ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 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 New Landscaping! I am very happy with the landscape redesign; I hired a local landscape designer. I had a couple of problems I wanted solved: A large ponderosa pine crashed down during the big winter wind storm and left a gaping pile of sawdust; and my view of my yard from the deck was dominated by large overgrown woody juniper bushes. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:36:12 EST Hiking the Ochoco Mountains & Painted Hills I’m very excited and pleased after my vacation with friends to the Ochoco Mountains (located in Central Oregon)! My biggest thrill was being able to wear my hiking boots again (after May 1 foot surgery), and being able to do some short hikes!!! Plus I had a great time with my friends. <BR> <BR> The 5 of us shared a 1930s rustic cabin that is owned by the Forest Service. It housed the forest fire dispatch station manager and his family. Although not luxurious, the cabin was very comfortable... Sun, 12 Jul 2015 18:46:19 EST Outdoor Desert Museum: Fun! My friend and I had a great visit today to the High Desert Museum (in Central Oregon). We started out at the otter enclosure. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So cute! <BR> <BR> We then visited a replica of a 1904 homestead. Several character actors in period costumes were playing their roles, and educating the children (and adults) about life on the small farm. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople... Wed, 1 Jul 2015 00:46:23 EST Increasing Exercise: Not optional! I usually really enjoy exercise, but with my foot surgery I have been not able to hike for almost 2 months. Well that ends NOW. I had vein surgery today, and the doctor said I need to walk for 10 minutes every hour that I am awake for the next week. <BR> <BR> Wow what a concept! I think this small amount of exercise (designed to prevent blood clots, and improve vein function) will really help me improve my fitness. So far (first 8 hours/first group of 10 minute walks) my foot is doing pre... Wed, 24 Jun 2015 01:31:28 EST Hart Mountain & Petroglyphs I haven’t blogged for quite a while. I had surgery on my foot May 1, and the recovery has taken longer than realized. Because of swelling, I am still not able to put on socks, much less wear my hiking boots. But I had a great trip last weekend with friends to Hart Mountain, and the Eastern Oregon high desert petroglyph sites. <BR> <BR> We drove to the tiny town of Plush, where we stayed in a tiny cabin. The views of the outside the cabin were amazing, we looked directly across at Hart Moun... Sat, 20 Jun 2015 02:12:17 EST Vacation in Pittsburgh PA I was pleasantly surprised by all the culture and history in and around Pittsburgh PA. I flew to Pittsburgh last week to visit my younger sister for several days. My older sister flew there also. <BR> <BR> We traveled to two famous homes by Frank Lloyd Wright. Falling Water was just stunning – loved the architecture and the integration into the dramatic scenery. The owner also had some very nice art, including artists such as Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://ph... Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:38:18 EST Visit from my brother My brother and his wife came to visit this weekend, their son (my nephew) moved to my city earlier this to work as a reporter on our local newspaper. So a nice benefit for me (in addition to seeing lots of my nephew, who is an intelligent and interesting young man) is more frequent visits from my brother! <BR> <BR> We walked in the downtown park after dinner <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Brother, SIL, nephew <BR> <BR> <img src="http://... Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:21:55 EST Spark Activity Tracker Review I finally bought a spark activity tracker, here is my honest review. <BR> <BR> <em>543</em> <BR> <BR> Pluses: <BR> 1. It is an excellent value <BR> 2. It is a great size – small and light <BR> 3. It was easy to set up (once I gave up on trying to fit the USB port on the dongle into the tracker, that is! – I highly recommend logging on the Spark and reading the set-up guide instead of assuming you know what to do) <BR> 4. It provides very valuable feedback <BR> <BR> Minor drawbacks:... Sat, 18 Apr 2015 17:34:04 EST Hiking Farewell Bend trail Today was my first day of working part time where I actually had no appointments and no work scheduled! So I celebrated with my friend HM by hiking the Deschutes river loop trail (from Farewell Bend park) on this sunny, cold, blowy day. We had a delightful hike. The river was sparkling and beautiful. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We stopped to watch an os... Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:41:12 EST Blue Pool hike We enjoyed a lovely hike along the MacKenzie River today. We hiked from above the power station to Tamolich dry falls (also commonly called “the blue pool”). Pluses: beautiful scenery, lush green forest, and huge old growth trees. Minuses: crowds of people, and mud. <BR> <BR> We started hiking in the old growth forest. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 13 Apr 2015 01:08:57 EST Hiking Otter Bench trail I enjoyed a very nice hike desert this weekend, on the Otter Bench trail above the Crooked River. We were lucky enough to have fresh snow in the mountains, we need the snow – but it meant we needed to hike at lower elevations. <BR> <BR> My nephew joined us on the hike, he is a great sport about going the same pace as us more mature ladies. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And of course my usual hiking friends! <BR> <BR> <img src="... Wed, 8 Apr 2015 01:14:57 EST Less Concerned About Weigh In! I am much less concerned about my bad weigh in results yesterday (up by a LOT). I called my doctor's office and learned that the two medications I was prescribed (to overcome a temporary severe allergic reaction) had a side effect of weight gain. The prescriptions end tomorrow, and hopefully the weight will disappear! (the allergic reaction is already gone; no more red puffy itchy rash!) <BR> <BR> Whew! And thanks, Oolala,you inspired me to call the doctor, when you pointed out I would have ... Wed, 1 Apr 2015 16:29:16 EST March Results: Not Good My end of the month weigh-in for March is not good: I gained nearly 10 pounds. I did not control stress eating (snacking/sweets). I had several social eating situations where I did not control the menu (4 working dinners catered by others; 4 birthday meals provided by others – that’s 2 a week!). The social engagements and commitments are healthy and important for having some sort of social life, but I HAVE to control myself better. Goal for April: no alcohol at social events; TINY desse... Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:22:13 EST Two Great Hikes: Desert, then Forest My home town in Central Oregon is just east of the Cascade Mountains, in the high desert. So this weekend, we took full advantage of the diverse climate zones! On Saturday we drove east to Chimney Rock. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The trail starts at the Crooked River. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR>... Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:23:01 EST Birthday, Hike My friends threw a nice birthday dinner for me last night, it was a really fun evening. 10 people attended, including my nephew (which was a surprise). The dinner was very good – coq au vin with potatoes, peas with pancetta, large salad, good bread, and chocolate cake. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Birthday dinner <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Wearing the traditional b... Sun, 22 Mar 2015 20:11:27 EST Spring hike I enjoyed a lovely hike on Sunday along the Paulina Creek trail. It was cold in the morning when I woke up (below freezing) but it warmed up by the time we reached the trailhead. There was snow along the creek but the trail itself was clear of snow. The creek was delightful. It is definitely spring , the manzanita bushes had started to bloom (pink bell shaped flowers), and the pollen is in the air! I was SO grateful to be hiking among the pine trees, instead of closer to town where the junipe... Mon, 9 Mar 2015 15:09:19 EST Exercise DVD review; Deer Herd I purchased the Zumba: Incredible Results set at CostCo before Christmas, and I have been exploring the various DVDs in the set. The set consists of 10 DVDs and a step riser (plus a couple of booklets with diet tips); some of the routines combine step riser moves with Zumba. So far I have done the Super Cardio Blast Party (with Spunky LB – no step); Core Craze; Step It Up; 30 minute Burn (no step), and the Step basic instruction tape (which breaks down the moves and does them slowly). I enjo... Fri, 6 Mar 2015 14:15:23 EST February Results I met my goal for February, I ended the month with a weight loss of 8 pounds. So I am setting aside another $200 into my reward fund (trip to a spa!). I had some eating lapses (overeating/snacking/sweets), but overall I did well. I met my goal of 5 freggies daily, I met my exercise goals (strength, cardio, and stretching), drank my 8 glasses of water, and took my vitamins. I improved my sleep habits somewhat. And I cut down on caffeine. So even though I was not perfect at eating, I am pleas... Mon, 2 Mar 2015 22:09:57 EST Winter Hike: Metolius River trail I enjoyed a lovely winter hike with my hiking group today along the Metolius River near Camp Sherman. In January, this area was covered in snow, but it was been unseasonably warm for 3 weeks and the snow accumulation is gone. It is turning nippy again and winter is back! Which presented a bit of a problem, because one hiker was much slower than the others, and people got cold waiting for her to catch up. <BR> <BR> The hike is about 5.5 miles. It is one of my favorites. Here are a few photos ... Sun, 22 Feb 2015 02:42:35 EST Great vacation. Bad tree. I’m back from a great week skiing in the Methow Valley, Washington. But I’ll tell you the bad news first: when I returned home late last night, my home had been damaged by a large ponderosa pine that blew over in a windstorm. I don’t have the estimate for repairing the damage yet. Here’s a photo. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Vacation however was great. I drove down with SpunkyLB, who is not very active on SparkPeople, but she is a g... Sat, 7 Feb 2015 12:02:50 EST Bad massage :( So after a tough week (included dental surgery) I had planned on a relaxing massage to reward myself. It was a disaster. She was WAY to strong and powerful and left me with bruises. (Sorry the angle on the photo isn't good but you can get the idea!) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After I realized how badly I was bruised I called the masseuse back to compl... Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:12:54 EST Beautiful Buck This beautiful buck with his branchlike antlers has been quietly sitting in my back yard. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> He's just beautiful. Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:46:45 EST Martin Luther King Today Martin Luther King is celebrated in the US. He is well known for his inspiring speeches and his fight for civil rights. I admire him greatly for his commitment to peaceful protests to achieve great social change. He was controversial in his time; he was opposed to the Vietnam War; he was active in the labor movement and was leading a march to support striking low wage garbage workers when he was assassinated; and he wanted to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. My father in particu... Mon, 19 Jan 2015 19:29:32 EST Acupuncture, and Nephew's New Job I tried acupuncture for the first time, to see if it will help with my circulation system and arthritis. The process was interesting, and for me it was not painful. My skin did feel itchy afterward and I was exhausted. I THINK there was an improvement in my muscle and joint pain, but it will take a while to know if the treatment is working. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! My friend Mark has noticed a huge improvement with the pain from his injury/arthritis through acupuncture – plus he has lo... Sun, 18 Jan 2015 19:07:48 EST 2014 Resolutions -- The Fun Part of the Journey My 2014 resolution was to try at least one new activity per month. It was a lot of fun, and I had some good adventures. My activities included: <BR> <BR> Kitchen remodel and reorganization <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Train travel to Glacier National Park by train for cross country ski adventure. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Hiked lodge to lodge on the Rogue River trail. Wow t... Sun, 11 Jan 2015 20:49:36 EST Excited about 2015! I am very excited about my new strategy for meeting my goals in 2015! Goal: Lose 50 pounds by the end of the year. My action steps will be the same – I have a good program, I just have to DO IT. Consistently. All the time. <BR> <BR> So I am creating an incentive program (based on a program offered by our local Hospital for their staff). I believe their program, called Healthy Lives, originated at Franciscan Health and Wellness; their program includes many goals and rewards for success in a... Tue, 30 Dec 2014 19:00:27 EST