ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=ALIHIKES ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ Newfoundland/Labrador, and Home! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6412520 Our final cruise destination was St Johns, Newfoundland/Labrador (these two provinces have merged into one). I have always wanted to visit the east coast of Canada, and St John's was wonderful! <BR> <BR> Before we reached there, we cruised across the Atlantic ocean. We went over the Arctic Circle, and in the wee hours of the morning the captain announced that the aurora borealis were out. (We couldn't hear the announcement, but our friend Mary Lou called us because she knew we would want to ... Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:45:41 EST Iceland Wonderland: Part 2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6412132 From Reykavik we sailed to Akuryeri through a fjord Ejiafjordur; very beautiful. And the captain announced two whales off the port bow! What a treat to see whales in the distance. Our excursion guide said the two whales are frequent visitors. <BR> <BR> Linda and I took and excursion to explore Iceland's diverse landscape -- it was AMAZING. And again -- our local guide was GREAT. I loved that she told stories! <BR> <BR> Driving around the end of the fjord <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos... Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:44:11 EST Iceland is Beautiful! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6411826 We cruised to Reykavik, Iceland. It was cloudy and cool. We toured the city on the hop on/hop off bus. I rode the bus around once, then went back to rest (I was trying to recover from a cold virus). The others cruised the city and got off a couple of destinations -- most notably HallgrimsKirkja, the Lutheran church with very innovative design (sorry I don't have a photo! I must have accidentally deleted it after I used it to make a sketch in my journal). Oh heck, here is a photo that is publi... Sat, 16 Sep 2017 13:35:54 EST Scotland! Cawdor Castle http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6411528 We arrived in Invergordon, Scotland in the middle of the morning. This was not on our original itinerary, which listed the Shetland Islands (Lerwick) instead. But the captain explained it would not be possible to be processed through immigration quickly enough to be able to go on excursions at the Shetland Islands. At Invergordon, which is a larger port, the cruise line was able to get a large number of Scottish immigration officials to process our passports on board the ship. (The young man ... Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:19:14 EST Stavanger, Norway and Lysefjord http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6411186 Stavanger Norway was our next port. It's a beautiful city, and included an old part of the city with historic multi-story wooden homes all painted white. We saw lots of evidence of the formerly thriving oil extraction industry, now silenced by the downturn in oil prices; we also sailed past a couple of Norwegian salmon farms. <BR> <BR> Linda and I signed up for a cruise to Lysefjord. It was the only excursion that we purchased through a separate vendor (not through our cruise line), and it w... Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:59:29 EST Skagen, Denmark and Kristiansand, Norway http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6410807 From Copenhagen we sailed to Skagen, Denmark. Skagen is Denmark's northernmost city. It was founded in the middle ages. The smell of fish reminds us that it is still an active fishing village; it is also a charming tourist destination. All of the stores were open and everyone was cheerful and happy -- a local told us it was the first sunny day in over two weeks. <BR> <BR> The homes are mostly yellow colored plaster with red tile roofs and white trim; there are also some brick homes. The old... Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:33:06 EST Great Cruise! (rough return) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6410484 I've been away on a great cruise to Scandinavia. We started in Denmark, then onto Norway, Scotland, Iceland, and across the Atlantic to Newfoundland. The destinations were wonderful, and I was able to see some wonderful sights that couldn't be captured on film (the aurora borealis, whales!) <BR> <BR> I got a mild cold/cough while traveling. And I got REALLY sick on the journey home. Now I am home recovering from pneumonia. BUMMER. I've never had pneumonia before and it is miserable. But I am... Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:35:33 EST Updating My Goals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6401112 I thought I should update my goals from earlier in the year, and report on my progress so far. I'm following a very generous grading system (used by a local health system when they are giving wellness bonuses to employees): <BR> <BR> Achieved or exceeded Goal: A <BR> Made progress toward goal: B <BR> Maintained prior level of fitness, but no improvement: C <BR> Gained weight/lost progress: D <BR> Dropped out: F <BR> <BR> I am nowhere near the amount of weight I wanted to lose -- but I HAVE ... Thu, 17 Aug 2017 21:49:25 EST Orcas Island: relaxing and inspiring http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6399118 My week at Orcas Island in Washington was relaxing and inspiring. I attended a creativity workshop for one week, and my friend Martina and I enjoyed exploring the island for an extra couple of days. The Northwest has been covered by smoke from wildfires; I was grateful it was cooler and less smoky on the island. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/d771129d-bf7f-480b-974c-3b8bc80c75c2.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Martina and I on the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island <BR> <BR> ... Sat, 12 Aug 2017 17:36:26 EST Hike to Benson Lake http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6392007 Today H, Lisa and I hiked to Benson Lake. It was beautiful! We started out at Scott Lake (in the Central Oregon Cascade Mountain range). <BR> <BR> Scott Lake, looking across to North Sister and Middle Sister mountains <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/89107039-89c0-41aa-812d-89dc40f888fe.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/e2b25370-c3ab-484d-8465-4ce42f9f3f62.JPG"> <BR> <BR> The hike to Benson Lake was not too hard -- it's uphill most ... Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:41:07 EST Canyon Creek Meadow Hike http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6389459 Yesterday I hiked a loop trail in the Three Fingered Jack wilderness area (Central Oregon Cascades) with my friend Jean. It was a beautiful hike! And the wildflowers were just starting their magnificent displays of blooms in lower Canyon Creek Meadow. <BR> <BR> Me, with Three Fingered Jack mountain in the background <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/381a9e9f-d589-4f71-aed8-f8c3e6fc9a03.jpg"> <BR> <BR> This was Jean's first hike in 5 years; we used to hike together ... Wed, 19 Jul 2017 15:13:34 EST Oregon Coast http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6387506 I had a great mini-vacation at the Oregon coast. We stayed in the small town of Yachats. The weather was ideal (60s - 70s) and a welcome change from the heat wave here in the high desert. I enjoyed hiking a Cape Perpetua, we visited the tide pools at low tide, and features such as Devil's punchbowl. Unfortunately I had a problem with my camera, so I only have photos from my first evening. So some beautiful scenery has to remain a part of my memories. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.spa... Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:40:42 EST Hot weather Hike, and Visitors! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6386195 My friends Beth and Bruce visited, and to be honest getting enough exercise was a challenge. Bruce and I usually hike; but the hot temperatures were not very conducive to exercise. My guests mostly wanted to stay indoors where it was cooler. But we finally did get out on a beautiful hike along the river. (Beth has bad arthritis and has not fully recovered from her hip replacement; she does not hike. I enjoyed playing music with her) <BR> <BR> Photos from my river hike along the Deschutes Riv... Tue, 11 Jul 2017 20:18:03 EST New Adventure! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6382165 I invited Jeanni and Pat to join me on a new adventure hike, to a cave in the desert. It WAS a real adventure! The directions I had were not good; we never found the trail to the cave or the side road that led to the trail. BUT WE FOUND THE CAVE! The entire hike was cross country (off trail), through sagebrush and bunch grasses, and over rocky and sandy terrain. <BR> <BR> Wildflowers among the rocks <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/b9024da9-4af3-42a4-aeb4-151c0faa8... Sat, 1 Jul 2017 21:18:55 EST Weekend Camping http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6380449 This past weekend, I was camping in the Ochoco Mountains. It was a lot of fun! I enjoyed the hiking, meeting new people (about 40 attended), learning about the history of the area, and singing around the campfire. <BR> <BR> I led a 8 mile hike. My co-leader was new to the area, and he said it was one of the most beautiful hikes he had ever been on. I was pleased that the group enjoyed our moderate pace. Really my moderate pace hike got the MOST interest (12 hikers); 3 signed up for the toug... Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:36:28 EST Ochoco Mountain Wildflowers http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6378148 I hiked a difficult but beautiful trail in the Ochoco Mountains today (difficult for me, that is!) -- about 9.4 miles and 1550 foot elevation gain. My friend Micki who planned to hike with me was unable to come -- she broke her ankle and had surgery yesterday. I went anyway, because I will be leading a group on this hike at a weekend campout this weekend (my co-leader will be from out of town, and I promised him I would pre-hike the route). I enjoyed meeting another solo woman hiker on the tr... Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:19:45 EST Wildflowers, Walks, and Wild Horses http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6376696 The Steen's Mountain area (where I visited my friend H last week) is great for hiking. And we were lucky that the wildflowers were blooming! <BR> <BR> Here are a few photos from vistas along my hikes in Steen's Mountain. The first 5 photos are of hikes on the Riddle Ranch property; the final 2 photos are of a hike to the Blitzen River. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/b25a9124-cb4c-4e26-aa25-030d59a6c510.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/... Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:16:16 EST Riddle Brothers Ranch http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6376466 I spent last week at a remote historic ranch in the Steen's Mountain area of Oregon, Riddle Brothers Ranch. Three bachelor Riddle brothers farmed in this area from about 1900 to 1950; the last surviving brother sold the property in the 1950s to the Clemons family, who sold it to the Bureau of Land Management in 1989. The farm buildings are original and are maintained as an open air historical museum. My friend H was the volunteer caretaker for the month of June, and she invited me to stay wit... Sat, 17 Jun 2017 23:03:33 EST Beauty in the Midst of Sadness http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6370763 Well this has been a sad week for me. Two kind and generous friends were killed in an auto accident; they were a light and beacon of hope -- generous and caring. So sorry for their families; they were returning from visiting their grandchildren. <BR> <BR> And the senseless terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, after similar hate crimes in Paris. Closer to my home, in Portland Oregon the terrorist killing was from a deranged angry white racist guy, who killed two men who tried to inter... Sun, 4 Jun 2017 15:40:00 EST Hard Solo Hike. And -- Other Exercise (need more!) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6370405 Yesterday I hiked up Misery Ridge at Smith Rock State Park. This is my go-to hike for hard solo hiking -- I can go at my own pace, and it is a popular trail so I don't worry about being stranded in the event of an emergency (rattlesnake bite, bad fall, etc.). My usual hiking companions were not available: Mickie, who planned to go with me on a hike, broke her ankle. H injured her hip and is following doctor's advice to rest. Barbara was in the hospital with pancreatitis (she is out today, whe... Sat, 3 Jun 2017 16:38:23 EST Nice Shorter Hike today! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6368198 Yesterday I did a long/fast hike with a friend along the river trail. It was a workout, and a very hot day! I was glad when we met two enterprising little girls who were selling fresh home made lemonade to hikers. <BR> <BR> Today I enjoyed a MUCH slower paced walk with my friend Linda. She has been recovering from back surgery. We walked along a different stretch of the Deschutes River, closer to downtown. I enjoyed watching the throngs in and around the river! Kayaks, Stand up paddleboards,... Mon, 29 May 2017 18:08:20 EST Hike Metolious RIver, and Organized House http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6367411 Today I led a group of 12 hikers along the Metolious River trail. This is a beautiful trail along a wild and scenic river. The weather was clear and warm. I think I've mentioned that several of my regular hiking friends are faster than I am; but this group really liked my pace (they though I was fast/moderate). <BR> <BR> Along the river <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/d9b263d9-27ed-410e-8a4c-bacaee9c5452.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Hiking companions <BR> <BR> <img src="ht... Sat, 27 May 2017 19:19:46 EST Suttle Lake Hike http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6365743 I'll be honest -- I almost didn't do this hike. Both of my usual hiking friends canceled at the last minute, so I was on my own. I drove to the original planned hike trail head -- only to be turned away because of a controlled burn (the Forest Service burns the woods to reduce the fire fuel load), resulting in poor air quality from the heavy smoke. Suttle Lake was my back-up destination -- and it was crowded with middle school age kids on a combined boy/girl Scout outing. Luckily my luck impr... Tue, 23 May 2017 19:19:15 EST Archaeology Trip to Paisley Caves http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6364538 Today I went with friends on a trip sponsored by ASCO (Archaeological Society of Central Oregon) to Paisley Caves. Paisley Caves are above Summer Lake, which is an alkali lake formed by the remnants of a large inland sea. The caves were discovered and excavated originally in the late 1930s, by the well-known archaeologist Luther Cressman (who was married to Margaret Mead for a period of time). Cressman discovered many artifacts, including projectile points, woven rope and basket remnants -- b... Sat, 20 May 2017 23:51:38 EST Paulina Creek Trail, and Accomplishments http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6364090 H, Barbara and I hiked the Paulina Creek trail in Newberry National Monument. The weather was perfect -- it is such a blessing to have sunshine after our long hard winter. The trail was just the right length (about 5.5 miles) and the creek was clear and sparkling all the way. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/17b34537-dece-46d7-915e-98ffc6162c86.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/4a4e887e-9958-4b4f-a1ae-5515c14bd5f2.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <i... Fri, 19 May 2017 20:17:07 EST Desert Blooms http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6361427 After my visit to lush green Western Oregon, I am back to my home in the high desert of Central Oregon. H and I hiked yesterday to Alder Springs. The desert has its own beauty -- but it certainly is different! Alder Springs is a canyon hike, so you start at the top and hike down, and your return hike is a good uphill workout. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/cc2e99e4-a4a2-4e09-92cd-55943a84b864.JPG"> <BR> <BR> The river has carved a steep canyon into the rocks <BR>... Sat, 13 May 2017 14:45:55 EST Waterfalls! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6360778 We spent a day hiking at Silver Falls state park (near Silverton, Oregon). The waterfall trail is AMAZING! We took the loop that visits 7 waterfalls in 5 miles; the trail goes behind three of the falls so you have the experience of going UNDER a sheet of falling water. The waterfalls tumble down 15 million year old volcanic rock (Columbia basin columnar basalt), which fractured and created dramatic high cliffs. <BR> <BR> The first waterfall, South Falls, is about 177 feet high. <BR> <BR> <... Thu, 11 May 2017 20:44:51 EST Oregon Gardens: Stunning! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6360405 Pat, Jeanni, Barbara and I took a mini vacation to Oregon Gardens in Silverton Oregon. <BR> <BR> At the entrance, with Pat <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/967795b3-fe9c-4025-9604-57e8b034e23b.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Jeanni and Barbara on the bridge <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/9e4daa08-f264-4e7e-9c9e-73f022b2974f.JPG"> <BR> <BR> The garden is stunning, and features numerous water gardens using recycled water. We liked the reflecting pools... Thu, 11 May 2017 00:23:35 EST Return to Kah-Nee-Tah Trails http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6359103 I returned to hike the trails at Kah-Nee-Tah today, and I am so glad I went back. Golden bee plants were blooming all over the painted hills canyon!!! Golden bee plants seem to love the red clay soil. They have a short blooming season, and here in Central Oregon we don't see them often. The flowers covered the red hills with yellow. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/a31388ea-1573-4121-8e01-77899c208e54.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid... Mon, 8 May 2017 01:01:55 EST Tam-A-Lau Trail: Challenging hike! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6358271 H, Barbara and I hike the Tam-A-Lau trail above Lake Billy Chinook (in Central Oregon) today. It was a beautiful but challenging hike, about 8 miles with a healthy elevation gain. The weather was comfortable (about 60 degrees F) and the spring wildflowers were blooming. <BR> <BR> Tam-A-Lau means "place of big rocks" in the local Warm Springs tribal language. And the early part of the trail showed why it earned that name. <BR> <BR> Arrowleaf balsamroot blooming among the boulders <BR> <BR>... Sat, 6 May 2017 01:13:14 EST Two Great Hikes! (and reality check ...) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6356814 I enjoyed two great hikes this week. H and I hiked the loop trail at Wychus Creek Nature Preserve. <BR> <BR> Views down to the canyon were great. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/91787569-a7d2-40dc-8f46-86a8cebf829f.jpg"> <BR> <BR> And we could look west to the Cascade Mountains. The Three Sisters are below. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/63699c7d-0668-4d4e-921f-e1ebd4a340bd.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Wildflowers were blooming. <BR> <BR> Oregon... Tue, 2 May 2017 20:32:27 EST Pick a Tough Challenge http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6355017 SparkCoach suggested picking a tough challenge (not necessarily fitness or diet related) and plan steps to meet the challenge. My challenge for right now is financial -- I want to gain control of my budget, I’m finding it more challenging than I thought to live within my perfectly adequate retirement income. <BR> <BR> <em>528</em> <BR> <BR> I worked for many years, and in the past few years my salary was ample for living well and indulging in eating out, new clothes, adventures etc. I ... Sat, 29 Apr 2017 01:16:34 EST Great Basin National Park http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6353847 The final destination of our Southwest trip was Great Basin National Park in Nevada. This park is at a fairly high elevation (7,000 - over 10,000 ft; or 2,000 to 3,000 meters). We changed our plans to camp at one of the beautiful campgrounds because it was pouring rain the night we arrived, and the campground got hail and snow! So we stayed in a little motel in the adjacent tiny town of Bishop, and we cooked most of our meals on our campstove in the courtyard. <BR> <BR> This is a beautiful p... Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:02:50 EST Antelope Canyon, Cedar Breaks road, and Parowan Gap http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6353377 Our trip to the Southwest continued, with glorious weather and new destinations. I had never been to Antelope Canyon (on the Navaho reservation, near Page Arizona). It was stunningly beautiful -- but very crowded, with groups led by Navaho guides. The canyon is very narrow. We paid a $10 extra for a tour when the light would be shining down through the narrow canyon. Photographers pay very large sums of money for tours where the crowds are held back, giving the illusion of solitude. We achiev... Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:54:19 EST Canyon de Chelly http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6352849 After Chaco Canyon, we traveled to Canyon de Chelly, another beautiful site with many Anasazi cliff houses and rock art. Canyon de Chelly is located on the Navaho reservation, and visitors can view sites from the canyon rim, hike on one designated trail (to White House ruin), or access many more sites by going with a Navaho guide on a jeep or horseback tour. We opted for the jeep tour, and it was really interesting. <BR> <BR> The canyon was flooded, and the road had disappeared under the wat... Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:28:20 EST Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6352450 Mesa Verde in New Mexico is the most famous of the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) -- I think I will use the name that is used at each location rather than double naming this ancestral tribe!) sites. It is both a national park and a world heritage site. The cliff dwellings are well preserved, but they are mostly visible from the ridge at a distance. However, rangers lead hikes to one or two of the cliff sites if you are lucky enough to get tickets. <BR> <BR> Square tower ruin is one of the larg... Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:52:26 EST Nine Mile Canyon and House on Fire ruin http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6352231 I just got back from two weeks traveling in the Southwest with my friend Deb. It was a great vacation. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed hiking and visiting archeological sites. I was very grateful that the pains in my legs subsided (the pain was a side effect from medication). <BR> <BR> I flew to Salt Lake City to meet Deb. She is an avid downhill skier and ski patrol volunteer, so she enjoyed a few day skiing before we met up. On our drive to our first destination (9 Mile Canyon),... Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:58:30 EST Chronic Pain: What Works? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6345190 For the past 3 weeks or so I have gained a great appreciation for my friends that suffer from chronic pain. My friends who suffer from chronic pain have spinal issues, or cancer, or severe arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis ... and they ALL try their best to stay active and manage their pain. In my case, I developed severe pain in my legs, particularly at night in bed. The pain was WORSE than when I actually broke my leg or when I fell on ice and injured the muscles. It just didn't seem to he... Fri, 7 Apr 2017 15:24:36 EST Hiking Kah-Nee-Tah & Chimney Rock http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6341527 I am enjoying spring hiking, now that the weather is finally eased up from this harsh winter. AND my office floors have been replaced so I am able to be on my computer to write this blog! (I had damage to my home caused by an ice dam on my roof during our record-breaking snow in Central Oregon). <BR> <BR> We hiked to Chimney Rock; Chimney Rock rises above the Crooked River. The trail is fairly steep, but we enjoyed the views as we climbed up the canyon. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaw... Fri, 31 Mar 2017 00:38:19 EST Challenging Hike! Smith Rock http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6335495 Today I hiked at Smith Rock, and it was a challenging workout (for me!). I went by myself so I could enjoy going at my own pace on the steep uphill and downhill portions. And it was a GREAT experience. The weather was perfect (cool and clear); there were large hordes of happy hikers and rock climbers -- but NOTHING like the crowds at Zion or Bryce Canyon. <BR> <BR> From the view along the top trail that accesses the park, you can see the Misery ridge trail zig-zagging uphill (on the other si... Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:10:07 EST Hiking Season Started! And, New Spark Look ... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6331490 The weather has finally warmed up enough to go hiking. I went with my usual friends, but I think I will try a new group that may be more my pace. I'm a moderate paced hiker, and 3 of my 4 friends are speed hikers. HATE being the slowest one! And when I try to keep up, my heart rate goes way too high to sustain the pace for long. Oh well it will be fun to trying a new group and meeting new people. <BR> <BR> Our hike yesterday was about 7 miles in the Badlands. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://p... Sat, 11 Mar 2017 18:56:59 EST Overcoming a Blah, Low Energy, Day http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6329811 Yesterday was a very low energy day for me. I didn't meet my step goals; and I didn't go to an exercise class. I was in my pajamas until late afternoon. This is fairly rare for me -- usually I am energetic and enthusiastic, and I like to exercise a lot. So just in case this is helpful to anyone else out there, I am sharing my tips for turning around a BLAH, LOW ENERGY day. <BR> <BR> <BR> 1. Analyze what created the "blah" feeling. At least that might help prevent future recurrences!! In my... Wed, 8 Mar 2017 14:05:21 EST New Orleans -- Historic Tours http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6328897 I ran out of time to finish my blog last night, so I am sharing the highlights of some historic places that we toured. <BR> <BR> We visited Whitney plantation; this historic plantation tells the history from the point of view of the African American slaves. It was very moving and powerful. The beautiful church building is populated by bronze sculptures of the slave population (sorry if my photos of the children aren't great -- no flash photography was allowed) <BR> <BR> <img src="http://ph... Mon, 6 Mar 2017 19:33:59 EST Loved New Orleans! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6328318 I loved my visit to New Orleans last week. It was great to see my sister and sister-in-law, and to see this historic and lively city. And the best part was spending time with my family! <BR> <BR> <BR> My favorite parts of the visit were hearing Preservation Hall jazz band and the swamp tour. We were not permitted to photograph the band or record the music, but it was a WONDERFUL show. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/69ef8f2a-2384-40a1-98a6-6c5fdee084e4.JPG"> <BR... Sun, 5 Mar 2017 18:35:31 EST Three Accomplishments! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6320370 SparkCoach today asked me to blog about three accomplishments that I am proud of. So here are three relatively recent accomplishments! <BR> <BR> 1. I have kept up cross country skiing, and have even improved my skills. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/00f1b89d-0ebb-45e8-8a24-b27efd09a3d5.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Skiing with Barbara last month <BR> <BR> 2. I have worked hard to improve my hiking skills. I am slow going uphill, but I made it to the top!!! <BR> <BR> <img s... Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:23:28 EST Huh? Mangled Instructions! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6317993 The instructions on my new DVD external drive for my computer make NO sense whatsoever. Here's the instructions, verbatim: <BR> <BR> " Products through standard USB data cable to the computer USP port properly connected, the computer monitor should appear in the lower-right corner of the icon. Click “My Computer” on the desktop should be displayed in the removable storage devices. <BR> • Click on this icon, right click and select “pop-up” in the tray, into the disc to read <BR> • Internal l... Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:22:39 EST Enjoying a Rainy Day, Movie Review, and Deer! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6317490 Wow I am SO grateful that it is raining, instead of snowing. And I am grateful that my roof is not leaking! (I had damage from an ice dam during the big snow storm last month. The roof is fixed; the ceiling still needs refinishing) <BR> <BR> I went to AquaZumba class yesterday morning, it was a lot of fun as always. The class has increased in size from about 5 participants to over 20; I am glad that the instructor's enthusiasm and energy is paying off. This afternoon the rains will temporari... Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:54:15 EST Valentine's Day Hike! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6316159 I hiked up Pilot Butte today, to enjoy a hike with views before the next big storm (tonight). The trail was icy and slushy most of the way. I used my yak-trax so I did not slip and slide on the trail. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/7c67da7c-1095-4e09-a369-b7e27fc774ec.jpg"> <BR> <BR> And it is quite steep. I am proud whenever I can make it to the top without stopping to rest! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/c65b33ef-6542-4434-9133-1112... Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:22:57 EST New SparkCoach Track, New Driver License Photo http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6313555 I noticed that my SparkCoach program was repeating some of the lectures and suggestions, so I e-mailed a Coach. Apparently I made it all the way through the first program (Diet) and it was starting over again. The Coach's response explained that I could switch to a new program, so I started the Daily Consistency program, which will offer new challenges and ideas. They also offer plateau-breaking program. <BR> <BR> I had to go in to the DMV for a new driver's license and photo. I HATED my ol... Thu, 9 Feb 2017 16:40:13 EST January Results, and New Hike Through Snow! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6309096 Last month, I did pretty well meeting my goals. I lost 4 pounds. I logged my food, and counted my steps. I drastically reduced sugar intake, and I cut my caffeine intake. I was off sick for about 10 days (flu), but I did pretty well with exercise the rest of the time. I am up to my full step goal and I am skiing farther. I have been doing yoga and Strength training as well. All in all: a good month! (but not perfect). And I overdid it with the exercise a couple of times; I’m having an easy re... Wed, 1 Feb 2017 13:14:52 EST