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Off for a long weekend retreat, planned when I thought a lack of sun would be weighing down on us. Happy to be wrong, we left sunny Portland for sunny Bend.

Mount Hood

Three Fingered Jack

Mount Jefferson

Fishermen on the Deschutes

Warm Springs

Railroad Bridge over the Crooked River at Peter Skene Ogden Viewpoint

Juniper Country

Gotta love a palindrome!

In Bend now, at the Old Mill District

The Hubster’s favorite.

Margarita and super fabulous Relleno at Hola!

We stayed at Brasada Ranch. Lovely and picturesque, it was everything we could have asked for. This was the awe-inspiring view from our room, with me waking early to watch the sun light the Sisters each morning.


I have never seen so many Robins! They are VERY keen on juniper berries.

gnarled old juniper

Fake smile and, quite possibly, the best pimento cheese ever at Drake. They have pretty snazzy cocktails, tip-top service, and a bad-ass roasted trout, too.


Homeward bound through fog-laden Prineville.

Mount Hood, again – jiggity-jig!

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Southbound on Highway 97

Yakima Canyon Bridge

Dinner in Yakima, we didn’t try the bacon special.

Our Tieton (Tie-eh-ton) home, El Nido Cabin no. 6, lovely and comfortable, with everything it’s right place, to quote a favorite song. Tieton lies fifteen winding miles from Yakima, and worlds away, really. On the surface, it is agricultural, surrounded by miles of orchards, a smattering of vineyards, and idyllic rolling hills, baked and golden by summer heat.

What you might not know is that the town is also an incubator for small, artisan businesses, an enterprise called Mighty Tieton. There are artists, book binders, printers, and cheesemakers, to name a few, all working to infuse new life into this tiny town. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I discovered their endeavors and planned our journey after enjoying a bottle Tieton Cider Works hard cider, either, some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

The cabins are situated on seven acres of land, beautiful in its near wildness. Birds and other creatures chirp and rustle, while underfoot, the ground crunches with twigs, dead grass and eager Russian thistles. Here is a patch of choke cherries, long chains of dangling jewel fruit; there, a hedgerow of wild roses, electric colored hips glowing in soft afternoon light. And farm equipment, ancient and battered, but looking as if their caretaker has just stepped into the shade for a spell and will return any moment.

Making friends

We love this cider!

Picture takers at The Tasting Room, Wilridge Winery. It’s biodynamic and delicious!

A horse named Nell


For my nephew

Towering fruit crates

Ed Marquand, a kindly fellow with fabulous spectacles, is responsible for getting Mighty Tieton started, after getting two flat tires on a bike ride through the town. He runs Paper Hammer Studios and gave us a tour of their operations. With one fancy printer and an old-timey book binding machine alongside a hundred year old paper cutter nearly as large as my bathroom, it is a small operation. Fine books are made by hand and cheeky prints, too. We came home with a few treasures.

On the home stretch, with Mount Rainier from the east.

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Soda Lake

Alkali Lake

We’re our way to the Methow (Met-how) Valley now, cruising along near-deserted highway no. 17, with scores of miles between automobile sightings. It was that dreamy hour, early in the day, the heat not yet ripened, the wind scarcely a breath upon us.

Wheat and sagebrush under high clouds and faded blue sky:

East, West, North, and South.

Alone, but not lonely.

Full of love and awe.

The Rolling Huts, our modern home in the Methow, though I think they might need a bit of coaxing to actually roll. Perfectly situated for star gazing, and fortuitous timing for the beginning of the Perseid Meteor Shower, we laid in quiet witness of countless shooting stars, the slow descent of giant fire balls, zooming bright satellites, and our thick with dreamy stars Milky Way.

The wesola polana (happy meadow) and a couple of her visitors.

The Methow River and my favorite rock skipper.

More love.

Liberty Bell Mountain

Silver Star Mountain

The old-timey town of Winthrop. We saw no gun slingers or rabble-rousers, only like-minded tourists wilting in August heat.

A fellow looking much like a prospector made certain we did not miss this bridge and accompanying riparian entertainments (said with a hearty laugh and nod to Keeping Up Appearances). We were mighty grateful.

Deer Ears

Choke Cherry

A River Runs through it.

That smile!

Just down the road in Twisp, I met Jillian of The Noisy Plume! We had a tasty breakfast at the Glover Street Market (stop in for a smoothie or breakfast sandwich or waffle, then grab a bar or two of Molly’s Soap – you won’t regret it). As for the meeting, after the twitchy nervous-making beginning was melted and spent, there was much laughter and discovery and the baring of sweet souls. Happiness!

 Up Next РTieton!

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One of the reasons I haven’t posted much, as of late, is this road trip we took last week, full-on sky and heat.

I have a thing for power lines, humble totems of our modern age, despite conducting work that borders on epic. Oh, how I love a pun, too!

This photo makes me think of a passage from the Upanishads:

Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart.

Everything that moves, breathes, opens, and closes, lives in the Self — the source of love.

Realize the Self hidden in the heart and cut asunder the knot of ignorance here and now.

We stayed at the Loma Loft in a historic neighborhood near downtown Walla Walla and were able to walk most of the time.

Like most places, I found scores of exquisite details everywhere I looked. The hubster is a big fan of the tin ceiling, and I am always a sucker for glorious light.

The Peach Basket Classic was in full swing. Three on three hoops, with young men and women dribbling for bragging rights. It is fun to stay at the YMCA!

Sweets and treats to be had everywhere, too, oh, and wine, lots and lots. We tasted our fair share and bought more than a few bottles.

We did not partake of any Hot Poop. Knowing it was available was adequate.


The sculptures and this building are part of Whitman College. It is a lovely campus, a fine mix of new and old.

The hubster makes himself at home.


I think this is the best cupcake I’ve ever tasted. It’s definitely the most adorable, a perfect match to it’s name, too, the Shirley Temple. The hubster had a chocolate with coconut frosting, but there was only a bite left by the time I took my picture, so use your imagination for that one, or head to the shop yourself.

These last two were actually taken in Milton-Freewater, just across the border in Oregon. Where we filled up on wine in Walla Walla, we tasted fantastic hard ciders here, Blue Mountain to be precise, the last photo their namesake. I’ll bet I have a friend or two in Colorado chuckling about the “mountain” part.

Next up – The Methow Valley!

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The last post on Colorado, with a mural in downtown Pagosa Springs a fine nod to our lovely horseback ride.

Desert Allium

Now we are at Chimney Rock National Monument, considered the Northeastern most outlier site to Chaco Canyon and likely placed for ceremonies to observe the moon. If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating and reverential collection of structures, I highly recommend the documentary The Mystery of Chaco Canyon, narrated by Robert Redford. There was also a great article in New Mexico Magazine recently, though it only describes outlier sites within the state.

If I remain very still, she will not see me.

The site is on a high ridge overlooking the Ute Reservation.

This is the view south to Chaco Canyon, some fifty miles away. A high school student used mirrors to prove that it was possible to communicate between the sites, though they likely used fire.

Indian Paintbrush – I always get slightly melancholy when I see it, as it was the favorite flower of my Grandpa Herbie. He was killed in a motorcycle accident when my Dad was six years old, so we both missed out on truly knowing him.

Nearly all of the buildings have been reconstructed using the original stones. It was an amazing feat, especially when considering they worked on a high ridge, with scarcely enough room for a wheelbarrow to move the stone up the mountain, had they existed at the time.

Desert Mallow

This section is in original condition, having been in place for over a thousand years.

It is between these two spires that the moon rises during a Major Lunar Standstill, which occurs every 18.6 years, and, by all accounts, would be quite amazing to witness in person. I was in awe on a regular spring day!


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