.All Trips / Pacific Northwest / Washington

A fall visit to the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden, Spokane, Washington

Fall 2008 031 Japanese Garden, Manito Park

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is sharing less commonly visited but interesting destinations.  The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden in Spokane, Washington, certainly fits that bill.  A smaller garden, well known to locals but not to many tourists, it has its charms!  When I lived in Spokane I’d commonly stop by as it was midway between the hospital where I worked and the library I frequented.  I enjoy the calm nature and beauty of Japanese gardens.  They are places where nature, tranquility, gardening skills, and art merge.

The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Garden sits on the site of the old zoo (closed in the 1930s).  The garden was designed by Nagao Sakurai, a master garden architect (who at one time was …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 31, 2015. The Pumpkin Harvest, Green Bluff, Washington

Fall 2008 003  Harvest Festival Green Bluff

Today is Halloween and to celebrate the season I’ve put up some images of a pumpkin patch and field of ripe pumpkins.

Green Bluff is a farming mesa just north of Spokane, popular with fruit and vegetable growers.  There are a number of festivals in the area throughout the season, but undoubtedly one of the most popular is October’s ‘Harvest Festival’.  These pictures were taken a few years back and bring back some pleasant memories of when my kids were young and got very excited about carving pumpkins or going trick-or-treating.

Enjoy the day!

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, October 31, 2015. The Pumpkin Harvest, Green Bluff, Washington
.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest / Washington

The Amazing Columbia River Gorge!

Columbia River 3-2006 020  Oneonta Gorge  Beacon Rock in distance.

One of the most scenic road trips anywhere in the world is on the Oregon side of the Gorge, on the Columbia River Highway (I-84), between Portland and the Dalles.  Besides a smooth drive on the freeway, an excellent diversion here is to head up the old Historic Columbia River Highway, a narrow road that twists its way through the mountains and cliffs, past dozens of waterfalls, including the beautiful 620-foot (190 m)  Multnomah Falls.

The Columbia River is one of North America’s longest, at 1200 miles (1930 km) long, starting in southeastern British Columbia, Canada.  The Columbia River Gorge was carved by glacial floods (especially the Missoula Flood) thousands of years ago and is the only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountain range.  …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 29, 2014: Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge

03 Columbia River 3-2006 057 Vista House

One of the most dramatic road trips one can make in the United States is through the Columbia River Gorge.  The Columbia River, the mightest river in the American West, originates in British Columbia but near its entry to the Pacific serves as a dividing line between Washington and Oregon State.  This historic river route was traveled by the Lewis and Clark expedition over 200 years ago.  The drive along the Gorge just to the east of Portland is breathtaking!

A favorite stopping point along the way on the Oregon side is Vista House, constructed on the Crown Point Promontory.  Once called “Thor’s Heights,” Crown Point is a basalt rock formation created by volcanic lava and sculpted by the elements.   …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 11, 2014: Pike Place Market, Seattle

Seattle 2006 044  Pike’s Market

One of the most popular places in Seattle is Pike Place Market.  Near the city’s waterfront and overlooking Puget’s Sound, but really a world to itself, Pike’s is Seattle’s favorite tourist attraction.  It covers 9 acres and has been designated a National Historic District.

Pike’s was designed to be and still primarily functions as a farmer’s market, with dozens of vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, seafood, cheese, meats, and an assortment of handicrafts.  Most famous among these is Pike Place Fish, where fishmongers throw a fish around every time someone buys one.  There are lots of unusual specialty shops and small cafes, but above all Pike’s Market is the place in Seattle to people watch.  And on a weekend day you’ll have thousands of …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 4, 2014: Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Columbia River 3-2006 055

One of the great drives in America is through the Columbia River Gorge west of Portland.  There are lush green mountains, steep cliffs and numerous (77) waterfalls to enjoy.   Of these many waterfalls, Multnomah Falls is the grandest of the them all.

Multnomah Falls drops 620 ft (189 m) in two steps, and is a popular destination.  Only three waterfalls in the USA are higher, and none are in a more lovely setting.  A trail from Multnomah Falls Lodge takes you across the arched Simon Benson Bridge (1914) over the shorter lower cascade, then the trail switchbacks up towards the top of the upper cascade.

It’s a beautiful, misty place.  Hard to keep the lens dry but that didn’t stop me from …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 2, 2013. Japanese Garden, Portland

2013-031-August 2

One of the finest Japanese Gardens in North America — perhaps the best anywhere outside Japan — is found in Portland, Oregon, in the hills near downtown.  Covering five and a half acres of Washington Park, it’s a setting of calm and tranquility, as all Japanese gardens are.

I’m always been inspired by the asymmetric balance and harmony of these gardens.  The methodical selection, placement and pruning of trees and bushes, the blending of colors, the judicious use of water and stone make me want to do better in my own yard (though somehow I always fail with this).  It’s a great place to go for a slow relaxing walk.  The garden is open throughout the year and its character changes with the …

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.All Trips / North America / Oregon / Pacific Northwest

Portland, Oregon — The Cozy City of Roses

Portland 2013-001 intro.  Mt. Hood and city view

I can enjoy a visit to a large city as much as anyone — seeing the Eiffel Tower, Sistine Chapel, Buckingham Palace or Statue of Liberty are as exciting and fun for me as for any traveler.  But overall I’m more relaxed and comfortable, and derive greater pleasure from visiting smaller cities and towns than I do a huge metropolis.   Such places are easier to get around in and lend themselves well to exploration on foot.  They often have quality attractions not as well known or as busy as those in larger cities.

Downtown Portland and Willamette River

Such — sort of anyway — is the case of Portland, on the lush green banks of the Willamette River where it joins the mighty Columbia River …

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