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

Lairigmor

Lairigmor

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

Banh Mi

Divine Banh Mi from Neighborhood Noodle

moon

Chasing the moon.

stalagmite

Neighbor's dryer vent stalagmite.

stalagmite

It is about a foot tall.

brandywine

The Brandywine Inn in Grand Rapids

lobby

Waiting for Jim in the lobby of Calvin College.

lobby

I like blue.

car grill

winter tree

The hat lives on – though it is occasionally superseded by other headwear, a select phonelist of friends still receive pictures of it on my head at odd hours of the day.  Highlights from October 2010 to the present appear below.

scary fish

Terrifying boat graphic.

arts in motion

Dawn on the new hats.

skeleton

Pensive skeleton.

scooby

Scooby.

halloween

Days get shorter.

autumn

Autumn.

turkey trot

At the Turkey Trot.

lights

Lights aplenty.

horse

Horsie.

christmas socks

Run Like the Dickens 10k. Wearing Christmas socks. Like everyone else.

seattle

Seattle.

snowman

Snowman.

lights

New Year Christmas holdout.

curry powder

Roasted and ground this morning for dinner tonight.

marquee

(Click to enlarge.) Sesame seeds; cinnamon, oregano, thyme and cloves; pecans almonds and peanuts; tomatillo, avocado leaf and tortilla.

Stephen and I reunited for Thanksgiving and a bit of a culinary frenzy. Thursday we cooked a sublime feast of tikka-inspired turkey, pretzel rolls, cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Friday featured left-over mashed potato bread (for turkey-cranberry sandwiches, of course) and Saturday we took a trip to Honey Bee Market in Detroit’s Mexicantown with an eye to tackling mole.

Toasting the seeds extracted from various dried chiles (with a bit of tortilla).

Spurred on by the direction in Rick Bayless’ black mole recipe to, “now do something that will seem very odd…turn on an exhaust fan, open a window and toast your seeds…until burned to charcoal black,” we hit the kitchen.

We were there for hours.

Guajillo, ancho and pasilla chiles; now seedless and fried crispy; then soaked; eventually pureed.

We chopped, toasted, blended, fried, soaked, and simmered – much of the time with the fan on and the back door open.

The much-used blender; puree of tomatillos; puree of toasted seeds and nuts; puree of banana, onion, garlic, spices and burnt toast.

And in the end, we got a silky, complex, just spicy enough, slightly sweet sauce that formed the basis of the best enchiladas I have ever made.

Mole in the cooking-down stage; finished silky mole; tossed with cooked, shredded chicken; in the final dish.

Was it fun?  Yes.  Did we set off the smoke alarm?  Only two or three times.  Do I want to do this again in the  near future?  No.  But, fortunately, I still have three containers of mole in the freezer.

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.)

turkey

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.

butterfly

lizard

roses of Sharon

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

hosta flower

Hostas in bloom.

dahlias

Wee dahlias and false indigo.

rose

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