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Friday, February 18, 2011

Senior Hiking #389 Schweitzer

7° - 8°

Jan 31, 2011…Schweitzer Nordic Trails…
hike # 389
by Betsy

Another frigid day but the sun was out and the sky was bluebird blue. I bundled up…two pair long johns, 1 polartec jacket, down vest and light precip. Three layers on my head. I considered the heavier and warmer pants that are eons old but when I put them on I could barely move so as much as I wanted to give them a try I reverted back to my old standby comfy snow pants. This I would live to regret. Face mask went on almost immediately for the cold…no wind to speak of luckily. Down mittens with two HotHands in each were a must today. It is nice to be able to park near the village now…had we known they don’t charge for parking during the week we would have done it sooner.
Not too crowed today, and not too many little kids to watch before we headed over to the snowshoe trails which lead to the cross country trails. No sooner had we begun when we saw the Nordic trail patrol lady! So funny that now that we have our passes, we see her all the time, and we met her again later on in the day on skies up above. One woman snowshoer headed on the trail ahead of us but we quickly passed her and hoped we could dodge her. I knew she wouldn’t go up the steep part because she had no poles…no way.

Went on the usual runs, including the steep and harder way up to Picnic Point. Took lots of pics, for as long as I could stand my hands being out in the cold. By the time we were headed up Cloudwalker to Wolf Ridge, I began to get very cold, especially my butt. Instead of doing the Wolf loop we walked up the steep run again to the 6-pak chair Stella. It took 45 minutes and when we got up to the top, they were just shutting down, an hour earlier today. While walking up, we took advantage of the beautiful clear day to get some great shots of the Selkirk’s, Seven Sisters Range, and some of the Cabinet Range…we could see forever. My fingers got really cold but I couldn’t pass up these shots.
Finally heading back to the village, I began to get seriously cold, and we were losing sunshine. Every time we came to a patch of sun, I would have to stop and turn my back to it to warm up my legs and backside, which were beginning to get tingly and numb. My right foot also got so cold that I had to keep wiggling my toes as I walked. Getting back to the village as quickly as possible was the plan. The sun was just about completely behind the mountain by now. I was very uncomfortable, and to add to the discomfort, my breath on the face mask was freeing up so it felt like there was an ice cube strapped to my nose. Brrrrr…..
I knew it wouldn’t be that much fun today but I didn’t think it would be this bad. The bottom line is that we probably stayed out a bit too long for such a cold and bitter day and I need warmer pants and a spare or two extra face masks, both of which were ordered the next day.

Left home 9:50Started up 10:30
Headed up run to ‘Stella’ 2:15
Got to ‘Stella’ 3:00Got to truck 3:50
Total miles hiked 7-8 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours, 20 minutes

Senior Hiking #388

Jan 24, 2011…Schweitzer - above firehouse …
hike # 388
by Betsy

It snowed all night and Schweitzer got their share…headed up to firehouse to hike in the hills above to the ski run under chair 1. One snowshoer had been on the trail. Headed up Televator dubbed by me several years ago because this is where we lift the televators on our snowshoes, making this steep climb a bit easier. The snow was hard to walk in and go more difficult as more snow fell…it was deep, soft and fluffy. I did not lead today. This the longer way…and today it felt like it. We finally got to the main trail, an old jeep trail, at around noon. There had been a bit more traffic here but the snow was still hard to walk on. A slight wind came up but it wasn’t too bad…it just kept blowing the falling snow into my eyeballs in spite of glasses but because it got bothersome on my chin and cheeks, I pulled my zipper all the way to cover up. That helped a lot. The tape measure on the tree showed that they now have almost 6’ at that point…about midway up…more than a foot from last time we were there a couple of weeks ago.

After ditching the tracks we had been following, we decided to head straight up to the run. Traversing sideways on this hill kills my ankles. Wind was getting strong up top so we huddled in a clump of trees to eat our lunch. Saw a few skiers come down thru the fog. No views today. Didn’t put my face mask on but I kept it accessible just in case.

Since we had the time, we drove up into the village to check out a wine and cheese store, thinking we would find something new and different for supper. Nothing worked for me but Jim bought a couple of Lanjaegers, (sp?) which he downed before we even got back to the truck.

It snowed nicely all day…the next day I read that they received 6”. I took not one picture today and Jim took just a handful so just a few will be in the album. Same old, same old…and now views. A hard hike on the ankles and knees…for me.

Left home 10:05Started up 10:30
Got to run 1:15Turned around 1:30Got to truck 2:40
Total miles hiked 7-8 miles…seemed like 28 miles!
Total hiking time 4 hours, 10 minutes…felt like 8 hours!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Exercise is Fun!!!

My husband and I have joined a gym.  He has spent a year in and out of the hospital and I have spent the year nervously eating.  We both are OUT OF SHAPE- in every sense of the word.  We both have bad knees and arms, have arthritis, he also has a problem since his hip surgery (bone started growing back over the new hip causing extreme pain), both are very over weight, and both of us have no strength.  We elected to do swimming as our exercise as it seemed the less stressful on our out of shape painful bodies.

We have been at this for 3 weeks now.  There have been a few obstacles along the way.  My biggest hurdle was to find a swim suit.  Being heavy does not make it easy to find a swim suit.  I live way out in the country and there are not many stores near to choose from especially when trying to find a larger sized swim suit out of season.  I decided to go online.  That was extremely frustrating.  I get really irritated at the kinds of suits available for larger women.  The designers think that we want to hide our bodies (which we wish we could but it is pretty hard to hide a body in a swim suit) so they put a skirt on these skimpy looking things.  Do you know what that looks like?  Like a whale in a tu-tu.  Not a pretty site.  I finally decided on a 2 piece.  I waited patiently to get this suit only to be so discouraged when it came.  I think what they did was design a suit for a woman of size 2 then just kept enlarging it to fit us full figured gals.  Disgusting!  I did not know what to do.  I finally went to the only discount store we have in our town and bought a pair of biker pants (without padding) and used them as the bottoms for the swim top.  This seemed to work okay.

So we headed out to the gym.  I am a very modest person.  I always have been - even when I was normal sized.  I walked into the ladies locker room only to find naked ladies everywhere.  I carefully found a locker in a back corner and got ready for the pool.  Luckily I already had my suit on so it was an easy preparation. 

Swimming was great.  Both my husband and I began with some exercises in the pool then I started to swim.  I quickly realized that I needed to get some earplugs as I have major problems with my ears.  So the first day I just stuck to the exercises.  The second day I used the earplugs and swam backstroke and breaststroke.  I found that I do not have the breathing down for freestyle at this time.  So I have worked up to 30 laps only stopping once or twice.  Along with that, I do a variety of leg, arm, and body exercises.  Other than a couple of days missed due to illness (over the weekend also), we go 5 days a week.  We chose to go early in the morning so to encourage ourselves to get up and go, we have volunteered to drive one of our grandchildren in to a morning church class that he attends.  We are up by 5:45 and out the door by 10 after 6 AM!!!   We swim for about an hour each day.

My next huge hurdle was back in the locker room.  Between being very modest and very self conscience, I was faced with having to change in front of these other ladies.  I don't even undress in front of myself!  So I went through the door to the locker room only to find a lady drying herself off after her shower.  She kind of blocked the path.  I saw to her right the sauna so I decided to duck into there until I felt the coast was clear for me to get changed.  I opened the sauna door and started in but saw it was full of naked ladies lying around and sitting in every available spot.  I quickly shut the door and opted for plan #2. 

I gathered my bag, my towel, and change of clothes and headed for the shower.  Thank goodness for shower curtains!  Now most ladies go to their lockers, undress, head to the shower, shower, dry off, then head back to the locker area to dress.  NOT ME! I entered the shower in my swim suit and came out mostly dressed.  I actually had to finish dressing in the bathroom because the floor in the shower was too wet for me to put on my sweats.  I did get some strange looks as I exited the shower with clothes ON!  I did this for a week and then finally realized that there was a special locker area for swimmers.  Most of the ladies that early in the morning do not use that locker because it doesn't have all of the nice features found in the main locker area and they were not swimming either.  It was fine for me. 

So my husband and I are watching our food intake carefully and hitting the veggies and fruits hard.  We exercise at the pool 5 days a week for an hour each day.  I have not noticed any weight loss yet but I do see an improvement in my strength.  I had the flu for a few days and was down but went back today for my first time back.  I was impressed that I could do my 30 laps easily and in a much faster time.  I also did 30 minutes of water exercises.  I have never liked exercising but I am actually thinking that this exercise is fun!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Senior Hiking #387 Schweitzer Nordics

40° - 35°

Jan 17, 2011…Schweitzer Nordics…
hike # 387
By Betsy

A heat wave hit us again…temp was 40° when we left the house and it was about 35° in the village up at Schweitzer…and raining which the website said had just turned to light snow. They also advised to stay on groomed trails only due to avalanche possibilities and soft snow. They also advised that it may be a good day to get out on the cross country trials...instead of the soft slopes…grrrr. Our plan was to park up near the village, and hopefully they would not be charging to park…we lucked out. Finally broke down and bought our season passes, and left for the hike from the village, changing our flight plan. The wind though wild was warm and since it was not a cold one, I did not put my face mask on, though I thought about it. Not too many people but saw a lot of little ones. Lighter clothing today but did have HotHands in the mitts…no down mitts today.

Because we now had our passes and we were “legal”, we were hoping we would meet the pass patrol lady...and we DID! We happily flashed our new passes at her and she almost did a dance…she was so happy and kept thanking us…she’s a nice gal.

It wasn’t long before we began to meet skiers. Omigosh, there were so many on the trail today. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the web report, or maybe the holiday, but it had to be the most we have ever seen. I soon lost count.

First we had some light rain, then light snow, then a patch of blue sky and sun for a nanosecond, then wind, and then more light rain mixed with snow. The snow underfoot was soft and mushy in places…my ankles noticed the change in the compactness before too long.

In spite our later than usual start, we continued on to the end of Wolf Ridge, but since we left from the village and skipped the steep climb up to Picnic point, we were about 15 minutes ahead of schedule! That surprised me.  We could see that there was serious weather and wind up on the top…it was fogged in all day, most likely snowing hard. I spotted a bobcat track in the snow.

Finally back down to the village, we ‘people watched’ for awhile and again, there were so many “short” skiers and I mean short. These kids were so cute…some with parents and some with instructors. I asked a few how old these kids were and asked some of kids if they were having fun, receiving a variety of answers back! One dad I asked said his son was 2 years old! I guessed about three years old…Omigosh. My next question to him was he potty trained…NO! He was not. I wondered if they had layered him up in double overnighter Pampers! We took pics of this little one. He probably just learned how to walk!
Not having to walk up from the lowest parking lot, not doing the steep Picnic Point trail and leaving from the village saved us about 1½ hours but almost the same in miles.
When we got home, although we are east facing, the reflection of the setting sun in the west reflecting on the lake and mountains was spectacular. I couldn’t stop shooting and put a lot of them and the kids’ pics in the pic album. We are so blessed to live where we live.

Left home 10:00Started up 11:00Turned around 1:50
Got to village 3:15
Total miles hiked 8 miles
Total hiking time 4 hours, 15 minutes

Senior Hiking #386

6° - 8°
Jan 10, 2011…Schweitzer Nordics…
hike # 386
by Betsy
Bitter cold has hit Sandpoint…headed up to the Schweitzer x-country trails. We were only one of three rigs in the parking lot. Not many people on the hill…some kids and a sixth grade teacher who brought some students to snowboard. What is that all about…don’t kids go to school on Monday any more? We see this frequently.
Of course we were bundled up…wore my new polartec lined pants with my heaviest long johns underneath. Face mask, hat and two hoods and down vest, wool name it, I had it on. There was quite a bit of snow this week though we had rain in town. Thankfully there was no wind but it was COLD.

It was a perfectly beautiful day, with not a cloud in the sky…visibility was excellent. After a bit of steep climbing, I had to stop to take the vest off. Then had to spend time getting my hands back warm with two pair of HotHands in each mitt. There seemed to be so many people on the x-country trails today, including a couple we sold a stove too. They were just getting into cross country skiing…he mentioned how they enjoy seeing my pictures in the paper and would we like if he took a picture of us together with my camera? Of course we agreed. Another person we met was the ‘snowshoe pass patrol lady’ out x-country skiing…she asked if we had our passes…we did not, having neglected to buy them but will now do so. She was very nice and didn’t set off the sirens but rather told us to have a nice day!

Now heading up for the long trek up to Wolf Ridge where the views were spectacular. The wind picked up a bit and it got cold enough for Jim to actually put his hat, hood and face mask on. It was a killer cold on the hands each time we had to take the mitts off but I could not resist taking pictures. My nose was freezing in spite of the mask…it just got so wet from breathe that it felt like an ice cube was strapped to it…finally had to wrap a bandana around my head on top of the mask. Then my feet began to get cold…Jim’s too and our feet never get cold with our great over boots. My water bottle froze. Too keep my glasses from fogging up…an annoying problem…I had to break down put the ski goggles on. I need to find some anti fog stuff…I was walking half blind. At the end of Wolf Ridge, where we turn around, the views of the Selkirk’s and the Seven Sisters range were outstanding. It was here that we both put our vests back on and headed back, down Cloudwalker trail and then taking the very steep ski run back down to the truck. Though it is always fun to walk down the cat track into the village to people watch, we were anxious to get back to the truck. Besides, they were about to close early today and there would have been no people. I was chilled to the bone.
My new pants are better than my old ones but my butt and thighs were very cold…it may have been the extreme cold. Next time I will wear two pairs of long johns under them.
Left home 9:30Started up 10:10Turned around 2:05
Got to truck 3:45
Total miles hiked 9 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours, 40 minute