An Afternoon’s Journey

I know other parts of the country are freezing, buried under a mountain of snow, but here in SoCal, it was about seventy-five degrees and sunny (don’t hate).

It was the perfect day for a hike in the back country to inhale sandy, dirty trails and think about setting positive intentions for 2018.

We drove for a couple of hours (to a secret spot) and started walking. As the sun rose to its celestial meridian, I started shedding layers.

Does this look like it could be a Native American bedrock metate?

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Beautiful fruiting manzanita; well, I think it’s manzanita…

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We know it’s a going to be a great day when the trails are heavily strewn with coyote scat!

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And this remnant of a coyote or bobcat’s meal. Upon close inspection, it looks like part of a tail but I’m not too sure how it ended up perched on the dried grass.

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Steep and rocky.

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Stopping for a snack and water, the perfect time to touch up dry lips with a little Chanel. I’m always prepared!

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Who says leaves don’t change color in Southern California?

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There’s really nothing more soul satisfying than exerting oneself physically until you’re bone tired and then eating a huge late lunch (with french fries) and feeling zero guilt about the amount of calories consumed!

#gratitude #nature #hiking #backcountry

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My Fave FOUR-letter Word

What do you think it is?

Nope, not that.

Not even close…

It’s SCAT.

S-C-A-T.

HAHAHA…

I bet you NEVER would’ve guessed that, would you? WOULD YOU?

I took myself on a little hike today to a local spot, and was so happy to see several piles of coyote scat (that’s “poop” for those that don’t know.)

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It warms my heart to know that coyotes are still living in this concrete jungle, in spite of the egregious overbuilding here in Carlsbad, that insatiable and sick hunger to remove habitat for any and all living creatures that don’t have the capability to line the pockets of our city leaders–allegedly, of course…

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Another “s” word!

SNAKE!!!

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Facebook friends said it’s harmless; I’m still glad I gave it a wide berth.

 

Destination…top of the hill!IMG_2576

Beautiful oasis even though it’s manmade…Lake Calavara

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Running water!

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Monkey flower and black eyed Susan!

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Cool green unknown plant!

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Pretty spring flowers…

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Happy Pink Moon, everyone!

“My soul was in the lost and found…”

…and no one but me came along to claim it.

I got lost today. Physically lost, not spiritually lost.

That’s not to say that I’m NOT searching for myself in a spiritual realm, but that’s not what this day was all about.

Nature was calling as she often does; I could feel the strong pull to hike, to connect my hiking boots with sagebrush and trails and coyote scat dotted with small bones and fur.

I’ve never hiked alone but thought it’s about time, it’s time to stop waiting for my Prince Charming to tie my cute size 5 1/2 boot laces into little bunny bows.

Time to step out and face this day and the next day and the day after that…

On my solo journey.

At least for today.

So I did. I hiked Calavera: I’ve hiked it a zillion times over the years but never by myself.
(Check out a previous Calavera excursion with pics HERE)

How difficult could it be? It’s a five minute drive from the house and like I said, I’ve done it a ZILLION times.

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I started at 4:00 p.m., thinking I’d walk for about two hours or so and be back at the car before sunset.

That was my plan.

I started up the trail, found another trail that looked SLIGHTLY familiar, and made it all the way to the top of the not-very-big-mountain, said hi to some other hikers, was asked to take a pic by a young couple who were celebrating their very first outing away from their newborn (grandma was babysitting), and breathed in the scent of dirt and native plants– HEAVENLY.

I decided to be a real adventurer by taking a different path to get down the hill.

This was where my decision making became just a bit faulty.

Nothing looked familiar. NOTHING. All I knew for sure is that I had climbed UP and now I needed to go DOWN.

How the hell could I have pretty much walked every inch of this land and not remembered the right way to go?

5:30 p.m.

I saw another single female with a similar look on her face–one of slight anxiety, embarrassment, and uncertainty.

I asked her if she knew how to get down. She replied, “No, do you?” I responded, “Nope, but let’s walk together so that we can be lost together.”

I gave her one of my walking sticks because the first path we eventually agreed to traverse was steep and narrow. Prickly bushes slapped our faces as we hacked our way through to one dead end after another.

We FINALLY found the correct way and set our course around the lake.

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6:15 p.m.

We said goodbye as the sun started to dip and blaze on the horizon. I had parked at the far trailhead and had a fairly long but level walk to my car. I walked FAST because the sun was going down FAST.

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OOPSIE.

I forgot there was a last minute fork in the road where I should have turned right which would have led me directly to the parking lot.

Instead, I ended up probably two or three miles away from my intended destination.

It was dark now. Completely dark.

I somehow found my way to the main road (I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I GOT THERE) with traffic whizzing by.

I felt like Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild)  on the Pacific Crest Trail.

I thought I was going to end up spending the night there, sleeping with a trio of coyotes wrapped around my body to keep me warm. As magical as that sounded, I was tired and dirty and wanted to go HOME.

It took about another hour to walk up a steep incline to where I THOUGHT my car was parked.

I knew I could have called my neighbors for help but I was determined to solve this problem on my own.

I am a strong and capable female. I CAN DO THIS.

Sweaty, dusty, stressed out but exuberant, I made it to my car at 7:30 p.m.

I had never been so grateful for civilization in my life.

I drove to the closest liquor store, bought a bottle of wine, got home, took a bath and toasted myself with a huge glass of merlot.

I was lost, got found, and feel like a natural woman.

Success!

Golden Gate Park and Botanical Gardens

Spent the last few days with my preggy DIL and the original Angel Boy.

Today we went to Golden Gate Park and the Botanical Gardens.

It was a glorious blue sky day!

These might not be the best photos; I was rushed and didn’t have time to focus!
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Exploring Carlsbad, Part Two: Wildlife vs Development

When we first moved here in 1985, our street was a dead end (literally).

My son and I would walk our dogs to where the pavement ended and there we abruptly entered a wonderland of nature: along narrow paths with overhanging vegetation;  sage, coyote bush, sumac — and wildlife; coyotes, bobcats, deer– even a mountain lion was spotted now and again.

In other words…heaven.

It was a sad day when the bulldozers appeared and in a matter of minutes completely raped the hills, scraping the native flora down to bare earth, uprooting mature trees, and displacing dozens, if not hundreds, of animals.

It’s unrecognizable now–if you hadn’t lived here as long as we have, you’d never know the rich beauty that once existed.

It’s regretful that the city leaders didn’t and don’t seem to care about respecting, protecting, and preserving native flora and fauna.

Instead of conserving and sustaining our unique beauty, they’ve allowed Carlsbad to become an Orange County clone — heavy on the ubiquitous business parks and subdivisions totally disconnected to the land.

They’ve mostly destroyed the unique personality and beauty of our little coastal town.

In my opinion.

Historically, Carlsbad/Agua Hedionda Lagoon was the former home to two Native American groups, the Luiseños and the Diegueños or Kumeyaay.

Did you know that Agua Hedionda means “stinking waters”?

(It does and it does.)

Although the Spaniards (and other settlers) decimated the Native American connection to this area, over the years I’ve heard about nearby sacred burial grounds that might still be intact, and that’s a good thing.

In spite of the destruction of habitat, there are still a few surviving animals attempting to coexist.

In the evening, we hear the song of the coyote, not as often as we used to, but it makes us happy. Check out this audio. So close!

I’ve seen fresh bobcat tracks, too, but no actual visual sighting.

On a recent walk, I stepped out of my front door, walked across the street, and was immediately greeted by this amazing sight, a Great Blue Heron nearly as tall as me.
GreatBlueHeron1 greatblueheron2 After I snapped a dozen photos, I continued walking, and spotted a White Egret.egret2015It was a day for wildlife; these are not good pics for some reason, but a couple of different rabbits made an appearance.

On a front lawn.
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I believe this is a Cooper’s Hawk; don’t think it’s a Red Tailed Hawk.CooperHawk1If I ruled the world (or at least my little part of it), I’d make sure that any planned development would respect all wildlife and make appropriate plans to not only preserve habitat, but encourage MORE animals to coexist with us.

Especially predators. We need predators. We need coyotes and bobcats and mountain lions and hawks and falcons for balance. Without them, we’re inundated with their food source; rabbits, rats, and squirrels.

Can’t we all just get along?

Read Exploring Carlsbad, Part One: Signs
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/05/01/exploring-carlsbad-part-one-signs/