Fall is such a fast moving season and in the blink of an eye, or a good storm, it’s over and gone. This picture was taken last month during a hike in the beautiful Sierra.
We are in the homestretch of 2020. The 11th month has started in a 12 month cycle, another month filled with opportunities as well as challenges. Many are looking forward to 2021 as if a miracle is going to unfold as soon as this year is coming to an end. I fear that many will be disappointed as we close the book that is 2020 and start 2021 with more of the same old. And yet it’s not the same. January 1st will not miraculously leave behind all the struggles we had and much will cross over into the new year, with continued and new challenges. As we hope that life will somewhat normalize again in 2021, I can’t help but wonder once more what we’d define as normal these days.
So even if things continue in the new year, maybe we find ourselves in a better position somehow. Whether it is because of slight changes towards a better future, or seeing the challenges as opportunities and a time that has to have it’s place.
I’ve read the other day that many are experiencing intense healing and ascension symptoms. That a huge purge is happening as we prepare for the new world. Random emotional lows and physical symptoms can occur when you least expect them. It can also interfere with your routine and slow you down. It’s a time you are forced to face what you’d rather ignore and pretend that it doesn’t exist. This purge can be likened to the final push a mother gives before her baby enters into the world. Many of us are stuck in the birth canal, hesitant to leave and explore what’s outside.
The pressure to be re birthed is immense and your responsibility to the new world can incite fear. As a warrior of the light, you’re unable to ignore your identity. Your leveling up and paving the way for the new world. Rest, self-care and taking baby steps into the new. Know that all is well and how it is meant to be. You’re doing amazing. Trust 🙏🏼
Bristlecone picture from last winter.
Passports, yep you read this right and I discovered that there is a State Passport (at least for Nevada) as well as a National Parks Passport.
It started with the State Passport. Each state park within Nevada carries it’s own stamp, used to stamp your passport. Collect 15 stamps and you attain free annual access to all the parks within the state. As if that wasn’t cool enough, I have to admit that I am nerdy in a way that it is almost more fun hunting for the stamps then anything else. I’m afraid it’s a little like Indiana Jones on one of his adventures. Kind of like Mad Max driving the barren wasteland.
The stamps are all different and it’s exciting just to see which stamp you get. Like the world traveler I am, my passport is filling up, but I’m not quite there yet. If I could only travel to Germany and stamp my real passport.
Anywhoo, following the State Passports, came the National Parks Passport which spans much further and is much, much thicker. This will be a lot harder to fill up, but I couldn’t be more excited about the first stamp. It was actually much like a real stamp, a decal, you purchase, peel, and attach into the corresponding section of your passport. Not only is it fun, but educational as well. So maybe not all thaaaat needy.
The first stamp was Stamp No. NP49 from the Great Basin National Park. It talked about the Bristlecone which I have long admired, and this is what it had to say.
The bristlecone pine arguably is the oldest thing on Earth. Found in scattered groves near tree line, some of Great Basin’s bristlecones are more than 4000 years old and owe their longevity to the harsh conditions at the parks higher elevations. The tree’s slow growth makes the bristlecone wood hard, durable and resistant to disease and the rugged alpine elements.
I have quoted Mogli’s lyrics for the song “Wanderer” a few times before, and sometimes while I’m out there, they take me back and become relevant all over again. It’s like being a wanderer and to go home. Everything that creates stress falls away and is reduced to what is truly vital and essential for body, mind and spirit.
There was a time in the beginning when I first started hiking, that I was introduced to this feeling of coming home. I quickly became addicted to this feeling and I chased it, wanting to feel like this as often as possible. Being out in nature and becoming still is what made me feel this way. Away from all the hectic it restored balance and I learned to breathe deeply, to utilize senses that have always been there, but merely got lost in the background of noise. Never before did I feel these senses with such an awareness and consciousness as I did then.
All of a sudden, seeing was more intense. Seeing the little things we rush by so often, such as seeing a weed on the side of the road. You might asked what’s the significance of that! Well for me there is beauty in everything (except spiders lol) and apparently it is in many others who voted and made my picture of a weed #1 in a photo contest a few years back.
All of a sudden there was an increased sense of smell. The sweet smell of the forest, wildflowers and how the earth smells during and after the rain.
There was an increase sense of feeling the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair. Just feeling a different degree of being alive vs merely existing.
I’ve tasted wild berries and nature’s fruit, grown without pesticides. I remember the most amazing flat of strawberries, sweet and delicious right along the coastline in California. I ate them right out of it’s wooden crate, dust and perhaps a little dirt included. An experience we still talk about today, having tasted the sweetest and most delicious fruit to this day.
Time slows down and is simplified. It’s often a bunch of little things that one day become the big things in our life. Maybe this post finds you yearning for your own senses to experience such simplicity and wonder. Perhaps you can’t relate at all about the significance of a weed and why eating a flat of dirty strawberries is still a fond memory. Whatever the case, I hope you can witness your own wonders, to become a wanderer on this road called life and to come home.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😳
A slice of heaven from last week. ❤️
How cool is this?
The sleeping lady mountain, about 33 miles northwest of Anchorage Alaska. Picture taken from a drone.
Our Mother Earth is beautiful, isn’t she?
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. ❤️