I saw many familiar faces while hiking the Maple Pass loop on Sunday, but it wasn’t until I encountered Mary Bjornsen hiking with her mother-in-law and an Edelweiss friend, Kristen, that I thought to solicit news for my column.

At first the three women claimed not to have any news for me, but I held them hostage newspaper-style and they eventually coughed up some tidbits about the three Bjornsen siblings. The biggest news is that Kaley recently got engaged, so congrats to Kaley and Tyler are in order.

I also learned that Sadie just came off the Eagle Glacier, after a weeklong U.S. National Ski Team training, and will be headed to the valley later this week for a visit with friends and family. Meanwhile, Erik just finished up a training with the French National Team. While in France he got to celebrate his birthday and watch some sections of the Tour de France in between training sessions.

Erik will be in the valley later in August and he and Mary plan to run to Stehekin and back. Tom and Mary used to take the kids on that hike when they were younger and now that Erik is an über-athlete, Mary is a little worried that Erik’s pace is going to put her through the wringer. Payback time, Mom!

The Methow Valley Killer Whales swim team finished triumphantly at the Okanogan County Championships Saturday, with their final victory in an undefeated season. At the SplashFest celebration party the next day, 11-year-old swimmer Hannah Bakke was awarded the Chase Brandenburg Memorial Award, which is given annually to a swimmer who demonstrates courage, support, and commitment to the team. Hannah was recognized in particular for her exemplary mentoring of one of the younger swimmers.

I’ve been gloating over the amazing volunteer pumpkins that are growing in my compost pile, which are doing way better than the squash that I planted inside and lovingly tended before transplanting outdoors at precisely the proper time.

Lately, though, I’ve been suspicious about them, as their shell strongly resembles that of zucchini. I’ve been in denial, but I had Tess Hoke from Local 98856 over today and she confirmed my suspicions, pointing out that since squash cross-pollinate, what I most likely have growing are pumpkin-zucchini hybrids: big and round and shaped like pumpkins, but in all other ways zucchini. I wonder if my kids are going to be able to carve these “pumpkini” come Halloween?