Mount Hood

Take a hike on a trail near Western

Hiking trails within an hour of Western

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

Living in Oregon offers exceptional opportunities to get out and experience nature. According to, there are almost 2,500 trails to hike, bike, run and horseback ride in Oregon — and there are dozens to choose from that are near Western. Read on for some hike recommendations that are within an hour drive from campus.


Baskett Slough (14 minutes away): Featuring a pond and a short climb up Mount Baldy, this 5.1-mile trail is a beautiful hike to do, even on a cloudy day. Keep an eye out for numerous birds as well.

Luckiamute Landing (19 minutes away): An easy walk along the Willamette River, this 3.8-mile trail is great for anyone looking for a quick, relaxing outing.

Calloway Creek (20 minutes away): This short, 2.6-mile hike explores Peavy Arboretum, one of Oregon State University’s research forests. Add a quick loop around Cronemiller Lake, and check out OSU’s logging sports arena.

Davies Nettleton Loop (24 minutes away): This 6.6-mile loop offers nice forest views throughout and a moderate 767-foot elevation gain. Customize with detours at trails like the Old Growth Trail and the Upper Dave’s Trail for more traditional dirt paths.

Dimple Hill (24 minutes away): When accessed via Patterson Road 600, this hike is 4.9 miles long with an elevation gain of 692 feet, though it can be accessed from other trailheads. The top offers great views above the McDonald-Dunn Forest and Corvallis.

Fitton Green Natural Area (36 minutes away): This 5-mile hike caters to those looking for some hills; there is a total elevation gain of 1,190 feet. Great views await those who make the climbs.

Willamette Mission (40 minutes away): This state park has several miles of trails to explore alongside two lakes and the Willamette River. Be prepared for a day-use fee, but feel free to pack a lunch and spend a full day relaxing there.

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge Mega Loop (46 minutes away): A hike with many options for customization, this 8.3-mile loop combines five trails throughout the wildlife refuge. The serene, wet prairie landscape is home to an abundance of bird species — perfect for birdwatching.

Be sure to dress according to the weather forecast, and wear a face covering when passing other hikers.

Contact the author at

Put some pep in your meal prep

Tips for how to start meal prepping

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

Having access to regular healthy meals can be difficult for college students; healthy ingredients can be expensive, and dorm living does not always offer the necessary amenities for homestyle cooking. However, meal prepping offers a great way to save money and eat delicious meals more regularly. Here are some ideas and tips to help get started.

Set aside enough time to make meals; this will depend on how many meals are cooked at once and could take up to a couple hours. Meals can be made for the next three to six days, depending on budget and refrigerator storage space. Collect enough plastic or glass containers or Ziploc bags to store each meal. If possible, buy ingredients in bulk to save money.

If a stove and oven are not accessible, pick foods that can be cooked in a microwave, are precooked or don’t need cooking at all. Potatoes, pasta, rice, quinoa and frozen vegetables are just a few foods that can be prepared in a microwave. Canned meats don’t need any cooking, and rotisserie chicken can be pulled apart and refrigerated for up to four days.

Keep in mind, certain foods will keep better in the fridge than others. Salads keep for about a week, especially when dressing and wet ingredients are layered at the bottom and greens at the top. Quinoa stays good for about a week as well, while rice and cooked potatoes and vegetables can be eaten for about four days. However, if a freezer is accessible, meals can be prepped and kept for much longer — anywhere from two to four weeks.

As for recipes to try, salads are easily customizable and add some variety to a set of meals. Burrito bowls are another meal with lots of choices available. Loaded baked potatoes, or sweet potatoes, are perfectly proportioned on their own for a lunch. If the means are available to cook soups, stews or ramen, there are many different recipes to choose from. For breakfasts, oats, parfaits and wraps are great options.

If this is the first time trying meal prepping, start small with just lunches or dinners, or only prepare a few days at a time. Don’t feel discouraged if a week is missed; as it becomes part of a regular routine, meal prep will get easier.

Contact the author at

Plan the day away with a planner

How to start using a planner

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

With 95% of Western’s classes being held online for fall term, keeping up with a schedule is more important than ever. Students have to be their own regulators of their study time outside of virtual meetings. A great way to stay on track is by using a planner, and here are some tips on how to use one most effectively.

Start by picking a planner or printing out free planner sheets to put into a binder; is just one site that offers free sheets in many styles. Pick a layout that has room to detail each class and associated workload. This may look like a weekly layout with columns on the side to expand on what assignments are due.

Next, color code assignments and classes. Use a highlighter or colored pens and markers. Some categories to code by are types of assignments, such as readings, discussion posts and projects, or class — whichever makes more sense personally. Also give a color to other tasks and events, such as work, vacations and trips to the gym or grocery store.

Now it’s time to pull out the syllabus. Write down class meeting times, assignment due dates and quiz and exam dates for the term with desired colors. Then add in other events as far ahead as is known. Finally, find some gaps in which study time for each class can be allocated. It is important to have designated times for studying and completing homework in order to keep up with classes. This time could be half an hour or several hours, but it should be set aside to do classwork uninterrupted. 

Starting a planner is the first step, but keeping up with a planner takes more persistence. To help with motivation, check off tasks and days once they are completed. Focus on one to two weeks of work at a time if seeing the entire term at once is overwhelming. Set aside a few minutes a day to check up on upcoming events to make it part of a routine, and always feel free to update the planner as life happens.

Contact the author at

At-home exercises for every home-body

Exercises anyone can do outside of the gym

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

A new school year is a time for a fresh start — students have the opportunity to get organized, manage their time and get into a healthy routine. Exercise is an important activity to add to one’s regular routine, as it can reduce the risk of certain diseases and improve mood and mental health, according to With many gyms still offering limited service, here are a few exercises anyone can do from home.

To work out leg muscles, do bodyweight squats. With feet slightly more than hip width apart, hold arms out straight ahead, parallel to the floor. Lower down until thighs are parallel to the ground, then return to standing. Complete up to three sets of 12 reps. Make squats easier by utilizing a wall, or add a challenge by doing one-legged squats.

One back workout to try is the Superman. Start by lying facedown on the floor with arms outstretched in front and legs straight. Keep every limb in a straight position, and simultaneously lift them several inches off the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to the starting pose. Do about three sets of 10 reps; adjust the amount of reps to modify.

For an arm muscle workout, try tricep dips using a chair, coffee table or bed. Facing away from the object, place palms on the edge of the surface with feet flat on the floor. Lower down until arms are at 90º angles, then rise back up. Aim for three sets of 8–10 reps. Stack a textbook on the thighs to add some additional weight.

Mountain climbers are also a great exercise that works out many parts of the body, especially the core. Start in a plank position, then bring one knee forward to chest and tap toes to the ground while maintaining a flat back. Quickly switch the positions of the feet to complete one rep. Do 15–25 reps at a time, or perform as many as possible in one minute. 

With any exercise, remember to warm up and cool down. Always rest and modify movements or reps as needed. 

Contact the author at

Pumpkin bread recipe to fall for

Fall in love with this pumpkin bread recipe

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

There are few things better than a warm baked good fresh out of the oven, especially as the weather begins to cool. To celebrate the start of fall and embrace the new season, try this moist pumpkin bread recipe with a sweet chocolate addition.


Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 1 loaf

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

¾ teaspoon table salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

½ cup vegetable oil, canola oil or melted coconut oil

¼ cup orange juice (milk can substitute)

⅔ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips



¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground ginger


Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt together until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil and orange juice. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60–65 minutes, and loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs; begin checking every five minutes at the 55 minute mark.

Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for 3–4 days or in the refrigerator for up to about 10 days.

Recipe from

Contact the author at