Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ireland is 40 shades of green!

I just found out that there is a Johnny Cash song called 40 shades of green about Ireland. I had a 4 day trip with a two-day layover in Limerick, Ireland, so I convinced Ryan to come along with me. He has already told most of the story on his blog:

Ireland in Two Days or Less

But here are some more photos, this first one is of the street. If you have been to England where they drive on the left, there are often words like this as you step off the curb, reminding you to look right or look left. These words are in the Irish language and mean, Stop, Look.

And of course we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher and at first the cliffs were totally socked in by fog. From this photo you can tell it was like a total white-out!

but in only about 30 minutes the fog cleared and we were able to get some great views of the cliffs and the crowds of people from all the tour buses! :-)

We did alot of walking in Ireland, but none of it counted towards hike-a-thon for me. For those folks waiting for the last minute to pony up their pledges, just go to the WTA website link here:

Amanda's WTA Fundraising Page

Thanks so much for everyone's support this year!

Monday, August 25, 2008

California Dreaming, I ain't Lion!

I had a layover in Los Angeles, CA and I was able to hike a few miles for hike-a-thon at the Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, CA. My total mileage is now up to 53.5 miles.

Carbon Canyon Nature Trail

The Park is near the site of a former settlement called Olinda. Olinda was settled by farmers and ranchers in the 1800's. With the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad, farmers and ranchers flocked to the area and cattle and sheep were pastured in the open fields which comprise the park. In the late 1800's the oil boom was on. A multiple of oil companies drilled in the foothills of Orange County. Olinda was an oil town with the oil company owning the houses, stores and the land. The area thrived as an oil boom town until the fields began to shut down in the 1940's.

The park was created in 1975 after a dam was built at the mouth of the canyon for flood control in the 1960's. The last physical evidence of the community of Olinda became a memory with the development of the dam. The park is full of the flora and fauna of southern California.
The Pepper Trees were especially lovely with their red fruit. There were lots of posters warning about mountain lions and sitings had been made as recently as the first of August. I do quite a bit of hiking in the hills around Los Angeles and you are always hearing about mountain lions attacking hikers and even bicyclists! I certainly hope that I never come across a mountain lion on the trail. I have read some tips on the internet about what to do if you come across a mountain lion and I will share them with you here:

1. Do not hike alone. The majority of lion attacks on people have involved individuals hiking or running alone. The size and noise of groups seems to deter lions. (difficult for me, but I was in cell phone contact at all times :-)

2. Do not run because running stimulates a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal.

3. Do not crouch down. The mountain lion experts conclude that a human standing up is just not the right shape for a cat's prey. But a person squatting or bending over can looks like a four-legged prey animal. If you are in mountain lion country, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children. Crouching down or bending over also makes the neck and back of the head vulnerable. (difficult to not bend down when you are letterboxing! :-)

4. Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Keep everyone in your group together, appearing as one large shape to the lion. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud, low voice. Convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to the lion.

5. Fight back if attacked. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. People have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, tools, jackets, and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Wildlife experts do not recommend that you play dead.

Back home in Seattle, I was able to get in one mile on the Des Moines Creek Trail down by the airport. It is along the flight path to SeaTac and the airplanes come in every couple of minutes. I really enjoy it! :-)

Only one week left for hike-a-thon and Ryan and I will be away visiting Ireland for 4 days, so I don't know how much more hiking I will be able to do for official hike-a-thon mileage. Don't forget to get your pledges into me by the first of September or do it yourself via the WTA website:

Amanda's WTA Hike-a-thon Fundraising Page

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me all month! Letterboxers, don't forget to send me your snail mail address so I can send you the Word of Mouth LTC.

Word of Mouth LTC

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

50 miles and counting!!

Lots of great hiking done this week. I am up to 50 miles hiked and 7 pounds lost! Whoo hoo! First of all, Ryan and I drove out to Tiger Mountain and the Tradition Lake Plateau in Issaquah, WA. We hiked a few miles and found some letterboxes. Along the Bus trail, we stopped to check out the remains of an old bus that is there....
Bus Trail 2007 Hike-a-thon

I had stopped by there last year on a hike-a-thon hike. It seems that each year, there is less and less of the bus left. Could it be rusting away?

We hiked up to the Talus Rocks. I was wondering if this was a specific kind of rock....for example, what makes a talus rock different from a glacier erratic?
Geologically, talus, or scree, is the accumulation of broken rock that lies on a steep mountainside or at the base of a cliff. Ryan had heard of Talus Caves before, caves that are formed when rocks are piled up together. It seems that Talus Rocks could be Erratics. What makes them Talus is the way they are scattered along the sides of the mountain.

Then I flew off to London for work and took time out to hike along the Princess Diana Memorial Walk in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. According to wikipedia, "The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is a 7-mile trail dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. It goes between Kensington Gardens, Green Park, Hyde Park and St James's Park in a figure-eight pattern, passing five sites that are associated with her life: Kensington Palace, Spencer House, Buckingham Palace, St. James's Palace, and Clarence House. It is marked with eighty-nine individual plaques and has been described as "one of the most magnificent urban parkland walks in the world"."

People still leave bouquets of flowers as tributes to Diana here at spots along the walk and by Kensington Palace. With the anniversary of her death approaching, (August 31, 1997) there were flowers stuck into the ornate black and gold palace gates.

My fundraising page at the WTA website:
Amanda's WTA fundraising page

Saturday, August 16, 2008

urban trails

Hike-a-thon 2008 updates! I have lost 4 pounds! and
I have currently hiked 43 miles for hike-a-thon. This past week, I have been flying in and out of Seattle, so my hiking has been limited to urban trails. The Longfellow Creek Trail in West Seattle, the Foothills Rail to Trail in Orting, WA

and a couple of miles on the Burke-Gilman Trail out near Lake City, WA (Ryan did the whole trail for Hike-a-thon in 2004
Ryan's Adventures 2004) On the Burke-Gilman Trail, as a walker, you are definitely in the minority--lots of bicycles!

And in St. Petersburg, FL I was able to hike for 5 miles on The Pinellas Trail. Ryan did the entire trail in November 2006 while we were visiting my Dad in Florida. The only elevation you get is when there is an overpass over the busy highways.

The month is half over and I have made great strides towards my goals for hike-a-thon. Don't forget to get all pledges in to me by the 1st of September! Letterboxers, be sure to snail mail me your address so you can get the Word of Mouth LTC! To make things easier, you can donate directly on the WTA website, just click on the following link:

Amanda's WTA Hike-a-thon Fundraising Page

Friday, August 08, 2008

what's up with the magazine?

I have hiked 32.6 miles for hike-a-thon so far! You might have noticed that I have a Washington Trails Magazine in the Photos about my hiking for hike-a-thon this year in my previous blog entries. In order to prove that I have hiked the trails that I say I am hiking, I am required to take a picture with the August issue of the magazine. I take a ton of photos of all my hikes anyway for the blog, so this hasn't been that much trouble for me. UNTIL....until my sister and I were already on the ferry to the Olympic Peninsula and I figured out that I had left the Washington Trails Magazine at home. We stopped at a Fred Meyers and several other grocery stores as well as a couple of bookstores and local general stores in the towns of Port Orchard and Shelton on the Peninsula, but we could not find another issue of the WTA magazine to use while taking pictures. I figured since it was just to prove that I was hiking these trails during the month of August that I could find an emergency replacement. So we bought the August issue of Northwest Magazine with a lovely picture of sunflowers on the cover to use while we were on our trip to Lake Quinault. So the pictures in this blog entry will feature Northwest Magazine with Sunflowers. Our first hiking stop was at the Huff N Puff trail in Shelton, WA. Gotta love a name like Huff-N-Puff for a trail! Although there wasn't much to Huff and Puff about, it was pretty tame as trails go.

We spent the next two days camping and hiking around Lake Quinault. We discovered that there is still a lot of damage from the winter storms in this area of the Olympic National Park. I hiked the Lake Quinault Loop and the Gatton Creek Trail.
While hiking up past Irely Lake we encountered some folks doing trail work on that trail along Big Creek.
There were a lot of trees down over the trail and a couple of spots required us to scramble up and over as the trail disappeared around the debris. One of my favorite little hikes is at the Ranger Station on the north side of Lake Quinault. It is the Kestner Homestead Trail and takes you through an old homestead. A brochure at the beginning of the trail details what life was like on the homestead in the early 1900's.

There is also the Maple Glade Trail at the same Ranger Station and it is a short little nature trail.

I have been trying to eat sensibly, but after dinner, I splurged on Raspberry Shortcake!

On the way home to Seattle, we stopped in Aberdeen for a hearty breakfast at Duffy's restaurant.
Later at the Stewart Park trail, the sign was missing so we compromised there with a shot of the park sign that is above the picnic pavilion. I also hiked along the Morrison Riverfront Walkway.

For Hike-a-thon, I still need approximately $250 to meet my goal of $1,100. Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed so far! Also if you are a letterboxer and are contributing to receive the WOM LTC, please shoot me an email with your snail mail address so I can get that out to you ASAP. Also if you contribute $35 or more towards Hike-a-thon you are eligible for WTA membership and you can receive your own copies of the Washington Trails Magazine throughout the year. They have wonderful articles about the trails here in Washington State, as well as more general articles on Backpacking, Outdoor Gear and even Fire Lookouts! :-)

Amanda's WTA Fundraising Page

Cougar Mtn hiking and What's an LTC?

So far I have hiked 16.6 miles for the WTA. The other day I went hiking for hike-a-thon at Cougar Mountain near Issaquah, WA. This is a wonderful hiking area right here in Seattle's backyard. I hiked 4 miles along several trails: Wildside, Marshall's Hill, De Leo Wall, Indian, Red Town and Rainbow Town trails. I planted a letterbox while I was there and I am only going to have it available as a WOM (word of mouth) clue. The clue will be available on an LTC for letterboxers who contribute to my WTA hike-a-thon fundraising. So what is an LTC? LTC stands for Letterboxer Trading Card. It is like a baseball card for letterboxers! But more like an ATC (Art Trading Card) ATC's are artistic expressions on a baseball card sized canvas. The Letterboxer Trading Card utilizes the rubberstamp images that are so popular with letterboxers and combined with drawings in ink, painting, scrapbooking, collaging, glitter, glue etc etc etc you get a unique little work of art. My WOM LTC will also have the clue to The Leo Wall letterbox on the back.

To donate to the Washington Trails Association Hike-a-thon, just click on the following link:
My WTA Fundraising Page

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Some East Coast Hiking

I have to fly back and forth from Seattle to the East Coast for work and I was able to sneak in a few little hikes the last couple of days. In Charlotte, NC I hiked for 2.8 miles along the Torrence Creek Greenway and another mile on the Duke Energy Explorium Nature Trail, which is located at the McGuire Nuclear Station on Lake Norman. Lake Norman is the state’s largest man-made lake and was built by Duke Power in 1963 by damming the Catawba River with the Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station. At the Explorium and the Nature Trail there are signs about what to do if the warning sirens go off! Luckily there were no incidents while we were walking around the nature trail and I didn't have to worry about evacuating the area. :-)

The next day in Pennsylvania, I hiked along the Radnor Trail in Wayne, PA.
This is another "rail-trail," always a favorite of mine! Electric trolleys, part of a railroad leading to 69th Street Terminal in Philadelphia, once followed this path. Today, bridges, supports that once elevated stations, and a substation building are all that's left of the "Strafford Branch" of the Philadelphia and Western Railway.

The Railway operated through the towns of Wayne, PA and Radnor, PA for fifty years. After the trains stopped running, it sat vacant for almost as much time. Now the right-of-way is in active use once again as a hiking-biking trail.

After a quick jaunt down the Radnor Trail, it was off to Valley Forge National
Historic Park. I climbed up Mount Misery along the Covered Bridge and Horse-Shoe Trails. The Horse-Shoe Trail is a 140-mile hiking and equestrian trail that runs from Valley Forge to the Appalachian Trail in southeastern Pennsylvania.
I had no idea that this trail existed. I think it is a pretty cool idea that it runs all the way out to the AT. Like standing on a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail out here in Washington State and imagining that you could just start walking and end up down in Mexico! :-) Not that I would ever do anything like that....Ryan would, but not me! :-) Also while at Valley Forge, I climbed up Mount Joy! I couldn't end the day on Misery ya know!

Many thanks to Sheba and Miz Scarlet for squiring me around in Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Conflicted about public transportation

I really wanted to take public transportation today to go on my hike. But, I am on a layover in Seattle and I only have 22 hours at home, those who know me well know that I will be sleeping for about 10-12 hours of that time! :-) So I only have about 10 hours to do my household errands, 1-2 hours is taken up by dressing for work and driving to and from work so I have about 8 hours left to hike for hike-a-thon, do laundry, stop for groceries, etc. I really wanted to take public transportation out to Discovery Park for a hike. So I went online to the King County Metro Transit Trip Planner and I found out that it would cost approximately $3.50 for the bus roundtrip and it would take about 3 hours round trip to get out to the park. Then I went to MapQuest and the AAA fuel cost calculator to figure out what it would take if I drove my car. It would take less than an hour round trip to drive myself and it would only take about 1/2 to 3/4 of a gallon of fuel, so let's say $4.00 would be the cost. And since I was in my own car, I could stop and run errands along the way (the post office, the library, the grocery store) without any added delays waiting for buses. So in the end, instead of taking the bus, I ended up driving out to Discovery Park. Evil, evil, bad, bad, the single car driver clogging up the roads and destroying the environment with my horrible emissions. :-) But now I have time to write up my blog about my hike.

Discovery Park was named for the English explorer Captain George Vancouver's ship, the Discovery. It was originally part of Fort Lawton. Fort Lawton was created by the Army in 1898 and the first troops were assigned to it in 1901. After the Korean War, fort activity declined and most of the fort was declared surplus by the Army. The federal government was allowed to give surplus lands to cities and states to be used for parks and recreation and the lands were transferred to the City of Seattle in 1972. Fort Lawton still exists within the park as headquarters of the U.S. Army Reserve's 70th Regional Readiness Command and a military housing site. Every time I go hiking here, I see lots of boys sporting crewcuts running the trails and today was no exception. :-)

I hiked the 2.8 mile Loop Trail. The highlight of my hike was stumbling across a lost mole. This little guy was making good time shuffling along the trail. I was very worried about him because there were so many dog walkers out and about. I hoped that he would not be eaten by a loose, off lease dog. I don't know what he was doing up above ground and on the gravely trail no less! He was definitely lost. I will continue to worry about him and wonder what happened to him. I hope he found his way off the trail and back underground.

On another subject, last year I lost 10 pounds during the month of August. Primarily this was due to my increased activity level for hike-a-thon. I did not change my eating habits at all. This year, I hope to increase my weight loss to about 15 pounds by combining all my hiking activity with sensible eating. So I DID NOT STOP at the Red Mill for a burger and a shake after my hike at Discovery Park.

Red Mill Burgers Website

This is a HUGE concession on my part. I really, really, really wanted that burger, but instead I am at home eating a sensible salad. I keep telling myself that it will be all worth it when the scale registers me 15 pounds skinnier at the end of the month. :-)

Don't forget that you can contribute to the WTA Hike-a-thon directly on their website this year, no need to mail me a check or wait to see me to hand me cash. They will be happy to take your credit card number over the internet. :-)

Click here for Amanda's WTA hike-a-thon fundraising page

Also a big thanks goes to Gollygee, Lisascenic and Robb, and Monkey Mamas for their $25 pledges. Doublesaj and Old Blue are going to have to donate an additional $30 to match their challenge. We need one more letterboxer who has not donated previously to donate at least $25 for another $10 from Doublesaj and Old Blue!