Jan 262015
 

After the disappointing lack of snow in Bend, we came back to Portland where it was a mixture of sunny and decent (but cold) and then alternating rainy days. I saw in the forecast SUNSHINE and 60 degree weather! I am so ready for spring! When I saw how nice the weather was going to be I suggested we plan a hike/day trip to the beach. Oddly enough, the weather was going to be a little warmer at the beach over the weekend (which is usually the opposite–Portland is usually warmer).

Sunday morning we woke up early and packed the car for the day and set out towards Cannon Beach to do some hiking. We parked at Oswald West State Park and were lucky to get a parking spot. Seemed everyone else on the planet had the same plan as we did and lots of the hiking trailheads were filling up.

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We followed the “Short Sand Beach Trail” from the parking lot and it walked alongside a roaring river where we came to several forks in the road. Michael looked at me and I just shrugged. We randomly picked a direction to walk and went up the trail where we came to a suspension bridge! Thankfully it wasn’t super high up (I’m afraid of heights) but it was still scary. And Bella was completely freaked out. She was refusing to cross the bridge and was walking backwards. I went first to see if she’d follow. The bridge was kinda scary and there were some loose boards (um, that seems safe right?) and it bounced up and down when two people were walking across it.

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Somehow Bella conquered her fear and made it across the bridge. 😉 We walked down a fork in the trail to the beach where we had our picnic lunches. Even though we’d just started our hike, we had to eat or it would throw off dinner. It was around noon at this time I think. I got to practice with my new telephoto lens that Michael got me for my birthday!

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Pretty nice, huh? I need to practice with it. We were really far away when I took these pictures. The zoom is incredible! The day was warming up but there was still some mist at the beach. This little beach was a really popular one. I don’t think I’ve ever been to it but there TONS of people and a lot of surfers, too. Everyone seemed to be carrying a surfboard on the trail to the beach.

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After lunch we walked back up to the main trail and took the Old Growth Forest Loop trail that turned into Elk Flat Trail. The book I have is pretty old and doesn’t have great detail about a lot of the hikes we’ve found just going out on our own. Like this one, the Neahkahnie Mountain hike is the one we picked and got at the Oswald West trailhead except there seemed to be about half a dozen or more other trails all connecting. We just randomly picked Elk Flat and that’s what we did.

It was a pretty steep climb almost immediately. The trail was narrow and wound through the trees.

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We tromped through old growth forest, surrounded by giant sitka trees, pine trees, evergreens and so much green everywhere! There were also a bunch of giant trees that had grown out of the sides of hills like this one:

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It kind of reminded me of when I went to the Redwood Forest as a kid.

The ground was soft with some bounce–almost trampoline-like, covered in pinecones, pine needles, leaves and centuries of compost from the damp forest. It’s nice walking on soft ground like that. Also, the mud wasn’t too bad because there were so many tree roots that had formed stairs through the forest as we climbed up.

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The trail leveled off at the top and we were both sweating buckets. We stopped to rest and have some water, give Bella some water, and take off some of our layers. We were both really warm! It turned out to be a gorgeous day, despite the dense fog and cool air in the morning. We continued on the trail and it started to wind through an area of the forest that was less dense with trees and bushes. It was kind of spooky how slender and sparse the trees were after so much old growth.

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We got to what seemed like the end of the trail. It just kind of stopped–and I wasn’t willing to explore without a trail. Besides, we’d been hiking for over an hour and a half by this time. We turned around and came across a couple with two dogs off leash–who thankfully put them both on a leash while they passed us (I thanked them for that). It was so nice! The trail was uphill for a bit and then it was mostly downhill in mud and those root-stairs.

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I was glad my knees did ok on that really steep downgrade. We got back down to the main trail, crossed the suspension bridge again (Bella did ok but was still scared). We got back to the car, covered in mud, but feeling pretty good! We ended up hiking 3.14 miles in just under 2 hours. I burned 658 calories on the hike.

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Michael pulled over at a viewpoint so I could take some more pictures with my new lens. Then we headed to Cannon Beach to do some beach walking. I love the beach and it’s even better in the sunshine. There’s just something restorative about old forests, the ocean and sunshine for me. I really do need this time to reconnect with nature after spending so much of my time in a cubicle, or a gym, or at home. I need that disconnect time.

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Cannon Beach is a tourist trap. It’s a sleepy little beach town with typical beach-tourist shops and restaurants. Cannon Beach itself is actually pretty short and it’s always really crowded in the summertime so it’s not one I generally go to often. I much prefer going to Rockaway where you could walk for miles and miles and it’s never that crowded. That’s where we always went for summer vacations when I was a kid. But yesterday it was just perfect.

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Cannon Beach was packed! Everyone else in Portland had the same idea we did. Bella was SUPER STOKED to be at the beach! There was so much going on and so many other dogs. She met lots of dogs and made friends, was scared by one that barked at her (a giant husky fluff-ball thing) and then met a 2 month old German Shephard puppy:

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Bella did her usual: rolling around in the sand, exfoliating. (I did post some videos on Instagram if you want to see.) She was one filthy puppy between the muddy hike and the sandy beach. She made sure she got sand in every inch of her body. I love this picture of her:

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To me it says: “MOM, I LOVE THE BEACH! And the sunshine! Let’s stay here forever!” I’m not sure how many miles we walked the beach but it was for about an hour or so. It was so warm I took of my long-sleeved shirt. It’s shocking how warm it was at the beach in Oregon in January. That’s just nuts.

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We finally said goodbye to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock and went in search of food.

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Dinner time! Well, early dinner. I was FAMISHED. My lunch was NOT enough calories for the strenuous hike we did and then walking on the beach. So we ended up eating dinner around 4:30.  We actually ate dinner in Seaside, about a 15 minute drive north of Cannon Beach. We found a pub, U Street Pub, on the south side of town that wasn’t too crowded and had decent reviews online.

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All I wanted was clam chowder. I’d been craving it for about a week and as usual, the line for Mo’s was way too long. I was glad we went here because the chowder was fantastic! Perfect consistency, creamy with tiny chunks of celery and potatoes (I hate it when the chunks are too large), and a generous amount of bacon in the chowder. It came with two small slices of toast. Michael got the pastrami sandwich and an order of mozzarella sticks. I had 2 mozzarella sticks and called that my limit. The bar had a decent beer list but I stuck with diet coke. We had a lovely dinner and then I stopped in a souvenir shop to get a postcard for my grandma and we headed home.

The drive home was slow going. There was a lot of traffic (all the other people who wanted to play in the sun like we did) heading back to Portland. The night grew dark and the dense fog returned but we made it home safely and Little Miss got a quick bath (she is so good at this routine now, every time we go for a hike she immediately runs into the bathroom and hops into the tub!) and then I sorted through photos before calling it an early night. I think all three of us were beyond exhausted after our day adventure!

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Sep 022014
 

Labor Day Weekend Recap:

Saturday

It started with a workout at the Warrior Room, Kettlebell Conditioning. Most of the class was newbies so the instructor, Ashley, spent most of the class doing basic instruction. The few of us that are old hats were kind of set free to do the workout on our own. I loved that so many people were new! That’s awesome. If you live in Portland and were considering checking out the kettle bell gym, I highly recommend it! I started going almost a year ago simply because I had a Groupon deal for it and wanted to get some instruction on my kettle bell form. Who knew that I’d end up loving the classes so much I’d keep going!

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The one thing I hated? The partner workout at the end. One person had to hold a plank position with one hand behind their back while the other person did 20 burpees, then we switched. It was brutal and I seriously thought I might black out! Here was the calorie burn:

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Then I spent several hours picking tomatoes and jalapenos and making salsa. That first batch I made about a month ago is almost gone! There is one jar left and Michael loves it. We had so many jalapenos it was beginning to be overwhelming so I made salsa–a double batch this time. This should last us for the winter. In a few weeks when the rest of the tomatoes have ripened I will make spaghetti sauce with them and can those.

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Talk about labor! It was hard work. This time Michael helped me with some of the prep, which was much appreciated. It made 9 jars. I didn’t seal one of them and put it in the fridge to eat soon but the rest of them sealed properly. I was happy about that. And there is definitely something satisfying about pulling vegetables from the garden and canning them!

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I bought a canning kit that came with a proper funnel, tongs and other utensils you need for canning and they worked great! It was a really gloomy, dark day and it rained pretty heavily for most of it, so spending the day inside was ideal. Later that afternoon, as if I had’t done enough already…I did some crafts for the wedding:

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Saturday was a busy one! It was easy doing the crafts, though, because I worked on it while we watched “Bad Words.” (Super cute movie.)

Sunday

My Sunday started with yoga and then:

For some reason in August I started thinking about the sweat lodge I did years ago. I wrote about many years ago in the beginning of this blog, you can read it here: My First Wake Up Call – The Sweatlodge. Anyways, so lately I just started thinking about it and for some reason I couldn’t shake the thought. It kept coming back to me — this urge. I looked around online to try and find a local sweat because I didn’t want to drive to Breitenbush again and I asked my friend Star if she’d go, too.

Star, who is half Navajo, had talked to the stonekeeper of the sweat and she approved so we made plans to go Sunday. First I went over to her place to make prayer ties. We breathed our silent prayers on a pinch of tobacco and then rolled it up into the red cloth and tied them to the tie.

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It was a nice, calming ritual and when we were done we drove out to Sherwood (i.e. the middle of nowhere) for the sweat. We got there and saw the skeleton of the sweat dome. That’s when we found out that it was on Saturday at 4 not Sunday at 2 like their website had stated. Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated and disappointed and Sunday was pretty much a wash. Not only that, there aren’t any other sweats that I could go to before the wedding. :(

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This was really important to me and the disappointment was crushing. It also made me really irritated that they clearly didn’t know what they were doing or what was on their website…and why didn’t the stonekeeper inform Star of the change of date and time when they chatted? So flakey. I was pretty mopey the rest of Sunday and that sucked.

Monday

I actually made it to another kettlebell class, different instructor and not my usual class but I made it! It was an easier class than it normally was. I probably should have gone up in weights–if it was that easy–but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be really sore this week.

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Workout done, we could get on with the last day of the long weekend!

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We grabbed sandwiches for lunch and headed back out to Kelley Pointe Park. It seemed like a fitting place to spend a sunny day and celebrating the end of summer. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. We had a picnic lunch and then threw the ball for Bella in the grassy field area.

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After that we walked down to the sandy beach and set up a blanket. Bella was ready to play! She remembered the place and ran straight to the water and jumped in. She also made some dog friends and they splashed each other and played together. It was so cute to watch.

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She’s really funny because she hasn’t mastered the doggy paddle yet. She just kind of hops and jumps OVER the water instead of trying to swim. It’s hilarious to watch. I was hoping that her playing with the other two dogs she’d catch on and learn how to swim but not so much…Whatever, she was having fun and that’s all that matters.

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And what day at the beach would be complete if she didn’t roll around in the sand and get absolutely filthy? Yep, someone got a bath when we got home!

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