Thursday, March 31, 2011

The great escape - Crescent City, California - Oregon Coast road trip

We decided it was time for a mini - vacation. We only had from Saturday to Wednesday night to get away. Our goal - find a little sun and go to the coast.
We started Saturday, drove down I-5 to Woodland, Wa. We obviously didn't get very far the first day. The next day we drove to Grants Pass and took hwy 199 to Crescent City, California. Hwy 199 follows the Smith river. It is a very scenic route to get to the coast.

Waterfall along hwy 199
 It's been really wet this year and everywhere we went we heard how weary people are of the rain. When we got to Crescent City we found out that hwy 199 had been closed about a 1/2 hour after we got through it. A large tree had fallen across the road and completely blocked the highway. Whew were we lucky!
We found sun and warmth (at least to us) that evening.
(Click on any of the photos below to enlarge.)

climbing on a "scary" rock! ;-)

The next day we headed south and stopped at the Trees of Mystery, we had driven by many times on other trips, but had never stopped. We decided this would be a good time to be tourists. We enjoyed it much more than we had expected.

 They have a great "Tall tales" area of the short trail you can walk that is dedicated to Paul Bunyan. Wonderful.........

They have a Gondola that you can ride up and down, or you can just ride it up and then walk the "wilderness" trail down. The wilderness trail had a 45 degree down incline. They provided a rope hand rail for the steep sections.

They had a photo "op" area. So my husband stood by it so I could have a picture to remind me of his "Love"! So cute....

Time to head north,
we spent his birthday at the Dunes national recreation area and the Sea Lion caves. Here's one of his introspective moments of his special day.

The birthday man & his beast
"Us" enjoying? the rainy day at the beach
One of the things I enjoyed seeing was the Yurts at the Oregon State campgrounds.

Here's a peak at the inside

our beast enjoying some alone time
Elk herd just out of Astoria, Oregon
 All in All, it was a most excellent "escape"!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chuckanut 50k

No, we didn't run it but we did run part of the course while the event was going. It was fun bumping in to them on various sections of our route, and yes we were very trail courteous. We always moved to the side when we heard them coming up from behind. We were planning on running 15 miles on the Chuckanut mountain trails, but were pleasantly surprised to see that it totaled up to 15.68! Yay, I even felt good when we were done.

The trail went up, up, up for us, but very pretty and lo and behold we finally had a nice sunny day although it was still a bit chilly in some sections with a tiny bit of snow on the ground in the higher sections. After running/walking up what seemed like forever we finally saw some 50k runners coming and we came across the 50k - 16 mile (halfway) checkpoint. Our friend and former race director of the event Doug McKeever was manning it!
Dick running ahead of me and spotting our first 50k runner

halfway checkpoint for the 50k
Me - at the checkpoint after we'd
run/walked our first 2.2 miles.
most of it uphill!
Yes, it really is Doug McKeever
The trail was really muddy in sections, I could have taken 100 shots of the goo, 
but I'll only put in this one:

The 20.2 mile aid station was at the start of the trail section called "chinscraper". Up, and Up. Luckily we didn't join them on this section, but we did stop and visit with the great crew at the aid station.

The view when we started running on the road was fantastic. We ran down the road for about 3 miles. Then we met up with the interurban trail and ran back to our car at the north Chuckanut trail head parking lot. Fun day and I have the muddy shoes to prove it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Padilla Bay interpretive center - museum and beach, 4th grade field trip

     Tuesday I got to tag along with my grand daughters' school field trip. They went to Padilla Bay interpretive center/museum and did an exporing assignment on the beach.
     I love to walk on the dike trail, but I haven't been to the center for a long time. There is a neat little loop trail that is behind the center. We used to walk it with our kids when they were young. We discovered that there are a lot of owl pellets under the large trees, our kids enjoyed picking them up and looking in the owl pellets for mouse skeletons. Our youngest successfully put one skeleton together, from the bits in the pellets.
     I had a great time on the field trip. The staff were really good with the kids and had planned an excellent time both at the museum and at the beach. One highlight of my time there was when one of the staff came up in front of the kids and began singing silly, educational songs using familiar tunes. He was great! I was pleased to see that the Padilla Bay website has a "kids page" where you can listen to these songs.
     Here was one on You Tube that I loved: 

Padilla Bay, always a good place for the soul.

Monday, March 7, 2011

13.1 mi.'s in the Whistle lake trail system - up, down, mud!

This week marks the first time I've run a 35 mile week since Feb.1984, when I ran two 50 miles weeks in preparation for the Emerald City marathon (my PR 3:48:28). Besides getting my mileage up, I'm most pleased with how I felt after the run. We ran completely on trails. Many ups and downs, but very beautiful. I only had a slightly sore left hip that night. I put on an XL icy/hot patch and felt great. I think I'll invest in a lifetime supply in those things!
We started at the Whistle lake parking lot, ran a series of connected trails that took us around (with lots of ups and downs and mud) Whistle lake, Mt. Erie, and Heart lake. There is an excellent map of the trails in this area available at the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce.

We walk jogged most of the really extreme ups, but overall I'm really pleased with the whole day and the way I felt afterwards. Yippee!

Going to Whistle lake always reminds me of the kind of person my husband is. He is a kind and caring man, but one day he added "Hero" to his list of attributes. A few years ago we were hiking there with our son and one of his friends, we stopped to picnic and watch the people swimming in the lake. A group swam from a little point on the lake to another part on the lake. One young man stayed back on the shore. He paced around acting as if he wanted to follow them but didn't really want to. Finally he went in, about 1/2 way to his friends he panicked and started screaming and went under. Without blinking an eye, my husband jumped in and swam out to rescue him. It was an aweful scene to witness. Lots of screaming from his friends, him battling my husband in his panic. Thankfully his friends swam along side and helped when my husband tired and they all got him safely to the shore. I will never forget how quickly my husband responded. I on the other hand took the time to think about if I could swim that far when I saw it happen and realized after the fact that just by taking the time to think about if I should go in, the boy probably would have drowned. Now whenever we go to that lake, I think to myself  "wow" I'm married to a real life "hero", and wonder how that young man is today.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

follow up to January 15th (I fell down) post

I went on the same course that I fell on not long ago with my husband and showed him where I fell. Sure enough there was about a 1/2 in lip where they had put in a new section of sidewalk. I did feel better realizing that I had probably just caught my foot on it and that was what caused my fall. I do have a problem of not lifting my feet when I run, and apparently I was just tired enough that this caught me up. I was a little concerned that I would just fall for no reason again. Today I went back and ran the 7 mile course for my long run, I ran from Fairhaven park to Market depot in downtown Bellingham and back. It was a really nice run, mostly on trails. I stopped and took a picture of the sidewalk because, lo and behold it had been ground smooth. There is no longer a lip to trip over. I guess I wasn't the only one. So glad to see they took care of it.
Here's the picture of the improvement, wish I'd taken one before they did the work...