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!!!

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

Rocks and Wine

A climb up Bishop Peak in San Luis Obispo sure makes you thirsty. It was so dry and hot all I could do was dream of frozen strawberry lemonade . Nothing else would quench such a thirst. I finished all the water I had carried by the time I reached the top. The hike back with the sun beating down, the dust under my feet, the blast of hot winds and my slight anxiety of heights led to me to ask everyone I saw on the trail if they happened to have some frozen lemonade with them.  The usual response was a shrug and ” no, I’m sorry” . The occasional laugh and ” I wish” gave me hope that my craving wasn’t totally seen as a delusional heat stroke induced request. 

This hike was an obvious favorite for local hikers and climbers. Though busy and steep it was well worth the effort for such views. And yes, even the thirst couldn’t diminish my enjoyment of this place.



Immediately upon completion of the hike a quick sprint to the car and drive to the nearest lemonade location was my only thought. After quenching my thirst with a Starbucks blended strawberry lemonade it was time to head to the land of wineries.


After trying a flight of wines, I realized I really know nothing about wines. Maybe this is due to the fact I usually drink whiskey. Anyways, it was a nice experience and I’m proud to say I left without purchasing a magnum of wine for 300 dollars. Two new wine terms added to my vocabulary. Flight and magnum.Check.

The heat of the sun, the hike up the ridge, and flight of wine made me extremely sleepy. A happy sleepy but a ” I don’t feel like doing anything else”  kind of sleepy. So here I am, lying in bed and wondering if 8pm is just too early for bedtime. 

Nah, it sounds just about right.

Until tomorrow,

K

Giants in the Forest

I’ve never felt so insignificant in my life. Standing in a redwood forest, surrounded by ancient towering skyscrapers. No camera or words could possibly do this place justice.

  You just need to experience it yourself. I will share just a few attempts at capturing the size of these redwoods.


Btw, remember yesterday’s post about the knights. Well, what do you know… at the end of a bridge in this vast cathedral look who I ran into.


A beautiful voice yodeling in a foreign language. The language barrier prevented me from learning about her, but there were a lot of giggling and nodding going on.

Anyways, let me back up to the Oregon Coast experience.. many hours before we reached California.

Okay, let’s just start with a question. Who would have veered off the road thinking there was a trail here ? Again, no signs. No signs of a trail and no signs that a trail existed here. 


I looked at Clutch like maybe he was delusional from driving so much. He just said, ” let’s get out here.” As if this place looked like anything but what it looked like. A dirt pull off.

I really hate it when I’m wrong. But however he managed it, we found a 6 inch wide trail leading under the road. And after walking on a sand dune for awhile this is the scene we ended at.


The picture right above is what the trail looked like. I’m holding a cool piece of wood I found on the beach in the first picture. I haven’t figure out how to add photos in order while blogging on my phone .

Here are a few more trails and sites along the Oregon Coast.




A found a whale in the water! See him?


Oregon is a land of bridges, lakes, rivers, bays, creeks, and beaches. So many beaches that they ran out of names and started simply calling them Beach 1, 2, and 3. Oh, before they ran out of names they called every beach ” rock” something. Like arch rock, house rock, whale face rock, haystack rock, etc.


I would love to return to Oregon to hike the many trails we had to pass by.  The coast line bike trail looks like a great way to travel too. Oh, if you don’t know, it’s illegal to pump your own gas here! I rather like that law!

After the trip I’ll post a map and names of all the places we hiked.

For now, here was our view of the Golden Gate Bridge as we arrived in San Francisco !


I miss Oregon already!

😩

The Black Knight “None shall pass “

As I mentioned in previous posts, I love the unexpected adventures of hiking.

Clutch and I randomly decided to pull the car over while cruising down the Oregon Coastline from Washington . We saw what looked like a trail so we headed down it, seeing as our legs were cramping from sitting in the car for several hours.

Just take a peek at this unnamed trail..


This dense forest would have been great just as it was, but soon we saw a flowing creek exposed through the thick folliage . And as if that wasn’t enough, we came across this cool wooden bridge where we were greeted by some knights.


I’m sure this has happened to all of you, right? No? Shocking, it seemed so normal to be confronted by knights on a random, unnamed trail!

They were kind enough to allow us to pass unharmed. However, they told us the black night wasn’t so kind to the green knight or to Sir Arthur. 

We reluctantly left this scene to continue down this trail. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the trail ended here :


A secluded beach area.

A fun adventure for sure!

K