Forest Park hike

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.  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. We 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 for 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. Michael made a half batch of his famous mac n’ cheese 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!

After Christmas Hike

This post has a bit of jumping around in it! Christmas Eve I got off work a little bit early (thanks to my very awesome boss). I got to my car and realized I had a low tire–on the way of becoming a flat tire. Blasted! Poor timing. I drove to Les Schwab and they were just closing up shop. Damn! But the guy there took one look at my tire and said it was a flat and he fixed it. It took him like 10 minutes, tops, and didn’t charge me anything. When I asked he just shrugged and said “Merry Christmas” and gave me a hug. I was SO grateful that he fixed my tire and I didn’t get stranded somewhere when everything was closed. I have always had fantastic experiences with Les Schwab and will always take my business there.

Look what I came home to!

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Aren’t they gorgeous? Anyways, Michael and I took Bella for a walk, got dumped on by sudden rain, and then had a quick dinner before our friends were coming over for the traditional Christmas movie and popcorn night! Last year we watched Die Hard. This year we watched The Ref and part of Scrooged. 😉


Our friends Erika and Charles came over. We had some yummy drinks (they had beer, I had eggnog!) and we had popcorn while we watched the movies. I love The Ref. Bella snuggled on the couch with them. It was pretty cute.


It was great to spend time with them! I wonder what we should watch next year…

The day after Christmas Michael, Bella and I went for a hike in Forest Park. Forest Park/Washington Park is a humongous park in the middle of the city and there are so many trails you could never do them all! I wanted to do something in town as opposed to driving out to the Gorge. I chose Tolinda Ridge Trail Loop. It was out near St. Helens and the trailhead was super easy to find (just off Germantown Road). There was a small parking lot and we got a spot.


The trail started out with a very steep incline. There was even a spot with “stairs” made out of tree roots.



The rain lately had sogged the trail pretty badly but it was manageable. It leveled off a little bit while we hiked away from the road.

The Tolinda trail itself wasn’t very long. It was steep and almost all uphill. We tromped through the mud and the old growth forest, and then came to a fork in the trail. It wasn’t labeled. One way lead to another trail (I’m guessing the Ridge trail) and the other way went to the Leif Erickson parking lot. We decided to go that way because I knew that there would be other trails to pick up at that parking lot. We hiked through the paved (yet still muddy) part of this trail and came across a lot of families out hiking.


Bella did SO GOOD! I think this is the first hike we’ve done this winter. It was just another reminder that she’s getting grown up. She didn’t seem bothered by any of the strangers we came across, wasn’t scared of the little kids she met and even seemed curious. Most of the dogs we came across didn’t bother her and she didn’t bark (except for one dog that was a little yappy).


There were a bunch of families hiking, there were a few different trail runners and we came across a few mountain bikers, too. It was a popular stretch of the park. We came across about a dozen Christmas ornaments! It was such a nice, festive surprise.


We got to the parking lot and found the Cannon Trail. According to the sign, it was a new trail. It was another steep one and we wound through the forest on a nice trail. It was very nice, quiet trail.



We hiked for a little while longer and came to another parking lot off-shoot and then another steep part of the trail. We decided to turn around and head back. I was doing pretty well, but my left knee had bugged me a little bit on parts of the hike. Not too bad, not enough to not hike, but I didn’t want to get too far away from the car either. My right hip also bugged me a little at one part of the trail–which was weird because I rarely have hip issues. Who knows. Maybe it was the steepness of the trail, maybe I was walking weird, maybe I’m just out of practice hiking.

We hiked back through the forest and got the Tolinda Trail again. It was all downhill from there and we finally made it back to the car. I was covered in mud up to my knees! We did about 3.75 miles in just under 2 hours. I burned 477 calories:


Bella was absolutely filthy. (She got a bath when we got home!) It felt fantastic to get home, take a warm shower and then get into clean clothes.

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I did a little after-Christmas clearance shopping and then we had spaghetti squash for dinner. I bake the spaghetti squash for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees. I season them with grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and the Costco non-salt seasoning. It’s delicious. I love how healthy the spaghetti squash is without the pasta guilt after. I added some turkey meatballs to the sauce, topped with fresh parmesan.

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Good, healthy, filling. Sadly, Michael ended up getting a head cold Friday night and was sick the rest of the weekend. We didn’t end up doing much the rest of the weekend but I did get a lot of stuff done around the house. Let’s hope he’s better by New Year’s!