fat2plant

The power of adding plants to your life!


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4 Fast Days in PDX

The time flies when hanging out with family you don’t get to see on the regular, and the past four days were no exception.  I must first address the fact that both times I’ve been to Portland it has been sunny and upper 80’s, so I’m not sure what everyone is talking about when they say it’s always cloudy and rainy… The first full day there my brother had to work, so my dad, the boys, and I planned to spend the day in Hood River which is located a few miles west of Portland along the Colombia River. The drive along the giant river was awesome, this desert boy doesn’t see lakes that big let alone a river. The first stop of the day was at the Multhomah Falls an amazing set of 2 tiered water falls nestled in the woods coming off a shear faced cliff.  The place was magically, I know why bigfoot lives here….

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After a bit of hiking and exploring we got back on the road and winded our way to Hood River and met up with some family. The first order of business was to locate some fresh berries that my dad could take back to Phoenix with him, it was a little early in the season but we were able to find some across the river. We crossed the river to Washington on a slightly sketchy draw bridge and found the shop with the strawberries and we weren’t disappointed. One more time back across the bridge to return to the Oregon side of the river and headed to a park so the boys could move their bodies after being in the car for most of the past 2 days, the park was down on the bank of the river and some very cool things for the boys to climb and play on along with a beach to play in the water. Again its sunny and mid to upper 80 the water was only a bit chilly for the boys to get their feet wet in and splash around.  After a bite to eat we made our way back to Portland…

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Before we got back into the city I had to make one more stop, if you have read the book or watched the movie Wild the main character ends her time on the PCT on the Bridge of the Gods. With my wife and I being fans I had to stop and check it out, I always love going to places that I’ve read about, sometimes its a let down, this time was not one of those times.

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After some afternoon traffic we finally made it back to my brother’s house, we got ready for a “guys night out” with my dad and brother. The first time I had been to Portland a couple of years ago were under much different circumstances, a tumor had been found in my brothers brain and things were a little intense. Fast forward to today and the tumor was removed and he is doing awesome! I’m not really sure if I can remember a time were just the three of us had hung out socially, the night would not be a disappointment.  The evening began at a place called The Kennedy School one of he properties owned by the McMenamins, now this place was an actual school at one time in history and now was a hotel (the classrooms are the rooms) with a couple of bars and restaurants  in it now.  What I thought was going to be dinner and some drinks became an adventure/scavenger hunt, the McMenamins own several properties and have created a passport were you get stamps and prizes.  A good time was had by all stamps were earned and prizes were won, beers were drunk and a lot of tater tots were eaten.

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With a good buzz going by the end of the night there is only one place to go in and that’s the world-famous Voodoo Doughnuts, now its hard enough for me to turn down a doughnut when I’m stone cold sober so when I’ve had some beers, watch out!

The morning Uncle Zach (my brother) made the boys some most amazing pancakes to start the day off right.  The plan for today was to go explore another one the McMenamins properties the Edgefield an old poor farm, with the whole crew of 7 of us for more stamps, prizes, and tots. This I know for a fact was the first time all 3 generations from my dad to my brother and I’s sons all hung out, and great day had and many memories were made for sure. My oldest was fascinated by the glass blower and I think would have hung out in front of the tiny shop for hours if I would have let him.  One of the many cool things is that they make all their own wine, liquor, and beers on property and you can only get them from one of the bars they own. This was the day my dad had to fly home and end his part of the adventure, and I think he was sad to go.

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The final day before we left was a day of recovery and recharging before the boys headed east to Denver, the past 4 days had been non stop and the chance to do nothing but lounge was fully embraced. Our time in Portland flew by, but to say it was awesome would be an understatement.

Until next time, stay weird Portland!!

-f2p


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THE FIRST 1300 MILES!!!!!

My alarm went off at 330 am monday morning and we were off to the races, with only a minor set back of me forgetting my wallet for the first time in my life.  I luckily noticed my error not too far out-of-town and was able to get it with minimal back tracking and ultimately only cost about an hour of drive time. The boys were set up pretty sweet in the back of the family wagon, and my dad was riding shotgun on the first leg of our summer travels.  Our destination was Portland with a stop in the bay area to sleep the first night, a much different path than past summers.

With the wallet retrieved thanks to my amazing and heavy footed wife we were west bound with Joshua Tree NP as our first and only truly planned stop, it did not disappoint.  Much like Saguaro National Park Joshua Tree reminds you that not all forests are full of pines and evergreens, but cholla and joshua trees create a massive desert forest. The giant mounds of massive boulders scattered across the park made everyone in the car stop and think about the kind of force it takes to move such large rocks. As with all parks we visit the older boys picked up Junior Ranger books at the south gate and worked on them as we work our way north through the park.

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Joshua Tree fascinates me and we will be back but I want to camp and spend a few days exploring the vast desert that it has to offer.

The planned course of travel had been to avoid the Los Angeles area and take the smaller less traveled state highways through Barstow and up to Bakersfield. I will admit not the most scenic route but much less holiday weekend traffic and our first unplanned stop. The Pacific Crest Trail is held in regards in my house so there was a bit of excitement when we realized we would be crossing it and were able to get out and snap some pictures and be able to say I hiked some of the PCT, 20 feet of the PCT anyway.

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Then came Bakersfield, we had planned to take the 99 up and stay off of interstate 5 again holiday weekend and the traffic that comes with it. Siri had other ideas for how we would get to our day 1 destination and as I missed an exit she rerouted us to the 5! All things considered it could have been much worst, the only delays were caused by rubber neckers for accidents on the south bound side of the highway and I only ended up costing us about an extra hour. We made our way into Livermore California about 2 and half hours later than planned but we made it and day one was in the books.

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We took our time getting up and out of the house we were staying out and after a nice breakfast made by my uncle, we hit the road at about 8. What a difference a day makes, heading out of the bay area on a Tuesday was much nicer then heading into it at the end of a holiday weekend. The biggest thing I took away from this part of the trip was the fight for water, you can watch what ever you want on the news or read on the internet but until you drive through and see the signs and battle cries posted along the highway for hundreds of hundreds of miles you have no idea.  So whats my opinion? Well, I saw 450 miles of non native almonds trees and rice patties with feed lots in between followed by how low lake Shasta is, i will leave it at that. Once north of Redding the whole landscape changes from rolling farm lands to mountains with thick evergreen forest. The road and weather remained clear through the rest of California and into southern Oregon, I took the opportunity to stop in Ashland at Rogue Valley Runners or some schwag. For those that don’t know why I would care about this what seems to be a random shoe store in the a small Oregon town, its owned by Hal Koerner super star ultra runner and author of Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning. What can I say, I’m a fan and now I have a hat, some stickers, and a patch…

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The drive north across literally the entire state of Oregon was beautiful and more importantly uneventful, we pulled into my brothers driveway after two days and just over 1300 miles…

-f2p


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That’s a Wrap!!!

Another school year in the books, the last day of school is one of my top five favorite days of the years!!

The boys and I now get to get ready for the adventures that come with our summer break. This year will be no exception in just over 48 hours we will be on the road heading towards the great north-west!

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Where have I been?!?!

I wish I could say I was off on an epic adventure, but I wasn’t. I have been injured though, the first time in my athletic life even going back to high school, and it had a huge effect on my mental state in the beginning. I started putting on weight at a break neck speed and the full blown melt down was a brewing. I think we need diversity to realize what is missing in our lives or at least make us realize we need to have a moment to step back. I had been incredibly “comfortable” in my routine and had become complaisant, I ran a lot and bounced around on my nutrition though all plant based I never focused on one single version. Some times I was the raw fruitarian other times the no sugar no grains higher fat dude and everything in between. Well once the high volume aerobic disappeared the lack of consistency in my diet reared it’s ugly head and soon was all over the place trying to figure out what camp I wanted/needed to belong too. I felt like I was 365 lbs again trying to figure what I needed to and was reminded how hard it is for everyone else out there trying to change their lives for the first time or the 15th time. So many books and people giving out different info all over the place, it’s a big world of information! Ironically it was my wife who brought me the info that has me back in control and able to right the ship. I’ve learned to be okay with gym again, don’t get me wrong I miss the ability to just throw on my Altras and hit the road or trails but I’ve learned to look at the big picture. I will get back out there hopefully soon, but in the mean time I will keep grinding it out in the gym. With an amazing new structured nutritional plan and exploring new forms of exercise I feel really amazing about things to come. Again I want to give a HUGE shout out to Sid Garza-Hillman he continues to put out amazing content and is changing lives!!! Also check out ALTRA and all the new shoes that have just been released and others soon to be released, there is something for every one I promise you that.

I love feed back and questions, so keep them coming!! Follow me on twitter and Instagram @fat2plant.

I hope I can get this blog rolling again!

Cody

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Pinch Me Because I think I’m Dreaming!!! I Did Whaaaaat?

I had the AMAZING opportunity to chat with Author/Cert. Nutritionist/Health Coach/Runner/All around AWESOME guy Sid Garza-Hillman for the latest episode of the Approaching the Natural Podcast (available on iTunes or by clicking the image) also check out his website Transitioning to Health!!!

I hope you enjoy it!!!!!

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Hikapalooza the Fifth Day!!!

What a difference a day makes….

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Today I didn’t pick the trail until this morning and decided on one I had done before and was pretty comfortable with, I went with the Kiwanis Trail in the South Mountain park system. The funny thing with this trail is that last week when I started thinking about this hike a day for spring break I thought this trail would be to long and challenging for the boys at 2.7 miles in length. Well with a technical 5 miler and two other 2 plus milers under their belt this now seemed like a very doable hike for these super trekker kids. The backpack was double checked and we loaded up and headed to South Mountain with a quick stop at Circle K to refresh my depleted gum stash. Taking the trip through South Phoenix is always full of interesting things and people even at 8:30 in the morning and just like that you go from the city to a huge nature area.

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I was happy to see only 3 other cars in the small lot at the trail head as today was going to be a take our time and no rush type of hike. Everyone had good attitudes and only Munch had to pee so things couldn’t get much better. Once I got Munch situated behind a bush to handle his business I got the other 2 some gum and then we hit it. I had already figured I was going to be carrying Luc more then normal with his little legs tired from a week of adventures, but it turned out to be most of the day. The perks of being a super special two year old… This was the first hike where we were able to see petroglyphs on the rocks not far off the trail but far enough after the snake nobody dared explore. The weather was perfect in the ravine that our hike lead us through mostly shade with some sun patches. As we made our way up the trail before we knew we were climbing the last bit up to the main road that ran through the park. This where a vote was taken we carry on across the street and jump on the National Trail and finish up at the 85 year old rock building on the top, Munch voted yes and Drew said nay and the yes’s had it. Drew slightly dejected fell in behind us as we headed up the last little bit of climbing for the day, the reward of a snack kept the pace up and with Luc in my arms we made it lickity split. Once at the top you could see how much crap was in the air today more than normal for sure, a quick photo and some water plus the much anticipated snack everyone was ready to head down and call it a day. With very little traffic we were able to knock out the return in almost half the time plus with Luc on my shoulders for all but the last 100 yards it the day was done. With only a couple minor falls and some very knotted shoulders today was the kind of mellow no stress hike the boys need to avoid becoming jaded about hiking. Today was nearly perfect and will be hard to top but we shall see what tomorrow holds….

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-F2P

 

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Hike #4 : The missed turn…

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Today was already starting out with a little less enthusiasm then the 3 previous days, but we still were able to get out of the house by 8:30.  I had decided last night that we would be hitting the Piestewa Nature Trail 304 I read in Take a Hike Phoenix that it was a super kid friendly 1.3 mile loop, just what I was looking for especially with the current attitudes in the truck.  We got the trail head and 2 of the 3 boys had lightened up but my sweet Drew had dug in and was ready to battle for the next hour or so…

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We set off and I decided to help Luc up the first little climb just to avoid an early burn out and potential melt down from a hyper sensitive touchy group. We quickly crossed paths with some young ladies who tried engaging Drew in a chat about lizards and he not only ignored them he gave them the “why do you think you can speak to me?” squint and stare. This is where I draw the line and its time to have a little chat, it went something like this….

”you want to have a bad day? Okay have one, but you’re not allowed to be rude and try to ruin others good day. So you need to take a seat on this rock and we will come back for you in a bit, but once you’ve decided to snap out of it you can try and catch up.”

…and away Luc, Munch and I went. Maybe 10 feet of trail were covered before a teary seven year old rejoined the group and once again we were 4 and onward we went. At about 25 minutes in we had reach a ridge and figured it was a good time for snacks and drinks, this was welcomed with open hands and mouths. Out of no where I was struck by the quart and a half of water I drank earlier wanting to exit my body but there wasn’t an ideal place to relieve the pressure, so we carried on and this is where the day was about to make the day EPIC. I finally found a spot off the trail and still able to see the boys, once the euphoric relief had come to an end we marched on. Slowly as the minutes and steps passed I started to get that feeling that we had missed the turn that would have finished the loop back to the parking lot. I went to retrieve the trail guide when to my surprise it wasn’t in the backpack but rather next to my bed where I had been scouting out today’s hike last night. I pushed on with a 15 min time limit set internally for the next evaluation of the situation, and the distance covered in that 15 minutes had to be a record for a 2 year old because we covered some ground with no left turn to be found. At this point I was pretty sure we had ended up on the 1A trail mostly to the trail markers that said “1A” its usually a good indicator anyway. So we took a break to get some more water in and I made the decision to keep moving forward , I was pretty sure this trail was a loop and the fact it was still in the 60’s out the adventure began. At this point we were squarely on the back side of the mountain from where we had started which solidified my decision to just not turn back and just return the way we came. To the north I could see what I was pretty sure was Trail 100 that runs east to west through the length of the park for almost 11 mile one way which all I could think about is how much I want to run it, but that was for a different day. Then out of no where there was the VOAZ trail that headed south and appeared to head up the mountain, but I didn’t recognize the name and there were no one else around so we continued on the trail we were on. In hind site if we would of hopped on that trail it would have taken pretty much back to 304 the trail we were on, oh well next time. This was the moment I truly didn’t know where we were and I thought “this is a great chance to teach some life lessons” so I told the boys we were lost but we were lost together. They took the news a lot better than I had anticipated I told them “we will be fine, we have water and snacks” I’m pretty sure that’s all a 7 and 6 year old care about. We had been on the trail for about 2 miles and had only carried Luc a few times I was prepared for a melt down from him as we kept going into the unknown. We had started heading straight west and had gone about a quarter mile when we had another opportunity to take a left and head south so I took it and this was about the time Luc had had enough, to my shoulders he went. We began our blind faith climb up the trail that I know now is called the 1A irregular, we moved at a good pace up to the ridge. Once on the ridge I could see what I wanted to see it was the Freedom 302 Trail that looped around the mountain and would take us back to the promise land, down the other side of the ridge we headed down to the sweet Freedom Trail. We had now surpassed the time and distance we had spent out during the previous hikes and the temperature had began to start creeping up we took our last snack break. Spirits were incredibly high we crossed paths with and older couple and rude boy drew was the first to say “good morning”, things were looking good. I was pretty much carrying Luc in one way or another all the time at this point. Then it happened…. There was a snake on the trail that drew had stepped over without having a clue it was there. The good news it was an just an 18 inch garter snake taking in the rays he looked up and noticed the crowed and headed into a hole, however this was a great teaching moment for the importance of trail awareness. Munch on the other hand only knew that there was a snake and a mini melt down would be with us until the end, no hysterics just a light sob and snot. We finally made our way the mountain until we connected to the Summit Trail and talk about culture shock, we went from seeing 4 people all day into one of the busiest trail in the Phoenix Parks. The descent was quick as there was a resurgent of energy now that the parking lot was in view, the rest was a breeze.

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It turns out we ended up hiking almost 5 miles and I could have been happier about the way it all played out. Its rare we can be thrust into situations that test who we are and how we are going to handle it especially when we are also responsible for children at the same time. Before anyone calls child protective service on me for being an irresponsible father, I did have my phone with full service the whole time and at any time I could of called someone or brought up a map. But I don’t want my kids to rely on that, I want them to know that staying calm and paying attention will keep you much safer than freaking out and shutting down. We also learned that we need to double check our supplies before we leave for the house to make sure we have everything, it was just a book this time. The boys now know what 5 miles feels like so if we were stranded some where they know what they are at least capable of doing. I know I have transformed myself from an obese dad to one that can carry his child up and down a mountain for miles with out losing his breath. And finally and most importantly Luc knows he can chew all my gum and not get yelled out because he is the baby and is spoiled rotten, but I think he already knows that.
-F2P

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Hikapalooza Hike Number Three!!!!!

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Today we headed to west and were joined by Grandma Teresa and Auntie Sara which the boys were thrilled about. The trails we tackled today were located in the Thunderbird Conservation Park and let my sister take the lead since this was her hood and she had trekked this area before. Again the weather was perfect and the volume of traffic in the parking lots reflected that and I knew today was going to have a lot more people interaction than yesterday.  Today was Drew’s day to carry the backpack and he immediately took out his North American insect guide that he didn’t get to use yesterday.  And we were off..
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We started off on the desert iguana trail heading east for about 1/4 of a mile on a fairly groomed and flat trail until we reached a paved road. Drew was quite the chatter box today with his new audience to spew endless knowledge and facts for there enjoyment, Luc on the other hand was getting uptight about the separation between the 2 groups that had formed within our hiking party.  Munch meantime just enjoyed the time that someone was going to hold his hand the whole time, as we made our ascent of the drive way, Luc had had enough and broke free to stop my sister and I’s progress until everyone else could catch up and proceed together. We hopped onto the sunrise trail and right away had traffic to deal with not only passing but also descending some walking some running and this created a small bit of anxiety that, as I write this, seems silly since everyone one was completely patient and courteous. However the terrain plus grade may have been a bit much for Luc’s little legs, but he would have non of it when I attempted to put him on my shoulders, he won that round. As we moved onward we came to a fork in the road, either continue up steep switch backs to the summit or follow the loop back around to where we started I choose the latter. We were still considered to be on sunrise trail but soon merged into the ridge line trail and I would say had put in at roughly a mile at this point and everyone was in good spirits expect maybe Drew who was grumpy but he was with out reason when questioned about it.  The trail had enough loose footing I didn’t give Luc the choice and put him on my back and we quickly descended the just under half a mile of trail until we came to the coach whip loop trail and hung a right.  The insect trail guide had been put away so I really knew Drew was grumpy so I made the call to get some snacks in the blood stream and hope for a better attitude to return. This trail had flattened out and was hard packed so Luc had some freedom which led to a couple of off trail exploration that was quickly squashed. We finished the loop and returned to our starting point where now 2 horses were being saddled up and prepped for the trail themselves, all and all it was good day. I estimate right about 2 miles covered over an hour. But the horse made me wonder something, why don’t riders half to pick up their animals droppings….?
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Until Tomorrow.

-F2P

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Hikapalooza Hike #2 Double Butte Loop!!!

Today’s hike was a pretty big step up from yesterday’s jaunt up Hole in the Rock, today’s hike was on the Double Butte Loop trail which was also part of the Papago Park trail system. Though its spelled BUTTE in a house of boys it was pronounced BUTT with lots of giggles every time. Go big or go home was today’s theme going from under a mile yesterday to almost 2.5 miles today was going to be huge test for 6 short legs and possibly a bigger test of patience for me.

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We arrived at the trail head this morning and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect with the temperature right around 60 and with only few cars in the lot my hopes for the day were already pretty high. Munch, the middle boy, would be carrying the back pack on today’s adventure.  The contents of the pack was, of course, water plus a few snacks, a pair of gloves, baby wipes, a field guide of North American insects, a 7 in 1 tool, and most importantly my copy of Take a Hike Phoenix which has a map of the trail in it. A quick photo in front of the trail signage and review of trail etiquette and how to avoid being eaten we were off! The trail was very well established and marked well with the blue 5’s on the trail markers which was made things super easy to stay on course and also gave the boys something to focus on. The first segment flew by and we arrived at the Eliot Ramada in about 20 mins and took a moment to drink up and do a quick check of everyone’s well-being and general attitudes, and all were good. At this point we could have just turned around and returned to the head or headed west and taken the shortened version of the loop which I had originally planned on with it being just over 1.5 miles, but with spirits high we headed east to tackle the Big Butt (butte) Loop. The trail begins to get a touch more technical with looser footing on the rolling parts.  This is where we had our first and only skinned knee which was handled like a champ and not one tear shed. As we round the mountain it’s the first time we cross path with other hikers and without skipping a step the boys fall into single file and stay to the right and allow the not as friendly as us folks pass, I praise the boys for their manners and effort as we continued on our way. We approach the back side of the mountain we reach the amphitheater which is used as another trail head since it has available parking on the road there is a small group of people running the stairs and I usher the boys through quickly to avoid Luc wanting to participate and mostly a meltdown. Once we are free and clear of the group and I offer up snacks and another drink break which was received with open arms, the snack part anyways.  We take a moment for a picture or two and make our way back to the Eliot Ramada where again we have a fork in the road. At this point we could of returned on the original trail or continue following the loop with everyone still holding on to smiles we stayed on course to finish the loop. This puts us on a trail that again is fairly wide and flat and heads towards the western boundary of the park right along the neighboring golf course, the boys have now also been taught golf etiquette. Moments after this life lesson, Luc has decided his little legs where finished and promptly took a seat to express his feeling about the situation, with less than half a mile left this wasn’t a battle worth fighting so onto my shoulders he happily went. As the end neared the boys again responded to traffic on the trail flawlessly this time with 2 mountain bikers on a descent, the two gentlemen were very appreciative of our allowing them the right of way and I was very proud of my tired little adventurers. I put Luc back on the ground for the closing steps of our journey and as he had the day before expressed his pride of a job well done and said hello to the ladies just beginning their trek.

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I could not have been any prouder of my children and how they absolutely killed it out there with little to no complaints. All 3 were treated to muffins for a job well done and a ra-ra pep talk for tomorrow’s new adventure!!!

-F2P

 

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