January 1, 2014

New Year’s Eve was pretty lazy in our house this year. Instead of going out, or even cooking a nice dinner like we have in the past, we were 100% lazy. Like making nachos and guacamole for dinner and spending the evening cuddling on the couch finishing the most recent season of Boardwalk Empire. I had one glass of wine and we were asleep by 10:30. OH WELL! I woke up New Year’s Day rested and hangover-free.

Michael made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. It was the first time he’s made them at home after trying them in a restaurant last year. I wasn’t a huge fan of the buckwheat pancakes at the restaurant but that was in the early stages of trying to be gluten-free and just wasn’t a fan of any of the substitutions.

The pancake mix was not appetizing looking. Like with the gluten free cookies I made a few weeks past, they were black in color. The pancake batter kind of resembled crushed Oreos–or sludge. And once again, we realized that with gluten-free cooking, a MIX is much better than relying on one kind of GF flour.

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Despite that, the pancakes were okay. They tasted alright. The consistency was pretty good–not as light and fluffy as regular pancakes, but decent. Michael made 6 pancakes (2 very large ones when the batter got away from him while pouring) but the recipe makes 8 smaller pancakes. If you make 8, it’s around 80 calories, 6 is closer to 100 calories each pancake.

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After breakfast we drove out to the Gorge for a hike. It was 47-ish degrees, not raining but slightly foggy, and a good day for a hike. I chose Latourell Falls after reading “Creaky Knees Guide to Oregon Hiking“. It was rated as “moderate” in level but easy on the knees. It was also close to home. We packed up Bella’s hiking stuff, including her new booties! I got them mainly for snowshoeing but there hasn’t been much snow on Mt. Hood so that was out. Bella’s paws are pretty much healed but until they are 100% I didn’t want her to get re-injured so we gave her new booties a try. They are THE funniest things I’ve ever seen. When I first put them on her, she started flapping her front paws like she was trying to fly.

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When we got out of the car she sort of hopped and flopped around high-stepping until she got used to them. It was hilarious! Poor puppy! LOL She was really good while I put them on, though, and the booties stayed on the whole hike. Her paws were also perfectly fine when we were done–even better!

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Latourell Falls is a 2.4 mile loop, but we ended up backtracking a little bit in the middle so probably hiked 2.5 miles total. The big waterfall is right at the old highway where the parking area is for the park. It’s cool that you can see it right when you get there. There is a steep hike around the bend and then you are on the trail hiking along side the basin of the falls.

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There is the main waterfall, then the Upper Latourell Falls is hidden in the canyon and forest about half0-way through the whole loop. The first part of the hike is a little steep and gets your heart rate up. The switchbacks go up and around the main waterfall and then all of a sudden you are at the top of it, walking over the top through the forest.

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Bella was doing pretty good on the hike. She met a LOT of people and didn’t bark at most of them. She even met a few dogs on the hike that she didn’t bark at. Progress! Everyone thought her booties were funny and/or cute looking.

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The above picture was the Upper Falls. It was pretty cool looking in person. There were several wooden bridges along the trail crossing the creek. There was also a trail that lead underneath the waterfall but I didn’t want to get my camera wet so we skipped it.

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After passing the Upper Falls, the trail looped around the other side of the canyon and started heading up. Again, the heart rate increased. This is where we backtracked a little bit–took an off-shoot of the trail that just lead down to a viewpoint and not much else. We double-backed and got back to the main trail. It went to the top of the hill and then looped back into the forest. At first we thought we might have taken a wrong turn because it was going the opposite direction of the parking lot (which we could see below) but it ended up being the right way. The trail went downhill through the forest.

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We got back to the road and the main parking lot for the park. The whole time we were hiking, I kept thinking “How have we not done this hike before?” It’s right near a lot of the other free hikes in the Gorge–not far from Angel’s Rest and Multnomah Falls and yet I’d never even driven that far up the old highway to see that this hike existed! I’m glad we did it.

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Good start to 2014! On the way home we stopped at Edgefield for a late lunch/early dinner. It was around 3pm; kind of a weird time to eat but the pub was packed!

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Edgefield is a super cool place. Part hotel, part concert venue, there’s a winery and distillery and a golf course. There are also gardens and some cute restaurants, bars and pubs in the old buildings.

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We shared a half order of the cajun tots–which were AMAZING. Salty, slightly spicy and perfectly crunchy. Seriously so good! I got a pint of their Double IPA, which was pretty decent. Even though we’d just gone on a hike and I only ate 2 pancakes for breakfast, I wasn’t famished like I thought I would be. I ate a bunch of tots, had some beer, and felt pretty full. But I still “dinner” coming my way.

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I ordered the Thai-peanut curry bowl with tofu, rice and veggies. It was okay, a little on the bland side. I’ve had better dishes similar to that at Laughing Planet. I ate about 1/3 of it and took the rest to-go. Michael got the Santa Fe Bowl (basically Mexican with chicken) and ate all of it. He loved his.

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We got home and the day started to catch up to me. We lounged around watching “Gravity” and relaxing before heading back to work the next day. How was your New Year’s Day?

Hello January 2013

Long ago, I used to make monthly goals and post them here. I was usually pretty successful in my goals and accomplished (most of) what I set out to do each month. I think the biggest component of that success was choosing goals that were realistic and attainable. If I made a goal of “lose 5 pounds this month” I would not achieve that because I don’t really have 5 pounds to lose. My body seems to like where it is at and I rarely see a loss on the scale anymore. Yay for maintaining!

Despite that success, I stopped doing monthly goals in 2012. Part of the reason was that I chose to do the 32 Things List. While that was (mostly) fun, it was also a lot of pressure to have a huge list of things to accomplish in a year. I realized I preferred the monthly goals better, so I’m bringing it back for 2013!

 January Goals

1. Limit alcohol intake to 1-2 nights a week only.

2. Go snowshoeing (if knees allow).

3. Focus on positive emotional health: thinking positive, ignoring negativity, and work on being HAPPY!

I chose these specific goals because two of them are timely. I would really love to be able to snowshoe a lot in January and February and I hope my knees allow that. The physical therapy I was doing for months seemed to improve my situation; unfortunately it didn’t cure it completely. Time will tell. I may be limited in the miles I can run for a long time.

The alcohol goal is just a continuation of the goal I made to myself after Thanksgiving. Limiting the liquid calories is a pretty easy thing for me to do and I think it will help the weight loss goal as well!

Another January tradition I’m bring back is the “work out at home” a few times a week. The gym is always flooded with new people January 1st. I’m happy people are trying to get healthy and lose weight, but I’m less happy about the small percentage of those people who ignore common sense and etiquette. Those people make the gym experience miserable. So I just start doing some home workouts to save my sanity.

First Workout of 2013!

My first workout of 2013 was on Mount Hood! Michael and I headed up to the mountain on New Year’s Day to go snowshoeing for the first time of the season. I was nervous how my knees would hold up. I was anxious that we’d drive 90 minutes up to the mountain and two steps in I’d be riddled with pain and we’d have to turn around. Thankfully, that was not the case.

It was a GORGEOUS day on Mt. Hood! The sun was out, the weather was nice and crisp, the snow was fresh. It was picture perfect up there.

We went to White River to go snowshoeing. It was a new-to-us place and on the other side of the mountain from where we usually go. I didn’t want to do Trillium Lake because that’s where we usually go and I was honestly worried about the big hill at the end of the trail. I didn’t think my knees would like that much. What I read about White River was that it was a popular place for sledding, but if you kept going it wasn’t that crowded. That was most definitely true.

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The entire trail was facing the beauty of the mountain and it was the perfect backdrop for a picture. Someone needs to paint this. 🙂

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Because of the perfect weather and holiday, the place was packed with families enjoying their holiday and sledding with the kids. It was super cute to watch. Parking was packed but we had no issue finding a spot in the huge lot. The only complaint: the line for the bathrooms was a mile long. Other than that, it was a great place even on a crowded day.

We got our shoes on and with a few stops to make adjustments, we were on our way. It was freakin’ cold up there–I think about 21 degrees (which is nothing compared to the 11 degree day a few years ago). I mistakenly put on way too many layers and about 5 minutes in I had to take off the gloves and jacket. When will I learn? I ALWAYS get too hot.

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The snow was magnificent, soft and fresh and shimmering like diamonds. I am so glad my camera was able to capture even a fraction of how glittery it was.

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The trail had a lower part and then up on the ridge in the tree line for whichever you picked. We went the low route. Again, I was being safe with my knees. I’d wrapped them up like crazy beforehand and that helped a lot. We trudged along and passed other snowshoers and some cross-country skiiers. Lots of them had adorable dogs who were loving the snow. It was cute to see them frolicking.

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Michael ran up and down the side of a hill, I was a party-pooper and stayed on the trail for the most part. I was much more concerned with having a successful snowshoe hike with zero pain and I didn’t want to tempt the gods.

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The trail goes along side the river, which was mostly hidden but had some sections where you could see the fairly fast-moving water. Because the entire valley was covered in a thick, mostly undisturbed snow mound, it was hard to tell where the river actually flowed. We stayed on the trail as much as possible since neither of us new the area very well.

 

We trekked along the trail at the base and then turned a corner and went up on the small ridge. The tree-line was nice and there was a bunch of different trails we could have taken. I felt like I was so close to the mountain I could reach out and touch it.

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The decision was made that it was probably time to turn around. The sun was starting to dip behind the trees and neither of us wanted to be on the mountain in the dark.

The hike back to the parking lot was easier and slightly downhill. About half a mile from the trailhead my hip started to hurt but thankfully neither of my knees gave me any trouble on the trip. I was really, really happy about that!

Who is that creep in the background?!?! He looks like a total psycho lurking in the woods. 😉

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We made it back to the car in no time at all, spent a good 15 minutes getting out of our snow gear, eating pickles and homemade Chex mix as a snack and then we said goodbye to a lovely day to drive home. I don’t know how many miles we did–I’m guess around 2 or 2.5?

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Unfortunately, it seemed that everyone else on the mountain had decided to leave at the same time, too, and the one lane road down the mountain was a parking lot. We’ve been stuck in that before and it’s not fun. Michael decided to turn around and go down the other side of the mountain. The drive down from Government Camp is a scary one in the dark and neither of us wanted to sit in traffic for hours. Driving the other way was 39 miles out of the way, but neither of us had ever gone that way before so it was a nice change. The traffic was slow because the roads weren’t as clear, but at least it was moving.

The above picture was an accident we drove by. It was really scary. The car was upside down. I’m hoping that since we didn’t see ambulance or police or lots of remnants on the accident that everyone involved was okay! I really really hope so because it was scary to see. PSA: drive safely in snow and ice!!

Taking 35 dumped us out in Hood River and we decided to stop at Double Mountain Brewery for dinner. I got the Hop Lava IPA (it was dang tasty) and we ordered the pizza with capicola and Mama Lil’s hot peppers. The pizza was really good. It was a bit chewier than I’m used to but the crust was thin and smokey just like Apizza Scholl’s.

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I ate two slices and we hung out for a little while to relax before driving back to Portland. Double Mountain was packed to the rafters with people, 90% of them also wearing snow gear. It was a good little spot to rest, eat and drink after playing in the snow. I definitely recommend it!

I also highly recommend White River. It would be an especially perfect place for a newbie snowshoer. There wasn’t anything too strenuous about the hike, there were tons of people there in case anything happened, and it was beautiful! Don’t forget your camera!

QUESTION: What are your goals for this year/month? What was your first workout of the year?