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DECEMBER 2016 | VOL. 9 — ISSUE 12


in the JOURNEY Modern pilgrimages begin with the first step

O regOn H ealtHy l iving . cOm

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PLUS Merry Mocktails Restful Yin Yoga

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Table of Contents







Joy in the Journey: Modern pilgrimages begin with the first step El Camino Appalachian Le Tour du de Santiago: Trail: Mont Blanc:




Hold That Pose: Finding the yin in yoga


Mocktails: Delightful and alcohol-free


Local Events: Find out what’s going on in your community this month


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On the cover

The editor’s desk

My experience of the transformational effect of long hikes has all been from a comfy chair, imagined through books and movies. I’m inspired by the perseverance and optimism these seekers have. If our stories this month make you curious for more, I recommend “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson and “The Way is Made By Walking” by Arthur Paul Boers, among many other memoirs and books. There is also a 2010 movie, “The Way.” Personally, when I think of these long treks, I remember Reese Witherspoon (as Cheryl Strayed) throwing her boot off the cliff in “Wild.” But she made it all the way to Oregon anyway. Next month we will focus on another physical challenge: marathons. Happy Holidays!

Ashland residents Suzanne and William Heinrich are pros at big walks. After successfully completing the El Camino de Santiago in 2014, the two ventured to the Mount Blanc massif this year. In this picture, the Heinrichs were hiking from Trient, Switzerland to JOY Tre Le Champ, in the JOURNEY France. Photo by William Heinrich. DECEMBER 2016 | VOL. 9 — ISSUE 12

Modern pilgrimages begin with the first step


O regOn H ealtHy l iving . cOm

Merry Mocktails Restful Yin Yoga

STAFF EDITOR: Cheryl P. Rose ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Dena DeRose DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Bret Jackson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER: David Gibb Andrea Allen Sis CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Keith Gillogly Sarah Lemon Rebecca Scott Haley Strahan Cindy Quick Wilson Oregon Healthy Living Magazine is published by the Southern Oregon Media Group Advertising Department, 111 N. Fir St., Medford, OR 97501. General information: 541.776.4422 Submissions and feedback:


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The Quiet Strength of

Yin Yoga Joan Marks (left) and Nora Coolridge (right) demonstrate camel pose in two variations.

Bringing body and soul back into balance TEXT BY CINDY QUICK WILSON | PHOTOS BY ANDREA ALLEN SIS


aily life seems filled with a never-ending series of hectic missions: Drop off the kids, take the dog to the vet, pick up some groceries. Which might explain why devoted practitioners credit a slow, gentle, meditative form of yoga with providing an oasis of serenity, peace and balance.

“Our lives are so hectic,” says Amanda Tucker, owner of Soul Shine Yoga in Medford. “We’re like spinning tops, and you know when a top starts getting a little off, eventually it will go on its side and stop. Our fascia, our connective tissue, can actually hold onto trauma and stress, and those feelings and emotions can produce that familiar tension and tightness you get through your neck and shoulders. Over time, we can manifest that feeling, and if we don’t do something to get rid of it, it can lead to things like ill health, heart attacks and strokes.”

The yin and yang of it

Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concepts of yin and yang, two opposite but complementary principles in nature. Yin is often described as passive, feminine and cold with downward movement. Yang is explained as being mobile, masculine and hot with upward movement. The yin practice uses, with very little muscle exertion, a slow-paced series of postures, or asanas, that are held for varying periods of time. The intensity and physical benefits of yin yoga depend on how long the poses are held. The beginner may start out holding one position

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“Yoga is the practice of self-discovery, so when you’re holding a posture for five minutes, you have lots of opportunity to look inward.” — Nora Coolridge, instructor, Ashland Yoga Center

Resting in child’s pose at Ashland Yoga Center.

for as little as 45 seconds, whereas a more experienced practitioner may hold the pose for five minutes or as long as 20. “With some types of yoga,” Tucker continues, “the poses can be very challenging because they require some fairly extreme flexibility. But yin yoga can be adapted so that everybody can do it. It’s great for helping us to slow down and spend some time with and for ourselves.”

Physical benefits

“The value of stretching is amazing,” says Nora Coolridge, yoga instructor with Ashland Yoga Center. “The longheld passive stretching used in yin yoga bypasses the soft muscle tissue and goes deep into the connective tissue. Done properly, it brings a wonderful feeling of release and gives a sense of spaciousness and openness in the body. We use certain postures to balance the meridian lines that flow through the internal organs. That’s considered the vital life force or the ‘chi’ as the Chinese refer to it. You can do a whole practice that targets the liver, kidney and spleen, or one that focuses on the stomach, intestines, gallbladder or heart and lungs. A full practice can affect most all the meridian lines.”


The mindfulness of yin

All forms of yoga incorporate stretching, but yin is different, Coolridge explains. In holding the poses, it allows a quiet space to become more meditative and contemplative. And because yin is so passive, she says even those recovering from injuries and surgeries can often continue the practice (with their doctor’s approval) in order to stimulate and maintain energy flow, which in turn, promotes healing. “I credit much of that to the meditation part of the practice, because a key part of yin is the relaxation.” Coolridge continues, “Yoga is the practice of self-discovery, so when you’re holding a posture for five minutes, you have lots of opportunity to look inward. It can be challenging to stay still for that length of time, so this practice can be difficult for people who don’t routinely meditate. It makes you realize just how busy the mind is. It takes a bit of patience and the presence of being. You can’t do it fast, because if you’re in a hurry and try to rush it, you can tear something.” Another important aspect of yin yoga is called pranayama, Tucker says, which is the practice of controlling the breath to achieve certain results. “By adding the breathing, we

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In yin yoga, this pose is called swan. Coolridge demonstrates sleeping swan and Marks shows awake swan.

bring in the awareness of us as a whole; the awareness of mind, body and heart. It is the link between your busy mind and your body grounding itself. You can just stretch, and in your head you’re thinking about going grocery shopping. But with yin, by practicing pranayama as you’re stretching, you’re using your breath to help turn all of your attention inward. You’re going so much deeper and you find more space, which helps you relax more. It’s a way of being here in the moment, allowing yourself to be truly present.” There are many different forms of yoga, but Tucker says, “Yin yoga is like savoring soul food when you have a tablecloth and multiple courses, as opposed to a having drive-thru, fastfood experience.”

Reading List on


“Yin Yoga: Outline of a Quiet Practice” by Paul Grilley “Insight Yoga” by Sarah Powers “The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga: The Philosophy and Practice of Yin Yoga” by Bernie Clark

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Make Meals Merry

Alcohol-free beverages minimize calories but maximize flavor TEXT BY SARAH LEMON | PHOTOS BY DAVID GIBB | MOCKTAILS PREPARED BY LARKS RESTAURANT


ibrant colors and piquant flavors are reasons to revel in festive beverages — without a drop of liquor.

Thoughtful presentation also is a hallmark of nonalcoholic cocktails at Larks restaurants in Ashland and Medford, says Ava DeRosier, director of food and beverage for Neuman Hotel Group. “We’re still putting in the same kind of attention and care and creativity.” The season shines a spotlight on pears, cranberries, pomegranates, cinnamon, ginger, herbs and spices, says DeRosier. Simmered, steeped, squeezed and shaken, these ingredients and more make for mocktails that stand alone, instead of standing in for spirits. “It doesn’t always have to be about alcohol,” she says. “It can be fun for young adults, as well.” Across all customer demographics, mocktails are gaining ground, says DeRosier. The popularity of by-the-glass sales over bottles of wine is one indicator that people are drinking


less alcohol, she adds. So is the trend of ordering a mocktail for the evening’s second round. “But they want something memorable still,” she says. “People are really delighted by it.” A delight for all the senses, a well-crafted mocktail may mingle fresh fruit juices, sweet or spicy syrups, purees of locally grown produce, as well as bartending staples, such as bitters and tonic water. Shaken and served over ice, these elixirs may be decked out with sugar rims, herb sprigs, whole spices and candied citrus or ginger. “We’re looking to be always cutting-edge,” says DeRosier. Cutting calories is a seasonal struggle for which mocktails offer a sound strategy. For every shot of 80-proof liquor, a beverage gains approximately 100 calories. Also cutting costs from restaurant tabs, nonalcoholic drinks are thriftier thirst-quenchers, particularly during a month of prolific purchasing. At $5 to $6, Larks’ mocktails usually cost about half of their cocktail counterparts, says DeRosier. “The value is clear,” she says. “People are becoming more budget-conscious and maybe just smarter with their money.”

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Pomegranate juice boasts three times the antioxidant benefit of red wine or green tea. POMEGRANATE PUNCH FOR A CROWD INGREDIENTS: 1 part pomegranate juice 1 part fresh orange juice 1 part sparkling apple cider 1 cup pear nectar (more for larger batches) San Pellegrino, as needed Fresh pear slices, for garnish Fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish

DIRECTIONS In a pitcher, combine the pomegranate juice, orange juice and sparkling apple cider. Add the local pear nectar (related recipe on page 12), tasting to determine quantity. Adjust sweetness with the San Pellegrino. Transfer mixture to a punch bowl, if desired. Float the pear slices on top and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds.

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Cranberry juice contains a high amount of salicylic acid, which helps to reduce swelling, prevent blood clots and eliminate tumors.

CRANBERRY FIZZ INGREDIENTS: Ice, for shaking and serving 2 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup (see related recipe on page 11) 3 dashes orange bitters 2 ounces tonic water Candied ginger, for garnish



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In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the cranberry juice, simple syrup and bitters; shake well. Pour mixture into a glass with ice. Top with the tonic water and garnish with the candied ginger. Servings: 1

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Essential oils in cinnamon are anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups water 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 3 cinnamon sticks 2 cups cane sugar

DIRECTIONS: In a pot over high heat, bring the water to boiling. Add the rosemary sprigs or cinnamon sticks, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat; remove and discard rosemary or cinnamon sticks. While infusion is still warm, add the cane sugar; stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to use. Yield is about 2 1/2 cups.

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Pears are one of the lowest-calorie fruits and also among the least allergenic. PERFECTLY PEAR INGREDIENTS: Ice, for shaking and serving 6 to 8 mint leaves, lightly muddled, plus several unbruised leaves, for garnish 2 ounces local pear nectar (see related recipe below) 1 ounce fresh lemon juice San Pellegrino, for serving

DIRECTIONS: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the mint leaves, pear nectar and lemon juice; shake well. Pour mixture into a glass with ice. Top with the San Pellegrino and garnish with a few fresh mint leaves. Servings: 1

LOCAL PEAR NECTAR INGREDIENTS: 6 ripe, locally grown pears 5 cups water 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons maple syrup

DIRECTIONS: Peel, core and slice the pears. In a pot over medium heat, combine the water and sliced pears; bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat and continue to simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and maple syrup. Push mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Yield is about 1 quart.


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Long Walks


“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” — Oregonian author Ursala K. LeGuin, “The Left Hand of Darkness”


hroughout history and all over the world, people have sought adventure and transformation through long treks. Some of these seekers travel for religious or spiritual reasons. Others are inspired by the epic physical challenge. Some are looking for a chance to drop out of their lives for weeks or months, becoming immersed in the wilderness or the culture of foreign places.

If you hear the siren call of the trail, know that research and preparation are critical. These transformative endeavors test physical resolve, but reward people with awe-inspiring beauty and spiritual-growth experiences. On the following pages, we spoke with five Jackson County citizens who have completed one of these journeys.

Along the El Camino de Santiago. Photo by Marinel Baker

Popular Pilgrimages and Hikes INTERNATIONAL • Char Dham, India • Croagh Patrick, Ireland • Glastonbury Tor to Stonehenge, Great Britain • Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru • Jerusalem, Israel • Kumano Ancient Trail, Japan • Lagoons of Huaringas, Peru • Madonna del Ghisallo, Italy • Mecca, Saudi Arabia • Mount Kailash Pilgrimage, Tibet

NORTH AMERICA • Continental Divide Trail: New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana • Coppers Canyon Trail, Mexico • Grand Canyon North Rim, Arizona • Ink Pots Trail, Canada • John Muir Trail, California • Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada • Grand Enchantment Trail, Arizona and New Mexico • Hayduke Trail, Arizona and Utah • Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin • Long Trail, Vermont • Ozark Highlands Trail, Arkansas • Sanctuary of Atotonilco, Mexico

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Pilgrim’s Progress Walking the historic El Camino de Santiago



very day, they pour in by the thousands: on foot, on bikes, even a few on horseback, they follow dusty roads worn down into deep grooves, marking the path of countless others before them. They are modern-day pilgrims. Their journey is to travel the ancient and holy road of El Camino de Santiago across Europe to the westernmost tip of Spain. At the end of the journey, they find the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela, purported resting place of James the Apostle. Since the 9th century, El Camino has been considered a major pilgrimage in the Christian faith, along with the journeys to Jerusalem and Rome. 14

Marinel Baker (48) and Linda Tucker (46) of Medford were recently among those pilgrims along the El Camino, beginning their 500-mile trek in September. The two coworkers had never considered making such an arduous journey until a friend of Baker’s mentioned that she was planning to take the trip. “I immediately thought it sounded like a great adventure,” she says. “I wondered if I could do it – if I would be up to the physical and mental challenge.” She brought the idea up to Tucker, who was just beginning a sabbatical period from her post as a United Methodist Pastor. Tucker gravitated to the idea immediately, as her church had conducted a Lenten series including a virtual imagining of the pilgrimage of El Camino. After some searching of their souls, as well as social media groups devoted to El Camino enthusiasts, Baker and Tucker bought tickets to France, with a return flight scheduled more than a month later. El Camino de Santiago means “The Way of St. James,” and actually refers to several paths from all over Europe that culminate in the city of Santiago de Compostela. Travelers take many routes, but the most common, and the one Baker and Tucker opted for, begins in the French town of St.

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Linda Tucker (left) and Marinel Baker (right) of Medford made it to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, after a month of walking from France.

John Pied de Port at the foot of the Pyrenees. “I started training about seven months ahead of time,” Tucker says. “I walked four miles a day in hilly areas and tried to increase over time. I managed up to 12 miles many days.” This preparation was necessary as walking the El Camino requires an average of about five to seven hours a day of walking in order to reach the next destination town and stay on schedule. Everything Baker and Tucker needed had to be carried on their backs, so the women packed light. “I tried to keep the weight under 20 pounds,” Tucker explains. “Sleeping bag, two outfits that I washed and rotated every night, pajamas, comfortable shoes, and lots of water.” Baker, Tucker, and three other travelers who became known on the

continued on page 16

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(Center) The “Oregon Five” set out from St. John Pied de Port in France: (L to R) Linda Tucker, Arleen Zack, Marinel Baker, Nancy Thomas and Cindy Carss. (Top Left) Marinel Baker at Alto de Perdon in Spain

continued from page 15 trail as “The Oregon Five,” started their pilgrimage early on a September morning at the official pilgrim’s office where they received their pilgrim’s passport. This certificate assures special rates at hostels along the way, and is stamped at each checkpoint to prove the pilgrim’s miles logged on the way to the shrine. They started out together, but soon found that their paces were different and split up to walk on their own. But they were never alone for long. “With 2,000 people on the trail on any given day, you don’t have to wait long before someone comes along,” Tucker remembers. “You would fall in step with someone and stay with them for a few minutes or even a few days. And then you would move on and make new friends.” Of course, all this endless walking takes its toll on the body. “As much as I thought I was prepared, that very first day opened my eyes to the fact that this was going to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated,” Tucker recalls. “Miles on the Camino were not equal to miles at home. The terrain is so hilly and the path is mostly rock. I found myself setting a much slower pace than I was planning.” Websites dedicated to traveling the El Camino list common complaints as joint pain, injuries due to falling, and blisters – lots and lots of blisters. “That was one thing I just was not prepared for,”


Tucker says. “I thought that it would be bad in the beginning and then I would adapt. I thought I would be so strong. By the end, I could barely walk.” But veteran pilgrims insist that the physical pain is worth it. “You can tell the people who have been on the trail from the beginning,” Tucker notes. “Everyone is so broken and in pain, but they are having a great time.” Baker remembers her own moment of pushing through the physical and mental discomfort. “It was day 31,” she recalls. “I was so close to the end. I stood at the top of yet another mountain and just thought, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t go one more step. And then I looked back behind me and saw mountain, after mountain, after mountain and I realized that I had crossed all of them. I had done that, and I could do this.” El Camino de Santiago is a hiking trail, and so much more. What it is depends on the pilgrim you ask. One thing Baker and Tucker agree about is that El Camino de Santiago will test you physically and mentally, but it gives back unfailingly to the spirit. “It has a pull to it,” says Tucker. “Something about it keeps you going. There’s a force that draws you on.” As for Baker, she has this advice for prospective pilgrims: “Do your research, do more research, and then be flexible. The whole point of this thing is to learn to let go.”

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Steeped in History People have traveled The Way of St. James for approximately 11 centuries. The pilgrimage’s popularity peaked during the Middle Ages, but gradually declined by the 20th century. In 1987, the route was declared the first European Cultural Route and named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Approximately 200,000 people a year come from all over the world to travel the route today. Beyond the natural beauty of the trail, pilgrims pass cathedrals, castles, ancient Roman sites, cities and small villages. The

trail is broken into 32 sections, winding through lush countryside, up rocky hills and even mountains, and through bustling towns full of stunning architecture and dripping with history. “I tried to stay open to the experience and explore things as they came without making definite plans,” says Baker. “If there was a museum or particular landmark of interest, I would make an effort to spend some time there.” In one of the many cathedrals peppering the way, Baker unsuspectingly happened upon a Michelangelo painting. One of Tucker’s most memorable moments was walking into Pamplona, Spain, just in time to see the famed Running of the Bulls.

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Into the



hen hiking the Appalachian Trail, breaking something can be a big problem — especially when it’s a utensil. Anthony Earl of Medford was around only 100 miles into the Appalachian Trail when he broke his spork inside a jar of peanut butter. He had taken a snack break, digging deep into the bottom of the jar — and then snap. “I almost cried,” Earl says. Such a response wouldn’t have been melodramatic. For Earl, his staple food on the trail was peanut butter. It was light enough to carry, calorie-rich and required significant mastication, enough to trick the body into feeling more full. Without peanut butter, Earl might just have gone hungry. “I ended up doing the Winniethe-Pooh bear thing and just went full on hand into the jar,” he says. (He purchased a durable spoon made from aircraft alloy shortly after.) Anthony Earl poses beneath the “Guillotine” located on Apple Orchard Mountain near Buchanan, Virginia.


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SPECIAL Overlooking the Franconia Ridge in White Mountain National Forest.

In 2014, Earl hiked for 150 days, completing the Appalachian Trail. Yet packing in the peanut butter isn’t the only secret. Hiking the Appalachian Trail (and more rarely, finishing it) requires the right gear, preparation and adherence to some health and safety sense.

Hitting the trail

Feeling burnt out during his senior year of college, the 21-year-old Earl filled out a survey for the Thru-Hike Syndicate, a partnership that provides gear for pioneering hikers. He must have given the right answers, because the organization agreed to a full-gear sponsorship for Earl’s Appalachian Trail hike. The gear, which ranged from a collapsible one-person tent to trekking poles, began rolling in. Earl had three months to prepare for the trek. “I didn’t feel like I was ready,” he says. “People plan for these treks for years. I planned for it in a couple of months.” On March 13, 2014, at Springer Mountain in Amicalola Falls State Park in Northern Georgia, Earl set off. Earl was no stranger to the outdoors. He taught horseback riding and rock climbing at a Boy Scouts camp and was an Eagle Scout himself. To prepare physically for the trail, he took up the StairMaster and stationary bike at the gym. Yet he also felt there wasn’t a lot of applicable physical conditioning to do, other than wearing a backpack and climbing stairs. He counted on the mountains and the trail training him as he went. Earl would hike 18–30 miles a day at points on the trail. At the beginning, it was much less. Building yourself up gradually is key, he says, or you can risk a stress fracture and other injuries.

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SPECIAL Rolling trails, rumbling stomachs

mass and strength shifted to his legs by the end. On the Appalachian Trail, the mountains are more than 6,000 feet at highest elevation. It’s comparably not that high to some other trails, but the Appalachian Trail fluctuates quickly in elevation, taking hikers up and down, up and down. Such terrain contributes to increased calorie burn and energy expenditure, Earl says, and also further necessitates staying hydrated.

Not far into the trail, “hiker hunger” sets in. “You’re burning so many calories in a day that the normal amount of food you were eating is not sufficing anymore,” Earl says. “You’re basically having to double everything you’re used to eating.” Being in the woods doesn’t mean resorting to picking berries, however. The Appalachian Trail intersects with towns at points, allowing for restaurant meals and restoring provisions (and occasional laundry and showering). For the trail, high-calorie, low-weight foods are key. Bringing jelly to eat with all the peanut butter, which Earl would spread on tortillas for lunch, was impractical because of the jars’ weight. Instead, he carried marshmallow fluff, a physically lighter, calorie-dense alternative. Dinner, the only meal that Earl regularly cooked, required making a fire with a portable gas container. Dinner was often two packs of Ramen noodles with tuna (from packets, not heavy cans). Earl lost only around 10 pounds on Earl celebrates reaching the northern terminus of the the trail, while many hikers will lose trail on Mount Katahadin’s Baxter Peak in Maine 15 or 20, he says. All of his upper-body after 150 days of hiking.


A not so lonely planet

Although Earl made a solo trek, he wasn’t always alone. On the Appalachian Trail, it doesn’t take long to come across other hikers. He’d meet, hike and camp out for the night with other hikers, many of whom demonstrated trail hospitality by sharing provisions or even helping him dig out after getting snowed in at one point in the mountains. Before traversing snowy mountains during the early part of the trail, Earl — a San Antonio, Texas, native — had seen snow only once before. The weather, and dealing with it properly, is one of the biggest health and safety factors. Without the right sleeping bag,

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SPECIAL Mt. Katahdin

Mapping the Trail


in Ma

• The northern terminus of the trail lies on Mount Katahadin’s Baxter Peak in Maine’s Baxter State Park.

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• Harpers Ferry, West Virginia - The unofficial halfway point on the trail, where Earl realized that, at more than 1,000 miles in, finishing was no longer an “if” question, but a “when.” • Shenandoah River in Virginia - Earl spent three days paddling down the river, trading his trail miles for water miles.

hypothermia is a risk, Earl says. Similarly, the right rain gear is essential for staying warm and dry, and avoiding exposed areas during lightning storms is crucial, he says. Even though Earl joined up with other hikers on the trail, much of the actual hiking was still done alone. Hiking alone meant being extra careful. Earl carried basic first-aid supplies, which were needed after he slid down a rock and tore up his knee.

Sleeping in while camping out

Sleeping in a tent on a small air mattress in the woods might not sound like the best night’s sleep, but it was for Earl. He averaged 10 or 12 hours of sleep most nights. While the daily physical exertion likely played a role, Earl says he’d often go to bed when the sun went down and get up when it rose. This natural sleep pattern aligns with circadian rhythm, he says, and promoted such restful nights. He knows some hikers who even report trouble sleeping indoors after finishing a long trek, finding it too claustrophobic. The extra sleep must have paid off. Earl hiked 2,185.3 miles to finish the trail. And while he remained focused, he never forgot to enjoy the hike — which is, perhaps, his best piece of advice: “Everybody gets caught up in the miles. Everybody wants to do all these big miles for some egotistical reason, but they don’t need that.”

• Damascus, Virginia The town hosts the largest annual gathering of Appalachian Trail hikers through Trail Days, a festival and hiking exhibition which attracts 20,000 hikers and visitors each year.

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• North Carolina and Tennessee - In these states, Earl tried not to do any hiking at night, because, while rare, mountain lions prowl. • At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the highest point along the Appalachian Trail. • Springer Mountain at Amicalola Falls State Park in North Georgia - The start of the Appalachian Trail.


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No Rust on US

A climbing odyssey on Le Tour du Mont Blanc

Suzanne Heinrich of Ashland reaches Stage 10 from Tre Le Champ to La Flegere in France.



artaking in Le Tour du Mont Blanc changed how modern pilgrims Suzanne and Bill Heinrich of Ashland experience day-to-day life. According to Suzanne Heinrich, it was a spiritual experience which brought on feelings of all-encompassing joy. The journey begins

A desire for contentment has many modern pilgrims still seeking, including Suzanne and Bill Heinrich, ages 67 and 69. The couple previously completed 500 miles across Northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella in 2014. Their motivation for another pilgrimage was simple – their love for walking, hiking, fitness and the outdoors. “Our motto, especially as we get older, is that if you rest, you rust,” says Suzanne Heinrich. The couple learned about the Tour du Mont Blanc from fellow travelers on the El Camino de Santiago. The Tour du Mont Blanc consists of 10 or 11 days of hiking the Alps by starting in France, hiking into Italy, then into Switzerland and back to France. At about 110 miles, it’s shorter than the


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Camino, but more challenging in regards to altitude and elevation. “It seemed like a good second thing to do,” says Bill Heinrich.

Preparation is key

The Tour du Mont Blanc is not a spur of the moment trip, and the Heinrichs did not treat it as such. They researched, planned and prepped for nearly a year before setting out in August this year. This particular trek is one of the most popular long-distance hikes in Europe. Advance planning allowed the couple to find and reserve the places they would need to rest in between climbing. “We needed 12 places to stay, each night at a different place along the route,” says Suzanne Heinrich, who found lodging in a combination of mountain refuges and hotels. “You hike up one day and stay overnight in the mountains, then down the next day to stay in the valley. Repeat this over 11 stages.” The Heinrichs were careful about what they brought. Packing light saved heartache and physical pain down the road, as extra weight equals more effort during the climb. The couple knew that if something wasn’t essential, to leave it home. A few necessary supplies they brought were a hat, sunscreen, water bottle, a few toiletries, gloves and minimal

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Trip Planning Advice Preparing physically and mentally, along with securing the proper equipment and reservations, makes a trip such as the Tour du Mont Blanc easier. Advance preparation gives you more time to enjoy the experience rather than worry about last-minute details. • Get in physical shape. • Train and climb with a full backpack. • Purchase the best boots or shoes, regardless of price. • Get lightweight, collapsible hiking poles. • Buy a comfortable backpack. • Pack only the essentials. • Loose-fitting clothes are best as they aren’t too heavy and dry quickly when wet. • No jeans. • Make reservations early, especially for the busy summer months. • Bring a guidebook and map.

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Suzanne Heinrich above, Bill Heinrich below. Center photo of Suzanne Heinrich and a fellow hiker crossing a snow field.

continued from page 22 reasonably fit, the Heinrichs felt extra training was necessary. They saw other people, who appeared fit, stop and turn back because the hike was more difficult than anticipated. Fortunately, there were plenty of local hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty they could use. “We trained entirely in the Ashland watershed,” says Bill Heinrich. He created an Excel spreadsheet to track their training. By recording elevations reached and miles hiked, the Heinrichs could get a feel for how fit they were and what they still needed to do. SWITZERLAND Some of their hiking trails included the Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch. Each one helped improve the couple’s stamina and endurance in preparation for the big event. “We don’t have mountains here like the Alps, but 13 miles up Mt. Ashland tests your ability to climb,” says Suzanne Heinrich. They carried full backpacks for the last month to bring their training to the next level.

first aid. Finding the perfect pair of shoes was also a pivotal part of their preparation. A high quality pair of boots or shoes was a worthwhile investment. “Train with your shoes,” advises Bill Heinrich, “and put a bunch of miles on them before going.”

Let’s get physical

Exercise and physical fitness were a regular part of the Heinrichs’ lives long before they did the Tour du Mont Blanc. Even though the couple routinely hiked and cycled, they began specific training for the tour in March. “To prepare, we hiked over 700 miles, with an accumulated elevation gain in excess of 134,000 feet,” explains Suzanne Heinrich. They hiked almost every day, or every few days, until the week before flying to Geneva, Switzerland. Each of their hikes were about two hours, or up to eight hours, per day. While many sources state you can hike the Tour du Mont Blanc if




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Exhausting and rewarding

The Tour du Mont Blanc is physically and mentally challenging. The Heinrichs hiked up to 11 hours a day over uneven terrain and were confronted with steep ascents and descents. “Steep elevation gains were at least 2,000 feet, and up to more than 4,300 feet each day,” explains Suzanne Heinrich. After a rough second day due to jet lag and a 9-hour time difference, the couple’s outlook brightened. Exhilaration replaced exhaustion. “I was in the groove and loving it!” says Suzanne Heinrich. The Heinrichs’ pilgrimage taught them to live life to the fullest, they report. Traveling light also showed the couple that you don’t need a lot of material things to be happy. “My faith was strengthened each day I hiked,” explains Suzanne Heinrich. The Heinrichs are happier and healthier after completing the Tour du Mont Blanc. “I have great calf muscles now,” jokes Suzanne Heinrich, “and I’ve learned to be grateful.”

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Events Calendar





CPR & AED CERTIFICATION CLASS 9 A.M. – 11 A.M. • ASHLAND FAMILY YMCA, 540 YMCA WAY, ASHLAND CONTACT INFO: 541.482.9622, American Red Cross certification classes for adult/child CPR and AED. Y-members pay $30. Community members pay $40.

GRANTS PASS WINTER GROWERS’ MARKET 9 A.M. – 1 P.M. • JOSEPHINE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS COMMERCIAL BUILDING CONTACT INFO: 541.816.1144, www. A heated, indoor market event showcasing local food products and crafts. Shoppers will find organic beef, artisanal cheeses, honey products, winter produce, eggs, woodcrafts, jewelry and more. The market will also be held on December 17.



LOW-COST PET VACCINATIONS 11 A.M. – 1 P.M. • JACKSON COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER, 5595 S. PACIFIC HIGHWAY 99, PHOENIX CONTACT INFO: 541.774.6654, Give your pet the gift of good health and protection. Pets must be at least 8-weeksold and in good health. Vaccinations are $10 each. Nail trimming is available for $5. Stop at the ATM, because the shelter only accepts cash for these services. Vaccination clinics are held the third Saturday of every month.

DO YOU HAVE AN EVENT YOU’D LIKE TO PROMOTE ON OUR EVENTS CALENDAR? Please email and include the following information: Event title, date, time, location, contact information and a brief description including any required fees. Please note: Event information must be received at least 60 days in advance to be considered for publication in Oregon Healthy Living. We’re currently accepting submissions for event dates between February 6 & 28, 2017.


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Events Calendar





MEDFORD UGLY SWEATER 5K 8 A.M. • 101 S BARTLETT ST., MEDFORD CONTACT INFO: Dig deep to the back of the closet for your ugliest holiday sweater and support the Jackson County Foster Parent Association. This untimed fun run/walk begins at 9 a.m. Advance registration is $25 for adults and $10 for kids.


EXPLORATIONS OF AGING BOOK GROUP 2 P.M.-3:30 P.M. • ASHLAND BRANCH LIBRARY, 410 SISKIYOU BOULEVARD, ASHLAND CONTACT INFO: 541.774.6996, A new book group centered on topics of aging will meet on the third Wednesday of the month. The book for this meeting is “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande. The discussion group will be facilitated by Gaea Yudron. All are welcome to join. CRATER LAKE RANGER-GUIDED SNOWSHOE WALKS 1 P.M. • RIM DRIVE, CRATER LAKE CONTACT INFO: 541.594.3100, Free park entrance, free tour and snowshoes provided free! Take a one-mile walk through snow-covered forests and meadows at Crater Lake. No previous snowshoeing experience needed, but space is limited and reservations are recommended. Tour takes about two hours.

Saturday & Sunday



ANNUAL WINTER WHALE WATCHING WEEK Tuesday, December 27 - Saturday, December 31, 2016 • THE OREGON COAST CONTACT INFO: 541.765.3407 During this designated week, the “Whale Watching Spoken Here” program places volunteers at 26 watch sites along the coast to help visitors spot whales. Learn more about the gray whales that migrate each year and cross an item off your bucket list if you are lucky enough to see some.

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Oregon Healthy Living  

December 2016

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