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.

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

(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

Alongside the 40th anniversay party were two events that are not likely to be repeated in the near future.

John, Melanie, Jim and Stacey in our BBFR tees.

The first was the Bare Buns Fun Run 5k.  “Be Brave, Be Tough, Beat the Mountain in the Buff!”  Yes, it was a clothing optional run at the Fraternity Snoqualmie nudist camp.  Yes, I can see the question forming in your mind.  I did not run naked (fear of pain) but in a bra and skirt (because I thought I would feel dumb in a bra and no bottoms).  Melanie and John also did not run naked.  We were conspicuously clothed.  Jim, however, did run naked.  As he put it, “I was going to be uncomfortable whether I had clothes on or not, so I took them off.”  No, alas, there are no photos, save this one, of us in our souvenir tees.

Honestly, for me, it wasn’t all the nudity that made the experience unusual, it was having to run straight up a mountain.  An impossible task for me, I might add, but DOWN was fantastic!  Who knew I could run so fast?

Bikini bottoms at the Flamingo poolside bar

Bikini bottoms at the Flamingo poolside bar

After that, there was a wee trip to Vegas.  I decided to be brave and wear a bikini.  My first.  It was a wrong-headed decision, and no, there are certainly no photos.

However, because I know y’all like a good bikini as much as the next person.  Here you go.

My favorite stop in Vegas?  The bar at

One (of three) vodka tasting flights at the bar at Red Square.

One (of three) vodka tasting flights at the bar at Red Square.

– a fabulously kitchy Soviet-era themed, very red establishment with a bar made of ice that specializes in imported vodkas.  Need I say more?  John, Michael and I were very, very happy with the twelve samples we consumed.

I threw a surprise 40th wedding anniversary party for my folks in July (with the help of some sneaky companions) and it was an unqualified success.  They were surprised to see me, surprised to have a party, surprised at all the guests, and generally delighted.  The weather was perfect, the Moore’s house lovely, the Linds’ garden redolent, the food delish, the liquor flowing, and there was even a campfire.  Who could ask for anything more?  Click on any picture to enlarge.

Pam (Maid of Honor) was the first to arrive!

Pam (Maid of Honor) was the first to arrive!

Mike and Mike enjoying the surprise.

Mike and Mike enjoying the surprise.

Bill, whose house we borrowed for the evening.

Bill, whose house we borrowed for the evening.

The happy family.

The happy family.

Matt.  Hes treelike.

Matt. He's treelike.

Steve and Ruth Anne came from California back to the old hood.

Steve and Ruth Anne came from California back to the old 'hood.

Do they look analytical?  Theyre scientists.

Do they look analytical? They're scientists.

Joan, Judy and Mary with a diverse array of cocktails.

Joan, Judy and Mary with a diverse array of cocktails.

The Stewarts looking Hawaiian and loving it.

The Stewarts looking Hawaiian and loving it.

Bob and Betty at their post by the fire.

Bob and Betty at their post by the fire.

40 red lanterns for 40 years.

40 red lanterns for 40 years.

Dick begins his guest book masterpiece.

Dick begins his guest book masterpiece.

The neighbor girls are used to staying up late.

The neighbor girls are used to staying up late.

Purty.

Purty.

Percy being hilarious?

Percy being hilarious?

Jim with cosmo.  Happy Jim.

Jim with cosmo. Happy Jim.

Mikes and Sharons lovely yard.  The new studio, of which there were copious tours, is in the background.

Mike's and Sharon's lovely yard. The new studio, of which there were copious tours, is in the background.

Dont be fooled.  Tara was well fed that night.

Don't be fooled. Tara was well fed that night.

Someone very clever brought the marshmallows.  Wasnt me.

Someone very clever brought the marshmallows. Wasn't me.

Somebody has to clean up.

Somebody has to clean up.

Good night and thanks for coming!

Good night and thanks for coming!