January 2019 Hikes

We have not done a lot of hiking lately. Between travel and minor surgery (for the dog, she’s fine) we just haven’t gotten out of the city much. We’ve still spent a good amount of time on the trails, but they’ve been ones we’ve done many times before – a perk of living in a city surrounded by great trails. Hopefully we can get back in the swing of things in February.

Oregon Coast to Neahkahnie Mountain

In mid-January we ventured out to the coast to do a long hike. The weather ended up being perfect – it was sunny and so warm we had to keep shedding layers. The trail is a 7 mile, moderately trafficked out-and-back with an elevation gain of 2,200 ft. It is accessible from both a north and south trailhead; we started on the south side which has the steeper climb. The trail climbed 1.5 miles to the peak where we were treated to sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean before winding down to to an overlook. Even with the elevation, the trail is moderate and the view at the top makes the burning legs worth it.

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2018 Year In Review

Mostly for posterity, because thinking back I couldn’t for the life of me remember what we did January-March. We had a great year and are excited to see what 2019 has in store.

January

We don’t have many photos from early in the year. We spent the first few months in Louisville, and January was marked with some snowy walks and finishing up the garage (I think we finished the siding at this point and were able to park inside!).

February

Matt ran the electric to the garage and learned a new skill in the process. We went on a trip to Hawaii, and even though it was rainy we did some amazing hikes, ate way too much poke, and tried stand up paddleboard yoga for the first time!

March

In March we: had a fire, it snowed a bit, we crashed a wedding, and drove across the country (again)!

April

We spent April in Phoenix and enjoyed the warm weather. We visited Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Sedona. Ralph and Jan came to visit. We did some desert hikes and spent some time hanging out with friends.

May

We moved to Utah, I got a new job, we spent a lot of time at the pool, and we did a lot of mountain hikes. Looking back at these pictures I forgot how green Utah was in the spring; by the time we left in September it was completely brown.

June

We spent more time at the pool and exploring Salt Lake City. We hit up some new breweries. Matt turned 33! We hiked some more. Beth and Casey came to visit and we went to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. And we went to a professional rugby match.

July

I started training for a 50K. Ralph and Jan came to visit and we took a trip to Moab to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We did lots of hiking including our first sunset hike on Antelope Island. Matt went to Vegas for the first time and I went to Boston. I turned 32.

August

More hiking and running in August. Matt went to Canada. The weather got really hot. We spent more time at the pool. I ran my first marathon distance in Park City and saw some moose on the trail.

September

We did more running and hiking and tried to keep cool (the Utah summer was HOT). We went to Wyoming to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We went to the Utah State Fair. I started another new job. We moved to Boise for a few weeks.

October

We moved to Portland. I ran the Elk-Kings 50K. We did some hikes and watched the leaves turn. We went to a Timbers game.

November

We slowed down a little this month. Fewer hikes and fewer runs. We settled into our apartment. Beth and Casey came to visit and we drove down to San Francisco to visit Heidi and Brian. We had some good coffee and payed virtual reality games. We stopped at Crater Lake National Park, but it was closed due to snow. We went to a holiday beer festival in downtown Portland.

December

Heidi came to visit/dog sit and we tried some delicious food and drinks. We hiked a little, it rained a lot. And we celebrated the holidays in a very low-key way with just the three of us.

Food and Drink in Portland – fall 2018

We’ve been in Portland for a little over 2 months now, and sometimes it feels like we never left. We keep having to remind ourselves that it’s been 2.5 years since we were here last – like the time I tried to take Heidi to a wine bar only to find out once we got there that it’s now a coffee shop. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying revisiting some of our favorite haunts and trying new places as well.

Coffee

When we were here in 2016, we were just starting to get into coffee. Now, we’re bona fide coffee snobs. It’s been fun trying out new roasters to find ones that we love.

Kiosko – this has been the favorite so far. It’s a tiny shop down by the river that you’d miss if you weren’t paying attention. We randomly found it while staying in a hotel the first week we were in town, but we’ve been back multiple times since. The beans are roasted perfectly – not too burnt – and they make an excellent pour over in house. They source all of their beans from Mexico and rotate their selections throughout the year.

Case Study Coffee Roasters – Case Study is a coffee shop right in the heart of downtown. We tried two pour over coffees here: the Costa Rica Las Lajas  (notes of honeysuckle, peach jam, vanilla) and the Ethiopia Sidama (notes of raspberry, nectarine, and lemonade). Both coffees were light and flavorful. The Ethiopan had a nice acidity while the Costa Rica had a deeper, creamy mouthfeel coming from the Honey Process.

Good Coffee – Good Coffee has a couple of shops around the city. The location we went to focuses primarily on espresso and espresso-based drinks. We didn’t have a cup there, but we did pick up a bag of beans to brew at home. We tried an Ethiopian roast that was light and complex with a light acidity on the front end and a rich finish.

Food

Por Que No  – an old favorite that stands the test of time. The tacos are fresh and stuffed to the gills with meats, veggies, and other toppings, and the margaritas are a perfect mix of booze and tart. There’s usually a line, but it moves fast and once you get inside you can order your pint of margarita.

Food Trucks – we love all of the food trucks in this city. It’s so nice to be able to walk down the block when you don’t know what to have for dinner and get something cheap and delicious. Our favorite block is at 10th and Alder, though it will soon be closing to make way for a high rise. We also enjoyed Cartopia on the East side, which is set up more like a food court with plenty of seating and places to grab a beer.

 Raven and Rose – even though this was right down the block from our 2016 apartment, we only just now made a visit. The restaurant looks like an English pub on the outside and is broken up into two distinct spaces inside: the downstairs is a full-service dining room while the upstairs bar is a more casual lounge-style atmosphere. The house cocktails are unique and mixed well (they even had fresh eggnog for the holidays!) and the food is rich and delicious.

The Daily Feast – this is a casual diner serving up breakfast and lunch. It’s a small space and can get crowded fast, but they turn tables quickly. They have a nice selection of healthy and hearty breakfast dishes and churn out some decent lattes. We’re fans of the lox bagels and omelettes, but everything on the menu sounds tasty.

Quickfish – poke joint focused on sustainability. We’ll go here when we’re craving something fresh and a little healthy. We love the different bowl options but also like crafting our own bowls. You don’t get as much fish as other places, but they don’t sacrifice on flavor or quality.

Drinks

Deadshot – we stumbled on this bar on our way to a brewery and it was the happiest accident. The drinks caught our eye with their unusual ingredients (mustard, fish sauce, and kimchi, to name a few), and they were executed impeccably. The bar is casual with comfortable couch-like seating and is the perfect location to meet up with friends for a drink.

Shift Drinks – Shift Drinks is downtown and, as the name implies, started as a way to unwind after a day of work. They have an all-day happy hour – since not everyone works the traditional 9-5 – that has plenty of food and drink specials. The drinks are crafted well and the food is tasty. We’ve gone a couple of times and can’t help but getting the bread and olive oil plate to eat alongside our cocktails.

October 2018 Hikes

We’re a little behind on posting, but better late than never. 

Marquam Trail

The Marquam Trail remains one of our favorite running trails in Portland. We used to run this weekly back in 2016 and our return has been no different. The trail is in the Marquam Nature Preserve in the Southwest hills of Portland, near OHSU. There are many trails in the preserve and it’s easy to add quite a few miles. We typically go out for 4-6 miles and a favorite route is up to Council Crest. There’s a large park and on a clear day you can see all of the mountains (Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen’s, Mt. Adams). The trail is lightly trafficked and there are no bikes allowed, which makes it very enjoyable for pedestrians.

Wildwood Trail

The Wildwood Trail is another trail we used to do back in 2016. While it’s not our favorite, it’s a great place to do some trail running in the city. It’s located in Forest Park with numerous points to get on and off the trail. Unlike the Marquam Trail, the Wildwood Trail is very heavily trafficked, especially along the Lower Macleay creek portion. After the Witch’s Castle (an old stone house) the crowds and kids thin out a bit making it more enjoyable, but there are still plenty of hikers and trail runners. Fun fact: the house was actually built in 1929 as a ranger station and restroom for hikers, but it was badly damaged by a storm in the 1960s and only the stone framework remains. The trail runs 27.9 miles point-to-point making it a great place to log some miles.

Pup Creek Falls via Indian Henry Trailhead

Pup Creek Falls is a 9.5 mile, lightly trafficked, out and back trail in Clackamas, OR. It’s in the Mt. Hood National Forest, and there are actually two ways to get to the falls – both along the Clackamas River Trail. The trail is pretty easy with only about 1,200 ft of elevation gain over the course. It runs along the Clackamas River and there are numerous creek crossings along the trail, which Snickers loved. At the turnaround point, you’re treated to a gorgeous 240 ft waterfall nestled in the cliffs, which is well worth the distance.Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 8.39.29 AM

 

Elk-Kings 50K

On a beautifully cool and sunny October morning, I ran the Elk-Kings 50K in the Tillamook State Forest in Oregon. I’ve never been much of  runner, but I got it in my head last year that I wanted to push my body to see just how much it was capable of. I followed a 16 week training program and felt prepared both mentally and physically when October 13th rolled around.

The race started at the Jones Creek Day Use Area. The weather was crisp and cold and there was a gorgeous fog blanketing the forest. The trail was a double out and back; it went out for 4 miles along the Wilson River before turning back to hit the starting point again and head out in the other direction for 12 before turning back around and finishing at the Tillamook Forest Center. There was roughly 5,600 ft. of elevation gain by my Garmin (though the website says it was closer to 6,500 ft.) with the majority occurring in the second half of the course. DSC_0961-X3(source)

The first 11 miles went by quickly. The trail was full of rolling hills and the energy was high. I rolled my ankle at mile 4 – the terrain was much softer than the rocky ground I trained on in Utah – but I was able to walk it out and keep moving forward. Though it was cold when the race started, the sun came out and I was able to shed my outer layer around mile 8. Matt and Snickers met me at the second aid station around mile 11 to give me a fresh water bladder and take my shirt. DSC_1713-X3

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The trail started to get much more difficult after that point. We crossed a bridge and climbed about 1,200 ft. in 3 miles. There was a steep downhill followed by some rollers and another climb before hitting the turn around point at mile 19. At this point my right IT band was getting inflamed from all of the downhill and my knee was in pain (you can see it on my face in the photos below). Luckily Matt came to my rescue with some Ibuprofen and some motivation and I was on my way again.

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The return was HARD. The 1,200 ft. we climbed on the way out was compressed into 1.5 miles on the return and my glutes and hamstrings were on fire. I wanted to stop so many times, but literally pushed my legs up that hill. At this point I knew I was 5th place female – the lady in 4th place was behind me in the first half, but left the aid station before me – and thought if I pushed it I could potentially catch up to her. I was never so relieved as when the trail went down again to the aid station at mile 29. From that point, it was 2.75 miles of rolling hills to the end where Snickers and I crossed the bridge to the finish line.

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Since I did pretty much all of my training solo, being in a race environment was both foreign and invigorating. I pushed myself harder than I probably would have otherwise. I finished 31.76 miles in 6:09:13 by the race time (5:59:44 moving time – I stopped with Matt and Snickers at a few aid stations), which was far better than I could have hoped. Going in I just wanted to finish under 7 hours with a goal in the back of mind of 6.5, so to finish just over 6 hours was amazing for me. I was 21st overall, 4th place female (out of 30), and 1st place female in my age group (the top 3 overall weren’t eligible for age group prizes, so I technically finished 3rd in my age group 🙂 but I’ll take the win).

A big thanks to Matt and Snickers for being my cheerleaders and support staff all summer and to the Go Beyond Racing crew who put on an amazing race.