Spring Break – Hiking Like Hobbits

Our guest blogger, Kathy, has been continuing her 2014 resolution to try a new hike every month. Here’s her latest adventure:

A Hobbit-worthy trail

A Hobbit-worthy trail

Have you ever passed by a random spot on the highway with a lot of cars parked but no people in sight? Chances are, it’s a trailhead. There’s a spot just south of Carl G. Washburn State Park on the Oregon Coast that my family and I have passed countless times, but this time, while at the coast for Spring Break, we finally took the opportunity to stop (being on vacation was no excuse for skipping my monthly hiking goal). Sure enough, there were trail heads on both sides of the road, and as we were told by another hiker, dubbed the Hobbit Trail.

“I wonder why they call it the Hobbit Trail,” my daughter Sarah asked, as we were putting on our hiking shoes. As we all came up with our various theories, but it wasn’t until we hit the trail that we began to understand. We chose the trail on the west site of the highway, thinking the trail might meander its way to the Ocean. Instead, it headed up hill, through lush, green woodlands, definitely Hobbit-worthy, toward the north side back site of Heceta Head. Being spring, there were a few challenging spots where the rain had turned the trail into a nice bog that only a true hobbit, with his oversize bare feet, could appreciate. But at the top, we were treated with a beautiful vista of the beach—a perspective of Carl G. Washburn beach that we hadn’t experienced before.

View of Carl G Washburn beach

View of Carl G Washburn beach

Since the trek was short (you can continue on around the bluff to Heceta Head Light House) we decided to turn back and try the trail on the east side of the highway. After a short distance, you come upon a meadow that opens onto a pond, providing a great spot for a snack (or second breakfast for hobbits). We continued on, and again found ourselves surrounded by just about every hue of green, including some areas completely carpeted with moss. Just beyond, we came upon more ponds, and a particularly pungent smell—ah, skunk cabbage in bloom. Spring was definitely a good time to experience this trail.

All in all—the hike was just enough to make us feel like we got some exercise, without being hard core, and we all now have the impression of what it must be like to be a Hobbit on the Oregon Coast. A perfect vacation hike experience.

Veggie U expands to Montana

This spring Montana fourth graders got up close and personal with seeds, shoots, soil and even worms thanks to the Veggie U program. Six classes of fourth grade students across the state received a Veggie U kit that contained all the necessary tools to grow vegetables and learn about healthy eating. PacificSource started funding this program in 2010 in Oregon and Idaho and we were excited to expand it to Montana this year.

Students from Ms. Alberts’ fourth grade class at Kessler Elementary in Helena shared their favorite parts of the program. Check out the video below.

After their hands on experience planting, growing and harvesting vegetables, we’re hopeful that these students will continue to try vegetables and other new healthy foods.

If you’d like to nominate a classroom in your area to receive a Veggie U kit, complete this nomination form to tell us why your teacher and classroom would be a good fit for Veggie U.

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Sharing Healthy Ideas at The Pear Blossom Festival

MEDFORD PEAR BLOSSOM (6)In Medford, OR, nothing brings out the crowds like the Pear Blossom Festival. The event marks the beginning of spring, and while we attend the event every year, it’s really, really nice when the weather cooperates. This year, we posted up with a “Share Your Healthy Ideas” banner, and simply asked people to give us their ideas for living a healthy life. As we always do, we had a flood of incredible ideas.

We also offered some of our favorite healthy “spring time” recipes, some fresh produce, our wellness trivia game (complete with a nifty Plinko board), and we gave away some of our handy salad shakers to the winners.

It’s an amazing event, and our team in Medford had a blast. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! Here are some more snapshots from the event:

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