As you read last week, the northern hemisphere experienced the summer solstice and people are heading for the great outdoors. According to the US National Park Service and National Today, June is Great Outdoors Month. There are still 4 days left in June to get outdoors and of course, that door is still open next month and all year long!
I wanted to title this post: “Can you handle the great outdoors after a pandemic?” But no, enough about it! While some countries still struggle with vaccinating its populace, here in the US, most of us are out and about with few restrictions. Make no mistake, Covid is still floating around, so stay safe if you find yourself around a crowd of people.
“During Great Outdoors Month, I encourage all Americans to explore our Nation’s beautiful outdoor spaces. As we enjoy the great outdoors — from national parks to our own backyards — let us rededicate ourselves to conserving our Nation’s natural spaces for our own well-being, and for the health, safety, prosperity, and fulfillment of generations to come.”
US President Joseph Biden
Ways to Celebrate “Great Outdoors” Month and Beyond
Take a Vacation!
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is prime vacation time. Join Marsha at Always Write for her weekly feature Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, where “vacation” is the theme. I commented back with now that I am retired, every day feels like a vacation. Hard to get used to but I’m managing!
“A vacation helps to relieve stress and boredom, gives us a change of scenery, provides us with adventure, and helps to bring us closer to the people in our lives.”
E. S. Woods
“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”
I enjoyed my first Hawaiian breakfast outdoors on the lanai of our beach-front hotel in Waikiki (Oahu) in January 2006.
Enjoy Backyard Birding!
Join a birding or photography group. I follow Spokane Birders on Facebook but I hope to find some fellow local birders to learn more about birds in the area.
“Bird watching is now North America’s second most popular outdoor activity (second only to gardening).”
Hike a Trail!
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, we got to take my daughter and boyfriend on an easy hike to a local area along the Spokane River called the Bowl and Pitcher, in Riverside State Park, just minutes from our new home. Large blocks of basaltic rock lie in and above the Spokane River in the formation of the bowl (right) and pitcher (left).
Walk the dogs. Another trail, just 100 yards from our house, is a great place to walk the dogs. With this heat wave, we get up early to accomplish this!
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Henry David Thoreau
Stop to smell a flower. Remember the earlier quote about gardening being the number one outdoor activity? Plant a garden or simply admire flowers and plants. Sharing for Cees’ Flower of the Day.
More Ways to Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and Beyond
In your backyard or neighborhood… Throw a block party. Grill in your backyard. Start or join a walking club. Relax and read a book on your porch.
In public lands...go camping. Plan a picnic. Swim, kayak, or boat on an ocean, lake, or river. Go fishing.
Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite sunrise and sunset photos as we celebrated the solstice. Please visit a few when you get the chance and welcome three bloggers as they share their posts for the first time at Sunday Stills!
We all love landscape photography. When you first began snapping photos, perhaps you naturally gravitated toward landscapes (or waterscapes—same thing), due to their ease of accessibility. Who doesn’t stand in awe of a wonderful vista and wish they had their phone or camera handy?
This is an easy challenge this week as you share your favorite land- or water-scapes, but the twist is to tell us why the image or images are your favorite, and something about the place. Since most of us are travel-restricted, let’s brag about our best or favorite landscapes as we all travel virtually along with each other!
For several years, my hubby and I traveled in December and January when we both could take extended time off from work. We enjoyed two winter road trips in our RV, both times visiting San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada.
We got snowed on in Sedona in 2019,
and visited the Grand Canyon in 2020. It took two attempts to get here!
On our way home to drop off the RV, we enjoyed a misty morning along the Sacramento River. This is one of my favorites.
Moving now into warmer winter climates, our first visit to the Big Island of Hawaii was on the Hilo side where we watched surfers skirting around the volcanic reefs on Hilo Bay. This particular image was created as a 40-30 canvas print I hang in my house.
I had to throw in a Painnted (filter) version of this image as we drove UP the Hamakua coastline on the northern end of the Big Island.
*My grandmother pronounced Hawaii “how-ah-ya,” for which I endlessly teased her, good-naturedly, of course. Though she was an English teacher, her Midwest roots shown through in her dialect.
Staying with our warmer winter climates, I was fortunate to visit Baja California, Mexico three times in the last 10 years. On the Sea of Cortez side in La Ventana just south of La Paz, mornings saw calm waters and fabulous sunrises, perfect for a morning stand-up paddle session or enjoying a cuppa jo.
During afternoons, the wind came up and windsurfing was the only way to enjoy the water. Photo credit to my husband.
Because I love the color green, I’ll stop for a landscape of cool greens like this one taken in the Sierra Nevada foothills in March, 2016. This area is near the town of Sutter Creek, originally populated during the California gold-rush era of the 1850s.
In late March, 2017, we stayed a few days in Yosemite Valley and captured this iconic view of Half Dome with Bridalveil falls in the foreground.
This image got a lot of hits on Facebook and Instagram. This is the Dishman Hills area of Spokane and this particular area looks spectacular in any season.
The above version was taken in mid November, while the one below shows early Fall splendor. I am sure to collect images of each season now that I live in the area!
I had to include a favorite autumn landscape titled Quincy in Fall, an image of a waterfall in the Feather River in Northern California. This is another image I had made into a large Canvas print.
Taken in 2010 with my first digital camera, I’m told by many this was prize-worthy. 11 years ago those compliments gave me much needed confidence to enjoy and explore photography.
And so it goes….
Honestly, this week’s theme couldn’t have come at a better time since we had to move again and I found myself super busy. No, not exactly what you are thinking. Our home is not ready yet, but the good news is that the interior will be worked on this week. Sadly, staying with my BIL in his toxic home environment was too much after 6 full weeks and we were fed UP. We spent all last week looking for another temporary home and I hurriedly put this post together. We looked for a house to rent for 1-2 more months, but nothing was available.
Plan C? Our 27-foot travel trailer has been parked on our nephew’s property, so we braved snowy roads and moved it to an RV campground on Thursday. This was the last thing my hubby wanted to deal with after the drama at his brother’s. At this writing, we are happily sitting in our warm RV in North Spokane enjoying our own space! He looks pretty happy in this pic and we are relieved.
A warm welcome to blogger Frank at Beach Walk Reflections to Sunday Stills last week. He shared a lovely post in response to “clouds and fog” at the suggestion of good friend and fellow blogger Marsha of Always Write. I’m so pleased more people are contributing to the Sunday Stills photo challenge. During January, eight bloggers joined the Sunday Stills challenge for the first time!
This is my last post linking with Becky B’s Squared Up Challenge as hers comes to an end. Some landscape photos do not square-up since they are from my archives. Thanks, Becky, for hosting your delightful quarterly challenge!
I am also pleased to share this post as a “photography journey” of sorts with this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge hosted by Amy.
I certainly look forward to seeing your favorite landscapes (and water-scapes)!
Remember you have all week to create a post for each week’s theme. February themes can be found HERE!
I’m sure you are dying to hear what I accomplished on my break. Aside from new inspiration for blogging and photos of new places, the month of August and the first weeks of September were a towering cluster of life events.
This week’s theme is “towering.” What towers over you, literally, like walls, mountains, or actual towers? Or is it figuratively, like huge goals or tasks set before you, that feel like mountains of stress, for example?
This week, I will share my journey over the last few weeks while on my blogging break. While I managed to sneak a peek at several blogs during this time, I was struck by just how busy I was.
Hang on while I summarize and tame the towering whirlwind.
A Tower of Boxes
From March to present, I have been packing…endlessly packing. In June-July-August, I packed at least one box a day. Our 10×10 storage unit is almost full of boxes and half of our furniture. This will be moved in mid-October.
In case you haven’t heard, we bought a property in Washington State north of Spokane, and are working on having a home built. The house should be ready by mid-December.
Towering Tufas and Mammoth Lakes
In late July, I took my second solo road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. I hadn’t seen my family since March, so it was a welcome reunion, meeting up with my daughter and boyfriend, and my brothers. In Mammoth Lakes, one popular attraction is the Devil’s Postpile (from another visit) that towers over us.
While staying in Mammoth Lakes, we drove an hour north to Mono Lake, which marks the entrance to Hwy 120 leading to the Tioga Pass entrance of Yosemite.
We visited the area of the tufa towers, made of limestone and calcium deposits fed by ancient underwater springs, some towering as high as 30 feet, show the lakebed of Mono Lake.
In this next view, you can see how tall these tufa towers are. Hard to believe we walked on the exposed ancient lakebed.
Before LA’s department of water and power began diverting water from the nearby tributaries from 1941-1990, the saline lake was full. Years of dropping lake levels nearly destroyed the lake and fragile surrounding ecosphere.
Though nothing but brine shrimp live in the lake’s waters, it feeds the millions of migratory birds. Due to the tireless efforts of the Mono Lake Committee, Mono Lake and the surrounding area are now protected as a California State natural reserve.
We finished our last day enjoying a few hours at one of the Mammoth Lakes where we took turns on my inflatable SUP…
…then a drive back to the Hwy 120 amidst the towering peaks to the Tioga Pass entrance of Yosemite.
Due to COVID, the NPS restricted automobile entry with permits reserved two months in advance. Though few people spend time in nearby Tuolumne Meadows, most people visit the popular tourist destination in Yosemite Valley. We had originally intended to spread my mom’s ashes in this area with the family under ordinary circumstances. We were able to get out of the car and walk around the meadows for a bit.
While in Mammoth, hubby calls to tell me he is scheduled for eye-surgery on August 6 to correct a detaching retina. Although it was outpatient laser surgery, I needed to stay home with him and was unable to take my pending week-long trip to San Diego to attend my mother’s delayed memorial service.
Due to fears of COVID, only my daughter, her boyfriend, and my brothers attended the service. Even though they sent me pictures and some video, the overwhelming guilt of this choice was hard to bear, but my family understood. I stayed home and packed.
Needless to say, August was the month of stress. My brother and his partner decided in late June they wanted to buy a home in Scottsdale, Arizona. They have been living in our family home off and on for several years. Once Mom passed, we considered selling the house, later, not sooner.
While this is going on, my hubby and I restructured our property loan to include the construction and the home itself. Have you ever bought or sold real estate? Have you ever done both in one month? Buying OR selling is stressful enough, let alone doing both. Between signing disclosures online, understanding inspection reports for Mom’s older home and everything in between, I lost sleep!
Let me put it this way…we signed papers with the mobile notary for our Spokane construction loan on August 10th and received the wire transfer for the sale of the family home later that afternoon.
Adding to the mix were hot temps, orange sunlight from wildfires (see next) and unending stress brought out the worst in me. I continually worry about what still must be packed and moved. I have lived here 32 years, so you know I have a LOT of things to pack. Hubby comes home every day after working outside in the heat and smoke only to spend 2-4 more hours working inside and outside our house. He’s painted, fixed floors and ceilings, rebuilt the backyard deck, installed appliances, cleaned up the backyard, etc.
Well, I still had a meltdown. This happened after the week we closed on the properties and the weekend of my Mom’s service. Thinking I was OK with everything, poor hubby comes home from work and I started in about how we need to hire some help to get the house ready for pre-inspection, we are running out of time, yada yada…I ranted and raved while he said nothing. How do men do that?
Turned out that I was NOT OK with missing my mom’s service and saying goodbye to my family home. Once I recognized why I was so angry and stressed, I grieved again and let it go. How will I deal with saying goodbye to my current home of almost 33 years in a few months? Sigh…
Towering Billows of Smoke
To make matters worse, August was not only the hottest month here in Northern California, but as many as 320+ wildfires broke out statewide. We were quite far away from them, but we were surrounded by smoke and falling ash, leaving us with days of unhealthy and hazardous air (as in “don’t go outside”) and temperatures topping 110 degrees. Another reason to wear a mask!
On a positive note, we finally made it to the delta to enjoy some fresher air at the end of August and celebrate our 7-year wedding anniversary!
A Monumental Academic Task
In August I finalized my online university classes for Fall. The classes began the first week in September. The bridge across the river to campus is all but abandoned as students stay home this Fall.
My course is easy to teach online because I have pre-recorded content from previous semesters. But what I love about teaching is engaging in the classroom, face-to-face. I don’t teach this class virtually using Zoom, but I could if needed. I recorded myself using a campus-approved video service…it is so weird to talk to a computer monitor staring at the corresponding slideshow. It’s confusing to know where to look!! I had some other trouble with some of the content and had to Zoom with IT to help me. As much as I enjoy and embrace technology, there are reasons I don’t utilize video.
The semester got off to a good start, however, and students seem enthusiastic so far.
Labor Day Weekend’s Overpowering Heat
What was essentially our last weekend at the delta was some of the worst heat we have experienced. Try camping in your trailer with no hookups (read no electrical to power a fan) over night. This was necessary to be able to break down our structure which serves as a “garage” for our windsurf and paddle gear and equipment.
The AQI (air quality index) showed a ridiculous 200+, unhealthy for all. We endured, then gratefully drove home in our air-conditioned vehicles. The next week we pulled the trailer home under better circumstances.
Towering Travails on the Road Trip
I’m finishing this post as we take another road trip to pull the trailer to its new home in Spokane. Driving northbound on highway 5 through the Shasta and Dunsmuir mountain passes is an adventure in good weather. There would be no way to safely move the trailer in the winter.
However, driving the trailer home from our delta campground along the Hwy 5 proved to be a problem. We had noticed metal liner on the front of the trailer had pulled away slightly. Not worried too much we hooked up and headed the 60 miles home.
Hubby looked in the rear view mirror and noticed something odd so we pulled over to find the bottom half of the trailer exposed! That metal piece was hanging by a thread and would have torn off had he not stopped. He managed to manually screw in 5 screws to hold it together as vehicles flew by us at 80 mph shaking the trailer. It was beyond scary!
First thing Sunday morning, as hubby was hoisting the SUP and kayak onto the top of the truck, the darn kayak slipped and slid down the lumber rack and lopped off the side mirror of hubby’s truck! I held a flashlight while he (this time with his electric screw gun) cobbled the mirror housing back to the truck. Luckily the mirrors weren’t broken, and we were able to head out safely. We left the kayak home this time.
Several more deadly wildfires broke out in Oregon as we began our trip. There were no fires along the Hwy 97 through central Oregon, but the unbelievably smokey air from wildfires obscured the sun. The first leg to Bend, Oregon pulling the trailer took only 8 1/2 hours, instead of the usual 8. We camped in our other nephew’s driveway overnight and headed out early the next morning to Spokane to stay with hubby’s brother.
Aside from this, all seemed well until…
Our trailer got a flat tire! Another driver motioned us over frantically pointing to our trailer. We got out to see a shredded tire spinning uselessly next to the other tire. A trailer this size has dual tires, thankfully. Hubby fixed the flat and off we went looking for a tire store in which to buy another tire to use as a spare.
We finally made it to our destination in Spokane after another 8-hour drive. During the week, we dealt with a variety of items related to our home and property, including putting some things in storage and storing the trailer at our nephew’s home on his 10 acres in Spokane until we move there. He told my hubby that it would cost him a tri-tip a week!
Of note, both nephews are firefighters. Yes, they’ve been busy! My heartfelt thanks to those heroes who risk their lives every day under disastrous conditions.
It was fun to see the property although it was covered with towering weeds!
We met with our contractor and he outlined what he will be doing over the next two months. Despite all the towering troubles and uncertainty, these sure are exciting times!
For Sunday Stills this week, think about “towering” and its vast synonyms. For hints, I used a few in my headings. I am happy to be back to the blog and can’t wait to see what you do with this “towering” theme! Now you understand why I needed this break!
Today is Mother’s Day in the US. In our current state of the world, many mothers will not see their families in person today.
This is the first Mother’s Day I am without my own mother. Many of you know she passed away on March 3rd, thankfully before the coronavirus prevented folks from spending time with their loved ones in the hospitals and care homes.
I dedicate today’s post and theme to all the mothers who give love, time, and their hearts to their families and communities.
My mom was a giver. She loved to shower family and friends with thoughtfully chosen and unusual gifts, especially to her grandchildren. She enjoyed perusing gift shops for just that right gift. This photo shows this tiny frog that hangs on the side of a potted plant. She gave me these years ago, both the frog and a tortoise. The plants are in my kitchen windowsill where I can see these all day and remember her thoughtfulness.
Many commented on our Facebook post announcing her passing how much they enjoyed the gifts she had given them over the years.
Mom gave back to her community in many ways, most notably, her volunteer work with San Diego’s Project Wildlife. She spent 10 years from 1998, rescuing orphaned and injured ducks, nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into local lakes and reservoirs. She had a backyard full of ducks in various stages of need and health, some domestic and many wild.
I like to think that this photo of her as a teen (seen here playing with her pet skunk, while her brother plays with their pet, Lucky Duck), foreshadowed her interest in this happy endeavor.
Mom’s giving was represented in her love for recreation and leisure. She loved gardening and cultivated beautiful roses. She taught me how to create potted flower vignettes in my garden and showed me how to cut back my roses for better growth. She would have loved my current backyard garden filled with sunflowers and plumeria.
I believe her enduring legacy was that she instilled the love for our national parks and outdoor leisure spaces into not just her children, but her grandchildren and beyond.
She was continually inspired by the words of John Muir and made sure we all received a healthy dose of nature and its awe-inspiring grandeur.
Like many moms, I will not be with my daughters this year. This lovely bouquet from my daughters arrived Wednesday night!
Speaking of giving, last week was the traditional week of giving with Thursday designated as the Big Day of giving. Non-profit organizations really rely on monetary and in-kind donations to operate. I have my car full of bags ready to donate to local non-profits as soon as they re-open.
Sunday Stills is taking a break on May 17th but join us again on May 24th for our water-themed challenge.
Are you a mother, a daughter, a niece, an auntie, a grandmother or granddaughter? Please enjoy your Mother’s Day and reflect on those memories while making new ones!
Friday was the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of the official state legal lockdown here in California. It was a beautiful sunny day with mild temperatures. My neighbor and I walked our dogs, of course keeping the appropriate 6-feet of social distance.
I was struck by how many people were out and about, enjoying their front yards, walking their dogs, even some riding bikes around the neighborhood. I feel this crisis, just like 9-11 in 2001, will bring community together even more so.
This week’s theme is Favorite Places
A Favorite Backyard
To spark the creativity for this post, I share a previous photo of my lovely sunflower from last year. You might remember I was home bound for two months recovering from foot surgery last summer, so my back-yard, lush with sunflowers and plumerias was my favorite place for a while. I guess it will be again while we languish at home.
A Leisure Legacy of Favorite Places Instilled
Some of you may know that my mother passed away in early March. While I am sad and still find myself weeping for no reason, I am content that she is at peace.
For recreation, Mom always insisted we all go somewhere every Saturday or Sunday, whether it was to church, the beach (we lived in San Diego), the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Sea World, or trips to the Cuyamaca Mountains to enjoy winter snow or summer picnics.
Summers found us all at La Jolla shores beach or tide pools. During my younger teen years, we also enjoyed weekly warm summer evening excursions to Pacific Beach after a quick dinner at Wienerschnitzel or Taco Bell.
My mom and dad loved camping and spent two-three weeks each summer enjoying the Sierra Nevadas. When we kids were old enough, we joined them.
I just love seeing this photo of my mom back in 1981, when she was healthy.
Before our 2-week camping trips, a trip to the local library was in order to stock up on books. We did a lot of reading on those 8-hour road trips and read on our down time at the campsite.
We camped in Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, but always seemed to land in Tuolumne Meadows, in Yosemite’s high country. Less crowded than the Valley, with its onslaught of tourists and hot summer temps, Mom preferred Tuolumne’s campground, with Ranger-led evening campfires, endless hiking trails and daily fishing!
A Leisure Legacy of Favorite Places Continues
“Our camping trips and excursions instilled a strong leisure ethic in me that exists to this day and has been passed down to my daughters, my brothers and their children.”
I had the honor of writing and preparing her obituary for publication in a local San Diego area newspaper. Diane loved her community of Lemon Grove. Services will be conducted in early June, around the date of what would have been her 80th birthday, in a beautiful park near the home where she grew up.
We have obtained a permit to scatter her ashes in her beloved Tuolumne Meadows, in July, where she loved to fish in the meadows, where we hiked as a family for over 15 years.
At last, she will be at peace in her favorite place.
Today’s post is chattier than usual as I remember my mom and her legacy. Remember, your post should focus on the theme rather than reflect on what I’ve written.
Sunday Stills is taking a one-week break March 29. I will be back to the blog in April to participate in Becky B’s April Squares and resume Sunday Stills on April 5.
This week, our Sunday Stills photo challenge is to photograph something from afar, then get close to the object or scene and take a close-up or image from a reasonable distance to show more details. Reach into your archives or take some new photos for the challenge.
This week’s challenge was inspired by the following photographs of a small grove of ornamental cherry trees on a residential street in my neighborhood. They bloomed early in February and put on a “stop the car” show.
Once I got out and took the shot, I walked closer and noticed the blossoms were alive with bees!
I am glad I took these when I did, as the north winds have since blown away the delicate blooms.
This photo was taken at 20,000 feet on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego over Yosemite Valley. Not bad for a window shot and I took the liberty of marking the main peaks for you. What is astounding to me is to be able to see the high country of Tuolumne Meadows at the top portion of the image!
As close as I can get is this shot of Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley. My brother and my two daughters have taken the hike up Half Dome. It is strenuous and I admire those who can devote an entire day (12-15 hours) to the hike. This is close enough for me, thank you.
Valley floor view of Half Dome in Spring, shrouded with clouds.
Ten years ago, in February 2010, was my first trip to Baja Sur, Mexico to meet my not-yet husband on his windsurfing vacation in La Ventana. We toured the area south of there and came across these lighthouses. The shorter one was in the process of being replaced by the active, taller structure. With binoculars, you can see this peninsula from La Ventana and you can make out these structures (don’t have that shot to share with you).
We were able to climb into the old lighthouse for the “near” shot you see of me!
As host of Sunday Stills, I am always pleased whenever you share your photos each week. I am always excited to welcome new bloggers who join the challenges. Please welcome and visit our five new participants who joined in February!
Did you know that today, Sunday, August 25th is the National Park Service Anniversary? So what, right? The NPS celebrates this day along with two other days with FREE entrance to all US national parks!
“For the first time in human history, land—great sections of our national landscape—was set aside, not for kings or noblemen or the very rich, but for everyone, for all time.”
From the National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns
The last time I was near a national park was during our winter road trip to Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. We were thisclose to the Grand Canyon, but icy roads, unexpected snow, AND the US government shut-down prevented us from getting to it safely.
One of these days! But we did visit Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and I got my photography fix.
Here are a few photos of the National Parks I have visited. After 25 separate visits in my lifetime to Yosemite National Park, I may have a few pics! Here are some of my favorites.
A view of Mono Lake (National Monument) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada along Hwy 395. You can just make out the road in the bottom right that winds through the town of Lee Vining and connects with Hwy 120, the gateway to Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance.
As much as I thrill to the iconic image of Yosemite’s Half Dome located in the Valley…
…my heart belongs to Tuolumne Meadows in the high country a few miles in from the Tioga Pass entrance. At almost 10,000 feet in elevation, the air is crisp, the water insanely blue, and the tourists are few!
Moving away from the North American continent, Hawaii boasts several national parks and recreation areas.
In January 2018, before the Kilauea crater and nearby vents erupted again, we spent a day walking around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park near Hilo on the Big Island.
On an earlier trip to Oahu in 2006, I also was fortunate to visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial and see the sunken remains of the USS Arizona. Within this structure is the huge memorial plaque with the names of those who perished.
I have been fortunate to visit a variety of national parks, monuments and recreation areas, mostly in California, all US public lands. I never will forget my parents’ insistence on visiting these locations during my life.
Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
Cabrillo National Monument (Point Loma, San Diego)
Devil’s Postpile Nat’l Monument in Mammoth Lakes
Fort Point Presidio and Presidio of San Francisco, Golden Gate park
Mojave Nat’l Preserve
Muir Woods Nat’l Monument North San Francisco Bay
Pony Express Trail (came through Old Sacramento),
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Yosemite National Park
Even if you miss the free admission day, paying the entrance fee for a day or a week is worth more to you in the long term than paying your HMO’s co-pay when you must visit the doctor for effects of lack of exercise!
Have you heard of ParkRx? Doctors in South Dakota get these prescriptions through a new program run by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the state‘s Department of Health. For me, I would love to get a prescription to visit a park rather than drugs to lower my cholesterol!
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
John Muir, Our National Parks
Whether you live in the US or another country, why is it so important to visit our national lands? Because someone with vision understood the vital importance of setting aside public lands for all of us to enjoy and for future generations.
Next time you visit a National Park, a public playground or any other public leisure space, say a quick thank you to those visionaries: Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jane Addams, Steven T Mather, among many.
I dearly love this image of my brother-in-law’s posture as he takes in his first view of Tuolumne Meadows.
The last day of June 2019 is a wonderful way to spend in the outdoors, our theme for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. June was National Great Outdoors Month, which seems appropriate as many folks begin their summer vacations.
To help inspire you, today I am sharing some of my favorite photos of this year’s visits to the great outdoors along with some motivational quotes.
You know that I am an outdoors person, therefore most of my leisure time is spent outdoors appreciating nature. Since hubby is an adventurous spirit, anything outdoors is our first choice for time together.
Last December found us in the Arizona desert enjoying a warm hike on one day and snowy New Year’s the next.
“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.”
In January we completed our road trip in Las Vegas in awe of the red rocks of Valley of Fire State Park. Once home we towed the trailer back to its storage location in the Sacramento Delta (in Antioch) and enjoyed the serenity of the valley fog.
During my spring break from teaching in mid-March, we spent as much time as possible outdoors in Hilo, Hawaii.
April is the start of windsurfing season. We moved the trailer again for the summer and enjoyed some water sports.
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.”
In May, I spent a lovely weekend in South Lake Tahoe at our ladies retreat taking moments to contemplate the still waters of Zephyr Cove.
There is no wi-fi in the forest, but you will find a better connection.
Before the retreat, I arrived early to take a bike ride around the Tahoe Keys Marina, a residential boating area amidst the pine trees. How amazing to walk outside your back door and hop on your watercraft! Yes, please!
Of course, John Muir inspires countless generations to enjoy the great outdoors!
“There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in this process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
I love this quote. The U.S. will celebrate Independence Day on July 4th this week. In the image below, the American flag stands tall and proud amidst the sacred lodgepole pines of Yosemite National Park.
Did you notice that this image is square? Beginning July 1, join Becky B for Blue July squares. Until then, Happy Independence Day!
We all know a “bucket list” is the list of things you want to do, see, experience before you die.
A bucket-list image is that person, place or thing you want to photograph before you kick that bucket!
It has always been my dream to take my photography to the next level. Nothing wrong with my Samsung Galaxy cell phones, but a “real” camera does so much more!
For example, a phone or point-and-shoot digital cannot take a satisfactory image of the full moon or an action sports shot.
When it is too windy for me to sail, I happily shoot other windsurfers in the high winds. This zoomed-in shot below taken with my Lumix FZ300 has a “travel lens” that shoots from 25-600 feet with amazing clarity! This was taken in auto mode…now that I have learned more about my camera from taking a class, I can play with aperture and other setting to perhaps get a better shot.
I am quite happy with this shot. Not only can you see his expression, but the water droplets are relatively sharp. Not the best image in terms of composition, but I’m happy with it!
I love photos of the full moon. In my class, the pro photographer showed me the settings to get this shot of the almost full-moon in October. (manual mode, F2.8 1000 ISO 100).
Here is what I was getting before.
The phone can’t do it all, nor should we expect it to. I have been lucky and diligent to get some fab photos with the phone though.
I follow so many talented blogger/photographers who take incredible images, many of which I simply drool over wanting to have one of my own in my “portfolio.”
Some of the bucket-list images I’m hoping for include:
Extreme macros of flowers, plants, bugs.
Canadian Snow geese in flight
More national parks and monuments
To help inspire you, here are some of the images that have satisfied my bucket list so far.
Macro Flower and Bee
Black Sand Beach, Hilo
Swimming with Whale Sharks in Baja
Share your new and old bucket-list images and tell us about them!
Yes, there will be a part-two to this bucket-list image challenge early next year, so you can save some for that post or go create more.
I have added the December themesto my page. Please visit as I have made some small changes.
For the Sunday Stills challenge to celebrate the first week in July, share your favorite thing about summer. You can simply share one photo of your favorite summer experience or wow us with a gallery of what summer means to you.
And it’s not just about photos…perhaps you are inspired by a song, poem, artwork, short story or something else. It would be nice to have a photo of your idea, but please be creative!
What does “summer” mean to you? Is it the warm (or hot) weather? Or…
Witnessing a refreshing summer storm?
Planting and enjoying your backyard garden?
Enjoying a water sport?
Enrolling the kids in some swim lessons?
A beautiful hike in the mountains?
Calm sunrise at a Mexican resort?
Chasing your dog on the beach?
Stopping to smell the flowers?
Visiting a national park?
Whatever it is, please share your idea of SUMMER this week!
Since we are on the subject of summer, feel free to join us on Instagram for the Summer Instagram Photo Challengethat starts today. You can join anytime!
While the U.S. celebrates Memorial Day this weekend (holiday observed Monday), my co-host Aixa at Mucho Spanish chose the theme “aroma” for the Sunday Stills photo challenge.
Memorial Day weekend is the traditional “unofficial” kick-off to the summer season here in the Northern Hemisphere. I, myself, am at the Sacramento Delta for a long weekend as this publishes. Part of the tradition includes backyard BBQ filling the air with mouthwatering aromas of chicken, salmon, tri-tip (my hubby’s specialty) and other grilled treats!
The above image shows an array of canapes perfect to whet your appetite!
Deepest gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.
Last week as I rode my bike around the neighborhood, I noticed many folks preparing their RVs for a long weekend excursion.
Here in Northern California we are within two hours of either the Sierra Nevadas (Lake Tahoe, Gold Country, and Yosemite just 4 hours south east) and the San Francisco Bay area and the ocean. In between are countless campgrounds, lakes, rivers and other wonderful leisure places.
Each with their own, distinct aromas.
In one of the classes I teach, we study a concept called “smellscape,” sort of an exploration of the senses. Students are asked to think about their favorite leisure places and identify the scents, smells, odors and aromas associated with them.
For me, my favorite scent is the blast of pine that fills the cool mountain air as you enter the forest. As kids on our long drive into Yosemite from the Mohave Desert along the Eastern Sierra Nevada, we rolled down the car windows and drank in the scent, as soon as we reached 7000 feet elevation and saw the trees.
Similarly, there is such a distinctive smell associated with the ocean as soon as you pull into the parking lot at the southern California beaches.
The salt air, sun-warmed asphalt and sidewalks, BBQs, sand and ocean air create a cacophony of smells that announces “you are now at the beach.”
So, take a moment, close your eyes and think of scents that bring you joy and remind you of your favorite leisure activities.
What are your favorite aromas? Please share photos that represent them!
Being that this post publishes during Memorial Day Weekend, I am compelled to share one more Water Safety post. 20+ years working in the public swimming pool and aquatics industry will do that to a person!
Although I have several favorite places, my heart now lies in Hilo, Hawaii.
Since that magical trip in January, the warm, tropical climate, laid back atmosphere, and shockingly green vistas have been calling me back. The above featured image shows the serene park setting overlooking Hilo Bay, while the image below captures the lush green plant life near the black sands.
For more Big Island photography, visit Graham’s Island. Graham posts beautiful photos of life on the Big Island!
Sunday Stills Revisited…Preliminary Plans for My New Feature
Apparently, I must miss blogging because I tend to dream about it. Last night I suddenly got inspired by the now defunct feature, Sunday Stills, a photo challenge hosted by Ed for several years. Notice there are no links because he hung up his blog and deleted his site.
My addled and sleepy brain managed to churn out an idea that I am playing around with, to bring back the Sunday Stills photo challenge with the help of a couple of photobloggers! If you are intrigued by this notion, shoot me an e-mail through my contact page. More about this in early April, with the plan to launch the feature in May.
For now, think about your favorite place and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you soon! I miss you all and I appreciate you stopping in to say hello!
The above image is of myself and my Beloved daughters enjoying a summer day in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. We just celebrated their late January birthdays, 30 for Lauren, 33 for Megan. I am honored to have passed on a strong leisure ethic to them.
This photo of Lembert Dome from the Tuolumne Meadows Campground depicts my beloved leisure space of all time. How fortunate my grandparents passed on their love of the mountains to my mother and dad, who in turn made sure we spent many hours at the beaches of San Diego, endless days of weekend outings and glorious weeks camping, keeping the values of leisure in a busy, fast paced world.
If you are wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post, it means I am using this WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme to say a fond farewell to my beloved readers and bloggers.
As another year turned the corner, I made the difficult decision about this blog, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives.
Now is the time for me to take an extended break from writing and publishing.
I am both sad and a little relieved at this decision.
Teaching is Taking All My Time
Although I profess to be retired, I have been teaching part-time as a lecturer in the Recreation and Parks field, which requires more time than I initially expected. Going from one class per semester while also working full-time was one thing, to teaching 15 units a year, some semesters with 150 students, feels like full-time work.
And I dearly love it!
This spring semester I took on a new course teaching the management of leisure organizations. Simple enough one would think, but have you seen the mountains of management literature out there?
I read at least 100 pages of management literature every day, then synthesize it into curriculum and power point slides while making it all relevant to their assignments. I had to create this course from scratch because of my own management experiences in the field.
Last night I lectured from the textbook on the evolution of management theory. I told my 80 students that they will likely never remember Max Weber’s “Bureaucratic Method” of the depression years or Elton Mayo’s “Human Relations Approach” of the 50s and 60s. You could hear a pin drop as students dutifully listened to the lecture.
When I began the next lecture at 7:30pm on self-management, they began to flood me with questions. Suddenly, the energy in the room was exciting and palpable as I shared the latest trends on what it takes to be a new manager in the field. By the time I got home at 9:00pm, I was wired!
This is where my energy needs to be…
…with these university students, hungry for information on what will direct the rest of their careers.
In the blogging world, blogs come and go. I hope you learned a little something from me about finding a healthy balance of leisure in your own lives and that you make wise leisure choices going forward.
I will be visible on Facebook and Instagramwhere I will continue to share my photos. I will also continue to read your posts when I can and I do hope to blog again at the end of the semester.
I cannot thank you all enough for the wonderful friendships and relationships I have built since I started consistently blogging in September 2014. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, liking, commenting and sharing my posts.
Alpenglow is an optical phenomenon in which a horizontal reddish glow is observed on the horizon opposite to the sun.
Tuolumne Meadows, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada’s high country of Yosemite National Park, is the place to witness the amazing alpenglow at sunset. The phenomenon often lingers for several minutes after the sun has completely set, filling the sky with the ethereal orange-red glow.
Not only is alpenglow an amazing phenomenon, but John Muir described the Sierra Nevada Range as “The range of light.”
“Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.” — from The Yosemite (1912)
Hard to capture with anything other than the naked eye, there is something magical about the sunlit Glow reflected on the billions of pine needles that give off a light of their own.
Even the shining granite known as “glacial polish” adds the ethereal glow Muir described.
The Range of Light has infused inspiration into my soul since I walked these meadows in 1968 as an eight year-old. TWSchrandt
I thought I would have some fun with this challenge using a photo of myself appearing to drink up Yosemite Falls.
“When you drink in nature through your senses, you deepen your awareness of the great silent intelligence flowing through all things. You nourish your mind, body, and spirit as you connect to the divine love of Being.” — Deepak Chopra
According to Erika for this week’s WordPress photo challenge, “Photography, and any visual art, is all about perspective. For this week’s challenge, make use of sizing, placement, and Scalein your photos. Have some fun with perspective and show just how big, or little, the world can seem.”
To give you more perspective as the challenge suggests, here is a photo of my hubby (in green bike helmet) about a mile from Yosemite Falls.
More scale and perspective fun as we took turns photographing each other appearing to hold Bridalveil falls in our hands.
As you can see, a slightly wrong perspective can change the tone of the photo to something comical. Hubby did not have enough towels to dry Yosemite Falls from his cap.
No matter your perspective or how grand the subject of the photo, we humans will always appear as tiny blips on the immense scale of nature. And once you are in tune with nature, your five senses will thank you for the gift!
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.” John Muir