Apr 222015
 

With Michael being gone in Seattle for a few days, me being sick and just having a ton of plans lately, it was nice when Sunday finally arrived and we could sleep in (which was amazing after being up so late for Faith No more) and then spend the day tromping through the woods. It was such a nice day, nearly 80 degrees! We packed up the car, grabbed lunch on the way from Potbelly and drove about 45 minutes to LL Stubb Stewart Park.

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It’s towards the beach but still fairly close to Portland. Years ago when we were training for something–maybe Reach the Beach–we drove out to the Banks-Vernonia Trail and did some biking. The trail connects to Stubb Stewart Park but we never actually checked out the park. We arrived about lunch time. For lunch I had the “skinny” turkey breast and swiss sandwich. It was the first time I’ve been to Potbelly and it was pretty good (a nice change from Subway) and what was nice was that they had the calorie count on their menus. My lunch was around 400 calories + 140 for the chips.

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That was our view for lunch. We got a map of the park. There were like 20 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, horse-riding trails and there was also a disc golf course! Plus there was camping options and cabins for rent:

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I REALLY want to go back there this summer and stay there for a weekend. It was such a cool park. There were parts of it that weren’t finished, but it was still a great day exploring. We took the map with us and sort of consulted it but really just wandered. The trails were all connected and you could go a zillion different directions.

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There were some wildflowers blooming but most of it was just greenery.

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I wish I could really detail which trails we explored but I really have no idea. We took so many turns and twists there’s no way I could really remember. At least we didn’t get lost! We parked at the Hilltop Lot (which had really nice bathrooms and picnic areas, covered and not covered) and did a trail near that parking lot. It was pretty easy and mostly downhill and our heart rates never really got over than 100. Then we took this trail:

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The Matchcutter’s Lane was STEEP. Both of us felt REALLY out of shape. And we kind of are. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been hiking. I’ve been taking it easy in the gym due to my latest injury, so I was really feeling the climb! We found ourselves back where we started, at Hilltop Parking. We’d made a giant circle and it was actually perfect timing because we needed to refill our water bottles and Bella was panting a LOT so we decided to take a 15 minute break in the shade for her to cool down and drink a ton of water.

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And have treats. After the break we decided to try and do the other side of the park, across the “street” from where we parked.

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This part of the trail was mostly covered and it was park of the disc golf course and the mountain biking course. There a few bikers out on the trail, and there seemed to be a designated area with lots of cool things for mountain bikers to do (like wooden bridges and ramps and stuff).

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On this hike I got to test out my new boots on lots of different grounds: pavement, gravel, dirt, soft padded forest covered in pine needles, rocks and mud. They worked great! Generally speaking if you get new boots you shouldn’t do TOO many miles when you are first trying them out. Our plan was to do about 4 miles. 3-4 miles is good for a first time outing. But we ended up doing a little bit more than that, more details to come.

This hiking trip was a bunch of firsts for Bella! First, she discovered what a SNAKE was.

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Thank goodness Bella didn’t really SEE it and didn’t seem bothered. :) Second, she discovered what HORSES were. 😀

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We came across some horses on the trail and Bella was more than slightly freaked out. I think *I* was more freaked out. We stepped off the trail and let them pass and I warned the people that Bella might bark at them. I worried that she’d bark and spook the horses but she was good! She seemed terrified and cowered behind Michael and didn’t bark. They passed us on the trail and we continued on.

Supposedly there was a “viewpoint” and even though I was pretty done hiking at this point, I agreed to keep going. I should have said no because it added about 1.5 miles to our trip and that was a little too much for a first time in my new boots. And yeah, the viewpoint wasn’t much. So…

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After the (lack of) viewpoint, we turned around and went back down the trail.

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I was hitting the wall. My feet were starting to hurt–not really pain from the boots (I don’t think) but more fatigue. I was starting to drag but we had like 1 mile left to get back to the parking lot. We hiked through dense forest and then all of a sudden I heard the THUMP THUMP THUMP of horse shoes. I heard the horse before I saw it. It was trotting up the trail behind us.

I shouted “HORSE!” And Michael scrambled off the trail, pulling Bella into the bushes. Thankfully the lady on the horse saw us and slowed down. She apologized for scaring us and she didn’t scare us, just more like…made us urgent. LOL I wanted to get Bella away from the horse in case she freaked out. So we waited on the side of the trail for them to gallop up the trail.

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Bella was super freaked out, but again didn’t bark. So that was good. (On a side note, I love horses and as a kid I used to go to horseback riding camp and LOVED it. I really want to go riding again soon.)

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We got back to the car and I was so grateful to take off my boots and thick wool socks, put on some flip flops and change my sweaty shirt into a tank top. Felt immediately better! We ended up hiking 5.85 miles! About a mile and a half longer than I had planned on doing, but I’m glad we did it!

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I burned a LOT of calories too! 893 calories for 2.5 hours of hiking.

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We started to drive back to Portland and for awhile we were stuck in the “everyone returning to Portland from the beach” traffic (suck) but it wasn’t too bad, honestly. We were both hot, tired, sweaty, sticky and thirsty. So of course we stopped at DQ for a refreshing beverage. I got a Pina Colada Orange Julius smoothie and it was DIVINE!

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Bella zonked out in the backseat of the car for the entire ride back to Portland.

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What a good day!

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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. 😀

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