Thursday, June 2, 2022

Start of summer potluck and walk

Today's beautiful forest

Today there were lots and lots of Senior Trailblazers meeting at Lake Padden for our welcome-to-summer party and hike. There were two groups of us, 18 in our "faster" group, and 15 in the "relaxed" group. Plus maybe another ten people showed up for the potluck who didn't hike. It was rather huge, really, but we were in the outdoors for the whole time, and I didn't pull up my mask even once.

Some of our group on the trail

The weather was just about perfect. Melanie went on her own hike in the Chuckanuts, not being comfortable with such a large group, even outdoors. Everyone asked about her and whether she would be coming back sometime soon, as she is missed. I feel fortunate to have her with me most Thursdays.

Two big trillium and MaryLou's hand for size

We didn't see many flowers in the greenery, but we did see this incredibly large trillium duo, with two purple (meaning old) flowers still hanging on. Melanie saw lots of trillium and she sent me some snapshots, but the one that really stood out for me is the one she took of a vanilla-leaf group.

Mel's photo from this morning

As I mentioned in my last post, the vanilla leaf plant gets its name from the smell of its dried leaves, which also make a good tea. Check out this page for how to make it.
Native Americans used vanilla leaf as an insect repellent and to perfume their homes. Once in the dehydrator, the plant's common name rings true: the room fills with the slightly sweet and calming aroma of vanilla. As a tea, it has the same effect.

 We walked somewhere around six miles on the horse trails behind Lake Padden, with around a thousand feet up and down. Not too shabby, but mostly we spent our time talking and catching up; I haven't seen some of these people in more than a year!

Chao, one of our hikers

I was enchanted with this tree (or trees), and Chao (a new-to-me hiker) is on the trail just before we headed back to the main trail around the lake. We had a potluck to attend, after all. 

A true potluck with two tables

As usual, we had a real potluck with nobody responsible for bringing anything except a table setting and a dish to share. We had our usual plethora of salads: perhaps a dozen different ones to choose from or try to sample every one. Other than a plate of sliced salami, I didn't see any meat at all.

This was early: another dozen plates appeared

The desserts were incredible. Before they were all assembled, we must have had three different cakes, and myriad cookies and brownies to choose from. I sure enjoyed the rhubarb bars in the upper left corner. Not that I didn't keep myself from sampling other treats, too.

A large and happy group

We continued to enjoy our feast, but I wasn't really able to get a good picture of everyone. This was the best I could do, so I just took pictures of my seatmates.

Jonelle and Joy, two old friends

I hadn't seen either of these wonderful friends on the trail for quite a long time, so I figured a picture of them for posterity would be a good idea. Both of these ladies are well into their eighties, and still very active. Jonelle has been a friend for over a decade, and Joy about the same. Joy's husband Dave was not there, since he had a painful operation last week. These things come with the territory of hanging out with old people. Being one myself, I am always happy to visit with them and wish them many more years of robust good health.

MaryLou and Frank

Across the table, two other old friends whom I haven't seen in awhile. That's one of the fun things about these gatherings: getting to see and catch up with so many of them, and hopefully with a full summer of outings ahead.

Me and Al

And since I hadn't visited with Al, our fearless leader, for awhile, I am also adding a picture of the two of us after having filled our stomachs with lots of good food after a wonderful hike on the horse trails behind Lake Padden. It's almost summer around here, and we actually got to 72°F today, for the first time this season!



  1. That looks like a truly wonderful day - though I would probably like Mel be uncomfortable with so many people.
    And how I would love to try vanilla leaf tea...

  2. Fun to see Al again! Sounds like a fun day for you!

  3. What a huge gathering! Looks wonderful. So glad you got to see people you hadn't seen for such a long time. :)
    Love those vanilla plants.

  4. Does look like you'all had a fun time! Such a nice get-together (although I too would be hesitant to be around so many (yet) - sad result of the pandemic)

  5. Pot lucks with a group are just the icing on the cake. Enjoy your summer.

  6. Looks like a rowdy group. Maybe I should find a Senior hikers group in KC. Kansas has no forests, and the elevation might change by one foot for miles. Linda in Kansas

  7. Yay for active seniors who live full lives, enjoying nature as they go. Perfect!

  8. That had to be such a delightful treat to see everyone again and get caught up. I understand Melanie's reluctance but I am sure seeing your pictures, she is sad about what she missed. Darn this Covid.

  9. How nice! I always love a good party with fun people.

  10. I'm still here reading and enjoying your posts! But blogger has not been allowing me to comment. Hope I have it sorted out now.

  11. I'm glad you had such a good chance to catch up with old friends!
    We're back to rain again here today. I was planning to work outside this afternoon, but I just looked out the window, and darn! Guess I'll have to make other plans.

  12. So glad you had a wonderful reunion day with great food!

  13. Nice weather, lots of food, plenty of socializing, a bit of exercise ... what's not to love!?!

  14. This sure looks like a ton of fun! Having just come from a crowded cruise, I can understand Melanie's hesitation. We've got COVID cases going up here in Hawaii too, but I don't know just how careful we need to be.

  15. Oh what joy!!! To have such a feast and seeing all "old" friends musta felt like homecoming!! Hope you tried a brownie for me!!!

    Too bad Mel didn't show. But I can empathize...I hate being in large groups too.


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.