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

Weekend Coffee Share – First Time With A Saddle!

Would you like to have some scones to go with your coffee this morning? Or maybe you’d like to go all English, and have some tea instead? I had some coffee earlier, I got up at 5am this morning, and now I’m having tea. My daughter insisted on us making scones for breakfast. I didn’t really have any reason to say no, so I made scones with flaxseed. It’s her favorite. I hope you like them. She ate two big ones, but there’s still plenty left. I must admit that I have a hard time resisting warm scones, and green tea is my favorite beverage to go with scones. However, I did make some fresh coffee, if you’d rather have coffee.

How is your week so far? Still raining here. A perfect day for lots of coffee, and tea.. It’s been a wet week, but it is about to change. Next week we’re having sunshine, in the upper 70’s all week. At least that’s what the weather channel tells me. I can’t wait!

I know I told you a few weeks ago, how I got a really nice older ranch saddle. I measured my horse shortly after, and realize that there is no way it’s going to fit him. He is half Arabian, and more athletic than stocky. Yesterday my daughter and I, made a day trip up to Susanville (in the north easter corner of California,) to pick up a saddle in his size. It’s a brand new Barnsby dressage saddle, never been on a horse. I grew up riding English, and even though 99.9 % of the riders around me ride western, it makes sense to teach my horse what I actually know well. I want Ghost to become a brave, versatile horse, with a solid foundation. We have a lot to work with, before hitting the trail. I got a good deal on a high quality dressage saddle, it made sense to me to get it. One of my riding instructors had one just like this one, and when I conditioned her horse for her, I always picked that saddle (she had many.) I loved riding in it. I believe Ghost’s new saddle is going to be very comfortable for both of us. I also believe that Ghost has the potential to excel in dressage. He is a beautiful mover. Nothing wrong with an endurance horse that knows a little more.

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Naturally I had to let Ghost try his new saddle this morning. He have never had a saddle on his back before. It was his very first time. Ghost is a sensitive horse, that thrives on praise. He got lots of praise, while he checked out the strange thing (the saddle,) I brought to him. I had a halter on him, while gently placing the saddle on his back, but he could choose to leave if he felt uncomfortable, he wasn’t tied up, and I didn’t hold him. I sweet talked him through the process. You usually put the saddle on the horse from the left side (with the cinch/girth resting on top of the saddle,) then you walk around to the right side and take the cinch/girth down from the top of the saddle, so its hanging in a way that you can reach it from the left side, then you walk back to the left side, pick it up, and fasten it. With a trained horse this isn’t a big deal. You don’t even think about it. When you saddle a horse for the very first time, you want the horse to stand still until you fastened the cinch/girth tight enough for the saddle to stay on the horse’s back. When you leave the horse side (to get the cinch/girth,) the horse might move, get scared, bolt, or panic. It’s always a consideration the first time you saddle a horse. Everything went well with Ghost. He is used to me moving around him. My cinch was a little too big for Ghost, and I will need to get a shorter one. The saddle however, the most important (and expensive) thing fit him perfectly. Ghost did wonderful, and we’re not going to have any issues with the tacking up process. He turned his head all the way around, and was very interested in the saddle, and what I was doing. His curiosity is a positive trait, a sign of intelligence. He is constantly thinking about what we’re doing. When he accomplished something once, and completely accepted it, then he knows. It’s been like that with every new thing I’ve introduced. The accepting part, can take different amounts of time. With some new things (like having a rope all over/around) it takes him a few sessions to understand, and accept, but when he is comfortable he lets me know, and then I know that is that. He was comfortable today. I am very, very happy with his progress.

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Your turn! Tell me more about your week! What’s the weather like? Is spring in full bloom? I hope your week is wonderful so far, and that you’re weekend will be filled with happiness and good company.

Love,

Ms Zen