Second post of WHW photos.  Some of my favorite shapes.  Click to enlarge.

Wood near Loch Lomond

Rocky highlands

From Ba Bridge on Rannoch Moor

Mist near King



Here is the first in a few posts about our wonderful hillwalking trip in the western highlands of Scotland!

We walked most of the West Highland Way, a public footpath that stretches 95 miles from Milngavie, a suburb of Glasgow, to Fort William in the heart of the western highlands.

It was hilly and rocky, sunny and cloudy, desolate and lush, full of variety, even in the very early spring, when not much was yet growing or stirring.

This post: images of the path itself. Sometimes plain, sometimes well-made, sometimes fraught, often rocky, seemingly endless (mostly in a good way).

Click any image to enlarge.

In the woods north of Drymen.

Atop Conic Hill near Balmaha.

On the shores of Loch Lomond, north of Sallochy.

On the shores of Loch Lomond, north of Inversnaid.

Partway up the Devil's Staircase.

Rannoch Moor

car grill

winter tree

I need to sharpen my neglected photography skills, so let’s see if titling this post “Weekly Photos” will be inducement enough to keep the camera in my paws…

Beach grass on lake Michigan

Snowy beach on Lake Michigan

Saugatuck dunes pine forest

Pines at Saugatuck Dunes park.

John playing Hamlet? (Actually, I think it was solitaire.)

Dave at Fernando's

Dave at Fernando's, or why low-light digital images aren't as cool as grainy film ones.

Jim at Fernando's

Jim at Fernando's.

Jim S. at Fernando's

Jim S. at Fernando's.

Michael plays the Steinway

Michael plays the Steinway

Our weeklong vacation to Oregon featured cherished time with dear friends, running at altitude, theatre, dining, drinking, wildlife, beauty, way too much time in the car, yoga, more drinking, meteor showers, giant trees, a lake in a volcano, mosquito bites, untold numbers of deer, the threat of injury and death, winding roads, the Pacific ocean, salted caramels, family, cooking, the Prince of Denmark and more. Did I photograph all of these things? No. I was having too much fun. But here are a few. Click any photo to enlarge.

crater lake

Crater Lake has a little bit of everything. Alpine forest, pumice desert, and the deepest (bluest) lake in North America nestled a thousand feet below the (newish) rim of a volcano that exploded 7,000 years ago.

crater lake

crater lake

crater lake

Stephen, Michael, John and I ran the 6.7-mile Crater Lake Rim Run (there are also 13.1 and 26.2 races in the series). It was, mercifully, mostly downhill and breathtakingly beautiful (or that may have been the altitude of 7,000 feet). It's on a Saturday in August and they close the rim road for the race for the 550 runners who participate. Rather special.

crater lake

After Crater Lake we migrated to Ashland to see shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. On the dark Monday, Jim and I took a trip to the coast to visit my aunts and stopped at the redwood forest on the way back. Mind-boggling in scope, and these aren't even the so-called giant sequoias (merely the coastal redwoods). (Ignore the terrible photo.)


We were fortunate enough to see all kinds of animals on our trip: numerous deer, a pine marten, lizards, a marmot, a fleeting glimpse of a bear, foxes, and this wild turkey who came for breakfast at our rental in Talent and stayed to lunch. We spotted him later in the apple orchard chowing down alongside a doe, a buck, and two fawns.



roses of Sharon

A tiny fraction of the roses of Sharon along the driveway.

hosta flower

Hostas in bloom.


Wee dahlias and false indigo.


Pink roses.

The garden is finally filling in, now that it’s July. (In the back anyway. We won’t talk about the front yard, where I killed my accent plants through negligence in a heat wave.) Mostly this has nothing to do with me. The driveway is filled with blossoms from the neighbor’s roses of Sharon, which form a huge hedge of pink extravagance. Hostas will be hostas, and grow to inordinate size with no help at all from me. I did plant the dahlias, which are annuals I got at Flower Day in May. I also have raspberries (thank you, freecycle, last autumn) and tomatoes (thank you, Maple Creek Farm) coming, too. Come join me for a drink on my patio and listen to the cicadas!
roses of Sharon

Fishflies adorn the house

A new decorating scheme? Only an ephemeral one.

Oh, Stacey, you’ve redecorated! What is that fancy paint finish called…oh…wait…is it…moving? Yes, the fishflies are here, my friends. Forming very large arrays. Hitching rides on hapless runners. Flocking to streetlamps in the night and dying in big smelly heaps. Crunching under your car tires as you drive over their piled up corpses. As bugs go, they’re really rather benign. They don’t bite. They don’t even fly all that much. And they don’t come in the house much – at least not without being noticed. ‘Cause they’re large, you see. The easiest way to remove one is to pick it up by its wings, which are about the size of the pads of your thumb and forefinger, and find it a new location. The only thing really creepy about them, besides their numbers, is they way they all face the same direction on any given surface. Like they’re praying. Or in contact with a great leader. Best not to think about it.

fish flies on the house

While they often cluster on white or light-colored things, they seem to like the blue house just fine.


A sunlit fishflie on the siding. They come in dark brown, ivory or even green.

array of fishflies

They tend to form very large arrays.

fishfly and sock

This photographer was arrayed in fishflies herself while taking these pictures.


They have lovely long tails.


...and lacy wings (also used as handles).

yellow crocusesLook! Look! Spring IS coming.

My crocuses seem to be nightly devoured by rodentia, but they..ahem…spring back…almost instantly!

There are leaves on the trees, and the hostas are preparing to take over the world.

purple crocuses


(You can also download an iPod version here.)
The boys and I went on nearly the perfect end-of-summer vacation last weekend. A cabin on a lake, a run through vineyards and orchards, wine tasting, good food, gorgeous sunny weather, no bugs, a hammock, a fire pit, early morning coffee in the hot tub watching the mist roll in over the lake. I’m tellin’ ya, it was over-the-top, ridiculously, stereotypically, cheesily grand. Just like the video, which is the sappiest thing in the world and which I will watch all winter whenever I’m feeling blue. Here are a few more photos, too (click to enlarge).

Stephen basks on a rock near Lake Michigan

Geraniums in the late afternoon light.

Sunset over Bass Lake

We’ve had a rather cool summer, but things are now starting to grow in earnest. (Click to enlarge, if you dare.)

Baby corn.  The plant is about two feet high.

Baby corn. The plant is about two feet high.

A pole bean.  The plant is about 6 feet high.  It would be higher if I let it climb the garage wall.

A pole bean. The plant is about 6 feet high. It would be higher if I let it climb the garage wall.

Bean flower.  Nothing there one day, a dozen flowers the next.

Bean flower. Nothing there one day, a dozen flowers the next.

My tomato plant is about 7 feet high.  Tomatoes have been green for ages.  Not a lot of sun lately.  Theyre organic brandywines from my CSA.

My tomato plant is about 7 feet high. Tomatoes have been green for ages. Not a lot of sun lately. They're organic brandywines from my CSA.

Outgrowing my tomato cage and headed for the roof of the garage.

Outgrowing my tomato cage and headed for the roof of the garage.

I have mint in a pot on the porch.

I have mint in a pot on the porch.

Basil, too.

Basil, too.