Saturday, August 24, 2019

Walking with the ladies

Lake Padden walk this morning
At least twenty of us ladies headed out for our usual monthly walk around Lake Padden. It's 2.6 miles once around, and a few of us only went around the first time, but these briskly walking ladies were beginning their second lap. I was fine with going around once, not wanting to push my knee too far again, too soon.
Cindy, Maria, Lily
I had finished my first lap and went back out to find these three, who I knew were walking much more slowly than the rest. I knew they also weren't going to make another lap, so the four of us went off to Whole Foods for a nice breakfast together. My knee is pretty happy right now, but it was beginning to complain. Frankly, I think I had the best of both worlds, and now it's time to enjoy the rest of what feels like a fall day: cool and overcast, with occasional sun breaks. I'm gonna kick back until Wine O'Clock.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Not hiking again today

Lake Ann in 2013
My usual group of Senior Trailblazers is heading to Lake Ann and the Shuksan glaciers today. I am not with them, since my knee is still healing from the trauma I subjected it to last Thursday. At first I was not convinced that the knee pain is related to my tailbone/sacrum injury of a month ago, but now I'm pretty sure they are related. A few of the exercises that my acupuncturist gave me to do have demonstrated a clear correlation between them. This all started because of a 19-year-old injury that caused me to break my pelvis in 6 places and pretty much shattered the right sacrum.

I have long been aware that my right leg is not as strong, and that the loss of the internal iliac artery sustained at that time, along with nerve damage, would one day come back to haunt me. It seems this is that time. However, the good news is that my knee is gradually getting better, and I can carry out my usual activities, as long as I rest the area and don't stress it like I did last week. The Lake Ann hike is a difficult one, with lots of elevation gain, rocks to navigate, and plenty of sunshine to deal with. Not a good one for me today. I've done this hike at least ten times, maybe more, and look forward to the possibility of another visit one day, maybe next year.
Tomatoes galore
In the meantime, I am enjoying the lovely markets around town, showing off the beautiful fruits and vegetables that are now available. My own little garden has lots of those Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, pickles, and kale; everything else has been harvested. Late summer is a wonderful time in my part of the world.
Fall flowers
These beautiful bouquets of fall flowers were for sale, but after I admired them, I left them for others to buy. Uppermost in my mind is that if I'm good to my knee, I might be able to make next week's hike, or the one after that, if not next week's. The one thing I don't want to do is make the same mistake of trying to get back into the High Country too soon and suffer the consequences. You'd think I would learn my lesson, but it seems the one lesson I fail to learn is patience. Oh, the rationalizations I come up with continue to make me smile ruefully.

Time to pick up my latest book and enjoy the rest of the day in my easy chair. (I did get in some exercise at the gym today, not much, but some.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sneezy times ahead

On my way to the bus yesterday, I saw this golden plant in full flower. Uh-oh, I thought to myself, I think I'm allergic to this stuff. I have recently noticed an increase in itchy eyes and nose, and lately the signs of early fall are appearing everywhere. At first I thought this was ragweed, so I (of course) read up on it. Nope, they are very different looking, and goldenrod is a favorite of pollinators.
Snagged from
Having been unaware of the differences between these two plants, now I'm on the lookout for ragweed in my area. But it's nice to learn that the pretty goldenrod is not a significant sneeze maker. Do you have any allergies that make the season miserable for you?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Fifty years since Woodstock

Snagged from Where Is the Way Forward?
This weekend marks fifty years since the Woodstock Music Festival happened. Many people were there, in fact around 400,000. It was planned to have no more than 50,000, so it was quite an event to have so many people in the Yasgur Family's meadow. I laughed to learn that more than five million people claim to have been there.

Although I was alive back then, and aware of the festival, I was a young mother and worked full time. Plus I wasn't much into music, but I sure remember this period of time. The festival is now the largest ever held: read all about it here.

I didn't walk with the ladies this morning because my knee is still not okay. I'm hoping that time will make it better, but if not I'll go to the doctor's office, unwillingly, but I'll go.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Skyline Divide 2019

Six of the eight of us on the way to the Divide
Only eight Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to carpool up to Skyline Divide. I've been up this trail more times than I can count, and each one has been different. The service road to the trailhead is almost 13 miles long, and it's in the worst shape I've ever seen it. It took us almost an hour to travel those miles. We didn't get to start hiking until 10:30, as we had all those potholes to navigate. But we did finally get going, on  a cool and absolutely lovely day weather-wise.
Frank and me, taken by Melanie
Frank is often our "sweep," the person who stays in the back and makes sure no one gets left behind. Every hike has a leader and a sweep, and Frank is one of the best sweeps: he helped me so much today. Although my back was fine, my right knee wasn't. Even wrapped in a brace, it was moderately okay going uphill, but it hurt like crazy going down. And there is plenty of up and down on this particular hike. Frank encouraged me and kept my spirits up.
Mt. Baker view from the ridge
We went a bit farther once we reached the ridge, but nowhere near as far as we usually go. It was partly because of the late start, and partly because I was lagging behind everyone else because of my knee.
Our lunch spot
We had a very nice place for lunch. You could sit out in the sun like these hikers, or in the grove of trees there were some nice places in the shade. That's where I enjoyed my own lunch. Afterwards, the others decided to hike on a little farther, but I said I would go back to the junction that leads back down to the cars and wait for them. I didn't want to push it.
Flowers and more beautiful mountains
While I waited, I tried to capture some of the amazing flowers, but none of my pictures give much of a flavor of their beauty. Many of them are past their prime, but everywhere I looked I saw bistort, daisies, arnica, lupine, valerian, and harebells.
Hikers rejoining me
At first, I waited for the others in the shade, with a cool breeze blowing, but before long I was chilly, so I went out in the sunshine to watch for them. Here they come, having added perhaps a mile to their outing. I traveled around five miles or so, while they went over six, with 2,000 feet up and down.

I struggled mightily on the downhill, taking knee braces on and off, trying to find the most comfortable way to descend to the cars. At last we made it back, and after 4:00pm we began our return trip. It was a long day, but it was wonderful to be back after my hiatus. Now all I need to do is figure out how to make my knee work again. It's always something, it seems.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Romanesco broccoli
This is one of the most amazing vegetables I've ever seen. They have a form that is similar to fractals, and one year I baked some in the oven, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and salt, and they were delicious. That link under the picture tells you where they came from. I'm pretty sure they weren't around when I was young, or I would have remembered them. They taste a little like cauliflower and are related to both vegetables.

I tried a couple of years ago to plant them in my garden, but they bolted almost immediately and now I let the experts at the Farmers' Market grow them for me.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Almost back to normal

Me on Skyline Divide a few years ago
This morning I joined the ladies on a hilly five-mile walk, one I was thinking I'd skip this week. But then last night I began to wonder if I might actually be well enough to attempt it, figuring I could bail if I needed to, since it is a local trail, with no chance to get lost or left behind. And I did it! I kept up with the middle group, which is all I've ever been able to do. A little sore, but nothing too bad.

So, this means I'll go with the Senior Trailblazers on Thursday to Skyline Divide. I found this picture from a few years back, and I'm hoping that we'll have similar weather, not too hot, not too buggy. It's been a month and I'm tired of missing out on all the fun, so wish me luck!