Weekend Coffee Share; Hiking Chaos Crags Trail, Garden & Horse Update


Another busy week, turns into weekend. Earlier this week I was looking at some of my favorite Instagram accounts, thoroughly enjoying my friends vacation photos, and at the same time realizing that I don’t need, or want a vacation! I love my life. It’s not perfect, but there is balance; fun work projects, play, adventure, gardening (- healthy food, and great overall health,) horses, and time with my most precious daughter. On top of that, there is peace, and absence of drama (the last being a high priority.) I understand this statement may sound obnoxious in some peoples eyes. That’s not my point. I am just happy. And you know what? It’s almost scary.


How would you like you coffee today? Ice coffee? Or some strong, fresh brew from the pot? How was your week?

The garden is growing like crazy. The green foliage is like a jungle in some places. There’s hundreds of green tomatoes on my tomato plants, that paused their ripening due to the hot weather. Maybe not completely paused, I did plant heat resistant varieties, but things are definitely going slower on the ripening front, now when we consistently have three digit temperatures. I’ve harvested hundreds of squash by now. Even bartered some for fresh eggs. My fig propagation project is making awesome progress. (I admit, I’ve kept adding new cuttings. I can’t help myself..)

We escaped the heat, or almost escaped the heat on a fantastic hike last weekend. The temperatures were in the three digits at home, and only 85 on the trail.

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We hiked Chaos Crags Trails, in Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is my daughter as we’re starting out. It scared me a little when I realized that it was 85 degrees, and not so much shade. I almost decided to skip this trail, and pick something cooler. I’m happy that I didn’t. There was a breeze, and my daughter really liked this trail.

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It’s a 3.7 mile, moderate, out and back trail. Uphill on the way to this crater, that is the destination, and downhill on the way back. When we hiked down, we met a hiker not carrying any water, that seem very dangerous, as it was hot hiking uphill. I would of given him a bottle, or two, but he hiked on before I realized that he wasn’t carrying anything.

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View from the bottom of the crater.

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We enjoyed a picnic lunch before heading back. On all our previous hikes, I’ve carried the food, drinks, and extra water. My daughter have her 6th birthday coming up in July. The summer when I turned 6 years old, my mom gave me a back pack, so that I could carry my own food/clothing on our adventures (hikes/cross country skiing.) The back pack she gave me was a Fjällräven Kånken. I used it for about 15 years, before accidentally losing it on one adventure. It did not break, or tear. They still make the same model! I ordered one for my daughter, to keep the tradition going. (I also ordered a new one for myself.) I gave my daughter her backpack in a gift wrap, the morning before this hike. (She’s going to spend her birthday with her dad.) For the first time she carried her own things. No complains! I think she was rather proud.

Ghost is not bothered at all by the heat. Not unexpected, since he’s an Arabian/Mustang Cross. He can run, and play like crazy in the pasture for a couple hours, and barely break a sweat behind his ears. Training wise we’re taking it slow, and he appreciate it. Things are going in the right direction. We work a few minutes, several times a day.

Fancy’s health is improving, and I am riding her lightly. Yesterday I decided to long rein her for the first time. It’s a common method to start schooling young horses, or restarting  troubled horses. Maybe not so common here in cowboy country, but it’s a widespread tradition in Europe, and other places around the world. Long reining can be a soft exercise, almost like yoga, for horses. They can use their muscles, and even create muscles where they are missing, and become softer, without a lot of pressure on their body. When long reining a horse, you walk behind the horse, having long reins attached to some kind of halter/headstall (most people use a regular headstall with a bit,) and usually looped through a special long reining girth, or saddle (to avoid them hanging to far down on the sides, and being stepped on.) It’s similar to driving a horse in a carriage, except you don’t have a carriage attached behind the horse.

At the moment Fancy’s hooves could not take any harder riding, and who knows what kind of memories she really has from riding? Considering that she had her tongue almost cut of in some accident, before I got her. Since I found out about that, I’ve been contemplating if a bitless headstall would be more comfortable for her. I’ve only ridden her at our place, and mostly in a rope halter. I have tried a regular headstall, with a mild snaffle bit as well. She took the bit without hesitating. Her tongue is completely healed now, but is thinner where the bit lays (telling me that a sharp bit likely was the cause of the injury,) and there is deformation there as well. I’m sure we’ll figure it out together. She’s definitely getting the time she needs to heal both her body and mind. Fancy’s first long reining session went well. She seemed a little confused to have me behind her, but did wonderfully well.

Do you need a refill on that coffee? Any fun plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear about them!


Ms Zen


Published by Sagittarius Viking

It’s all about experiences, and the healing power of nature. Life is about choosing happiness. I entered the magic world of photography when I was five years old. My gypsy soul have taken me to many different countries, and definitely taught me to be more humble. I believe that you are what you eat, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food, and spending time outdoors. Above everything else is my daughter. A Sagittarius loves to travel, have an open mind and, and a philosophical view. It motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. A lot of that perfectly describes me. The fact that my ancestors, on both parents sides, were vikings, doesn’t exactly lessen my desire to explore. Maybe a slightly more mindful exploring, compared to the average viking. My blog, and my art prints is a results of my (inner and outer) explorations. Love, Maria

14 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share; Hiking Chaos Crags Trail, Garden & Horse Update

  1. Hi-ya MZ.
    Still loving your photos. Have you gone a tad further north to do the Horse trail on My Shasta?
    I’ve done it several times and think you would love it. It goes up jump past the the tree line and can have light snow at certain times of the year.
    Fascinating update on Fancy. I love that she has you caring for her.
    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gary! Do you mean Horse Camp Trail? I did hike that one a few years ago, and further up to Lake Helen. It’s a beautiful country. I have done a few hikes in Mt.Shasta, but not nearly as many as in Lassen. The distance is actually about the same. I enjoy both places tremendously.

      Thank you for having coffee with me. Your story about the young woman, and all of you helping her in her battle brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing that story!


  2. I always look forward to your coffee chats! 🙂 Your garden is looking well. Do you freeze squash? Bet it’d be yummy in winter soups.
    Your temps seem like you live in an oven! Tomorrow starts a heat wave here for at least a week of 90-100F and I am not looking forward to it. Generally, our hot spells rarely last more than 3 days, so this one is a bit troubling. Climate change is real!
    I’ll be spending more time inside with the AC on and getting my outside time early in the day or after dinner. The plants are going to grow like mad, but I doubt they’ll be like your tomatoes!


  3. Thank you! I love having coffee with you. I would of loved having you here for real, and having you share your garden wisdom with me. I have tried freezing squash. I think it tastes good for about three months, after that not so much. I’ve been looking into getting a dehydrator (would be awesome for figs as well!) I’ve tasted some very tasty squash chips. I bet it would be possible to dry them for use in winter soups as well. We eat soup almost every day during winter.

    It sometimes feels like I do live in an oven. I prefer temperatures with a high around 85, and cool nights, that’s perfect if you ask me. I see myself eventually ending up in a place like that. Be safe in your heat wave. I bet it is more dangerous when it’s not the usual norm. Here people expect, and most are prepared, for at least three hot months. Let’s grow those tomatoes 🙂

    Are you reading a good book at the moment? That’s one of my favorite things to do in the afternoon, when I’m done with work, and chores, but before dinner time. We don’t have cool nights, morning is the only time when you can work outside safely. We have 75 right now, at 6.30am, and that was also the low last night. It’s going to be 107 later today. I’m getting out of this place though. We’re having another waterfall hike on the schedule for today. One that I’ve been wanting to do for years, but never done.

    Enjoy your day!


  4. You have a beautiful blog and I loved reading your coffee post here. Your garden looks and sounds awesome with all the vegetables you are growing. We make our own happy place and choose to be happy whenever we want and thats important. Thank you for inspiring and for the coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so happy you feel inspired 🙂

      “We make our own happy place and choose to be happy whenever we want and thats important. ” I could not have said that better, it is so true. Thank you for commenting! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.


  5. Sound like you are staying busy! I love to hike when we have the opportunity and we’re going to the mountains later this summer, so… Glad the horses are well, and thanks for the coffee!


  6. Thanks for the coffee.Our weekend is pretty much over, here, but I love to hear about the horse work and the gardening! I still have to put in 5 more miles on the exercise bike before I go to bed, and I am going to try sowing the rest of the wildflower seeds in the garden, tonight, having gotten a small amount of rain. Going to try raking in the drought-tolerant seeds, but leaving the remaining vegetation to help shade the seeds and slow down evaporation.

    The hiking sounds like a lot of fun and a good experience to share. I still remember my hikes and trips through the woods with my father when I was young. (I suspect it was to keep me occupied so that Mother could concentrate on the younger children for a while.)

    Best wishes for your week!


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