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.

Posted in Hiking, Mother nature

Birthday trip – Tenaya Lake

Tuesday morning came, and my birthday was officially over. It came to a meaningful end after receiving a little birthday message from Mom and Dad that evening. I was at peace and touched deeply.

The weather forecast was calling for a warm and breezy day, perfect to lazily lounge at the shores of Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite holds a special place in my heart and every time I go it’s like going home, as if I was returning to myself. This time was no different and as soon as we passed the entrance gate, a feeling of deep emotional gratefulness washed over me.

This trip was panning out differently than my last trip just a month ago. This one was more relaxing in the sense of being less physical, not scaling major mountains and pushing myself to my limits. Much was going on in the month past, and after all, I deserved a break. Plus who would have not taken advantage of taking a dip in the gorgeous blue and majestic surroundings.

We found a small sandy beach by the water that was perfect. Families came and went throughout the day, but it was relatively quiet and peaceful. We stayed all day, swimming, picnicking, reading small stories from John Muir, his stepping grounds (Yosemite), taking pictures and napping. One of the things Yosemite did for social distancing was to limit the amount of guests allowed in the park (per day) after it reopened. I think it’s one of the best things they did, not just for social distancing and keeping people safer, but also to protect the environment and all its animals. Besides trash being improperly disposed, bears are killed each year due to speeding tourists rushing through the park from one point of interest to the next. I always hurt seeing the signs that mark where a bear was killed due to speeding, or when people come to visit such a beautiful place but don’t clean up after themselves and trash it.

Having a restricted amount of visitors for each day, provided a new park experience with less congestion and crowds. It was probably the most peaceful experience in Yosemite, especially in such a easy accessible area that would normally be overrun by people. But it wasn’t and it was a day spent in beauty and bliss.

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Mother nature

Birthday trip – Monday

With the clock striking midnight my birthday was here, and actually I didn’t even pay attention. I wasn’t trying to stay awake or get excited, I had no agenda or plans, just a long and hard day was coming to an end. Mom’s birthday. I glanced at the clock because I couldn’t sleep. My mind was restless and still full of sadness. 12:08 AM the clock display announced, meaning that for the past 8 minutes I had been a year older. Oh well…big deal…I was in a funk, unable to pull myself out, only hoping to fall asleep quickly.

I knew all too well what happens when I go to sleep like this, and most likely I wake up in the same mood, and so it was. Monday morning and the world in my neck of the woods was burning from a wildfire. The skies were gray and covered in thick, heavy smoke. It definitely matched my mood and it was fitting I thought. We ended up with a later than usual start due to road pavements in the neighborhoods and I’m lucky it was caught. It would have been stressful to return from the trip and find my car missing and towed. So thank god for that.

Eventually we were on our way and the drive left the smoke behind with clearer skies off in the distance. What also became visible were darker storm clouds and we traded the smoke for some raindrops and cooler temperatures. It was all good and just like the smoke had lifted so did my mood. Why not let the rain wash all the sorrows away and lift the veil. The troubles and sadness took a back seat and finally I was grateful for another birthday. To have gotten away for a few days and to make new adventure memories. I was wondering what kind of wisdom they would bring this time, since the last trip was all about realizing new strengths.

We stopped at a tiny village for some overpriced food but a nice outdoor space where in the end we could say “Well we finally stopped after passing by for years, but we probably won’t stop again.” A couple of good but nothing special to brag about burgers, one drink and not even fries set us back $25. Well at least we did it and the outside space was neat.

Our final destination was Mammoth Lakes and we took our time to get settled. It still looked stormy and the temperatures had dropped, but it was comfortable. In the evening we set out for a little sunset stroll to check out this little log cabin, now a museum tucked away behind trees and near a little stream. It was a peaceful 3 mile hike and a beautiful sunset that by now had settled my soul and weary feelings completely from the tough start of the day. Plus a little surprise was still waiting for me that would make a big difference.

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Inspiration, Mother nature

Back at the ranch

With the trip concluded and back at the ranch (back home), there was no denying that my time spent, brought much needed bliss to my soul. I had scaled mountains, and pushed myself to new heights, crossing a waterfall with rushing waters, while feeling more sure footed than usual. My body felt stronger than ever, and I had the feeling that I had turned a corner, reaching a new milestone. A few times I felt near tears, wanting to give up and just sit it out, not taking another step and just give in to that inner voice of exhaustion that wanted me to stop, give up, and rest. I struggled with it especially during the last hike, but it became apparent that much of it is mental and that you can push past it, and so I did. I slept on the ground, under the stars. I grounded with Mother Earth, a little stiff the next morning but full of healing, and I saw majestic places many never see in their lifetime.

Sure I had trips like that before, and was no stranger to moments like these, and yet something was different this time around. I didn’t immediately knew what it was, but the answers literally fell into my lap. Something had shifted, something was no longer the same that would allow me to continue in the same old fashion as always. I was no longer the same and I like to think that I was evolving to a better version of myself, one with improved health. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact time it happened, but being out there, I felt it and it was liberating. Pain is the worst, debilitating, and robs you of your life quality. It was gone for the most part and I would say that walking more, kundalini yoga and my spiritual growth, all contributed to this shift. Now that I was “here”, I also knew that new circumstances required new measures because if you continue to do the same old things, you will get the same old results. And if you are not happy with your now, maybe you need to take a different approach to yield a different outcome. I was ready to move on and recognized the moment.

Either way, I felt gifted and grateful, and somehow I knew that I was perfectly aligned to take the “Now what” question to the next level. To somehow find the courage to take the next step in this transformational journey of my life, even though much of the insight would come in hindsight and was only revealing in tiny pieces.

Shortly after getting home, one of the gifts that fell into my lap was the discovery of a book about natural remedies for all kinds of ailments. I felt called to expand my learning and take the occasional dabble in homeopathy I was already practicing to the next level. I’ve long loved the natural approach to healing and I’m not a big fan of conventional medicine and big Pharma. There was a time, long ago when I had to take the steroids and the harsh medicines that did more damage than good, because I was in so much pain from the rheumatoid arthritis. Back then I couldn’t function and had to mask the pain so I could go to work and earn a living. It was a costly bandaid to ease the pain but treat nothing in any way. Much has changed since then and it’s been years that I tossed those harsh drugs into the trash. With the help of energy healing I have learned to control my pain levels and with an entire year + under my belt, my focus is shifting to repair the damage caused from this chronic disease I carried for so many years. Sure it can flare at any moment and come back full force, but in the meantime I’m arming myself with knowledge and health where I can to combat it if it does.

Not too long ago I discovered essential oils and I fell in love. I have treated allergies, headaches, pain, an earache, stress, swelling and inflammation so far with great success. Was this the next step? It surely felt it was.

Posted in Hiking, Inspiration, Mother nature

Relief Reservoir

And finally I was at the top. After 4+miles, 68 flights, and close to 10.000 steps. Along the way I was rewarded with beautiful Waterfalls, Rocky Cliffs , and Rushing waters. A spectacular hike with too many pictures to show and many more special moments to refer to.

I had done it. I climbed up, up, up and away and was driven by the new, a place I had never been before. That always seems to fuel the fire a tad bit more and helps muster reserve energies I never knew I had. It was windy at the top, but beautiful. It felt serene and the feeling of accomplishment was rising within my soul. I sat and scanned the area, from the snow dotted peaks where a trail continued to meander over it’s pass, to the shoreline and it’s cliffs. A few backpackers arrived scouting out the area for a suitable campsite and I couldn’t help but marvel in how amazing it must be to camp in a place like this under the full moon or a dark sky full of stars. It’s beyond words let me tell you.

Soon we would make our way back down to the trailhead and sometimes down is more strenuous for me than up, believe it or not. A steep trail down with giant stone steps and boulders is tough on the joints, while a steep trail up gets your heart pumping while sweating out all these toxins. I guess each has their pros and cons. The trip would come to an end this very evening and already I knew that new insight was gained from connecting with Mother Nature and from being still. From leaving it all behind and letting the daily routine be replaced with adventure and new motivation. And still I had no clue how much of it would present itself in the days ahead.

Posted in Hiking, Inspiration, Mother nature

False Summit

“False Summit”, have you ever heard about it? Imagine yourself hiking up a mountain, your eyes keenly peeled on the top, the top you believe to be the summit. Ah, it’s not so bad you think, you can do it, as you motivate yourself to set one foot in front of the other. After all, how hard can it be right? I’ll just take my time. Ha…

Finally you reach your summit, but the celebration is short lived as you realize you have not reached the top at all. Beyond your summit, a new summit is revealed that requires more climbing up to heaven. And sometimes this goes on for several summits. “Are we there yet, how many summits do I have to conquer, this can’t go on forever.”

No pain, no gain right, and being rewarded with such splendid views (picture) along the way, how terrible is it really! Fact is that if you want to see these places that you can’t just drive up to and admire from the convenience of your car, YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK.

Those times, are times of struggle, but also times of huge success stories for me. It’s a time you get closer to yourself and find out what you are made of. It’s a time you will be proud that you made it, as well as a time you gather momentum and newfound inspiration. It’s the best motivator and I would say that everything worthwhile requires hard work and is never easy. If it was, everybody would be doing it. Remember…

Posted in Backpacking, Hiking, Mother nature

Day 2 – Stanislaus River

Day 2 started with aches and stiffness, and all of a sudden the ground felt much harder than the night before. Was it a case of getting older, being too old for camping and sleeping on the ground, or was it not getting the proper rest after the somewhat strenuous hike to the Waterfall. Regardless of what it was, the idea of investing in a better quality sleeping pad was born as the perfect solution. It might have been a little bit of everything, but who was going to admit that, and after all this was no time to say that our camping days are over.

It was time to pack up though and remove our tiny footprint, leaving Mother Nature in the same beautiful condition we found her just two days ago. With a last look back, a sigh and a promise to return again, we made the short trek to the Jeep, loading all our belongings. And off we were, with no concrete idea of where the day would take us. We passed a few trails I saw in my California hiking book (happily crossing off the trails explored) that sounded interesting, but I knew they were short and easy and n out something we could spend the whole day on. Dang, the “easy part” sounded so appealing.

We ended up at Kennedy meadows and the lodge was open. All of a sudden the idea of a second breakfast sounded appealing and we couldn’t resist the yearning for some real food. Quite honestly I didn’t know I was hungry or even considered it until that moment. Sitting on the patio, taking in the morning air and peace, a huge animal transport arrived. Today was the day several of these transports would arrive, loaded with cows, and later guided by cowboys on horseback and dogs (yes just like you would see in movies) to higher pastures. One by one charged out of the transport, over a ramp that would lead into a holding pen. It was a little bit like the running of the bulls, at least that’s what I called it. How cool was that and for once the timing was on our side to witness this unique experience. I say for once because the usual timing is often something that makes us shake our heads and just smile in disbelief.

Full and happy we decided to walk up the meadow “a little ways”, haha. I should know better when it’s a little ways or “we are almost there.” But what do they say “not knowing is bliss sometimes” and it definitely was in this case as it would have caused me a huge mental block.

Stay tuned. 😉

Posted in Hiking, Life, Mother nature

The beautiful journey of transformation

This little guy and so many others, in various colors and sizes, accompanied me on my hike to the waterfall. At that time it was such a beautiful experience and it still is, but in hindsight it feels more like a sign, like a transformational journey I was taking. The day to day troubles and the pain, both physical and mental was gone for that day and the wisdom of “Never ruin a good day by thinking about a bad yesterday” was beating within my chest. I let it all go….

Shortly I would maneuver the top of the falls, crossing over and being very happy with myself and my newfound physical strengths. But it wasn’t only physical and I would see with more clarity that offered a renewed sense of survival and motivation. I was looking ahead and I was charging forward towards new heights with every step. A journey of transformation, making room for the next stage, just like the painful birth of the butterfly. A sign showing me how beautiful things can turn out in the end, even after immense struggle. And again, it’s nothing new or like a big “Aha moment.” It’s really old news, something I have always known, yet we all require a little nudge sometimes, a reminder that sets us straight again. Realizing it or not at that time, I am glad that I could witness the beauty of the butterflies and that it’s symbolic meaning deepened even more in time, still fueling my motivation with the steps becoming clearer once more.

Posted in Adventure, Hiking, Mother nature

Day 1 – The Destination

The first half of our 6 Mile hike would lead us to the top of this waterfall, offering a spectacular view of the lake beneath us. Somewhere over there to the right, amongst boulders and trees, shrubs and bushes was the tent, but as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t make it out. It was well hidden, and that was a good thing.

If you look at the picture, you can’t see it but a big waterfall was to the right of me, dropping abruptly over the edge from the little pool just before the fall. A small cascade was feeding the pool, big enough to cool off, and save enough to not go over the edge.

Just prior to finding the pool, we crossed the falls and the rushing water underneath my feet, to check the other side for a suitable resting place. A place that would call out, saying, “this is it.” It was probably the most physical activity, as far as climbing over boulders, not having a footbridge but maneuvering and utilizing rocks in the water as stepping stones, that I had done in a long time. I managed with little trouble and was thinking about how difficult this would have been for me just recently. I was definitely getting stronger, getting more flexible, able to conquer challenging terrains, and with it grew my confidence and motivation. I was on a high again, unstoppable, like I could and would change my stars, ever working closer towards my true purpose. It felt good to say the least. As far as the physical aspect goes, it wasn’t effortless, but satisfying and really good. It’s always a big fight coming back from a debilitating flare up or any challenge with a chronic disease, so these little successes and moments always end up really being the biggest and most meaningful achievements. And I for sure had one of these moments, an essential block to build upon and continue this journey.

It turned out that there was no spot on the other side, only very steep drop offs with no safety net. If you slipped, you would most likely fall to your death unless you get tangled up and stopped by some brush. Needles to say, every step was carefully placed and required concentration and special attention. Did I mention that I always had a fear of sliding, falling off a cliff or mountain? Perfect scenario to find myself in, wouldn’t you say? I do experience vertigo and “don’t look down” definitely is something I apply when I’m out there. I guess I should say that I do look down as I carefully select my footing, but I don’t look over the edge or stay in place very long.

Well, I ended up conquering the rushing waters once more, crossing the top of the waterfall for the second time. Still no problem, phew. Back on the other side and just beyond a pile of giant boulders, and a fallen log was the little pool, previously unseen. What was waiting there was the much anticipated “that’s it” moment and I was glad the search was over and a bit of rest would follow. Right there on the edge, overseeing it all, so high above the land, it would be a spot to spend the entire day until late afternoon. I was hoping for a little cool down, remembering the 3 miles and 44 flights of stairs back to the Jeep, but for now this thought and effort had to wait until later, which would come soon enough.