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/ Kodachrome and Red Canyon Parks http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6241617 In addition to the big national parks in Utah, my sisters and I visited Red Canyon and Kodachrome parks. These were much smaller, but also much less crowded. <BR> <BR> Red Canyon is on the route between Zion and Bryce National Parks. It is the Dixie National Forest, only about 13 miles from Bryce Canyon. We enjoyed walking a short loop among the rock formations. <BR> <BR> Mindy and me <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/68faeb82-37b9-4b1f-813b-5b57be8334ff.jpg"> <BR... Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:28:07 EST Bryce Canyon National Park http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6240787 After our wonderful hiking vacation in Zion National Park, my sisters and I drove to Bryce Canyon National Park. Our hotel was pretty far out of town and old, but we were not there to luxuriate in a hotel! We took the free shuttle bus into the park. <BR> <BR> I liked taking the shuttle bus; parking was in short supply due to road closures and repaving. And the bus drivers pointed out landmarks and wildlife. We were very lucky to see a pronghorn antelope bounding through the woods, and to se... Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:22:25 EST Observation Point: Great hike (but challenging!) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6239698 The highlight of our hiking adventure in Utah was going up Observation Point in Zion National Park. I first did this hike 20 years ago; I've gotten slower and it is more challenging for me now, but I LOVE this hike. My sisters had never hiked it, and they both agreed it was an amazing hike. The trail is about 8 miles (12 KM) long, and it gains over 2,100 feet (640 meters) in elevation. <BR> <BR> The trail starts at the Weeping Rock stop on the tram. Weeping Rock is an arched area in the cli... Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:42:42 EST Zion National Park: Vacation! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6239105 Last week, I flew to meet my sisters for a great hiking vacation in Utah. My sisters are delightful and charming women, and I enjoy spending time with them. We flew to Las Vegas from our various homes (Pam -- Oakland CA; Mindy -- Louisiana; and me -- Bend Oregon) and rented a car.Our first destination was Zion National Park, about 3 hours drive from Las Vegas. We checked into our hotel in Springdale near the park, and took the free city shuttle bus to the park. Within the park, access was als... Tue, 20 Sep 2016 13:12:15 EST New trail. How long was it? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6233670 Today I hiked with my friends Jeanni and Pat on a new trail for us, the Metolius Windigo trail. We started at Little Lava Lake. The hike along the lake was lovely! <BR> <BR> Jeanni is admiring Mt Bachelor across Little Lava Lake <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/bbd959f9-f361-4aeb-b4ca-8248503589cb.JPG"> <BR> <BR> South SIster reflected in Little Lava Lake <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/c1403414-a029-47a6-9b72-8a4c14c1decf.jpg"> <BR> ... Sat, 10 Sep 2016 23:41:20 EST My Easy Go-To Meals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6229060 I started SparkCoach as a part of the premium package, so far I am enjoying it! It is providing additional motivation and suggestions. <BR> <BR> About a week ago, SparkCoach suggested making a list of easy home-cooked meals that could be a reliable set of meals to go to. The suggestion might be more useful for Sparkers who rely on fast food restaurants and don't cook at home often (I cook at home a lot!) <BR> <BR> But I also thought it would be good for me to complete a list of my own. I ... Fri, 2 Sep 2016 15:03:46 EST August Report: Long Plateau; Progress over the Years http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6228411 Well here is my end of the month report. I told maritimer3 I would join her in losing 4 pounds in August. I did not meet my goal. I gained a few ounces. I looked at my reports on my Spark weight tracker, and I have been on a plateau, fluctuating within 3 pounds of the same weight, for 5 months (ummm... this is not a plateau at a weight that I want to remain at!) It is time to turn this around!!! <BR> <BR> I think it is best for me to make two or three small changes and commit to doing those ... Thu, 1 Sep 2016 12:37:41 EST Waldo Lake Campout! and Mathieu Lakes http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6228016 I really enjoyed camping at Waldo Lake (in Central Oregon) over the weekend. It was a large camping group, but the group campground was spacious enough that we did not feel cramped. Waldo Lake was beautiful, calm and clear. The water is so pristine that canoers and kayakers can see down through 100 feet of water. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/35adfbae-28cb-41a2-b490-68e1423587b1.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/5001c974-2d71-40f1-... Wed, 31 Aug 2016 22:01:25 EST Pretty Zucchini Tart! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6224466 Do you have oceans of zucchini? I made a zucchini tart for dinner, I think it turned out very pretty. Plus, it used up a lot of items that I had to get rid of -- zucchini, and my basil plants were bolting so it was time to make pesto. Here's my finished tart! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/fa21939e-b106-459b-b67a-2c3ae62f1e88.JPG"> <BR> <BR> I made this for my nephew who is extremely thin, so I made more or less the original recipe printed in our newspaper (not a... Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:24:57 EST Best (and most challenging) Hike! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6223923 Yesterday I successfully hiked up Broken Top trail to the lake inside the crater, and to the crater rim. It was a great hike, very beautiful -- also very challenging. For me the challenge was the elevation gain (about 1450 feet/430 meters), and the hike is also at fairly high elevation (we went to 9,200 feet/2800 meters). It has been over 8 years since I last hiked this trail and I am thrilled that I made it! <BR> <BR> The drive to the trailhead has a 6 mile section that is very challenging;... Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:42:54 EST Challenging Hike! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6215632 Yesterday was cooler and a bit cloudy. A great day to go on a hike! -- I'm not very fond of hiking in the heat. My friend H and I hiked up Tam MacArthur rim, a beautiful but challenging hike in Oregon's Cascade Mountains. <BR> <BR> We started out on the trail above Three Creeks Lake (outside of Sisters Oregon). Our destination is the highest point of the volcanic rim above the lake (about 1200 feet elevation gain and about 5 miles round trip) <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeop... Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:44:39 EST Tumalo Mountain and Paulina Lake, and nice dinner party! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6214665 I enjoyed two great hikes in the past week -- both were challenging, but in different ways. Tumalo Mountain was short (about 4 miles round trip) but very steep, and offered great views at the top. Tumalo Mountain is almost directly across from our local ski mountain, Mt Bachelor. <BR> <BR> On the way up the trail offered views of Mt Bachelor. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/fad51770-99be-4678-85c5-32d512ce794c.JPG"> <BR> <BR> At the summit, we looked across at t... Tue, 9 Aug 2016 01:14:50 EST Crater Lake http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6209421 Yesterday I traveled to Crater Lake with friends. It was very hot at home (over 100 degrees yesterday); Crater Lake is at a much higher elevation and it was somewhat cooler. Elevation is over 7,000 feet along the rim of the crater. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/c5b0e475-7ba8-43a5-8ba7-24a90e2a227c.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/099ce45b-fa70-4e8c-89fd-88a9b8372b8d.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Despite the smoke, the lake remains a beautiful... Sat, 30 Jul 2016 19:51:35 EST Cancelling Africa Trip http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6208483 The poet Robert Burns wrote: The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. And my trip to Africa is one plan that is now cancelled. <BR> <BR> We were scheduled to leave in 2 weeks, on August 11. Then my traveling companion got very bad news. She has breast cancer. She will have a double mastectomy 2 days before our tour departs. She has the BRCA gene which puts her at very high risk. She will probably need radiation and chemotherapy after she recovers from the surgery. <BR> <BR> We pre-... Fri, 29 Jul 2016 00:32:51 EST Nice Visit to California http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6207265 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/1f3a91b8-230b-4de4-b677-906abfd10553.jpeg"> <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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6200469 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6196226 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6194852 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/57fc80cd-28ca-4ad4-95d5-dc38b5a3a4ef.JPG"> <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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6191317 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/2d547743-e337-4575-ae22-c85619f71c80.JPG"> <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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/4612c287-9822-4485... Tue, 28 Jun 2016 18:06:35 EST Fun Visit with Brother & SIL http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6186480 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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6185715 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/36286940-1ff6-4ca8-9397-f1110e483cb6.JPG"> <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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6182182 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/8573221e-0ec8-4b35-bb67-2881dd204939.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Dwarf monkeyflower <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/ef495637-441c-4949-971c-f1e823a32dbb.JPG"> <BR... Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:15:17 EST Wildflowers on Lookout Mountain http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6181684 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/6b105493-13d6-46f9-938f-cb37017f2d21.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.spar... Sun, 12 Jun 2016 22:15:15 EST Beautiful Owyhee Canyonlands http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6178599 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/6126e965-4faf-4459... Tue, 7 Jun 2016 21:27:51 EST Steens Mountain Archaeological Adventure! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6177828 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6172103 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/1524d31... Sat, 28 May 2016 20:46:21 EST Ochoco Mountain Wildflower Hike http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6165051 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/d939bec6-99e4-44a1-8ba5-80fe8babea74.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/d6c35be7-7c42-474b-9337-c9e9564fb919.JPG"> <BR> <BR> Higher up, the larger arrowl... Tue, 17 May 2016 18:46:37 EST Hiking Rivers and Mountains (well, hill anyway!) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6161888 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/744448a2-8756-4f0b-b062-e211f0f7a4bc.JPG"> <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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6158892 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/10332225-4ac7-4da7-88ae-be6e78b05e22.JPG"> Sun, 8 May 2016 17:49:57 EST Otter Bench Hike: Canyon views and wildflowers http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6151446 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/cced811c-cd53-46e3-a658-255b3035c6a5... Wed, 27 Apr 2016 12:23:30 EST Tumalo Creek Hike: Cliff walls, boulders and stream http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6141699 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6138097 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6134902 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/313b447c-9898-4fa6-b46c-57da0090fe22.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/d678941f-adae-4eb0-b1da-e4d81fa39373.JPG"> <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 4 Apr 2016 16:42:43 EST Osprey, Manzanita, and Red Rocks along the River http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6131909 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/a552dd62-63dc-4963-ad36-a0a60a9b9dd5.JPG"> <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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6128889 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/6eb4d61a-0300-4412-b502-f1d7c7f7db14.JPG... Sun, 27 Mar 2016 20:51:24 EST Very Nice Birthday. Now -- Stop the Sweets! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6126867 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/29af4453-f932-46e0-8a3f-ccced2e81b9c.JPG"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http:... Thu, 24 Mar 2016 17:45:01 EST Two Challenging Hikes http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6123929 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6115242 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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6106847 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6096024 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="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/7c8015b2-0226-405b-8918-22a9716d56ea.jpg"> <BR> <BR> among the cliff walls <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/43ec8830-b47f-40a2-84eb-5caec8b690db.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/a0aac412-5c71-4c3b-af16-8cfb5370d4b... Sun, 14 Feb 2016 21:57:45 EST Hiking on a Clear February Day! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6090375 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6079012 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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6071141 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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6060218 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) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6056289 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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6048551 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! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6048051 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6047133 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6040740 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 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6037273 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