ALIHIKES's SparkPeople Blog ALIHIKES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 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 2014 Review: Rough Year 2014 was not a good year for me in many ways. I gained weight and did not follow my eating plan. I am massively disappointed in myself, unhappy with my figure, and seeing a noticeable deterioration in my health and energy. <BR> <BR> But the year was not a total loss either. <BR> <BR> Here are my positives for 2014. I maintained my basic Spark program healthy habits more than 95% of the time. I am proud of that! Because sometimes it was challenging to keep up these healthy habits. For ALL ... Mon, 29 Dec 2014 15:26:21 EST Veins/Ankles For some time now my legs have been achy and painful. I saw my family doctor twice; then did physical therapy; then continued with massage. My legs and ankles swell so much by the end of the day that I had to change my socks: first I got rid of all the gold toe socks (tighter thinner socks); then the looser socks; then even the diabetic socks were too tight. Finally I saw a vascular doctor last week who confirmed that the aches, pains, and swelling were all related to varicose veins that have... Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:37:49 EST Job Situation/Retirement I plan to retire on April 1 2015 (I will be 64 then); my employer requested lots of advance notice even though I am required to give only one month notice. But my supervisor was aware that a co-worker who is out on maternity leave wants to move to my area (I am the sole employee in my city) and if she is awarded my position, she will not return to her pre-maternity leave assignment. They want to fill her position immediately; her husband has already been hired for a job near my city. Supervis... Sat, 20 Dec 2014 02:01:03 EST NSV: Project Clean-up! I am wildly, madly, excited that my office clean-up project resulted in MAJOR improvement! Maybe that wouldn’t be a big victory for some of you. But for me, it was HUGE! <BR> <BR> Mostly my home is pretty tidy, clean, and organized. Even if I am not naturally an immaculately tidy person – I feel more peaceful and calm in a less cluttered environment. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:33:22 EST Fun active weekend Very nice weekend! I enjoyed Zumba on Saturday, and the Jingle Bell 5K walk/run afterward. Many of the Jingle Bell participants were in holiday costumes. <BR> I particularly liked the baby Santa, with brother as Rudolph, stroller converted into a sleigh, and dad as an elf. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And in the late afternoon, I joined a music jam with about 20 other people. It was a lot of fun! Some musicians were excellent, but... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 23:45:58 EST The Best Laid Plans ... I planned a nice weekend away to Portland, but it didn’t happen quite as planned. I expected to be in Portland for a business meeting Friday afternoon, so I expected my mileage would be paid by my employer. My friend is house sitting in Portland at her son’s new home, and invited several of us to visit for a girl’s weekend while her husband & son were traveling, so free accommodations -- provided we all camped out in sleeping bags (house is filled with boxes because son just moved). <BR> <BR... Sat, 6 Dec 2014 00:14:05 EST Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I enjoyed a very nice visit to Phoenix with my older brother and his family. It was really nice to be in a warmer climate, and to share time with them. For the past several years, I have seen my brother when we have both been visiting our very elderly mom, who is no longer with us. It was nice to see him in happier circumstances – but both of us still miss mom. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <... Sun, 30 Nov 2014 15:37:20 EST Slow Down for Winter! Last weekend I let a hike to the Badlands area east of town, it was 70 degrees and sunny by mid afternoon. The canyon was beautiful, and we hiked about 6 miles into a deep gorge carved by an ancient river. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> How quickly the weather has changed! It started snowing Wednesday night. Thursday I shoveled snow. On Thursday night, fr... Sat, 15 Nov 2014 15:32:42 EST Magical Cappadocia Cappadocia, a region in central Anatolia in Turkey, was magical! The landscape has towering tufa rock spires and fantastical formations. Many of the tufa formations were hollowed out to become homes. The hollowed spires are still used to keep pigeons and livestock. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 9 Nov 2014 14:46:38 EST Turkey Journey Pt. 2: Archeological Sites <img src="">Turkey has more extensive and more complete Roman ruins than Italy. I really enjoyed visiting the archeological sites! We visited the site of ancient Troy. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The next sites were Pergemum and the Asclepion, which was an ancient health spa. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The ruins at Ephes... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 00:03:43 EST Turkey Journey Pt. 1; October results October results were not too bad. I lost 2 pounds for the month (from the October 1 to November 3) and lost 5 pounds from my highest weight in October. I improved my strength training and flexibility. I exercised regularly; and met my water and vegetable/fruit goals daily. When I gained weight mid month, I was snacking and eating too many sweets. The trip at the end of the month helped me break those bad habits and resulted in net weight loss, even though I was eating LOTS of great food. <B... Fri, 7 Nov 2014 12:57:55 EST Vacation tomorrow. Rocky start! We leave for Turkey tomorrow at 5 a.m. Unfortunately the last leg of our flights, the flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul, has been cancelled due to the Lufthansa pilots strike. The travel agency is working hard to rebook us; I am so glad that Gate 1 Travel called us back from their emergency message line. I have NOT been able to reach Lufthansa, they must be flooded with calls (450 flights cancelled). <BR> <BR> So I am hoping that we can have a restful and relaxing trip. I have been on the ph... Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:56:33 EST Clear Lake Hike, Visit to Sister On Saturday when we (8 hikers) left for our hike it was sunny and clear in town. By the time we arrived at the trailhead, it was raining and 2 hikers forgot to bring rain gear. 4 hikers decided to return to town. The remaining 4 of us had a delightful walk through fall colors around Clear Lake. <BR> <BR> The fall colors were at their prime. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 13 Oct 2014 00:26:47 EST Weekend at the Oregon Coast I spent a lovely sunny weekend at the Oregon Coast with my friend LB. Our room was right on the beach – this was the view from the window. We really enjoyed walking on the beach. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> On Saturday we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. I loved it! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This young otter was orphaned, and was fostered to another mother. Unf... Wed, 1 Oct 2014 22:28:51 EST Rebuilding a Social Network Well it was a quiet weekend at home for me. No hikes or adventures. Which prompted me to think about the importance of social connections. I am looking to retire within a year, and I realize I have let my job get in the way of friendships and relationships. Not to the same extent as some other friends who are NEVER available to do anything! But I am going to make a concentrated effort to rebuild and strengthen my network of friends. <BR> <BR> I made a conscious effort to make friends and bu... Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:34:53 EST Hike, Hike, Bike, BEAR!! I had a fabulous active vacation in Stehekin WA; 8 of us (hiking friends) shared a lakeside cabin. We traveled on Saturday to Chelan Washington, and took the Lady of the Lake boat to Stehekin the next day <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Boat at Lake Chelan <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Friends on the boat <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Jet skiers follow... Sun, 14 Sep 2014 14:30:09 EST Five Lakes Hike! My friends Beth and Bruce visited from Portland this weekend, with their very cute dog Teddy. We had a lot of fun, including a night of playing music with my friend Linda, and lots of walks with Teddy. <BR> <BR> On Sunday, Bruce, Teddy and I hiked to Sisters Mirror Lake (Beth can no longer hike; she needs a hip replacement). It was a lovely sunny day after heavy rain in the mountains the day before. Our hike was approximately 8 miles (13 kilometers) and with moderate elevation gain (approx... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 18:09:09 EST Waterfalls! Today I hiked Tumalo Creek with my friend Linda. It was a beautiful hike with LOTS of smaller waterfalls after the large main waterfall (Tumalo Falls). Today, the weather was cooler (70s F, or approx 22 C) which was nice for a longer uphill hike. Hike was approx 8 miles (13 kilometers) and approx 1200 feet (366 meters) elevation gain. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Tumalo Falls, the first falls, is the tallest and most dramatic. <B... Mon, 25 Aug 2014 00:30:45 EST Making Progress; Great Weekend I am making progress, I lost 3.5 pounds in the past 2 weeks. Of course that is after GAINING 7 pounds, but at least I am on the right track again. An even bigger victory is that my hiking pants fit me again! They were tight. I think the core strength training recommended by the physical therapist is helping reduce my belly. <BR> <BR> In the past 2 weeks, I have kept up my streak pretty well. <BR> At least 5 fruits and veggies every day-- done. <em>550</em> <BR> No snacking – well I lap... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:31:19 EST July Results: Spectacular Fail, Some NSVs My July weigh in results were the WORST ever since I started on SP. I gained 7 pounds in one month. And – uh oh, my pants are feeling too tight. <BR> <BR> <em>15</em> <em>193</em> <BR> Why the fail? Well, overeating, stress eating, and less exercise. Mom’s funeral was earlier this month, and I spent a lot of money traveling to see her during her final decline -- but overeating is not the answer to stress and difficult times. Getting fatter only makes me feel worse. So it is time to ... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 15:27:07 EST Enjoyable weekend (hike, kayak) My friend Charly visited from California for a long weekend visit; she arrived on Thursday and left on Monday. She likes healthy eating and exercise, so it was easy to stay on track during her visit. <BR> <BR> <BR> On Saturday we hiked Wychus Preserve. It was a hot and long canyon hike, more difficult than necessary because we got ¾ of the way around the loop, and then Charly wanted to go back the way we came instead of completing the loop. Her shoes were not adequate for the trail conditi... Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:45:42 EST Funeral, Memorial and Odd Comments Mom’s funeral this weekend was a beautiful ceremony, family only, and her ashes were buried in the little memorial rose garden next to dad’s ashes. We had a big memorial for her in the main lounge at her retirement center. About 150 people attended. The flowers were beautiful, in her favorite colors. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Memorial flowers, poems, and appetizers <BR> <BR> My younger sister did two large collage boards of pictures of mom.... Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:43:36 EST