Fall – A Time To Play

There is a time for everything. Even the good book says so. I think fall is a time to play. I so love this beautiful fall weather we have! It’s been 78-80 degrees almost every day. After a hot hot summer it’s a wonderful relief. My body appreciate this weather. Even the cold, chilly evenings (don’t laugh my northern friends. I mean chilly for here.. lol.)

Last Sunday I was sitting outside, relaxing by the pool for several hours. Something that would of given me a heat stroke a few weeks ago. I’m so enjoying this amazing fall weather.

I can tell that my dog enjoys it as well. She is more comfortable, eating better, and her coat looks better as well. Her coat didn’t really like swimming in the pool 20-30 times/day….(her coat was the only one having an objection.)

I am filled with gratitude for the life that I feel returning. The cooler weather sooths my soul. I can’t tell you enough, how wonderful it is. My viking blood can never really get used to the desert heat. That said, now, this time of the year, everything is perfect. It’s beautiful, the air is crisp. I’m inspired to get out, and stay out all day long. I’m itching to explore some more hiking trail. I have several that I’m hoping to explore within the next few weeks. (The only thing keeping me from doing so is the fact that I’m in between vehicles. I’m looking at trucks every day. So I will find one soon. The right one.)

I’m both eager to explore the trails for the sake of exploring new territory, and enjoy nature, but also because I want to experiment with my new camera. (If 3 months old is still new? It’s still new to me, since I don’t know it inside out yet.) I got a new bookshelf yesterday. It’s a short one, shaped like a cube, with four shelves within. Just perfect for the corner between my bedroom window, and the closet. I put my most precious, inspiring books there,  and placed my camera on top (safely away from little curious hands..) but still in the open, where I will see it all the time. I’m thinking that it’s going to both remind me, and inspire me to take more photos. Something I usually do every day, but because of the heavy work load lately, I have almost forgotten my love. I already used it several times. Picked it up, experimented with the settings, captured some moments here and there. I’m starting to get more and more excited about the camera, just like I knew I would be. I’ve also decided to order a big print of one of my favorite photos from Grand Canyon (I’m thinking of this one. Or, I might have to go back and capture a sunrise?) To remind me of more adventures, and how I refuel my batteries. Do you have a strategy to refuel your batteries this time of the year?

I hope your week is everything good you can imagine.

Love,

Ms Zen

(Ps. The photos in this post are simple photos taken with my old iPhone 4… I know, it is time for a new phone..that will be sometime after a 4×4 vehicle, and a telephoto zoom lens, unless it breaks before that. I’m not a material girl, I just want things to work, for their given purpose. The right tools, that will do the job, allowing me to focus on the important stuff. LOL.)

Mount Charleston

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My daughter and I, have spent every weekend for the past year hiking, either in Lassen Volcanic National Park, or around Mt. Shasta, in northern California. We moved to Las Vegas in August, and we are searching for new favorite places. This past weekend we started to explore Mount Charleston. Mount Charleston is part of the Spring Mountain Range, and Toiyabe National Forest. Charleston Peak, at 11,916 feet (3,632 m), is the highest mountain in the Spring Mountains. Mount Charleston is located about 35 miles NW of Las Vegas. It’s a refreshing, green, alpine heaven. Last weekend when the temperatures peaked at 109 in Las Vegas, it was 30 degrees cooler there! Only an hour away. One hour, and several thousand feet of elevation that is. 

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The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The winding roads that takes you there, climbs steadily up, up, up. It was fairly easy to drive all the way to the campgrounds without a 4×4. My daughter had begged me for an adventure, so tent camping it was. She LOVES that. She loves setting up the tent, and create a cool spot for the night. She likes decorating the outside with natural material that she finds, pine cones, rocks etc. My hope was to get us a campsite at Fletcher View Campground, based on reviews at trip advisor, and trails I found at AllTrails app. When we got there all the sites were full. You can’t make reservations in advance from July through September, due to monsoon season. It’s first come first serve only. The gentleman who served as a camp host, approach the car as I drove in to Fletcher View, and asked how he could assist us. I said that we were looking for a tent campsite. He informed us that all of the sites on the whole  mountain (several campgrounds) were taken. (In my head I started to think of a plan B, since we were already packed and VERY ready for an adventure.) He offered us a map, and pointed out a couple places for dispersed camping. Areas where we could camp by ourselves, without an organized campground. He gave us a map, and as I looked at it, I thought that if I had driven my old truck, it would of been a no-brainer, but risking to go on those roads with my Impala..no. 

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I decided to drive by the other campsites, one by one, just in case. My second choice of campground, after Fletcher view, was Hilltop, so I started our search by driving up there. I was not alone. There was a long line of vehicles doing the same thing as I did. All sites were booked. As I drive around Hilltop for the second time, I notice that one of the double sites only have single occupancy. I see a young couple on the right side, but no-one on the left side of this double site. I take a chance and pull over on the side of the narrow road. I approach them and ask if they are expecting company, explaining that all sites are booked. This was on the very top of the hill, at perhaps the best spot of them all. We were so lucky! They were not expecting company, they just got the only site they were able to get, and sold me the other site. I was thrilled, and my daughter very happy. I was almost prepared to drive down the mountain and do something completely different. (Like going to Sedona, or Grand Canyon.) It was great to be able to unload all our things, and put up the tent. 

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My highlight of the whole trip was that my daughter needed to go places to take pictures. Both with the camera that I got her for her birthday, and with mine. She begged me to hike up on different hills, and climb down in narrow canyons. It was a blast! She on the other hand said, that her best thing was toasting marshmallows by the campfire at night. 

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It was chilly in the evening, and it felt great to put on a jacket, and long pants (compared to shorts and t-shirt, the usual summer outfit in our area.)

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The whole trip was a big adventure, and I am so happy that we did it. I would consider myself an experienced camper, and I feel that my skills are solid. Still it feels extremely good when everything just works out. Not a big thing, but in a way a big thing. I want my daughter to see, and experience, that there is not a limit to what’s possible. She wants an adventure? Well, she has to make it happen, and put in the work along with the fun. Which she happily did. I feel that there’s no limit to learning opportunities when you bring a child out in nature; handling a knife, gaining knowledge about poisonous plants and animals, learning about local flora and fauna, safety, wilderness survival skills, where to find water, planning ahead, leave no trace in nature, sharing with others, being respectful etc. etc.  

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My daughter took this picture of me and Gretchen, while playing around with my camera. I haven’t seen the ones she took with her own camera yet.

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Tent camping at Mount Charleston (NV,) was a 5-star experience in my book. Nature does something to my soul, and I know my daughter feels the same way. I feel so blessed that we share this.

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I hope you enjoyed the photos, and maybe feel inspired to visit yourself? If camping is your thing, do you have a favorite camping spot? That you find yourself returning to time after time again? 

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