again we met and had conversations with some through hikers, two young women from the Czech Republic and a young German man.  They had all started from Mexico in March or April and had about two weeks of hiking left before reaching Canada.   

Some fall color on the hillside

Bob by a recently broken tree

 The downed tree we had to climb around

This downed tree had a split so we could walk through instead of climbing around

For us it was a day hike of 7 miles or 11 km round trip with a 1550 ft or 472 m vertical gain.  After a few days of cool and rain in the city it turned out to be a sunny, bright cool day in the mountains.  For the most part this trail is in very good condition.  There were a couple of trees down, one that we had to climb around, a few rocks and some roots as we neared the lake.  There are long switchbacks that I find much easier than steps.  

 View from the trail

On the trail looking down about 300 ft or 91 m to Lake Valhalla

We saw a couple of these signs warning that campfires were not allowed at the lake campsites

We made it!  On the lake shore near our lunch spot

Last time Bob and I tried this in 2015 I was not able to make it the entire way to the lake.  He keeps telling me that I am stronger now and I keep telling him but I am older.  Nevertheless, I did make it to the lake and am so glad.  It was simply stunning.

Now there are just a few flowers still in bloom, the bushes and deciduous trees are turning color . . .

 Easy to miss, this small green Single Delight

 We think this may be last year's bloom of a pine drop

Mushrooms growing in a rotting tree stump

 Mountain ash berries

One lone aster

 When we saw this partly eaten cone we knew a little critter should be near

Golden mantled ground squirrel with his treat

The photo above was taken looking due south to Mt. Daniel, on left, and Mt. Hinman, on right, from the trail high point of 5100 ft or 1554 m before it drops down to the lake.  Mt. Daniel is 7900 ft or 2407 m high and Mt. Hinman is 7000 ft or 2133 m high.  Both have permanent glaciers.

The count:  28 people, including 3 through hikers, and 10 dogs.