Thursday, November 24, 2016

This Thankful season

I hope in this season of thankfulness you find your "grateful" list full.

Copied with permission by Iditarod trail committee Facebook page.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What a Wonderful World

Today I'm pausing to think about what a wonderful world we live in. I hope this lifts your spirits as it has mine. I've included a link to Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" with the lyrics. Enjoy


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nookachamps half marathon training run

My husband and I have just about completed our goal list of Spartan races to enter for 2017. We are toying with entering some road or trail runs. We may just end up doing the Spartan races as our "paid" entry races. We really enjoy our long weekend runs together. I look forward to these as "our" time together. While the option to enter other events is there, it seems slim that we'll pay to run in many. 
One upcoming race option is the NOOKACHAMPS HALF MARATHON. We went to Mt. Vernon today to run the COURSE. The event starts and ends at SKAGIT VALLEY COLLEGE. My father and our daughter ran it together in January of this year, you can read about that day's race HERE.
We began today at about noon with rain, dark and windy conditions, it was in the low 50's so comfortable for running. 

Running in a downpour.

I recently got a new camera. When I bought my Surface pro 4 at Best Buy they gave me a $150 gift card. I thought about all of the conditions I'm in when I take pictures, so I bought a Fujifilm FinePix XP90 because it's waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof. I took the pictures on Thursday's hike to MADRONA CREST with it and I was pleased with how easy it was to operate and with the quality of the pictures and videos. Since the day was so dark today, I wondered how the pictures would turn out, and again I am pleased. I took the photo below while we were running to see how much it might blur, but it turned out pretty good.

We saw Snow
Geese and Swans on the course. I didn't get any photos of the Swans but we saw about 100 in the fields and flying in the air. It was nice to see that they were making their way here for the Winter.

I took this video of the Geese flying with a very dark sky behind them.

The course goes through the small town of Clear lake, before heading uphill. So far the course had been fairly flat, but the rest of the course had a few good uphills.

More Snow Geese

The course has a short out and back to add some distance, it was flat and scenic. It went through a few farms and we saw Horses, Goats, Pigs and Cows besides the Geese and Swans. 
Heading out...

and heading back.

I didn't get a picture of the road sign before this water level measuring post, but it said "Road may Flood". Thankfully today we didn't have to run through water, but if it had been there we would have know how deep it was.

After we ran up several long hills, we were back in town with only a couple of miles left of today's distance. The road's name with the City limit sign was fitting "Swan" road,

The home stretch!

The photo below shows where the finish area will be on race day.

We were pleased with our day's efforts. 

Endomondo stats - 
total miles - 13.29
total ascent - 308 feet
 total descent - 466 feet
average pace - 13.41
time - 3:01:47

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Madrona Crest from Arroyo Trailblazer hike

We were still without our Fearless leader "Pat" for today's hike. He's still recovering from a sinus infection and shoulder issue. Marjan stepped up again to lead us on today's adventure.
12 of us met at the SENIOR CENTER for our carpool rides to ARROYO PARK. The last time I'd been to Madrona Crest was with Group 1 in 2011. You can read about that day's hike HERE.

The Chum were spawning!

Here's a video with a brief view of the Salmon and then looking farther up the creek. Look for the Salmon near the right shore of the creek.

We hiked up the trail and connected with the Hemlock trail.

There were many big leaf Maple leaves on the ground and lining the trails.

We went a short ways on the North lost lake trail before joining the lower Salal trail.

The weather was perfect for today's hike. The sunlight played peek a boo through the forest canopy.

There were many areas where there were large boulders of Chuckanut sandstone.

Instead of heading on up to the Crest at the trail junction we went out to the North Lost lake trail again to make it just a bit longer in distance

Now up to the Madrona Crest viewpoint for lunch.

A wonderful Madrona tree beside the trail.

From our lunchtime perch we had a view of the hills just beyond the freeway which we could hear very clearly. Oh well.......

We also had a nice view of Mt. Baker in the distance.

Time to head back down the trail.

Pam one of our hikers knows her plants, birds and geology. I like to hike near her and try to soak in some of her knowledge. She explained that the moss in the photo below is Step moss and that it was a three year old. Each year they grow up a step. I thought it was fascinating information.

Step moss

Here's a macro shot of some Step moss. I thought they looked like miniature trees.

We rejoined the Hemlock trail and then headed down the Chuckanut falls trail.

Hopefully it won't be another 5 years till I return to Madrona Crest. It was a beautiful fall day to be in the forest.

Endomondo stats -
total miles hiked - 8.9
minimum altitude - 95 feet
 maximum altitude - 1483 feet
total ascent - 1791 feet
 total descent - 1699