Bella the Explorer

I woke up Sunday morningĀ 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. šŸ˜‰ 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 allĀ 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. šŸ™


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. šŸ™‚ 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.

Ticket to Ride

Saturday morning we woke up with the idea to go hiking. It was supposed to be one of the last nice days in the forecast for awhile. I had my reservations, though. Michael had taken Bella for a hike with a friend earlier in the week and then we went snowshoeing on New Year’s Day. She was doing well and recovered quickly from everything, my body was good even though we’d done more in the snow than planned. But I just thought we were borrowing trouble going for another hike so soon. Still, I agreed because it’s an activity we can do together to get fit, Bella loves hiking and I didn’t really want to face going to a crowded gym.

We set off in the car towards Forest Park, after picking Lower Maple Trail Loop. Because all the trails in Washington Park connect, you could really just keep going. But this trail was marked as “moderate” and the loop was supposedly 3 miles. (SUGGESTED ROUTE: From Saltzman Road off of Hwy 30, turn right on Maple Trail, left up Quarry Trail, and then right on Leif Erikson. Return via Maple Trail.)


It was sort of on the rainy side but not raining–just the misty dew from thick fog. I figured it would be alright once we got on the trail and in the trees, and it was. We never got “rained” on. We got to the trailhead off Saltzman Road (which is a terrifying, narrow, cliffside road with not enough room for two cars to pass through at the same time).


The trailhead was packed with cars but we found a spot and started out. We saw TONS of trail runners out there and a few mountain bikers. There were a bunch of other hikers, too.


We took the main trail in and there was a fork–the lower Maple and higher Maple. We went up first. I saw a sign that said there was a trail closure, but it didn’t say where, so I ignored it.


We hiked probably a mile and a half up through the forest and then came to the closure:


The bridge had washed out. Ā No big deal, we hiked back down to the first fork in the trail and took the lower Maple Trail instead. There was also a fork mid-trail for I think Firelane 4 trail (I can’t remember now) that looked like it had some elevation to it but we decided to stick with Maple on this trip.

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One of my pet peeves with dog owners is the ones that take their dogs hiking off leash. Not only do I think it’s dangerous for the dog, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been out on a trail and had some dog race up to Bella in a really aggressive way. Thankfully nothing has happened, (until now) but it’s just crappy. So we were hiking and Bella’s leash was a little on the short side, but not short enough apparently. We came across another couple with a little dog (Jack Russell mix) that WAS on a leash but a total asshole (dog owners or dog, take your pick).

We were just hiking along, Bella wasn’t too interested in the dog but the dog lunged and snarled at her baring all it’s teeth and then snapped at her. It all happened so fast, was completely unprovoked and out of the blue and I still don’t know if Bella got bitten or scratched just because it was so fast. We walked on ahead a few minutes and then pulled off to the side of the trail to look at Bella. She was shaking her head and I knew immediately she was injured in some way.

Yep. She had a slash on the side of her snout, just beside her nose (thankfully not ON her nose). It was a little raised and bleeding. We got out our first aid kit and I wiped the wound really good with antiseptic wipes. Bella kept trying to lick it. Then she’d shake her head. I did a quick look to see if she was scratched anywhere else and she wasn’t.

We were a little ways in on the trail. We debated on whether or not to just turn around and go to the vet. In the end it didn’t look like the wound was deep and the bleeding had stopped. We decided to keep hiking. Bella wasn’t acting weird in any way and seemed to still want to hike.


The rest of the hike was uneventful and Bella did well. She didn’t seem to notice her nose wound. I, on the other hand, spent the entire hike reliving the attack and worrying about her injury and wondering if it was going to get infected, etc etc. We eventually turned around. The trail was getting too muddy and slippery and I almost fell a few times. Plus, with the worry I just wasn’t having that much fun anymore.


We turned back and headed back to the main trail. It didn’t take too long to get back. WeĀ hiked 4.05 miles in just under 2 hours. I burned 512 calories for the day.

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I wiped down Bella the best I could (she was caked in mud from head to toe) and then wiped the wound with another antiseptic wipe. As we drove back to Portland I ate my PBJ sandwich and then called the vet. They said to come in for a quick look so we did (except we got caught in horrible traffic everywhere). Our 2 hour hike turned into a 4 hour event with traffic and the vet. SIGH. The good news: Bella is fine. They looked at the wound and it was superficial. They said don’t do anything to it, no antibiotics were needed and just watch for signs of infection.

We went home to get ready forĀ some friends to come over for dinner and games. We’d planned it awhile ago and I was really looking forward to it and didn’t want to cancel.Ā Michael made a half batch of his famous mac n’ cheeseĀ and he also did up a small ham. I gave Miss Dirty Girl her 3rd bath of the week (I think it’s a record!) and then our friends arrived!

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Mac n’ cheese and ham for dinner! It was DELICIOUS! I was especially grateful for the comfort food aspect of it after an active and trying day. It was a hit with our friends, too.

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I decided to have beer with dinner. It actually went perfectly with the food. I had a normal sized bottle of a hefeweisen and then a large bottle of a double IPA I found awhile ago and had in my fridge (since before the wedding!):

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The game I’d ordered after Christmas finally arrived– Ticket to Ride Europe version! I was SO excited to play it! Before our friends came over I read through the instructions–it claimed it took 5 minutes to learn it. Not so much. After an hour I finally googled it and found an 11 minute video explaining it. We watched that and then started to do a practice game when our friends arrived. After dinner we all watched the video again and then started to play.

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The video helped a lot and the game was pretty easy once we started playing. I can definitely see where strategy would help move the game along faster. We need to practice this one!

Our friends Dawni and Chad brought dessert from a Russian bakery near their place. She said nothing is in English and you never know what you are buying. We still don’t know what she brought over but it was amazing! The cake part had the consistency and flavor of sponge cake–moist and fluffy.

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The frosting was not sweet at all and the flavors were all so subtle. Dawni said that their cakes never feel super sweet or like there’s a ton of sugar in them and I get it. It tasted healthier in someway. There were hazelnuts on top and I think in the center of the cake, ground really fine. The outside had unsweetened coconut flakes. It was so delicious and I’m not really a cake fan. I was good because it wasn’t overly sweet. I need to find a Russian bakery near our place!

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We ended up playing until midnight and then sat around talking for almost another hour. While we played the game we talked and Bella laid on her bed next to us. She was one tired pup! By the end of the evening I was, too.

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Despite the not-so-great hiking experience, it was a pretty good day and I’m glad we finally got to play my new game. I can’t wait to play it again!