|Today's beautiful forest|
|Some of our group on the trail|
|Two big trillium and MaryLou's hand for size|
|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!