Saturday, December 29, 2012

Flash Back of 2012

1. We started out 2012 with a bang and got hitched on January 7th! 
2.  All in a three week period we celebrated Christmas, got married, had an amazing time in Riviera Maya for our honeymoon, and celebrated my 27th birthday at our gift opening.  Whew!  What a whirlwind!
3. Even though the Wisconsin winter was mild, we still were able to find enough snow up north to brush up on our snowboarding skills.
4.  Took a rode trip to Lacrosse, WI with my brother where we did some antiquing and great hikes.
5. Were exhausted after a full weekend of hiking at Pictured Rocks Upper Michigan with friends.
6. Met up with some friends from Minnesota midway in Wisconsin Dells at the Chula Vista resort.  Didn't swim in the waterpark, but played lots of arcade games.
7. Graduated and got a job!  My husband earned big brownie points by giving me a Kindle Fire for a grad present! Love it!
8.  Got filthy in the Madison Mud Run.
9.  Had a shuttle launch at the park to watched Ryan's homemade rocket take off for outerspace.
10. Take me out to the ball game!  Gotta love cotton candy, but hate the sticky fingers!
11. Initiated our new tent (wedding gift) in Eagle River, Wisconsin with friends.
12.  Got in some quality family time camping in Ouray, Colorado while the husband was out of town.
13. Had some sibling bonding time at Six Flags! Love Raging Bull!
14. Ryan ran his first half marathon.
15. Spent a day with friends at Devils Lake State Park hiking and having a cookout.
16.  Went to an amazing wedding in Milwaukee for a weekend and stayed at the beautiful Pfister Hotel.
17. Welcome to Bahhh Harbor.  Ate too much lobster. Saw no whales. Did a crazy hike.
18. Saw the famous fall colors in Door County.
19. Winter camped in New Glarus, WI during opening hunting week. Luckily we weren't mistaken as a deer.
20. Enjoyed our first Christmas as newlyweds!

It's been an amazing 2012!  Wonder what 2013 has in store?

What was your favorite part of 2012?

Friday, December 28, 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

I am like a little kid after Christmas looking and admiring all my new gifts under the tree. It seemed to be a running themed Christmas, so I thought I would share with you some of my favorite things I got!

Saucony Ride 4-
Last years model of the Saucony Rides, but I had been running in another pair since last year and really like them.  So excited about a new pair of training shoes! 

Got these lightweight Saucony shoes for my long runs and races.  By having two pairs of shoes and only wearing these part time it will hopefully make them last longer since lightweight shoes tend to break down more quickly. 

Wanted something to hold my keys and phone even if I didn't take my hydration belt.  Can't wait to try out this belt and give you a review of how it worked!

Foam Roller-
I've been recovering from IT band pain since earlier this past summer.  I should have bought one of these a long time ago, but am excited that I have it now!  Its great for massaging the IT band, calves, and stretching out the back.

Do you have issues with your shorts riding up in the crotch while running?  I know I do and it drives me C.R.A.Z.Y!!!  So I did alot of research and heard alot of good things about the Oiselle brand.  The price is definitely a little steep for shorts, so that's why I took the plunge getting it as a gift for Christmas.  I will definitely let you know what I think and if they are worth the price! 

It's amazing how someone can be so excited about running apparel!  I fall in love with this jacket more every time I look at it.  Just the color makes me happy.  I wanted a lightweight windbreaking jacket...I love that this one has a hood, great pockets, and reflective stripes on the arms. 

From what I've noticed about these boots so far is that they are really comfortable!  I somehow lost my old boots a couple years ago and was in need of these with the Wisconsin blizzards deciding to show up this year.  Not only are they warm- but are too cute!

GENIUS!!!!  That's what these gorilla pods by Joby are.  Pure genius.   Are you like me and tend to drop everything?   My poor Canon point and shoot camera has been through more traumas in its lifetime....I give props to Canon for making something that can live through my abuse.   Whenever Ryan and I are traveling we like to try and get some pictures together.  Unlike some people, I am definitely not afraid to ask strangers to take our picture.  However, sometimes there is no one around to ask! This leaves us trying to find a flat rock.....which sometimes ends in the camera bouncing down the rocks as I stand by and watch it, praying it doesn't break.  This is going to solve both of those problems for us from now on.  You can use this fancy little tripod to set your camera up stranger needed!  Its so small that I won't even notice the extra item being packed into my backpack while hiking.

There are many other little great gifts that I got....but I have to tell you, I have not gotten out of my Snoozies since I opened them Christmas Eve.  I love anything that will keep me warm!  That's one of the reasons why I love Ryan...he keeps me warm when I snuggle with him. :) hehe.
I must have been awfully good this year, because I got awfully lucky with so many great gifts!  Can't believe my birthday is only a few weeks away now! 

What did you get for Christmas?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Reflections

Only 363 more days until Christmas again!  After two days filled with hours of family fun together, Ryan and I woke up Wednesday morning with a little post-Christmas sadness that it was all over.  All the time spent preparing, shopping, and singing Christmas songs,....and then its over! 
At the in-laws we watched National Lapoon Christmas Vacation and had some Wii tournaments. 
On Christmas day we headed to my parents for more fun.  Ever since I was a kid my parents have talked about fixing up the basement and buying a pool table.  Of course now after I got married and moved out, they finally purchased a pool table a couple weeks ago.  We made the tournament a little more exciting and had a 2 dollar buy brother walked away with $16 at the end of the day, and I ended with less fun money in my wallet.
Can't wait for next year already!!!  Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

We got this!

Our first Christmas as a married couple is so far looking like a success. All the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.  We survived the mall with all of its crazy parking lot drivers and shoppers.

Ryan and I decided to make buying each other gifts into something fun this year.  We split up in the mall and had one hour to try and find as many gifts as we could with $20.  Ryan ended up winning with 7, while I had 6.  We wrapped each one individually and will open them Christmas morning before heading to my parents.

Today we are celebrating with his family. It's usually an entire day event of opening gifts, eating, watching Christmas movies, and opening more gifts in between.  I always look forward to the great family time.

We went to our church Christmas Eve service Sunday night with my blogging friend Katie and her man.  It was an amazing service with some great christmas songs.  Of course I couldn't shop for Christmas without finding something for myself to buy.  I got to wear my new dress from F21.
Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas this season from the Hathaways!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why It Pays...

Ryan and I have both been "under the weather" this week.  We have been quite the pair going through boxes of Kleenex's, bags of cough drops, and a whole bottle of Ibuprofen.  We've been doing all the right things by getting our vitamin C, taking naps and getting to bed early, and staying warm on the couch watching Christmas movies.

It just so happens that while we are both feeling this way and on the road to recovery, a blizzard hits Wisconsin for the first time in years!  It is times like these that it really pays to be married, and you appreciate the love and care of your husband so much more.  Here is my man snowblowing in the blizzard all bundled up and wearing his snowboarding goggles.  It definitely pays to be married right now in Wisconsin and I'm glad its to this guy!

Stay warm everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quinoa & Broccoli Casserole

I'm sure most of you have heard the recent craze about quinoa. Quinoa is a gluten free grain that has numerous health benefits. It is complex carboyhydrate which won't cause spikes in blood sugar, extremely high in protein, non fattening, along with many other nutritious factors. So I thought I would see what this amazing powerfood tasted like.

I found a recipe for a Quinoa Brocolli and Chicken Casserole:
1 1/2 Cups Quinoa
1 head brocolli (boiled)
3 tbsp. Flour
3 tbsp. butter
2 Cups Milk
1/4 tsp. garlic powder and cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to season
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese schredded
2 Cups shredded chicken

First I boiled and thawed my chicken breasts, shredding it into small pieces.
In another pot I boiled the quinoa. The box I bought says that it is pre-rinsed, however unless noted, quinoa always needs to be rinsed after boiling. Otherwise it may keep a bitter taste. I placed 3 cups of water in the pot, brought quinoa to a boil, and then simmered until it soaked up all the water.
In another pot I placed melted butter, flour, garlic and cayenne pepper, and whisked in milk until it thickened. Then I added in the cheddar cheese until it was melted.

In a large bowl I combined the cooked chicken, quinoa, brocolli, and cheese sauce mixture. I placed it in a 9x13 inch pan that was greased. Baked at 400 degree for 25 minutes.
After its cooked it looks similiar to a chicken and rice dish.  Tasted pretty similiar too, but healthier.  Its a great way to see how you like quinoa.

Newlywed Moments

Sunday, December 16, 2012

RMNP: Longs Peak via Keyhole

I'm not sure when it started. Maybe I've been an adventure seeker since birth. I love the thrill and exhilaration of being challenged and that is what Longs Peak does for me. When I was about 16 years old my family and I were on vacation in RMNP when I first heard about Longs Peak. My curiosity was sparked and much to my mother's dismay I told them I would be back to summit Longs someday. As of date, I have now hiked Longs four times (Sorry Mom!). I've had so many memorable experiences with friends, making new friends, and most engaged on the summit!  You can see and hear the engagement story here and here. I researched alot before tackling this 19 mile hike. Without the help of other bloggers I would have been even more naive as to what it required than I already was the first time attempting. So now its my turn to pass on advice.

The first mistake I made was not making camping reservations before arriving in RMNP.  Epic fail on my part.  With sites being reservation only now, this left my friend and I sleeping in the car the night before we hiked.  We shared alot of laughs as we made macaroni and cheese in the parking lot and slid into our sleeping bags in the front seat of her Subaru.  Make sure you make reservations early.  Sites will be booked by late spring.

Choose the day with the least percentage chance of rain.  Afternoon rains are common over Longs, and it is crucial to pick a good day for this hike if you are planning on making it up and back in one day.  Pack your bag and lunch the night before.

Packing List:
  • Camelbak- I usually pack about 2 liters of water.  I also bring a Gatorade or some sort of electrolyte drink.  Make sure you have enough water, however the more you pack the heavier your bag is.
  • Snacks/Lunch
  • Sunglasses (Not needed until on your way back down)
  • Headlamp (Needed on way up)
  • Wear Layers!  The morning and summit is cold, however gets very hot on the way back down. I tend to start out wearing hiking pants with shorts underneath.  Top layers start with fleece, long sleeve, and tank top or T-shirt. 
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Gloves (with rubber gripping will be helpful)
  • Hiking boots/shoes with good grip- good socks that won't give blisters
  • Camera
  • Bandaids/small 1st aid/Tylenol
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain cover for backpack
  • Toilet paper
  • Compactible hiking poles- must fit into backpack once you start scrambling after keyhole
I suggest trying to have at least a couple days to get acclimated to the elevation and do some lower elevation hikes.  Start hiking around 2 or 3am.  The trailhead parking lot is usually pretty full of cars by this time with other hikers starting out as well.  At the beginning they will have a sign in book to make sure everyone gets off the mountain safely.  There will also be one at the summit.
The hike will immediately begin with a steady incline and will continue to get steeper with switchbacks through the woods.  The trail is well marked and you will pass a few streams and bridges.  You will cross the last bridge/waterfall when you reach this Alpine Tundra sign.  This means you will soon be getting above the treeline.  Once passing the treeline, the views get beautiful as you can see the lights from the city of Boulder and all the headlamps of people hiking up below you.
About a mile later you will come to your first fork.  Turn left towards Peacock Pool/Chasm Lake.  Once going left is where the real steps begin and you are climbing the "Stairway to Heaven" as I call it.  This entire hike is a great butt workout! 
 At the top of this you will have reached Peacock Pool (behind the Llamas), which is also the location of the first toilet on the trail.   It will be dark when you reach this point on the way up, but this is what it looks like in the daylight.
 There will be a sign to turn right towards Boulder Field once reaching these horse corrals.  Hiking this section towards Boulder Field you will see lights from hikers headlamps above you.  Although you keep thinking you must be near the top, it keeps on going for what seems like forever.  The sun should be starting to rise as you near Boulder Field.  You will see the Keyhole in the distance which is the direction you keep hiking towards.  Hopefully you will get the benefit of a beautiful sunrise!

Sunrise at the keyhole.

Here you can see Boulder Field behind us with the Keyhole above our heads.  Keep hiking up towards the keyhole and go through it.
At Boulder Field will be the second and final toilet of the hike.  This is also the location of overnight camping.  In the morning everyone is usually very quiet as we walk past tents with sleeping campers in them.  Climbing up the boulders is usually a slow process.  By this time it's getting harder to breath.  Once reaching the Keyhole its a spectacular view on both sides looking out.

This is looking back over Boulder field that we climbed up.  The rocks might look tiny, but they are actually huge boulders.   When you are sitting at the keyhole, people hiking up will look like tiny ants coming up from below.
This is sitting in the keyhole.
This is looking down on the other side of the keyhole.
Once getting to the keyhole is where the real fun begins.  If you think you have worked hard to get to this point, the last 1.5 miles will be even more tough than the first 7.  Once climbing through the keyhole you will turn left and follow the spaced apart bullseyes painted on the rocks to make your way transversely along the side of the mountain.
Make sure you follow the bullseyes closely, as they will take you the safest route.  There are a couple areas where they have metal handles drilled into the rocks in order to give you hand holds to climb up rocks.  Here are pictures of the first section after the keyhole before reaching the Trough.
 This is what I look like every morning when I have to get up early.  Not a morning person obviously.

After about a half mile you will reach the Trough.  This is a steep section of falling rock that makes switchbacks.  This can be dangerous because the rocks are unstable which can cause small avalanches of rolling rocks when people are hiking up or down.  Be aware of your surroundings and listen for rocks crashing down.  This is the hardest part for me and when the elevation starts making me feel a little sick.  When you are almost to the top there is a large boulder that you have to climb up and may need assistance.  One older man turned around when he got to this point because he couldn't make it over.  I felt so bad, considering he was so close to the summit by this point.  I've had people hoist me up with their hands.

Looking up the Trough.
Looking down the Trough.
When you get over the boulder at the top of the trough it may look like a dead end.  Nope.  Actually, if you turn right and then look alongside the mountain ledge to your left you have now entered The Narrows.  The first time I attempted the narrows I thought I was crazy.  Its a short section, but seems long enough as you slowly make your way through a crevice in the side of the mountain.  The narrows is one of the reasons why its beneficial to leave early in the morning, besides the fact of evening storms.  Since there is only room for one way traffic, leaving early can alleviate the problem of running into people on their way down from the summit.

Since I'm usually concentrating during this part I don't have very many pictures of the Narrows so this is the best I have.  That is why a GoPro is on my list so I can get pictures hands free!
After the short section of the Narrows you will reach the Homestretch.  My husband however calls it the Devils Slide.  The word homestretch is a misrepresentation of this very steep, smooth rock that will require you to find hand and foot holds.  Everyone I have taken has found this to be the most technically difficult and scariest part interestingly.
Looking up the Homestretch.
Looking down the homestretch. Finals steps to the top!  You made it!  14,265 feet!
Enjoy some lunch (more like breakfast since it'll be around 8/9am) at the top.  Sign the registry.  The top is very large and flat.  You can see Peacock Pool and Chasm Lake from the top.  I can often times get cellphone reception at the top and have sent pictures to my mom to let her know I made it up at least okay! :)

Successful climb!  Happy to be at the top!
Some of the elevation symptoms I usually get are a deep cough, headache, and tingling from my arm to fingers.  For some they may not feel any elevation symptoms though. 

Many people are scared to go back down because of how steep the homestretch is.  I guarantee you the way back is easier and will go much faster.  I just stay low and slide my way down!

From the Keyhole back to the car it can get very warm as you get lower in elevation and the temperature starts to rise midday.  This is where removing layers comes in handy.  It also is when I drink the most water.  I have gotten caught in a few hail/rain storms on the way down which is why its important to leave early in the morning and starting heading back early afternoon as well.

Have any of you hiked Longs Peak before?  Any tips from your experience?
Whats your favorite hike?