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. 

Wisdom from the woods 

The woods have always been magical, for as long as I can remember, from very little on. I remember a special connection to the trees while walking amoungst the giants underneath the thick cover of branches and leaves. I remember touching the bark as if picking up the life within, to feel the heartbeat that would command mine to match and to slow down and to just breathe. I envision younger me standing with my head tilted back to watch the sky above and follow the rays of the sun peaking through, while leaving tiny spots of light dancing on the forest floor. Beams of casting light, shedding warmths and little pockets of magic everywhere. One step at a time, my feet carry me over the soft mossy ground as I listen to the rustling sound of leaves and breaking twigs beneath my feet. It’s peaceful and all I hear is nature and the chirping of the birds. Carefree, my heart fills with wonder and I’m reminded that “Going to the woods, is going home.” -John Muir.

I remember the clean aromatic smell after the rain, the damp forest floor with the hint of mushrooms hiding beneath the cover. The morning dew on plant life that burned off in the morning sun and the misty, foggy mystery that gave way as it was the beginning to a beautiful day.

Today, my journey and my experiences in life, relate to my feelings of the woods. Sometimes hidden in fog, the whole picture is not always visible and you could easily take a wrong turn. Sometimes you just need to have faith and follow the tiny spots of light to allow them to lead you out of the darkness. And other times, you just have to surrender and let everything find it’s way. To believe in the outcome to the questions that remain unanswered, to go home as often as possible and remember that everything in life is about renewal and sometimes letting go. 

Being a sucker for quotes and the way the woods make me feel, it’s only natural to end this post with a few that strike a chord with me at this time. For there is wisdom all around us and always will be. 

“The wanting was a wilderness and I had to find my own way out of the woods.” -Cheryl Strayed

(Our campsite last weekend -New Brighton Beach State Park)

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep”  -Robert Frost 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Thoreau

Ocean sunset 

As the sun gives way and nighttime falls, she goes down in flames as the most breathtaking of all. 

To be remembered and not soon to be forgotten, she leaves us in awe and wonders of sudden. 

With a new day ahead she’ll shine strong once more, to warm our hearts, to kiss our skin to the core.

Where my soul feels at home 

In all the years I’ve been hiking, I have found some special places everywhere. Places that restore the peace within and vanish the stress from my life. Nature has been a great teacher, a calming mother and a beautiful companion. Nature has been powerful and has put into perspective how tiny we are in grand scheme of the universe. I have no doubt that I’ve been lucky to have seen so many beautiful spots and I know that I could have never done so alone. 

Each place holds a special memory and transports me back to the serenity that I felt, even if it is years later that I have been there. But like good friends that go the extra mile and who touch our life’s forever, some go just a little further and take a piece of our hearts. 

This is one such place and my soul is at home in the Sierra. 

Granite on fire 

It was a special moment to shoot this picture. The sun was setting on Half Dome and the granite was glowing as if on fire. If you follow my blog, you know that Yosemite is a place close to my heart and yet with so many amazing and special spots within the park and around, Half Dome will always be my favorite landmark in the park.

I have never climbed Half Dome and have no intentions to try. Steel cables go up in the summer to help brace yourself for the steep ascend and descend over the slick granite rock. Besides being vertigo challenged, how could I admire this beauty being right on top of it? I have hiked various trails around Half Dome to get a 360 view of different angles. From the face to the back of this giant monolith, it holds some very special memories and moments. That will always be more than enough.

It’s simply priceless and can’t be bought.


Mount Shasta

After our stop at Burney Falls  in May of last year, our trip continued to the town of Mount Shasta. It was a scenic little drive through the country as we would call it, winding through forests and beautiful meadows. The occasional wildlife made a few appearances and I have to admit that I always get nervous driving through the woods. As beautiful as it is, I’m always on the lookout for deer or something else running out in front of the car. I don’t want to hit or hurt anything, I don’t even want to see prior incidents and the remains left at the side of the road. It always breaks my heart and I love animals and they are a big part of my life. But there were also a few funnies along the way and I’m talking about the things that you don’t see every day such as a sign that was tied to the end of a driveway. Believe me when I say that it was no ordinary sign and it was attached to a locked gate that seemed to disappear into a thick overgrown area of bushes and brush. All you could see was “Jungle” and who knew what was behind that gate. I caught a glimpse of the sign driving by and it said to “Keep out, Ammo is expensive, no warning shots will be fired”. A brief look at each other followed, confirming that we all had seen it and that it was indeed real what we thought that we had seen. I’m not sure if it was the actual sign or just the dumb look on our faces that triggered what followed, but we laughed and we laughed hard, even though this could be serious for someone caught in the wrong moment. It would be no laughing matter getting shot at and you wouldn’t find me even considering crossing that gate. I’d hate to be the mailman for sure and you’d probably see me throwing the mail over the barricade and run as fast as I can. I wouldn’t hang around to find out what’s behind creepy driveway #1 and I definitely wouldn’t give someone a reason to shoot at me. It was kind of spooky and honestly it felt strange that such a message was displayed in broad daylight and in clear sight for everyone. I guess that was the point and it was on private property to do with as they pleased. Still…..
From a distance Mount Shasta came into view. Huge and massive, covered in snow it seemed so close, almost close enough to touch. But is was still far away and it was just the mountains size that was dominating the landscape ahead of us. I remember how surprised I was that it took yet another hour of driving until we finally reached both, Mount Shasta the volcano and Mount Shasta the town where we stayed. We checked into the KOA campground and had a beautiful, cozy little log cabin cottage. It was homey and perfect, besides the plastic slipcover sheets that covered the mattress on the bed. Plastic doesn’t allow anything to breathe and it got hot a few times. I didn’t think that it would bother me all that much, but in hindsight, I should have taken them off. Next time….

The mountain was directly behind our little cabin that nestled between a moderate grove of pine trees. The clouds were hanging low and the top of the mountain was covered. Veiled into a thick cloth of mystery, only the base was visible from our current location. It was beautiful and peaceful, serene and strong, and it left us begging for more. The only way to discover what was hidden from our view, was to get to higher grounds and above the cloud field. After a short drive, we were there and boy was it worth the effort as we were greeted by the warmth of the setting sun. We watched in awe, silent and stayed way beyond the sun illuminating the sky and setting the scene on fire. It was getting dark and nighttime fell before we tore ourselves away from the magnificent view that had captured our hearts while we fell in love with the mountain. It was the first time I took a deep breath in what seemed to have been forever. I felt serenity flood my veins and life was good and restored again. I was home and yet I didn’t have a single clue to what was happening to me at Mount Shasta and what was yet to come. A mystery that was yet to reveal itself.