Category Archives: desert
To say our hike Saturday had its ups and downs would be a pretty fair assessment of the adventure.
I was excited about where we were going for a few reasons, one of them being it was the place I saw my first tarantulas over 15 years ago. (Still very hard to believe this fair English native, then Central Coast California transplant has been in the desert that long!)
And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.
We’ll touch back on that in a while.
Anyway, I’ve been chomping at the bit to capture wildlife on my camera. So far, lizards, butterflies, burros, cattle and long-horned sheep – but my secret deep down wish was to snap a close up of a scorpion or an arachnid and yes, even a snake. Oh, trust me, the zoom lens would be the key there! I’m wishful but would also not like to trust my snake guards that we wear to such an extent.
We arrived at Grapevine Canyon and my first mistake? I wore a cotton t-shirt. (Why oh why do they give those away at 5K events? Cotton is not conducive to a comfy hike or run.) I am usually sporting wicking wear, and I’ll have you know that I’ve successfully completed all previous hikes sans sweat. So, that either means that I didn’t push myself hard enough or … seriously, cotton is not the ideal choice.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m the Queen of Tangents, you’ll have to bear with me.
I don my pack and my snake guards and … my gift from my guy, trekking poles.
Another tangent. When we return from hiking, he’s sore. He, with the Popeye calves. He who can not only put his hands on the ground in a straight legged position, but also touch his forehead to his legs. I, on the other hand, feel no pain upon return – nor the following day. (Also can’t do any of those things.)
This weekend? It hurt to squat to reach the toilet seat lol! ‘Leg day’ happened.
We started out past the tourists who were there for the petroglyphs and the waterfall.
Surpassed them and began our trek.
Me, clumsy and awkward with my poles. My honey a little frustrated because he’d put so much thought into buying them for me. And, no, it does not escape me that he bought them for me because he wants to spend time with me. It also doesn’t escape me that he bought them because he loves them and wants me to have the same experience. So, I felt like an asshole and here’s why.
The terrain he fell in love with them for was the Pacific Crest Trail, so not only was that ideal for that, but he had MILES to become acquainted until they were like additional limbs. Me? I’m trying to snap pictures, which meant holding them in one hand or putting them down, and it seemed every time I did that, he happened to turn around. I felt awful. A gift not being utilized as intended.
We carried on.
Now might be a great time to mention that my guy also has experience rock climbing. Serious rock climbing. And, after the birth of my son I was suddenly scared of heights. And we were high.
I say this because he was like a freaking mountain goat and I kept being told, “Stay perpendicular!” This, after a particular steep rock with nothing to cling to. Thing is about such a rock, once you’re half way up, you’re kinda screwed.
It’s either, A) Have faith in the experts and just keep scaling without looking down and pray you don’t fall to your death or B) Get chastised for wanted to be on all fours. OR C) F#@* this, I know my limits and THIS isn’t happening today.
Well, it happened.
I am not going to lie (again) I was terrified. Literally. What I wanted to do was that dramatic, “Go on without me … save yourself with this hike and I’ll wait.” What I did? I kept going.
And the psychosomatic part of it is that if a hand is held out, you tend to suddenly become invincible without putting too much weight on said hand. It’s just the knowledge that someone has your back and is there to assist that tends to erase a majority of the worry.
Okay, so now I’m up. And ‘height’ phobia cracks in. I swear, I couldn’t even count how many times I heard, “This part is steep, but after this! It evens out.”
I always want to impress my guy, I also always want to live.
We kept going.
And, OH. MY. GAWD.
The day was perfect. The juxtaposition of desert meets … rustling trees … meets water? lol, was awesome!
An egg … I didn’t touch.
Crunching on leaves was bizarre!
Look easier than they were to navigate – but I nailed it. Thought of the Olympics and wanted to do a back flip and land it – then remembered I couldn’t even touch my hands to the floor straight legged lol.
The rustling tree. Was breezy for a bit. (Thank goodness for my pits lol! Remember, cotton … not conducive.)
Just … beauty in everything.
Zoomed in – this was my elephant rock.
This was my heavy-headed person resting their forehead on the peak.
This was freaking AWESOME! The curves get slimmer and slimmer to the point that yes, (OH, Yay!) You have to climb out of it. I think this, and the slides back down due to complete water smoothing (imagine a rock slide!) were my favorite parts.
We ended our hike on a flat rock and chatted.
Here’s where I touch on the beginning.
“And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.”
I said to my honey at one point, “You’re really good at a lot of things, but I’m just a beginner.”
And as we sat on that rock, he apologized for any impatience. But, the truth of it was that he was NOT impatient. Or, I didn’t read it that way.
He pushed me for sure – seeing things in me I didn’t. Seeing me capable and cheering me on the whole time. Mostly during our exit when I took a total (on purpose) slide down a steep rock – and it was fun!!!!!
He doesn’t coddle me. But, he does pay attention, even with his back to me. (Dad eyes in the back of his head lol!) And always has just the RIGHT way to encourage me to be a better version of myself.
Extras! Me the next day with my burros! (With the right gear on, but we ended up napping at his home. lol!)
This was Sunday, and we violated a mine – NOT ON PURPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s for sale! And, um, saw this a little too late.
Lastly, some fun pics.
Wait!! Wouldn’t be complete without those trekking poles. xxxx
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Started the day out with pancakes at ‘our’ restaurant. It’s riddled with black and white photos of Laurel and Hardy, Shirley Temple, old movie sets and Charlie Chaplin. Plus, evidently, very large cups of orange juice. I didn’t hear my guy’s drink order, but when a ginormous odd-looking cup arrived at our table I asked what it was. Turns out it was O.J. Remember ordering orange juice and it came in a thimble? That justifies my confusion and I immediately coveted it. I know, I know, ‘Thou shall not covet …” But, I think that only applied to a neighbor’s wife? Maybe not, but I coveted all over his drink and into a straw and away from my iced tea.
We are so lucky to have SO many locations at our disposal. Almost makes up for those 120 degree summers.
I’ll just start sharing photos and mumble on about them eh?
First pic – (and I took my ‘good camera’ which, while quality was better, I couldn’t really see what I was capturing due to sun on my preview) We had a storm ahead (and a part of me hoped it arrived, although, I don’t think my backpack is water proof and I had my phone in my pocket tracking the hike).
Me trying to be ‘artsy’ even with a good camera, nothing compares to the actual view.
I was truly hoping for ‘wildlife’. And to be honest, if I heard a rattle, I’d be grabbing my camera versus carefully avoiding the source of the serpent sound. Also waiting the moment I turn over a beautiful rock, and find a scorpion under it that will stay still for a National Geographic worthy pic! I mean c’mon! I’ve had them in my home a dozen times, WHEN am I going to see one in the wild?
Pi or Stonehenge? You decide. But, as you’ll see in the next pic, was located right next to a mining excavation.
We didn’t go in this one. My guy had already explored it on another hike and there wasn’t much to be seen.
Now comes my favorite part! Went down into a river bed that is obviously a water source for desert animal dwellers. Plenty of scat and prints to prove that. Yes, it did dawn on me that we were literally delicious things walking through an area that many predators visit for protein. But, the naturally washed rocks and amazing terrain trumped those thoughts.
This rock reminded me of a fish. A fish that evidently has a stick up its nostril. LOL!
Snake stick, attacking a rock. We did have to jump down into some brush from quite a height and MY rock was checking all brush for snakes. I had snake guards on (he didn’t this time) so I so unselfishly said, “Just go!” I know. I’m a giver.
A storm was threatening the entire time – but, did not come to fruition.
A vein! With vugs.
“Life, uh, finds a way” Said in my best Jeff Goldblum voice.
Okay, he stops for rocks, I stop for close up shots of flora and fauna.
The colors in this rock was unreal! Again, better in person.
Where we came from to flat land.
A wall that once contained something to do with mining.
This guy continued to watch us for what seemed like forever, protecting his family. Bless his Burro heart. x
The family. When I took this photo, I only saw the darker burros. Was happy to discover the other two after downloading.
A thick stringer!
Almost back to the car.
The local gold mine. It’s for sale for $2,500,000. We were going to offer 2. lol.
We did not disturb.
Pay dirt! Sitting RIGHT THERE! We still did not disturb. Although, during the hike, one side of my jacket may or may not have been hanging VERY low due to there certainly NOT being any rocks in my pocket. 😉
We ended the day with a stop at a pub after burning over 1,300 calories on the hike!
AND! That ended in a Snakebite. The only kind you want!
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY ALL MY ‘SOUPER’S’
“Honey if I get restless
Baby you’re not that kind”
Turns out – I’m a very restless person. I took an ENTIRE day off from work to just BE.
To be a human being instead of a human doing‘ and … survey says …
I got bored.
It didn’t pan out. (Miner joke)
Speaking of … here’s us FINDING gold.
Well, I wasn’t the entire time.
I got up at 5 with my honey and gave him a lunch I had made for him the previous night.
Then, I had the luxury of ‘sleeping in’. I am not one to usually be able to sleep after waking, but after countless nights of nightmares and tossing and turning, I slept. I slept hard. It was scrumptious.
That Saturday had consisted of us panning pay dirt AND me braving Karaoke!
I was awful. And Christopher didn’t know the song – thus the handing over the mic.
But, awful in a way that you were proud you displayed yourself and lived through it.
I DO warn you, I can NOT sing. So, go there with that knowledge.
AND stepped off of the stage and got a full applause because I just DID IT and knew I was awful but kept going and kept dancing and didn’t care. lol! (Thought of you Betty – and how much you’d have given anything to be alive and sing badly)
I can sing in the shower and the car. 😉
Next morning, I was so tired. We stayed up way past our bedtimes after being home and he sang (better than I ever will) and played guitar (better than I’ll ever try to). But, I got up, and got hiking. Feels SO good to be out there. Especially good to share it with someone I love.
Here’s a few pics, and honestly, they’re getting less and less the more we go because I’m focusing on us and not capturing ‘us’.
After yesterday’s hike, we went to a buffet and I gorged myself into having what I call a ‘food baby’ lol.
I’m thin – when I ‘gorge’ I look like a tick. Not THAT thin, ‘healthy’ but, ‘need to quit eating buffets or my existing clothes will not fit and I can’t afford a new wardrobe’ We then went home and napped – because – Walking Dead premiere!!!!!!!
The nap was more delicious than the food! We both slept, full as could be and spent! Woke refreshed and ready to go back to bed if that makes any sense.
Bottom line, I had an amazing weekend and it’s always hard to say ‘bye for now’.
I wished, at some point today, between horror movies, snacks and washing the dog that I was hiking with my guy.
I remembered the moment he put his arm around my waist while we were walking, I remember going off into another direction of our path because something interested me.
AND! Bonus. Here’s the gold we found, plus an amazing sunset that I didn’t get around to posting.
Overall, honestly? One of the best weekends of my life. I not only over-indulged, but completely under-indulged and I have decided, life is amazing. Period. I could be out in a shack and chopping wood and panning for gold and singing AWFULLY forever lol!
“And nobody told us
‘Cause nobody showed us
And now it’s up to us babe
I think we can make it”
My love is currently hiking the Warner section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Me? I had plans with my mum to hike a route previously done with him to show her a mine hole. Yeah, okay, probably a better word for it, but that’s what I’m calling it.
I woke up to his photo of where they slept last night.
Yeah, OK hearty hiker and Naked and Afraid contender. I do NOT want to dig a hole to um, ‘do my business’ and what the heck would be crawling off that rock in the night? I’m just jealous lol. But, also kinda serious. Would love to camp anywhere if there was at least the amenities of a toilet and running water. Whimp right? I don’t need much. But, splashing water on my face, brushing my teeth and hair with a mirror is the last of the vanity things I care about.
SO! Mum and I were going hiking. I wanted to show her an easy hike that culminated in a mine shaft. (AKA: Mine hole. lol)
I forgot that my tiny car was a tiny car and once we got to the turn off I was a little worried about making it to the spot to park. Guess how I knew we were there?
The C+A I left behind when I went last. Can’t believe it was still there! Had to park carefully, a lot of soft sand. (Whole other story, but first time I came out to my guys house, had to have them tow me due to THEIR soft sand.)
Parked and ready to go! I totally knew where to start.
What I didn’t factor in was that when hiking with my gold mining guy, a hike takes 10 times longer due to “See that?” “Do you see this vein?” And constant and adorable samples taken.
As for my mum and I? We just hiked. So … got thrown a little off course.
Oh! And I now have a new rule! If you aren’t seeing Burro shit on your hike, you have no business going that route! (IE: the fucking mountain we went up last hike.)
So, clearly on the right path here. LOL.
We got to a point when we could circle back, but, didn’t seem right. I mean, when my honey and I went, it was hours … so we kept going. (I was not factoring in the geological stops and lessons and samples.)
We kept going to the point we found ourselves in what we labeled a ‘residential area’. Very over grown, and lots of nooks and crannies, we went back.
My mum has now multiple times asked me, “Do you know where you’re going?” Yes, I knew. But, wasn’t entirely sure how lol. I was looking for that ‘mine hole’. We tracked back – we took other routes – because, I was CERTAIN the first time my guy and I went out, we walked FOREVER. We had not.
We eventually found a place I thought was my original grotto, and was certain we were on the right path.
Um, Was NOT original grotto. Spoiler alert – we found that later.
We were having too much fun to care. Just being out there – together.
We tracked back a bit and decided that we should mount a mountain to get to the trail we were looking for.
Found it. BUT! unfortunately, passed the mine hole in doing so.
This happened instead.
First time my guy and I did this route, there was ONLY the boat. My mum said, “There’s a car?”
Sure was – and apparently an old police car.
The closer we got, I dug into my backpack for my knife and pepper spray. The car was tagged with graffiti on the hood and I have NO clue how it got there in such a short time since my last hike there. This became more of a concern when we passed it and it had clothes inside. (My mums words, “Hope there isn’t a body in there” didn’t go unnoticed. I was more concerned with a walking talking one.)
Wanted to take a pic of the inside of the car, but honestly had that ‘gut feeling’ we needed to keep moving on. Someone was obviously living in that car. We had my mum’s steel toed hiking boots and my knife and pepper spray.
Wind was blowing so I would have been like, “Keep kicking mum! Keep kicking! I’ll slice him and when the wind dies down spray him.” Dramarama imagination.
We pass the car and keep going … all the way home.
And, for a joke, here is me finding THE golden nugget!
Sent that to my guy lol! The golden nugget of today was actually getting to spend one on one time with my mum and that exceeded the hike. So great to go out. So great to be with her. So great, ANY day to wake up and get to do anything.
Was discussing something I’d misplaced with my boyfriend and suggested it might still be in his car the other night. He replied with one of the funniest sentences of the weekend. “Yeah, well, you did jump up and run into the house.”
Blatant lie. I turned to him with a very straight face as I pointed out to him, (like a seasoned defense attorney having trapped the witness with solid evidence), #1, I do NOT jump. And #2, I do not ‘run’. Pfffft. I rest my case your honor.
But, I DO hike.
It’s become a ‘thing’. A thing I never used to do yet, after Christmas revealed, a thing I’m evidently going to be doing a lot more of. Hiking boots, backpack, headlamp etc. came in cheery holiday packages. Ho! Ho! Ho! Mer-ry Walkin’!
Have to say though, that I truly do enjoy being out there. Especially like it because it pleases my guy to no end. I love seeing him smile. Treasure watching him find a vein or possible ore on the ground and love it when he excitedly shows it to me or teaches me some geological ‘thing’.
And we ‘meander’. It’s not like we’re marching at some wild pace. We take in the surroundings and sometimes I’ll pass him up and vice-versa. We do stay out for hours though, so a lot of ground gets covered.
Our latest hike started out like that:
Then … took a turn. Or, rather, an INCLINE.
Him: “I really want to check out that rock – I see it from the road and pretty sure something is up there.”
Me: “I don’t think I can climb that …”
Him: “There’s a fence, see?”
Me: (Hallucinating a fence for the hell of it and putting my complete trust in him that it exists) “O.K.”
He’s navigating this mountain like a champ. Me? I’m praying each rock I grab is in fact anchored in some fashion and I’m repeating a mantra in my head that went a little something like this: “Please don’t let me fall off of this mountain.”
Got to that point where I was half way up and screwed. Because as much trouble as I was having going UP, I knew down would be worse. My guy had assured me there was a way to cut around once we’d reached the top and circle back around to the car. Much like that fence fable, I believed him. There was no fence. The fence that had been my deciding factor in even attempting to scale this beast, because once reached, I was going to cling to it as I went higher.
Might be a good time to mention I’m afraid of heights, so, there’s that.
A couple of times he turned around to lend a hand. A couple of times he turned around to see me in the oh so flattering position of crawling on my hands and knees with brow knotted in fear.
Not entirely sure how, because there were a few times I was literally frozen in fear and couldn’t move without his encouragement, BUT, we made it. (“We” made it, like there were any doubt he was going to.)
This was the view – and I ASSURE you, the pictures do not do the height or the fear justice. It’s like trying to take a photo of a full moon on a phone.
Well, you be the judge. This is the view from the top.
Oh, see that board? That’s a ‘don’t step over me’ board. Note next pic.
Right after this happened, I heard, “I KNEW it!”
He had found the mine he suspected was up there.
I found the nerve (after an extended visit with the sturdiest rock I could find) to get up and peek at what he spied. Um, to the left of him in that picture, guess what’s there? Go ahead. Guess.
NOTHING!!! A sheer freaking drop.
This was the mine entrance … (would have been a better picture, only, I didn’t want to die).
I sat back down while he collected soil samples and picked at various rocks. While I sat I wondered a) How we were going to get down because that sheer drop sure as hell wasn’t an option. b) how much a helivac might cost and would I have to be injured or would they just collect me? c) If I prayed really hard, would my friend put in a good word for me in case there IS an afterlife.
I eventually was able to stand and don my backpack again. And, wouldn’t you know it? There was a way to descend in a criss-crossy manner down the same flipping mountain that was 75 times less scary than the ascension. Where was this route going up? Seriously?? Cheese and Rice!
I did feel very happy once we were on semi-flat earth again. Had that adrenaline rush of accomplishment and near-death.
Back to non-life threatening hiking.
We made it to the car and decided to check out an area further down that had mines to explore.
Now, THESE I am not afraid of. I get to wear my head lamp and barbed wire be damned, plunge into the unknown. Only thing that’s a little disconcerting is the fact that there’s usually bedding for a 4 legged variety resident. We’ve yet to meet up with any occupants though.
The best part (other than being outside with nature and my guy) is the delicious exhaustion once back in civilization.
I always feel like I could keep going forever once I’m out there, but we were both nodding off on the couch once home. Time well spent.
And – AND! I didn’t fall off of a mountain. Halle-flipping-lujah!