Posts Tagged With: Hiking

Figuring it out

I’m slowly figuring this all out.

Yes, weight loss and fitness is about wants…and needs. But most of all, it is about balance.

Weight loss worked for me because I was isolated and had time to adjust to the new lifestyle. I remember reading in high school that it takes three weeks of repeating something for it to become habitual. I have myself that time and it worked out for me. I was able to keep it up past that because it was the new normal.

Now that I am nearing where I want to be, the weight just doesn’t come off as easy. This is partly motivation and partly nature. The same diet doesn’t produce the same results as when I was 360. So the primary issue for me is the motivation.

I’ve been stuck in the 200-210 area for the past month or so. I can tend to do really well during the week but then usually blow it all during the weekends. The sugar cookie massacre of this past weekend is a prime example. This is good and bad news for me.

The good news is that I know that I can still enjoy things without returning to a higher weight. I can’t go completely off the wagon, but I know that a few bad days here or there is not the end and I can control my weight fairly easily once I know what is happening

The bad news is that I’m not going anywhere while doing this. Yes, balance is good and is what we all need to learn, but that type of balance isn’t getting the results. I need more control to reach my goals.

Short term goal: Behave over the weekend with your diet.

Follow the plan: two shakes and a Lean Cuisine dinner. Allow two 100 calorie snacks.

I think some of this is about to get a little bit easier. My roommate is moving out next week. Removing temptation(most of the food in the house) will be good for me…even though I’ll miss the company!

Have a hiking outing tomorrow for my vacation day off of work. I may even go to the gym afterwards! 

Did the gym last night, too. 30 minutes of lifting and 30 minutes of cardio. For the lifting, I did the fly machine, rowing, lat pull, ab twist, and bicep curl. I put the weight up to 110 and after 3 sets of 10, dropped the weight by half and did another set of 10. Finally. I put the machine on the lowest setting and just repeated until I was spent. I wanted to go for the pull up bar, but there were people doing stretches right by it and I felt as if I would be intruding on their space.

I think I’m slowly figuring this whole gym thing out. Now if only I could figure myself out a bit, I would be golden!

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It’s been a few days since the nine hour hike and I am still recovering. My quad muscles are still sore when I touch them, but they are nowhere near as bad as it was two days ago. To top all of that off, I have this gnarly sunburn on the right side of my face. One person even thought I was in a motorcycle accident. I don’t think it looks that bad…

To celebrate the end of Insanity, I purchased another 20 lb weight. Having two is very neat for me as I no longer have to alternate between arms when exercising. Now I can work out and still spend time with Leo.

Leo and I had some visitors this past weekend. Ben brought his dog, Sigmund over for a play date. I was very nervous about this as our last pay date with Dude (Stephen’s large pup) was terrifying for Leo. Thankfully, Sigmund is Leo’s size and after a small bit of apprehension, the play fest was on! Seeing them play reinforced the idea that Leo may need a permanent play buddy. Perhaps Claire will be joining the family soon.

I took Leo for an hour long walk this afternoon to get us both some exercise and to spend some time together. He absolutely loved it and he sure does bring in the compliments!

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Today was the eight nine hour hike on the Superstition Ridgeline.

After getting up at four, Stephen and I hit up IHOP for some breakfast. I behaved and got something on the fresh fit menu. It was good, but I found myself hungry for more.

Then came the hour drive across the valley to drop of my car at the end zone of the hike. The mountain looked so small at the beginning..



After getting in Stephen’s car, we drove about 30 minutes to the other side of the mountain ridge. We were all smiles beforehand…


Pardon my crazy stalker face…

The hike started out well enough…and then we got to the base of the mountain. It got steep REAL quick! On top of that there was snow and ice from a recent storm. It was very slippery and a wrong move could send you down the mountain….or at least on your ass. I did my best Spider-Man impression and crawled up the steep slope while everyone else was in two legs. #dontjudgeme

At one point we came to a rock wall. There was no way in hell I was going up that. Not when I look behind me and see such a long way down and with ice on my feet. After a few failed attempts and watching others go up, I finally made it to the top of the wall. Note that this isn’t even close to the peak of the mountain. It was just a rock wall to get up near the Ridgeline.

The following photos look lovely, but they do not show the massive amounts of snow that we had to deal with. At some places it was over 4 inches. This was a particular problem because we were supposed to be looking for these small piles of rocks to indicate that we were on the right path. With all that snow, we never knew if we were good.

The scenes were beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Once we got to the Ridgeline, it was mostly smooth sailing.


joe1 joe2 joe3

We finally came to the part where it was time to come down….and down…and down. Apparently, we were over 5000 feet high. It was so scary being that high and walking next to a cliff that could easily kill you. After descending for hours, we finally hit the bottom. Our legs are battered and pricked by the local cacti. But no, the trail is not don’t yet. We spend another 30 minutes walking around and trying to orient ourselves to find the car. I was exhausted and almost about to shut down when we found the car.

9 hours… Over 11 miles of hiking up and down mountains… Exhausted… Sleep now.

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One Day Left

One more day. One more day. One more day!

There’s only one more day left of Insanity and I could not be happier. The past few days have been a but rough with dinner, but I’m slowly improving in my selections when out with friends. I’m learning that it is actually ok to treat yourself to a meal out, but that you compensate in your other meals. I big lunch may necessitate a light dinner.

To treat myself for concluding Insanity, Stephen is taking me on an 8 hour long hike. I’m super excited for it, but kind of scared because I heard that we could get lost! Oh noes! If you don’t hear from me after Saturday, please know that I’ve become one with the mountain people. This is how you should reward yourself…take an adventure!

So, the line dancer came over last night. I cooked some whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage. Of course we had salad and bread, too. I’m learning that you can be okay with a piece of bread instead of eating 4 to 5 pieces. Still have lessons to learn in portion control, but I’m working on it.

After dinner, he taught me some basics to line dancing. As anticipated, I have two left feet. Eventually, I got the moves, but it just seems awkward. Practice makes perfect? After running the routine for a bit, we caught the New Normal. I’m glad to see this show back to having new episodes. Very special show for me. It’s almost exactly what I want for my own life.

I took the gent out back to swing in the hammock for a bit. Even in Arizona, it gets cold at night! I couldn’t stop shivering! He did his best to keep me warm, but we eventually had to go back inside to warm up by my fake fire.

I’m excited for my future.

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I’m feeling accomplished today!

Had plans with Stephen to go paddle boating and hiking. The high only got to be about 60 and was still a bit cold for paddle boating. We decided to do brunch and a hike (Squaw Peak) instead.

The brunch spot was actually very nice. I had a skillet which totaled about 700 calories. Not the best, but not bad at all. Stephen had the same, but also ordered this gargantuan cinnamon roll. I resisted despite his attempts to bump me back over 200.

He drove to the hiking spot and we were lucky enough to get a spot in the way, way back of the area. It reminded me of a trip that he and I took to a lake the year prior with the mountains surrounding us. Sadly, there was no water. Unlike the other hikes that I’ve seen in AZ, this one is mostly steps. It made it a bit easier for me to climb and I am quite happy to report that I did not face plant. Came close a few times, but I recovered quickly.  Took some pics along the way.


Stephen figuring out which way is up.


Start of the trail


About half way up. It looks smaller that it was.


Near the summit


Stephen and I at the summit.


View from the top


Traded camera man jobs with another group.

I want to compare this one to a previous picture from our first hike.


A hike in the previous year

I can certainly see a change! 🙂 At the bottom of this post is a panorama photo from my phone. I wish it would appear larger, but maybe you can click on it?

As Stephen and I parted ways, we got some Jamba Juice. Not bad at all. It was my first real time at that place and I certainly want to go again.

On top of the hike, I still got my Insanity complete for the day.  Not a bad day at all.


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South Mountain, Take 2.

Finally made it back to South Mountain today with Michael.

We did a six mile hike and had a pretty decent time. I did hurt my foot a bit about half way through, but there doesn’t appear to be any lasting damage. Michael took us to a few weird places. There was this “Hidden Valley” that we actually had to crawl under and over these rocky passages to access. The valley itself looked like everything else, but getting into and out of that place had me amazed at how the rocks had formed over the years.

Here are some pics and even a video of me at one of the viewpoints. I know I need a haircut!


A bit up on the trail

The city below looks small, but it is a great site to see in person.
The city below looks small, but it is a great site to see in person.

Who knew Arizona had such beautiful scenes?

Who knew Arizona had such beautiful scenes?

The secret valley

The secret valley

One final view

One final view

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QUEST COMPLETE: New(er) Heights

What a long, long, and satisfying trip!

We met at the base of the mountain at around 11:30am. Party members include: Michael, Stephen, and myself.

At first, it didn’t look like much. Michael even made a mention of it looking like a “Mount Trashmore” from back in Virginia. How wrong he was!

After about 30 minutes we came to our first little picture area and I managed to snap the following pictures.



We didn’t seem that high up, but there was still plenty more mountain to go! I found out that we were taking the Mormon Loop of South Mountain. I know nothing of the different trails around here, but I was sure enjoying my time. Around every bend, I was so excited to see the new scenery. It felt amazing to be out in nature and exploring the area…even if it was on a train.


After a bit more time walking (and one fall later- I’m okay…just hurt my pride). We came to a mini peak of sorts. This is Michael on the peak and the view from the top.



These pictures do not do it justice. We were very, very high up! You can see downtown Phoenix in the distance there.


We went on to the National trail for about 45 minutes or so before turning around. On the way down, there were several parts where the group was bounding down the hill and running/jumping through rocks. I absolutely loved doing this. I know I could have hurt myself if I landed wrong, but it felt so good to run down a path while leaping from rock to rock. I felt like a ninja!

Long story short, we made it to the bottom and I forgot to wear sunscreen. As a result, I am burnt! Lesson learned…


Until next time!

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QUEST ACCEPTED: New(er) Heights

You’ve survived…somehow…”A” Mountain. Let’s take it up a notch today!

Grab two friends and tackle a hiking trail on South Mountain! Take pictures along the way to document your journey. Make it to the top if you can!

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What a fantastic day!!

I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous based on what everyone had been telling me. Bringing a bottle of water is an absolute must. Wear plenty of sunscreen. Beware of rattle snakes…yes…rattlesnakes! The thought of snakes alone was almost enough to accept failure for the quest. However, I really have the need to complete something once I get started. So, throwing venomous caution to the wind, I went through with the hike today.

Joining me was party member Joel. No stranger to hiking, I was hoping he would be great company and he did not disappoint. We met up at around 11AM at my place and proceeded to A Mountain at ASU. As we got closer, I noticed that it didn’t really look that big at all.

It turns out, the path was fairly straight forward….and surprisingly kind of flat to begin. A gentle incline was no problem at all. But then I met my old enemy… stairs! Why are there stairs on a hiking trail? I have no idea, but it did help out the process a bit and help us gain some elevation.

After a few moments of chit chat, Joel produced the sound of a rattle snake and almost sent me back down the mountain. He does a fairly good impression!

Along the way, we saw some pretty decent shots of ASU and the surrounding city.


As we reached the top, we did see a few other people hanging out and chatting at what appeared to be a communication station at the top of the mountain. After a moment of taking in the sights, Joel and I climbed up the rocks to be at the peak of the mountain.


It’s hard to think that we were that high up, but it was certainly something that I would like to do again.

As we returned to the car, I saw this sign and just had to take a picture.

So, that ends the quest for the day!

As for the rewards, I got myself a new outfit from Ross and even got my ears lowered!

Take Care of Yourself,


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