Corgi Heaven in San Francisco

Son, daughter-in-law, and Theo are in San Fran for the summer, so I flew up to spend a week basking in the joy of a three-month-old baby boy.

Today we took Theo on his first beach outing at Ocean Beach to attend the Nor Cal Corgi Con 2016 Summer Event. DIL is from the UK and her love for corgis is to be expected since Queen Elizabeth is a Corgi mum.

Personally,  I’m more of a Border Collie girl, but all dogs are wonderful, so I knew it would be fun.

It was untypically hot and sunny; the sand was a BIT too hot for the poor dogs’ paws I thought, but all in all, it was a fun outing!

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Disabled Corgi with a dedicated mom!

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GoPro Corgi!

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I can’t really believe they bred a Border Collie with a Corgi but here’s the proof…a Borgi??

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Rescue Corgi

 

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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Day Trip: San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park – Escondido, California

Growing up in San Diego, this is part of every school’s history curriculum, learning about local battles and the many ways we ravaged, devastated, and destroyed native Americans from their land.

Click to read more about the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians         1980-01-01 00.00.13

East of Escondido in San Diego’s North CountySan Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park honors the soldiers who fought in the battle between the U.S.and Californio forces on December 6, 1846 in the midst of the Mexican-American War. Generals Stephen Kearny and Andres Pico both claimed victory. The battle was only one of the military encounters in California in the war, but it proved to be the bloodiest and most controversial as to the outcome. The park has been set aside, not as a monument to war, but as a reminder of the human ideals, actions and passions that can drive nations to bloodshed.

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One day after a hike in Ramona, tugboat man and I stopped at this monument to walk around the battlefield and tour the museum.

It was hard for us to look at the old photos of the Kumeyaay and we felt ashamed for the violence perpetrated upon them that violated every aspect of their lives as the bountiful and fruitful land was seized and they were kicked out.1980-01-01 00.00.10

Antique weapon of mass destruction.

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I love coyote scat.

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Soldier’s uniform.

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Fancy knotwork very similar to mariners’ marlinspike seamanship.

1980-01-01 00.01.07-1If they’re open, don’t miss visiting the San Diego Archaeological Center right near door to the San Pasqual Museum.

The San Diego Archaeological Center is a curation facility and museum where visitors can learn the story of how people have lived in San Diego County for the past 10,000 years. In addition to its role as a museum, the Center serves as an education and research facility and is the only local organization dedicated to the collection, study, curation, and exhibition of San Diego County’s archaeological artifacts.

Heaven on Earth: Camping and Hiking in the Laguna Mountains

HeavenonEarthDuring our first cup of freshly ground French roast, tugboat man said,

“How’d you like to pack up and go camping in the Lagunas?”

“When?”

“Right now.”

He didn’t need to ask me twice; I jumped up, packed my things while hub packed up all the camping stuff, and we were out the door almost before our coffee cooled off.

The Laguna Mountains are only about an hour away east from the ocean in San Diego.

Most people go there when we have snow — at 6000 feet, it’s the highest point in the county.

It’s possible to surf in the morning, cross-country ski (or hike) in the afternoon, and drop down into the shimmering desert to experience the best of everything SoCal has to offer.

Late May to mid-June is the time of year when color explodes in the mountains and it’s not too hot to enjoy a strenuous hike while the air cools down comfortably at night.

It’s easy to get here: east on Highway 8 to Sunrise Highway.

We went mid-week before schools were out for summer vacation and we had the mountain pretty much entirely to ourselves.

Fragrant pines, Engelmenn oaks, wildflowers; deep  blue sky with a few white puffy clouds.

Amazing…gorgeous…magnificent…breathtaking…

There aren’t enough adjectives to describe the spectacular views.

We hiked Desert View Trail and Big Laguna Trail, about ten miles or so.

It was truly heaven on earth, one of those experiences where whispering was the only way to communicate-we didn’t want to mar the ultimate reverence for nature.

These are only a sampling of the hundred-plus pics I snapped and none of them do justice to this paradise.

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Sometimes we bring a set of old plates and silverware for meals but this time we tried an assortment of amazing new GREEN products that I was sent to sample and review.

repurposeplatesIn order to make our lives easier (and more guilt-free), Repurpose has created a new line of green, single-use tableware that’s entirely plant-based.

Repurpose’s cups, bowls, plates, forks, spoons and knives are made from plants like corn, sugar and bamboo, all of which are annually-renewable resources.repurposeplates1

And unlike traditional plastic or even paper items, all Repurpose products are 100% compostable in an industrial composter in 90 days. But they still won’t melt in your hot soup, or warp with cold, wet ice cream!

Some of the other standout features of the Repurpose line are what the products do not contain; all Repurpose products are BPA-free, chlorine-free, petroleum-free and use only soy-based inks.

We loved these products! They’re sturdy and held up nicely for our beans and tortillas with guacamole and salsa, cups of wine to toast this heaven on Earth, and hub’s morning granola with flax milk.

I definitely recommend them for parties, picnics, BBQs (vegan, I hope), and camping excursions.

(I was provided product to sample and review; there was no compensation, and the opinions are my own.)

The Final Installment of Princess Rosebud’s Empowering Road Trip

California is beautiful.

Everyone should go on a road trip vacay and drive down (or up) the coast through the central coast along Highway One.

It’s spectacular.

The scenery is amazing and the views are breathtaking, BUT driving around Big Sur, the twistywindytwolanehighway is SCARY, more so if you’ve previously experienced a near death event.

One one side, there’s the vertigo-inducing views of the Pacific Ocean beneath a precipitous embankment, and on the other side, close enough so that if you open a window and reach out, you could almost touch the mountain.

“Mom, why is your lip bleeding?”

“Because I’m biting it to keep from screaming.”

“SLOW DOWN. SLOWDOWNSLOWDOWN!”

“See the red lights on the car in front of us? That is your very obvious CLUE that you need to react and SLOW DOWN.”

“Sssllllooowwwwdddooowwwnnnn…” says the crazy backseat driver.

“Heeheehee.” That’s Angel Boy chuckling at my terror.

“How about leaving a little more distance between you and the car in front of us?”

“Would that be too much to ask?”

My right thigh was becoming numb as I constantly phantom-braked during that entire death defying journey.

I clutched the dash so tightly, I thought they’d have to pry my fingers off of it.

In the back seat, DIL was listening to music and texting, observing this exchange between mother and son.

(I think she was laughing, too.)

My son lives his entire life by multi-tasking every single moment of every single day.

Even while driving, he’s eating, talking to his GPS, and carrying on two conversations.

His new name is Dr. Distracto, because the ONE thing he needed to concentrate on — DRIVING — what should have been his primary focus — was third or fourth on the list of what garnered his attention.

“Geez, pay attention to the traffic, would you?”

“STOOPPPPP!”

I was hyperventilating, fanning my face, telling him, “Do you want to give me a heart attack?”

Remember that film I liked, Guilt Trip, with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogan?
(Read my review HERE of the best Jew-mom film EVER.)

This was OUR version of a road trip.

It was actually pretty funny. In reality, my son is a good driver in spite of being an absent minded professor.

When it was all over and we were once again on wide, straight roads, I apologized for my bout of insanity and praised his patience and even tempered disposition.

I highly recommend camping with one’s adult child and spouse.

I haven’t heard about too many other people who’ve done this. Let me know if you have and maybe we could start a club.

Popping a squat side-by-side on the trail with one’s DIL makes for a great bonding moment.

They had thoughtfully packed two tents, a huge family-sized Hobitat, and a smaller one in case I wanted to sleep in my own tent, and not with them.

I chose the “mother-in-law” unit because I didn’t want to disturb anyone or crawl over them if I had to get up and to to the bathroom at 3 a.m.

Two highlights of our road trip were day hikes  to Jade Cove and Julia Pfeiffer State Park.

I’ve always wanted to explore Jade Cove but I had no idea that it was going to become the challenge of a lifetime.

I had no idea that the only way to get down to where the jade could be found was by rope. THIS was where the EMPOWERMENT really kicked in.

NO WAY was I gonna do that.

Nope. Never. Not in a million years.

It should have been an absolute dealbreaker, but my desire for jade and serptentine treasures made me think I MIGHT be able to take the risk.

It would have been such a shame to come all this way and give in to my fears.

My son patiently coaxed me and DIL all the way and made sure we safely descended the nearly vertical bluffs, while he scrambled down like a mountain goat.

I AM EMPOWERED. 

(My hair looks HORRIBLE, but I’m grinning from ear to ear.)

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The Jade Cove Trail is a simple flat path that loops out to the coast with a steep but short path down to the water where you can hunt for jade (please follow local regulations about collecting rocks.)

From the top.

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jadecove9 Animal print kelp?jadecovekelpTreasures from Jade Cove!
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After that, we drove to Julia Pfieffer State Park for a day hike. This state park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail. A panoramic view of the ocean and miles of rugged coastline is available from the higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1.

Overlook Trail and the cove with famous turquoise water.

juliap7McWay Falls, one of only two coastal waterfalls in California, where McWay Creek falls 80 feet over a granite cliff onto a sandy beach, or at high tide directly into the Pacific Ocean.Juliap8McWay Creek
JuliaP1 JuliaP2 juliap3 Majestic redwoodsjuliap4Squint your eyes and you can see Angel Boy and DIL at the base of the gigantic redwoods.
Juliap5 juliap6And now FINALLY, tugboat man’s flight has been confirmed and I’ll be driving to the airport tonight. He might not be home long enough to go back to to Montana de Oro or Jade Cove, but here in SoCal, surf is up and the champs on ice, so life is good.

Bottom line: Empowerment is empowering. At any age.

Read the rest of my Empowerment Series here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Three

Hiking at Montana de Oro.

After a horrible night of not much sleep thanks to a bunch of obnoxious college students who must have been too drunk to understand that, to most people, camping means peace and quiet, not a beer binged free-for-all, we embarked on a day hike.

Our goal was Valencia Peak, but we first made a loop up Oats Peak Trail.

Valencia Peak is a coastal mountain located within Montana De Oro State Park. This trail offers gorgeous views of the Central Coast, great views of Morro Bay, Cayucos, and on clear days, you can see Cambria and beyond — with amazing views of Spooner’s Cove to the south.

It’s an easy trail with gentle elevation gain; I didn’t even need the alpine walking sticks I packed.

The spectacular views begin right away as you ascend up onto a saddle, and the rest of the hike is before your eyes.

The trail gets a little harder the closer you get to the top.

DIL and I stopped shy of the peak; my son wanted to run to the top and back, so we took a break, ate lunch, and admired the view of the ocean.

There was cell service, so I called tugboat man to say hi and to let him know we are DEFINITELY going to spend a few days here when he returns.

The views are beyond breathtaking. It feels like you’re on top of the world.

The hike down is much easier, but watch out for rattlesnakes. We saw a baby, whose venom is more potent than the adult rattlesnake.

Not too difficult, right?
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Ah-may-ZINGmontanadeorohike2 Kind of a hazy day, but perfect hiking weather.montanadeorohike3My little goat boy.
montanadeorohike4A narrow passage.montanadeorohike5View from the Visitor’s Center.
montanadeorohike6Part Four: Jade Cove, Julia Pfeiffer, Cambria, and Costanoa.

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.
aprilwalk5 Overlooking Agua Hedionda. aprilwalk4

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/

The Sad Song of the Wolf

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

For as long as I can remember,  I’ve loved wolves.

This little Jewish girl from Detroit dancing around in a pink tutu and satin toe shoes harbored a secret desire to live among the wolves and become accepted as a pack member.

Crazy, right?

Crazy because the only wolves I encountered in Detroit were the hormone-addled little boys at the Jewish Community Center.

“The gaze of the wolf reached into our soul.” Barry Lopez

It wasn’t until we moved to California and I was in college that I did anything about it.

Back in the 1970s, I joined the fight to save the wolf from extinction by advocating for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),

In college, I studied predators and made plans to accompany research scientists and live with wolves in Minnesota and Michigan but never fulfilled that dream because I couldn’t (obviously) bring my dog, and I didn’t want to leave her.

Another dream unfulfilled. Oh, well.

Wolf print Yellowstone

Wolf print, Yellowstone

When tugboat man took me on a trip I’d fantasized about my entire life and we camped and hiked in Yellowstone National Park, we were lucky enough to see several of the wolves who make up the Lamar Valley pack, but we never heard the song of the wolf, probably because we camped right on Slough Creek, and the water, while beautiful, drowned out most animal sounds.

I’m still involved in the never-ending fight to save, defend, and protect this magnificent animal; read about my experiences in Sacramento when I testified at the  Fish and Wildlife Service‘s wolf delisting hearing: Saving Wolves.

From my testimony:  “At 6:00 a.m., a few miles outside our camp at Slough Creek, we followed others to a bison carcass, and our efforts paid off with a multiple sighting of many wolves, including 755. There was an overwhelming sense of awe among the dozens of us who silently watched him cross the road and then a collective sigh of relief when he disappeared safely over the ridge.

Last weekend, we took a drive to the Mojave Desert town of Lucerne to spend a few hours at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 1976 by Tonya Littlewolf.

Eleven wolves call this sanctuary home, and while I finally heard the haunting song of the wolf, the whole experience could only be described as sad.

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Why sad?

Sad because these magnificent creatures NEED to be rescued.

Sad that humans think they have the right to try and make pets out of these wild animals. (Not gonna work.)

Sad that the wolves can’t roam free, sad they’re hunted, tortured, hated, vilified.

Wolves are among the most intelligent species.

HOW DARE WE DESTROY THEM.

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

So yes. Sad. Very sad.

From Wolf Mountain Sanctuary website…all volunteer educational organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and proper management of wolves in the wild and in captivity. We are a forever home for all of the wolves we rescue. We rescue wolves from the movie industry, private owners, and from breeders.  The impression a 180 pound wolf leaves on you is everlasting. To look into their knowing, wise, amber colored eyes is a moving, spiritual experience. When you look into the eyes of a wolf, you see your soul…

“We have doomed the Wolf not for what it is, but for what we have deliberately and mistakenly perceived it to be..the mythologized epitome of a savage, ruthless killer..which is, in reality no more than a reflexed images of ourself.” Farley Mowat

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Denali (Deh-Nah-Lee) (“Great One” or “Highest Mountain”) was one of two pups born in the wilds of Alaska. He was rescued from the wolf-killing that was taking place in that state, both by private citizens and government agencies.

He’s a beautiful wolf with a golden sand coat.  Denali’s personality is very sweet, curious, and friendly.

Tugboat man fed him a biscuit and he took it from him in a gentle and almost dainty manner.

The wolves at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary are well cared for and healthy.

When I met this handsome guy, Holan, he immediately jumped up, put his front paws on my shoulders, and licked my face. See my joy? This is the smile of someone who loves wolves.

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Tugboat man is sitting next to me, but I had to crop him because he likes to remain anonymous.

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“The wolf is neither man’s competitor nor his enemy. He is a fellow creature with whom the earth must be shared.” L. David Mech

Look at him. The eyes. Amazing.

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Sniffing around where we had been seated.

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.” Barry Lopez

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“Inescapably, the realization was being borne in upon my preconditioned mind that the centuries-old and univerally accepted human concept of wolf character was a palpable lie. On three separate occasions in less than a week I had been completely at the mercy of these “savage killers”; but far from attempting to tear me limb from limb, they had displayed a restraint verging on contempt, even when I invaded their home and appeared to be posing a direct threat to the young pups.” Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Awesome Wolf Howling Compilation
http://youtu.be/op7fRsvWowA

A Man Among Wolves
http://youtu.be/j4vFBXOoHs0

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Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

 


From Wolf Mountain Sanctuary website:

WHY SAVE THE WOLF? Look at them: they are so noble, so beautiful.  The wolf, as well as other endangered species, are ecological indicators.  It is by studying these species and learning how to preserve them that we learn the main factors affecting our environment.

Perhaps in so doing, we will learn undiscovered ways to benefit mankind!

Unfortunately, there are those who deny the wolf’s place in the ecosystem.  Wolves are gunned down from airplanes and snowmobiles (which some consider “sport”).  Sometimes the fur is taken; however, more often than not, the animal is simply left to decay.

The wolf is poisoned “en masse,” trapped by leg-hold traps, used as adornments for the idle rich.

Today, the wolf’s range is limited to Alaska, Canada, the upper Midwest, and in Yellowstone National Park.  Some of the YNP wolves have traveled into adjoining states, which allow hunters to kill wolves on sight and for little to no reason.  In the 1930’s, there were approximately 50,000 wolves roaming the North American continent.  By the 1940’s, that number had been decreased to 1,000.  Today, mostly because of conservation efforts, there are approximately 3,000 wild wolves on the entire continent.  They have made a small comeback, but because of the recent delisted from the Endangered Species Act, wolves are once again under attack.

Wolf lovers need to band together and do all we can to help them.  TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

​Only you can save the wolf from extinction.  Proper management procedures must be put into action.

Won’t you join us in the wolf’s campaign? Please help the wolves any way you can:  sign all petitions you can to stop the wholesale slaughter of wolves and donate to organizations focused on protecting the wolf!


And here’s something else we can do NOW.

whitehousewolf

It’s important to help out those wonderful humans who devote their lives to protecting wolves like Wolf Mountain Sanctuary and Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary.

 

High Desert and Big Rocks

We’re back from Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in the Mojave Desert.

wolf mountain sanctuary I’ll post about our experience at the sanctuary, but it was mostly sad. Sad that these magnificent creatures NEED to be rescued. Sad that they can’t roam free, sad they’re hunted, tortured, hated. They are among the most intelligent and evolved species. How dare we destroy them. Sad. Very sad.

On the way home, we stopped at an amazing outcropping of rocks for a  little hike and picnic lunch.
mohave1 mohave2 The Mojave Desert is also known as the High Desert because of its elevation.mohave3 Blue sky and rocks.mohave4 Ick.mohave5 mohave6 mohave7 LOVE this pic.mohave8 Rock climber Not me.mohave9 mohave10 mohave11#highdesert #mojave #desert #wolves #hiking

Sea Turtle Conservation Near Todos Santos, Mexico

One year ago, we jetted down to the western tip of Baja California, Mexico so tugboat man could surf a giant winter swell.

This is where I was presented with the gift that kept on giving: XOXO From Mexico and went batshit crazy when a stupid girl put the moves on my hub. HERE: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband Part One and HERE: Part Two: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband

(Because I was so traumatized, I have yet to write about our encounter with Machete Man…THAT was one of the scariest episodes of our my lives.)

Before I became too sick to move more than a foot from the toilet (TMI?) we took a day off from surfing (him, not me) and drove to Todos Santos, home of the famous Eagles’ album cover featuring Hotel California.Hotel California

As we drove out of Todos Santos, we got lost, which was something we had been doing on a regular basis. Street signs that make sense must be a precious commodity south of the border, because we had a tough time navigating. If you venture off the paved road for just one second, you enter potholed dirt paths that have no end and twist and wind their way to what I was certain would be our deaths.

This time, however, it was fortuitous, because we saw a sign leading us to the Sea Turtle Sanctuary. 

Tortugueros Las Playitas A.C.
Environmental Conservation with Sea Turtle Focus

From their website:
“Our mission is to protect, conserve and replenish the fragile marine eco-systems of Baja California Sur, Mexico. In addition to our Sea Turtle population recovery program we place special interest on Habitat Protection, Environmental Education and Community Outreach in Todos Santos, Las Playitas and Agua Blanca.  

One of our goals is help restore the Critically Endangered Pacific Leatherback population which is on the verge of extinction. Our Incubation Greenhouse stabilizes sand temperatures creating an ideal nest habitat, where hatch rates are maximized and gender ratios are balanced. We invite you to join us as a volunteer, event participant or sponsor and help balance the fragile marine eco systems of Baja.”

tortuga1 And then we found it! There was a graduate student from Kansas collecting data with another scientist. They were very gracious and invited us inside for a private tour.

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All the darling little turtle eggs were covered in palm fronds. It was as hot as a Bikram yoga class in the plastic covered hut.tortuga5 Babies!tortuga6Squeeeeee! More babies!tortuga7 We weren’t able to stay until sundown to observe their release and watch them march toward their destiny.tortuga8 Hopefully, they all made it safely down to the sea and out in the world for long and happy lives.tortuga9 And then back we walked. Not one single seashell. NOT ONE.tortuga10

How to get there:

turtlesmapThe Eagles’ Hotel California: