2017 Favorites; Ghost

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I sincerely thought that my last post was going to be the one ending 2017. It turned out I was wrong. With only three days left of the year (yesterday,) I found a special horse. Like in the kind of special I’ve been wanting to find for a couple years. These photos might not technically be the best I’ve taken this year, but they are very special to me.

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He is a 3 year old half Arabian, an Arabian-Mustang Cross. It will be interesting to see changes in him as he grows, and get more muscles. He already have a good conformation. He is strong and healthy. Well built for his age, and breed. Several of his relatives are successful endurance horses. I’m going to name him Ghost. He is very likely going to be all white later in life. He is fast. When he’s older, and ready to start his career in endurance racing, you’re not going to be able to see us, until after we crossed the finish line 😉

Ghost have lived his whole life in a pasture, up until now. He his not halter broke. He have never been groomed. He have never had his hooves cleaned, or trimmed.

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I desperately wanted to interact with him in a round-pen, or some kind of smaller, enclosed area. That wasn’t possible. After spending some time in his pasture I felt that we connected. He did let me touch him. He was curious, and friendly, but cautious. After another one and a half hour of hanging out together, he allowed me to put light pressure with my fingers on the majority of his body. He was still cautious, but he did allow me to thoroughly check his back, and legs. I did this without a halter, I was told that he ran in the opposite direction if he saw a halter, so I decided to skip the halter for now. His hooves are in need of a trim, but they are not terrible. They have been naturally trimmed when he’s been running around playing in his pasture.

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I will bring him home next week. There is going to be a lot of firsts in our journey.  I have started several horses under saddle before, including three mustangs (born wild.) I’m not  a horse trainer, just a girl that loves horses very much. I am very excited, and thankful for this new friendship. I’m going to enjoy this journey, and take the time it takes to make things right the first time. I love all aspects of life with horses. What I enjoy the most is the relationship you get with that special horse, that you spend a lot of time with. I just know deep inside of me that Ghost is a special horse. I’m looking forward to getting to know him.


Ms Zen

PS. Keep your fingers crossed for his safe arrival home. Please. It’s always a little nerv-wrecking transporting an un-handled, un-experienced horse.



The Lost Coast

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I celebrated my birthday last week, by going on a road trip to Humboldt County. The trip was a birthday gift, and I can’t think of a more precious gift for an adventurer/avid hiker/photographer (me..lol) than time together on a road trip, to one of the worlds most amazing places, with nothing more on the agenda than to enjoy and have fun. It was a magical weekend; with lots of laughter, an abundance of good food/local wines, and of course hiking at the Lost Coast.

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I would go as far as saying that it was my happiest birthday so far. Which makes me very excited about the year to come!

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We experienced all kinds of spectacular weather; foggy mornings, rain, sun, cloudy skies, clear skies, winds, waves, low tide, and high tide. My friend and I literally used every minute of daylight that there was, by getting up and going outside long before the sun was up, both Saturday and Sunday.

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Some cheeky waves, brought the tide in faster than we imagined they would. We actually made a rookie mistake and got trapped by some growing tide pools the first morning. Nothing scary, but we had to wade through them. It was more of an adventure. We were close to land. (I don’t take it lightly, I have a lot of respect for the ocean.)

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The tide pools grew fast on the first part, of our first hike. I took this photo (above) after safely wading through them, getting up on a sand dune. My hiking boots stayed dry 🙂

The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.

– James Gates Percival

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On Sunday, our last day, the tide was low. The beach transformed into a different world, full of beautiful drift wood and seashells. I picked the three most beautiful seashells to bring home to my daughter. She was thrilled. My heart is bursting with gratitude that I once more got to experience this beautiful part of our State.

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You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.

Roman Payne

I took hundreds of photos, and I’ll share more later. I still have plenty of photos to edit from the road trip in the beginning of last week (gorgeous wild horses in Nevada, and a beautiful day in Lake Tahoe.) Life is good here in northern California. I hope your week is everything you wish for so far.


Ms Zen


A Zen-Minded Thanksgiving Week, part 2

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Mt Shasta


When I first caught sight of it I was 50 miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.

– John Muir about Mt Shasta in 1874.


I have a favorite hike that I keep coming back to. It’s my favorite spot to admire the magnificent Mt Shasta from. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this hike. I’ve lost count. It’s that many times. It’s Chamise Peak trail, off Flanagan Rd, outside Redding (CA.) I love hiking up to Chamise Peak for several reasons.

  • It’s a relatively short hike, doesn’t take much planning.
  • It’s not a heavily trafficked trail, especially not early in the morning (my favorite time.)
  • The 360 degrees views from the top, are unmatched in beauty on a clear day.


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Early on Thanksgiving morning I took my best friend with me, to watch the sunrise from the top. We started out with flashlights while it was still pitch dark out. The morning became a little cloudy, and you couldn’t see as far as I had been hoping for.

Shasta Dam, behind beautiful fall foliage, as seen from Chamise Peak Trail.

On a clear day you’re able to see Keswick Reservoir, Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, Mount Shasta and the City of Shasta Lake. We did see some of it, and it was the perfect start of our Thanksgiving celebration. The fact that I know what the views are like on a clear day, serves as a great motivation to do the hike soon again 🙂

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Keswick Reservoir, seen from Chamise Peak.

This is a review of Chamise Peak Trail, that I wrote on AllTrails (the hiking app I’m using to track my hikes,) after my first hike to the peak;

Yesterday my daughter and I, hiked up to Chamise Peak. It was easy to find the trail head, by punching in the address: 17171 Flanagan Rd, Shasta Lake, CA 96019, in the GPS. It takes you straight to the trail head, at Flanagan Rd (right outside Redding, CA.) I have Verizon, and had cellphone reception the whole time (only two bars at the trailhead, but four bars most of the time.)
You start out following Flanagan trail, for a little more than one mile. It’s impossible to miss the turn to Chamise Peak trail. The trail is very well marked, and maintained. There was never any questions of where to go. There are other ways to reach the top (from Sacramento Ditch Trail,) but this is the most popular, and easiest way. This packed dirt trail circles its way straight up to the top, without being to steep, or strenuous.
It was my first time hiking this trail. My 3,5 year old daughter, could rather easily managed the 2.4 miles climb up the peak. (Chamise Peak trail is only 1.2 miles, but since you have to start at Flanagan Rd trailhead, the total length that you hike, one way, is 2.4 miles.)
It’s a turn around trail, so the distance from the parking lot, and back, is 4.8 miles. I would rate the hike as easy+ (it’s rated moderate in some hiking apps,) it is uphills all the way to the top, and then downhill on the way back. Definitely family friendly. The only downside I can think about is, that there’s no restrooms, or trash cans at the trailhead. (Be sure to take all your trash with you. Pack in, pack out. Leave no trace.)
The sun was shining, it was around 70 degrees Fahrenheit when we started out (around 10am,) and almost 80 when we finished (around 1.30pm.) Nice t-shirt weather, without being too hot (February.) There was a light breeze in the air. The forest was quiet, and smelled like fresh pine. Beautiful manzanita trees decorated both sides of the trail, in the beginning of the hike. I know manzanitas are like weed here, but for a Swede like me, they will always be exotic.

Bring enough water! My daughter and I drank two water bottles each, I wouldn’t recommend bringing less (we had more with us.) Our dog drank from a creek in the beginning of the trail, I’m certain that creek will be completely dry later in the season.

I’ve equipped us with sturdy winter hiking boots, thinking it might be snow higher up. There wasn’t any snow. Better safe than sorry..lol. The ground was dry, no steep climbs, or trees over the trail.
The 360 degree view at the top is hard to beat. The peak stands at 1,628 feet high. I knew the view was going to be spectacular, but it totally took my breath away. All my daughter said was ”WOW! ”
On a clear day you will see: Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, Mt Shasta, the City of Shasta Lake, Keswick Reservoir, Trinity Alps, and even Mt Lassen. We were lucky, and was able to see it all. I wanted to do this hike now, while the mountains still are covered in white. I especially wanted to get a good shot of Mt Shasta, covered in snow. I got it!
We had some leftover pizza (that we made for the Super Bowl,) that we enjoyed at the picnic table, on the top of Chamise Peak Trail. The fresh mountain air, and exercise made us very hungry. I recommend bringing something to eat! We stayed at the top for about 40 min. After drinking a lot of water, munching on the pizza, a couple energy bars, and some apples, we headed back down. We took our time, and strolled slowly down the mountain side. I held my daughter’s hand most of the time, because it was too tempting for her to run down the trail. The sides are rather steep, and the trail is narrow on some places. I felt that it was safer keeping her closer to me. The hike down to the parking lot was very enjoyable.
We had a marvelous day. The views from the top are magnificent. I imagine this as the perfect spot to bring out of town guests. The hike is not too exhausting, and can be made in a few hours. Locals use the trail for every day exercise. This could be your perfect Sunday trip for the family, a great place for a date, or a picnic with friends, and it’s definitely dog friendly.
This trail, and the view from the top, showcase the beauty of Northern California at its best. We’re definitely going to do this hike again!


I hope you enjoyed the hike! Have an awesome day!



Ms Zen


Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

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