Leeches and 52 Hike Chanllenge / Sanguijuelas y Reto de 52 Caminatas

Being dedicated and consistent is not an easy task…I’m trying. On one of my previous posts I shared my goals for this year. I want to tell you that I met one of those goals…I’ve completed my 52 hike challenge! 

My finisher medal and trophy made by my husband

Getting ready to start our adventure

Last August, my husband and I, together with other family members, took a backpacking trip to the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota - this is where I finished hike number 52. It was a challenging trip and a challenging goal but I’m glad I did both. I prepared myself throughout the year for this trip, hiking every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes during the week. At first, the challenge was to do 52 hikes from January through December but later, I decided I wanted to do my last hike on this trip so I pushed myself very hard to achieve that. Let me share part of my experience with you.

Hiking in the Boundary Waters was hard. On our first day, we had to go through overgrown grass that was taller than me. We walked over a beaver dam and climbed rocks. Went over and under fallen trees but the worse part was when we had to cross a leech infested channel that was muddy and dark; we couldn’t see the bottom. Everyone crossed ahead of me carrying their backpack over their shoulders. While I watched, I kept trying to figure out how in the world I was going to do that. Everyone in my group was tall and I’m very short. When they crossed, the water was up to their waist, there was no way I was going to be able to carry my pack through that! Luckily, I have an amazing husband who carried my pack for me. He crossed with his pack first and then came back to get mine; isn’t he awesome? I was so grateful. When I crossed, the water reached my chest and my footing was uneven, the bottom was sandy and rocky. I had to walk slowly, being careful not to lose my balance. It took me what felt was a long time to reach the other end, which was hard as I could see the leeches swimming around trying to crawl on my body. 

Upon reaching the other end of the channel, everyone had to inspect their bodies to remove any leeches. “Check everywhere.” They told me. “And make sure you look in between your toes, leeches like to hide there.” I turned around and saw a guy in our group who had blood coming down his leg, where he had just removed a leech, and I freaked out. I immediately took my shorts off and started inspecting my body all over, I did not care who was looking. I was glad nothing was on me but man, that was some crazy adventure!

After the channel crossing, we reached our first campground where we spent the night. This was an amazing site right next to a lake and we had it all to ourselves! After we rested a little and set our tents up, some in my group went swimming but I just washed myself and sat in the fresh water enjoying the view and solitude of the place. Remember I told you that on our way here we crossed over a beaver dam? While crossing, my foot went down into a hole and I heard a lot of noises, like little chipmunks or something, my niece said those were angry beavers — we never saw them though. But while we were relaxing at this site, there was the beaver, swimming in the lake. It was so cool to see a beaver in the lake! They are so cute, fast swimmers and very hard workers. On our way here we saw signs of the beaver’s hard work. They build incredible dams and have very sharp teeth to chew up big trees with the ferociousness of a giant but they still look cute and cuddly. We enjoyed watching the beaver swim while having our happy hour drinks. 

Day one ended with a cool swim in the lake, laying on our hammocks and having a nice hot meal, it could not have been better. We went to bed tired after a long hard hike but I couldn’t have been happier that hike #51 was done and I only had one more to go to complete my challenge. 


The next morning, we crossed the channel again, we had to! That was the only way out.  This time no one got leeches on their bodies...that was a good thing. We continued hiking about 5 miles to our next campground. This was hike 52 for me. It was hard but exciting! I couldn't wait to finish the challenge and give the girls what I brought for us to celebrate. This trail was not well marked and if it wasn't for the cairns, we could have easily gotten lost. So, my reward was a pair of sterling silver earrings with a cairn engraved on them, hiking earrings if you would, a perfect finishing trophy. I loved them so much that I got a pair for each one of the girls who hike the last trail of my 52 hike challenge with me - they loved them too.

Most of this hike was uphill. It was strenuous and everyone was tired of climbing over and under the fallen trees. This whole trip turned out to be more difficult than we expected, it was a lot of work to get from one campground to another but we were lucky to always find them empty and the sites were expectacular! When we finally got to the site, we set our tents up and then went straight to the lake. Everyone jumped in and, although the water was cold, it felt so great and refreshing. We prepared dinner and celebrated my achievement, of being able to complete the challenge, with a shot of tequila. This was a beautiful spot right in front of the lake! I couldn't have asked for anything else. I went to bed feeling accomplished and very happy, ready to continue with the adventure the next morning.  


The next morning we broke camp and started hiking to our next spot where we spent two nights. This was my favorite part of the trip. We did a lot of relaxing there, a little fishing, some exploring around the area, and a lot of laying on our hammocks and eating good food.

We spent two more days hiking in the Boundary Waters and stayed the last night camping on a spot next to a river. The beautiful sound of its cascading and rushing water was soothing and invigorating. On our last night after dinner, we walked down the trail to a nearby lake and built a warm fire. We drunk coffee and ate cookies next to the fire while we watch the sun disappear behind the lake.

The end of our adventure in the Boundary Waters


7 Bridges in 7 Miles with Joshua

I went hiking yesterday morning with my 6 years old great nephew, Joshua. We did the urban hike to 7 bridges in 7 miles and had a great time taking our picture at each bridge.

Bridge 1 - It is Georgia Street, crosses University Avenue. This used to be a redwood-truss bridge built in 1907 but the current concrete bridge was built in 1914. Its design is very pretty.

Bridge 2 – Built in 1995, Vermont St. bridge crosses Washington St. This one is very cool; it has many quotes written on it providing inspiration and enjoyment. The original bridge was a wooden-trestle built in 1916.

Bridge 3 - From 1912, the Spruce St. suspension bridge crosses over Sessions Canyon. To walk across while it sways is fun and exciting!

Bridge 4 - Quince St. wooden-trestle bridge was built in 1905. It spans Maple Canyon between 2nd and 4th Ave. This one is my favorite!

Bridge 5 - Built in 1931, the First Ave. bridge was shipped to San Diego to be reassembled in place. It also spands Maple Canyon. This is the only steel-arch bridge in the city and it is beautiful!

Bridge 6 - The Laurel St. bridge dates from 1914 and was the first multiple-arched cantilever bridge built in California. The side view of the arched bridge is spectacular and looking up from under it, lets you admire its amazing architecture!

Bridge 7 - This is the bridge that crosses Park Blvd. from the Rose Garden toward the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. When crossing this bridge, you can enjoy the rose garden and part of the cactus garden, both gorgeous!

We started at the Georgia Street bridge but most people start at the Rose Garden in Balboa Park and work their way to end with Georgia Street bridge. Here is a map:

Map from The San Diego Historic Streetcars Blog

We finished our hike climbing up the big fat pipe from the bottom of Florida Canyon up to Morley Field Park. Joshua did an amazing job hiking 7 miles in 2.5 hours - what a big boy, I'm so proud of you!


I'm Back! / ¡Ya Volví!


It has been a while since I last posted a recipe, I think it’s time to come back. 

I have been away from my blog because I’ve been busy renewing a long passion of mine; hiking. I love walking and used to hike all the time but because of other priorities I stopped doing it. On February 2, 2015, I went on my first hike after being away from the trails for about 10 years. It was hard but it felt great!

My first hike was only a mile long and it took me a long time to do it. I could only hike during the weekends, which was fine because in the beginning, I was so out of shape that I needed the whole week to recover from any short hike. Now, after a year, I can climb mountains and can go on more than one hike per week. I can walk long distances much more easily and have taken a few backpacking trips, which I never did before but have discovered that I love it.

I’ve done the Mission Trails 5-peak challenge and found a #52hikechallenge on the web and decided to do it. The challenge is to go out and walk 52 hikes in 52 weeks; one per week. However, I’m working on a personal goal this year. I want to walk at least 52 hikes before August. My husband and I, together with other family members, are planning a big backpacking trip to the Sioux Hustler Trail in BWCA Wilderness, Northern Minnesota and I’m using my weekend hikes as training. I have done 21 so far…I have a lot more to walk.

Do you make New Year resolutions? I don’t but this year is different. I have set a couple of goals I want to be able to achieve this year; to be more active and to eat better. I really need to work on these so I can improve my overall health. With these goals in mind, I’m going to start doing a lot more cooking so, I guess this could mean posting more often…I’ll try. Here is a recipe for a healthy lunch or a light dinner. I found this soup in the book that came with my blender and adapted it to my taste. It is easy to make and it is delicious.

Hummus Soup
(for 4 portions)

3 cups of vegetable broth (chicken broth can be used)
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini paste 
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)

Combine all ingredients into the jar of a blender and secure the lid. Blend for a couple of minutes at a high setting or until everything is smooth. Pour into a pot and bring soup to a simmer over a medium-low heat and cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with croutons or pita chips and enjoy. 

I accompanied mine with warm bread topped with greek yogurt, sprinkled with zaatar and a little olive oil. It was delicious!


Letter to Nora / Carta a Nora

Nora Ceccopieri Gómez 

Dear Nora,
Wherever you are, receive a big kiss from me and I wish you peace. Here, we are very sad that you left us and your blogger friends will miss you immensely. However, your essence stays here in every one of the recipes you shared with us. From now on, every time I cook something of yours, I will think you are watching over me from where you are and I will smile. Thank you for all that time you invested sharing yourself with us. For me, it was amazing and a great pleasure to have had the opportunity to met you - rest in peace my friend. 💜

Querida Nora,
En donde quiera que estés te mando un beso y te deseo paz. Aquí estamos muy tristes por tu partida y tus amigos blogeros te echaremos mucho de menos. Sin embargo nos queda tu esencia en cada una de las recetas que compartiste con todos. Siempre que cocine algo tuyo, pensaré que me observas desde donde te encuentres y sonreiré. Gracias por todo ese tiempo invertido y compartido. Para mí fue maravilloso y un placer haberte conocido - descansa en paz amiga. 💜
Te quiero,


It's All About Sharing / Se Trata de Compartir

Kristy at the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon, 2014

Inspiration came to me early this morning so, before I lose it, I decided to write a short post.

I got up early and while I was trying to figure out what kind of pancakes I should make for breakfast, I picked up my phone and read Kristy’s Facebook post where she shared pictures of her pancakes. Kristy is my niece who lives in New York. She often inspires me to do things… like running my first 5K and trying new kinds of beer. She is an awesome marathon runner and she loves a good beer. She is also a great cook who focuses on cooking and eating healthy and nutritious food, like the pancakes she prepared this morning. They were made with teff, an incredibly nutritious grain high in protein and calcium. 

Teff is one of the earliest domesticated plants and it originated in Ethiopia but is now being raised in United States. I was introduced to teff a few years ago by my friend and co-worker, Helen, who showed me how to make injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread made with teff flour and a staple in Ethiopian cuisine. I’ve tried to make injera several times but with very poor results so I usually use teff in pancakes and I have made veggie burgers with it. I’ll share that recipe some other time. 

Today, I was inspired by Kristy to make teff pancakes for breakfast. Our time zone is 3 hours different from New York, so I was so glad that, by the time I got up, she had her pancakes made and shared in Facebook. I was inspired to make this delicious breakfast. Now, I’m sharing my recipe here and hope this will inspire someone else - it is all about sharing!

Teff Pancakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole teff grain
1/4 cup powdered coconut milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process first 3 ingredients in a blender until pulverized. Pour into a large bowl and whisk in baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk, stir in melted butter and vanilla. Combine wet and dried ingredients to form the pancake batter. Cook pancakes on a hot griddle. Makes 12 delicious 4-5 inch pancakes.