Walk Scenes

A photo taken with resignation in my heart, as I am planning to climb those hills.
Another shot of the same hill, but closer to it.

I joined a walking team. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet. There are 12 of us and we are all veteran women, so we call ourselves the Belle Brigade. We are going to race in the annual Hood-To-Coast race here in August, which is when runners start up at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, and run a relay race all the way to the town of Seaside, on the Pacific Ocean. It’s the largest relay in the world, with a limit of 1050 teams (and they have to turn teams away). Its about 200 miles long (320 km). I know. Wow!

The runners course has 36 legs and each person on a team must run 3 of them. However! There is another simultaneous race, the Portland-To-Coast walk. That course has 24 legs and each person must walk 2 of them. The Belle Brigade is a walking team, so our course is about 130 miles (208 km). It’s still a race, so we will be walking as fast as we can. If anyone is caught running, the whole team is disqualified.

Here’s a little taste of it:

As you can see, teams come up with themes and often dress up their support vehicles and themselves. We decided that purple camouflage is our team uniform. Purple camouflage happens to be popular enough right now that we are finding work out gear, hats, and raincoats in that theme.

Last summer when I joined the team, I started walking from my house, just to see how fast I was. I found out quickly that walking fast takes skill. It’s tricky to keep your speed up, and it takes a lot more endurance than I was expecting. I hadn’t really thought of walking as a sport, but now I do. I worked up to a 5.6-mile loop that leaves from my front door and ends at my front door. I can do it in an hour and 22 minutes, which is almost my target of a 14 minute mile. I’ve been walking it as often as I can, twice a week at best.

From the very first day, I started taking photos of things that interested me along the walk. I’ve been collecting them in a folder on my desktop called “walk scenes.” It’s the middle of winter and I know I have months of cold wet days ahead of me, so I decided to post my photos, sort of chronologically, and remember the lovely days when there was sunshine and I didn’t have to wear a hat and gloves when I walked.

This pretty garter snake was soaking up heat from the road and I startled her.
These lovely ladies had clustered near a gate beside the road because they knew it was almost suppertime. They looked at me hopefully.
This was the first time I had walked as far as this field, and there I spotted a herd of Roosevelt Elk! They used to hang out in my yard, but their route changed and I never see them anymore. Well, now I know where they go.
Here’s a blurry zoomed shot.
There is an intersection where quail always live. There were nearly twenty babies (I didn’t get them all in the photo) and they were so speedy I couldn’t get a decent shot. They looked like feathery fluff balls rolling across the road.
She’s a beauty, and clearly posing for me.
There are a couple of llamas on top of this ridge, with a gorgeous view of the Port of Longview and the Columbia River. I’ll bet this llama doesn’t even appreciate the view.
I was trying to get a shot of the big rooster, but he dove into the bushes and I all caught was this hen.
This horse always comes to say hello, and I take a break from walking to give some pats on the neck. It’s coat is not always this muddy, ha ha.
This horse is less friendly, but I think just as nice to look at.
A field at the farthest point from my house.
I was amused to find corn growing beside the mailboxes.
If you’re going to Dani & Zach’s wedding, park in this field.
The highest elevation point of my walk is 819 feet (249 m), and the views are inspiring.
Same high point, from a different location.
Rainy days limit the view, but it’s still so pretty where I live.
This treehouse makes me wish I was a kid and was best friends with the kid who lives there.
Beyond the treehouse.
Golden field
I have no idea what this vine is, but it makes some neeto seed pods.
Crab apple or cherry tree (?) growing beside the road.
My favourite time to walk was when the wild blackberries were ripe. My walk times were slower on these days.
Clusters of rose hips.
And a close up shot.
I always admire the smooth red bark of the Madrone trees.

23 thoughts on “Walk Scenes

  1. What a great race and how wonderful that you’re doing it! Your training takes place in wonderful environment. As for the unknown plant, it might be Chayote, also known as mirliton squash, an edible plant belonging to the gourd family… I think father has some in his garden in Piran. I wish you much fun training and a great race!

    1. I tried to identify the plant this morning and it might be a wild cucumber – considered an obnoxious weed here. The pods look like they are partly hollow, or at least not very dense. I should have investigated a little more back then. Thanks for your encouragement. I think the race will be hard, and a great adventure. The bonus is that I’m having fun with a group of women that I only knew through work before.

  2. Good for you, Crystal. I’ve always seen 154-minute miles as a challenge. And you are right. They are hard to sustain. Great photos. I can see the horse coming up for its daily pats. 🙂 Do you carry and apple? –Curt

    1. Curt, I keep thinking about that: carrying treats for the horses! In the fall it would be easy, since there are apple trees growing wild all over this area. I’ll bet I could even get the llama to come to me if I had food. It checks me out, but doesn’t come close.

  3. That’s ambitious! Can’t wait to see photos from your walk in August and how you dress up etc. Great photos! Thanks for letting me imagine I’m walking along with you in that beautiful area!

    1. Lenore thank you for coming along. It’s so funny, I had not even thought ahead that far to imagine my photos in August, but now I’m excited about them too! I may try to bring my camera on the van with us, if there is room, to document the adventure for the group. If it goes well, we might make it an annual race.

    1. Hey thank you Jolandi! I agree with you on both counts. There is an extra bonus, and that is that my walking team is a bunch of awesome, sassy, strong women and we are enjoying each other and encouraging each other. Our team captain is always totally jazzed about this stuff and keeps us focused, which I appreciate.

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