TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, January 18, 2019

One More Mental Health Hike

I am back to work after a winter break. Work that is teaching. I teach computer applications at two schools (one community college and one k-12 adult ed), and HSE Prep/high school equivalency: math, reading/writing, social sciences, and science, (at another community college). There is much preparation time involved, so I am beat. I am beat because I also want to spend time with my family, keep the house clean, read, write, run or hike, and so on, and I haven’t yet figured out how to juggle it all with teaching (though I have a very big suspicion on what it is that I need to do).

So! Back to the reason for this blog (besides supplying a way to just ramble on about wandering trails), and that is, my last trail adventure. January 11, 2019, I took in one more mental health hike (my second of two). It was a change of plans, as always, that landed me in Laguna Wilderness that morning. The trails aren’t overwhelmingly beautiful to my tastes,  in that area anyway (sorry Laguna Beach Sad smile, I still love you though, very much! ). The trails here are mostly all completely exposed. There’s no shade, no place to recover from heat, and the creeks are almost always dry (but there is always the Pacific Ocean, which makes this a perfect place any time of the year!). Fortunately though, there is no need to escape from heat right now in Southern California. Our low temperatures during the day are in the fifties (Fahrenheit). If I drive 30, 40 minutes inland however, the temps can dip ten, twenty degrees.

Back to subject:Traverse Laguna Wilderness or Crystal Cove Parks during the wintertime!  There is no lovelier time in these parks (which run along the coasts of Laguna and Newport Beaches). In the wintertime, the weather is cool enough that you don’t need shade to recover. On Friday, I switched in and out of of my long sleeves, gloves and beanie, but I was mostly slightly chilled. Most of the hike, a gray sky hovered over a steel colored ocean. It felt somewhat eerie, especially when a ray of sun beamed down through a lapse in clouds causing a streak that reached to the horizon. There was a short time there that the clouds parted and blue skies appeared. And when that happened, I could see all the green more clearly, and it appeared as we were on the brink of spring!

This was my route (10.23 mi):

1,621' elevation gained










Friday, January 11, 2019

Mental Health Hike

I recently returned from a 15 day road trip. My husband and our three sons (ages 13, 16 and 19) drove our big old SUV over 4 states to Texas. I have barely been home a week (6 days to be exact) and I feel whacked. It was an emotional trip that wore me down on many levels. If I had been on the road much longer, I probably would have taken up smoking again (that means a lot more then I tell here!). Don’t get me wrong, there were lovely times, there was family, and a little bit of rejuvenation. But being on the road, well, that just made the downs and the transitions to the downs a whole lot harder. Now that I am home (no longer bundled up in wool coats, scarfs and hats!), a long hike is the only thing I can think of to help make the transition back into “normal” life. A long mental health hike.

Mental health hikes (or runs) work like this: The first half, maybe even three-quarters are difficult (there is usually much to confront). Amazingly though, you work through it, the crap, the bad feelings, the things that you can do absolutely nothing about. Then you just come to the inevitable, which is you just have no choice but to deal with life the best you can (best as in the least troubles, and with the most dignity), and you sure love it out here, moving along in nature, look at that Blue Heron, and oh there’s some deer . . . just relax. That’s what trails help me to do: RELAX.

The Big Loop, V. 1 @ Aliso/Woods Canyons: Aliso Cyn-Wood Cyn-Cholla-West Ridge-Top of the World-Meadows-Wood Cyn-Aliso Cyn, 11.59 miles, 1,539' elevation gain. January 9, 2019,

5 deer in Aliso Canyon:IMG_6185Wood Creek:IMG_6193West Ridge:IMG_6211Meadows Trail:IMG_6217

IMG_6219

IMG_6220

Mental Health Hike

I recently returned from a 15 day road trip. My husband and our three sons (ages 13, 16 and 19) drove our big old SUV over 4 states to Texas. I have barely been home a week (6 days to be exact) and I feel whacked. It was an emotional trip that wore me down on many levels. If I had been on the road much longer, I probably would have taken up smoking again (that means a lot more then I tell here!). Don’t get me wrong, there were lovely times, there was family, and a little bit of rejuvenation. But being on the road, well, that just made the downs and the transitions to the downs a whole lot harder. Now that I am home (no longer bundled up in wool coats, scarfs and hats!), a long hike is the only thing I can think of to help make the transition back into “normal” life. A long mental health hike.

Mental health hikes (or runs) work like this: The first half, maybe even three-quarters are difficult (there is usually much to confront). Amazingly though, you work through it, the crap, the bad feelings, the things that you can do absolutely nothing about. Then you just come to the inevitable, which is you just have no choice but to deal with life the best you can (best as in the least troubles, and with the most dignity), and you sure love it out here, moving along in nature, look at that Blue Heron, and oh there’s some deer . . . just relax. That’s what trails help me to do: RELAX.

The Big Loop, V. 1 @ Aliso/Woods Canyons: Aliso Cyn-Wood Cyn-Cholla-West Ridge-Top of the World-Meadows-Wood Cyn-Aliso Cyn, 11.59 miles, 1,539' elevation gain. January 9, 2019,

5 deer in Aliso Canyon:IMG_6185Wood Creek:IMG_6193West Ridge:IMG_6211Meadows Trail:IMG_6217

IMG_6219

IMG_6220

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mental Health Hike

I recently returned from a 15 day road trip. My husband and our three sons (ages 13, 16 and 19) drove our big old SUV over 4 states to Texas. I have barely been home a week (6 days to be exact) and I feel whacked. It was an emotional trip that wore me down on many levels. If I had been on the road much longer, I probably would have taken up smoking again (that means a lot more then I tell here!). Don’t get me wrong, there were lovely times, there was family, and a little bit of rejuvenation. But being on the road, well, that just made the downs and the transitions to the downs a whole lot harder. Now that I am home (no longer bundled up in wool coats, scarfs and hats!), a long hike is the only thing I can think of to help make the transition back into “normal” life. A long mental health hike.

Mental health hikes (or runs) work like this: The first half, maybe even three-quarters are difficult (there is usually much to confront). Amazingly though, you work through it, the crap, the bad feelings, the things that you can do absolutely nothing about. Then you just come to the inevitable, which is you just have no choice but to deal with life the best you can (best as in the least troubles, and with the most dignity), and you sure love it out here, moving along in nature, look at that Blue Heron, and oh there’s some deer . . . just relax. That’s what trails help me to do: RELAX.

The Big Loop, V. 1 @ Aliso/Woods Canyons: Aliso Cyn-Wood Cyn-Cholla-West Ridge-Top of the World-Meadows-Wood Cyn-Aliso Cyn, 11.59 miles, 1,539' elevation gain. January 9, 2019,

5 deer in Aliso Canyon:IMG_6185Wood Creek:IMG_6193West Ridge:IMG_6211Meadows Trail:IMG_6217

IMG_6219

IMG_6220

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Dinosaur Valley (Paluxy River)

I decided two Fridays ago (12/30) to take my chances and once again roam about Dinosaur Valley outside of Glen Rose, Texas. Last time I did that, 7 years ago, I got lost. Land of the Lost.
IMG_6002THIS TIME, I carefully mapped out a 5 to 6 mile loop, which entailed crossing the Paluxy River on the way out, and the way back. I only slightly considered how I might cross the river during my planning stage the night prior. Turned out, the river was quite full, and that crossing it even at the shallowest places would have meant getting wet at least knee deep (but probably more).

So, a river crossing was out of the question, especially since the rangers had closed all trails north of the Paluxy River. I wasn’t much in the mood for another ranger encounter. So much for my planned out route.

I took a trail adjacent to the river instead, and filmed my Friday Hike video. The temperature was in the low forties (Fahrenheit), and that was absolutely wonderful. I love the cold weather. But there were no dinosaur tracks to be found, as the river covered them all. Often I needed to hike up the river’s banks to find passage. Then when I could, I would hike back down to the cold waters. For the most part, I was alone, except for a lone fisherman here and there, or a camper up on the banks. Occasionally, I would come up on a group of people in the easy to reach look-out spots. This park is a tourist attraction that attracts people from around the world. I would visit again and again. Next time, I think I might rent one of the kayaks that I saw along the river's bank for $25 a day.

IMG_5978IMG_5986IMG_5989IMG_5997IMG_6029IMG_6034IMG_6036

Total miles: 4.38 miles, 509’ elevation gain