Thursday, February 19, 2015

Valentine Weekend with Nature

No fancy dinner, no dressing up, just enjoyed the gift of priceless happiness from nature. That's how our valentine weekend went.

Here's some photos from our valentines date with nature.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tips for Getting Into Shape for Hiking Season

Hiking isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle - just ask any hiker, like Max Gorin. If you want to have the energy to tackle harder, steeper, more rewarding hikes, you’ll need a fit body to back you up. Train like a pro and get in shape for hiking season with the following tips.

1. Strap on a pack that weighs 20 pounds (or more if you’re used to hiking with heavier gear). Head to the park and find a bench that’s secured into the ground and that’s at least 16 inches high (no more than 18 inches). Your goal is to work up to 700 steps in half an hour while adding five pounds until you reach a total of 40 pounds.

2. One of the best exercises you can do to prep for hiking are lunges. Make sure to hold weights in each hand, too.

3. Stop grunting! Yes, your workout’s hard. Yes, you’re on a killer of a trail. If you’re grunting, though, that also means that you’re thinking, and you’re likely thinking things like, “This is so hard, when will this be over?!” Instead, focus everything you’ve got on the exercise at hand and stop putting any energy into making noises.

4. Remember that this is supposed to be hard - that’s a huge part of the payoff, aside from gorgeous views and getting away from the Internet for a week. Pace yourself, both when you train and when you actually get out there to hike. Hard doesn’t mean impossible and it shouldn’t lead to injuries, either.

5. Over the course of nine weeks, work on different goals, starting with strength. Then move on to endurance and, finally, to intensity. You need to start with strength so that you have the muscle to be sacrificed during the endurance phase. During the endurance period, focus a lot on jogging or going on short hikes.

6. Look at the short term goal when training feels overwhelming. This is a good attitude to bring to a hike too, especially when you’re planning to travel a long distance. Getting to the next rep or the next step is a much easier-to-handle goal than getting through an entire hour-long workout or being umpteen miles away within two weeks.

7. Suffer through band walks. Tie one resistance band on your legs at the shin. There should be tension when you stand with your legs hip width apart. Stand up straight, suck your abs in, put your hands on your hips, and walk forward, all the while keeping the tension from the band.

Working out and training isn’t easy - if it were, everybody would do it. It is rewarding, though, and you’ll be grateful for all those hours you put in when you’re hiking easily through difficult terrain. Plus, when the weather changes unexpectedly, you’ll have the energy and strength needed to get to safety fast.

Wild About Lupines

A Closer Look of the Alpine Lupines ( this shot is dedicated to kulasa and Tes,  fellow Salitype sisters, both lovers of wildflowers, and who I know will get wild on seeing this field of blue and purple lupines). 
Aside from fireweeds which I shared in my previous post, another abundant wildflower we saw in Alaska are lupines. My first sighting of wild lupines in Alaska is along Seward Highway.
My first lupine sighting in Alaska, along Seward Highway
My first lupine sighting was actually not really a lot, I had to really go down on my knees to make an impression of a field of lupines.
That's Me and that's where I shoot the first lupine picture above
The next time I saw lupines was when we were hiking to Harding Icefield. This time, it's not just small patches of lupines, but alpine slopes carpeted by lupines. Below is where we stopped for lunch during our hike.
Lupines and Exit Glacier, where we stopped for quick lunch ( or nutrition break)
My left-over subway sandwich never tasted sooooooo good and heavenly, what with the view of lupines among other wildflowers, mountains and Exit glacier in front of us, and the Resurrection River below. 
Lupines and the Resurrection River and Valley Below, from Harding Icefield Trail
As we went higher, the lupines seemed to be displaying wildly and profusely. The feeling was like climbing to the heavens with the lupines in the alpine slopes of Harding Icefield trail. 
Lupines, Snow, Exit Glacier and a Far Glimpse to Harding Icefield
for you, kulasa,More Blue Alpine Lupines, Can't Get Enough since I know you will delight in blue
A Lupine Paparazzi
Now, don't ask us how long did we take to reach Harding Icefield? Who would not stop and enjoy these field of wildflowers in the alpine anyway?
Wild About Wildflowers
And unlike my first lupine sighting, I no longer have to work as much to create an impression of a field of lupines, for the alpine trail to Harding Icefield is really a field of lupines. 
 for you Tes, wild blue/purple alpine lupines, wish to someday hike again with you
Lupines do not only spread profusely in the alpine slopes in Seward, they are pretty much abundant in lower elevation as well. 
Low Elevation Alpine, Seward Highway
 It seems lupines are very versatile, surviving the alpine conditions, and at the same time desert conditions. There are about 280 species of lupines, with major centers of diversity in South and western North America.   I have seen this beautiful wildflower bloom profusely near Southern California's coast, in inland hills and valleys, mountains and even in the hot and dry deserts. If you wonder how wild lupines in San Diego look like, they look very much alike to the alpine lupines,
Wild Blue/Purple Lupines in San Diego
Wild Blue/Purple Lupines in San Diego
though we also have a variety which is more pinkish/magenta.
Some Wild Pinkish Lupines in San Diego, sure do, the pink follows me :)
There are actually many colors of lupines, I saw some which is also white and yellowish in color, but oftentimes, I see them in our highways here where there is no opportunity to stop. I just learned recently, that without lupine, there will be no Karner blue butterflies for it is the lone host plant for the small Karner blue butterfly. 

Consider Careers that Build Confidence

It can be difficult to find a career that brings satisfaction. Sometimes finances and schedules determine a career instead of a personal level of satisfaction. However, a rewarding career can be determined by something that few people stop to think about. Consider those who enjoy doing volunteer work. Although there is no pay, people generally feel good after volunteering. The reason is that satisfaction comes from helping others. Being able to help other people can easily build confidence. Finding a career that offers a salary and builds confidence is an important part of finding happiness.

Weigh Options Carefully
When considering a potential career, it is important to take a complete look at the type of job being offered. A career that does not offer a balance of work and life can quickly lead to burnout. Unhappy employees are generally less productive and leave their jobs feeling unfulfilled. The right career choice can provide a sense of purpose, and this can lead to increased productivity and happiness in work and in life.

Find a Career That Helps People
There are several types of careers that provide opportunities to help members of a local community. Try to determine what part of the population would benefit from help. Children, elderly and teenagers are groups that often benefit from the outreach of others. When searching for a new career, consider careers that reach out to these groups. There are many types of job opportunities that will provide interaction with people who will appreciate the working relationship.

Healthcare Can Be Rewarding
One of the most popular employment fields for those who want to help others is healthcare. Patients typically interact with many members of a healthcare team. Receptionists, office managers and assistants work alongside professionals to provide personalized care. Patients may be nervous before procedures or exams, and a professional and comforting staff can make a great impact.
Working in healthcare does not always require degree in a health field. There are many opportunities for both professional and clerical employees. Employees can collaborate to provide the best experience possible for a patient. The strengths of each member of the healthcare team can be recognized. While one team member may have the professional skills that are needed, another team member may be excellent in providing customer service and answering billing questions.

Consider All Areas of Healthcare
When people think of healthcare careers, they may be tempted to only consider doctors and nurses. There are many other types of healthcare careers available. Don’t be afraid to explore new ideas. With the expansion of healthcare coverage leading to a growing number of patients, and more career opportunities are available now than in the past. Growing dental practices like Kool Smiles provide career opportunities to those who want to help provide dental care to underserved populations. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new. A rewarding career can lead to confidence and provide a sense of belonging unlike any other.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Whales as seen from the trail

We had been seeing whales each time we take a hike along the bluffs lately. I can't help but sing to hubby, "why do whales, suddenly appear, every time we are here. Just Like me, whales long to be....close to you!" :)

Stay Active and Fit and Reap the Joyful Rewards

Keeping Active In Your Senior Years

If you are nearing or past the age of retirement, you're probably glad to quit working, but you certainly not ready to give up on enjoying life. There is so much more to see and do, and still many years left to accomplish some of your most cherished goals. You should be aware that the longer you stay active, fit, and healthy, the more "golden" years you will be able to enjoy.

Stay Active, Stay Fit, Stay Alive

Health care experts, such as Yosef Meystel, can agree that keeping active during your senior years is the best way to stave off the dangers of depression, discouragement, and ill health. The simple truth of the matter is that keeping active enables you to stay in a positive mind set, and the longer you stay positive, the happier and healthier you will be.

Canola Flower

Field of Canola Flowers, Montana

Saving Money Booking Your Vacation

Booking your vacation can be hard to do when you aren't sure where to go or how to pay for the trip. There are companies online where you can book a trip and save money at the same time. You can find everything that you need for your vacation including the hotel room, transportation and activities. As you book more components of your vacation, you will see that there are more discounts offered.

When you create a package, you will be able to get additional discounts that you might not be able to get if you were to reserve everything separately. If you book a trip for an extended length of time, you will usually see that hotels and car rental companies offer cheaper rates. There are member only packages available with some companies that offer further discounts if you sign up with the company to receive information sent to your email. You will sometimes get points for taking a vacation. These points can be used later to save money on various things like admission to attractions or car rental fees. Some of the points or dollars earned can be spent on travel purchases while you are on your vacation. Book today for the best rates possible.