Search This Blog

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Senior Hiking #385

Jan 3, 2011…Schweitzer Nordic Trails …
hike # 385
by Betsy

Schweitzer had a lot of good snow this week, and we went up in search of it…with very cold temps the snow was so light and fluffy and adding to this perfect day was an all day snowfall…and no wind! We dressed differently this week, more in tune with the weather conditions…in fact it wasn’t long before I had to take the down vest off. Feeling mummified is not comfortable so I was willing to take a chance that I would not be too cold.
We met two cross country skiers today…both in awe of the about perfect snow conditions…in fact, everyone had big smiles on their faces, even the little kids. We did see a family unloading in the parking lot as we were and the youngest was three years old…the mom said he started when he was two years old. We saw them later going on the lift up to the medium runs…and not the Musical Chairs beginners run. Amazing.

The snow just kept coming down…it was so pretty, and the snowflakes were so lacy and well defined. When I noticed a bunch of them all clustered in the top of Jim’s backpack, it reminded me of a bowl of cotton seeds. They were so light and were easily blown away.
When we got to Wolf Ridge, the last trail to hike, we decided to go over to the ski run and walk up to the large 6-pak chair lift to see what was going on. Although it looked really steep, we have done it before a few times and it only took 20-25 minutes. At this point I was going to layer up more as I was getting cold but knew the hike upward up that run would warm me. Up at the chair, a snowboarder came over to us and asked how to get down to the village…funny. From there we walked down to the cat track and then into the village. Not too much going on, so continued on down the last run to the truck. None too soon because I was getting cold…everything was cold, and I never did put my vest back on but I did finally put my heavier hat on…that helped. The temperature was now officially 14°. The face mask stayed on all day, and the couple of times I took it off, within minutes it was back on my face.

Left home 9:30Started up 10:00
Turned around ???
Got to truck 3:45
Total miles hiked 8-9 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours, 45 minutes

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Senior Hiking #384 Schweitzer

26° down to 20°

Dec 27, 2010…Schweitzer …hike # 384…
last hike of the year
by Betsy

Since we are still in Christmas week, we headed up to the firehouse to avoid the crowds and to hike up and behind the resort. It was cold and windy as we set out…thinking I would work up a sweat on the steep beginnings, I left my outer layer precip off. Big mistake as the wind didn’t let up and the temps just kept dropping. I finally had to put the face mask on as well. Jim only wore summer pants and short sleeve shirt…with just the precip on. What was he thinking? But he did wear his Christmas present, the down mittens which I convinced him he would love. He also did wear his warm hat under his hood. There was no Rex waiting for us and although there were rigs parked outside, we could see no signs of firemen.

There was much more snow on the trail than we thought and no tracks so Jim had to break trail. We passed on going up the steep “televator hill” and just stayed on the normal trail. What a nice surprise as we got up further and saw that someone had put the measuring tape up again. We have missed it for the last several years. The snow measured barely 4’. Where is the snow?

Next week I am wearing my nice hand knit by me wool sweater…I sure could have used it today. And as much as I raved about the down mittens last week, today my thumbs DID get cold as well as my hands, even with HotHands inside. Of course it was much colder today and we had more wind than last week…and I had my hands out much more adjusting stuff. They are still much better than my old mitts.

As we got into an open area, the winds was roaring and the huge drifts were evidence than it had been blowing that way for a while…at one point, wind blew my nose wiper right up covering my face…my thought was…who turned out the lights? Jim took a pic.

We ran into several; people, most of whom, I assumed, were condo folks out for a little jaunt on the short loop. It got colder and colder, with the temperature now at around 19°-20°, having dropped very quickly. The plan was to get up to the run…Ridge Run I think it called…to check the view, which was 99% socked in with fog…we had about 20 seconds to get a glimpse of the village and then that was gone as well. A few skiers came down the steep run…we stayed out of their way, and then headed down to the trail with the wind at our backside. Lunch, which we ate in a sheltered spot before heading down, was later than usual today. It was cold.

Left home 10:00Started up 10:30
Turned around 1:40
Got to truck 3:30
Total miles hiked 7 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours

Senior Hiking #383 Schweitzer

(Sorry - I am way behind in posting)
Dec 20, 2010…Schweitzer Nordic Trails…
hike #383
by Betsy

Finally had to start snowshoeing up at Schweitzer so headed up and parked at the lower parking lot. More rigs parked there than usual for a Monday but then we remembered that it is Christmas week and school is out. Even as we began on the trails, we had skiers and snowboarders coming at us…eventually the traffic stopped and we were alone. It was snowing lightly.

As usual we took the longer and harder way up to Picnic Point…here we met two skiers and one guy jogging up hill on snowshoes! Ha! Then further on we met another Nordic skier…chatted a while with him and he recognized Jim and said he had bought a stove from us a few years ago. Then we met up with the snowshoe jogger again and chatted…he said he was in awe of us! We told him that we were in awe of him…jogging on snowshoes! He said he also ice climbs and rock climbs! And still yet another couple was cross country skiing…they said they were taking it slow as it was their first day out his year. Too many people!

We did the usual loop, on Cloudwalker, Overland, Grrr…all the way to the end of Wolf Ridge. Wind picked up a bit along the ridge and I tried out my new face mask which worked great. Also tried my new Eddie Bauer European top quality mittens with down liners…they are wonderful. Had the
HotHands inside and then decided to take them out as a test and they worked great even in this cold weather…without HotHands! My thumbs never got cold once, except of course, if I had to take the mitts off for any reason. That was amazing to me. They still need a little breaking in…they’re not molded to the poles yet but they are not uncomfortable. I even convinced Jim that he would love a pair too…his hands were quite cold all day, and especially his thumbs.

It was beginning to get dark around 3:40 on this, the day before the shortest day of the year…and rather than walk the longer way down the cat track, thru the village and down the last run, we decided to take the shorter way, down an incredibly steep rarely used run. Got down and after spending a bit of time watching the workers get the lift shut down for the day, we headed over to the truck. It snowed nicely all day…last week’s rain and warmer weather did not help the snow on the mountain though the snow at the higher elevations didn’t seem to be affected much. It was a perfect snowshoe day…not too cold, no wind to speak of and nice snow falling.

Left home 10:10Started up 10:40
Turned around 2:35
Got to truck 4:00Total miles hiked 8 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours 20 minutes

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Year - New Goals

Last year is almost a blur to me.  I feel like I accomplished very little due to all of the medical problems we faced in our home.  I ended up being mostly a nurse for the first part of the year then got heavily into my business of Vinyl for the last part of the year.  I seemed to put aside a lot of my genealogy because there just wasn't any time left.

I have so many projects that I want to do but I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  I have this genealogy project in mind but have not figured out exactly how I want to go about doing it.  I have put it on my "Goals for the NewYear".  It seems like ages since I pulled up my genealogy and actually did work on my lines.  I taught a bunch of classes in our Family History Center, I started a Genealogy Blog for those needing help, and I have helped my husband get started in Indexing, but I have not done anything for myself - for MY ancestors.  So that is my goal.  I am going to do this project that I have had in my mind for years now.  This is the year to do it.

So if I state the project will that help me to actually start and complete the project?  I hope so.  Here is my plan.  I know many people make books of their ancestors, and that is what I want to do.  I don't want just a book, I want a video that goes with it.  Many years ago I taped several of my relatives talking about their ancestors.  I have these in audio form.  For Christmas I bought my mom a digital tape recorder and my daughter interviewed her while visiting for the holiday.  My goal is to get my pictures, stories, tapes, and anything else I can find, together in a book and DVD to share with my family.  My goal is to get it done this year.  I still have all of my other things in my life but I am now going to put this as a top priority.

I would love to gather your ideas and post them here.  If you have done something like this and would like to share, please comment on this blog and I will contact you for more details.  I would love pictures too!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

30 Days of Fun! Part 1

We did it!  My husband and I actually went on a vacation...just the two of us... for 30 days and we survived to tell about it.  I never really thought we would be able to do this for a variety of reasons.  First, my husband is NOT a person that likes to be away from home for more than a few days but this was his idea and his choice to be gone for a whole month.  I was not going to hold my breath because nothing we have ever planned before has come to pass but he was determined.

The biggest obstacle for this trip was his health.  This last year was measured by how many times he was in the hospital.  He started the year seriously ill.  He had a nasty infection in his leg that should have taken his life (he was given a 40% chance of living through it and they were sure if he lived, he would not keep his leg).  He lived and kept his leg!  It was a long recovery but we made it through that and two eye surgerys, a gall bladder surgery, and finally a hip replacement.  He retired in October and the next week had his hip replaced.  He just knew that would be the answer to help him walk without pain.....but unfortunately, that was not to be.  It seems that his body is trying too hard to fix itself and is now growing bone where bone is not suppose to be.  This is causing a lot of much as before the hip replacement.  We decided to go ahead with the trip but it did make it a bit rough for him and we didn't get to do some of the things we had hoped to do - but we still had a fantastic time.

So we packed up the car, made a spot in the back seat for the dog, and headed to the Pacific Coast.  Our plan was to take our time and go down the coast of Oregon then on into California to see my mom, then on to see our daughter in Southern CA, possibly take a trip to AZ to see some friends, over to Utah to see our youngest son, then up through Boise to see some more friends, and home to Idaho.

We began our trip going down the Oregon coast on Highway 101.  It was beautiful.  The weather was a bit nippy and the ocean was rough but it was so pretty and so much fun.  One of the things we wanted to do was check out camping spots along the way because someday we hope to have a family gathering along the coast.

Our favorite spot was Beverly Beach.  We loved it.  The camp ground was clean and nicely laid out and a short walk to the beach. 

The camp is on one side of the highway and the ocean on the other.  It was such a clean and beautiful campsite.  We loved the Yurts!  They are like circular tents with beds and a porch.  They had quite a few so we thought this would be great for our family.  They also had many camp sites nestled under the trees in a park like setting.  There was a small river that ran by the camp down to the ocean. 

To get to the ocean beach, you walked under the highway.  The beach was not as good as some that we saw.  There was some debris to navigate around but the overall feel of this camp was great.  We liked that the highway kind of protected the camping area from some of the windy weather off the ocean.  We also liked that it was an easy short walk from the camp to the ocean.  Our dog loved this park too!  We did meet another dog, a yellow lab that seemed to be very at home.  I think he must live there.  He was fun to watch.

You can see the Yurts in the background!
The ocean was very rough and you can't see much of the beach but there was a good sized area of beach.  There were a lot of logs in the stream that flowed to the ocean and some logs on the beach area.

Our dog loved the beach.  We actually stopped at several beaches on our trip and she didn't want to leave any of them. 
This is the dog we saw at the beach.  He ran all over - in and out of the water.  This is the little river that ran by the camping site and into the ocean.

Senior Hiking #382

41° RAIN!

Dec 13, 2010…up into the hills above our home…hike # 382

Drat global moved into Sandpoint yesterday and today the rain was pouring down hard at home and up at Schweitzer as well. We thought that better than hiking in rain on snow, we would head up to Schweitzer and hike the Nordic trails. While it would still be in wet snow, it seemed like a better plan. It might even turn to snow while we were there! According to the Schweitzer website, they were running under limited operation, experiencing very high winds as well as the rain and only three of the lower lifts were open.

Once in the truck, we headed down the hill when all of a sudden we were sliding down the hill sideways and then backwards. Holy Gamoly…it was scary. We did NOT want to go over the side. We finally came to a stop on the other side of the road, headed backward and Jim did his best to get the truck back home up the hill and into the garage. Plan B went into effect…we put the snowshoes on at the garage and headed up into the hills above our house. Water on the icy road is worse than new snow on ice.

We live at the fourth serious switchback on our mountain, and while there is one more home up above us, it is the last one, unoccupied for two years and for sale. The plow stops at our house. From our house up, it gets extremely steep and is difficult to walk on and impossible to drive on with ice under snow. We headed up into the woods and began to plow thru the downed trees and brush. There are only critter trails up there, now covered with snow. Lots of snow whacking…similar to bush whacking but with snow instead of nasty brush and alder. We covered the loop of about three miles in three hours. It was a nice change and a good workout. Saw two mule deer, one of which was lying down while the other ate. I took pics from afar thru the brush. The view spot was a joke in this thick fog but eventually we got a brief glimpse of the lake. Rain came down hard all day.

Left home 9:50
Up the hill from home 10:00
Got back home 1:00
Total miles hiked 3 miles
Total hiking time 3 hours

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Senior Hiking #381 - Mickinnick Again!

Dec 6, 2010…Back to Mickinnick …tr #13 …
hike # 381
by Betsy

Today was the day to go back and finish the job…and get to the top of Mickinnick. It’s not like we haven’t been to the top before…in fact, we have, many times and I have lost count…in heat, in cold, on snowshoes, in rain…you get the point.

Another foot of snow dumped on us this week but today the sun was out, and the temps were warmer…yes, 27° is warmer than 23°! There were two rigs at the trailhead…and we met the two young gals coming back down shortly after we set out. It was one’s first time on snowshoes and they had gone up the steep trail only for two miles. We had to stifle smiles when one asked if they plow the trail! She said it looked so nicely groomed…who does it? I quipped that we it is usually us that “plows” the trail breaking trail! Shortly after that a woman with a dog passed up and we soon met her coming back down. This trail is not only a very popular with human hikers but canines too as is evidenced by all the ‘yellow’ snow, especially for the first mile or so.

I geared up with face mask, down vest and double long johns on top. It wasn’t long before I needed to stop to take off the precip which was on top of all of that. The nightmare with snowshoeing is also wearing too much. The snow at the beginning was hard packed and showing signs of heavy snowshoe use but as we got higher, the snow got softer and deeper and only a few had been as far as we turned around last week. From that point on, it was apparent that one person had broken trail all the way to the top AND that individual gets our sincere thanks because he/she knew exactly where the trail is. With so much snow it is very easy to get disoriented and lose your bearings, as we frequently do.
It now was getting colder…seemed more like 23° again and as we neared the summit, we could hear the wild wind blowing up above. Just below we decided it would be a good idea to stop and layer was going to be wicked windy up there.

Finally up at the top and our instincts were correct…the wind was roaring. We did not linger long and stayed just long enough take a few pics…then we were out of there. Lunch time was approaching and we headed for a more sheltered clump of trees to eat.

On the way down we were quite surprised to meet a woman just minutes away from the top and then a short way further down we met a guy also heading up. So many love and use this steep trail…it is a great one. Neither snow nor cold keeps any avid hiker away.

Left home 8:45Started up 9:10Got to top 12:40 (3 hours, 30 minutes up)
Turned around 12:45
Got to truck 3:10 (2 hours, 25 minutes down)
Total miles hiked 8 miles
Total hiking time 6 hours

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Senior Hiking #380 - Mickinnick

23° - 27°

Nov 29, 2010…Mickinnick snowshoes …tr #13 …
hike # 380
by Betsy
Winter is officially here. Two feet of snow sit on our roof and today we snow shoed thru four feet at the far end of the trail. It was not snowing but was cold…I wore my new Eddie Bauer down vest over a myriad of other long john tops. We carried the Stabilicers just in case the trail was icy and slippery on the way down, as is so often the case on this trail, but definitely wore the snowshoes.

This trail is the closest one to our home…only about 7 minutes away on Greenhorn Mountain, one mountain away from our mountain, Shadow Mountain. It is very popular and very steep in spite of its short one way length of almost 4 miles. I always tell people who ask about it, if you can past the first third without collapsing, you have it made. It doesn’t get seriously steep again till you get to the very top.
Started out and after a few minor adjustments for both of us…snowshoes and face mask…we got our rhythm, albeit very slow. The snow was about 2 feet deep at the start but got increasingly deep as we progressed. Old snowshoe tracks were visible for just a short way and then we were on own, breaking trail. Of course, we lost the trail at the usual places…as many times as we have done this hike, it is difficult to find your way with the trail and the trees so covered with snow. So over and under, up and down, we tried to work our way toward the goal…there were many newly downed trees which only complicated matters. The snow was now four feet deep and working our way thru it was hard…especially for the leader, my normal position, but which I happily gave up early.
We stopped for our mango break and I realized I completely forgot to keep snacking on the energy jelly beans! I was getting hungry. After four hard hours of trudging and not knowing how to get back on the trail to the top, we turned around. Not only were we running out of steam but out of time as well…dark comes early now and descending in the dark was not part of the plan. But not before the fearless leader took a fall in the deep snow and could not get up. He left his ‘Life Alert’ at home! Ha. After snapping lots of pictures of his attempt to right himself, I went over to the beached whale and lent him my shoulder and back to lean on…that did the trick. Headed back just a short way to get under some trees for shelter and ate our lunch. As hard as it was to take the warm mitts off, we did, and lunch hit the spot. It was now snowing lightly.

A spot of dark suddenly appeared in the white of the snow all around us …it was a young buck mule deer, happily munching on whatever he could find. Not at all timid, the mulie just kept eyeing us as I zoomed in with my camera and began to snap away. We kept walking toward him and when we ventured a bit too close for his comfort, he bounded away.

About a mile from the bottom, we met a man coming up...we were so surprised! He had no hat, light gloves, no poles, no camera, nor pack, no dog and after chatting a bit with him he said he would be turning around soon. Then closer to the bottom we met two gals coming up...again we were surprised….they were equally not prepared for being out very long. And then almost to the truck, we met a couple out for a stroll in the snow…if they stayed out for long their feet, already covered in snow, were going to be very cold. They are new Sandpoint residents…we chatted for a while and answered all their cold weather gear questions. They were impressed with not only what we were wearing but our knowledge. Nice people. The truck was a welcome sight.

Left home 9:15
Started up 9:30
Turned around 1:30Got to truck 4:00
Total miles hiked 5½ - 6 miles
Total hiking time 6 hours, 30 minutes

Senior Hiking #379 Gold Hill

10° with wind chill -8°, snow, wind 25mph Nov 22, 2010…Gold Hill in snow and cold…tr #2 …
hike # 379
by Betsy

The forecast for today was cold at 10°, winds 24 mph and wind chill at -8°. Oh, and it was also snowing quite hard. Hmmm…where to go. We picked something not too rigorous, and more or less flat…Lost Lake from the top of Mineral Point trail head seemed right. We dressed warmly, and I felt like a mummy. We brought the snowshoes and Stabilicers.
Headed down the highway south and road conditions were not good…wind was blowing hard but took the turnoff and conditions got progressively worse. Since were headed for a lot of non improved secondary roads, and the snow was getting deeper, we decided to turn around at Garfield Bay at 10:10. There was no way we would relax without being concerned about getting back out five hours later. Took a few pics of the deserted boats, and then turned back and headed to Gold Hill trail head. The water was as rough as we’ve ever seen.

Got to Gold Hill at 10:50...of course no one was there. The snow didn’t look deep enough for snowshoes and we didn’t even tie them to the pack. The lake, which is just across from the trail head, was close to rough ocean conditions here too…huge white caps and swells 8 feet high. Bundled up, we headed onward and upward. As we climbed higher, the snow got deeper and I found it more difficult to walk in it, more so than Jim. I couldn’t plow thru it the way he did so I eventually gave up the lead. We stopped for snacks at our usual spot but it was painful taking the mittens off to eat. Our thumbs were constantly cold and then I got the idea to try something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and that was to open another pack of Hot Hands and stuff one into each thumb in the mitten. I always thought it would be too thick and I wouldn’t get my thumbs in but I was very happily surprised when it worked! I had no more cold thumbs for the rest of the way up and the trek down. This will now become standard operating procedure.
We got as far as the first good view spot up top, and had enough fun. Took pics and got the heck out of Dodge without even eating lunch. Walking down on the slick deep snow proved difficult so we stopped to put the Stabilicers on our boots. This was not fun to do, in the cold and snow. Our hands completely froze in the process and had to take some time to stay still and get them warm. But by now my right foot was getting so numb and cold, that I had to keep it up and wiggle my toes. My nose, in spite of having two face masks on, was frozen…I stuffed a spare hankie under the nose flap and that felt so good…apparently the nose flap, after getting wet, froze, thus a cold nose. Now we were ready to continue down, albeit uncomfortably mummy-like for me. It was a long hike down and we just kept putting one foot in front of the other, until we got back to the truck. Working quickly, we got all the wet stuff off, stowed away, into the truck and then we ate lunch! I was so hungry. This was definitely one of our “we go out in any kind of weather” hikes.

Left home 9:25Aborted Lost Lake 10:10Started up 11:00
Turned around 1:10Got to truck 3:00Total miles hiked 6 miles
Total hiking time 4 hours

I'm Back!!!

I have been gone for a month but I am back.  I know that I am way behind on the Senior Hiking so I am first going to get caught up on that but I have some fun things that I got to do and see while on my trip so I want to report on that too.