What on Earth is a HooDoo?

noun, plural hoo·doos.

  1. voodoo. bad luck.

2. a person or thing that brings bad luck.

3. Geology. a pillar of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion.

511653759_73537365f5_bIf you picked #3 you may have visited the strangely wonderful Bryce Canyon National Park, Home of the HooDoos…not to mention-the mysterious eye in the sky! (hint, upper left)

What you can see on the Peek-A-Boo trail in Bryce Canyon.

SkADaMo: Circling my character

My new character is a girl, about 6, with dark hair and eyes, long braids, and just a little on the stocky side.

She has a hat covered with souvenir pins, a few from her adventures and more from her hiking grandma. She wears a couple of friendship bracelets, and has a keychain or two hanging from her backpack zippers.

When I “invent” a character, I use  elements of memory and imagination, then try to bring those into the real world of contemporary childhood.

Some aspects of childhood remain constant through history but every era adds its own overlay of style and technology. My struggle today is to create a character who is both timeless and today.


One who won’t look too quaint if this book is in print in 20 years–or 50, fingers crossed!girl_2:web

Views from High Places

A great view is worth hiking for


Two views from Rattlesnake Cliffs, overlooking Lake Dunmore, Vermont.


McAfee Knob, on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Not terribly high, but a breathtaking experience if you are acrophobic!

McAfee Knob:web

And the view from Tinker Cliffs, looking south along the serpentine chain of the AppalachiansAppalachians:web

And finally, a recent painting from the top of Snake Mountain in Addison, Vermont. The fertile fields of Addison County, Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains are in the distance.


Spring Fever

March winds nearly blew me off Bernal hill last night–flapping my scarf in my eyes and doing a very bad number on my hair. But this beautiful butterfly kite couldn’t find a decent breeze. Despite the efforts of 2 parents and 4 kids, the butterfly bombed.kiteflyer_3

His owner was left with nothing to do but hold him as Mom and Dad turned their attention to a much less attractive Angry Birds kite.kite


March is also wildflower month in Northern California, so Maria and I took our annual hike on the Ring Mountain.

We hoped to spot the rare Tiburon Mariposa Lily, found only on Ring Mountain.


photo by Tom Hilton


Instead, when we first arrived we were greeted by numerous Oakland Mariposa Lilies. They are prettier in some ways–pinker and not so hairy- and also considered rare. tiburonlily


Ring Mountain’s other joys are wide open views of the Tiburon Peninsula and San Francisco to the South.  From a picnic spot at the base of a jumbled rock pile, this was my view. Maria kindly posed to add scale and some St Patrick’s day green.



St Patrick’s Day, 2013