The highlight of my trip last week with Lucy to the Northeast was a visit to Concord, Massachusetts where we toured the Ralph Waldo Emerson House, Rambled through the Hapgood Wright Town Forest, dipped our toes in Walden Pond, just below the site of Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin, and visited Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to pay our respects to Emerson and Thoreau.
If you are ever in Concord, or live in the area, I highly recommend a visit to the Emerson House. The House was built in 1828 and Emerson lived in the House from 1835 until his death in 1882. The House has stayed in the Emerson Family all along, and remains almost completely as it was after a restoration in 1873. The tour of the House was Very Insightful and Incredibly Inspiring, both Lucy and I walked out of the House with our Spirits Soaring.
As an Emerson and Thoreau reader, this visit was a long time in coming. To stand in the Emerson House, to Ramble in Emerson and Thoreau’s footsteps, to Steep in the Beauty of Concord and Walden Pond, as they once did, and then to stand at their graves, had an Invigorating Effect upon us. By Basking in the Radiance and Energy of Art and Artists, of True Individuals, of Lives well Lived, we walked away Knowing Ourselves Better, and in a Glow of Enthusiasm for a Creative and Purposeful Life!
Last week on July 24, I had a good long Ramble in the rain, on a section of the M&M Trail on Mount Tom in Massachusetts.
The entire time that I was out there, I didn’t come across one other person. It was just me, the trees and the birds. I ate my lunch and snapped this photo somewhere along the way on one of the many Traprock Cliffs overlooking Easthampton, MA.
And to think, I almost let the rain deter me (it was coming down in sheets for awhile). What a shame it would have been not to have let this Beauty and Exhilaration into my Life. I must remember… It’s ALWAYS worth it.
Life has been busy.
Between Family, Street Plant, Playing Music and related Travel, I have not had much time to get out on the Trail and Ramble Around. Still, I find a way when I can. Sometimes it’s only for an hour or two, but whenever I can make the time, I Go. These photos are from a few different excursions over the past month or so.
I’ve spent the weekend in Phoenix with Ann and Lucy for a dance convention. Looking at Lucy’s schedule for Saturday, I realized that since she would be in class all day and didn’t start competing until 6:00 PM, that I had an opportunity to get out and Ramble. With the South Rim of the Grand Canyon being only 3.5 hours away from our hotel, I thought it’d be wrong to be within striking distance and not go. So, I set out at 11:00 PM on Friday night to catch the Ceremony of the Sunrise at the Grand Canyon on Saturday morning.
I parked my car on the South Rim of The Canyon at 2:30 AM on Desert View Drive. It was 33°. I climbed into the backseat, pulled my sleeping bag around me and gazed up and out the back window of my car into The Cosmos. If not for my plan to see the Sunrise, I may have just bundled up and spent the rest of the night outside Star Gazing. In fact, I’ll have to plan a Star Gazing trip of some sort soon, for what I saw and felt from the backseat of my car as I dozed off into sleep was the greatest sense of Awe, and something that I decided should be regularly experienced: Church.
I woke up at 4:45 AM in the predawn light. I was slightly panicked by how bright the sky was, thinking I somehow missed the Sunrise. I grabbed my bag and stepped out of the car, into the cold, onto the South Rim, and immediately started walking east towards Yaki Point. The Sun seemed to be rising fast, and without any previous experience here (and little research done) I stopped short of Yaki Point and instead took in the Sunlight landing upon The Canyon just past the South Kaibab Trail Head. It was incredible. After the Sun was up though, I eventually made my way to Yaki Point and realized why that location, with its views of the East Rim, would have been the best location to see the Sunrise. Definitely noted for next time.
At 6:15 AM, the day was already heating up, I stripped out of the layers I’d been in, and I started heading down the South Kaibab Trail. My destination, despite repeated warnings (posted online and on the Trail, itself) of not attempting such a strenuous out and back hike in one day, was the Colorado River, 6.3 miles down a very steep Trail. Many large groups had taken off long before me, but within an hour, I found myself breezing past most of them as they lounged around Cedar Ridge. Once I was free of the crowds, I found the Trail to be a Moving Meditation, a Sermon of Rock, Sky, Sun, Plant and River.
At 8:45 AM, my feet were in the Colorado River, and at 8:55 AM, I was hiking back up the Trail. The return trip was fairly demanding. I found myself stuck behind a mule team for a good portion of it, slowing me down as they stopped to rest regularly, but that was probably a good thing as I’d drink some water and tuck myself into any bit of shade I could find, resting my legs and waiting for the team to start moving again. I was finally able to pass them at 11:15 at Cedar Ridge and I was back out standing on the South Rim at 12:00 PM.
As I walked along the Rim Trail back to my car, I came upon a small group of Elk foraging. I stopped and took some video and photos, I got very close to them as they seemed very peaceful and at ease. I learned later that they are one of the most dangerous animals in the park and that they should be given a wide berth, something I really should have considered on my own. Another note for my next visit.
At 12:15 PM, I was in my car and heading back to Phoenix to watch Lucy dance.
Imagine, if the same Energy that we used to gossip, to make a joke, to be sarcastic, snide, ridiculing, satirical, degrading or passive aggressive was instead used to be Affectionate, Sympathetic, Compassionate and Understanding.
Social media, what we do and what we say online, is a microcosm of our lives and of our world.
What we project here isn’t fiction.
It is truth that reverberates and has long reaching effects.
What you say about yourself, is what you say about the world you live in.
Every day, every post is a time capsule.
A memo to yourself and to the universe.
When we laugh at everything, we permit nothing to have value.
Instead of tearing each other down, we should be Lifting Each Other Up!
The slightest shift of Energy and Perspective could Truly Change the way that we Interact with Each Other, and thus, Change The World that We Live In For The Better.
What if, instead of being quick witted, we were Kind Hearted?
You can’t fight the fire while you feed the flames.
I get up early most days, before the sun, and I dig in.
Not a complaint, an Exclamation.
I always try to find some way to be Engaged Life, in the Moment.
Employing an Athletic Philosophy in all that I do.
What we Practice informs our Doctrine.
Words on paper mean nothing, Actions come First.
Perspiration is the only proven elixir to turn Dreams into Realities.
On most weekday evenings I drive Lucy to her Dance Studio in Orange County. The hours in between dropping her off and picking her up are crucial, I always try to make the most of them: Reading, Riding and Rambling. Seeking Beauty in the hills, at the beach or in the pages of a book. And I Always find more than I seek. Recently Rambling in O’Neill Regional Park and the Quail Hill Trail in Irvine — There is so much to do, so close to us, always. We just have to look.
This weekend, Ann, Lucy and I drove up to Santa Clara, CA for a Dance Convention. Yesterday, while Lucy was in class, I got out to Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness for a long Ramble along Alameda Creek and lunch on Flag Hill before heading into San Francisco with Ann and Lucy for dinner.
While in Las Vegas with Ann and Lucy for a Dance Convention, I had a really nice Ramble and Scramble yesterday to the peak of Black Mountain in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.
What a Beautiful Day on the Trail: Blooming Cacti, Wildflowers and a Brilliant Blue Sky playing Canvas to an ever changing Painting of Cumulus Clouds.
As lizards darted across my path, I got the Legs and Lungs Burning up the Trail to eat my lunch at the peak of Black Mountain (5030 feet), where I Soaked In Views of the Las Vegas Valley and off into Arizona and California before heading back down.
I had an amazing day and night hiking around the Portuguese Bend Reserve, the Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve and the Filiorum Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes with Lucy.
We rambled for hours down through countless trails of wildflowers, and then out onto Palos Verdes Drive, before cutting over and down the Cliffside Trail to the Pacific Ocean at Sacred Cove.
From there we headed back up to the bluff above, known as Inspiration Point, to take in the Ceremony Of The Sunset as it dropped below Portuguese Point.
At dusk, we started our journey back up and through the Portuguese Bend Reserve. As darkness fell we became slightly disoriented and jogged too far to the west and found ourselves entering the Filiorum Reserve. It wouldn’t have been a big deal in daylight but in darkness everything becomes intensified. As we moved briskly along the Kelvin Canyon Trail I realized our mistake, and just before giving Lucy the bad news that we had to turn around, we found ourselves at the foot of Rattlesnake Trail. The trail was barricaded and closed due to trail damage, but I knew it went directly to where our car was parked and so under the circumstances we stepped around the barricade and took off up the trail using extreme caution.
A few hours earlier, Lucy had been very wary of any trail with a climb in elevation or that hugged a cliffside, and because of that our scramble down and out of Sacred Cove was a bit tedious. But watching her navigate the precarious Rattlesnake Trail with the utmost certainty and confidence at night was an experience I’ll forever cherish. For as we climbed up the trail, I watched her grow and mature right in front of me. As we stepped out on to Crenshaw Blvd, I could plainly see that she now knew herself better, and standing there with her senses heightened and her adrenaline still pumping, she lit up the dark sky with an unforgettable beauty.
I went for a nice long ramble yesterday at Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area in the Angeles National Forest. Known for its geological formations of up-tilted rock formations, Devil’s Punchbowl is visually other worldly, but isn’t that precisely what makes this world so miraculous in itself? There are so many “other worlds” all around us if we’re just curious enough to look.
I hiked in and around the Punchbowl and out to Devil’s Chair, a tall cliff in the San Gabriel Mountains that overlooks the eastern Punchbowl formations. The views along the trail of the Punchbowl and the Antelope Valley were breathtaking at every turn.
After spending time at Devil’s Chair, I hiked down the South Fork Trail to Holcomb Creek where I ate my lunch before hiking back up and out.