Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tumalo Falls Hog ... or Jike?

Monday night, I went for a hike/jog at Tumalo Falls.  I knew I'd be cutting it close, so I changed at work, left right at 5:00 and high-tailed it to the falls.  There's some road construction on the way there, and a stoplight where they've narrowed the road to one lane (even though you can totally see the other end of the one-lane section so why can't they just put a stop sign and let drivers work it out amongst themselves, at least at night when the crew isn't actively working?).  So it actually took me an hour to get there--I got out of the car right at 6:00, set up my phone to record my trek and play me music, and hit the trail.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Central Oregon, I live at ~3,500 feet.  For a lot of my exercise ventures, my lungs give out before my muscles do (at about two minutes in).  I recently joined a running program (officially training for a 5k, which I may or may not show up for--I joined to lose weight, not to run races), and my ventures in uphill "running" (pronounced PLOD-ding) have resulted in much gasping and wheezing.  I have, however, learned, that running a nice gentle downgrade isn't so bad, though.

Anyway, so yeah, high elevation--the trailhead was over 4,000 feet, and it went up from there.  And to get to Tumalo Falls, you drive to the end of a long road, first paved then gravel, and then you have to hike a little ways (maybe 1/4 mile?) up a rather steep hill to get to the viewpoint for the falls.  It's UP.  A LOT.  The other times I've gone there, it's taken me quite a while to make it up the hill, and a lot of resting along the way.

This time, though, I powered up it.  I was about halfway up when I realized I hadn't stopped yet.  And didn't really need to, though my thighs were burning.  Yep, my legs were giving out BEFORE my lungs for once.  I think all this "running" is actually helping!

I got to the viewpoint and just kept on going.  The trail levels out quite a bit at that point, but there are still steep spots interspersed with the flatter spots and even a few downhill spots.  I jogged the downhills and a few of the flats where I was feeling less worn out, but walked most of the way.  I kept going, without stopping for a break, for 1.27 miles!

Tumalo Falls.  This photo is from my return trip.  Sorry it's blurry, it was getting dark by that point.
So, I took a quick break at 1.27 miles, then two more as I came to two more nice waterfalls.  Each break was less than a minute, I'm pretty sure.

I knew I needed to get back to the car by 7-ish, when it would start getting dark, and I knew that the return trip would be faster than the uphill leg.  I figured I'd turn around at 6:40 or 1.5 miles, whichever came sooner.  1.5 miles came a little after 6:30, so I went to 1.55 so that even if the way down was slightly shorter due to not stopping to take photos, that I'd still hit three miles.  

I turned around, put 'er in second gear (ha!  definitely not in overdrive--I'm not even CLOSE to seeing that gear!), and started jogging.  And other than a couple of rocky patches, I "ran" the whole way down from the 1.55 mile mark almost back to the main falls.  A few times, I really felt like I was in the groove.  Though on the steeper downhill portions (especially the ones with drop-offs to the creek on one side!), my jog was about the speed of a walk, because I wanted to be very careful yet still keep the gait of a jog going.  When I got close to the falls, I slowed to a walk to catch my breath, then stopped for a bit just to soak in the view and snap a couple pictures.  Which came out blurry because it was well into dusk and getting close to dim.

I headed down from the falls back to my car, down that last stretch of steep trail, and it took FOREVER.  I honestly think I was slower going down than I had been going up, between just wanting to be careful and not slip (especially once I could see the parking lot which only contained one car at this point--guess who?!), but also because my legs were completely turned to jello.  By the time I got back to my car, it was getting pretty dark.  (By the time I got back to town another 30 minutes later, it was pitch black.)

I got to the car, sat for a minute to stop the tracker, switch from music back to my podcast I'd been listening to in the car, etc., and realized my whole lower body (lower back through to the tips of my toes) was BUZZING.  Not tingling like it fell asleep.  Definitely tired and sore, yes, but on top of that, it felt like my muscles were all vibrating at a really high frequency.  So weird.  It continued about halfway through the meal I ate in town, so for at least an hour.

I was definitely sore the next day.  Not horseback-riding-sore, but probably more sore than I've been after either a "run" or a hike in a long time.  But I liked the combination of hiking and "running."  I didn't pressure myself to run uphill at all, and really felt in the groove on the downhill portions, and it clearly was a good bit of exercise.  But I think most of all, it was nice to have tangible proof that I'm in better shape than I was a while ago, since I could hike all that way without resting. 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Taking to the Air

My family has always been into aviation.  My dad's job before I was born was flying supplies for gold miners in Alaska, then he went to training to be an air traffic controller and did that (through the big strike in the 80s) until he reached his mandatory retirement age, at which point he went into a few different jobs related to the aviation industry and using his training as an air traffic controller.

He also flew recreationally throughout my childhood, owned (and share-owned) a few different planes, and took us flying occasionally.

My brother got training as a pilot from my dad and more officially in high school, and got his pilot's license at a young age (16?  18?  we talked about this just the other day and I already forget).  He continued on to get his BS in Aviation and all sorts of certifications and qualifications for flying, then went on to become a commercial pilot.  That was short-lived, unfortunately (or fortunately?), as he was one of the first to go in a last-in-first-out layoff.  He went on to get training as an air traffic controller, and took over that legacy in the same facility my dad had worked in (in fact, they both worked there together for a period of time).

While I didn't really get the flying bug (I love the convenience of flying with OTHER people at the helm, but never felt the desire to learn to fly myself), Nathan still got quite a bit of exposure to flying during his formative years.  My dad flew down here to visit him when he was a newborn, so Nathan took his first flight not long after his first car ride, though he slept through it.  He's flown with my dad and brother a few times.  I'll never forget the time my brother let Nathan take the plane off.  I watched, and while my brother's hands were RIGHT THERE next to his yoke, ready to take over, Nathan was the one who actually pulled back to take off.  When he was THREE.

Anyway, my dad recently bought a plane, after not having had one the past few years, and has generously offered his and my brother's time in instructing Nathan, as well as the airplane time, so that when he's old enough (and has had enough instruction and practice, of course), Nathan can take the exam to become a pilot himself.  This is a very generous offer, because it's VERY expensive to rent airplane time and pay for instruction, so there's no way I'd be able to afford it, and Nathan is very interested in it, and of course it's some good "guy time" for him to spend with his grandpa and uncle.

My brother recently got re-certified as an instructor, so any time they spend flying together will be loggable.  My dad has been a certified instructor in the past (and instructed my brother for a lot of his learning hours), but isn't currently certified, so their instruction time will be off the books, but still very beneficial to Nathan, of course.

We drove up to their houses (my dad and brother live about a mile apart) over Labor Day weekend, so Nathan got some ground school instruction from my dad then his first instructional flight that same day.  I was doing something else at the time (I already forget what), so didn't get to overhear the instruction or see the flight lesson, but by all accounts, it went really well.  Then on Monday, he got some more instruction at the kitchen table that I did get to eavesdrop on, and we went to the airport so I could watch him fly, this time with my brother--his first loggable hours as a student pilot.

Here are some photos and a video:

Nathan taking the cover off while my dad checks something out

Dad showing Nathan some things about the engine that after having talked about it in ground school

Gotta check the propellor during pre-fllight for chips, cracks, or dings

Nathan checking the fuel with Eric's instruction

Talking about the engine some more--they're a lot different from car engines!

Nathan gets the left seat.  Eric said it had been a while since he'd sat in the right seat.  (Both have full controls, but usually the pilot sits in the left, and the co-pilot, if any, sits on the right.)

Not sure if that's a thumbs up and a wink, or just squinting in the sun  :-)

I'm pretty sure there aren't actually any controls up there, and Nathan's just messing with the visor, but he looks like a pilot flipping switches or pressing buttons or doing something important, doesn't he?

Video of the takeoff, which Nathan did:

Video of a touch-and-go they did, with Eric doing the landing and Nathan doing the takeoff, but be forwarned that I couldn't see my screen, and therefore the action is off-camera for a good chunk of the landing, and I mostly just got the takeoff:

Video of taxiing back to the hangar, but this was probably Eric...not sure: