Seeing a Chum Salmon Run

All photos taken by Carolyn Treadway.

Moving to Panorama from the Midwest, I had little idea of what a “salmon run” was, nor of the importance of salmon as a keystone species of the whole Pacific Northwest coast; nor that salmon is essential to the entire way of life of coastal Native Americans. But I kept hearing about salmon.  Intrigued, I wanted to learn much more. Thus I eagerly signed up for an outing to see a chum salmon run, sponsored by the Panorama Green Team.  Twenty residents conveniently rode a Panorama bus to Kennedy Creek, a nature area north of Olympia.  Our trip was expertly facilitated by fellow residents Warren Dawes and Cleve Pinnix, who serve as guides for the countless visitors to this particular salmon run each November.  They led us to observe and understand many amazing sights. How fortunate we were to have such an opportunity!

        Surprisingly, our mid-November outing was blessed with sunshine. The forest was lush and beautiful with giant evergreen trees, mosses, ferns, and tributary streams. Chum salmon abounded! They were returning to the very stream in which they had hatched, probably four years ago, to spawn and die. These amazing fish were born in this freshwater stream, then, after a time in the stream and estuary, had swum into the ocean, where they spent their entire adult lives, swimming as far as 18,000 miles to the Asian oceans and back to return home.  How do they find their way? (There is so much more to learn…)

The creek and streams were alive with salmon: females using their tails to dig holes in the stream’s gravel, males fighting each other for proximity to a female ready to lay a thousand eggs, so that their milt could fertilize those eggs. The streams were also littered with the bodies of salmon that had spawned and were dying or dead, thus completing their life cycle. The salmon provide food for all species that eat them, and their bodies provide nutrients to the forests into which they are carried by those species. Many tons of salmon carcasses are deposited to feed the plants, soils, and creatures of the forest each year.

It’s an amazing, incredible ecosystem, which has been kept in delicate balance by Nature for millennia. But now humans and wastes that we create are greatly impacting that entire ecosystem.  Our wise guides emphasized the importance of clean, fresh water for the salmon and their eggs and young fry, because polluted water makes reproduction even more fragile or kills the fish.  Pollution, habitat loss, and climate change have caused great decline in the numbers of surviving salmon in the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.  As a result, the resident orca whales (whose food is salmon) are starving and their survival is at risk.  And so on and on.

Ah, yes. As Chief Seattle profoundly said over 150 years ago: “This we know, all things are connected.”  Recent Green Team programs have focused on connections between ourselves and our local environment. For example, local storm water runoff carries toxins directly into the Puget Sound, greatly affecting the health of fish and all species therein. Being present to the majesty of Kennedy Creek with chum salmon churning in its streams, we visitors could connect the dots. Our pollution affects the fresh, clean water these very fish need for their spawning. Let us help their return to their natal home by decreasing our pollution, so that these amazing salmon can birth the next generations.

The Deciduous Season

Panorama campus October 2017

We all know people who travel east to enjoy the fall colors. The previous blog included Neil Harris’ photos of our outstanding range of color displayed all around campus. We are wending our way through November with Thanksgiving around the corner and even the windy rainstorm a few days ago didn’t totally divest the trees of their astonishing array of vibrant colors. Big Leaf Maples are wonderful yellow and there is one on Cardinal Lane. Having walked through forests in Olympia with the organized walking group, I am always amazed at the size of those maple leaves!!!

There is something bracing about a cool wind with the smell of leaves down and plants tucking themselves in for approaching winter. Some of us will bake turkeys, some will enjoy Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro’s Thanksgiving dinner, and others will band together and sample food aplenty in our surrounding area.

Our campus is now presenting a challenge to our grounds crew. They have just taken down the whimsical outdoor drive-in theater display featuring “Pumpkin-zilla” playing there. That crew is wonderfully imaginative in doing these displays. They always bring smiles and much comment as we discover hidden additions to the theme.

2017 Pumpkin Display created by Panorama’s Grounds Crew

There is another thing that must drive the Grounds crew crazy in this season. All of the deciduous trees do not drop leaves within a given time frame, of a week, two weeks, whatever. They simply shed leaves in their own rhythm. The firs are always dropping needles, we know. But this season of wind and rain produce such a raining down of needles that it is hard for the Grounds crew to keep up.

At the recent Resident Council-sponsored meetings of all residential units on campus, we heard from our Chief of Operations about the strain put on the Grounds crew in all the neighborhoods. The goal is to keep roadways and walkways free of perhaps slippery, dying leaves and to keep our homes looking pleasing.  Maintaining our grassy areas relies on downed leaves not killing the sod. There is another reason to manage the dying bits of biomass. The needles will clog downspouts and result in backed up water, leaks, and higher maintenance. Those of us living under Douglas firs know how many needles are flying about us at all times of the year, but especially now in the fall season. We love those trees and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

However, they do all add to ambient noise in our neighborhoods. In my mind, this comes with the territory. Not in the minds of our two furry tabby cats. They have become inured to the blowers on our front walk way, driveway, and patio. What they have trouble with is the sound walking on the roofs make and blowing off those accumulated needles. Each has found a dark place to hide until the workers have moved on to the next roof.

We all know of or heard the grousing about leaf blowers, day in and day out…but the cost of time and work with rakes instead of blowers would increase the budget for maintenance tremendously. We have come to just turn up the radio or TV volume as we go about our in-house tasks…and are thankful that it isn’t us having to do this awful and repetitive job!!! We walk everywhere on campus and appreciate that walk-ways are kept safe and clear. We, along with everyone else I am sure, enjoy the weekends when the Grounds crew have time off unless there is a weather event that undermines that. Let’s all enjoy the quiet on the weekends and revel in the wonderful color that we enjoy here!

We want to present ourselves the very best we can, looking to our future population choosing us as a retirement community. Panorama is doing a fine job of keeping us trimmed up under trying conditions. So, let’s all give the guys and gals a nod of thanks and just know that soon the blowers will abate.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and these wonderful colors so very close to home.

Sandra Bush
November, 2017

Bursting Colors of Autumn

The colors of autumn are truly remarkable throughout our campus. This has created an irresistible muse for one resident photographer in particular. Neil Harris is one of many talented individuals who have chosen Panorama as their retirement playground. Like so many of his neighbors, Neil graciously shares his talents with our community and we couldn’t be more grateful. After all, that is precisely what makes Panorama thrive. Here’s a selection of his recent work – enjoy!

Panorama campus October 2017

Panorama campus October 2017

State Capitol in Olympia, WA – October 2017

Aquatic and Fitness Center at Panorama – October 2017

Chehalis Western Trail near Panorama – October 2017

Patrons Plaza at Panorama – October 2017

Lower Lewis Falls in southern Washington – October 2017

Lower Lewis Falls in southern Washington – October 2017

A buck enjoying a crisp morning at Panorama – October 2017.

A 4-Day Trek Through the Northwest Peninsula

Written by Panorama resident, Sandra Bush | September 2017. 
Photos taken by Bill Leppard and Tim and Tam Alden.

Panorama supports and engages our active population in many ways. The outings programs of strolls, walks, and hikes have been augmented by some experimental four-day outings for active residents. This longer type of outings allow more leisurely hiking time instead of hurrying to get back to the bus before awful traffic begins. Steve Pogge and his guide assistant, Wren offered a trip to hike the Northwest Peninsula, and I thought I might share some of what this outing provided. Eight of us came prepared for rain for all four days. We stowed our hiking poles and belongings on the bus and we headed to our destination. We were pleasantly surprised by the weather.

Big Quilcene River

We took a lovely two-hour walk along the Big Quilcene River before lunch. These lunches are usually healthy and prepared by us or Steve out of the back of the bus and on picnic tables in the deep forest or along the Puget Sound or a water source.

This was followed by a visit to Bandy Farms on the way to Sequim. Such a fun surprise! This acreage has been described as unique or unusual. A carver turned his fence posts into works of fun art as well as building a pink castle when neighbors took exception to his various creations. There were so many, I’ve just included a single photo. It surely makes one want to go back to see them all.

Bandy Farms

Before getting to our rooms in Port Angeles, we had stretched our legs by walking down to and along the Dungeness Spit, the largest natural spit found on the West Coast. We dined at a restaurant named “The Cedars” before checking in to The Red Lion with marvelous views of the water.

The Alden’s captured this special sunrise from our hotel the next morning

There is a lovely paved waterfront one-mile trail in front of the hotel that many hikers take advantage of in the early morning.

An amazing ocean figure in mosaic sits by the interpretive center along a walk to a tower overlooking the waterway.

As rain was forecast for the afternoon, Steve decided we’d hike Hurricane Ridge in the morning to avoid a cold, wet and windy afternoon hike. Three hearty souls hiked up a 4-mile steep trail while the rest of us opted for the bus, allowing us to hike to the over-look of the amazing Olympic Mountain range from the Interpretive Center atop Hurricane Ridge. It was hard enough for the rest of us. It was too late in the season to view Olympic marmots as they were getting snuggled for winter. Wren had given us a quick overview of marmots and we learned that they are a distinct group, different from Cascade Range or Vancouver Island populations. But hikers always need to watch for mountain goats as they can get very aggressive and aren’t native to this range.

Our Assistant Guide, Wren, hiking Hurricane Ridge

Panorama Residents hiking Hurricane Ridge

While no goats or marmots were present, the views were just awesome and what did we find at the end of the puff? Steve had prepared hot soup for our lunch along with the usual sandwich making fare. What a guy! This was accompanied by a slight flurry of snow! We were so glad that Steve rearranged our itinerary; it may have gotten more than interesting up there if we’d been there in the afternoon, as planned!

The morning activity was to go on an Underground and History tour of Port Angeles, but we were rescheduled for the afternoon, and we enjoyed some amazing history of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including the elevation of the early outpost city that became Port Angeles. It was built on the mudflats; further up the hill, the British and military owned the higher ground. Town engineers elevated the downtown to avoid tidal flooding of buildings on the mudflats! With no heavy equipment, the entire downtown was elevated one-story. We went under some buildings that then used the second floor for their first floor. The engineering alone was incredible. Red Cedar posts dating from the original construction were in amazing shape. Their oil content has preserved them for over a century.

The usual “happy hour” in the guide’s room was cancelled as we prepared (after a long day) for a wonderful “family style” dinner at a renowned restaurant. Sabai Thai Restaurant, which had rave reviews from best places in the Northwest by Frommer’s Travel Guidebook, served wonderful food. The 10 of us shared nine different dinners suggested by the staff and it was so delicious and special. We had the option of ordering a dish that we wanted specifically, but we all decided to share to taste various dishes. Happy but tired hikers retired back to their rooms and opted not to visit a modern outdoor sculpture park as the night sky was imminent.

After the second night, it was time to bring our bags back to the bus in the morning for our exploration of Marymere Falls and to the Moments-in-Time hike which lead us to Crescent Lake. Delightfully, we got to experience the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center after breakfast. It would have been hard to see the outdoor installations by artists had we gone after the Thai dinner. It was entertaining to wander around that acreage and see things mounted in the trees, under leaves on the ground, and to experience artists’ way of using the out-of-doors for art installations.
(More pictures can be enjoyed on their website: http://www.pafac.org/)

Photograph by Bill Leppard

We headed to the Storm King Ranger Station to hike up to Marymere Falls. We meandered on a wonderful blanket of fir needles with no roots or rocks to trip over. Then we found the way up to the waterfall overlook. Gads, the usual roots and rocks and steps to negotiate brought us to wonderful views of the two-tiered waterfall.

Steve explained a magical exercise in fooling the eye/brain connection. He explained that if you looked at the same segment of falling water for 15-30 seconds and then shifted your eyes to the right, the granite rock actually seemed to move up in the segment as wide as your view was of the falling water. Many of us were able to experience it, but it left you off center for a bit while your brain reorganized its visual input. What was wonderful was that by mid-week, we had so much of the trails to ourselves.

Branching off from the Marymere Falls trail was a lovely, quiet walk amid Moments-in-Time’s large trees. Steve suggested that the walk to lunch be carried out in silence to appreciate what the forest has to offer in serenity. We often do silent walks with no talking and it is a wonderful rest for the mind and body as we walk among the big trees. This trail led us to Crescent Lake Lodge where those interested could rent a kayak or canoe. The views from the picnic table where lunch were arrayed were just amazing. The lunch arrayed by the edge of the lake was lovely and we were visited by a family of cute and persistent ducks that popped out of the water to try and cadge some food, but it is never appropriate to feed wildlife animals.

Then we headed to our final night in Forks. Along the way, we got to hike down to Mora Beach, all 120 steps down and back up. Tidal issues made very little sand available, with many large logs/trees that had been washed up for a long period of time, but many individuals scrambled over these obstacles to get some beach time. Two of us elected to sit in the cool shade of a large log and skipped the scramble. Such a lovely day we had. Sunny, and most of all: NO RAIN!!!

This final evening, we enjoyed happy hour in the guide’s rooms. While Steve’s trips do not promote alcoholic drinking, there were a couple of jugs of “Mississippi Mud” dark ale, various wine and sparkling water while participants discussed the pros and cons of activities for future trip-planning. The Native-owned restaurant he had planned for dinner was closed Tuesday nights, so the pizza parlor on Main Street Forks provided a venue to further the fellowship. A poster on the wall of Ruth Orkin (a photographer) depicts a performance, engendered Wren’s further research which found a woman bucking early stereotypes and working in a men’s world back in the 1950s, traveling alone in Europe!   We always manage to learn a lot from Steve’s outings, even when they are unplanned!

An earlier trip also visited a record-breaking Cedar Tree that had recently fallen not far off the road. It had to give up its status as the world’s biggest Cedar, but to view and walk around it was meaningful and powerful.

On the way to Aberdeen and back home, we also experienced what could only be called a Dr. Seuss forest. This was a segment of coastal trees above Beach #1, (yes that is its name) with amazing burl structures on them. Based on Wren’s research, the burl structures don’t kill the tree and many things cause the tree to burl. This happens along coastal waterways and not far inland. But this was a literal forest of them in a small area. An example of this is below, along with Steve and his wonderful Indian flute, making the experience somewhat other-worldly.

Traveling with Steve is always an adventure!

Steve’s trips are always so well-planned and scouted. A highlight is usually a stop at an ice cream purveyor on the way home. This time, we stopped at Scoops in Aberdeen with way too many selections of ice cream flavors. Learning about the history and enjoying out-of-door places that our wonderful Northwest Peninsula provides is always rewarding.

Treat yourself to one of these wonderful Panorama outings if you can!

A Resident’s Perspective – Triple Creek Farm

Written by Panorama resident, Cleve Pinnix. August 2017

Some 30 Panorama residents enjoyed a wonderful tour of Triple Creek Farm on July 27. The farm is home to Ralph Munro, the retired Secretary of State of Washington, and a member of the Panorama Board of Directors. Ralph was our guide for a walking tour of the property, and then hosted us for a delightful salmon luncheon.

Munrovisit3Triple Creek Farm is located along the shore of Eld Inlet, just west of Olympia. The property is a mix of forest and fields, with the Munro home looking across a small tidal stream to the inlet. The land has a remarkable history of Native American use over the centuries. Ralph led us to an archaeological site along the shoreline that was the subject of a decade-long study by faculty and students of South Puget Sound Community College, in cooperation with the Squaxin Island Tribe. This peaceful shoreline is graced by a lovely welcome pole donated from the tribe to the Munro family.

Munrovisit1Ralph and his family have been careful stewards of this unique place, planting trees and protecting the shoreline for decades. They have also donated a conservation easement to the local Capitol Land Trust, ensuring that this land will retain its pastoral quality in perpetuity. Luncheon in the barn capped our visit. Many thanks to the Munro family for their kind hospitality.

Munrovisit2

As it happens, only a few days later, Panorama residents visited Triple Creek again to enjoy the summer gala for the Capitol Land Trust. Panorama is a proud sponsor of this community celebration.

Hikes with Steve – Mt. Rainier Wildflower Trip

Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by Panorama resident, Cindy Fairbrook. August 2017

A small group of residents took three days and circumnavigated Mount Rainier. It was a 400 mile trip in search of wildflowers with Steve Pogge and Mark Akins as hike leaders. We left for this adventure on July 30 and as luck would have it, the flowers were in their prime. The colors were fantastic. We saw not only Lupine, Indian Paintbrush and Mountain Heather but Avalanche Lilies, Sitka Valarium, Bistort, Western Anemone (mouse on a stick), Rosy Spirea, Arnica and assorted other beautiful, colorful and fragrant plants.

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We were able to visit the South side of the mountain at the Paradise/Reflection Lake area, the Southwest side at the Ohanopacosh area, the Eastside at Chinook Pass and the Northside at the Sunrise/Borough Mt. area.

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We ate, laughed, hiked, toured and had a grand time on our three day adventure. The restaurants and inns were all interesting and lovely in their own way.  Many options were given each day and each person was able to see and do as much as they desired.  Although the terrain was sometimes steep and the elevation high, the beauty of the area was enough to overcome any discomfort we had.

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The days were warm but not hot, the skies were cloud free and we often went from early morning to dark to do and see as much as we could. It was an experience that many will take with them for years to come. It reminded me once again of just how beautiful an area we are fortunate to live in.

Steve Pogge Bio

Hikes with Steve – Olympic Peninsula

Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by Panorama resident, Karen Romanelli. May 2017

On May 7th, ten hearty adventurers took off from Panorama to go on a 3 day, 500 mile journey to the far reaches of the Olympic Peninsula. The trip was planned and run by Steve Pogge with Wren Wolf as his trusty assistant and botany expert. Our mission was simple: to experience firsthand the largest temperate rainforest in the world, walk the beaches of the most pristine coast line known to man, and see a few world record trees that are known to inhabit the peninsula. Not a small undertaking by any means, but one within our reach.

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We were decked out with our full waterproof rain gear: our Gore-Tex pants, water resistant boots, rain proof jackets and hats. With the area getting 12 to 15 feet (not inches) of rain a year, you are pretty likely to get wet. However, our trip fell within a bizarre weather pattern that gave us sunshine, blue skies and 50 degree days (near perfect hiking temperature) for the duration of our trip.

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We focused on three major rain forests: the Quinault, the Hoh, and the Sol Duc. We were not disappointed. The Forests being so close together you would expect them to be quite similar. They are not. They had their own unique special beauty and awe inspiring wonders that marveled our group of explorers.

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Interspersed between these forests, we stopped at 3 renowned beaches that were also jaw dropping in their power and majesty. They were Ruby Beach, Beach #1 (south of Kalaloch) and Rialto Beach.

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We based our adventure out of Forks, WA and stayed at a lovely Inn that offered each of us a bedroom, kitchen and living room. Our choice of restaurants was limited but we tried to pick the best down home eateries we could. On the education side, we incorporated into the trip not only birds and animal life but also history (both Native American and early settlers) geology and of course some facts on the ancient giants that inhabit this forest. Even for seniors, one feels young when you stand next to a 1,000 year old Sitka Spruce, an 800 year old Western Red Cedar or a 350 year old Douglas Fir. There is almost a magical feeling that takes over. Or as Al Walter puts it, “I thought I was in a Harry Potter movie.”

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It was a wonderful trip and I just want to thank the participants of the week for being such great sports to push themselves to get out and experience the peninsula in a way that very few people get to do.

Steve Pogge Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Oh, It’s Not Gonna Rain

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. Photos courtesy of Neil Harris. May 2017

“Chris, why are you leaving five minutes before our predicted lighting, thunder, and rain storms?” On May 4, 2017, I peered out at clouds that scarred the bright, warm, morning’s sunshine under their dark blankets.

Chris tucked his grocery list, his reminder for the Dollar Store, and city bus senior pass into his wind breaker, and hesitated when he opened the door. Silent, questioning time. “OH it’s not gonna rain. It’s been sunny and warm all morning.” He left.

We’d had almost 6 years of hauling umbrellas, advertising we are still newbies to Washington’s prerogative to make random decisions. This time was a poor decision—by Chris!

Large pelts of rain pounded vertically to the blasting drum beats and zaps of lighting’s thunder. I studied whether it was large hail. It wasn’t. Cars were getting a good bath…and probably Chris, too!

My turn for silent, questioning time. Sun peeked from under its blanket of cloud, but it played hide and seek for about 1 ½ hours. I had been settled down to my laptop watching through the patio window from my recliner. Darkness hovered over more than just the sun. Duh! It shrouded over us, too.

BOOM.BOOM.BOOM. The bass drums blasted. Lights flickered. “Dear Father in heaven,” I begged, “please take care of Chris.”

BRRING.BRRING. BRRING. Yelling: “Mary Jo, I’m getting off the city bus. Can’t talk anymore.” CLICK, buzz, buzz.

A never-even-close-in-history of record-keeping event put Lacey, WA, on national news. A rare microburst (not a tornado) demonstrated its power. Fifteen minutes into the epicenter, not rain pelts or buckets, but–as-far-as-I-could-see–solid water! I felt I was under water. I jerked away and protected my ears from banging branches flying horizontally, pounding our windows. “Oh, God, please bring Chris home safely!”

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Lights out again. My trembling fingers located ON on our emergency flashlight.

I couldn’t see anything outside. I felt drowning under the sea. Water blinded window views despite the three-foot overhangs around our garden home. Water had never hit our windows or doors. What was happening? I prayed we’d be protected against the storms and floods we’d seen for months across the nation. We always speak of how safeguarded from disasters we are at Panorama.

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THUD.THUD. THUD. “What’s that noise?” It out-pounded my palpitating heart.

The best sound of the day: Chris, loaded with groceries, banged the front door with his knee cap!

I yanked the door open. Rains and winds rushed their way into the house, while they shoved my drenched hubby over the threshold. He hugged his soaked, torn paper bags to keep parcels from spilling out: canned foods, box of powdered milk, baked chicken, bananas, and 20 bubble-lined envelopes for mailing my books.

No umbrella needed. It would have been another item to protect from the focal point of the worst thunderstorm in Lacey’s recorded history. We had weathered it!

We now avoid phrases containing, “Oh, it’s not gonna rain!”

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Note: we praise God that all Panorama residents are safe and that we are fortunate only to watch the clean- up from grounds, to gutters and rooftops. We are blessed again. Thank you, Panorama!

Mary Jo Bio - Test

A Resident’s Perspective – The Freak Storm

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2017

The freak storm…..

In the long ago and far away, we grew up in the Midwest. We knew electrical storms and in many ways, that was a big decider for me to relocate to the west coast. My husband from Indiana loved watching them roll through back then.

I have never been in or under a “micro-burst” such as we just had in this spring month of May!!! People will talk about it for a long time. And we at Panorama fared so much better than the greater Lacey/Olympia area. We measured 1 ½ inches of rain in a very short time…perhaps about an hour. The skies were amazing. Below is a picture of mammary clouds, which are descriptive and often herald tornadoes.

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What these clouds heralded was straight line winds that funneled down our street from the SW. Many trees were affected in Panorama, but Thurston County as a whole fared far worse. The below is a large limb that blocked our Loop Street. We so love the big trees and Panorama keeps close watch on the health of these beauties. This storm was too violent for even healthy trees. This limb was a perfectly healthy off-shoot and came down with big sound.

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Many residents reported damage and these were logged by reception and Security. Security drove the neighborhoods to rate safety of access for limbs and trees down. It wasn’t more than an hour later that folks were out clearing the roads and trying to open the drains that appeared clogged keeping water at high levels on our streets. It turned out that the city water system couldn’t handle all the rain, and it wasn’t just local clogs. In two hours time, waters were receding and leaving all roads with a plethora of detritus.

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The downspouts on our home couldn’t handle the deluge and resulted in many pouring waterfalls off the eaves.

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This would seem to be “Lake Woodland.”  And while waters crept up the driveways, we never felt in real danger of flooding. Panorama concrete and driveways are designed to take run-off to funnel it away from structures. This is so important in our NW when big rains come.

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Sometimes things look so very bad but do subside. So much of Lacey and Olympia had to deal with long power outages. We had to re-set clocks for short bursts, but we were amazed at how the infrastructure worked here. We used to dread storms of this intensity coming in off the ocean at our previous home. This one we could ride out and take in from an interested perspective.

The cats were another story. One became scarce and I never did find out where she hid. The other one grabbed a lap, and with big eyes, waited it out with us.

I haven’t yet walked all the streets of our community, but I will to see what other neighborhoods dealt with. I am just so grateful to our Panorama administration and crews for the prompt clearing of a lot of “stuff.” We continue to be impressed at the care we all receive when the chips are down.

Sandy Bio

Superbowl Sunday Snow – Thank you , Panorama!

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. February 2017

This blog is a little off my usual  topic of “newbies, boomers, and would-bes” but I wanted to express my gratitude for Panorama’s awesome response to yesterday and today’s Superbowl Sunday snow event (“storm” might be a little too strong a word). First off – we vaguely heard the phone ring during the last thrilling minutes of Super Bowl – or was it a ref whistle? Were we going to answer it? No way! But Panorama left a voicemail message letting us know that some events and facilities might be closed tomorrow (Monday) due to the snow event. Later on, after catching our breath following the game, we checked and confirmed that the Aquatic and Fitness Center would indeed be opening late. Thanks to Jenny, Security, and others for great communication! We know that some staff worked beyond their normal hours to ensure the safety and awareness of residents and staff.

In the morning, we also got an email from Grace Moore to let us know of Monday evening’s concert cancellation. Thank you so much, Grace, for being on top of communications! While email is not yet available to some residents, it’s a great way to communicate last-minute changes to the schedule.

At about 11 Monday morning I ventured out, equipped with my Yaktrax tread devices on my boots (thanks to fellow resident Susan W for the suggestion!), and, of course, my SARA pendant. During my walk, three snowplows came by, and there were Panorama staff out at each neighborhood shoveling walkways. Most sidewalks were shoveled by then, as were most roads. A shouted “thank you” to staff was invariably met with a smile. 

Inside the Quinault, by the door, were two armchairs that allowed me to take off (and then put back on) my Yaktrax before heading to the exercise room. 

So, KUDOS to Panorama and staff for their great efforts at communication and response! 

Deb Bio_Edit

 

A Resident’s Perspective – December is Here

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2016

Sometimes we forget the beauty of seasons other than the blooming loveliness of our spring, summer, and winding down into colorful fall here at Panorama. October and November saw more rain, perhaps, than we liked. But boy did December deliver a wonderland. The tall trees were frosted and stately.

Sandy-Snow1Our yards sported a special look as the 4-5 inches continued to fall.

Sandy-Snow2And the ambient night light made things magical.

Sandy-Snow3We walked around in this just to enjoy the quiet you get with this type of event. The best place to view this, if you couldn’t walk and crunch around on the new wet snow, was like our little buddy Mirka….

Sandy-Snow4There were also whimsical animals out and frosted with fresh snow. Perhaps a resting rabbit????

Sandy-Snow5We’ve not gotten into the real 20 degrees freezing nights yet, but they are due. The Panorama crew was out with snow shovels, making paths to our mailboxes. The back hoe from grounds was out snow-plowing small loops and courts with a grinning operator. The bigger plow was out for our main roads/streets, commandeered by our wonderful trash collecting man. 

How lucky we are at Panorama. Our environs are kept navigable even when they aren’t blazing with blooms. We all are grateful.  

Enjoy our campus during this season as we enjoy friends and family. Be mindful of the puddles that may well freeze in days to come. We’ve all landed in the best place in the northwest!!!!!

Sandy Bio

 

 

Hikes with Steve – The Great Olympic Peninsula

Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by George Bush. September 2016

Olympic ForestOn Sept 19, 2016  thirteen hearty adventurers took off from Panorama on what was to become one of our most awe inspiring trips of the primeval NW forests and beaches that I have been fortunate to lead.   This was a 3 day/2 night trip that was based out of Forks Washington.   Forks is renown for Vampires, not for its culinary and lodges.  We were however treated to a nice clean little Inn tucked away in the woods for a few nights and ventured out to La Push for a quaint gourmet restaurant found on the Quileute Indian Reservation.

G.Bush_8Having procured housing and food we were set to explore and discover the beauty of this magnificent area.  The Pacific Northwest is the largest temperate rain-forest in the world, getting over 15 ft (not inches) of rain a year.  It is filled with big trees.  I don’t mean the run of the mill big, I mean HUGE Mammoth trees.   Our first stop was to see the biggest Sitka Spruce in the World, located in the Lake Quinault region of the National Park.  This tree is not only big but it is also very old.  The best guess by the experts is that this tree has been around for 1000 years!  It is impossible to describe the feeling of standing next to an ancient living species that dwarf everything around it and was a young tree even before the Crusades.  This was the first of many jaw dropping experiences during the week.

We then stopped at the Lake Quinault Lodge to view the grand old Lodge built in the early 1900’s after the National Park model.  What we didn’t expect was to run into a native American woman, named Harvest Moon, who had been a story teller for 30 years and basket weaver for 40 years.  She just happened to be showing her baskets that day.  She was willing to share a few stories of the “first people” and had us captivated for the rest of the morning.  She also had a fine sense of humor.  We all laughed after she recited the shortest Indian story ever told;  “The salmon swam up the river and said DAM.”

Olympic ForestWe could of stayed longer but had scheduled visits to 3 rain-forests on the Peninsula: The Quinault valley, the Hoh valley, and the Sol Duc Valley, one for each day of the trip.  Our first rain-forest was on the North shore of the Quinault river.  This rarely visited side of the park was magical and surreal.  Walking through the moss laden cedars and hemlock lined paths we expected elves and hobbits to jump out at us.

Kestner HomesteadWe came out at an old homestead that has long been abandoned and taken over by the National Park system but previously had housed and sustained 4 generations of the Kestner family.  After a quick lunch we loaded up and headed towards Forks where we hunkered down for the next few nights.

Rialto BeachDay two, took us to one of the most visited beaches on the NW coast; Rialto Beach.  The walking was difficult on this rocky beach but the sea stacks on one side and the huge driftwood trees on the other side with sea birds to entertain us all the way made the trip far less daunting.  A few of our troupe made it to the famous Hole-in-the-Wall rock that allows a person through the hole, for only a few hours, at low tide.  If caught on the wrong side, you are stuck till the tide changes.  We got lucky and were able to walk through and back only minutes before the tide closed off our passage.  Knowing lunch was back at the bus was incentive enough for everyone to get back without a swim.

Rialto Beach Hole In The Wall

For the afternoon, we headed up for our second Rain forest experience, the Sol Duc Valley.  We got to see salmon spawning on the Sol Duc river along with a memorable hike through an ancient Old growth forest and then on to the beautiful Sol Duc Falls.  Two of us were attacked by Yellow jackets  (myself included) at the trail head.  As with all adventures, there is always the unknown and sometimes it can sting.  In this case, we used ointment, ice and a few choice words and we were able to carried on.

Sol Duc ForestKalayloch_Beach_G.BushDay three took us to the last of the Rain forests we were to visit.  All of us commented on how each rain forest was so different but amazing in their own special way.  The Park ranger gave us a private personal introduction to what we were about to experience. The Hoh did not let us down.  We talked in whispers as we ventured through the Hall of Moses and marveled at the breathtaking beauty of this special place.  We had our last picnic lunch and then set off to see Ruby Beach, a short drive away.  The sun had broken out by this time and lit up the beach like a picture postcard.  After being awe struck by one of the prettiest beaches and most magnificent forests we ever saw, what more could we asked for?  Well there was more to come, we continue down the coast to see another one of the Ancients.  This time it was a Western Red Cedar that was impossible to describe with its incredible mass, height, shape, color,and age.  All we could do was marvel at one of the largest living organism on the planet.  The trip was drawing to a close but not without one last final stop to top off a great 3 days.  ICE CREAM at Scoops in Aberdeen.

I am hopeful this trip will be one that is remembered for a life time.  I want to thank all those who participated for being wonderful traveling companions.  It was the love of nature and the outdoors that came from each of the participants that made this such a special experience.   I am hoping to run this trip at least once again next spring.

Steve Pogge Bio

 

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Night Sounds

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2015

Now that we have turned into real winter (by the calendar, at least), I’m offering a few thoughts on night sounds. What strikes me so very specially is what we hear at night when all the helpful folks are done keeping our environs so very pristine and making room for new residents.

Spring and fall bring us geese overhead. With our windows open and no heating or air conditioning running, it is easier to hear them. They are always special. They move from the retention ponds to Chambers Lake and back again, eventually either arriving from the north or leaving for the south. Yes, many are here year round, but the sky filled with honking has always been special to me. I watched two days ago at dusk as 16 of them flew in formation.

We hear the busy trains, AMTRAK and cargo-laden cars, most of the year whether the windows are open or not. The whistle for the crossing out Nisqually way can be haunting.  When the nights get quiet or foggy, it is easier for hearing-impaired to pick it up. I think many of us residents go way back with train sounds.

There seems to be no real season for the hootie owl/s that I hear, easier with windows open a bit. They can be heard with windows closed if your hearing is good. The perch must be close between our home and Chambers Lake. It sounds like a great horned owl from what I can find out.

However, now we are into our winter pattern of rain often with wind. Rain sheeting down the roof, and gurgling in the gutters of the eave system is easy to fall asleep to. We have also had two largely high wind quick storms that produce their own sound. Our cats are not so happy with wind sound which they interpret as dangerous. They can often be found under the sofa with big eyes.

And it just became obvious to me that the clunks on our roof, at Christmas, aren’t reindeer hooves, but fir cones!!!!!!!

In between the night sounds, if you walk about McGandy Park or your neighborhood, the sounds of silence are also there. These are also precious in our urban milieu.

Enjoy this season as some of our neighbors look forward to longer days. And I’m hoping your holiday, however you celebrated, was special to you and yours.

Sandy Bio

National Relaxation Day

Today is National Relaxation Day. So take some time to be still, listen to the sound of nature around you, our engage in a favorite hobby that never fails to help you unwind. There’s no place more perfect for relaxing than the shore of Chambers Lake, the foliage of the Panorama Pea Patch, or vibrant and peaceful lanes of Panorama neighborhoods. Lake-CompressedPeaPatch-CompressedBike-Compressed

A Resident’s Perspective – Exploring the Chehalis-Western Trail

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. April 2014.

The 22-mile trail was built on the bed of the former Chehalis Western Railroad, which was used throughout much of the 20th century to haul logs to mills and ultimately to Henderson Inlet.  At its southern end it connects with the 14.5 mile Yelm-Tenino trail, and the northern terminus is at Woodard Bay.  That makes for a beautiful bicycle trip in any season.

Canada GeeseMy interest is usually closer to home, however, on the short section between the Panorama dog park entrance to the trail and Herman Road SE.  Halfway in between there is an overlook on Chambers Lake.  It’s a great place to sit and observe ducks in winter, Canada geese, the occasional bald eagle, red-tail hawks, and red-winged blackbirds.

Along the trail there is a marshy wetland lined with willows on the lakeside and mostly woods, with some houses, on the other.  This habitat attracts a variety of birds as well as other critters.  I have seen raccoons and heard a coyote once and bullfrogs.  Of course, there are many other more familiar critters–dog walkers, bicyclists (beware, they go fast!), joggers, and parents with strollers.  But during the week, and especially at rainy times, the trail is often yours to savor alone.

Marsh Wren

Perhaps my favorite year-round bird on the trail is the marsh wren that inhabits the cattails by the overlook.  If you sit on the bench in the spring you will hear his near constant chatter, and if you are patient you may catch a glimpse as he sits on top of a reed and calls to mark his territory and attract a mate.  He has built several nests by the overlook.

Another year-round resident is the yellow-rumped warbler, though I most often see it in the spring.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The red-winged blackbirds whistle and call all year, and other common chatterers include chickadees, spotted towhees, swallows, juncos, song sparrows and robins.  I used to see a hummingbird perched atop a particular tree before the leaves appeared in spring.  Now and then mallards will waddle across the trail to look for nesting spots.

 

Western Tanager

 

In spring and summer you might see Western tanagers, black-headed grosbeaks, flickers, bushtits, kinglets, and cedar waxwings.  Listen for the witchety-wich of the yellowthroat in the willow thickets (but they are devilishly tough to see from the trail).

Winter is the season for waterfowl.  I enjoy looking for wood ducks, which are so beautifully colored. Buffleheads are cute little diving ducks, and the males’ handsome black-and-white heads stand out among the coots, ring-necked ducks, wigeons, and Northern shovelers.  I also like to look for nests, easily seen in the bare trees, to admire how their seemingly frail structures can withstand the harsh rain and wind of the winter.

In the fall, the lake can be hidden in the mist of deep fog, and you will wonder that you could be so close to home.

Chambers Lake in the autumn fog

Chambers Lake in the autumn fog

In any season, this small portion of the trail is a birder’s delight, and even if you aren’t keen to go out with binoculars and look for birds, just listening for the cacophony among the trees is good for the soul.

For details about the trail, go to http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/parks/trails-chehalis-western.htm

Murphy Bio