ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Nice Visit to California Last week I drove to California to visit my sister. On the drive there, I loved the view of mighty Mount Shasta. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My sister loves hiking, and she is faster than I am (particularly on hills). But either I have improved my pace, or she slowed down for me, because we actually hiked together this visit. We hiked in eucalyptus groves <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.c... Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:21:06 EST Hiking Desert and Mountains! This past week, I enjoyed two very different hikes. The first was in the desert, in the Tumalo Canal Historic District. I've hiked here before; this is the site of a huge (failed) irrigation project from the 1910 era. We did not expect ANY wildflowers because the desert blooming season is usually over by now. We were pleasantly surprised! <BR> <BR> Mariposa lilies were blooming. (Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish, and these blooms remind me of beautiful butterflies!) <BR> <BR> <img src="... Thu, 14 Jul 2016 14:49:03 EST Hiking Black Butte Today I hiked a more difficult trail, Black Butte trail, near Black Butte Ranch in the Cascade Mountains. Trail is only about 4 miles, but it is very steep (about 1550 ft elevation gain, or about 475 meters). My friend Hanne took a photo of me in which my posture looks exactly like I am on a stair-stepper machine (sorry I can't insert her photo, it is not in a format I can add). Last time I hiked this trail was in 2013; this time was much harder for me, because this time I was accompanied by... Thu, 7 Jul 2016 01:49:27 EST Hiking Mountain Lakes and Streams My friends B&B came to visit for the past few days. He usually enjoys hiking -- but the weather was just too darn hot! So we enjoyed shorter hikes in the higher elevations. (She stayed home; she is still recovering from a hip replacement) <BR> <BR> We hiked the trail along Lava Lake, in the high Cascades. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The views were lovely. <BR> <BR> South Sister <BR> <BR> <img src="http:/... Mon, 4 Jul 2016 20:54:43 EST Camping in the Ochoco Mountains I spent the weekend camping in the Ochoco Mountains (Central Oregon). I loved my new tent, which was set up on a camp spot near the creek. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I enjoyed meeting new people who love hiking and the wilderness, as well as connecting with old friends. On Saturday, I led a group of 11 hikers up Lookout Mountain. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 28 Jun 2016 18:06:35 EST Fun Visit with Brother & SIL My brother and SIL visited from Phoenix over the weekend. It was great seeing them both! Their son (my nephew) is now living here in Oregon. On the first full day, we visited several consignment furniture store to help my nephew refurnish his apartment. Some of the items were very tempting, and very unusual! Nephew scored with a nice leather sofa, and 2 wicker chairs. <BR> <BR> We spent the next day at the High Desert Museum. I particularly liked the new otter enclosure! The otters were out ... Mon, 20 Jun 2016 19:08:20 EST Happy Father's Day! Happy Father's day to all the loving fathers in the world! And to those of us who were lucky to have loving fathers (and mothers) in our life -- we were blessed! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I miss you and love you, Dad <BR> <BR> <em>247</em> Sun, 19 Jun 2016 12:58:12 EST Flowers in the Desert My friend H told me that the flowers were blooming in the desert. So we headed out for a 3 mile hike in the Badlands yesterday. I have never seen the flowers blooming in such profusion! It put a smile on my face. <BR> <BR> Sulpher plant and Oregon sunshine <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Dwarf monkeyflower <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR... Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:15:17 EST Wildflowers on Lookout Mountain I enjoyed two fabulous wildflower hikes this weekend. The first was to Lookout Mountain, in the Ochoco Mountains. It is a more difficult hike, about 7 miles, with elevation gain. And I hiked it with two hikers that are much faster than I am. So it was challenging, but so beautiful! <BR> <BR> The wildflowers were blooming profusely along the trail. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.spar... Sun, 12 Jun 2016 22:15:15 EST Beautiful Owyhee Canyonlands After completing the archaeological survey portion of our adventure, my traveling companion and I drove to the Owyhee canyonlands area in the far southeastern corner of Oregon, near the Idaho border. I had never visited this beautiful corner of Oregon previously. <BR> <BR> The drive to Owyhee area was interesting. We saw better views of the Alvord desert -- a vast expanse of alkali flats surrounded by mountains. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Tue, 7 Jun 2016 21:27:51 EST Steens Mountain Archaeological Adventure! I am just back from a mini vacation to Eastern Oregon. The first part of my trip was with our local archaeology club. The club arranged a trip to some remote sites near the Steens Mountain wilderness area with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) archaeologist. <BR> <BR> On the way to Steens Mountain, we stopped at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was recently taken over by armed militia members protesting US government policies on federal land use. The armed occupiers have all bee... Mon, 6 Jun 2016 19:33:57 EST Hiking for Wildflowers I went on two hikes with friends this week, both destinations were to enjoy spring wildflowers. The easier hike was along the Metolius River. The day was cloudy, but we were very lucky: no rain! I live in the high desert, but this hike is in the mountains, and it rains a LOT more. <BR> <BR> River is very clear and pure, we were hiking near the headwaters, where the water springs out from a natural spring under the mountains. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 28 May 2016 20:46:21 EST Ochoco Mountain Wildflower Hike My friend H & I hiked the Steins Pillar trail in the Ochoco Mountains (Central Oregon). Hike was about 4.8 miles, with lots of up and down. We started out in the green lush forest. The arnica were blooming, with yellow flowers and heart shaped leaves. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Higher up, the larger arrowl... Tue, 17 May 2016 18:46:37 EST Hiking Rivers and Mountains (well, hill anyway!) I enjoyed a couple of nice hikes along the river with my friend Abby. She asked if I ever hiked at a slower pace, and said YES enthusiastically! <BR> <BR> We hiked along the Deschutes River from Eagle Crest resort. The baby goslings were on the manicured golf lawn as we drove up. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We hiked down to the river canyon (this was an easy hike down, but she does not want to do it ever ag... Fri, 13 May 2016 01:18:36 EST Happy Mother's Day! Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers, grandmothers, and loving children! <BR> <BR> I was blessed to have a loving caring mother (and father). Miss you, mom! So lucky to have had you in my life. You were a brightly shining light for all of us. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 8 May 2016 17:49:57 EST Otter Bench Hike: Canyon views and wildflowers Yesterday I hiked the Otter Bench trail (about 7 miles, with lots of gentle up and down elevation) with 2 friends. We had glorious weather. The first mile of the trail was through the typical high desert landscape -- sandy soil, rocks and lichen, and juniper and sagebrush. But as we approached the cliff walls, we started seeing wildflowers. <BR> <BR> In among the grasses, larkspur were blooming. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 27 Apr 2016 12:23:30 EST Tumalo Creek Hike: Cliff walls, boulders and stream I hiked yesterday with my friend H along the Tumalo Creek hike. We have not hiked this trail for several years, and we both really enjoyed it. The loop trail is only about 3 miles, but it took us 2 hours to complete the hike, because it is so difficult -- steep up and down, and climbing over big boulders! I'm really glad we went slowly and carefully, because this is not an easy trail. <BR> <BR> We hiked up, up, and up to a trail along the sheer cliff walls. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://phot... Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:38:58 EST Hiking the River Trail I enjoyed hiking the Deschutes River trail today and Wednesday. My friend H and I hiked two different sections of the trail. Each day was about 5 miles, relatively level (but at the end of each hike, her FitBit said we had climbed over 40 flights of stairs!) The weather was lovely for hiking on both days. We are in the golden period, after the snow has melted, and before the mosquitos have hatched! But Don (H's husband) found the first mosquito -- so soon we will be hiking other trails, or dr... Fri, 8 Apr 2016 20:57:22 EST Hiking Whychus Creek Preserve Yesterday I hiked in Whychus Creek Preserve with my nephew Stephen. It was a glorious spring day, and I enjoyed the canyon loop hike (approximately 5 miles). Hiking along the the canyon rim and on our descent, we enjoyed views down the canyon, and tiny spring desert wildflowers. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 4 Apr 2016 16:42:43 EST Osprey, Manzanita, and Red Rocks along the River I hike a loop trail along the Deschutes river with my friend H; trail is about 5 miles, and I was GLAD to not be hiking with any of my fast paced friends! H and I hike at a good pace, but we like to enjoy the beauty around us. <BR> <BR> We passed large boulders and cliff walls on the trail down to the river. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The manzanita bushes were blooming profusely, with pink tiny bell shaped... Thu, 31 Mar 2016 17:34:11 EST Nice hikes, and Wool Arts Festival Happy Easter! I enjoyed a nice Easter service; music was great, and the congregation and pastor were very warm and welcoming. <BR> <BR> I went on 3 hikes last week. On Tuesday, we hiked along the river and my friend took me off the trail, to an area with massive blocks of columnar basalt. This is a trail we hike frequently -- but the rock formations are only visible if one goes off the trail. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 27 Mar 2016 20:51:24 EST Very Nice Birthday. Now -- Stop the Sweets! I had a very nice birthday celebration. On Saturday, my friend Pat hosted a nice birthday party for my friend and me (friend had a birthday a few days before). We enjoyed veggie lasagne, roasted vegetables, salad, and of course -- birthday cake. Luscious lemon custard layer cake, frosted with meringue (which unfortunately means the leftover cake cannot be frozen) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http:... Thu, 24 Mar 2016 17:45:01 EST Two Challenging Hikes This week, I went on two challenging hikes with faster hikers. (plus one easy relaxed hike on my own -- what a relief to go at my own pace!!) <BR> <BR> The first hike was a loop hike in the Badlands area of Central Oregon. We thought the hike would be about 7 miles -- it was 9.5 miles instead! We had lunch at Badlands Rock, which is a circular volcanic cone. We were able to walk inside the extinct cone to enjoy our meal out of the wind. Two of my friends are much faster, and they are trainin... Sun, 20 Mar 2016 23:01:02 EST Visit to Spring! and a sad loss I drove to Eugene and Portland for a conference this weekend, It was a total change in climate! Here in Central Oregon it is still winter; in the Willamette Valley (over the mountains) spring was flourishing. Green, lush, and flowers blooming everywhere. Magnolias, forsythia, daffodils and tulips, and blooming cherry and apple trees. Unfortunately it also rained almost constantly. So my photos are limited! The University of Oregon campus was beautiful, and it has changed a lot since I got my ... Wed, 9 Mar 2016 13:55:37 EST Hiking the Summit Trail at Smith Rock! On Friday, I followed up on my challenge to myself to try harder hikes with faster hiking friends. So I went with two friends that I know were faster hikers out to Smith Rock to hike the Summit trail, which is a longer trail (7.5 miles) with more elevation gain (about 1200 ft elevation gain). It definitely was challenging -- but so worth it! <BR> <BR> The Crooked River has carved the beautiful cliffs; the size of the rock walls is amazing. Smith Rock State Park in Oregon is a major destinati... Sun, 28 Feb 2016 14:37:44 EST Hiking Steelhead Falls Trail Today I hiked Steelhead Falls trail with 2 friends and a dog. It was a beautiful day! There were lots of clouds, but we escaped the rain. We hiked down the canyon <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> among the cliff walls <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 14 Feb 2016 21:57:45 EST Hiking on a Clear February Day! I enjoyed hiking two trails recently on clear cool February days! The first trail was a shorter slower paced hike above the Deschutes River, with a friend that is trying to get back into hiking after straining her back. She is spending a lot of time caring for her husband who has become disabled (heart, diabetes, obesity), and the beauty of nature means a lot to her. <BR> <BR> We both enjoyed the twisted juniper trees along the trail (she said they reminded her to not twist her back!) <BR> ... Sun, 7 Feb 2016 20:39:27 EST Methow Valley Ski Vacation My friend SpunkyLB and I enjoyed a great ski vacation in Methow Valley, WA last week. Our drive to Washington was long, mostly through freezing valley fog. By the second day, we were seeing snow -- LOTS of snow. We amused ourselves by counting the bald eagles along the river (over 13!). <BR> <BR> Once we arrived at our destination, I skied with a group of moderately paced skiers, and I had so much fun!!! <BR> <BR> The sunny photos below are from our first full day skiing. <BR> <BR> <img ... Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:23:48 EST Inspiring group of skiers! Yesterday I went on a beautiful cross country ski trip, the mountains are always inspiring! Particularly when we have fresh snow and sunshine. <BR> <BR> But I was also inspired by a group of disabled skiers and volunteers. Two large school buses were parked at the snow park, and skiers of varying ages and abilities were there with an active and energetic group of volunteers. One young man happily stood among the trees on his skis, knocking down the heavy snowfall and laughing with joy each t... Sat, 16 Jan 2016 15:45:45 EST 2015 Results. 2016 Goals! In 2015, I lost 14 pounds. I exceeded my goal for lowering cholesterol, and I exceeded my goal for lowering my triglycerides. I did not lose as many pounds as I planned, but I consider the year successful overall. Last year, I was unable to exercise due to multiple minor surgeries for about 4 months of the year. I am personally proud that I have clawed my way back to a net weight loss for the year. Next year will be a year for good health and fitness! <BR> <BR> My goals for 2016 are as follo... Mon, 4 Jan 2016 16:04:36 EST Nice Christmas Holiday! (and hikes with sisters) My Christmas holiday started with a very difficult drive through the mountains in ice and snow. The highway was closed for while an accident was cleared -- but there was no alternate route. All the cars just sat there in the snow. I am very glad that I made a hotel reservation so I could make the trip in 2 days! <BR> <BR> I really enjoyed Christmas with my family. My family was very complimentary about noticing that I had lost weight. (A former friend was less kind about her perception of m... Thu, 31 Dec 2015 18:11:29 EST WOO HOO! Unexpected health NSV! I was somewhat nervous when I got a phone message from my doctor's office: We need you to come in and discuss your lab results. We will need to adjust your thyroid medication, and discuss your elevated cholesterol level. WHAT??? I made a personal goal to reduce my cholesterol by at least 10 points, and it is ELEVATED?? <BR> <BR> I was thrilled, amazed, and happy when I got the actual lab results. The nurse practitioner was concerned that my cholesterol was 210. But -- last year, it was 242. ... Wed, 16 Dec 2015 19:08:13 EST Another great day skiing! I went Nordic skiing again today with my friend Hanne. It was a beautiful day! I'm posting a few photos, mostly as an experiment to see if I have solved the problem of Sparkpeople posting my photos sideways. (if there are almost no photos posted, you will know that the problem remains!! -- I am trying to delete any sideways or upside down photos that sneak into my blog) We skied a longer trail today that was a bit more technically challenging. Very fun, and a great workout. There were LOTS o... Tue, 15 Dec 2015 19:31:33 EST Cross Country Ski Outing I went on my first Nordic ski outing of the year today with two friends. We tried to go yesterday, but turned back because of the road was so backed up with drivers who were struggling with the icy conditions. (I enjoyed visiting two art exhibits instead). <BR> <BR> Today was skiing was much nicer! The road was plowed and well sanded, and the snow conditions were WONDERFUL. <BR> <BR> We skied a nice easy loop trail at Meissner snow park. The trees were laden with snow. <BR> <BR> The tra... Mon, 14 Dec 2015 01:37:19 EST Thanksgiving in Phoenix Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I flew to Phoenix with my nephew to visit my brother and SIL. The drive to the airport was difficult -- we had heavy snow and the roads were icy, and I had to drive over the Cascade mountains to the Portland airport for our flight. But we just had to go slowly, and our cold weather made me appreciate the Arizona climate even more! <BR> <BR> On Friday, we visited the Phoenix Botanical gardens at night for their luminaria event. Luminarias are traditional in Mexi... Tue, 1 Dec 2015 15:48:31 EST Canyon Hike My friend Hanne and I hiked Dry River Canyon in the Badlands on Sunday. Sunday was a beautiful warm day for winter in the high desert (unlike today, when we are having our first snow storm). <BR> <BR> Dry river canyon was carved by an ancient river during the ice age. The high cliff walls expose multiple layers of lava from volcanic eruptions – sometimes in colorful layers. The lava is from Newberry Crater and Lava Butte -- but the ash is from Mt. Mazama, the former mountain whose massive ... Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:16:26 EST Hikes and Clothes! I am feeling more recovered from the foot surgery, and WOO HOO! I co-led a 7 mile hike yesterday! It was a beautiful clear cold day, and we hiked in the Badlands to an interesting lava formation called Flatiron Rock. 8 hikers joined us. I like leading hikes and meeting new people! And I also enjoyed working with the new leaders. The new leader was a much faster hiker; I was in charge of the stragglers -- but we still went at a pretty good pace! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeop... Sat, 21 Nov 2015 18:17:14 EST Sightseeing with Friends A good friend from college visited me this week with her husband. I enjoyed showing them the sights in Central Oregon. <BR> <BR> We hiked in the desert on the Wildcat Canyon trail (above the Deshutes River). The photo below captures all three of us: her husband is the shadow! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 16 Nov 2015 00:11:57 EST Hiking Little Crater Trail My friend Hanne and I hiked Little Crater loop trail in the Newberry National Monument. This was a shorter hike, but challenging because of the snow and the elevation gain. <BR> <BR> The trail began at Paulina Lake. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We looked across to Paulina Peak, which was sparkling in the snow. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 6 Nov 2015 20:35:34 EST Visit to San Francisco Just back from a short visit to the San Francisco bay area, to visit my sister. I really enjoyed my visit! I traveled so often when mom was in hospice – and I don’t want to lose touch with my siblings now that mom is gone. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Sister and me <BR> <BR> My brother drove over from Sacramento to join us for dinner one evening; it was great to see him. My sisters and I have offered to vis... Tue, 3 Nov 2015 22:05:44 EST Hiking from Benham Falls My friend and I enjoyed a lovely fall hike along the Deschutes River, from the bridge to Benham falls toward Dillan falls. We hiked about 7 miles, and I have to admit my knees are sore today! It was a lovely clear cold morning. We had a hard freeze the night before and fresh snow dusted the mountain tops. <BR> <BR> <BR> The river was calm and reflected the trees at the start of our trail. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> ... Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:05:32 EST Mountain Lake and Desert Canyon hikes I enjoyed two hikes this week. I hiked near Suttle Lake again, because my friend wanted to see the fall colors. I really enjoyed the mild weather and the lovely fall colors. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <B... Sun, 25 Oct 2015 21:15:20 EST Saturday hike around Clear Lake Four of us had a very nice hike around Clear Lake in the Cascade Mountains on Friday. We were very lucky with the weather -- it was raining in town, but the weather in the mountains cleared up for our hike. Lots of lovely fall color from the vine maples. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The big tree is one of many old growth Douglas firs. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 19 Oct 2015 16:49:47 EST Two Fall Hikes + Deer I am really glad that I am able to hike again. I am starting with easier hikes (3-6 mile hikes, mostly level) and I will gradually rebuild my endurance. (I had surgery on my foot May 1; then another surgery on the other foot in July; so I had an extended period of not hiking. It takes a long time to rebuild fitness!). <BR> <BR> I enjoyed two beautiful hikes this week. The first hike was in town, along the Deschutes River, 4 mile loop. <BR> Kayaks were enjoying floating the river. <BR> <BR>... Tue, 13 Oct 2015 20:24:26 EST Queenstown NZ Our final New Zealand destination was Queenstown. This is a spectacular city set amid the mountains on Lake Wakatipu, and it is a gateway to hiking and adventure. Fresh snow was on the mountains, and the ski areas were still in operation. <BR> <BR> From our hotel room, we looked across the lake to The Remakables mountain range. <BR> <BR> Alpenglow on the Remarkables <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We hiked a... Tue, 6 Oct 2015 15:48:30 EST New Zealand: Great Trip! I had a great trip to New Zealand with my hiking friend SpunkyLB. The plane trip there and back is long and arduous (over 29 hours traveling from our home airport to Auckland) – but this beautiful country is well worth the long journey. The weather was nice, early spring, a few showers and moderate temperatures. <BR> <BR> Auckland is a lovely city, with volcanic hills, harbors and sea views everywhere you look. Our hotel was in the city center, very near the harbor. We walked to the Sky Ci... Mon, 5 Oct 2015 01:24:23 EST Seattle, and Oregon Coast I had an unexpected trip to Seattle due to my own carelessness (I lost my passport in the stress of closing up my office and moving massive amounts of files). Seattle is a beautiful city, but the traffic was TERRIBLE. I was able to take advantage of the several hours between my appointment at the passport office and picking up my passport to visit the Seattle Center. The passport office was helpful, and I will be able to leave for New Zealand in a few days (whew!) <BR> <BR> When I was 12, we... Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:12:52 EST Pleasant leisure hike along the river! I enjoyed a pleasant easy hike along the river loop trail with my SF SpunkyLB. She has been recovering from a back injury, and she requested a very relaxed pace. I enjoyed it! It was a clear sunny day, and lots of people were out hiking along the river. The river was sparkling. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 7 Sep 2015 18:45:41 EST Steens Mountain Camping! We spent a long weekend exploring Steens Mountain and surrounding areas in Eastern Oregon. The air was quite smoky from the fires to the north and south; we later learned that the air was even worse in our home city in Central Oregon. The Canyon Creek fire exploded out of control – fire is over 150 miles away, but the smoke has covered a wide swath. <BR> <BR> On to the vacation: We stopped to eat our picnic lunch at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge on our journey east. The springs and lakes in... Tue, 25 Aug 2015 23:11:15 EST Weekend Mini Vacation with Family Very nice visit from my brother and SIL (from out of state) this weekend; they are visiting more frequently because nephew (their son) is now living and working at his first post-college job in my city. On Friday night, my brother took us to a very nice dinner, and we walked through downtown to visit the First Friday Art Walk. On Saturday, we visited the farmer’s market and listened to local live music in the morning. We then drove up to the mountains and had a picnic lunch at Elk lake wit... Mon, 10 Aug 2015 02:16:08 EST