A Face in the Crowd 2 – McCloud River

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Yesterday we took a hike along McCloud River, just outside McCloud (CA.) This is a well maintained hike, of an amazing waterway. It’s often challenging to photograph the river, and the three waterfalls along the trail, without accidentally catching a A Face in the Crowd (this week’s photo challenge. Here’s my first entry to the challenge.)

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We did see around 20 people, during the 3-4 hours we spent along the river yesterday, not too bad, for this kind of place.

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My daughter suggested that we built a house next to the lower waterfall! Why not? LOL.

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As always when there’s water included, Gretchen, my dog, had a blast!

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We had hoped for lots of snow, but there was only some patches here and there. The temperature was comfortable, in the upper 30s, and the sun felt warm on our cheeks.

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We started at the lower fall, and hiked out, and back, viewing all three falls. It’s not a very long hike, 3.8 miles all together. It’s perfect for a Sunday stroll with a 5 year old. We stopped many times looking at rocks along the river, crashing some ice, throwing sticks to our dog, comparing different kinds of moss on the trees, and we climbed some bigger boulders on the side of Middle Fall (where we had our picnic lunch.)

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The perfect picnic spot!

We had a fantastic day. I love combining; fresh air, exercise, play, education, exploring, photography, quality family time, and meditation in one outing. That’s the kind of multitasking I like!
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To the right, from where we had our lunch, the pine trees covered the river, making part of it in full shade. The shady patches, like the one on the photo above was really cold.

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This is also Middle Fall, seen from above, further up the trail. We had our lunch on the boulders, in the center, of the bottom of the photo. If you look closely, you can see some people trying to get to that spot. I love how the trail follows the river. It’s a peaceful hike. I believe I’ve done it in all seasons now. They are all wonderful in this magical place.

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This is the Upper Fall, the last one on our trail. We started at the Lower Fall, walked up to Middle Fall, and saw the Upper Fall last. Then we turned around, and walked the same trail back. You can park at any of the falls, and connect to the trail there. You don’t have to do it in a specific order. There’s plenty of parking spots, and clean restrooms at every trail head. This is a hike, or outing for everyone that enjoys beautiful nature. You don’t have to hike if you’re unable to, you can choose to drive to each trailhead and just enjoy the waterfalls.

The easiest way to get there is by taking 1-5 towards McCloud (CA,) and then take Highway 89 for 15 miles, east of the I-5/89 junction, and 5 miles east of McCloud and turn south on Road 40N44. Look for a Fowlers Camp/McCloud Falls sign. It’s easy to find. If you have access to a smartphone, google maps will take you right there.

If you want to stay longer, there’s simple campgrounds next to the falls, but I can highly recommend the RV Park in McCloud, if you’re an RV;er looking for a cool place to spend some time. McCloud also have several B&B with good reputation, but I haven’t personally tried any of them. McCloud is an old logging town, with many beautiful houses, and interesting things to see. There’s an abundance of hiking trail, and Mt Shasta is close by.

I actually shared a post about McCloud Falls in June last year, when this blog was a newborn. Have you seen McCloud River Falls? If so, tell me about your experience! I would love to hear about it!

I hope that your week got off to an awesome start 🙂

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share

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How was your week? We’ve had a cold snap here in northern California. The nights have been below freezing, and the days have been colder than usual. I don’t mind the cold. (Even though I have been daydreaming about road trips to Arizona.) Is it cold where you are? Or can you smell the sweet scents of spring in the air? I’ve had many cups of coffee, and tea, every day this week. Would you like to share a cup with me? Coffee? Or tea? I have a strong pot of freshly brewed coffee, and the tea could be ready in a couple minutes. What do you prefer? If you’re feeling hungry it’s lunch in about 30 min, but we still have plenty of time for a hot drink first 🙂 What are we having for lunch today?  We’re having a southern style black bean soup, with lots of garlic, chili, and leek. There’s some (still warm) homemade flaxseed ciabattas to go with the soup as well. I felt that soup was perfect today. It was 27 degrees when I was out to my horse, Ghost, this morning. Probably even colder when I walked my dog, first thing when I woke up, but I didn’t look at the temperature then.

Is the coffee alright? Would you like sugar? Or cream? I prefer mine black, but I’d be more than happy to get some for you.

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This week I’ve come to a realization. The kind that makes me incredibly happy. My new horse, he wants to be with me. Yes, it’s true that he sometimes show fear about things that I ask him to do, but he really wants to be with me. How do I know this? I’ve owned Ghost for seven weeks today. (If there is such a thing as owning a horse, maybe they own us, but you know what I mean.) For a while he’s been sporadically greeting me with a long neigh when he sees me. Now he does it every time. I always acknowledge his greeting with my body language. If somebody strikes a conversation with me, before I physically can get to him, he does different things to get my attention; his focus is 100 % on me, he often walks, or trots along the fence line closest to me. When I do open the gate to his pasture, or enter his stall in the stable, he stands at the gate/door waiting for me. Without being asked he lowers his head towards the hand that carry the halter, to make it easier for me to put it on. When I finished tying the halter (I like rope halters,) he often lets out a sigh. I think he’s saying that he is in his safe place now. Which has always been my goal, for him to know that it is most comfortable with me. It has never been very difficult to get his attention, but he is becoming wonderful in keeping his attention with me. He does sometimes have opinions, and ideas about what we’re going to do. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I convince him that my idea is better this time. We’re still in the very beginning of our journey, but coming to the realization that my horse prefers my company, even with things going on around him, makes my world a better place. I feel very good about having this as a foundation to build on. In many aspects Ghost lacks experience, and is very much like a baby. Yes, that means lots of work ahead of us, but it also mean that he is very soft, and are looking for someone to show the way. That softness in his eyes isn’t something that you can buy for money, that has to come from inside. You have to deposit lots of love to keep the spirit intact, and nurture that softness, while shaping it carefully into the partner you know is in there.

I’ve been boarding Ghost at a training facility, and that have helped me in my initial work with Ghost. He was not halter broke when I bought him. Meaning he wasn’t used to have anything on his head, or move when feeling pressure of a rope. I’ve done all the work with him myself, but boarding him at a facility with a good arena (actually two,) and a round-pen, definitely made our first weeks easier. It is much easier to connect with a horse in a smaller/confined space, compared to being out on several hundred acres.

Our bond came to a test another time this week as well. The indoor riding arena was not being used. (I try to only use it when I know there isn’t going to be any activity there for at least 30 min, it’s so frustrating to have to stop in the middle of an exercise for a lesson. It’s important to me to always stop when things are going good.) I put up some orange traffic cones, and barrels, making a little obstacles course for Ghost. We’ve done it before,  but I try to make it a little different every time. This time there was still several people doing things in the stable around the arena. (The arena is in the middle of a horse shoe shaped stable.) There was loud music on, and horses being taken in from their pasture. Different kind of activities. Considering this I was amazed of Ghost’s focus. He really enjoyed this! I took the halter of, so he could of galloped away doing his own thing, the arena is quiet big, but he choose to walk with me through the obstacle course. We did this several times. I even started to bounce a big yoga ball ahead of me, in and out through the course, and back and forth with my daughter. In the beginning he did take a couple steps of course, more out of surprise, but he quickly came back, accepting the new element. It was a blast. An elderly lady that I often talk to at the stable watched us, and said I like this! I really like this! She came back from doing little things in the stable, and said this several times.

Now when Ghost and I have the connection I’ve been striving for, I am hoping that one day I will live in a place where he can live with our family. The photos of Ghost in this post is from yesterday morning. I like to come out to the stable when it’s quiet, early in the morning, to get some one-and-one time with my horse. It’s very valuable to me. I miss having a ranch of my own, having horses of my own living with me. It’s a very special thing, to be able to see them several times every day, just sharing a few minutes here and there. To more be a part of their life, than just an occasional visitor. I am grateful (extremely grateful) for what I have today, but that doesn’t mean that I’m settling for this!

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Are you reading something interesting? I tend to read more in the winter time. My goal this year is to read 52 books (more than 300 pages each.) My daughter and I read a lot together, both in English, and Swedish. It’s important to me that she sees how I treasure books, and with that learning new things. I believe that she will remember what she sees, and experience, more than what I tell her. Tell me more about your week? Did you come to any new realizations? I hope you’re having an awesome week, I’ll say my week is pretty good. This post is part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare, feel free to join us!

Love,

Ms Zen

A Face in the Crowd

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I love photographing horse events. Especially really good horsemanship, and/or action. Most riders like having their photos taken, especially if you offer them a copy. In many cases however, it’s impossible to ask before taking the photo. When doable I try to figure out who the rider is, sending them a digital copy of the best (1-2 pictures) I have of them, while asking them for permission to publish the photo. Often, not even that is doable. If the photo is very flattering for the rider, I sometimes go ahead and post it anyways. Other times I try a more artsy approach, like with this black and white photo. I don’t know who this rider is, I snapped the photo at a rodeo a few years back. I hardly think that the rider would be offended if she saw this photo, her face facing the other direction. I’d like to believe that this is a happy and exciting moment for her. With the rodeo season fast approaching I’ve been given this some thoughts. How would you handle this situation? What would you do?

I hope your week is awesome! Looking forward to see the other entries in this week’ photo challenge; A Face in the Crowd.

 

Love,

Ms Zen