Sunday, October 11, 2009
Today I tried my knee out again, and did quite well for 2 1/2 miles.
My neighbor joined me in our walk, so I heard all about her kid's football game. It kept my mind off my knee, and kept me walking pretty fast.
Not that I care about her kid's football games, but it is nice to have someone chatting away like a magpie, and all I have to do is stay vertical and keep walking. And she is a real magpie, let me tell you! A magpie, but a friendly, outgoing magpie who is proud of her off spring.
it is a beautiful day here on the Olympic Peninsula. Too beautiful to stay indoors. I just had to get out side and feel the clean, crisp air and get my body moving.
I wrote before that I was slacking up on my program. Just getting outside and moving the past two days has made significant changes in my attitude again.
Today I am tracking my food, water, and even sneaking in a few extra strength work ups every now and then during the day. It feels good to be back on track.
Attitude is everything for me. I can convince myself to stall exercise with a myriad of excuses. I can sit on the pity pot and complain about my aches and pains. I can justify that I can't do work outs because of health limitations. I can sit on the sofa, watch old movies and stuff my face with too much food.
The stuffing of my face is a thing to behold. Since I joined SP, I have once again become more concious of what I am putting in my mouth. I am eating healthier for the most part.
But that is not the whole picture. Even though I am eating more healthfully, it is the quantity of what I am eating that can really mess me up.
Once I get in to the attitude of face stuffing, I really go for it. I mean, how many apples do YOU eat at one setting? Yesterday I did six, to BEGIN with. Now I ask you; is that being healthy or just pigging out?!
Then I got out the peanut butter...crunchy, of course.........and had apples with peanut butter. Three more apples later, I decide apples and cheese make wonderful snacks, so how would apples, peanut butter AND cheese go? The answer is................wonderful!
Munch, stuff, drink water.
Let's see how many ounces of cheese I can stuff in with those apples and peanut butter! Better yet, why weigh the cheese as it will only bring on guilt and shame?
Guilt and shame do not belong on Face Stuffing Days. I require total mindless eating on those days.
Stuff, stuff, stuff and drink water.
Oh, hey! I've also got some Asian pears on the trees! Get some in, add peanut butter and cheese to them, too! They are not all that good with peanut butter, and the best cheese is bleu cheese with the pears.
How do I know this? Because I tried pears with Monterey Jack, Medium Cheddar, Extra Sharp cheddar, and finally bleu cheese. And I didn't weigh any of it.
Stuff, stuff, stuff and drink more water..
My jaws were getting tired by now, and the movie is over.
I drink another glass of water. After all, I need to stay healthy, right?!
DH comes in and asks what are we having for dinner. WHAT??!! DINNER???? I just finished breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert for the entire week! Who needs DINNER??
Being the good wife I am, I do bake some chicken, a baked potato and some brocolli. And I stuff that down, too.
Stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, and drink a glass of milk.
Take my nightime medications and drink more water.
There! I got all my fresh fruits and veggies in, drank all my water, and didn't track any of it besides the water, three apples, 1 tbsp peanut butter and made myself look good on the chart.
However, I cheated myself. I was dishonest as the day is long!
I wonder why we think we are getting away with stuff when we are only cheating ourselves?? How long does THAT take to set in??!!
Friday, October 09, 2009
Remember when I put all those photos of the leaf painting class? Well yesterday was our day to "SHINE" by having our own little quilt show and hosting an Oktoberfest.
The photos of some of the quilts are on my photo page. I couldn't get all of them, because for a variety of reasons, some of the students didn't come to club or send their quilts with friends.
We has a terrific time......at least that's what a whole lot of people said. I know I did!
I began the day before with having to clean out DH's car, because I need to drive that now that the transmission in MY car is totally lunched.
Just ask Bossy Daughter what a herculean task I had in getting his car all cleaned up. I could have called Dempsey Dumpsters, but you know how he gets when I have something to throw away!
I not only got rid of his trash, but I vaccumed, dusted and even applied Lexol to the leather seats.............only after I CLEANED them!! You cannot begin to imagine the color of his beige seats. This is because they were so filthy with dirt AND grease!
Let me tell you, I think we ought to be able to get Spark Fitness Points for doing jobs for our husbands like this one! You know, a category that says "elbow grease". By the time I finished cleaning all the dirt and grease, my arms were shaking. And all the while, he was inside, surfing through the channels!
The car is all nicely cleaned now, so I began to load my stuff for the quilt show the next day. I walked all over the house, upstairs and downstairs, packing stuff needed for the day, and then I realized I had not timed myself OR wore the pedometer. Geez LOUISE!!!
I retrieved two large boxes from the basement which held Autumn decorations. I hauled them upstairs and out to the car, thinking to put them in the trunk. How very foolish of me to even fantasize that one!
The trunk was worse than the interior of a garbage truck. Another hour or more, and have a clean trunk.
Only to find that the big boxes won't fit in the stupid trunk anyway. GRRRRR
So I haul the boxes back inside, empty the contents into large plastic garbage bags, drag them out to the car, and plop them into the trunk, closing the hatch rather quickly.
So now I have to get the Apple Cider, the pot to heat it up, and get the Kuchen out of the oven and into the insulated bag. All off to the car again.
Back inside, I gather up the five quilts I am taking to our little show. Now this seems like it would be a simple thing, right? Now think for a minute.....................have you EVER known me to do anything simple?????
The big quilt I painted for this class...The Bird's Nest one on my home page..........was still being blocked and I didn't want it to get out of shape. So I have this 49x60 piece of plastic kind of stuff that I found at Home Depot to make my design boards, and have to get that into the car, too. Hmmmmmmmm
I flash on to an idea and drape the other four quilts over this one, and haul the whole mess out to the car. It doesn't seem to understand my thinking, because it doesn't want to fit.
OK. Time to ponder the situation. Get the coffee urn and apple cider out of the back seat area, and move them to the front passenger side area. Now sliiiiiiiiiiiide the design wall, loaded with quilts through to the other side in back.
AHA! I amaze myself for such good problem solving! Wait a minute. What are those two other big bags that are sitting outside the car??
Good grief, it is the club Education bag and the bigger bag which carries all the sample quilts for next week's class. And they HAVE to go to club!!
I move the casserole carrier (once again!) and SHOVE the bags on the seat in the back, giving just enough room for the design wall to fit. The casserole carrier HAS to fit in the front now. I place it on the floor, and hope it doesn't run all over the mat.
I am off!!
I drive to club, getting there early since I have to do all the setting up, quilt hangings, decorating, food tables set up before the quilters show up and need my attention about paying for upcoming classes. And of course, all their needs are certainly more important than mine are, or for that matter, ANY one else's.
By 9:00, the area where I set up Education is packed, and I still don't have the quilts up, the cider started, the tables decorated. Here's where my Big Sister, Sharon, comes to the rescue.
She walks up to me and says "You look like you are on over load. Carolyn and I will hang the quilts" What a savior!
I ignore the people that are crowding around me and head off to start heating the cider.
Then I learn the quilts won't stay up with the tape, and we can't punch any holes in the walls.
OKAY......................rush to the four tall flannel covered design walls that belong to the club, fling them at Sharon, and yell out....Pin Away, Sista! She and Caroline are ON IT!
The quilters who are awaiting my return to my "place" get handled smoothly now that I know we are SOMEWHAT organized.
And here come more quilts, and food...lots and lots of FOOD! Where do I want them to put them all.......................by this time that is NOT an intelligent question. Women their age should already know that.
But I designate a place for quilts, then get the food tables set up. First table, salads. Second table, main course. Third table, desserts.
Then my musicians want to know where to set up. I hadn't thought about that one, so time to improvise.
This was all my idea to have an Oktoberfest and a quilt show using only the quilts that were made during in-house classes. The teachers are all members of the club for in-house, and that way I can keep the costs down for the membership. I even put a new spin on the potluck, telling folks they had to bring "Autumn Foods".
have any of you noticed the dramatic increase in out-side, or "professional" quilter's fees? Yowza!!! But that is getting off the topic.
Suddenly, as these things have a wont to do, everything is all set up, handled, in place. Just in time for the actual meeting to start at 10!
After I make all my announcements, I give Kitty her sample quilts....SO glad to get rid of them.......and then discover I have been given two quilts in various stages of finishing that I still have to hang!
Irene gave me hers (the blue one) and Carole gave me hers (the unfinished large one) to hang, even though they are not completed. Holy cow! where to hang THEM?? Dragging the ladder from the foyer into the big room, I scrape it along, get up one it, and a kind soul asks if I want her to hand the quilts and tape up to me. I mean, I am at the TOP of the ladder...........what kind of question is that??!!
Everything is ready. The announcements are all over, and it is time to start our show. First I ask all the quilters who had a quilt in our show to please come up and stand by their quilt so others can put a name to the art work.
There are two class projects I have authorized to show their quilts..............The Painted Leaves class and the Christmas Tree class.
As usual, not everyone "remembered" to bring their quilts because they aren't finished. But we sure had a terrific show!
So after "warming" the audience, I introduce our live entertainmnet. Robin volunteered to play the fiddle and Ilse offered her professional accordian playing. They didn't get together and practise, which I thought they would have done.
It is not until they begin that it becomes painfully obvious that Robin is a beginner on the fiddle, while Ilse is a seasoned professional.
But they managed to get through two songs, then Robin quit playing...........very humorously......and we had Ilse on the accordian.
The music was perfect for Oktoberfest. When she played a beautiful rendition of Adel Weiss, I took the microphone over to Barbara Huges, and she sang the song in her lovely soprano voice. Everyone was in tears over the beauty of it. And Barbara didn't even suspect I was going to have her sing it!
After the music, I, along with friends, got all the food out, then made an annoucement that surprised everyone. The members really rose to the Autumn Food challenge! The tables were groaning with sausage dishes, root vegetable dishes, Autumn salads, Heavily bbq'd chicken, corn chowder, and a wide variety of food in crockpots, baking dishes, and pretty serving dishes. The desserts weren't, surprisingly all pumpkin pies either! There was enough food there to feed several quilt clubs.
I told them that the showing artists were first in line, and everyone had to wait until they got their plates. I mean, after all, they are the ones who are truly presenting the show and talent.
We all ate too much, chatted too long, but had an absolutely STELLAR time. Surprisingly, not much food at all was left!
Even my Kugle was nearly gone....just a little 1/4 cup of it tucked into the corner of the pan. I do NOT like Kugel, but I had never had it before, but the recipe in Vegetarian magazine raved about it, so I gave it a try. Never again. Others liked it fine, or at least said they did, but when I tasted it, I knew it was curtains for that stuff in our house!
Most of the members already asked me to do this next year, and start a tradition. I agree to do this, as I love putting on parties for large groups. Next year I will be much better organized, having learned a lot this year.
We have quite a number of "Snow Birds" who go south for the winter, and because of that, they miss all the parties. The Oktoberfest was more than a quilt show and potluck; it was my way of sending our Snow Birds off safely, and surrounded by love. Everyone agreed that Oktoberfest is definetely the best way for us to show our appreciation to all they add to our club.
I encourage all you other quilters out there to give this a shot. No one got in any sewing, but everyone got in a whole lot of FUN!
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Yesterday I got a shingles shot in my left arm. I got a flu shot in my right arm. I had my knee x-rayed, and learned I will probably have to have surgery done on it.
I learned that my DH nor I need to get the H1N1 shot, because we are "too old to get it".
I also learned that I have Presby Esophagus. What is Presby Esophagus you may well ask? In layman's terms, it is "old esophagus".
The name comes from when the Presbyterian Church was first formed. They had their elders, who pretty much ran everything, and were old in age. They all sat together in an area specially built for them off to one side of the alter to make sure the rules were followed. Another name for "elder" is "Presby".
Therefore, elder esophagus = old tubing.
I have to see a specialist for my old tubing, and another one for my knee. Cripes!
I already KNEW I had old tubing. I mean, how can one NOT know, with the rest of the body getting old? I have arthritis, my fingers are doing the twist without the accompaniment of music, my hair is getting thinner and requires tons of mousse (don't get excited.....it's not the chocolate kind!). Clairol should give me free products by now.
I have vericose veins that look like a road map of Wisconsin, my bladder leaks, and my boobs are doing their best to move to Mexico because I refused to fill them up with silicone when that was all the rage. Come to that, I think it is still a rage, but I don't hear as well as I used to, and my bi-focals are getting a bit dim.
I joioned a SP challenge with the Port Angeles and Surrounding Areas team, which was to walk one mile a day for the month of September. Darcey, Kat, Shirley and the rest of the team have all been such strong supporters of me that I decided to take them up on the challenge during one of my senior moments.
I was not a walker until now. You can read my past blogs to learn more about my thoughts of walking anywhere. But I figured, what the heck........they've been good to me, so I might just try to get in 5 miles for September.
That turned my life around another corner. I put in 52 miles during the month of September, and learned to love the walk, the solitude, nature, the fresh feeling of getting stronger and stronger.
I began to play with the idea of doing a 5k walk. I mentioned this to my friend at quilt club last week, and she just happened to be signed up to register walkers this Saturday (now today) for the cancer clinic we have here in town!
Woo Hoo! This must be a "SIGN"! I would join those walkers!! Yippee!!! My other friend at quilt club, Sylvia (the wise one), reminded me of my knee and said "You KNOW of course, it won't do your KNEE any good!"
I ignore Sylvia and plan on doing the 5k.
The other plan I have been looking so very forward to is meeting my Spark team members live on Sunday. We plan on having a bag picnic lunch and go for a short hike. Now how much more fun do you need than THAT??!! I can't wait to meet my sisters in this "weight thing", as I call it, and give them all big hugs and have my picture taken with them all!!!!
Today I awoke to the sound of pitter patter outside. I do not have any toddlers, so the pitter patter can only mean one thing. Rain. Rain with Wind. Rain with Wind and Cold.
Scratch the plan for the 5K. I don't want to take any chances on not meeting my Spark team supporters tomorrow!
I go into the quilt room and start putting together an applique kit for a friend who has had some very serious heart problems, and is layed up. While she can't get on her machine, or do any fabric cutting, she has expressed a desire to do some applique.
I am listening to soothing music, going through my stash and cutting fabric for her. I have the pattern all opened up, so I know what is required for her kit.
My scraps baskets are scattered about on the table and around my feet, and I am having a good time thinking how much Donna will enjoy the quilt kit I am putting together for her, when I realize I am not feeling too well.
I shrug it off to standing too long, plop on the stool and continue with the kit. And continue with the not feeling well.
My chest is hurting very badly, my throat is sore, and I am developing a monstrous headache. I take some Aleve and Milanta, and continue with the kit.
I also continue with the increasing aches. DH comes in, takes one look at me, and says "Are you okay? You're white as a ghost." He gets the thermomenter, and sure enough, I have fever.
I am instructed to go directly to bed. I don't protest a lot, because I am really feeling pretty awful.
I hope it is just a bit of reaction to the shots on Friday. I sometimes get a reaction to flu shots, but it is not all that bad.
I want to go see my friends tomorrow so very much!! I have been looking forward to this for weeks. What a huge disappointment it will be if I can't go!!
Flu, flu, go away.............don't come back another day!!
I need to sign off and get back in bed.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I haven't walked much in my life. I did a stint there for a while of jogging, but gave that up with the help of winter.
Walking wasn't one of "my things". I am one of those who always looked for the nearest parking space at the grocery store, the movie theatre, quilt shops, restaurants......I spent lots of gas just driving round and round, waiting for someone to move their cars from the nearest space to the door.
Inside Costco, Safeway and any other place, I did more strolling than walking. Lots of stops along the way to look at this or that, and in the case of Costco, where they were serving food.
The food they were sampling was always my first thought whenever I went into Costco. I would plow right in, heading for the isle where they sometimes have chocolates or nuts to sample, then surf the isles for whatever else they were feeding the masses. I made certain that I tried everything, at least once, then would search out the next sample give away.
If I really liked what they were serving, I would sneak back for seconds and thirds. At times I would just stand there, waiting for something to finish cooking so I could get a bite or two.
By the time I left Costco, my basket laden with stuff I sampled and would probably allow to get freezer burned before I would eat it at home, I had eaten my fill.
My basket would contain those yummy chocolate covered caramel cashew clusters, mixed nuts, corn dogs, Ores and frozen pasta. Sometimes it even contained the stuff I had on my list, too!
The drive home consisted of thinking what I was going to make for dinner, and hoping that DH was hungry for an early dinner.
Getting home, I quickly put everything away, but not before I had some more samples from the goodies I dragged home with me.
Then on to making dinner. DH is one of those creeps who can eat anything he likes and still fit into his Air Force uniform he wore 40 years ago. Like I said.....he's one of those creeps. He really loves eating, but mainly healthy food. He loves his salads and veggies and fruit. He even loves those things more than he loves Oreos. Yep, a creep for sure!
Me? Just give me the buttered popcorn, the box of Oreos and the gallon of milk, and I have covered the entire food group.
But I have to pretend modesty and interest in healthy foods to keep him quiet.
So I make the stupid healthy dinner, all the while knowing the Oreos are waiting. I don't mean one or two of them, either, unless you are thinking of the sleeves filled with the delicious cookies. One or two of those will do just fine, thank you very much.
Then Bossy Daughter ruined it all. She pestered and badgered me into joining SparkPeople. Now mind you, I was happy , just living from cookie to cookie, and here she comes with this exercise and ideas of getting rid of our tonnage. Those of you who know her, know better than to argue once she gets her mind set that "we are going to do this!".
So I sign up, not thinking for a moment that this will change my life forever.
At first, I am all gung-ho for the workout videos. I thunder around my room, trying invain to keep up with Heather. I haul my lard from one side of the room to the other, and even get on the rowing machine (once I got it cleaned off and dusted), and uncovered the stationery bike, too. I am doing my workout, marking my food, and finding new friends. I even buy a big ball to roll around with. Oh, yeah, and the stretchy strap thing for exercise.
In a remarkably short time I am noticing that I don't huff and puff as much, and that I am making progress. I was soon able to do the squats without holding on to the desk top with white knuckles.
I began to look rather forward to getting up and in to the work out room, and the Oreos didn't call me as much.
I could even go to Costco sometimes without eating a single thing, and only getting what was on my list! Gradually, it was okay to not find the first parking place right next to the doors.
Then along comes this Spark Challenge with the Port Angeles and Surrounding Areas team. It is a challenge to walk one mile a day during the month of September. Darcey, Shirley, Cat were all in on it, and they have been such strong supporters of me since the beginning, that I forget myself for a moment and agree to join the challenge.
First, I need walking clothes! So off to Wal-mart I go, find the perfect workout outfits, and am ready to begin the challenge.
Next I pester DH to find a pedometer for me. He says he has a box full of them, finds one that only shows the miles walked, and turns that over to me.
I have my sneakers, new walking clothes and my dog, and I head to the street I live on. I walk one mile. It took 49 minutes, but I did it. the next day, I am on the street again, doing another mile.
I keep this up for about a week, then think "why not go a little further?", so I do a double lap. I did this one a bit faster........two miles in 48 minutes. Hey! That's a big improvement!
I begin paying more attention to the time and what is surrounding me. Since I live in the country, there is a lot of beauty to look at while I walk. My speed is improving. Now I do two miles in 30 minutes, easy. And the big steep hill is not nearly as long or steep as it used to be.
I begin to carry my camera, and take photos of what I see while walking. I notice birds flying, see eagles in the trees, and notice the late summer wild flowers become berries.
I watch the leaves on the trees begin to change their shade of greens, and then become yellow, orange and red. It is beautiful out here! My eyes are no longer looking at my feet, and I can feel the song in my heart.
I take my measurements once a week, and see that I am peeling off inches, my clothes are fitting looser, and my energy level is fantastic. I am also sleeping better at night, and food doesn't take up my brain space every single second.
I find myself parking further and further away from the front doors, and like the idea of walking faster, not only to the door, but once I get inside the stores. I buy only what is on my list, and ignore the freebies for the most part.
I am loving this!! I mean, really LOVING this! My life has gotten new fresh air pumped in to it, and walking the miles becomes a personal challenge for me.
I actually begin looking for 5k walk a thons. I want to do one of those! I think that would be great fun.
Darcey and Shirley help me find places to hike in my area, and I actually go to them and have a wonderful time. The trails do not tire me out, I can climb and I can stretch further than before. I LOVE being outside and doing this!!
I have walked 52 miles in September. I truly believed I would do well to get in 5.
I am not finished walking. I know the rain is coming, the cold and damp and the dark hours are going to extend themselves. I have committed to doing 25 miles in October; I wonder how many more than that I will actually do?!
There are trails I haven't explored yet, and I don't think that walking in the rain would be all that terrible. All I have to do is wear appropriate clothing, right? I have some old sweats that I can wear, too! Life is good.
Sure, I have a bad knee, (I am going to the Dr. about that this Friday), and some days I won't be able to walk. I shall miss the outdoors on those days. I will ride my stationery bike and look out the window as I pedal, knowing I will be back out there again as quickly as I can.
I don't need that close parking space.......heck.....I can WALK!!! Maybe that's why God gave me feet?? Ya think??
Thursday, September 24, 2009
On Tuesday, I nearly dragged DH out of the house and into the car. We were going to Sol Duc Falls and the Salmon Cascades if it killed him! He has avoided doing any exercise for too long, and besides I WANT TO GO!!! That settles things, right?
Ok, Grumpy says he'll be ready to go by 10:30. At noon, I am still waiting for him to get his butt in the car. By 12:30, we finally leave.
He is in a terrible mood. You'd think I just took away the remote to the tv from him! He insists on driving, which is not a good thing. I wrote about his driving before, so some of you know what I mean.
Today he is in his slooooooooooow driving mode. This is because he knows I want to get there. So he does his "Old Man Driving", cussing out the people who honk at him along the way. This isn't exactly the "pleasant Sunday afternoon drive" you might imagine.
So along we go, Grumpy cussing and me keeping my mouth shut. Why aggravate him any more than he is already doing to himself? Up to a certain point in time, that is.
I finally let him have it. I mean REALLY have it. I tell him he is a complete ass, and that I am tired of his words coming from the sewer and to KNOCK IT OFF RIGHT NOW!! I tell him I will NOT spend the day with a complete Jerk, and that he can jolly well turn the car around, drive home, get out and give me the keys so I can go!
I rarely tell him off, and when I do, he gets really quiet and starts to behave himself.
Until we get to Cresent Lake. There he poked along, with a big line of cars and logging trucks behind us. The logging truck driver honks his horn angrily, and that sets the Bear off again. I tell him to pull over and let the traffic go by. He insists the speed limit is 35, which he is doing, and they should all do the same. Truck blasts his horn again. Bear slows down! Now he is in a battle with a logging truck, for pete's sake! The truck gets right up to us, and really gives us a blast!! This time I yell at Bear to pull off at the next turn around and we will fight it out from there. He is yelling about the truck wanting to go over the speed limit and how HE is the one in the right...yadda yadda....cuss...cuss...when I spot a turn around, tell him to get ready, and I grab the steering wheel to the right and into the turn around we go.
Smoke is coming out of DH's head, flames are shooting out of his ears, and he is spitting out cuss words like I have never heard him do before. I can't help it...I start laughing. I am laughing so hard and can't stop, and he raises the volumne which makes me laugh till I am crying and gasping for breath. Finally I stop and realize the car is now quiet.
He has stopped his tirade, is looking at me with fear and says "Are you nuts? Are you totally crazy?" When I assure him I am in total control once again, he begins the drive. This time he is behaving somewhat, and we continue our trip. I have a smug smile on my face. Ms. Smarmy has joined us!
We arrive at the Salmon Cascades, and I am eager to get out of the car (do you wonder why???) and head off to the cascades. He has all his camera equipment in the trunk, so I just leave him to his own devises.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Salmon habits, here is the scoop. Typically, Salmon live for 5-6 years. They favor ocean waters , but do not begin life there. Salmon spawn in shallow, gravelly waters, with the female laying thousands of eggs at a time. Then the male fertilizes them. In order to get to their spawning place, they must leave the ocean and enter the stream from which they originated. These streams are in mountainous regions, and are very difficult to traverse, especially if you are a Salmon. The steps, or Cascades, as they are called, are often times very high and have white water rushing down, against the Salmon's direction. This is known as the "running of the Salmon". Salmon find their spawning place by smell, and frequently arrive badly beaten up and bleeding from being bashed about by rocks and water.
Here in our Pacific Northwest, a lot of haggling has gone on between the Fish and Game and the Native American Indians as to who has the rights to the Salmon. It has resulted in the Indians being allowed to place nets across the streams where the salmon run, which of course, decreases the amount of Salmon reaching the Cascades.
But some do get through, and it is a wonderous sight indeed to see them jumping the Cascades. If you look at my photos, you will see the Cascades and the Salmon. There is one photo there that is pretty bluish with shadows seen in the water. The shadows are the Salmon, resting before battling the next Cascade jumps. There weren't nearly the number of Salmon as there used to be, but the sighting is still wonderful.
I am taking photos and climbing all over the wet rocks to see more of the fish when I notice Bear has finally arrived. I show him how to get down to where I am, and he then spots a Salmon jumping. All his orneryness is now gone. He is now seeing one of the great miracles of Nature, and is at awe.
We walk a bit upstream, finding more and more Cascades, then make the decision to go on up to Sol Duc Falls.
The trail to the Falls alone contains enough beauty to last a lifetime. Again, take a few minutes to view my photos. I put them in order of the path, so you can travel along with me. Sometimes the trail is very smooth and quite level. Other times it is a bit steep and rocky. The Forestry Rangers have maintained it extremely well, though, and the biggest problem we have is to keep walking. We stop in so many places, all with breath taking beauty.
I see huge ferns growing right out of rocks, long ribbons of moss hanging from trees, and even see a grouse along the way. She clucks at me, warning me to stay on the path, because the woods belong to Her. Of course, she is right, and I obey.
It is a truly beautiful day to be here. The sun shines through the trees, creating sunshine and shadows. Little streams and waterfalls abound, while here and there are tiny touches of Autumn color.
We walk through The Ancients........very old, majestic, tall huge trees. There are some that have nearly completely turned to moss, creating a sense of time rarely thought about in our busy lives. One naturally becomes quiet with awe in this area. It breathes its reverence and holiness to all who come this way.
The forest is more like a jungle in most places, thick with underbrush, fallen trees, ferns, new saplings, all growing lush and dense. The air is incredibly clear and sweet. The sun is quite warm, and the shade delivers a welcome coolness.
We encounter a few people along the way, returning from the Falls. All smile and greet us, and all have a look of wonder in their eyes which seems to say "Wait till you see it!". Even the two babies we saw were quiety looking up at the trees high overhead, at peace with being held by their mommies in this beautiful Garden.
Hush now, for you can hear the Falls! Stop and listen for a few moments. Feel the mist upon your face as it filters through the trees, and feel the moist earth beneath your feet. This is a Holy moment. Embrace it with your entire being before allowing your impulse to quicken your steps to see the Falls takes over. Breathe it all in. Then, quietly, with great satisfaction, slowly beging the last of the climb.
Coming to the Fall's clearing is a breath taking moment. There, the beauty is again astounding. The white water rushing headlong to its' course as a heady rush of power permeates the entire area.
The Rangers have done a spectacular job building a bridge across the falls, along with decks going up the other side. Each has its own special views.
I walk along the built decks, then step off onto a trail that leads further up. I follow this trail along, the clear water spreading wider and wider. I wade out to photograph it, and the cool water splashes up on my legs. My hiking boots are water proof, so my feet don't get wet, and I am having the time of my life! Nothing exists for me but the wonderous of Nature that I am experiencing.
I feel younger than I have in years as the thrill of the wild outdoors surrounds me with Life. I feel my old excitement awakening, something that seemed to have died within me a long time ago.
I realize that as I have grown older, I have allowed my mind to "settle" into "getting older". It really isn't a matter of physical being that gets us old. It is our minds.
Since I started doing this Spark Thing, as I call it, I have done things I never thought I would ever do again. My body is getting strong and vibrant again, and I feel my attitude and outlook changing every day.
Sure, I still have some physical problems, such a my knee, but why let that stop me from living a full, vibrant life? I will see the Dr., and have whatever needs to be done to my knee done, and get on with finding more and more about the world I live in. And I don't mean by READING about those places. I mean to WALK, HIKE, SWIM them!
I don't mind the idea of dying, but I want to be fully ALIVE when I do! I want to end my life with it ALL used up, all ripped, teared, tattored and shorn. I am ON MY WAY!!!
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