Jun 222015
 

Michael was off in Seattle doing boy things and so Bell and I were flying solo for a little girl’s weekend. On Saturday I had plans to go for a mini road trip and picnic lunch with my friend Erika.

But first, I went to the gym for a quickie weight workout. Erika and I weren’t planning on doing any hiking or anything and I wanted to get something in for the day. Afterward, I cleaned up and got everything ready for the picnic and then Erika arrived.

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When we discussed getting together for the day we talked about a few options. The first was doing the Fruit Loop in Hood River. It’s a bunch of country stores, fruit stands and farms in Hood River. Michael and I did part of it a few years ago and I really liked the idea of checking it out again but thankfully Erika checked it out online and saw that they don’t want dogs to visit (since a lot of them have farms with animals). Good to know! So Erika suggested we check out Lost Lake.

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I’d heard of Lost Lake but didn’t know anything about it and hadn’t been before (Erika camped there as a kid). We picked up lunch from a grocery store deli (I got Broccoli Salad, Potato Salad and some Goldfish crackers, Erika got a sandwich) and hit the road! It was a really nice drive out to Hood River. It’s such a gorgeous, picturesque area of Oregon.

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We drove past all my favorite wineries and were surrounded by several mountains. The sun was out, it was warm but not uncomfortably hot and we had the windows down and the music up.

The road to Lost Lake was off the Fruit Loop through the forest, some clear-cutting (sad) and the road was windy and climbed up quite a bit. The drive was just under 2 hours from my place and in a very remote and romantic neck of the woods. We got to the campground and it took awhile to get a parking spot. They had a lot of people directing traffic and trying to help people find places to park. It was a popular place!

We finally found a spot and then grabbed the cooler and walked down to the lake to have a picnic. There were day use areas but since we’d gotten there so late in the day it was pretty crowded already. We walked along the shore and found a little spot to have our lunch and listened to the water lapping on the shore.

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After lunch we decided to walk around the lake. According to the website it was only 3 miles around the whole thing and very easy. We walked back to the car to drop off the cooler and kind of got a little teeny bit lost. LOL So we ended up walking around the camping loops of the park for awhile before we finally got back to the car! Oh well. We took the scenic route.

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We grabbed our backpacks with water and then set out to walk the trail around the lake. According to the website, the Lakeshore Trail was 3.2 miles (it turned out to be a lot longer!). I was just about to comment that it was odd we hadn’t seen the mountain at the Lake when we turned a corner and saw this:

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Gorgeous! It looks like a postcard.

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The lake had a ton of kayakers and swimmers and there were families fishing. Lots of kids were playing near the dock and families were having BBQ’s. It was cool how many little nooks of picnic areas there were along the shore, hidden in the trees. I think the secret is to get there early in the day and grab one of those great little picnic spots and just spend the whole day!

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The trail was so nice! It was VERY easy. Flat and sometimes there was a boardwalk and there were parts of the lake that were completely secluded.

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Bella was doing a great job. It was pretty crowded and there were lots of dogs on the trail but she never barked once. She was loving the woods and the trail. It was such a nice and peaceful walk along the lake. Sometimes you couldn’t see the lake but then you’d turn the corner and it would be a breathtaking view.

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We got to the other side of the lake and found a little dock that was empty. We decided to sit down and relax for a little bit. Erika had some chocolate chip cookies and we lounged in the sunshine having a snack and enjoying the view.

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It was the perfect day and a great view! I commented that we needed hammocks. Next time bringing a camping chair and a book and spending some time next to the lake! After the break we continued up the trail a little bit and then got back to the parking lot.

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Like I said, it was a little bit longer of a walk than the website said, about 4 miles. But it was a very easy 4 miles. I was actually kind of surprised at how many calories I burned on our walk considering my heart rate never got over 110 during the whole walk.

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What a great way to spend the afternoon! We headed back towards Portland and made a quick stop at a fruit stand to get some fresh fruit. Erika got some blueberries and I got cherries and raspberries.

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It was a bit of a slow drive back into town but so pretty it was hard to feel impatient. When I got home I made a veggie burger and some steamed broccoli for dinner (and might have eaten all of those raspberries while I cooked) and relaxed with some Netflix while I ate. Bella was zonked out on the couch.

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I finished watching “Bloodlines” on Netflix. It’s a really good show. It’s a little slow to start. I know a few people who say they tried to watch it and gave up but give it a few episodes. By episode 3 or 4 I was hooked. Episode 11-13 was super good! On the edge of your seat good. I hope they make a second season. Then I started watching “Royal Pains” on Netflix. Totally a guilty pleasure show. It’s goofy and trashy but kind of entertaining. :)

It was a fabulous weekend! Finished up with a run on Sunday, lots of yard work and playing with Bella in the sunshine.

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Mar 092015
 

Saturday

I really wanted to sleep in on Saturday…I rarely ever get to and this day was no different. My cat decided at 8am it was time to jump on me, walk on my head, prance around on my bladder and do circles around my body. Plus the sun was out and I could hear the birds chirping outside the window. It was supposed to be a nice day out! I went to the gym and did some weight lifting, followed up with a few miles on the elliptical. I know I should be taking advantage of the nice weather and be doing my workouts outside but…I wanted to lift weights.

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After the gym I got cleaned up and then Michael and I drove to Beaverton for lunch. It feels like it’s on the other side of the world from us. It kind of is. But we were going to visit a place that installs countertops and we wanted to see larger samples of them so we had to go to their store to do that. Michael decided to make an outing of it and took my to lunch at Gloria’s Secret Cafe.

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It’s a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant (El Salvadorian, actually) that has maybe four tables in it. It’s seriously tiny. But oh my god was it GOOD. What a FIND! Gloria herself came out and greeted everyone at each table and asked how the food was. The food was spectacular. Michael got the carnitas taco special. I got the steak taco. Both came with saffron rice and beans. My taco was marinated meat in a sweet sauce topped with cabbage, radishes, spinach, cucumber and zucchini. The fresh veggies were an excellent texture and flavor with the steak. I cannot express just how delicious the food was! If you’re ever in Beaverton, Oregon, you must go to Gloria’s! The servings were perfect lunch size, not too big but just filling enough.

Obligatory Bella-loving-the-sunshine-being-a-spazz photo:

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It was seriously so nice out! We took Bella for a super long walk when we got back from our errands and lunch. Michael wanted me to pick up something that we could grill because it was so nice out so I went grocery shopping and got some veggies and a pork tenderloin that was pre-seasoned.

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While Michael grilled up the pork tenderloin (it was REALLY good, just slightly salty) I sauteed Brussels sprouts with a few pieces of bacon and we settled in to watch a few episodes of House Of Cards. Man, this season is crazy!

Sunday

Sunday Michael, Bella and I piled into the car and drove to Mount Hood to go for a hike. Nope, no snowshoeing–hiking! In March! It was 70 degrees with clear skies, shorts and t-shirt weather. I remarked that I don’t think we’ve EVER gone hiking in March before. A little bit in January and maybe February but but March the rain starts and doesn’t stop til May/June. This year we are lucky. OR, we are getting our summer now instead of in July…I can’t complain, though. Either can Bella–she’s loving how active our winter is so far!

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We did Salmon Butte, one we’ve hiked once before last summer. It was a hot day last year and I remember we didn’t do as far as we’d hoped because it was so hot and I felt like Bella was getting overheated (she was panting a lot). This time she was a trooper.

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I was panting and huffing it up the trail, feeling like I was really slow and out of shape. Then Michael said he was hiking at a faster pace than normal. Oh, that explains it. Normally a hike doesn’t make me that winded! Apparently he was speed walking! ;P

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There were a few parts of the trail that were washed out and difficult to cross but we made it. And Bella tromped through the creek like it was nothing. Us humans tried to balance on sticks and rocks in the creek.

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We made a stop in the sunshine to eat our Subway sandwiches for lunch and then continued the strenuous hike uphill.

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We got a little ways past the spot we turned around the last time we did this hike and then the path was blocked by a large tree that had fallen. If we didn’t have Bella we might have been able to maneuver around the fallen tree but it seemed like a dangerous thing for her to try and crawl underneath with the broken stabby branches so we figured it was a good time to turn around.

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There were some pretty purple wildflowers blooming (with lots of plump bees buzzing around pollinating) and there was also this odd looking plant that was kind of like a broccoli stalk:

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Anyone know what that white flower is? I’m really curious and would like to know. We hiked back down the trail and past by small waterfalls and creeks. The temperature was warming up nicely and the sun felt so good. The breeze was WARM, which was a nice change from icy. I just could not get enough of the forest and river and sunshine. Loving it!

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We ended up doing exactly 4.5 miles. It took was just over 2 hours, with a lunch break. It was a decent hike, a lot more body-friendly for me than last weekend’s hike that had me very sore and very tired (we did too much that day). I didn’t feel too tired or like I hit the wall with this hike. And bonus points, it’s only 45 minutes from the house. That’s perfect! That’s a good driving distance for a great hike in my book. Hood River/The Gorge area hikes are around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on which one you do, and they are always really popular and crowded. Instead, we got to go up to the mountain and enjoy the fresh air on an almost empty trail.

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We got home with time enough to clean up, give Bella a bath and dinner and then we drove to Beaverton to have dinner at Michael’s mom’s house. She made orange chicken, rice, steamed broccoli and salad. Everything  was delicious! And I definitely ate a little more than I’d planned. Hadn’t realized just how hungry I was until we started eating. Hiking sure takes a lot out of you. Here is dinner:

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I should also mention that when we went to Michael’s mom’s house for dinner we left Bella OUT OF HER CRATE. We’ve been slowly leaving her home alone, uncrated now for a few months. The most time we’ve left her out is about an hour. She’s done really well and didn’t destroy the house (or my shoes) like she did last year. We decided to leave her out Sunday evening while we went to dinner as a test–and because we both figured the hike would have tired her out enough that she wouldn’t get into mischief.

I have to admit, as the evening went on and then we decided to drive home I was definitely getting anxious! I had all sorts of horrible and funny thoughts of the destruction and anarchy that we were possibly going home to. Michael drove into the garage and I leapt out of the car before it was even in Park. I went into the kitchen and Bella AND Fat Kitty were both sitting there waiting for me! Bella was super excited, jumped and licked me and then flopped onto her back for belly rubs. Since Fat Kitty was okay I figured the house was probably ok too but I did a quick peek and yep! Bella was a ROCKSTAR. No destruction. Everything was exactly as we’d left it. Nothing was eaten, chewed, puked on or peed on. I think she just spent the three and a half hours we were gone sleeping on the couch….!

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I am SO PROUD of my girl. 😀

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