I still remember going to Portland specifically to get to go to Moonstruck and buy their cocoa and their chocolates, so it was a real treat to get to taste their chocolate again. The local Safeway carried their bars, too, so I got a few for us later in the day.
But the jam stood us in good stead, and we all had a great breakfast before we started preparing for dinner...
While they got that started, people talked and figured out an excursion for after lunch. Those that wanted to had a light lunch and then went off to the Columbia River Highway Trail. Eventually one end would branch off to the Mosier Twin Tunnels trail, and the rest would just keep going along an old highway. The trail was paved, smooth, as it once served as a state highway, but now it was only for bikes and walkers.
There were so many things about that trail that epitomized all the things that I miss about the Northwest: the sheer variety of trees, the wind in the trees, the cool breeze, the constant sound of water from the river and streams, the undergrowth, the fragrant and plentiful wild flowers, and the tunnel made among the trees by the path we followed.
I think it was the simple sound of the wind through the leaves and branches that made me just close my eyes and listen. I missed that rush of sound so much.
The path was everything we hoped for, too. Smooth, steady, and easy for us, but with plenty of ups and downs to not be boring, and there were good views and lots of things native to the area, including an incredibly delicate lilac with white or pale purple flowers that smelled delicious.
I got to spend some time with Miriam and it was really fun to just talk with her and Sheila during the hike. Little Mackenzie, Sheila's adopted daughter, hiked ahead with Aeran, Paul, and Leah. Paul came running back to us, gave Jan the keys to their car, and then ran back up to where the girls were, and kept going. They ended up at the Twin Tunnels and got a ride back from there. The rest of us headed back to the main house to make dinner...
There are no pictures of the dinner itself because it was so good. *laughs* From there we all headed out into the backyard, and took pictures of all the various groupings of people with Isabel: various families, all the grandchildren, all the brothers, all their wives, all the kids no matter the family, etc. Until we were all giggling and ended up with a group picture with EVERYONE in front of the cameras.
We all sang Happy Birthday to Isabel. She proudly wore her crown for the evening, and she'd requested strawberry shortcake instead of cake for her birthday dessert, so we'd obliged. The strawberries were ripe and beautiful, and we had two kinds of whipped cream as well as two types of ice cream. There were first toasts with sparkling wine and good stories and a lot of laughter, and then we got to dig in.
I was very happy that the shortcakes turned out well. It was basically the biscuit recipe with some sugar and, eventually, cinnamon to make them fragrant, and they stayed crisp under the macerated strawberries and whatever load of cream and ice cream people chose to put on them. *laughs* It was fun to do and much easier than a cake.
It was a very fine way to end a very amazing birthday part for a lovely and amazing lady. Isabel was very content, and the party went on until nearly one in the morning.