Devilishly Difficult

I almost called this post “Quivering Quads” because my legs felt like Jell-o after our 4th of July hike! Michael and I ate a normal breakfast, picked up a foot long sandwich to share from Subway, and hit the road. Our destination was The Gorge. Remember a few months ago we attempted Devil’s Rest and turned around? Well we were determined to do it this time.

The place was packed with fair-weather hikers out enjoying their sunny holiday. The weather was beautiful! Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and about 70 degrees. Michael and I blazed a trail up Wahkeena Falls. I was telling him about the awful news stories I’ve read lately about hikers falling and dying on Eagle Creek. Michael said that it was most likely inexperienced hikers doing dumb things (which we see SO much on our hikes). My argument was that Eagle Creek is a treacherous, dangerous hike and they need to install railings at the worst parts of the trail.

At exactly that moment we were having a conversation about the dangers of hiking, a guy in front of me on the trail stopped, tried to turn around and lost his balance. He was starting to fall off the side of the trail when I instinctively grabbed his arm and pulled him back up to the trail. It was total reflex (thank you weight lifting for giving me the upper body strength to grab a guy 3x bigger than me!!) and after the fact I realized it was probably dumb of me to grab him–he could have pulled me down with him!

He was fine and Michael and I continued on past the waterfalls and the throngs of day hikers. We set a really good pace up the trail. There were a lot of beautiful wild flowers along the trail. This one in particular was gorgeous and I was told by another hiker it’s Columbine.

The washed out part of the trail that we were on last time was still washed out but had been trampled on enough to make it a bit easier to traverse. It was still uncomfortable grasping onto the side of loose, wet soil on the hillside to get passed it.

We got to that fork in the road where you can take the Vista Point Trail, Devil’s Rest or Larch Mountain and we sat for lunch. I devoured my half of the Subway sandwich, famished after hiking for nearly 2 hours. We shared a Gatorade and then headed up Devil’s Rest.

I saw a lot of people attempting Devil’s Rest this time. I kid you not, most of the trail is straight up. I did not get a picture that does the elevation justice. Trust me. It was brutal.

And I kept thinking….How the HELL did I do this hike 25 pounds heavier??!?! It’s a strenuous part of the hike that will make your hamstrings, calves and quads scream for mercy. We stopped to rest at some of the scenic lookout points.

I believe that is Mount Adams in the distance, across the Columbia River in Washington. We were THAT high up on the hike! There were views of the Gorge, the trees below and blue, blue sky. It was worth the knee-creaking it took to get up there.

It got to the point where it was feeling like it was the Never-Ending-Hike. We were both getting tired but at least we’d finally done Devil’s Rest together! We turned around for the brutally difficult downhill climb. I was worried about my knees. They were starting to ache a bit and all I wanted was to be back to the car.

Michael and I tromped down the trail and then he turned to me and said, “Did we go this way? I don’t even remember this part of the trail because it was so long ago.” Truth! It was becoming all a blur.

We finally made it down to the trailhead. We were both tired, sweaty and my thighs were jiggling like Jell-o. Ouch ouch ouch. It turned out to be the longest hike we’ve ever done at over 9 miles!!! Holy cow. It was a “dog bone loop” (we learned that term the hard way) with an elevation climb of 2300 feet.

Good for Kids: Iffy. There are a few parts of the trail that are dangerous but for the most part it’s ok for kids.
Good for Dogs: Probably ok. Leash recommended because there are a lot of dogs there.
Cost: Zero. Parking lot fills up fast, get there early.
Activity Level: Strenuous
Scenery: Spectacular.
Verdict: Fantastic hike but you will be sore the next day!

Hike Stats:
Time: 3:48
Calories Burned:  1440
Mileage: 3 miles to Larch Trail, then 1.6 to Devil’s Rest – total 9.2 

We got home and got ready for dinner. The neighborhood was having a BBQ (and our neighbors may have had Washington  fireworks…ahem…) so I made up a bunch of kale chips with kale from the garden, Michael cracked some beers and we joined the neighborhood party!

I made good food choices. We had brats and the kale chips and I had a taste of all the other foods at the BBQ (fruit, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad). It was such a fun night! I really like our neighborhood and the neighbors are super fun to hang out with. I wish we did more block parties than just once a year on the 4th. I might have to suggest it. 🙂

Quick question: do you guys prefer the smaller photos or the larger photos?

QUESTION: Longest hike you’ve ever been on? How was your holiday?

The Foot Long Story

One day for lunch, Michael and I went over to SE Hawthorne to grab a bite to eat. He picked the place. We went through the usual “Where do you want to eat?” rigmarole while deciding where to go. All of our Groupon deals were for dinner places, so that didn’t work. He suggested the East Side Deli.

I had never been there, nor heard of the place, and it was a tucked away little dive on SE Hawthorne that I probably drove past a million and a half times and never noticed. It’s a shame their signage isn’t better because it really is a little gem of a place.

On the inside it’s trendy with loud pop music playing and sandwich makers who stepped right out of a punk-rock band complete with piercings and pink hair. But then, that’s just kind of Portland, right?

When you first walk in the door you can grab a menu and you can either create your own sandwich or choose one of theirs. Michael went with their Italian sub and I got the daily special–a caprese sandwich.

The 6 inch sandwiches were pretty massive. As I sat down to eat my lunch, I reminisced on the old days when my typical meal from Subway consisted of a footlong sandwich with all the fixings, a bag of chips, a massive regular soda and two cookies. And yes, I ate all of that by myself in one meal. There was no “saving this half for later” when I was that big. That was a typical dinner or lunch for me. Sometimes I feel like it’s been so long since I was that “Old Lisa” that I forget what it was like to eat that way. I get little reminders once in awhile that show my just how far I’ve come from the old days.

Not only that, my 6 inch sandwich was completely filling. I was stuffed. I did not NEED any more food. How could I even think about eating a footlong?!

Yes, I’ve come a long way from the old person I used to be. I’ve learned how to be satisfied and listen to my body instead of feeding whatever that “emptiness” is with food I don’t need. I’ve learned that a serving size really is plenty. Sure, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach but for the most part I pay attention to those hungry or satisfied cues.

How was the sandwich? It was so much better than Subway. The freshly baked wheat bread had a little crunch to it but it was soft on the inside. My caprese sandwich came with balsamic and oil, buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper seasoning and fresh basil leaves. Every single bite of that sandwich was heavenly and it felt like I was eating summer. Basil and tomatoes together are just so refreshing!

Michael enjoyed his much messier sandwich:

And after he was done eating, he proceeded to serenade me with with Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” as it played through the speakers. 🙂 East Side Deli was good. I enjoyed my sandwich so much. And I wondered why I never made my own caprese sandwich last summer when I had all that amazing basil in my garden? Adding that to my to-do list for this year!

QUESTION: How have your eating habits changed? Are you shocked at how much you used to eat versus how much you’re satisfied with now?