Mar 092015
 

Saturday

I really wanted to sleep in on Saturday…I rarely ever get to and this day was no different. My cat decided at 8am it was time to jump on me, walk on my head, prance around on my bladder and do circles around my body. Plus the sun was out and I could hear the birds chirping outside the window. It was supposed to be a nice day out! I went to the gym and did some weight lifting, followed up with a few miles on the elliptical. I know I should be taking advantage of the nice weather and be doing my workouts outside but…I wanted to lift weights.

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After the gym I got cleaned up and then Michael and I drove to Beaverton for lunch. It feels like it’s on the other side of the world from us. It kind of is. But we were going to visit a place that installs countertops and we wanted to see larger samples of them so we had to go to their store to do that. Michael decided to make an outing of it and took my to lunch at Gloria’s Secret Cafe.

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It’s a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant (El Salvadorian, actually) that has maybe four tables in it. It’s seriously tiny. But oh my god was it GOOD. What a FIND! Gloria herself came out and greeted everyone at each table and asked how the food was. The food was spectacular. Michael got the carnitas taco special. I got the steak taco. Both came with saffron rice and beans. My taco was marinated meat in a sweet sauce topped with cabbage, radishes, spinach, cucumber and zucchini. The fresh veggies were an excellent texture and flavor with the steak. I cannot express just how delicious the food was! If you’re ever in Beaverton, Oregon, you must go to Gloria’s! The servings were perfect lunch size, not too big but just filling enough.

Obligatory Bella-loving-the-sunshine-being-a-spazz photo:

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It was seriously so nice out! We took Bella for a super long walk when we got back from our errands and lunch. Michael wanted me to pick up something that we could grill because it was so nice out so I went grocery shopping and got some veggies and a pork tenderloin that was pre-seasoned.

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While Michael grilled up the pork tenderloin (it was REALLY good, just slightly salty) I sauteed Brussels sprouts with a few pieces of bacon and we settled in to watch a few episodes of House Of Cards. Man, this season is crazy!

Sunday

Sunday Michael, Bella and I piled into the car and drove to Mount Hood to go for a hike. Nope, no snowshoeing–hiking! In March! It was 70 degrees with clear skies, shorts and t-shirt weather. I remarked that I don’t think we’ve EVER gone hiking in March before. A little bit in January and maybe February but but March the rain starts and doesn’t stop til May/June. This year we are lucky. OR, we are getting our summer now instead of in July…I can’t complain, though. Either can Bella–she’s loving how active our winter is so far!

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We did Salmon Butte, one we’ve hiked once before last summer. It was a hot day last year and I remember we didn’t do as far as we’d hoped because it was so hot and I felt like Bella was getting overheated (she was panting a lot). This time she was a trooper.

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I was panting and huffing it up the trail, feeling like I was really slow and out of shape. Then Michael said he was hiking at a faster pace than normal. Oh, that explains it. Normally a hike doesn’t make me that winded! Apparently he was speed walking! ;P

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There were a few parts of the trail that were washed out and difficult to cross but we made it. And Bella tromped through the creek like it was nothing. Us humans tried to balance on sticks and rocks in the creek.

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We made a stop in the sunshine to eat our Subway sandwiches for lunch and then continued the strenuous hike uphill.

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We got a little ways past the spot we turned around the last time we did this hike and then the path was blocked by a large tree that had fallen. If we didn’t have Bella we might have been able to maneuver around the fallen tree but it seemed like a dangerous thing for her to try and crawl underneath with the broken stabby branches so we figured it was a good time to turn around.

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There were some pretty purple wildflowers blooming (with lots of plump bees buzzing around pollinating) and there was also this odd looking plant that was kind of like a broccoli stalk:

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Anyone know what that white flower is? I’m really curious and would like to know. We hiked back down the trail and past by small waterfalls and creeks. The temperature was warming up nicely and the sun felt so good. The breeze was WARM, which was a nice change from icy. I just could not get enough of the forest and river and sunshine. Loving it!

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We ended up doing exactly 4.5 miles. It took was just over 2 hours, with a lunch break. It was a decent hike, a lot more body-friendly for me than last weekend’s hike that had me very sore and very tired (we did too much that day). I didn’t feel too tired or like I hit the wall with this hike. And bonus points, it’s only 45 minutes from the house. That’s perfect! That’s a good driving distance for a great hike in my book. Hood River/The Gorge area hikes are around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on which one you do, and they are always really popular and crowded. Instead, we got to go up to the mountain and enjoy the fresh air on an almost empty trail.

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We got home with time enough to clean up, give Bella a bath and dinner and then we drove to Beaverton to have dinner at Michael’s mom’s house. She made orange chicken, rice, steamed broccoli and salad. Everything  was delicious! And I definitely ate a little more than I’d planned. Hadn’t realized just how hungry I was until we started eating. Hiking sure takes a lot out of you. Here is dinner:

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I should also mention that when we went to Michael’s mom’s house for dinner we left Bella OUT OF HER CRATE. We’ve been slowly leaving her home alone, uncrated now for a few months. The most time we’ve left her out is about an hour. She’s done really well and didn’t destroy the house (or my shoes) like she did last year. We decided to leave her out Sunday evening while we went to dinner as a test–and because we both figured the hike would have tired her out enough that she wouldn’t get into mischief.

I have to admit, as the evening went on and then we decided to drive home I was definitely getting anxious! I had all sorts of horrible and funny thoughts of the destruction and anarchy that we were possibly going home to. Michael drove into the garage and I leapt out of the car before it was even in Park. I went into the kitchen and Bella AND Fat Kitty were both sitting there waiting for me! Bella was super excited, jumped and licked me and then flopped onto her back for belly rubs. Since Fat Kitty was okay I figured the house was probably ok too but I did a quick peek and yep! Bella was a ROCKSTAR. No destruction. Everything was exactly as we’d left it. Nothing was eaten, chewed, puked on or peed on. I think she just spent the three and a half hours we were gone sleeping on the couch….!

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I am SO PROUD of my girl. :D

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Mar 022015
 

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (aka 8:30am) and made a breakfast of scrambled eggs with spicy pork sausage and fried polenta with a lot of spicy sauce. It was really good and only around 400 calories. Plus coffee. It was a nice day out and we planned on going for a hike. I’m slightly disturbed by the abnormally nice weather here in Portland. Usually the rain starts in February and goes through June. I really hope this doesn’t mean we won’t get a summer….Anyways, here was breakfast:

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Bella gets SUPER EXCITED when she realizes we are going for a hike. We start getting the gear together and she starts spazzing out, whimpering, jumping, whining, running between the rooms where Michael and I are in. Total spaz. We made a stop at Subway to get lunch to go and then hit the road for a day hike in the Gorge! It was a gorgeous, warm-ish day (55 degrees) but a little on the windy side. We drove about 45 minutes east towards the Bridge of the Gods and decided to hike Dry Creek Falls. We’ve done it a few times but this time was the longest distance we did on this hike.

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I like this trail a lot because it’s rarely ever crowded. It’s a good workout without being too brutally hard you’re miserable and it’s through old growth forest that shields the bitter cold winds of the Gorge. The parking lot right by the Bridge of the Gods is a pay lot, but if you drive one block away and drive through the neighborhood there’s parking under the bridge for free right by the trailhead. FYI.

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We walked on the soft ground padded with pine needles and moss and the trail snaked through the thick trees that made the forest seem dark. There were breaks in the trees where we got to enjoy some of the sunshine. It was warm enough that a jacket wasn’t needed. I had a moisture-wicking t-shirt and a sweater on and that was good.  We came across a few different groups of hikers and everyone was really nice, plus all the people with dogs off leash put them on a leash when they saw us! What a nice change. Also, Bella did SUPER great on the hike. No barking at strangers or dogs, she just seemed a little excited and curious.

We got to a fork in the trail where the falls are and a bridge. This is as far as we’d ever gone on this hike. We skipped the Falls this time because I remember it being kind of small and anticlimactic. Instead, we decided to cross the bridge and go further up the trail.

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Bella tends to be afraid of bridges. She panics and refuses to cross the bridge. I went first and we walked single-line across the short and narrow bridge. She was a little freaked out but made it across ok! It’s so funny what she’s afraid of. Bridges. Vaccuums. The mop…Silly pup.

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We got across the bridge and stopped for lunch. We shared a Subway sandwich and drank some water in the sunshine and hung out next to the creek and bridge. It was a nice view for lunch. We’d hiked about 45 minutes so far at this point.

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After lunch we continued up the trail. It was quiet and dim, no one else on this part of the trail. We hiked through the forest and the trail was pretty level at this point. The first part of the trail is strenuous and gets your heart pounding but this part was pretty easy. Bella stopped to sniff every single fern in the forest and we passed by acres of moss covered trees and mushrooms and furry forest creatures, which thankfully Bella wasn’t too interested in.

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We hiked for awhile and then came to a clearing and a boulder field. The trail was beginning to get a bit rocky here and I stumbled a lot. I think I was starting to get tired and even though we’d eaten lunch mid-hike, I don’t think I fueled properly for the amount of hiking we did. I was starting to feel like I was close to hitting the wall. My body felt okay at this point but I was tired.

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There was a bit of a view of the river, Washington state, trees and sunshine from the top of the boulder field.

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We stopped along the narrow trail to let some other people pass by on the trail before we continued on. Bella was doing ok but I was a little worried about her footing on the boulder field. The trail was ok but the rocks were pretty big. *I* was struggling with it!

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The boulder field was still cool.  We kept hiking up the trail and it was going deeper into the forest. Michael joked that we were almost to Canada. It was part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes from Canada to Mexico, so in theory we COULD have kept going…But I was definitely getting tired and was ready to turn around.

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It was such a pretty day and a nice hike but it was definitely time to turn around. In fact, we probably should have turned around about a mile before here. I was feeling lethargic and while my body felt ok (knees, etc), I was stumbling on the rocks on the trail. It was difficult in places to get the right footing and when I start stumbling I know I’m getting tired. I had some water and we continued on.

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While there aren’t that many viewpoints, it really is a pretty hike. We trekked down the trail and then got to the bridge. Bella crossed it like a champ, no fear this time, and we continued down the trail. Thankfully it was mostly downhill.

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We FINALLY got back to the car.  The last 3/4 miles were hard for me. My knees were starting to feel sore and I was really, really tired. Bella was doing okay, though, so that was good.

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We got back to the car and Michael checked our mileage. We did 6.16 miles! That was the longest hike we’ve done in a long time! It was roughly 1 mile longer than I would have wanted, but despite the fatigue, I enjoyed the day. Here are my calories:

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767 Calories burned! Bella fell asleep in the car immediately. I would have fallen asleep had Michael not poked me periodically to keep me awake. :P We got home, I gave Bella a bath, I also took a bath with epsom salts to try and relax my cranky knees and shins, and then Michael got started on dinner. Dinner was BBQ ribs and Brussels Sprouts. YUM! It might have been the best ribs Michael has done to date and I LOVE Brussels sprouts, so it was pretty much the perfect meal after a strenuous hike.

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The hike was good. It was a really nice day and the weather was near perfect. Would have been even more perfect had it been shorts and t-shirt weather. I iced my grumpy knees Saturday night and relaxed with some episodes of Gilmore Girls. All in all it was a good day!

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