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Hiking Smith Rock ... and Thoughts on Housing Crisis

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pat and I had a great hike today at Smith Rock State Park. It was cold and icy in town, so we decided to travel a few miles north to hike where the elevation is lower. At Smith Rock, we enjoyed a lovely cold day with lots of sunshine. The hike up Misery Ridge was challenging – but it is always a challenge for me. I have hiked many other trails with a higher elevation gain, but for some reason this trek seems grueling each time. Misery Ridge has beautiful scenery, but quite an uphill slog. I don’t think I have ever hiked up the ridge without needing to stop and catch my breath. The steep hike down was also challenging, there was a little snow on the trail where the shadow was the deepest. The scenery is spectacular, carved canyons and sheer rock formations. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera, but here are a couple of photos that Pat took.

The picture in the background is Monkey Face. It is a highly technical climb, I have seen tiny figures of rock climbers dangling from the monkey's mouth.

Mom continues to improve. She still sleeps A LOT, but she is off morphine, and they took her off oxygen. She has some appetite back. She is perkier and livelier when she is awake. On the down side – she wants her checkbook back. She stopped balancing her account several months ago and her finances are a mess; she is too blind to actually see any of the checks (she can’t see where to sign her name). For now, my sister Pam (I am grateful Pam was added to the account) truthfully told mom she is still trying to figure out the balance, and that she needs the checkbook for filing Mom’s taxes.

Our local paper (The Bulletin) printed a very interesting analysis about the increasing number of court ordered foreclosures and evictions in our county (I’m pasting a link to the article below). Previously, Oregon allowed non-judicial foreclosures, and that was the most common method of foreclosure. Our state legislature initiated a requirement for mediation for all non-judicial foreclosures; and immediately, rather than actual talk to the people they are evicting, the banks switched to judicial foreclosures. The banks would rather litigate, foreclose and force eviction, then sell to new buyers (usually at a huge loss) -- instead of talking to the current homeowners. Oregon’s legislature budgeted for over 1,000 mediations per month; instead there have been 400 mediations total attempted over SIX months, less than 40 actual mediations, and only 4 actual agreements. VERY sad state of affairs.

I feel very lucky that I bought my house before values sky-rocketed, and that I still have a job with a salary and benefits. The financial ruin that from this economy could so easily affect any one of us. I know far too many people who have lost their homes or their job (or both).
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Beautiful pictures! It's nice you were able to get out and have such a great hike.
    1825 days ago
    Good for you, always getting out there and hiking...great pics of you!! Love the scenery of the monkey rock!
    Glad to hear about your Mom! Hope she continues to be better.
    The housing crisis and jobs are so tragic! It is a sorry mess everywhere. Florida was one of the hardest hit states! Jobs are scarce as well as low pay! Now with gas prices going back up how can most people make it! So sad! It is so scary-anyone can end up homeless or without a job! I am glad we are ok for now, but you just never know. Also, with the medical insurance prices climbing-that worries me more than anything! emoticon
    Thanks for commenting on my blog! You inspire me with the truly big mountains you climb! emoticon emoticon
    1825 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/26/2013 12:42:49 AM
    Yeah, the whole housing thing has been quite a nightmare and has hurt so many people. I am hopeful that the situation is making a recovery and that people will begin to be safe in their homes and finances in the days to come. Glad Mom is feeling better. With her health in the state that it is in, you might want to consider filing with Social Security to be her Rep Payee (or to have your sister do it). It doesn't sound like she is fit to handle her finances. It can always be switched back to her later if she should get to the point of recovery where she could take it back over. I loved the pictures you posted. It's always interesting to hear the names of the rock formations...they are usually so fitting...and then after hearing the name, you look at the rock formation and go, "yeah, I can see that." Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon emoticon
    1825 days ago
    I can't even begin to imagine that kind of rock climbing! I'd probably panic and freeze half-way up (or down) and have to be rescured.

    I'm glad that your mother is well enough to be off morphine and oxygen. She has a very strong will to live.

    Peter and I were shocked to see the effects of the recession (I think it was perhaps a depression) when we were in California and Nevada. There were many, many signs of houses being sold after foreclosure. I always pick up a newspaper or real estate brochure when we travel, because I'm very interested in housing prices. Canada was fortunate not to be hit quite as hard, and I don't personally know anyone who lost their home, but I know it did happen.

    I know that when I was a single parent (17 years between my divorce and marriage to Peter) I was constantly worried about losing my job. At one point I had three children in university, and although they all had good summer jobs and scholarships, I was helping them as much as I could. I was in lowest level management, so no union support.

    I worked for one of the six municipalities making up Metropolitan Toronto, and in 1998 the 6 municipalities were amalgamated into one huge conglomerate. The theory was that it would save money because duplicate jobs would be eliminated. Anyone who wasn't unionized had to re-apply for a job. Because I was 55 at that time, I was really worried that I wouldn't be re-hired. Short story is that I kept a job at the same level, but covering 50% more territory, and it was hellish from then until I retired at 62.

    Hope you had a great day cross-country skiing. We haven't had the snowshoes out yet, but hope that the snow this week will be suitable. Peter's b'day is on Wednesday, and it would be fun if we could go out then.

    1827 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    Loved the photos you posted of the hike. Sounds like you and Pam have your work cut out getting Mom's checkbook under control. Glad to hear she's improving also.
    Take care.
    1827 days ago
    I loved the two pictures you posted, and I am very jealous of your beautiful red jacket! I have a very sad black hiking jacket at the moment (the only one I could find in my size, it is the biggest of the men's department here... French stores don't make hiking jackets in big sizes for women!).
    It is good to read that your mom is feeling increasingly better, and off morphine now.
    As for the housing crisis, this is so sad... When I lost my job last March, losing my apartment was my biggest worry. I lost sleep over it. When I finally found another job in the same charity, I cannot even say how grateful I was. When I am not enjoying it I focus on how lucky I am to have a salary and to have my own place, comfortable and safe. It should never be taken for granted. Thank you for reminding us of this terrible situation.
    1827 days ago
    So glad to hear that your mom is doing better. One reason I retired in June was to help deal with my parents and my in laws and the challenges the four of them are facing at their age. I can relate, believe me. My husband really stresses out dealing with it all. He and I are like you, looking for ways to deal with the stress while taking care of as much as we can to make our parents' lives a bit easier. I am so glad to see you hiking in such beautiful surroundings...the Monkey Face is a fascinating place! Good for you, pushing yourself physically. I love your smile in your hiking photos!

    emoticon emoticon
    1827 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/24/2013 6:20:55 AM
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