Monday, February 17, 2014

Take a Hike: Sturtevant Falls

I’m a sucker for hikes ending with waterfalls. They are the cherry on top that makes the hike so worth it. When I kept harassing Jeremy on what I should wear on our surprise Valentine’s date he finally told me we were going hiking and then to dinner. It was tough to be the one to spoil a surprise date but I’m glad I did because I like to dress comfortably when hiking, but also prepared with a change of clothes for our dinner date.

We drove up to Arcadia for our Adventure Pass and then up Santa Anita Road to Chantry Flats where we hiked to Sturtevant Falls. I’ll let you in on a secret: this isn’t the hike Jeremy thought he was taking me on. We actually both dislike the Sturtevant trail. Since we were there, we decided to tackle it again. This hike begins and ends with a half mile of paved road. The start isn’t too bad because you are going downhill the entire way, however climbing back up is a pain in the butt (literally). There is very little shade on this part of the hike which makes it feel like it is a million degrees when hiked during summer. It was a nicer climb this weekend since it was overcast but it didn't make the steep climb any easier.

When the asphalt meets the dirt you come to a little bridge and the first of the man made dam waterfalls. There are a few directional signs and a historic sign introducing Robert’s Camp. The camp was open from 1912 to 1931 with sleeping accommodations, kitchen, dining and eventually a store and post office. According to the sign the camp closed with a decline in hiking in the 1920s. Along the trail still remain many cabins, which are inhabited. I remember learning on our prior hike here that mules have to take in materials for repairs to the cabins. My favorite along the way is the Castle on the Creek with its stone decor.

There is little to no reception in the canyon so there are call boxes along the way. Curiosity got the best of me and we opened one up to see what type of phone it would be. I’m so glad we did because we found a wind up phone connected to a small battery.
The actual trail to the falls isn't too tough. There is plenty of shade, beautiful carved rock walls and green galore. The trail crosses the creek three times where you have to walk over rocks to make it across. Since there wasn't a whole lot of water in the creek, we had a pretty easy time with it. Jeremy is taller than I am so he can cross wide stretches pretty easily while I’m left looking for an alternate route across. Only one of my shoes got wet while crossing which is a total plus.

Once we made it to the falls I tried to compare how much water there was this time to the last time we came around. I remember the pool at the bottom having more water, although there was plenty of water for a few swimmers who were braving the cold water. It wasn't as crowded as I remember it being during the summer which is always a plus. We took drank some water, had some trail mix and relaxed a bit by the falls.

When we made it back to Chantry Flats we used the facilities to change into more appropriate dinner wear. I normally hike sans makeup with my hair in a ponytail but since we had dinner plans I styled my hair before we left and then wrapped it up in my bandanna. My curls held up pretty well if I say so myself.
We headed out for a night on the town in Downtown Pasadena just off Colorado. We took a little walk down Green which led us to some cool vintage shops. We stopped at Old Focals after I noticed a pair of cat eye glasses through the window. I whispered to Jeremy, “They sell vintage glasses." The styles, colors and shapes were amazing. The d├ęcor also included vintage eye examining tools and signs. When I got home I looked them up on the net only to find out that they supply Mad Men with their eye wear. If I had only known when I was in the shop then I would have shared my Mad Men prop sale for Season 5.

Down the street we walked into Rocket Fizz soda pop and candy shop. They had quite the selection of both. We had to try Martian Poop soda which was actually delicious and tasted quite a bit like marionberry. We picked up a couple of candies from our childhood and shared our Martian Poop soda as we made our way to Green Earth vegan restaurant.

Neither of us are vegan but Jeremy chose this restaurant for their gluten free options. Everything we had was delicious. We started out with the GF Spring Rolls and Quinoa Sushi. Both were served cold and packed with tasty veggies and sauces. I had Quinoa Fiesta and it was so good! It had a buttery taste that gave it a comfort food feel, and was served with peppers, pumpkin, kale and tofu. Jeremy had the fried rice sans tofu. We both had juices too. To close our evening out we took a walk down to Union for some gelato.

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend celebrating the friends and family they love!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Vino for Valentine's

Vino came home on Valentine’s Day 7 years ago. He was one of the smallest puppies in his litter, but also one of the cutest with lots of spunk. Vino is my grandparent’s dog, the first of three schnauzers that are now a part of our family. If you have never crossed paths with a schnauzer, I hope you do. I am an indiscriminate dog lover, but I must admit schnauzers have a little extra something to love. It might be their amazing beard, bushy eye brows or great personalities; they are truly awesome dogs. Vino is no exception.

Earlier this month Vino gave us a bit of a scare. In the matter of one week he lost 5 pounds, was listless, had no appetite and didn’t want to play. All very unlike him. While we waited for his blood test results over a weekend he started drinking a lot of water and was having to relieve himself more frequently than normal. By Monday we were desperate for an answer and hoping that whatever was wrong was treatable.

Vino was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Because his body isn't producing enough insulin, he had to stay in the hospital where he was hooked up to an IV and had his glucose levels monitored every 4 hours until they were stabilized. The veterinarian explained that type 1 diabetes in dogs in most often genetic and diagnosed around age 6. Despite hearing this, we were afraid that we had done something to cause Vino’s diabetes. We consider our dogs not only our pets, but members of our family, so of course we want the best for them. Vino sometimes eats fallen fruit from the trees in my grandparent’s backyard. It was killing me to think that had we prevented him from eating the fruit he wouldn't have been sick.

He's a snuggler, hiker, bath taker (in a MCM pink bathtub), & a beach goer.
After 5 days Vino was able to come home along with special dog food, a feeding schedule and a prescription for insulin. Luckily his organs were unaffected, so he will be making a complete recovery by being fed twice a day followed by an insulin shot. The veterinarian was optimistic that Vino will live a long, normal life following this new regiment. He also told us not to be discouraged by the fact that most dogs only live 6-7 years after being diagnosed with diabetes, because most of them are not diagnosed until they are already 6 or 7 years old.

Since we weren't able to visit him while he was in the hospital, I went straight over to see him the night he arrived home. Vino loves stuffed animals so I picked him up a stuffed bunny as a get well gift. I was surprised at how skinny he was – I could feel his bones as I pet him which is the opposite of the muscular dog he used to be. As I sat on the ground with him in my lap I hugged him and cried. I cried because I was happy he was going to be okay, but I was so sorry that he was sick and had to go through this.
It has been a week since Vino has been recovering at home. He has gained back a few pounds and is busy rough housing and playing as usual. He is loving his new food and handling his insulin shots just fine. For this we are all thankful.

Just when things were looking up we found out that Vino’s brother Sparky (who lives next door) has also been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I feel sad for Sparky having to go through what Vino did, but also relieved. I still kept thinking there could have been something we could have done to prevent him from getting diabetes, but now we know it really is his and Sparky’s genes. Apparently miniature schnauzers are one of the top breeds affected by diabetes.

Schnauzer wall art by Going Places 2
Before Vino got sick I didn’t know about diabetes in dogs, and I bet most dog lovers don’t either. Although our family and friends have been supportive, it has been a tough few weeks. I wanted to share Vino’s story to bring awareness that diabetes doesn’t just affect humans, but also our furry best friends. The same way that people adjust to life with a disease, we as pet owners can help our dogs (and cats) brave through the highs and lows of life with diabetes. Vino’s life with diabetes will get easier, because we are by his side giving him the unconditional love and support he has given us.