2nd class looks a lot more like a 1st class act to me!

I was honored to help plan and lead a first ever backpacking trip for Nick, age 11, who needed to complete a 5 mile trip to earn his 2nd class rank in BoyScouts.
Nick is from Wiley,Texas and very driven to earn his Eagle Scout rank someday. He has never hiked with a pack before nor cooked a meal in the great outdoors. Though he was able to use a map and compass to gain his bearings! Well done.
This was Nicks first time in Flagstaff. As soon as he arrived, after a long 2 day drive, with his grandfather, the first thing he asked me was; ” Can we go on an adventure now?” I knew right away he was in the right place and that we were going to have a blast!
So we wasted no time and hiked around Sandy’s canyon and down to the popular climbing area called ” The Pit” . He loved all the rocks and wanted to climb them all! We got caught in a rainstorm and the rocks became slippery so we hiked back to the car for a short drive to Lake Mary. We spent the next hour getting extremely muddy and desperately seeking to catch a live crawl daddy . Which in Texas is called a decapod.

The next morning we threw on our backpacks and headed out for the Kachina Trail. I had asked what he and his grandfather,John, had packed before we left just to make sure they were completely prepared. They had everything! What I didn’t consider was to ask how much their packs weighed. Mistake number one.

Nick and John pose in front of the trailhead sign. Looking ready for the easy 5.5 downhill hike I promised them. I wanted to make sure Nick enjoyed himself and would fall in love with hiking like I have. Here comes mistake number two. The 5.5 mile hike is actually 8.1 miles. I did not account for the distance before reaching the trailhead nor the distance from the end of the trail to back to where we had parked our second car !!

Mistake number 3…. there is indeed some steep uphill sections on this trail which I didn’t remember. This is probably due to the fact last time I hiked it I just had a small daypack. Nick asked if we could take a rest break. This is when I discovered this 93 pound kid was carrying about a 25 pound backpack!! When I tried to lift Johns backpack I realized he was probably carrying over 50 pounds!!! Clutch and I tried to lighten their loads by taking water and a few other items out of their packs into ours. Nick immediately said he felt so much better so I felt better. I also gave him one of my trekking poles to help balance with the rocky up and down sections.

Mistake number 4…. I wanted this to be a leisurely hike with as many rest breaks as we wanted. Well, dark clouds rapidly covered the mountain and the rain started. No worries, we had our rain gear ! The worry came when the thunder started and we were totally exposed in a meadow. Our pace had to rapidly pick up to reach a more protected area. At this point I feared Nick would never go hiking again, nor speak to me again.

Nick was such a great sport, even though he was tired he kept going!

Finally out of danger with the storm moving away from us we finally could take a rest.

Nick cooked his first meal outdoors during this rest. Top Ramen noodles! He had just completed all his requirements to make rank of 2nd class! John, Clutch and I cheered and congratulated Nick!!

Nick is definitely a class act!!!

He definitely had a unexpected adventure this day!

And just a side note.. he had one last adventure before heading back home

He was “robbed “while on a train returning from a visit to the Grand Canyon!!

Here’s to Nick and his achievements, adventuresome spirit, card trick skills, and awesome attitude!!!

Noise

Morning dawns as I pour my first cup of coffee and wander outside to enjoy what only can be enjoyed at this hour on this day.
Songbirds sing, hummingbirds viciously fight over drops of sweet nectar, and the breeze brings a waft of recent rain, pine, and meadow grasses.
Peace interrupted by the slicing blades of a helicopter and car traffic in the distance.
Such is my mind; a blissful calm until the noise of life begins to blare .

In progress

Back home and in my "studio" working on this painting. Im waiting for the day when I finish a painting and say " yes! That's how I wanted it to turn out!"
I'm pretty sure that day won't come until I actually take some art classes and learn to do what I want to do.
Until then, I'm enjoying sitting in front of a blank canvas and watching what happens.. the good and the bad. The surprising the frustrating. The satisfaction the disappointment. The laughter and the not bad enough to cry over.

Back to the easel.

K

What’s right or wrong about each picture?

Anything stand out to you in the picture?
Yes, that sailboat is WAY too close to the beach.

This lady was definitely struggling to walk. But what's so right about this picture is that she was still doing it, still walking. Not only that she was also making sure her little dog was getting fresh air and exercise too. To add to the rightness of this photo, she was even picking up trash left on the beach by thoughtless others.

What was wrong with this is that he caught himself up in his net and nothing else.

This was not a real whale tail! Surprised, aren't you? 😉 But how clever to design a bench like this on a pier!

What's right with this picture is I never get lost in a crowd, my hair is just a give away.
What's wrong about this picture? Look at that head of hair I have to deal with. 😂😂

Just everything is right! Picture Perfect picnic place!

What's wrong is that this is just part of the crowd waiting over an hour to ride the new " Car's" ride at California adventure! What's worse was: I was in that crowd!

What's so wrong with this picture?! I saw either a shark or dolphin cruising behind surfers this morning on Newport Beach and I could NOT get a decent picture!

What's right is that I got to drive through a tree. What's wrong is that it's a shameless tourist trap I couldn't resist!

Right: beautiful secluded beach
Wrong: wind whipping sand up my legs with such force it felt like a giant sandpaper scraping the skin off me.

Walking away from my time at the beach.. just wrong. Also, I don't know whose footprints those are but I thought it'd make a cool shot!
Right?

I'm back home in Flagstaff now from the drive and stop Seattle to LA experience .
A wonderful trip for sure.

But it is good to be home!

K