Well, we've all survived another trip around the sun. For me it meant one more year of hikes, photography, and visits to cool places. I'm nearly two years into retirement and still loving every minute of it. Although COVID wasn't as much of an issue in '22 as the past two years, it was still out there - but unlike '20 and '21 it didn't stop me from doing stuff. What did stop me - stupid plantar fasciitis on my left foot. This persistent aliment shot a big hole into most of my hiking plans for the summer. So I did what I normally do when faced with a roadblock - pivot! Instead of hiking I turned my sights on photographing birds and had fun discovering new places to find my feathered friends as well as learning how best to capture those quick little buggers on my memory cards.
And now with 2022 drawing to a close, it's time for my annual "year in photos" blog post. As my faithful readers know, this is my most favorite entry to write. I compose this post mainly for myself, but also hope that anyone who views it will get as much enjoyment as I do creating it.
Once again, I've gathered together a collection of photos that I feel best represents the year gone by. As per usual, these aren't necessarily always my best shots. Some have been chosen because they represent memorable happenings of 2022. Each image has been chosen from the month it was created. And - surprise - you might see some new photos that didn't make it onto my blog. That is, until now.
So let's get to it, and unveil the Linda's Lens top 12 photos from 2022:
|Mt. Hood at sunrise|
For many days last winter I dreamed of capturing a snow-covered Mt. Hood at sunrise. The only problem - I really like to sleep in. For several evenings I would determine that tomorrow would be the day and set my alarm accordingly. But when it buzzed the following morning, I'd just shut the alarm off and roll back over - later regretting my laziness. Finally, one morning in January the planets aligned, and I was actually able to pry myself from my warm bed and drive along snowy roads to the Timberline Lodge parking lot. Through frigidly cold and very windy conditions I witnessed an amazing sunrise that made all that effort worthwhile. (Note to self - I really need to do this more often!)
|Wooden bridge at Moulton Falls Park|
I'm always on the hunt for new places to hike. Although over the years I've covered most of the local trails, at the beginning of 2022 I was bound and determined to find some "new-to-me" hikes in the area. An online image of a picturesque wooden bridge over the Lewis River at SW Washington's Moulton Falls Regional park inspired me to check this place out and get a photograph of my own. After hiking a rough trail through second-growth woods, I emerged next to the mighty Lewis and was able to find the vantage I desired. The green water and wintry foggy forest did a great job of capturing the mood of this beautiful place.
|Grass widow blooms mean spring is here|
One of the things I love about March - the wildflowers start blooming! The farther east one hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, the greater their chances of spotting early blossoming beauties. The first flowers to emerge from winter slumber are always the lovely purple grass widows. In March, I took a wonderful hike with friends Debbie and Barry to the labyrinth, an interesting area of unique rock formations and sweeping gorge views. Not only did we see hundreds, if not thousands, of grass widows sprouting everywhere, we were also lucky enough to spot an entire flock of colorful Lewis Woodpeckers.
This April, along with flowers, I focused on photographing the many birds around my home. In the spring there's lots of "birdy" activity in NW Oregon. One can find several different species in just about any park or preserve. Not only were birds migrating, many were looking for mates, and once mates were found, raising their young. At my local "duck pond" the resident Canada geese flock had just hatched several broods of tiny, yellow goslings. Early one morning, I was lucky enough to capture two of these adorable fluffballs fighting over a worm. Such cuteness!
|Sunset at Bandon Beach|
The year just wouldn't be complete without at least one visit to my favorite place on the Oregon coast - scenic Bandon Beach. In May, I introduced my good friend Kim to this magical place. So many things to photograph - unique sea stacks, tidepool creatures, birds (of course!), a cool lighthouse, and a sweet mama harbor seal with her pup. But the main reason I return here every year is for the amazing sunsets over the ocean. And once again the Bandon skyline didn't disappoint.
This year June wasn't a great month for me. Plantar fasciitis plagued my left foot, forcing a near-standstill to all hiking activity. Luckily my neighbor Cheri got me out photographing birds, a definite sanity saver. I added a bunch of "new to me" birds to my photographic catalog, including this beautiful Cedar waxwing, spotted at the local park.
In July I began attempting shorter hikes, but most of my camera's exploration came from driving tours, such as the one I made up to Mt. Hood to check out the rhododendron bloom. Having missed it last year, I was determined to make up for lost time. There's nothing I love more than seeing these gorgeous pink blooms brightening the forest.
|Humpback whales feeding in Glacier Bay|
August was awesome. Hubby and I took a trip to Glacier Bay, Alaska. Boy, oh boy was there a lot of photo subjects to be had! We fished for halibut, toured Glacier Bay National Park by boat and foot, and kayaked Icy Strait. But by far the highlight for me was a most excellent whale watching trip into Glacier Bay. Our ship's captain had many years of experience and knew right where to go. Not only did I witness a pod of humpback whales bubble net feeding several times, one whale breached right in front of the boat! An amazing experience I won't soon forget.
|Theodore Roosevelt National Park|
After a trip to South Dakota to visit family, I detoured north to check another US National Park off my list. Although I didn't hold high expectations for Theodore Roosevelt National Park (it was in North Dakota, after all) the place ended up blowing me away. Not only was it drop-dead beautiful (pro tip - go in late September to catch the stunning fall colors), the place was full of all kinds of wildlife, from buffalo to wild horses. I'm glad I took the side trip and explored this little corner of the west.
|The Mighty Metolius in autumn|
October was a grand month. I spent many days outside in search of autumn leaf color. A doggy sitting gig with my grandpuppies had me spending 10 days in sunny Central Oregon. It was fun to explore a different part of my state during the annual fall seasonal change. Lots of hiking trails were covered, with my most favorite being two separate trips to the mighty Metolius River, my vote for the prettiest water body in Central Oregon.
November offered a continuance in my pursuit of changing leaves. Due to a very hot and dry October, many leaves were slow to turn. In a way it was nice, as fall color lingered nearly into December. One chilly day, friends Debbie and Barry invited me to hike the trails in nearby Hoyt Arboretum. Such a gorgeous place, I resolved to visit more often in the coming year. It just goes to show, one doesn't have to travel far to find beauty - sometimes it's right in your own backyard.
|Tumalo Mountain view from Mt Bachelor|
Of course, December always means skiing, and this year the Cascades were blessed with enough snow that I was making turns early in the month for a change. During the annual December trip to Mt. Bachelor I paused to take in the glorious snowy scene from it's slopes. Tumalo Mountain was front and center in this view, a place I summitted during my October visit. Standing in such a beautiful winter wonderland, I reflected on how lucky I am to live near such stunning places. I also felt gratitude to have the good health this year (despite my foot issue) to continue exploring and photographing it all.
And so, dear readers, that's a wrap on another year of blogging! As the number of people keeping blogs continued to dwindle in 2022, I often felt as though I was one of the last bloggers standing. I really miss some of the blogs I used to follow, and the wonderful people who used to engage by commenting. When I get discouraged by the small number hits or comments, I have to remind myself that the main reason I continue to keep a blog is for myself - as an online dairy to record hikes, trips, and other discoveries. If others view my photos or read what I've written, I consider it a bonus. It's very flattering (and a little humbling) to know there are still people who enjoy what I put out there in blogland.
So, once again, thanks to those of you who still faithfully follow, read, and comment. You are much appreciated! I'm not ready to quit anytime soon so I hope you'll join me for another year of photographic adventures.