Exploring Red Rock Canyon

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It is true that I live in a big city for the first time in my life, and I’m NOT a city girl. Luckily we’re only minutes from a really cool place, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

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It offers a fascinating desert landscape. It’s an amazing place to explore now, during fall/winter. I’m thrilled that I am able to do that. The desert offers both solitude, and an excitement that is hard to match.

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My daughter found an open, sandy spot that she declared was perfect for a dance party. So we danced. Without music. In the middle of the desert. By ourselves. Laughing our hearts out.

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To me, the fact that she initiated this, is a victory. I love how her brain works. I pray she’ll stay this free spirited.

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She is not my little girl anymore. She is her own person, and I am so proud of her.

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Red Rock Canyon is amazing, and I’ve only just scratch on the surface. I’m looking forward to do a lot more exploring.

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My dog thoroughly enjoyed some off leash time. When we got closer to the trail head I attached the leash again, and worked through some obedience sequences we do several times a day. To keep her tuned in.

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While I was doing that, my daughter borrowed my camera and took tons of pictures. I kind of liked this one, that she took of Gretchen and me.

We saw signs of horses and burros, lots of poop, and hoofprints, but no animals. Hopefully we’ll see some next time. I love watching wild horses play. It’s one of my favorite things. From a distance, of course.

I hope your new week is awesome.

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Feel Good Tuesday

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Manzanita Lake, with Chaos Crags in the background. 

How is your week so far? I thought I’d share some feel good photos to inspire your Tuesday. They are from last weekends adventure in Lassen Volcanic National Park, in northern California.

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Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.  –  Thomas Berry

As we often do in the weekends, we headed towards the mountains. We have three choices, within easy driving distance for a day outing; the Trinity Alps, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Lassen. If we want to drive a little longer we have the Sierra Nevada’s as well. Somehow we often find ourselves going to Lassen Volcanic National Park. I’d say it almost feels like a second home. This past year we’ve gone hiking there at least twice a month, often every weekend.

If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”
-David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia

Two weekends ago we ended up hiking a little later in the day than usual. It was a hot, and my five year old did not enjoy the hike as much as she usually do. There was some complaining, not like her at all. I do take responsibility for that, since I didn’t anticipate it being so hot on the trail. This weekend I made it my business to make sure she would enjoy it very much. I really wanted to give her the best experience possible. I knew it was going to be the last hike we did together, before she takes off to be with her dad for the rest of the summer. It had to be a good memory!

We started out early, and I’d chosen a much easier hike than we usually do. We picked up a Junior Ranger booklet at the visitor center. It had different animal tracks, and photos of animal, and trees, that are common in the park, for kids to identify. It made it interesting on a different level. The hike itself, around Manzanita Lake, is one that we’ve made more times than I can count. It’s only 2 miles, and very easy. My daughter knows this hike inside out, and knew that it wasn’t going to be very hard. (That itself made it more enjoyable for her.) Especially compared to the adventures we usually go on. My 5 (almost 6!) year old can handle 5 miles on a trail rated difficult, and 8miles on a trail with medium difficulty. 2 easy miles is a breeze. More like a stroll. It was exactly what she needed to make it fun again.

Without continuous hands-on experience, it is impossible for children to acquire a deep intuitive understanding of the natural world that is the foundation of sustainable development. ….A critical aspect of the present-day crisis in education is that children are becoming separated from daily experience of the natural world, especially in larger cities.

– Natural Learning, Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature’s Way of Teaching, Robin C. Moore and Herb H. Wong

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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. – Rachel Carson

This is a scenic hike, around the little lake, located very close to one of the entrances. At times it can be highly trafficked, because of its location, and level of difficulty. It’s accessible, and extremely beautiful all year round. I have winter photos in my gallery.

We stopped and had a wonderful picnic lunch half way around. We played in the water for a while. It was impossible to resist. Just the kind of memory I wanted my daughter to take with her.

Let Nature be your teacher. – William Wordsworth

Thanks for enjoying the hike with us! I hope it was a great experience, and that you had as much fun as we did 🙂 Have a blessed day ❤

Love,

Ms Zen

SUNDAY STILLS: #SUMMER = Hiking!

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There’s no joking around, summer’s are made for hiking! You knew that, right? One of my favorite places to go hiking in the summer is in Lassen Volcanic National Park. If you’ve been here before, you knew that as well, since I go there all the time. How can I not? It’s close by, and SO amazing.

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Yesterday we hiked to Mill Creek Falls. At a majestic 70ft, it’s the biggest waterfall in the park. Somehow I have missed this hike. I’ve been thinking of going to this fall more than once, but been persuaded to go on other hikes. Yesterday I finally got to see it. It was amazing. The fall was extraordinary, and so was the hike there. The wild flowers along the trail are exquisite.

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The yellow flower above, is a mule’s ear. The vegetation covering the ground next to the trail below, is all thousands of mule’s ear, growing together. I’m estimating that along 1,5 mile of the trail, the sides were covered with massive amounts of mule’s ear (like in the photo.)

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Mill Creek Falls Trail is another out -and back trail, totaling 3.8 miles. It’s not difficult, I believe it’s rated moderate. It was in the 80’s yesterday, and because of the coming 4th of July holiday, there was lots of tourists visiting, many having some problems with “the heat”. (I live in the valley, one hour away, and it was 107 there..) The trail actually offers plenty of shade, but warm summer temperatures should be considered when you’re planning this hike of course. We did not see any bears, but there are bears in this area. I talked to a girl that had seen one there the day before.

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The fall was even more magnificent than I could of imagined. One of my friends claims that we have 80 waterfall, within 1,5 hour drive. I’m not sure if that’s correct, I could only think about 20, or so. In the end we agreed that we are blessed with many amazing waterfalls. Mill Creek Falls is definitely in my top ten now.

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If you continued a little further on the trail, after the fall, you would see a bridge on the left side of the fall. We walked over, and had a picnic lunch above the fall.

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I cooled my feet in the creek, while eating my salad. It was really nice to sit down in the shade.

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The view from the top of the fall.

It’s impossible to feel anything other than immense gratitude when hiking in this park. The views make you grateful to just be alive, and able to hike these amazing trails.

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The shade in the forested parts of the trail was appreciated.

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I hope you enjoyed my take on Sunday Still; Summer

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Until next time –

Love,

Ms Zen