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.


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


Until next time –


Ms Zen

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


Weekend Coffee Share; Equine Dentist, Hiking King Creek Fall Trail & Fig Harvest

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Imagine …how thankful you would be for great air-condition when the temperatures are in the three digits! LOL. I have been very thankful for that. Some ice coffee today maybe? We have another hot weekend ahead, with estimated temperatures ranging between 104-110 F.

We attempted to beat the heat by hiking to King Creek Fall, in Lassen Volcanic National Park, last weekend.

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It was nice and cool, with a high of 68 on the trail. One hour away, and 30 degrees cooler!


I had done this hike before, and seen the waterfall, but not with this much water. That was a happy surprise!

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On the way back you can choose a short cut that follows King Creek. It’s a one way trail. You’re only allowed to hike it uphill. King Creek also had remarkably more water than the first time I did the hike. It was magnificent, and the scent of fresh water, combined with pine trees. So refreshing!

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I’ve been getting up around 4am every morning this week. That way I’ve done all the things I desire to do outside before the temperature reach 100. I’ve been working with my horses, and my garden, before going to my new part time job (that I told you about last weekend, taking care of horses at a nearby estate.) I still love my new job. The horses are getting to know me, and I them. 

Fancy saw our barefoot trimmer on Tuesday. Her hooves are starting to look better, compared to a couple months ago. Later that very same day, a well known equine dentist came to my new job, and we trailered Fancy there, to have her teeth done. She’s been really pampered this week. Her teeth had some sharp hooks, that got taken cared of. Now her teeth are even, and in great shape. That is definitely going to help her overall health. The biggest shock was seeing her tongue. I knew that the story I got about her wasn’t 100% true. I also knew that she had been worked hard as a cutting horse. The shock was that she at some point, a couple years ago, almost had her tongue completely cut off, likely from a bit. It is well healed now, but the dentist had not seen anything like it. Her tongue is shaped like an hour-glass, very thin in the middle, with a horrible, twisted scar. She definitely did not see a veterinarian when the accident happened. I have seen something almost identical, on Trigger, that I bought 3 miles from where I got Fancy. . I’m still in a little bit of a shock, but so grateful that Fancy walked into our life. Poor girl’s been through so much. It’s rather peaceful in the pasture now, not too much bossing around from Ghost (my other horse.) They both seem happy. I’m working my way around Ghost slowly, but surely. I did try the dressage saddle on Fancy, like I wrote about a couple weekends ago. It fits her perfectly 🙂 She seemed very happy when I rode her in it. I doubt that she has any previous experience as an English riding horse. My dressage saddle is about 50 lbs lighter than my ranch saddle, she appreciated that! 

The garden is growing like crazy. We’ve been eating, and giving away a lot of squash. The cherry tomatoes are close to ripe. The corn is higher than me, I’m 5’10. Both of the mature fig trees; LSU Purple Fig (25+ft) had their first ripe figs yesterday, that we could reach with a 10ft ladder, that is. I still see new baby figs coming every day, so that harvest season is going to be long. There’s a lot of figs higher up, out of reach, that have an amazing deep purple color. I’m debating wether to get a higher ladder, or donate them to the birds. I believe the birds are going to be the lucky ones. The LSU Purple Fig is a highly productive tree, resistant to pests, and fast growing. They start to bear fruit as 1-2 year old. Which is super fast for a fruit tree. With most fruit trees you have to wait 3-5 year before your first harvest. As you may have guessed, these are the fig trees we used for our experiment this spring. The baby fig trees are doing amazing, and I believe it is realistic to think that I may see some fruit next summer, or at the latest the summer of 2020. LSU Purple Fig is an excellent choice for your container garden. That’s where my baby fig trees is destined to live. 



The figs are so juicy. My daughter started eating before climbing down. I’ve lost count on how many I’ve had. The first fruit/vegetables of any harvest is so special. It almost feels like a holy moment.


How was your week? Any fun plans for the weekend? Thank you for having some ice coffee with me. Care for some more coffee? Eat figs to your hearts content. I’m going to stay right here in the shade, under the fig tree, sipping my cold magical brew. Feel free to join the Weekend Coffee Share with your own post.

Have an amazing weekend!


Ms Zen