Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Calorie Smackdown

What better way to burn off some of those Christmas calories than with a brisk mountain hike? And what better company to hike with than my Swiss cousin, Heidi, from Ashland, Oregon, who was visiting her daughter over the holiday?

Heidi’s daughter, Claudia, and her family live only about an hour south of my home in Baltimore County, Maryland, so it was an easy drive for me to their lovely home. A well-paced hike the day after Christmas seemed like a perfect way to spend a chilly late-December afternoon, so we chose Sugarloaf mountain, a 1700-foot tall bump in the landscape rising above the picturesque Frederick County valley about thirty minutes from Claudia’s home in Rockville.

Of course, all that hiking whetted our appetites, so we finished the day with traditional Swiss fondue at Claudia’s, a family favorite of which I will never tire. Just smelling the minced garlic simmering in white wine sent waves of nostalgic comfort washing over me as I sliced French bread and chatted with Heidi, a fine-art restoration expert in Oregon, and Claudia, a lawyer in Washington D.C.
Me with my cousin Heidi
Comfort is key when hiking, so I chose my favorite stretchy blue jeans by Stockton of Dallas, which I’ve had since the early 1990s, a light blue Cherokee turtleneck from Target and a blue and gray Metropolis sweater by Couloir which I purchased at Jan’s Sportwear in Salt Lake City while skiing one year. On my feet I wore Champion reverse-balance sneakers, and I warmed my hands with a pair of toasty fingerless mittens which were a gift last Christmas from my dear friend and colleague, Gaylene, in Texas. I topped the outfit with a beige knit Woolrich hooded sweater and a brown leather newsboy cap by Liz Claiborne.

Christmas calories be gone! I could feel them dropping off as we climbed up and down and all over that little mountain. What a fun day!

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