Jan 202015
 

For years Bend was my birthday tradition. My birthday often falls on the holiday weekend. It was a tradition I loved and we stayed in all sorts of different place and different parts of Bend, Sunriver and surrounding areas. Last year we went to the beach instead. It was just as great, but not quite the same! Now that we have Bella we wanted to go back to Bend so we could take her with us. She LOVES the snow and our hope was that she’d be a good snowshoe buddy.

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We booked a house in downtown Bend through AirBnB with another couple. Since it had been about 2 years since we’d been to Bend, I was excited to try the new restaurants and breweries that have popped up, see how the town has changed (I’d heard it grew a lot) and of course get some of my beloved Boneyard Beer!

Early Saturday morning I got up and did a kettlebell workout at home. I didn’t want to get up really early and waste time going to the gym, so I did a living room workout while Michael got ready and finished packing.

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Then we hit the road! It was a gross, rainy drive. Bella was super excited about the car trip but eventually slept through a lot of it. :)

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Most of the drive it was pouring rain. We got into Bend around noon and met up with our friends at Brother Jon’s Public House for lunch. The awesome thing about Bend is that everywhere you go, Boneyard Beer is on tap. Everywhere. It’s my #1 favorite beer and so it’s like being in heaven. I can get it anywhere! I got a RPM and a BLTA for lunch. Michael got the steak and blue cheese salad (and gave me a bite–it was delicious!).

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My sandwich was okay but it had too much lettuce on it.  While we were at lunch I got a text that the house we rented was ready if we wanted to check in early so we decided to check in, unload the car and then go to the outlet mall (where I got a new jacket and some hiking pants that I’ve desperately needed).

The house we rented was near downtown, less than a mile. The location was fantastic!

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The house was adorable and perfect for what we needed. It was two bedrooms, one bath, with a huge fenced yard and plenty of space for four people and a dog. We unpacked our cars and then Michael and I took Bella for a short walk after being in the car for three hours. The house was a block from the river and they were building a nice walking/running path along it (that wasn’t quite done yet).

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After shopping we took our growlers to the Boneyard Beer tasting room. We got some tastings and we all filled our growlers with RPM  (four growler!). I bought myself a t-shirt as a birthday present to myself. :) Man do I love their beer.

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We went back to the house and we spent the rest of the evening in. The boys went out for burritos and brought them back to the house where we hung out, played card games and enjoyed our beer. The owner of the house had also left us this little treat in the freezer as a welcome gift:

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Sunday we got up and ate breakfast and planned on going snowshoeing. That was the entire plan for the weekend. Our friends, Sean and Margie, had never been before and really wanted to try it. We decided to leave Bella at the house and take them to Virginia Meissner Sno-Park. It’s one that Michael and I have done a few times and it’s a fantastic adventure–complete with little cabins in the middle of nowhere that you can dry off and rest in.

Virginia Meissner is a really popular sno-park and unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed, but it was the perfect beginner trail. It’s groomed and it’s not super strenuous. We drove up Mt. Bachelor and I was noticing that there wasn’t any snow on the road or pretty much anywhere…The sun was out and it was warm and beautiful. We got closer and closer to the turn off and realized, uh there’s no snow. There’s ALWAYS snow. We’ve never been to Bend in January and NOT been able to find snow.

Sure enough, the sno-park was empty. There wasn’t enough snow to go out in. We were about 12 miles from the house so we decided to go back to the house and get Bella and go to one of the dog-friendly trails higher up on the mountain. When we got back to the house Margie made us all a picnic lunch and I looked up snow conditions online to check the other trails I’d planned on going to that trip. Sadly, they all reported “Inadequate snow”. What?!? NO SNOW?!

So snowshoeing was a bust. To be continued….

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Jan 062015
 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is that first view:

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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.

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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.

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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!!!).

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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