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

Weekend Coffee Share; Hiking Chaos Crags Trail, Garden & Horse Update

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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.

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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!

Love,

Ms Zen