What To Do When You Have Vacationing Friends/Family Visiting

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This past weekend, I had my cousin and her boyfriend from Sweden visiting, and also my aunt from Washington. Naturally I wanted them to feel welcome to my home, and know how happy it made me that they decided to come for visit. I live a rather simple life. So how could I make them feel welcome? I thought about it for a couple weeks before they arrived.

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I decided to go for a combination of things. When they arrived I gave them a tour  of my house, garden, property, and introduced my animals (dog and horses.) It was probably ten years ago since I saw this part of the family, and we had a lot of catching up to do. It truly was wonderful to see them all.

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That first night, my cousin and I cooked for everyone. It was fun. It gave us a chance to talk. For me it was a treat to speak my native language. Even though I feel that I can make myself understood in English, my native language add more color and emotion to a conversation.

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My family had enjoyed my photos from Lassen Volcanic National Park on social media. I asked them if they wanted to go there. I go there several times a month. It almost feels like second home. They were thrilled for the opportunity to see the park themselves. The photos in this post is from our visit there.

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I really enjoyed giving them the tour of the unique volcanic landscape in Lassen. We entered through the northwest entrance, at Manzanita Lake, and took the 30 mile long, Highway 89 through the park. We stopped at many vista points to enjoy the views, talk about the landscape, and of course take photos. We enjoyed a picnic lunch along Kings Creek.

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It was a perfect day! Around 80 degrees, and very comfortable weather, happy people, and awe-inspiring vistas. We took Highway 36 back, towards Red Bluff (CA.) On the way we passed a fire.

 

They later named it the TuscanFire being near Tuscan Lookout Road. The fire is 100% contained now.

We finished the first day by going to my favorite restaurant in Red Bluff, Casa Ramos. Casa Ramos is a chain, but the Red Bluff location definitely is quiet a bit better than the other ones. (The other ones are nice as well.) I’ve been going there for years, and tasted everything on the menu. I usually bring guests there. Everyone loved the food, the service, and the cozy atmosphere.

The next, and final day I took them to see three waterfalls, and another amazing restaurant (actually in the top 100 list, in all of the US.) That will be another post. To be continued..

What do you like to do when you have faraway guests visiting for more than a day? Do you give them a taste of your world? I guess that was what I was trying to do. I know that they were curious to know what I’ve been up to, and what my life is like. That was what I tried to show them; my home, garden, animals, hiking, and our amazing corner of northern California. Tell me about how you like to treat your guests. How do you make them feel your love?

 

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