What To Do When You Have Vacationing Friends/Family Visiting

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This past weekend, I had my cousin and her boyfriend from Sweden visiting, and also my aunt from Washington. Naturally I wanted them to feel welcome to my home, and know how happy it made me that they decided to come for visit. I live a rather simple life. So how could I make them feel welcome? I thought about it for a couple weeks before they arrived.

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I decided to go for a combination of things. When they arrived I gave them a tour  of my house, garden, property, and introduced my animals (dog and horses.) It was probably ten years ago since I saw this part of the family, and we had a lot of catching up to do. It truly was wonderful to see them all.

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That first night, my cousin and I cooked for everyone. It was fun. It gave us a chance to talk. For me it was a treat to speak my native language. Even though I feel that I can make myself understood in English, my native language add more color and emotion to a conversation.

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My family had enjoyed my photos from Lassen Volcanic National Park on social media. I asked them if they wanted to go there. I go there several times a month. It almost feels like second home. They were thrilled for the opportunity to see the park themselves. The photos in this post is from our visit there.

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I really enjoyed giving them the tour of the unique volcanic landscape in Lassen. We entered through the northwest entrance, at Manzanita Lake, and took the 30 mile long, Highway 89 through the park. We stopped at many vista points to enjoy the views, talk about the landscape, and of course take photos. We enjoyed a picnic lunch along Kings Creek.

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It was a perfect day! Around 80 degrees, and very comfortable weather, happy people, and awe-inspiring vistas. We took Highway 36 back, towards Red Bluff (CA.) On the way we passed a fire.

 

They later named it the TuscanFire being near Tuscan Lookout Road. The fire is 100% contained now.

We finished the first day by going to my favorite restaurant in Red Bluff, Casa Ramos. Casa Ramos is a chain, but the Red Bluff location definitely is quiet a bit better than the other ones. (The other ones are nice as well.) I’ve been going there for years, and tasted everything on the menu. I usually bring guests there. Everyone loved the food, the service, and the cozy atmosphere.

The next, and final day I took them to see three waterfalls, and another amazing restaurant (actually in the top 100 list, in all of the US.) That will be another post. To be continued..

What do you like to do when you have faraway guests visiting for more than a day? Do you give them a taste of your world? I guess that was what I was trying to do. I know that they were curious to know what I’ve been up to, and what my life is like. That was what I tried to show them; my home, garden, animals, hiking, and our amazing corner of northern California. Tell me about how you like to treat your guests. How do you make them feel your love?

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

All-Time Favorites – A Debut Drive On The Wild Side = Highway 89

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I almost choked on my coffee this morning. I had to read the latest post published at WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge twice. They casually announced that this is the last challenge. I can see that it would be a lot of work hosting a challenge of this size, hundreds of participants weekly, but it’s WordPress we’re talking about. They should be able to handle that? Or is it about stopping leaving us wanting more? Get a huge debate going, so that their challenge get even more attention?

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This weekly photo challenge have followed me through several blogs, until I finally found my niche. I’ve posted an entry almost every week, and made many new friends through the challenge. I even mentioned it in my Purpose page for this blog. I hope they will reconsider ending this challenge. If not, Thank you WordPress for hosting it for so long. I really enjoyed it!

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Last Sunday was the first day of the season that the scenic Highway 89, through Lassen Volcanic National Park was open. Its was a grand opening. I expected nothing less. We drove up to the northern entrance, in the morning. There was a traffic jam there! It took about 30 min to get in. I’ve never experienced that before. It was well worth the wait.

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The first drive through the park for the year is always spectacular. It’s like getting reacquainted with a special, old friend. Even though I’ve been snowshoeing in the park during the winter months, I have not seen all the majestic beauty there is. I rephrase that, it is not possible to ever see it all. It would take several lifetimes.

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Sulphur Works; Lassen Volcanic National Park’s most easily accessed hydrothermal area. It features boiling mudpots and steam vents. It smells a little, but not too bad right now. Last time I passed Sulphur Works (in the photo,) everything was covered in snow. That was about a month ago.

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My daughter have a love-hate relationship to this place. She always wants to go here. She is fascinated, and disgusted at the same time. It doesn’t exactly smell like our rose garden. Lol.

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Nature is blooming right above the hydrothermal area. We decided to take a hike towards Ridge Lakes, above Sulphur Works.

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This hike is rated as hard, and it starts out going straight uphill, right from the beginning. The landscape was extremely beautiful. Like something from another galaxy.

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In the beginning it was reasonably easy to follow the trail, even though it completely lacked any kind of markers. The trail was supposed to follow the creek, so we followed the creek. There was more and more snow on the trail. After a while we took a wrong turn, and ended up hiking up to the ridge to the left, of the ridge that we were supposed to take, if we wanted to see Ridge Lakes. It might not look very steep in this photo, but believe me, it was. You had to dig your boots into the snow, and make your own stairs to get a grip, and climb up. ..and we’re talking about an elevation about 8000ft. The air is thin, and you have to take it slow. I helped my five year old quiet a bit during this stretch. Since we gotten this far, we really wanted to get to the top of that ridge above us. I can be very stubborn..and I used it to get us all up. I know for sure that the rest would of turned around if it wasn’t for me. It’s Thursday today, and I can still feel the climb in my whole body. I love that!

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On the top of the world! I love feeling alive like this. The tracks we made kind of disappears in the photo, that is how steep it was. Half of the hillside beneath me is out of the picture, even though it’s right under me. What do you say about that view?

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It was very windy at the top. I estimate it to around 25-30 mph winds. The baseball cap I was wearing to protect myself from the strong sun, blowed away. I found it later. My daughter took her off. (I know.. she’s the smart one.)

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Some more vistas from the top of this unnamed ridge.

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The grand opening of highway 89 for the season of 2018, was a day to remember a lifetime. Are you tempted to take a drive on the wild side? Conquer this stretch of highway 89? Even if you just follow the highway, and stop at the different, well marked, vista points, you’ll have an incredible experience.

Cheers to a mind-blowing last episode of The Weekly Photo Challenge!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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Mt. Lassen Sunrise

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For this week’s photo challenge, explore the vibrant, hopeful colors of your favorite sunrise or sunset.

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These three sunrises have something in common, even though they are captured at different locations, they all feature our volcano Mt.Lassen (CA,) in the background.

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I took the first photo in this post, while driving to work one morning. I just stopped by the side of the road to admire the glorious sunrise.

The second photo is taken at a friend’s ranch, while checking on some rescue horses, that I had at a pasture there for a while.

The last photo, featuring the Sacramento River, with Mt.Lassen in the background, is taken while standing at Sundial Bridge, in Redding (CA.)

Mt. Lassen, and Mt.Shasta, our two volcanoes, are like magnets. It’s like they’re forcing you to pay them attention. Especially during sunrise, and sunset. Since I’m a morning person I catch more sunrises than sunsets. I’d love to see a sunrise/sunset from your favorite location!

 

Love,

Ms Zen