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!!!

Bell Rock Sedona

Last night it snowed in Flagstaff, so today seemed a ideal day to head for the warmth of Sedona .

I have great neighbors who enjoy hiking and invited me to go with them to hike around Bell Rock.

This area called Bell Rock Pathway, has several trail options, including a single track path for bike riding.

We hiked about 5 miles that included a loop to Courthouse Butte and Spaceship Rock. The next two photographs should be obvious as to which is which.

These trails are relatively flat but have fantastic views and beautiful spring blooms.

And here is a picture of the actual Bell Rock, that is popular for bouldering as well as hiking. This is also the featured blog picture.

I needed to change the next photo into black and white so that the moon was more noticeable. Thought it was a cool shot.

This area is a perfect place for all ages and fitness levels. It gives you a great sampling of the beauty Sedona contains and the benefits of being in nature!

I would definitely recommend this hike and exploring several of the other loop trails available.

So happy hiking!!


Snow Hiking

Its been awhile since I’ve posted, so here is a brief recap of what I have been doing.

I’ve discovered that snow-shoeing should be counted as a hiking activity. It’s a great workout and gets you from point A to B just like a trail hike. In my case, point A was a trail head just outside Vail, CO. And point B turned out to be a 4 hour snow-shoe adventure; with a full backpack, all UP hill, to a hut on Shrine Mountain. It was beautiful, and I enjoyed a few days up there with a group of 15 people! Made some new friends, and also, unfortunately, made two horrendous blisters on both my heels. I am not kidding, it literally took 2 weeks to heal. I wore flip flops for those weeks, even in the snow! Moleskin will be applied BEFORE ANY future adventures!

I made a few trips to Sedona for warmer weather hikes.

I have also been playing tennis and pickle-ball. Both new sports to me. I am really enjoying them, although its very humbling to realize how little eye/hand coordination I actually have. The workouts have been beneficial to my overall fitness… not beneficial to my ego.

And the last activity consuming many hours of my day, is painting with acrylic paints on canvas. I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book, and I just recently discovered I’m not too bad of a whimsical animal painter! So, I am currently in the process of writing and illustrating a book! Yes, this has nothing to do with hiking.. unless I start painting trail scenes! Hmm, not a bad idea. Meanwhile here are a few of my creations.

Stay tuned for the status of the upcoming Colorado Trail hike!!

Enjoying life and new activities!


Opt Outside

Instead of joining the masses of Black Friday shoppers we opted for a beautiful hike in Picture Canyon!

Click here for: History of Picture Canyon
We chose the loop that would allow us to see the entire Canyon.

My only complaint, besides my broken hand, was the lack of signage. I’m pretty sure we were way off trail several times. But in the end we found all the main sites we were looking for. The first being some well preserved hieroglyphs.

Next a series of small waterfalls. Flagstaff has waterfalls?! Who knew?!

It’s a beautiful Canyon to explore .

Part of the Arizona trail runs through this Canyon. This bridge is located on the AZ trail ( crossing the Rio de Flag).

You can also see my wrapped, braced, and sling resting broken hand. (An unfortunate wild tennis swing incident.) Thank goodness for 2 working legs to allow me to continue exploring the great trails of Flagstaff!

Don’t let chilly weather, or broken hands, stop you from exploring!

Bundle up and enjoy this amazing planet!


Sedona Hiking


Sedona is a an endless scenic part of Arizona that attracts people world-wide. The picture above is from a trail called Soldier’s Pass. This trail boasts sites such as the sinkhole called Devil’s Kitchen, 7 Pools, the Tea Pot Rock, and natural rock arches. My favorite shot of the day was of Tea Pot Rock, as I unintentionally caught the “pot” whistling with “steam”.


Because of it’s awesome temps and weather, Sedona can be explored year round.

This next shot was of the super moon as seen from Lake Mary Road in Flagstaff. It was my first attempt of taking a night picture, and I might say, it wasn’t disappointing at all!


Happy exploring this amazing planet!