Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eating the Rainbow and The McCully Heritage Project

It's been a busy couple days. Yesterday I was back in the office after a couple days out for training so there was a big pile of stuff to tackle as soon as I got there. I take thyroid medication which requires that I wait at least 30 minutes to eat after I take it, so I always eat breakfast at work. I was short on time and walking out the door I grabbed a box of blueberries and some peanut butter out of the fridge. I figured it was a weirdo combo, but I could probably make it work somehow. As I popped open the carton of blueberries I thought about that campaign to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables everyday and figured that would be a fun challenge to focus on for the day. Roy G. Biv - I knocked out B right away with the blueberries. At lunch I had a naked burrito that included lots of squash and zucchini taking care of Y and G. Along with my burrito I had a peach and apricot smoothie - O for orange. For a snack, I had a red apple - R. That left for dinner indigo and violet. Hmmm. Blue and purple... I went out for dinner and had a burger and veggies for dinner which included a purple onion. Score! But I still had I for indigo. After dinner we went to a coffee house in the neighborhood and the barista was kind enough to help me with my game and suggested a berry smoothie to knock out I. YAY! I did it! I also discovered I love the bottled smoothies - no sugar added and fairly low calorie. It's not something I would get every day, but it's a nice treat. So, in the end I had a two smoothie day, but it was fun to try to challenge myself.

Today was a busy day, too. I got up at the crack of dawn, literally. I have two chickens and one of them had unroosted herself which caused the other hen to go bananas calling for her buddy. (Fun fact: chickens are essentially blind in low light). They normally are cooped, but we forgot to put them "to bed" Friday night and they roosted on the bbq pit outside my window. As soon as Daphne jumped down and started wandering the yard, Ronnie lost her feathery head and started sqwaking like crazy, "Where are you?!" After several minutes I realized the only way I was going to get some sleep was to go reunite the dingbats, so I crawled out of bed at 5 a.m. and stumbled out to the yard to life Ronnie off the bbq pit and deliver her to Daphne. One of my cats also followed me outside and I thought, fine dude, just let me sleep. Of course, the second I got back under the covers I heard mewing and carrying on, Bad Cat wanted back in. UGH! Needless to say, I had a very lousy night's sleep. I also planned to go hiking early today so I had to be up at 6 anyway. I don't think I ever really fell back asleep.

At 6:30 my buddy Kim picked me up and we drove just a short distance to a strip mall near our house to pick up some car pool buddies. I hike with a Meet Up group and we had a couple new people, which is always fun. Meet Ups tend to attract a lot of transplants to St. Louis, so it's fun to find out what brought people here and what it's like where they're from. Today, we had two people originally hailing from Iowa and one from Wisconsin. Super duper nice folks! We also caught up with another guy at the trail head who is active military and is originally from Maine. The place we went to was about an hour from the city in a beautiful rural area near Alton, IL. The McCully Heritage Project is 940 acres of land for hiking, mountain biking, and camping. It was a really beautiful area but what we didn't anticipate was the unbelievable hills that we would have to hike up. Normally on a hike, there's "switch backs" when there's a big elevations to climb and the trail will zig zag so you never really have to climb vertically, but for whatever reason this trail was designed to hike straight up. Oy! With the backpacking trip last weekend and all the extra walking I did this week, I'm not sure I would have gone today if I had known that in advance. My knees are pretty unhappy with me at the moment. However, I'm proud to say I walked 6 miles today making my total for the week...20 miles!!! 

In the beginning, it was flat. That didn't last long at all!

There were two loops, a north and south trail, this was the south, the shorter of the two. It started really beautifully with a small lake and lots of green. 

I wish this picture showed how steep it was, somehow here it looks flat. I can assure you, it's not! 

Things changed quickly and in no time we were going up, up, up. And up. Mercifully, it wasn't too terribly hot yet, although you couldn't tell by the significant amount of sweating I was doing. Seriously, buckets.

The start of trail #2, the yellow in the distance is a field full of brown eyed susans. So pretty!
Oh lookie, more hills!
The second loop, with the spurs, we walked about 4.5 miles up and down. Again, somehow it felt mostly up!

Floppy waves of amber grain
We walked through a huge field of this stuff, but nobody seemed 100% positive if it was hay, straw, or wheat. Either way, it was like walking in snow, it required marching steps to keep moving forward and the whole time, while I was fascinated by the texture and patterns it made, I kept thinking that I really hoped I wouldn't step on a snake. No snakes, but I did pick up a few ticks. Jerks.

The end! 

Overall,  I really enjoyed the hike but by the end I was EXHAUSTED! After I got home, I showered and took a 3 hour nap. In fact, YAWN, I might just go to bed now! I hope you're having a great weekend, anything exciting going on with you?                                                                                                                                                


  1. Check you out and all your hikes. I get so hot so easily that I hate exercising outdoors during the summer. I need to get over it.

  2. Beautiful hiking pictures - looks like a great place for a workout!

  3. Thanks you guys! That was one of the toughest hikes I've ever done. So many steep hills. I'm totally hooked though, I'm already planning this weekend's hike! :)

    Marisol - maybe you can get a cool tie or something that would help with adjusting to the heat? They are like a bandana filled with gel that stays cold and you wrap it around your neck. It's not a/c, but it's something! Also, early is good when it comes to hiking.