Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pocket Creek, 11/28/10

I've been itching to get out ever since flakes started dumping last month on Mount Hood. But Brad's a snow snob and won't go before there's enough to cover the rocks and grass and such - what a wienie. We finally decided to make the drive this weekend - WOOHOO!!

Skiing is a completely weather-dependent sport, and you really never know what it will be like until you get there. You can check the forecast and the resort snow conditions and all that, but it's really a crap shoot. We took the gamble Sunday and won... we won BIG!

Because we're super cheap (and resorts are getting way too expensive), we've been doing a lot more cross-country skiing. We own our gear, so it's just gas money and food on the way home. There are other upsides too: solitude, the satisfaction of earning your turns, untracked snow, lots of sweat...

Lindsey, Sean, Brad and I loaded up the studded, four-wheel drive and headed to the Pocket Creek trail head on Highway 35, just past the Mt. Hood Meadows Hood River Meadows parking lot. The weather was cloudy and snowy... until we turned onto Highway 35 and started around the mountain. Blue sky!!

We chose Pocket Creek because half of the loop is on a road, where we knew the early-season snow conditions would be better. We planned to stick to the open spots with ample snow coverage. We climbed up and up and up to the top of the loop:
Time for a snack break:
But where's Brad?? He found some fresh powder to ski down. Let's all follow him into the trees!

The snow was AMAZING! There were about 5-6 inches of fresh, dry powder on top of packed powder. And no one else had been out in the trees that day - first tracks!! I couldn't stop smiling as I bombed down the hills in my tele stance and cruised through the trees. Simply spectacular.

But then we got a little lost. We knew where we were and where we needed to be, but getting from Point A to Point B was a little unclear (there were several large creeks in between us and the car). After wandering around for a while and consulting the map and compass, we decided to just hoof it back up to find the trail we knew was up there somewhere. (We all had a good laugh because this was far from the first time we'd all been lost in the woods together!)

I pointed my skis up toward a hill I knew ran next to the trail (the other half of the loop that isn't on the road). After a while I spotted tracks... we were saved! I snapped a couple shots of the beauty while I waited for my friends to catch up:
Here they come, emerging from the woods!
We continued uphill to the road and then enjoyed the ride down. Had to stop and get a picture of the mountain. Not a bad view, huh?
And we couldn't resist some booger-shot self portraits:
Back at the trail head... Lindsey with her brand-new skis, boots and bindings:
A quick group shot before heading home. We didn't have to work very hard for those smiles... we couldn't stop :)
Then we spent 4 hours in the car on the way home. Bad, bad, bad holiday traffic. It was still worth it!!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Dinner #2

After Thanksgiving Dinner #1 in Newberg, we took a brief break before heading to Dinner #2 at Aunt Kari's house in Portland. Pa took a turn with the carving knife:
Then Vicki used her surgeon skills to show us how it's done:
Oh, and then we discovered the plastic bag of giblets that was still stuffed in the end of the bird. Pa ate them straight from the bag!!! I was laughing too hard to take a picture. Ew!

Kari and Vicki always have the most beautiful home!

Everyone find a seat, it's time to eat!
Brad - Dinner 2, plate 1:
Liz - Dinner 2, plate 1:
Brad had said he was going pedal to the metal the whole day but got full pretty quick :)

I can't believe we didn't get a group shot. But here are cousins Kayla and Jessie. Kari, Vicki, Ma, Pa, Mom, Dad, Eryn and Lindsey were also on hand for the celebration:
It was also Jessie's birthday, so we had presents after dinner:
Mom's birthday was last week, so presents for her, too:
Kari and Kayla made special birthday/Thanksgiving cupcakes for the birthday girls:
Eryn and I brought the pies:
So good, so full! :)

Dinner #1

It's a blessing to have so much family close by, but when the holidays come around, things get complicated. We celebrated Thanksgiving in stages this year with our first stop at Friendsview in Newberg.

We ate our first dinner at noon with Grandma and Grandpa, my dad's parents:
Liz - Dinner 1, plate 1:
Brad - Dinner 1, plate 1:
Liz - Dinner 1, plate 2:
Brad - Dinner 1, plate 2:
Brad's parents, grandmother, cousin and great aunt were eating at the same time in another part of the dining room so we got to share the day with them, too!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Give n' Gobble

My November race was Sherwood's Give n' Gobble on Thanksgiving morning. Luckily we were coming off the "arctic blast" and it was a balmy 34 degrees when we left the house:
Ready to roll with capris, a polypro shirt, thin stocking cap and fleece mittens. I added pants and a puffy jacket until it was time to run.
It was the first time any of us did the run at Sherwood High School, and we assumed it was a small community race (like the Tigard Family Fest we do each September). We were surprised at how many people were there - especially considering the snow on the ground!

T-shirts were free if you donated a bag of food, and there was lots of loot for runners - woohoo!
The run began behind the football stadium and headed into the neighborhood. It was super crowded to start, and I spent the first several minutes dodging walkers and strollers and parked cars. I also had to be a bit careful as there were icy patches in some spots.

We ran by the YMCA, where an aid station served us coming and going. Good planning! We hit the 5K turnaround spot and the 10Kers (including Brad!) kept going. Soon we were back to the aid station and then into the woods on windy, leafy, icy paved trails. The whole course was much hillier than I expected, and since I didn't know the route, I wasn't sure how much to conserve or blow out the hills. Luckily, I had my Garmin to let me know how close I was to the end. We finally emerged from the parkway and ran a short length back to the school. I sprinted the last part and ended up with a PR!!
9:16/miles are definitely my fastest - woohoo! Michael crossed a couple minutes before me, then Lindsey, Dad, Eryn, Mom and Brad. According to the official results, I was the 6th woman in my age category (30-34) out of 32. Not bad, if I do say so myself :)
That was a super-fun race! I think we all plan to do it again next year for sure :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

"Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done."
Psalm 105:1

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What a fun surprise day off!

How'd we spend our snow/ice day?
Tuesday was supposed to be pie-baking day at CE2 in preparation of Wednesday's holiday feast. I volunteered to bake at home in case school was canceled. Brad couldn't handle the pressure and stole a slice of the apple.
Still had to get in a run, so we went out before the temps dropped too low:

Oh happy day :)