Bella the Explorer

I woke up Sunday morning sore. It might have been the squat jumps I did at the gym on Saturday…I don’t know. All I know is that I woke up with sore hamstrings, tight lower back, sore-to-the-touch quads and glutes that were on fire. This was Saturday:


The idea of going to yoga on Sunday morning didn’t sound appealing to me. It wasn’t raining and Michael suggested we got for a hike. I agreed, we ate eggs, bacon and an English muffin for breakfast and then set out to go hike the same trail we did last weekend (the trail where Bella got injured).


Bella was SUPER EXCITED about going for a hike. It’s funny–the words she freaks out to are “car”, “treat”, and “hike.” We drove out to the industrial area to pick up the trail we did last time. This time instead of doing Maple Trail (too muddy) we stayed on the main path that turned out to be Saltzman Road.

Saltzman Road is the main, wide, road through the forest. You go uphill about 3/4 mile and that’s where you can pick up Maple Trail (either up or lower trail). We continued around the corner and stayed on the main road. It wasn’t overly crowded but we did see a fair amount of mountain bikers (completely covered head to toe in mud) and trail runners.


Most of the hike we were in a cloud of mist. It was kind of spooky. It was foggy, quiet and a little eerie. But at the same time it was kind of peaceful. As you can see, the path is pretty wide, which is nice, and it was a mixture of gravel, dirt and some pavement. It was nice that it wasn’t just a giant mud pit like the other trails.

How do the ferns grow OUT of the trees? I really want to know how that works. Fascinating. Bella did great on the trail, didn’t bark at strangers she met on the trail. We also passed the “scene of the crime” from last weekend and thankfully she didn’t notice. 😉 We did have one (well two) minor incidents on the trail. It makes me crazy–people with their dogs off leash! Especially in a major park that clearly has signs everywhere that you have to have your dog on leash AND pick up after them (which people don’t do because we see poo bags on trails all the time–why pick it up and then leave the bag??).

Some lady was walking her two dogs off leash and one of them came barreling up the trail when it saw Bella. It was CHARGING. GRRRR. I stepped in front of the dog and told it “NO!” And made sure it didn’t get near Bella. The lady was an idiot. She was like “Oh he’s ok, he’s still a puppy”. Um? What? If it’s a puppy and not trained off leash to stay NEXT TO YOU and not charge other dogs, maybe it needs a leash? Maybe? Common sense?



Then we came across them later when we turned back towards the car. So annoying. Once again the dog charged and raced up to Bella. I, again, stepped in front of the dog and this time yelled/barked “NO” even louder. Like come on. Get your animal under control lady! Bella is okay, other than being scared and cowering behind Michael. 🙁


Anyways. I promise I won’t rant about off leash/bad owners too much more. I think it’s because it’s Forest Park. We never had issues like this on such a consistent basis when we hiked elsewhere. I think Forest Park is just really popular and it attracts more people.

So we turned around and hiked down. The trail was a gradual hike up, nothing too steep or strenuous but kept my heart rate around the 130 mark, and that helped loosen up my legs. But once we started hiking downhill, I felt my body starting to tighten up and by the end of the hike I was SO SORE.


We ended up hiking 5.40 miles in two hours. I burned 576 calories. We stopped at Subway on the way home and split a sandwich (I was famished AND freezing). Then Bella got a bath because she was FILTHY. I also got a bath but mine had epsom salts in it to see if it could help my sore legs.


After we got cleaned up we went over to my friend Star’s house for dinner. We had to cancel our Christmas dinner plans last months because of illnesses and so we rescheduled to do a belated Christmas-early birthday-housewarming dinner. I hadn’t had the chance to see her new places since I helped her move back in October. I was excited to see the place now that they were all settled in!

I made a carrot and chickpea salad to take with us for dinner. Here is the recipe:

There were five of us for dinner and we got about 6 servings out of the salad I made. The salad was tasty and light in flavor. Star made an AMAZING dinner (as usual). She made spaghetti sauce from scratch (she’s a “throw everything in a pot” kind of chef and it’s always delicious). Words cannot describe how good this spaghetti sauce was. It was so creamy and my guess is that was the alfredo sauce she added…yep it had all the calories I think! She also added a bunch of veggies to the sauce–carrots, celery and I think there were some mushrooms in there.

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Spaghetti and meatballs in homemade sauce. With a side salad and the salad I brought. Everything tasted great. I brought a bottle of wine as a housewarming gift but I didn’t have any of it (limiting my liquid calories right now).

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After dinner we had satsuma oranges for dessert and Star opened the Christmas and birthday gifts I brought for her. Then we went in her room and she showed Michael some yoga stretches he could do to help with the things that hurt him (Star teaches yoga).

So Star moved in with two people who both have a dog. Kaya is a gorgeous yellow lab that is very playful. Star has two cats and they are adjusting to their new world with dogs but it’s been a slow process. Boy do I know how that goes! My critters are all finally getting along. We were in the bedroom and Kaya ran into the room to give Michael her ball and then Ra, the big kitty, suddenly appeared from under the bed all growls and hisses and scared the crap out of puppy and us. LOL

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The standoff:

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It was a pretty good night. I was tired from the hike and still really sore but it was SO good to spend some time with my friend. I miss living next door to her. 🙂 But at least at her new place she’s much closer than her old place. In a few weeks she is going to give Michael and I a private yoga lesson. I’m looking forward to that to fix some of my form issues and to show Michael how to do some stretches that will help with his back and IT Band issues.

Good Start to 2015

On New Year’s Day we continued our annual tradition of heading up to Mount Hood to play in the snow! I love this tradition of ours and we’ve been lucky in that it’s usually a gorgeous day. This year was no different. It was cold, but once you get moving it was comfortable. We slept in a bit and got a late start; it takes about an hour or so to drive up there from our place. We stopped at the Zig Zag Subway to get sandwich for lunch and ate it in the car before we got started.

We did Trillium Lake, one of our favorites. Here are some old posts on it:

New Year’s Eve in the Snow

How to Burn 1100 Calories in One Workout

Frog Lake to Trillium Lake

I like Trillium Lake because it’s fairly easy and it’s groomed. So while snowshoeing is a great workout in itself, there’s no need to make it a lot harder!! Sometimes groomed is nice. The place was packed when we got there, as usual. It’s a popular spot for cross-country skiing.


Isn’t that puppy cute! It was so tiny and young and it was loving the snow. This was Bella’s first snowshoeing experience. We didn’t really know what to expect. She loves the snow and she loves hiking, I figured she’d love this, too, and I was right. Check out the video here.


The trail starts out downhill for almost a mile. Which is a bitch on the way back up after you’re exhausted! The day was gorgeous, sunny and the snow was perfect.


I took a lot of pictures and got some good ones this year. I was really happy with these close-up snow pictures. It’s so hard to capture the beautiful crystals of snow and ice.


We got to the bottom of the hill and took a right. It’s the usual route we take and just about half a mile up the road you get to the first (and I think one of the best) views of Mount Hood.



Here is that first view:


It looks so close, like you could reach out and touch it. Beautiful mountain! Bella was so excited about the snow. She was running and hopping and thrashing around in the fluffy powder. It was so adorable to watch. We put her new booties on and I am so glad we did. I didn’t want her paws to get frostbite, or for her paw pads to tear or anything. We should have gotten a commission or advertising fee from Amazon because we got SO many questions and comments from people wanting to know where we got the booties. Everyone wanted a pair for their dogs. We also saw a bunch of dogs with booties similar to Bell’s. One dog had booties that lit up! It was crazy.


We got a passing stranger to take our family pictures. I think that will be our Christmas card next year! And the first selfie of 2015:

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We trekked around the loop, away from the mountain and into the forest. We passed by several little (and big) cabins nestled among the snow and trees. Someday…someday we will rent one of those and pack our stuff in and stay there.


We kept on walking. We were all feeling good. Bella was still pretty high energy and galloping ahead of us on the trail. (We kept her on leash the whole time for safety reasons). We passed by the spot where we have historically turned around and we kept walking. I’m not sure why. We just kept going. We were feeling good, we were having fun, the weather was good. I didn’t remember how long Trillium Lake was to hike the whole thing but I guess I assumed it wasn’t too far.

We got to a fork in the road and realized we’d hiked a lot longer than we were expecting. We took the left fork that we assumed lead back to the Sno-Park (we were correct in that assumption). Trillium is a dog-bone loop — meaning you hike a little ways before you get to the actual LOOP part of the trail. We’ve made that mistake in the past (when we accidentally did like 7 miles at Ramona Falls because we didn’t know what a dog bone loop was!!!).


So we realized we were like half way through and it was pointless to turn around and go back the way we came. Even though it hadn’t been the plan, we decided to keep going forward and complete the loop. For the first 3 miles I think, things were good. My body was feeling good, Bella was good. But then we got to Trillium Lake and I realized we’d bitten off more than we could chew.


The lake looked gorgeous. It was partially frozen over. Mount Hood looked amazing in the distance.


There was a humongous hawk that flew by just as I took the picture. It was a cool scene. Both Michael and I were feeling the fatigue, though. He was able to get reception on his phone and looked up Trillium Lake–which we realized was 4.5 miles roundtrip. Yikes. That was NOT the plan!


We left the lake and I opened a protein bar and we split that as we hiked. Bella was REALLY slowing down at this point. I was starting to feel super guilty that we took on so much on our very first snowshoe trip with her! 🙁 I kept saying we were terrible parents. Michael said we weren’t. And he was right, Bella was fine just tired.


When we left the lake the trail went uphill. UPHILL? Are you kidding me??!! Ugh. My knees were GOOD, my body felt fine, no aches and pains but I was TIRED. I could tell my energy was waning and that my body was fatigued. I was stumbling a bit in the snow. This is a huge sign of “we did too much” for me. I think it’s a lethargy and coordination thing for me. It becomes a struggle.


The hill was going up, up, up. More uphill. And then the trail turns, and it’s more uphill. Then finally it went downhill for a bit. That’s when we got to the original fork in the road, where we’d taken the right turn at the beginning. That gave me a glimmer of hope because I was in the Despair Stage of the hike. I hadn’t eaten enough calories along the hike, we drank water and took a lot of breaks but probably not enough. This is the “we’re never going to make it back!” part of the trip. 😉

Melodramatic, I know. But that exhaustion just sneaks up on you. I think I even told Michael “you and Bella go on without me. Leave me here. Come back and find my body after the snow melts.” Michael told me to get a grip and reached his hand out and we walked hand-in-hand for a bit. Then it was that last mile of uphill climb back to the sno-park!

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I got to the top and happily took off my snowshoes. We’d hiked 4.5 miles in just under 3 hours and I burned 846 calories! Despite that last mile and a half struggle, it was a super fun day, a good start to the new year and a great workout. And Bella had a blast!

At the parking lot I actually ran into two people I know from the Warrior Room! It was crazy to see people I know on Mount Hood. They explained that they had accidentally hiked back to the wrong parking lot and their car was actually about 2 miles up the road! I told them we’d drive them. There was no way I was going to let them hike back, or walk on the road, after they’d just hiked like 6 miles. I know that panic and despair! So they piled into our car with their little dog and we drove them up the road to their car.

After that Michael and I headed home. We stopped in Sandy at Sparky’s Pizza for dinner. We were both exhausted and shaky and needed food asap.

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It was a little hole in the wall with New York style pizza by the slice. I got a slice of Hawaiian pizza and an order of breadsticks. I was so famished. The food tasted amazing! I ate three breadsticks (I intended on only eating 2 but couldn’t stop because they were so good).

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We both felt a million times better after eating. It’s amazing how delicious food is after you’ve exerted so much energy, burned a lot of calories and were overdue for FOOD! FEED ME.

We got home and I immediate fed Bella a giant portion of dog food, which she wolfed down in 2 seconds (like me with the pizza). Bella put herself to bed almost immediately. I took a really hot bath with epsom salts and soaked my tired body. It was fantastic.

I was happy we got to do our snowshoe tradition AND Bella loved it and did well. I was happy that my knees were great and I didn’t have any pains. I was happy the next day when I was sore but not miserably so. I was happy we started 2015 on a positive note!