High Tide

This picture was taken the same night we enjoyed that beautiful fire at the beach. We walked along the cliffs earlier in the day, unexpecting and enjoying the view. That was before the tide came in and swallowed the passage to Capitola, CA. With no sign left, the beach was submerged and took on an entirely different feel with the fog. Beautiful, mysterious with just the right amount of leaving a haunting memory planted deep within. 

Light it up 

Moving on from the foggy woods, the short trail was slightly descending downhill towards the beach. With the trees and brush behind us, we quickly conquered a few short staircases and were greeted by the wide open spaces, ready for our feet to hit the sand. It was late already as dusk set in with little daylight left, but who would resist a short stroll along the beach, right? It was priceless to hear the waves crash ashore and I would love to add that we were watching the sunset, but the foggy conditions were hiding the rays within its thick, opaque cloud of mystery. The picture perfect sunset with the romantic views (did I mentioned before that I’m a hopeless romantic?) of the sun disappearing into the ocean were replaced with a mystical feel of serenity and peace. It was perfect even without the warm fireball that was hiding from us.

I scoured the area for treasure, such as rocks, driftwood, fossils, leaves and seashells. Whatever I could find that evoked some kind of emotion while speaking to my heart. Of course time went by even faster and somehow it always seems to do so when we enjoy ourselves in whatever it is that we are doing. We didn’t get very far as we decided that we better turn around and head back. Snapping a few more pictures at the wooden tepee that almost knocked me out earlier with a plank coming loose and landing straight on my forehead (well, yeah I had to check the inside and yeah, I did feel that one as it would leave my forehead sore to the touch for days), we came across a group of people that were in the process of leaving the beach. “Enjoy our fire if you want to” we heard them call towards us as one by one made their way up the stairs. Within close proximity was a decent fire (actually it was pretty good size) and we couldn’t believe that it was left behind with nobody tending to it or putting it out to prevent the escaping embers to set a fire. The initial plan was to put it out, but I have to admit that I’m a sucker for campfires and I love sitting around that glowing ring of fire while letting its warmth’s hug my soul. Plus I never knew that you could have fires (where have I been) at the beach and it’s hard to believe that in all my years this has finally been a first. I can’t believe what I missed in all my hiking years, but like they say “Better late then never” and I’m sure it won’t be the last fire of this sort.

We stayed and sat next to the fire, rearranging the burning logs and keeping the fire fed with what was already within the built stone fire ring. I didn’t want to leave and I know that I could have easily slept next to fire all night. I’m sure the thought crossed my mind as I wondered why we paid for our campsite as the beach was free. Surely, I would have gotten cold at some point during the night, unless I kept the fire going, but I didn’t cared much and maybe it was then that a plan was born to cowboy camp in the soft sand next to ocean some day. It got darker and darker and the shoreline on either side of us was lit with fires that was dotting the beaches. I saw a young group carrying their musical instruments make their way to the right of us and shortly afterwards a new fire was born. I couldn’t help but think about how cool it would be to make a little video of them around the fire, playing their music to the background of the ocean. I was close and I was contemplating to ask, but in the end I respected their privacy and let them enjoy themselves among each other. There was something primal about all the fires lighting up, something you don’t see every day. It felt wild and you know how much I love the word “Wild” as I associate it with the memories that stay with us through thick and thin. The memories that stand out and translate into the wild moments of our life that we remember. The moments of our life when we “Light it up” in whatever form possible.

I would have to lie if I said that I wasn’t a bit nervous of walking up the hillside, through the brush and the woods in the dark, and yet I couldn’t tear myself away from the fire. I was mesmerized and it was the best campfire of the trip, plus it was inherited on top of it. We left eventually and I found that the worries of the dark were no worries at all. I even preferred to lead us up the trail which is a bit unusual for me since I’m usually the tail-light and don’t mind letting somebody else safe guard the path for me in the form of giving slithering reptiles (snakes) a chance to get away by the time I make it through. I had no problem at all that night and the half moon provided enough light to make out the path. Worries were replaced with a sense of adventure and some sort of adrenaline rush that had me enjoy every moment. I loved it and I’m sure that this experience was wild enough to stay with me forever. Definitely a must do if you visit the ocean.


Getting lost 

It’s almost time to get lost and to get away for a little while. To play by little to no rules and to just be. I’m looking forward to it no doubt and I’m visiting the ocean to find strengths and relaxation from motion of the waves. Although I have many fond memories over the past 1 1/2 years, the scale of worklife balance has been tipped with too much work, not enough free time and no vacation. 
There is an art to getting lost and it’s not to be taken in the literal sense. I think i have become quiet good at it and I remember once upon a time (don’t all great stories start this way?) mentioning in a Facebook post that I had spent the whole afternoon getting lost. Apparently I did mention this a couple other times and somebody responded by saying “You sure get lost a lot” lol. 
I had to smile as obviously the whole point I was trying to make went out the window. There is a difference between getting lost and being lost. I hope I will never become so lost that I won’t find my way, but I love to get lost and get off the grid for awhile. It is when the adventure begins and only somebody who can relate will understand that at times you have to get lost in order to find yourself. 
I’ll be away for a few days and it will be quiet on the little blog here. I’ll return Sunday night, back to work on Monday. I might schedule a few photography posts to share my pictures with you, but all responses and catching up on your blogs will have to be wait until next week. As always I will miss you all but also can’t wait to bring some new adventures your way. Have a beautiful week. 
Xo ❤

The destination is the journey

It was about 7AM and after the traditional coffee / McMuffins stop we were on our way. The wind blew us south, south to warmer temperatures (hence…warmer) were the mountains grew taller and taller, rising high into the sky. It was sunny outside but chilly as another snow storm had just passed. The forecast over the next four days called for sunny conditions in the mid thirties. Still cold and not exactly tropical, but the calm conditions with no wind and the sun would be perfect. Plus there were plans on heading further south, away from our base location for one or two days in case it got too cold. That’s one of the nice things about the Sierra and living here, there are so many options that allow you to be flexible and weather permitting. You can hardly go wrong, no matter which direction you take. As far as this trip and the weather was concerned, we couldn’t have picked a better time to go and the next snowstorm was announced to hit the day after our return. Call that one perfectly timed with a bit of luck and the heavens shining down on us. So south it was and as some of you already guessed, I did end up in the mountains, my beloved mountains who won over the ocean. This time, and in the end the decision came down to spending more time in nature and less time driving and sitting in the car. I had to move and get some exercise. Another fact was that my first day back at work would be an early shift and we decided not to stray too far in one stretch and allow for more time to relax.

The Jeep was packed like a Tetris puzzle, tightly stacked allowing enough room to see out the back window and surely amongst all the items neatly stored, that kitchen sink I couldn’t leave behind had to be somewhere tucked away in there. I knew I had too much stuff, as always, but even though most of it would be returned, unused and never worn, it was power of choice like my friend Luca would call it and at least I was prepared. 

I felt totally relaxed driving alongside the Sierra, watching the snow covered mountains reach higher the further south we drove. As a passenger I could gaze upon it as long as I wanted to. I allowed it to carry me away, to instill the calm I needed so desperately, to lift my worries and sorrows, and leave me comfortably wrapped in a blanket of belief that the world was ok once more. It wasn’t long before the tranquil feeling took over and reminded me of the lack of sleep from the night before. I felt myself drifting off into sleep, nodding off a few times, even though I was desperately trying to stay awake. I had been on this road and seen the scenery many times before and yet there was not one moment that I wanted to miss. It’s not only a matter of getting from point A to point B of whatever road we travel, but it is also the journey that lies in between of getting there that becomes part of the adventure. Advise and wise words from another good friend Kyle who will gladly tell you that the destination is the journey. The battle continued as it was quiet in the car and the warm sun shining on me didn’t make things any easier. 

A stop at the grocery store to supply the next four days helped spring me back into action. Loading up on quick, easy to prepare meals, we would live pretty good over the next four days. Eggs and sausage for breakfast, bagels with cream cheese, pizza, avocado and chicken wraps for snacks, apples, pretzels, lasagne and even a Tri-Tip with baked potato and salad was nothing to complain about or feel like you were roughing anything. Not even cowboy coffee was on the menu.

We decided to stop at Mono Lake, CA and check if the road was cleared enough to visit the Tufa’s. These rock towers are formed from underwater springs rich in calcium that mix with the water that is rich in carbonates. The results are limestone towers originating underwater and getting exposed as the water levels dropped. No fish live in Mono lake as the waters are too salty, but you can find plenty of brine shrimp who provide food for over two million of annual migrating birds. 

It is truly a sight to behold and you easily feel like you are entering the landscape of a foreign planet. We were in luck, the road was clear and I was looking forward to revisit the area. We got there early, around 11 Am and it was still a little chilly outside. We parked off the beaten path at Navy Beach which is just a short stroll away from where we were heading and which allowed us to skip paying the day use fees. My first few steps were clumsy, uncoordinated and painful. A reminder and realization of how long it had been I since hiked last. Hard to believe when you run around all day at work, feeling like you are active and exhausted, but it is a totally different type of exercise as you use different muscles and it is the stress that leaves you wiped out. The other culprit was that it had been roughly two month when I missed a step, walking in socks, slipping down the stairs to land on the joint / knuckle of my big toe that had folded backwards. Ouch. I remember the pain, standing there in silence, holding my breath while a thousand bad words were going through my mind in record speed, until the feeling subsided and the braveness returned. Inspecting and trying to move my toe, one of my special talents had always been that I could pick stuff from the floor, but I could hardly move my toe or grip the sock that I had dropped. I determined that it wasn’t broken since there was some movement but it had to been strained, perhaps even fractured pretty good. The pain and discomfort stayed for weeks but my loose work shoes mostly disguised it. Now in my hiking shoes, tight and snug around my feet, it was definitely a different story and I felt pain. Thank god I had packed Advil in my quest to be prepared as I would surely need it if this kept up. Another saying came to mind of “He or she who rests, rusts” and even though the stresses of my job hardly allowed me to rest, it had taken away my freedom to hike and I felt as if I had rusted. A realization that hit home and reminded me of the work lying ahead to get myself back. Here I had been Gung ho, fantasizing and dreaming of a thru hike, to be left feeling rusty from merely walking along on level ground which could hardly be called hiking. Hardly in shape for a thru hike and I had work to do. I decided that this trip was the start to it all as I remembered the Hawks, the owl and the raccoon. 

To my surprise I saw results shortly after walking for a bit and my toe adjusted to the movement. I felt more flexibility and coordination in my step and perhaps the Advil could stay packed away. The clumsiness started to subside as with every step I felt the rust chipping off my weary bones, or at least I thought so at the time. I felt great and once again enjoyed the feeling of coming to life, to shed the shackles of restraint and to breath deeply, waking up from a coma, a dormant state of being, to feel with all my senses, to finally be alive.

The Tufa’s were beautiful and my heart felt restored and at home. We discovered something new on that trip even though we had visited many times before but perhaps never noticed. The cool air made two natural hot springs visible of which faint steam was rising up into the air. The water was warm, not hot and it would be perfect to sit back and relax in the bubbling waters. Tempting, but not today as we decided that there was more exploring to be done. The ground was wet, saturated from the storms and downright boggy in spots. Eventually the clumsiness or just poor luck returned as I was attempting to get out to a point that I considered a great photo op. The things we do, we photographers and I’m sure my friend Marcus has a few stories of his own he might share some day. Carefully I navigated through the marsh until the unthinkable happened. I’m not sure why I considered it so out of the ordinary, I just never actually considered it to happen. Left foot forward, I aimed for a rock, a stepping stone as I moved forward. On top of the rock my weight already shifted to allow the right foot to follow. Almost immediately the rock submerged, swallowing my foot, slightly above ankle deep. I must have had the profoundest and dumbest look on my face as I lost balance and followed right besides it with the right foot. Precious seconds passed until balance was restored and the thought of being swallowed alive by the bog and sinking in further crossed my mind. The mud was thick which luckily kept most fluids from entering my shoes, but it took some effort to pull my feet out and reach safer grounds. “Major clump foot” reporting, I didn’t know if I should laugh or be upset and in the end chugged it up to the good ole “Oh well shit happens” attitude. I knew we laugh about it eventually as it would remain a memory for the future, associated with this trip even though it was more of an inconvenience instead of funny at the time. 

We kept walking and I brushed my clump foot up against and through the tall grass which managed to remove some of the mud. My socks were slightly wet inside but luckily not to the squishy point and I was imagining what they would look like once I took my shoe off. My pants were sporting a nice ring of mud around the bottom as the weight itself was posing a threat to pull my pants down, but there was no sense in trying to clean that off as it would only touch my muddy shoes again. Eventually we found a spot to take a break as the extra 5 pounds on my foot alone was somewhat restricting my photographic nature and ability. I collected a twig along the way and was intending to use it as a scraping tool. My socks revealed a few damp brown spots that would later become dried on crustaceans. Hopefully just mud and no additional hitchhikers such as brine shrimp. Scraping away, my shoes took shape again and happy with the results I faced them towards the sun. This would help dry the mud that saturated the top materials and soaked through. Mission accomplished it was time for another nap and I fell asleep, lying there at the shore of Mono Lake, at peace and without a care, enjoying the feel of the sun, the now and that moment. I did get sunburned a little, so don’t think that the 30’s can’t leave you sporting a little tan. We stayed a few hours before heading to our final destination, our base camp you could hardly call a camp. It was a cabin in the woods, tucked away between aspen trees, surrounded by my beautiful mountains and insane amounts of snow. Winter had been no stranger here as well and perhaps brought even more snow. 

We got there a little before darkness fell and unpacked the groceries along with all the items of my kitchen sink. It had to be homey, no feeling like living out of a suitcase, even that that’s not a bad thing either, but this would be home for the next few days and the meticulous, organized side of me had to have things in order. That night was a pizza night that yielded plenty of picnic leftovers for the next day’s adventure. 

And with day one already coming to a close in this cozy beautiful cabin in the woods, we sat in wonder, waiting in anticipation for the full moon to crest over the mountain ridge and illuminate this amazing winter wonderland. 

A sight that would surely steal our breath and fill our eyes with magic. ❤

The final countdown begins

The countdown for my four day adventure has begun and in all reality the “short timers bug” has got a hold of me days ago. I have started to count down the hours. Only the working hours though, as all others belong to me and I wish it was those that could be slowed down to last forever. Fifteen hours stand between me and freedom, so let them pass quickly please. Does anybody else do this? I’m sure of it, I can’t be the only one, being so unique that it is only me who enjoys their time off to the max. I know for a fact that I’m not. We often fever towards something special, something we are so excited about and then it comes and goes way too fast. I already know that this time will not be different, but for now however, I will stay anchored in the pre excitement, the journey that lies ahead and the know of returning enriched with memories that will last a lifetime. Mountains or oceanside remains the big secret as far as revealing the destination in a blog post. I am excited to say the least, albeit knowing that I have family from Germany in the area visiting Las Vegas and New York. I would have loved to visit, but several things fell through in the end to materialize this plan from making it happen. I know they will have a blast and party, after all there is a reason they say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. And I know I will enjoy the solitude and silence to nurture my tired soul. The Vegas slogan has become a favorite saying at my Tooth-Fairies office and who would have thought that dentist visits could be so much fun. I’m afraid I’m an accomplice by now and all secrets will have to rest with me until eternity.

I’m planning on bringing the war bonnet, even though there be hardly any reason to wear it other than from an art and photographic point of view. My time away will be peaceful and I look forward to an escape from reality. I’m pretty much packed and surely I’m well prepared for every kind of scenario. What I’m trying to say is that I packed way too much…again. 75% of what I usually pack returns back home untouched, but hey got to have it, right ladies? I have been seriously contemplating a thru hike lately and have an amazing friend that continues to inspire me to do so. I will definitively have to learn to pack lighter as those packs easily weigh 50-60 lbs and even more for others. I’m thinking of what my personal goal would be here and believe me it does get heavy lugging the pack all day, up and down the mountains. We almost did a four day trek this time, but honestly I need to ease back into it after the absence caused by the crazy holidays and given that my last vacation was in 2015. I’m tired and I need reconditioning. 

2017 will be a year of choices, a year to make changes, a year to jump off of the hamster wheel and a year to chase my own stars. To take my health into my own hands, to train and get into the best shape possible to chase some of those dreams. There is not a day to waste in living my “Dash” and with that I know that I will have to step back a bit from WordPress. It’s not that my time spend on here could ever be a waste of time to me, as it gives me purpose to connect with you, but I do know that it also requires a lot of my time. Time I don’t always have. I will get a taste of it during my upcoming four day adventure as I’m still planning to post, but entries will have to be short and for sure lack the often in depth nature of my posts when it comes to sharing my personal journey. 

Have a beautiful weekend everyone. 

Xoxoxoxo ❤️

Not again…Grrrrr 

Ok, so I have been known to have done this a few times before, but it’s been awhile and I was happy to forget about it. You write something of substance and feel pretty good about it, you’re nearly done as you check it over once more, almost there you decide to make a slight correction and then it happens. You hit the unknown mystery button that makes nearly all of your written words disappear, wiping out whole paragraphs. Frantically to try to reverse whatever you did, but oh no…not that again….grrrr and you are left at square one and a good practice run as you decide to start over or not.

There is no going back, no undo that will correct what you just did and worst of all you don’t even know what it is you did and which evil little button did such a horrible thing as to delete all of your words. And on top of it you don’t know how to prevent it as it could happen again in the future, and it has, multiple times by now. Now that some time has passed, it’s almost comical, but it definitely was not when it happened.  Shouldn’t there be a warning of some sort? Some kind of confirmation? Everything else of minor importance asks you to confirm a hundred times by saying “Are you sure you want to proceed?” Danger, this can not be undone and will be gone forever????  Nothing….just pooooof……gone. Really…”Tell me that I am not the only one this has ever happened to”

Well ok, only pictures it will be from a prior ocean trip to Monterrey, CA. With the upcoming adventure loading and a few days off coming up, the destination remains to be a secret and you will have to check back to see if my beloved mountains or the warmer ocean climate will win. 😉

This picture was taken along the shoreline in front of this massive cypress tree while leaving the foggy ocean to a mystery in the background. 

And we almost picked up a passenger with one of my furry little friends who wasn’t ready to part ways yet and almost made it inside the car.