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Vacation tomorrow. Rocky start!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We leave for Turkey tomorrow at 5 a.m. Unfortunately the last leg of our flights, the flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul, has been cancelled due to the Lufthansa pilots strike. The travel agency is working hard to rebook us; I am so glad that Gate 1 Travel called us back from their emergency message line. I have NOT been able to reach Lufthansa, they must be flooded with calls (450 flights cancelled).

So I am hoping that we can have a restful and relaxing trip. I have been on the phone for hours trying to rebook our flights. At this point I am going to trust in the travel agency!! But it has been 4 long hours trying to get this flight rebooked ...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELIXNKES 10/20/2014 9:28AM

    I hope that by now it is all sorted out and you are on your way to a safe trip.

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ROXYZMOM 10/20/2014 9:05AM

    Enjoy. Please be careful.

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FLORNH 10/20/2014 5:46AM

    Good luck!

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DR1939 10/20/2014 1:41AM

    I hope it works out. Have fun.

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JEANINNEWCASTLE 10/20/2014 12:07AM

  Oh no! I hope that they can figure that out for you.

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Clear Lake Hike, Visit to Sister

Monday, October 13, 2014

On Saturday when we (8 hikers) left for our hike it was sunny and clear in town. By the time we arrived at the trailhead, it was raining and 2 hikers forgot to bring rain gear. 4 hikers decided to return to town. The remaining 4 of us had a delightful walk through fall colors around Clear Lake.

The fall colors were at their prime.

The water turned different colors, including bright blue.

After the hike, we visited Sahalie Falls, where the MacKenzie River cascades down steep lava cliffs. (Great Springs at Clear Lake is the source of the river; it starts as gently bubbling springs and becomes a large river within a couple of miles)

Early in the week, I had a flying visit to see my younger sister in Pittsburgh PA. She has been on Coumadin to alleviate blood clotting. The blood clots in her lung and spleen have left scars. She banged her foot while diving (she is a masters swimmer) and developed a massive bruise, then cellulitis. She needed help getting to medical appointments and running errands. I took time off from work to go help her. She is MUCH better after surgery to drain the bruise and infection. I enjoyed seeing her; and I am sorry she is facing major health problems this year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1SURFWALKER 10/19/2014 4:51PM

    Sorry to hear about your sister's health scare...sure hope she gets better soon! Nice of you to go see her and help her out. You are a good sister!!
Such a gorgeous hike you went our travels when we retire, we hope to make it up to Oregon...would love to see this type of scenery-we sure would love a good tour guide! emoticon
Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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MARITIMER3 10/16/2014 5:33PM

    The falls are beautiful. Alison, looks like a beautiful hike. I'm glad you were able to spend some time with your sister, and help her get to some of her appointments. I hope she recovers quickly.

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    BEAUTIFUL pix!!!!

Wow that must have been a super bad bruise to require surgery. Glad she is better!

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TWEETYKC00 10/15/2014 9:54AM

    The hike looks wonderful! I hope your sister feels better.

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SETTIMIA 10/15/2014 8:54AM

    oh wow amazing photos, you have been to some stunning places

hope your sister is better

Comment edited on: 10/15/2014 8:54:37 AM

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DR1939 10/13/2014 11:54AM

    Beautiful hike. I'm glad your sister is doing better.

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FORZACHANDMATT 10/13/2014 9:12AM

    Those are gorgeous! I love the colors and have never seen water so blue :)

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FLORNH 10/13/2014 6:13AM

    Great pics! Thanks for sharing.
Hope your sister makes a full recovery.

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ANNEMARGAR 10/13/2014 6:09AM

    Thank you for sharing the pictures from your hike! It is so nice of you to take time off to take care of your sister!

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  Beautiful fall colors! and a beautiful sister to help out like that!

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Weekend at the Oregon Coast

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I spent a lovely sunny weekend at the Oregon Coast with my friend LB. Our room was right on the beach Ė this was the view from the window. We really enjoyed walking on the beach.

On Saturday we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. I loved it!

This young otter was orphaned, and was fostered to another mother. Unfortunately after 8 attempts to release him into the wild, he was too habituated to humans to be successful (on the last attempt, he swam many miles to return to aquarium).


This seal is posing like a statue!

Auks at the aviary (I thought they were penguins, but a volunteer identified all the birds for us)

Tufted puffin

We LOVED the jellyfish. One aquarium had ghostly see-through jellyfish; the other had a dramatic blue painted wall.

The aquarium converted the huge tank that had formerly housed Keiko the whale (who also alas was not successful when released into the wild Ė another very sad story) into a underwater sea tour. Very beautiful and unusual experience! Huge plexiglass tunnels take visitors through large aquariums, with fish swimming overhead (and under your feet).

LB admiring a fish (or is the fish admiring LB??)

The final zone of the undersea tunnel walks through sharks and stingrays.

Shark & stingray overhead!

We stayed at a tribal casino, where my friend enjoys gambling. I played a little bit to keep her company (she provided the accommodations for both of us through her casino points), but I am NOT a gambler -- I might as well flush money down the toilet! And her luck improved greatly once I left the casino!

I appreciated that the Native American tribe (Siletz) hosted a ceremony on the casino memorial grounds to honor military veterans. Tribal members drummed and sang, and the chief entered wearing his full ceremonial regalia. It was very moving. They presented a warrior blanket to a young woman who served with honor (she had received a Silver Star).

A very relaxing and enjoyable weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 10/12/2014 7:11AM

    Such a beautiful weekend! It made me miss the ocean very much. I especially loved the picture of the jellyfish against the blue wall. How gorgeous!!!

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CAROLFAITHWALKR 10/11/2014 10:34PM

    Loved the pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

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MADAMES 10/8/2014 11:10AM

    I love aquariums, and this one looks extremely interesting! Gambling does nothing for me either...I am right there with your thinking.


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1SURFWALKER 10/3/2014 2:30PM

    Very nice! Those beaches are so different from those rocky beaches! I think the aquariums are so fun to visit! Great pics as usual!! Being Native American it is always a thrill to see them in full ceremonial garb!! Glad you had a good time! Have a great weekend! emoticon emoticon

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JENNY888 10/2/2014 5:28PM

    Always love when you share your pics of your adventures. Thanks.

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ROXYZMOM 10/2/2014 7:43AM

    Great pictures! Thank you for sharing!!

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FLORNH 10/2/2014 6:42AM

    Great pics! Thanks for sharing.

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MARITIMER3 10/2/2014 2:33AM

    What a great week-end! I'm not a gambler at all... The whole concept just seems stupid to me, knowing the odds.

Toronto has a new aquarium but I haven't visited it yet. Your pictures make me want to go.


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DR1939 10/1/2014 11:47PM

    Love the aquarium. There is something very similar at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.

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Rebuilding a Social Network

Monday, September 22, 2014

Well it was a quiet weekend at home for me. No hikes or adventures. Which prompted me to think about the importance of social connections. I am looking to retire within a year, and I realize I have let my job get in the way of friendships and relationships. Not to the same extent as some other friends who are NEVER available to do anything! But I am going to make a concentrated effort to rebuild and strengthen my network of friends.

I made a conscious effort to make friends and build relationships several times in my life when I relocated for work. And now 22 years after my last move (through no fault of anyone) I need to do the same thing again. I got complacent with my best friends and hiking companions. Now HM & DM are both very ill and do not want to socialize. LB is nursing a very sick husband and is having a hard time getting away from the caregiver role. PH is great fun, but she is away most weekends. The list goes on; but my circle of friends is changing. I need to expand my social network. This challenge is not unique to me, so I hope some of these suggestions are useful to you. And you may have useful suggestions for me!

So in addition to reaching out to my current valued friends, I will take action to meet new people and/or follow up with people I have already met! Itís not always natural and itís not always easy, but I can at least make the attempt. While I donít expect every contact to be successful, if I donít even try, then I am guaranteeing failure!

Here are my strategies, let me know if you think of others.
1. I will connect on Facebook with old college and former business colleagues (I already started this last month). Iím meeting an old college friend and her DH tonight, when I travel to her home town for business.
2. I will attend a local church. I will try at least 2 different churches if the first one isn't welcoming. In addition I will go to the casual Sunday evening service at least twice.
3. I will try a new (different) hiking group at least twice.
4. I will take a class at the community college in a topic that interests me.
5. I will join a music group (I recently started playing guitar again, including melody picking the lead in old time fiddle tunes). I will stretch myself to overcome shyness and I will melody pick with others (in addition to strumming along). It is a lot more fun to play with others! Locally, there is a bluegrass group; a ukele group; and a Scottish fiddle group (that I am aware of) that are open.
6. I will contact a woman who came on my last hike who is going through a similar experience of rebuilding networks. She nursed her DH and best friend through a terrible illness until his death last year. Now she is trying to build a life without her former constant companion. Very nice woman; she has signed up for the Peace Corps (she lost her job through the course of nursing DH; too many absences/too much stress).
7. I will contact a woman who just moved to town last month who also came on my hike. She was similarly nice, new to town, and interested in meeting people.
8. I will follow up on friendly overtures from others.
9. I will go to the next movie club event.
10. I will go on an archaeology club outing.
11. I will continue to make a special effort to spend time with my long term hiking friends who are struggling with serious illness. Dinner; movie; just time visiting.

I will be friendly and outgoing, and if someone isn't interested, I wonít get upset. Thatís their problem. I will just move on to another person/another strategy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLFAITHWALKR 10/11/2014 10:36PM

    Great strategies for so many of us no matter what stage of life we are in!

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MADAMES 10/8/2014 11:06AM

    This is a timely blog for us! DH and I have just discussed how inwardly focused we have become while taking care of our parents. We absolutely have to develop social networks again with people our age!


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CLAIREINPARIS 9/29/2014 3:48PM

    Wow, I am really impressed by your strategy! It sounds to me like it cannot fail, you will make new friends and develop new interests too, good for you! I must say I am a typical only child, and also very introvert: I don't have many friends, especially as most of my friends live (very) far away! I love seeing them but need more time by myself than most people. Here in Paris, I only have one close friend!

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OPALMOON 9/28/2014 5:37AM

    Hi Alison,
You are so right - social connections are so important! It's something that I missed very much last year being almost completely housebound, and with constant fatigue as well as my other health issues, any time I can connect with friends is precious. Of course like the ones you mentioned, most are very busy in their own lives in one way or another.
I think you have some great ideas to widen your social circle! It may take time to come together as you work through this list, but casting a 'wide net' is bound to give you good opportunities to make more friends. I think the other suggestions of book clubs and volunteering are great ideas too. Wishing you well and lots of success in expanding your group of friends!
Big hugs, Nattacia


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DR1939 9/23/2014 12:42PM

    These are very useful ideas. I will put some into effect. I know you read also, perhaps joining a local book club would be an idea. Your library should have one.

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MARITIMER3 9/23/2014 10:01AM

    Very good idea to look ahead this way. Things change and peoples' circumstances change. With all your interests,I don't think you will have any problem adding a few new friends to your circle.

Peter andI married in 2002, so I moved to a new town. Retired 18 months later and lost my work friends because I was no longer in the city. Church was a great way for me to meet new people.

You are lucky that there are so many clubs and organizations available in your area. You will have some interesting new hobbies as well as new friends.

Comment edited on: 9/23/2014 10:05:51 AM

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  Great plan! You sound so nice and interesting. I wish that I didn't live a state away!

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1SURFWALKER 9/22/2014 1:53PM

    Great plan! Good for you! Maybe even volunteer when you retire-start looking for possibilities now. There are so many out there, even fun near here you can volunteer at wildlife centers or zoos! Even meet up with some sparkfriend groups locally...I hear some do that all the time! Have a great week!! emoticon emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 9/22/2014 1:45PM

    Looks like you have developed an awesome plan, lots of great ideas.

This will be really good for you!!


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MIAMUSE 9/22/2014 1:39PM

    I agree Community is a most important aspect of life, especially when your significant other is a Bichon, like me. :)

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Hike, Hike, Bike, BEAR!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I had a fabulous active vacation in Stehekin WA; 8 of us (hiking friends) shared a lakeside cabin. We traveled on Saturday to Chelan Washington, and took the Lady of the Lake boat to Stehekin the next day

Boat at Lake Chelan

Friends on the boat

Jet skiers followed in our wake

Stehekin is a small town (700 summer residents; 200 year round residents) that is not accessible by road; it can be reached by a 40 mile boat ride across Lake Chelan, or by a long backpack trip from the North.

Our cabin was right on the lake.

Sitting on the deck

Sunset from the deck

6 of us hiked along the Lakeshore Trail. I enjoyed the lovely vistas of the lake!

View from my window

Hiking the Lakeshore trail

Dogwood blooming

The next day, we took the bus 11 miles to High Bridge where the dirt road ends, and hiked to Agnes Gorge.

View of the North Cascades from the trail

Deep blue glacial water

Ezra and I hiked a section of the Pacific Crest trail. We met many through hikers in town, they mailed packages of food to resupply their backpacks. In Stehekin, they have already hiked over 2,500 miles from Mexico on their way to Canada. I was most impressed by Jason Evans, who was diagnosed with Huntington's disease, and is enjoying life to its fullest (and fundraising on his hike). He hikes an average of 25 miles a day.

The salmon were spawning in the Stehekin River. (not sure if you can see the bright orange squiggles in the photo, they are salmon spawning in the water below the bridge)

On our last full day in Stehekin, John and I bicycled on rented mountain bikes. It has been a LONG time since I bicycled, but I enjoyed it (even though I had to walk the bike up the steeper hills). We biked to Rainbow Falls, then to the old schoolhouse and other historic buildings, then to Bruckner Orchard.

Old cabin

This old cabin has been converted to a store where local people sell their crafts

Rainbow Falls

Lower Rainbow Falls

The orchard had several old farm buildings that we could tour, and well maintained orchards protected by bear fences. The ranger said we could pick a few heirloom apples. They were delicious Ė literally. The type of apple was the Common Delicious, crisp and sweet, golden and speckled with red. This type of apple is no longer grown commercially; it was replaced by the Red Delicious.

That evening, I was reading in the front yard of our cabin, when a passing car driver yelled at me: ďLady, there are BEARS IN YOUR YARD!Ē I looked up and saw a large black bear cub running up the path that leads to our front door, he was only about 10 feet away from me. I did not see the sow (mama bear) and I did not want to get between her and her baby. I banged on the side door which was locked, yelling ďBEAR!Ē and waited a few very tense seconds for one of my friends to let me in! Several of them saw the bear out the window and ran to get cameras. A hiker walking down the road told us he saw the sow and 2 cubs heading back into the woods, momma had something in her mouth. Perhaps she caught a fish in the lake!

The green building was our home

On the return speedboat

We returned home yesterday. It was a great vacation! I feel energized and rested. And I led a nice long hike today!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLFAITHWALKR 10/11/2014 10:42PM

    Love the beautiful pictures again, thanks for sharing them!

A bear in my front yard is not something I would look forward to.

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MADAMES 10/8/2014 11:00AM

    Very beautiful pictures...I can feel the healthy mountain air in my lungs! So glad you were able to get away to such a breathtakingly gorgeous location.


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OPALMOON 9/28/2014 5:23AM

    Hi Alison,
Apologies for not posting a reply sooner - am only just getting to a few blogs here and there as health and other matters have taken up my time of late.
What a wonderful and interesting vacation you had. The scenery is stunning and so picturesque - both around the lake where you stayed and on your walks. Thanks o much for sharing, and I am so glad you had such a lovely time.
Hugs, Nattacia

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1SURFWALKER 9/19/2014 11:52PM

    Bear! emoticon I do not hike in areas where there are bears and believe me we have them in FL. The Ocala National Forest is one of them and they have certain trails that are closed off due to bear encounters! And you were that must have moved fast!! Glad you got in the house ok!!! emoticon They must have been afraid of you too, if you didn't get a pic of them after all! emoticon Didn't stay around!
All I can say is WOW! That was such a nice vacation and so glad you enjoyed it and got so much hiking in!! emoticon emoticon

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MENNOLY 9/18/2014 8:23AM

    Great Pictures! Seeing a bear up close is exciting.

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MRSBENNETT2 9/16/2014 9:33PM

    Wow! what a fantastic trip! The photos are excellent. :)

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CDCSMITH2013 9/15/2014 5:27PM

    Sounds like a thrilling trip! Loved the photos.

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THIN133 9/15/2014 10:30AM

    Wow !!! What fun ! Beautiful pictures !

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MARITIMER3 9/14/2014 7:40PM

    Looks like a perfect spot for a healthy, relaxed vacation. I'm glad you got a chance to get away.

Thanks for your comments on my blogs,

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  Beautiful area! I'll have to check that out!

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DR1939 9/14/2014 6:26PM

    Wow! What a lovely holiday. We camped on a bear path once and had them all through our site. We moved as soon as another campsite became available. Pretty exciting time.

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CLAIREINPARIS 9/14/2014 4:58PM

    I think there is something I don't understand here... I almost fainted as I read your blog, and I see nobody is even commenting on the bear!!! And you didn't seem to be that scared either... how is that possible? These are deadly animals! I am horrified that they were so close to you! (And not sure I could ever go on hikes in an area where there are bears, just the thought of meeting a dog during a hike makes me shake in fear!!!)
Anyway, I am VERY glad you are back safe and sound and that you had a great holiday. This place looked heavenly.
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ADJQUILTER 9/14/2014 2:34PM

    What beautiful pictures! An active vacation is the best kind!

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UMBILICAL 9/14/2014 2:32PM

  Absolutely Awesome

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RAPUNZEL53 9/14/2014 2:32PM

  Great Pictures! Must have been fun vacation!

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