Posted in Hiking, Inspiration, Mother nature

Gateway of the Soul

Slowly but surely the air quality declined as the winds kicked up and drew in the smoke from various wildfires still at large. I realize that I have been lucky this summer and for the most part have outrun the hazardous air quality. Instead of chasing blue skies, I have chased smoke free skies. The fires near me on the California side allowed me to explore my home state of Nevada a little more, and there are some cool places to be found, especially camp grounds. The problem is that water is scarce and if it’s hot, it’s even hotter in the desert. But it’s a dry heat and much easier for me to tolerate than the humidity.

I continue to get stronger when it comes to the health front, although as of lately and with the changing season it seems like the joints are getting more achy again. Let’s hope this reminder of how bad it can get doesn’t last. Improved health this year has supported my need for freedom, to find myself, adjust to changes in my life and to simply escape at times. There are times when I must leave this world – just temporarily. Taking sanctuary to the mountains and deserts, back of beyond, where the pavement ends. To wilderness, to the Gateway of the Soul.

Posted in Hiking, Inspiration, Mother nature

Yosemite swimming hole bliss

This picture was taken a few weeks ago, on the same trip as climbing the steep, slippery granite en route to Cathedral Lakes. We went on to explore a new area of Yosemite National Park, and it’s hard to believe that after all these years of visiting, there are still hidden gems such as this one to stumble upon for the very first time.

Walking through the meadow, a well graded trail was meandering alongside the river. “I wonder where it leads, let’s just check it out” was what led me to this unexpected and pleasant surprise. It was so beautiful that we actually returned for a second day and you can find another picture about the area here and here.

There are several small cascades along the way with various pools and swimming holes such as this one that was just too tempting to pass up. I just had to take a dip. It was a warm summer day where you quickly adjust to the coolness of the water. Perfect for achy muscles, and a little swim in an alpine lake always does me wonders. I always feel twice as strong afterwards and everything is moving smoothly as if having received a well oiling. Any swelling and inflammation mostly dissipates and it’s pure magic. Besides,to have a backdrop like this with the Cathedral mountain range in the background, how I could it not be.

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Mother nature

The Descent from Cathedral Lakes

It was time to tackle the descent from Cathedral Lakes to allow plenty of time without having to rush. It’s crazy how much quicker it goes going downhill, but I still find the constant pounding on the knees and putting the brakes on just, if not more strenuous as climbing.

Nearby thunder was still in the air and could be heard off and on. It was time to go and I enjoyed the play of watching the clouds make way to bright sunshine, only to cast shadows on the peaks a few seconds later. I surely gotten my fix watching the “Puffies” dance that day.

This picture was taken on the way down and you can see Tenaya Lake in the distance. The non-existing trail continues over the even steeper drop off in the middle of the picture. Yeah it’s so steep it literally vanishes and looks like there is nothing more but cliff. Most of it had to be tackled in switchback motion, a zigzag pattern to ease the incline or drop off. My trusty hiking stick always by my side and often bracing myself.

In the end I made it of course. I’m here to tell the story. It was surely an adventure that left me feeling accomplished and grateful to have finally seen this place. It would become one of those hikes throughout the summer, strenuous and in high elevation, but ultimately conditioning me into better shape. I earned it and I am grateful for the memories.

Posted in Achievement, Hiking, Mother nature

Cathedral Lakes

Finally…I made it to the top, and it took this and this to get here.

Long ago the once considered elusive path was conquered and now lying behind me. Of course I’d still had to make it back down, but for now nothing but adrenaline and pure achievement was rushing through my veins. I could finally check this one off r he list and say that I had seen it with my own eyes. That I had made it despite the odds. No doubt did I feel accomplished, and quickly gave thanks to perseverance, to my body supporting me and making this possible, as well as to my willpower and not throwing in the towel midway.

Thunderstorm clouds accompanied us all the way up to the lower lake, and circled around us with the occasional not too distant thunder. Luckily it never rained and the smooth granite would already be slick enough going down. Being wet would have only added an additional element of danger and luckily it wasn’t something we had to worry about.

A tiny little baby chipmunk came to say hello, and yes I did shared a saltine cracker with the little guy. In exchange he allowed me to watch him and get some close up pictures. At the lake, I got to dip my toes into the cool blue, stroll along the edge and admire the landscape with all the puffies (clouds) that were ever changing the view. Was it worth the effort…what do you think?

Next stop the descend. 😳

Posted in Achievement, Hiking, Inspiration

Soul Rocker

On the way to Cathedral Lakes and a little victory moment, having conquered what was impossible not too long ago. This was my Soul Rocker moment and you can read about part 1 + 2 by clicking the links above.

Today it’s about a new word that found it’s way into my path. “Soul Rocker” and here is the definition.

Soul Rocker,

One who lives from the heart, with compassion for all, and possesses a tenacious enthusiasm for music, life and the planet.

-Michael Franti

This was such a moment

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Inspiration

Stairway to heaven – PT 1

Only a title like this could have motivated me to keep going, although I didn’t really think of it at the time. It was more like a theme of “are we there yet” that played out in my mind. But what was awaiting me was a stairway to heaven, but also a great reward that would eventually show itself after one of these “false summits.”

How many times had I pushed myself this year? Pushing beyond limitations, beyond beliefs, and beyond what I thought capable. Whether it was in the physical form or mentally, each time required overcoming the inner resistance that urged me to quit. To give in and just call it a day. Something kept me going this year, something was different from prior times. I found a new willpower and it was thriving. A new desire that wasn’t clouded by pain, to not give up and to propel myself forward and keep going. Physically I was able to do so on most occasions. I knew it had to be a mental thing and steadily I pushed on. In the process of it, I leaned a thing or two about myself, and with it came the reminder that takes me back to old values that still hold truth. I’m talking about the belief that everything worthwhile requires hard work and this was a constant, something that wasn’t outdated. It rang true and required a dedication and commitment that often drives us to the brink of our limits. My stairway to heaven was going to take my precious lessons to the next level, perhaps beyond my preconceived self, my own set limits, and I would have to work for it because the reward would not come easy.

The first night camping was a night of adjusting to sleeping on the ground. In other words it was not the most comfortable night I ever had. It was a night filled with tossing and turning and daylight could not come quick enough so I could get up. I felt mummified in anticipation for a cold night that had me in too much clothing. In the end I was too warm which disrupted my sleep, yet I was unable to remedy the situation. You know the feeling of waking because you are too warm, but you are not that awake, or conscious enough to do something about it. The same applies if you’re too cold and that’s what kind of night it was. Uggghhh.

Daylight came eventually and would give way to the uncomfortable, sleep deprived night. After stretching the old sore bones and a modest campsite breakfast, we jumped into the Jeep and off to Yosemite we were. There was a previous conversation about doing a hike up to Cathedral Lakes. It was a new hike for me and also one that was a bit daunting. We had agreed that if we did attempt it, it would be on a day when there was no chance of thunderstorms. Much of the hike would go over exposed, smooth granite, which is not the greatest place to be when lightening strikes or the surface gets wet. With puffy white clouds in the sky and a chance for thunderstorms, I didn’t think that today was going to be “that day” but on a last moments decision, it was. It was probably a good thing since it left little time to stress myself out about the difficulty of the hike.

Off we were, along the way, passing the massive granite dome you can find here. We took a different route and a non existing trail that is as good as not travelled at all. It took us away from the crowds and the congestion this area often sees. It was a shorter route that also packed the elevation change into a much shorter distance, having me climb 73 floors mostly all in 1.5- 2.0 miles, at high elevation. The breathing and air into the lungs was a different challenge all together. It as so steep at times that I feared slipping on the smooth granite, only to face my nightmare and fear of falling to death. Leaning my upper body forward to compensate for the intense ascend, I could only hope for my shoes to have a good grip and prevent this fear from happening. “Why did I decided to bring the old shoes that nearly had no thread left on the bottom?” Brilliant decision making at it’s finest. Especially for someone that still doesn’t trust their footing a 100% and never knows when the RA decides to strike, leaving you uncoordinated and more vulnerable. By the way, that’s the rational common sense side of me talking right now, but the rebel and warrior inside of me just went for it that day. There wasn’t too much inner dialogue going on at the time and the warrior emerged in an effort to push myself to new heights and experiences. I was still going to be careful and not reckless after all.

To be continued….

Posted in Achievement, Hiking, Mother nature

Restored to Wonder

Picture from last weeks hike.

Come celebrate with me…

It took 32,103 steps, 11.5 miles or 18.5 kilometers, and 67 flights of stairs climbed to be rewarded with this view. One flight of stairs equals 20 feet or 3 meters. I was worried I would run my tank up on empty, but I managed. The adventure took me through the rain and the thunder and the lightning. I will write a full post about that experience another time as it is worthy to be shared and acknowledged.

Not so long ago this would have been unimaginable.

I’m restored to Wonder. 🙏🏼

PS. I will be gone for a bit restoring myself some more 😉. Well actually it will be the longest trip in awhile with a one day break and taking in the full moon next week. I’m pushing on to new heights and it’s yet to be seen how I hold up.

Your visits are always appreciated 🙏🏼, and your comments will be answered when I return. ❤️

Posted in Adventure, Hiking

The final day of my birthday trip

The last day of my birthday trip was one with just a little more physical activity. We hiked 5 miles that day which was still kind of little compared to the last trip, but it was ok to not follow the emotional exhaustion with a physical one. The fact remained that it had been hard to celebrate Mom and my birthday without her being here.

We checked out a lake nearby, beautifully placed, but almost immediately faced culture shock. The campgrounds were busting at their seams with no available spaces. People were running around like ants, everywhere, and it felt as if we were in the city. It was loud everywhere, streets full of bicyclists, the lake (not this picture) dotted with boats, kayaks and paddle boards. The shores were crowded and people just about sat on top of each other. So much for social distancing I thought. No wonder we can’t get this virus under control. All in all it was a turnoff and after scaling the sides of a waterfall with no potential place to just sit and be, we decided to head towards home and find a much quieter place.

And luck would have it and we found it. It was completely the opposite, and I think we only saw two other people along the entire trail, plus a group in the distance. It was there that I realized what this trip had been all about. It was about being still and acceptance. About being more content and being ok with the things that I cannot change. It was coming to terms and reflecting. This trip was about inner peace and self love. To recognize all the hard work I had been putting in, instead of only seeing how much further I have to go. I think it’s easy to fall into this trap and our focus naturally shifts on everything that still lies ahead. We forget to give thanks for how far we have come, what light we bring to this world, how hard our body works everyday to make these things possible for us, regardless of it’s shape that most likely we don’t like and wish it was different. This trip was a revisit to “father surrender” and to realign what was falling out of balance. It was about giving thanks, self respect, shedding social shaming and conditioning, and simply loving myself just a little more.