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Should I stay or should I go?

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If you are looking for a challenging yet serene hike without traveling far from the heart of Palm Desert, the Hop-a-Long Cassidy trail, at the south end is your best bet.  It is a peaceful stretch with grueling switchbacks and daunting ledges which lies between the Art Smith trail and the infamous Cross trail (near Stone Eagle Golf course).  This trail is, by no means, for the faint of heart and it absolutely warrants you bringing plenty of water especially on warmer days.  Far too many rescues have taken place on ill-prepared travelers of this trail.  Every time I hike this, I shake my head in disbelief to recall the few times I traversed this beast on my mountain bike.   i’ll equate it to either being horribly foolish or dangerously self-confident!   This is one I never have to ride again.

My most recent solo hike (not recommended, by the way) had me questioning my own sanity.  After traveling up and over the first few sets of switchbacks and along the steep, narrow ledges, I began dropping into the canyon paving the way to the final set of killer switchbacks.  I spotted a herd of bighorn sheep ahead and I stopped to watch them for a few minutes.   They had positioned themselves across the trail I needed to travel.  I began to consider turning back and returning via the Art Smith trail where I had begun.  i waited a bit longer and decided making noise may scare them off and send them scattering.  Nope.  My noise only made them curious.  They were now staring up at me.   I picked up some large rocks and launched them, sending them skipping down the mountain, close enough to hopefully scare them but far enough not to threaten their safety.  No luck.  They continued to stare.

I scratched my head.  It was a fairly warm day and I knew turning back would be just as grueling as traversing the switchbacks and heading out.  I made several more attempts to scare the sheep off of the trail but they weren’t having any part of it.  So I did what any rational hiker would do and began moving toward the herd.   Now mind you, if they were to charge, I would have no where to go and there’s not a chance ANYBODY would be able to hear my screams for help.  I was too deep into this.  As I got to the turn in the trail, I made an about-face and turned back toward my starting point.   This was going to have to wait for another time.    Just then I heard a rumbling.  Something had spooked the sheep and they scattered from the trail.   I watched with a steady eye as they made there way up the steep canyon wall and then I made my move and began jogging down the trail and across he stretch they had previously occupied.  I didn’t stop running until I reached the sandy wash and knew I was a good distance from the sheep.

And, by the way, YES!  I am afraid of bighorn sheep as I have been chased by a ram on more than one occassion. . . .and I have witnesses.   But that’s a story for another time.

For more information on the Hop-a-long trail and for safe hiking tips in the desert, click for the links.   Be safe and be smart!

 

This Magical Desert

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Take a quick look at my instagram or my facebook page and there is NO question that I LOVE this desert and all the adventure and exploring it has to offer.

I often think back to the days when I had first moved here to the Palm Springs area from my lifelong hometown near Detroit, Michigan.  We had just survived another humid summer dodging mosquitos the size of hummingbirds and watching the rainstorms all weekend long give way to bright and sunny Monday mornings.  You could almost count on it every week.   But here I was, driving down Highway 111 staring up with the sun in my eyes at these mountains wondering how long it would take somebody to walk to the top of each ridge.  I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to meet somebody who might be willing to get up there with me and show me the way.

In all honesty, I still look up at the mountains with that same yearning.   At almost any given time, I’d prefer to be making my way up the mountain simply to enjoy the peacefulness and the view.   I just feel as though I truly come alive on the trails.

Over the next several weeks my plan is to share some of my adventures with you.  Funny, and sometimes frightening, stories from the trails along with some of my favorite views.  Check back soon.  I’ll be back with some good dirt. 😉

Time for a change

I recently completed two writing courses that challenged me to dig a little deeper and explore areas and ideas I’d been afraid to attempt before now.  This was very rewarding as I discovered a lot about myself and about my ability or talent, if you will, along the way.   I’ve decided it is high time I get back to posting and maintaining my page.  I’m going to begin by sharing a few pieces I developed during the course.  I hope you enjoy them and if you don’t, I hope you’ll be kind as they were posted to share love, enlightenment and positive energy.

 

Change

can come

like a rug being yanked out

from beneath your firmly planted feet

sending you twisting and tumbling down

a long descent of stairs

When you come to rest

choose carefully

Will you lie there lifeless? Defeated?

Or will you spring to your feet

bounding up each step as if it were your first

marveling at the journey

refreshed by the beauty

of new choices?

Change

can happen

so slowly and stealthily

nearly undetectable as it inches in

creeping up on you and swallowing you whole

before you realize nothing is the same

When you discover yourself

in a new landscape of mindset

will you kick and scream?

Will you close your eyes to it all?

The walls you built up seemed so strong

will they now crumble?

Or will you perch high a-top the walls of change

Embrace the vantage point

and fly?

Love and gratitude

A bumpy start to Christmas Eve and an incredibly crooked railway of emotions.
Started the day with wishing Kevin a safe ride as he headed out on his bike. Moments later, the screaming sirens jolted me from bed (waaaay too close for comfort). Out the door in my sweats to clear my mind of the unthinkable fear that those sirens were too close to home. As I got to the end of the street and a flood of police cars filled the intersection, I was relieved to realize the screeching of tires and screaming of sirens were not for him. Perhaps my heart sat a little stiller into my chest. However that stillness dissipated quickly as it appeared the police cars were arriving in front of my neighbors home (a Palm Desert Police officer). No dear God, please.

It wasn’t until later in the day we were informed that the swarm of police were in response to the arrest warrant for a different neighbor who allegedly beat his girlfriend, my son’s teacher, to death. No! in our quiet neighborhood? A woman who was adored and respected by her students and peers? At Christmas time? So incomprehensible.

Please, all of you, despite any shortcomings or disagreements or differences, give thanks for those around you. Give thanks for the moments spent together.

Sadly, we never know if these may be our last. With a deep heart for the family of Ms Grant, her students and all those missing loved ones this holiday season and with incredible gratitude for those who surround me and my family with love, please embrace these moments. And spread the love.

The Dangers of Joshua Tree National Park

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The Dangers of Joshua Tree National Park

Great documentary film (with a brief appearance by our dear friend Sharon Ollenberger of DSSAR).  It’s a National Park that is underestimated by most but the dangers are real.  Video produced by Marilyn Chang at The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, California. 

When Irish eyes are smiling!

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There is no doubt that I am of Irish decent.  It’s quite obvious by my red hair, my fair toned & freckled skin and my blue/green eyes!  Not to mention the slightly demented sense of humor and distinct love from beer!!!  So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day I would like to share my favorite Irish blessings (in no particular order):

“May you be an hour in heaven before the Devil knows you’re dead.”

“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you’re going, and the insight to know when you’ve gone too far.”

“Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold beer and another one!”

“May God grant you always…A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”

“May those who love us, love us; and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.”

“May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.”

“May God give you…For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”

Ta Mile Failte!

War Zone Fun

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This is just plain funny!  Gotta admire these guys for being able to have fun in a war zone!!!!

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0430101afghan1.html