Sunday, July 12, 2015

Old challenge denied, new one created!

Well, today I was supposed to be on the summit of Mt Rainier.  Thursday we started our climb and realized that 1- the unseasonably warm weather has caused some crevasses to open up near the summit and we would either have to go across them on a fixed ladder OR change our route to a route that we are all unfamiliar with.  2- Thunderstorms and wind were predicted all weekend.  And 3- one of our rope team members got sick, which would leave us with 3 members and it is just not safe to try and summit a route that is that challenging and unfamiliar with just three members.  So we bagged it.  Looking at the weather this morning, I would  have been faced with 40 mph winds and snow.  Doable, but not pleasant.

I am ok with the decision to continue next year.
Here are some pics of my trips to Mt Rainier this year for training and a couple from our short trek on Thursday:

But now I need a new focus.  Climbing Mt. Rainier has been my focus for the last 9 months.  Training and collecting my gear has been my hobby.  I will continue to train, but need another challenge to keep the momentum up.  My Brother and his wife are Beachbody coaches and they got me into Insanity, T25, and Shakeology.  All three have worked wonders on my health and body so now I am trying the 21 Day Fix Extreme.  It is a meal plan plus workout for a reset of your body and getting used to clean eating.  I ordered my challenge pack on Friday so as soon as it comes in, I will start!  I am excited to record my journey here with before and after pics, reviews of recipes and the workout program and my honest opinion of the program.

Lets do this!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Feel Good Friday!

I have noticed myself wanting to watch more and more of these feel good human nature videos on Youtube and I share them often on my Facebook page.  I always feel like I need a daily happy cry!  So, to keep me focused on updating this blog, I will post a Feel Good Friday video every friday!  Lets see how this works!

This is a Samsung Turkey Ad.  They have opened a video call center for those who are hearing impaired.  The way they told this gentleman is so heartwarming!

Also, get ready...I have an amazing Oxtail recipe to post soon!!  And some updates on my training for my Mt Rainier climb in July.....

Monday, December 29, 2014

What the Pho? In a crockpot?

I am a Pho Phonatic!
(see what I did there?)

Living in Seattle, there are GREAT Pho places (or hole in the walls, if you must) everywhere!  Walking into your local Pho joint and smelling that broth....that cooked all day, savory broth...ohhhhh myyyyy!

We moved to the 'burbs and I figured, hey, I am only 35 mins from the city...I am sure I can find a great Pho place.  And I did...only 1/2 mile from my house!  

Then it closed.

But I found a new one.  Only 2 miles from my house!  But, $25 to feed me and my hubby seemed a little much.  It was good tasting, but not the best.

I said to myself, " are handy in the kitchen.  You make Osso Bucco, you make roasted duck, you can make Pho."  

I searched far and wide and after several attempts, I have now discovered one of the best Pho Ga recipes out there....and I can use my crock pot.  BONUS!

This recipe is from Bon Appetite.  Go figure.  But it is so good!

I had roasted a chicken a couple of days prior so I decided to use that carcass and the neck that came with it for the broth.  I also had a few extra wings in the freezer, so I threw those in as well.
Then I filled it up with water, coriander seeds, whole star anise, cilantro leaves and steams, quartered onion, whole ginger slices and whole cloves, and garlic. Since it will be strained, no worries on cutting things small and nicely. 
Also, luckily, I was able to get Star Anise from my local Safeway!

Traditional recipes call for chicken feet.  I didn't have any on hand but found out after that fact that the Asian market down the street has them, so I will use them next time.

Cook on High for 5-6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.

Once done, strain with a cheese cloth.  And your broth is done!!!

Next, prepare your rice noodles and chicken.  I prepared the rice noodles according to the package (sit in water for several minutes before cooking in boiling water).  I used chicken thigh meat and cut it up in small pieces then poached it in boiling water until done. 

Next, put your Pho together!  I poured the broth over the chicken and noodles then added bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, basil, siracha, and hoisen sauce!

Oh my!  I ate this for 3 meals in a row!  Love it and so easy!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Poo Poo Point, Chirico Trail

Alright, get the giggles out.  Yes the trail is called Poo Poo Point.

The name comes from the sound that the steam whistles would make back in the logging days.

We good now?

I grew up in this area so have hiked this trail many times.  It is one of my favorites because it is short, yet challenging.  At only 3.8 miles round trip, it seems like it would be a beginner trail.  But since you go up almost 1,800 feet in elevation in that short amount of time, it is pretty intense!

This spot is also a launch pad for paragliders.  In the summer time, be careful walking through the lot to the the sign says, Look Up!!

Parking is tough.  They have one lot that holds about 30 cars and it is almost always full on nice days by mid morning.  You used to be able to park on the street, but the city put the kabosh on that one (and when you go there, you understand why...lots of cars and not a big shoulder!).
My advice....if you can, get there at sunrise and you will be able to park, use the one porta potty, and get up to the summit to watch the world wake up.

Other option for parking is to continue north on Hobart road and park at Issaquah High School.  There is a trailhead there that will meet up with the main trail (it is over by the athletic fields and I am told there is a sign there now....I haven't been there in a few years).

Carpooling is recommended as well!

At the trailhead, you may find walking sticks that other hikers left.  Feel free to use them if you forgot yours.  In the fall, when the trail is full of leaves and wet, you may want some more stability if you forgot your sticks (like I do all the time).

Once you start the hike, you will notice the incline.  No, it will not flatten out anytime soon.  It does about 3/4 the way to the top.  There are some benches (not very many) for breaks.  But if you are 5'2" like me, the benches make you feel like you are sitting on a high chair.

You will see several "shortcuts" that are carved in the trail, try to stay on the main trail.

Your first look out is a peekaboo glimpse of Mt Rainier.  Continue up the trail towards the left.

Next stop is the South Landing.  This is sometimes used by paragliders, but I never see them launch from this point.  A lot of hikers turn around here, thinking it is the top.  I mean, the view is spectacular, but there is more to come!

You will see a sign (well, nothing is in the sign, but maybe there will be later) and a trail to the left of it and a gravel road to the right.  The gravel road on the right is for service trucks and leads the the Tiger Mtn HWY 18 entrance.  Don't hike on that!  Take the trail on the left to get to the North Lauch point.   It is only 1/4 of a mile more!

Once you get up here, watch for the paragliders.  Stay behind them.  Do not walk across the green lauchpad if they are getting ready to launch!  Seems like common sense, but I have seen people who have no idea what is going on do that and it is dangerous.

Pack a snack and sit and enjoy the view of Squak Mountain and Issaquah right below.  Further along is Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish.  On a clear day, you can see some of the Seattle Skyline.  Here is a pic on a foggy day....still pretty neat!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Camping at Crystal!

This summer, we have had a few adventures of the camping kind.  It is nice to have a trailer to pull around the great state of Washington with us.  It makes life a lot easier with the kiddos!

Nick and I rarely get a night alone, let alone a whole weekend.  So, we decided to leave the kids with the Grandparents and go for a long weekend and do some hiking in the Mt Rainier National Forest and camp in the Crystal Mountain Ski Area parking lot.  Not super glamorous but the view can't be beat!

Our accommodations in the B lot are primitive for trailers.  There are 40 electrical hookups for trailers and RVs. In the month of August, there are about 10 spots taken, so you can be sure that there will be a spot (now in the winter, you have to get there on Thursday for the weekend crowd.  It fills up fast!).
Also, it is first come, first served.  I believe the cost was $37/ night.

One thing that was cool was that in the lot was the old chair lift that collapsed last winter.  Kinda creepy, but since Crystal is our home ski area, very cool to see.

On day one, we decided to hike UP crystal mountain towards Henskin Lake and to the summit house.  It was a pretty climb, but also very rigorous in the last mile.  Part of the trail was closed due to rock blasting so we had to take a detour that gave us switchbacks up a service road to the summit. 

And we were sopped in with fog when we got to the top.
At least the ride down the Gondola is FREE!  That is right!  You only pay for the ride up. 

So, if you have the strength, I recommend the climb.  Just bring the bug spray.  Those mosquito's were relentless!

Day two, we went to the Sunrise Visitor Center in the Mount Rainier National Forest and decided to do a little trek towards the glorious mountain.  I am planning on climbing Mt Rainier next summer and Nick had never been to Mt Rainier, so it was a good excuse to show him what I have been dreaming about for years.

Here is the Mountain from the Sunrise Parking lot....beckoning me to climb that sucker!
We then headed off to the trail, not quite sure how far we were going to go.  As you see in the picture, the weather was glorious, but something to be weary of anytime you go to Mt Rainier....that mountain makes its own weather.  So, we jetted off to the trail marked to Frozen Lake. It was only a couple of miles and if the weather turned, we could easily turn around.

Once we got to Frozen Lake, there was a park ranger sitting there, looking up at Mt Rainier.  We decided to ask him what our best course would be to get close to the Mountain but we were starting to get concerned about the clouds coming in.  He said since we made it this far and we seemed in good shape, we need to get to the Second Burroughs to have the best view.  He then asked why I had the backpack on and Nick only had a camelback.  I had to explain to him that I was trying to train for my climb in a year and I had 15 lbs in my pack, just to see where my baseline was at.  He smiled and said "Good.  Because I was about to tell this gentleman to carry your bag!"

That is when I realized that we probably had a lot of side eye looks coming up the trail!

The hike up to the first and second Burroughs was steep.  You go up to almost 8,000 foot elevation which if you aren't used to, does do a number on your lungs.  I realized that I am grateful that we will be spending more time up at higher elevation during my Rainier climb to acclimate.

The views from the ridge were spectacular!

Once we got up to Second Burroughs, the view did not disappoint at 7,828 feet.  It felt like I could touch the mountain!  We sat for a little while, eating a snack, watching the squirrels try and eat our food (and hitch a ride in our pack) and caught our breath.  Then the clouds rolled in.  We watched them swirl around the mountain then down into the valley.  Our perfect view turned into a the peekaboo game.  We wanted to get a pic with the mountain in the background, but every time we tried, the clouds swirled again.  I love the pic we did get.  It just means that we have to come back and get another one.

We took a different route back, saw some Marmots and a Mountain goat.  We didn't get many pics on the way back because we were cruising!

Here is the trail map of Sunrise, the red was our hike that we took.

Our route was a total of 6.43 miles and a 2,077 ft elevation climb.

Then we came back and hit up the Snorting Elk for a well deserved beer!