ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community First Ski of the Season! Woo hoo, I really had fun skiing today! 5 of us drove to Mount Bachelor in Central Oregon, and we skied out to Dutchman Flat (away from the machine groomed trails). It was a lot of fun, and the snow was great. I took my own car because I wanted to not ski for too long a time on my first time out -- it is hard work for me! (Two of the other women in the group have a tendency to keep going and going, like the Energizer bunny). <BR> <BR> Luckily Shari wanted just to ski for 90 minutes also, so... Thu, 1 Dec 2016 18:16:02 EST Excuses, Excuses, Excuses SparkCoach suggested blogging today about common excuses for avoiding exercise, and how to overcome those excuses. This was very timely for me, because yesterday I was exhausted and did my minimum amount of exercise. Here are MY most common excuses for not exercising, and my methods of overcoming those aversions! <BR> <BR> 1. Exhaustion. <BR> <BR> The best way of overcoming that is to avoid becoming exhausted in the first place! i.e., get enough sleep; don't exercise too hard the day befor... Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:28:24 EST Thanksgiving Visit to Phoenix My Thanksgiving visit to Phoenix was delightful. My brother invited me (from Oregon) and my sister (from her temporary job assignment in Louisiana). Geoff and his wife were wonderful hosts. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My nephew's girlfriend (meeting his parents for the first time), me, sister, and sister-in-law. Luckily she (and my brother) loved her son's girlfriend! <BR> <BR> Dinner was very delightful, a... Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:31:28 EST Staying Motivated SparkCoach suggested blogging about how to stay motivated for the long haul. Many of us enter our diet and fitness programs with a rush of enthusiasm, but it takes a lot of time to see results. And sometimes it is HARD to stay motivated. (Right now I am going through a long period where it is hard to lose weight; it will take a while to get my thyroid medication adjusted to the correct level ...) <BR> <BR> So here are my methods of staying motivated: <BR> <BR> 1. Try new activities and ... Tue, 22 Nov 2016 20:54:12 EST Four Hikes this Week! And, a Message to Men... I'm going to start with a personal heartfelt plea to men. (I'm giving this same message personally to the men in my life). Please, please, please, take care of your health. INCLUDING getting prostate exams on schedule, and following up with results. I know it's not comfortable. I know most men don't want to cope with the decisions that treatment may entail. But a good friend of mine is in SERIOUS trouble because he waited way too long ... he apparently had a borderline test that required foll... Sun, 13 Nov 2016 15:21:16 EST Nice Hike, and New Garage Door! I enjoyed a nice hike today with my friend Pat; we hiked a loop that is about 5 miles long and includes some uphill. Pat's final chemo treatment is next week; she is an avid hiker who has kept hiking throughout her breast cancer surgery and chemo. She is an inspiration. <BR> <BR> The larch trees have turned golden and they are dropping their needles. Parts of the trail were carpeted in fine golden needles. Larch trees are called tamarack trees in some areas; they are the only deciduous conif... Wed, 9 Nov 2016 23:58:49 EST Hike to Badlands Rock On Tuesday, H & I hiked to Badlands Rock. The hike was about 6 miles through volcanic terrain (sandy ash, lava and basalt formations). It was a glorious day after the rain. At the start of our hike, little bluebirds flitted from juniper trees to sage brush -- we both tried to photograph them but they were too fast for us. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The juniper berries were thick on the ground. In the past f... Thu, 3 Nov 2016 14:21:00 EST Rain, Hiking, and Stress Reduction Most of you know that I LOVE hiking. It really helps me reduce stress, and to focus on the important things in life -- the beauty around me, and good friends. <BR> <BR> I hiked the Dry River Canyon in the Badlands area (in Central Oregon, where I live) twice this week. First I pre-hiked the trail with two long term friends. Both are suffering from serious health problems (one with Parkinson's, one with hereditary lung disease). Both of them still love to get out into the beauty of nature. Th... Sun, 30 Oct 2016 01:55:23 EST Hiking between Rainstorms I enjoyed hiking today with my friend H; it was my first real hike in 3 weeks (I was suffering from a bad case of poison oak). She had been unable to hike for even longer due to a strained back muscle. We hiked about 4 miles in the historic canal district. The Cascade mountain peaks in the distance were covered with fresh snow. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My face is still slightly swollen, but most signs of ... Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:52:46 EST Bathroom Remodel is DONE! My guest bathroom remodel is finally done! I'm very pleased with the results. I did not completely gut it and redo everything, but I think my lower cost remodel looks great! I used a contractor for most of the work, but as always there was quite a lot for the homeowner to do also. <BR> <BR> Here's what was done: <BR> Removed old cultured marble counters, and replaced with new quartz countertop <BR> Added mosaic backsplash (mix of glass tile and marble) <BR> Cut down mirror and added new bra... Sat, 22 Oct 2016 13:09:00 EST Making Weight Loss/Fitness an Adventure! SparkCoach suggested blogging about how to make weight loss and fitness a fun and exciting adventure, instead of a long slog of deprivation and chores. So I thought about the ways that I personally use to keep fitness fun, and what additional things I can do. <BR> <BR> Food: <BR> Buy fresh good quality food (I do this all the time). <BR> <em>550</em> <em>551</em> <BR> Experiment! Try new food items, and try new recipes. (I do try new food items and new recipes. Not all are successful... Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:44:52 EST Outside my Window Guess who was visiting the Celtic cross outside my bedroom sliding door? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 10 Oct 2016 15:23:58 EST Staying Healthy While Feeling Miserable :) My poor face. I came home from my coastal trip with poison oak (the negative side of outdoor adventures!) I know I am very allergic, but I am usually able to avoid contact because I recognize the leaves. But by this time the leaves had all fallen, and apparently I brushed up against a stick. By the time I got home, I was already having a systemic reaction where the rash is EVERYWHERE. <BR> <BR> My face is swollen, lopsided, itching and sore. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople... Sat, 8 Oct 2016 15:44:25 EST Redwoods and Coastline My friend Becky (from my book club) invited me and 3 of her other friends to spend several days at her family's cabin near Crescent City, California. The cabin was located on the Smith River; here is the lovely river view from the cabin porch. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And here are my friends at Crescent Beach. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 6 Oct 2016 01:30:26 EST Kodachrome and Red Canyon Parks 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=""> <BR... Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:28:07 EST Bryce Canyon National Park 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!) 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! 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? 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=""> <BR> <BR> South SIster reflected in Little Lava Lake <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Sat, 10 Sep 2016 23:41:20 EST My Easy Go-To Meals 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 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 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=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 31 Aug 2016 22:01:25 EST Pretty Zucchini Tart! 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=""> <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! 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! 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! 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=""> <BR> <BR> At the summit, we looked across at t... Tue, 9 Aug 2016 01:14:50 EST Crater Lake 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=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Despite the smoke, the lake remains a beautiful... Sat, 30 Jul 2016 19:51:35 EST Cancelling Africa Trip 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 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