Walking Meditation – Tangled Dead Roots

Walking Meditation

During my morning walking meditation I came upon a fallen tree, bleached by the rain and sun. I stopped and stared for the sight reminded me of my thoughts recently.

Tangled Dead Roots

Goals seem like they are going to be a straight shot, but then life throws events, or situations into our path. Everything becomes tangled in complications. All we can do is move forward carefully, being gentle with our own and other’s feelings, as we navigate through the tangled dead roots, remembering that there is life at our feet ready to spring into new growth.

 


Travel Tips

 Travel Tips

How do you write “Travel Tips” condensing everything you’ve learned through your travels into a blog post? You don’t. It’s impossible. But I do have a few travel tips I’d like to share.

GET YOUR PASSPORT!

Once you get your passport your brain immediately starts thinking about where you can go. It’s magic.   https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html

RESEARCH

 RESEARCH THE COST OF:

  • Lodging = I recommend hostels, www.hostels.com
  • Transportation= Passes are cheaper than individual tickets.
  • Food= If you cook at the hostel you save tones of money.
  • Fun= Museums, pub crawls, sporting events, or other amusements.

You can find the cost of a ferry ticket from Rome to Sardinia on the internet, plus EVERYTHING else you need to know. There’s no excuse not to have a rough budget outline before you board the plane.

So, you’ve got your approximate budget, now…

OPEN TRAVEL ACCOUNT

Open a savings account specifically for travel.

  • Once you have a budget figured out; STOP BUYING STUFF you don’t need. Put that money in a travel account.
  • STOP DINING OUT! The average American spends over $200.00 a month eating out. You can stay in a dorm room at a hostel in Lisbon, Portugal for 6 nights for the same amount of money. Put that money in your travel account.
  • Check on flights to Ireland. Sometimes you can get real bargains and Ireland is a wonderful country to visit. Once you’re there you can fly really cheaply from Ireland to all over Europe.
  • Once the money is in your travel account, mentally lock that money away. It no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the trip.
  • Put up pictures of your travel destination on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator and work station. This will help you stay focused.

You can travel in Europe for 1,500.00 a month with diligence to your budget. I know some people that can do it for only $25.00 a day.

PACKING LIST

Here is a very basic packing list.

Clothes (adjust for season and climate)

  • 1 pair of walking shoes
  • 1 pair of waterproof sandals
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 3 sets of underwear
  • 1 wool sweater/fleece
  • 1 water & wind resistant jacket
  • 2 pairs of pants, belt (1 skirt or shorts optional)
  • 2 t-shirts (or short sleeve shirts)
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt
  • 1 swimsuit or running shorts
  • 1 hat, scarf, Bandanna
  • EAR PLUGS, SLEEP MASK

My philosophy on clothing is:

WEAR ONE, WASH ONE, SPARE ONE

Medicine & Toiletries
• Prescription medicines
• Toothbrush/toothpaste
• Soap/shampoo
• Towel
• Comb or brush
• Deodorant
• Basic first aid kit
• Feminine Products
• Shaving cream/razor
• Sunscreen, insect repellent
• Contact lens solution (if necessary)
• Small mirror
• Spare contact lenses
• EAR PLUGS & SLEEP MASK

Miscellaneous
• Money belt
• Combination padlock and luggage locks
• Camera and film or use cell phone
• Small flashlight/batteries
• Travel journal/small notebook
• Optional Book
• Optional Playing cards
• Sunglasses
• Water bottle
• Universal power converter, optional electronics and cords

Did I mention, EAR PLUGS & SLEEP MASK?

PASSPORT AND BUDGET

You have your passport, your research of where you want to go and how long you want to stay there, and your approximate budget. I say approximate because the master travelers have a saying, “Pack half of what you think you need, and take twice as much money as you think you need.” I can’t afford to travel by that ideology, but I do eat out more than I think I’m going to, so I’ve learned to budget with my weakness in mind.

BE THERE

Once you get there; BE THERE.

  • Focus on where you are not where you are going next or whether of not the dog sitter is feeding Bonzie.
  • Be kind to yourself. No matter how much research you do, things can and will go wrong. Traveling is the time when you can “lighten up” and “laugh it off” when you’ve made a mistake.
  • Stay long enough to meet a local and try something they recommend.
  • I store all my photos online at Google Photos. That way I don’t worry about my camera getting full.
  • If you carry your computer, back up your important stuff on a flash drive, or in the cloud. Computers can get stolen.
  • Don’t be afraid! None of us are safe 100% of the time no matter where we live. GO! Go enjoy life.

  • Activate your senses! Taste something new. Notice the different scent between a bakery and a tartan manufacturer (quite a difference!!!) I get a kick out of how the police sirens sound in London as compared to America.
  • Go see the sights, and then go eat and shop with the locals. You save money this way.

GET BACK

You’ve had a wonderful trip and now you have to get back and take up “normal” life again.

  • My technique to avoid Jet-lag is getting right back into my normal routine. It’s brutal but it works for me.
  • No one really wants to hear about your grand adventure. “It sounds like bragging.” I’ve been told. Connect with some other travelers so you can swap travel stories and refresh memories.
  • Continue your grand adventure by being a tourist in your own city or state. You’d be surprised how much you can discover about “your own back yard.”
  • It can feel surreal when getting back into everyday life. You start asking yourself, “Did I really hike along castle walls built by the Moors in the 9th Century?” This is a good time to go and look at pictures of your trip.

 


Tree Bark With Moss

Tree Bark With Moss

Over the years we try to develop thick skin so minor injuries don’t wound our core.

But some events can tear our protective covering away.

If it takes too much time to heal, longings for the past can appear.

It’s best to leave these feelings on the surface, or deep core healing will never occur.


Vallecito Creek Trail Hike

Vallecito Creek Trail

The Vallecito Creek Trail sign is very clear. Since I don’t have pedals are wheels, I am allowed to hike. The beginning of the  trail follows the outskirts of the Vallecito Creek Campground.

Tall Pines shade the trail and small rocky cliffs dare you to climb. I don’t rock climb anymore, but if you are interested you can hike out into the wilderness and experience several terrific climbs.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/sanjuan/recreation/climbing

Aspen Tree

With so many trees with dark trunks lining the trail, it was a joy to hike past a group of Aspens. The Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) can cover hundreds of acres of land. This Aspen grove was small, so I’m not sure if it was the Quaking Aspen or some other variety.

 

The white trunks of the Aspen tree really pop out against the backdrop of Pine and Cedar trees. It was lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting our environment is very important to me, and every other person who loves to spend time in nature. We keep our eyes on current government policies that will protect our treasured places where we hike, bird watch, camp, climb, or enjoy Nature Walking Meditations.

 

The Aspen Trees are watching us. Be warned! They have their eyes on you!

 

Vallecito Creek Campground

At the end of the Vallecito Creek Campground two creeks converge into one. It was a great place to shoot a few photos and take a moment to hydrate. With so much water around, it’s hard to remember that the air is very dry. It’s advised to drink lots of water while your hiking. Take your own. Don’t drink the creek water!

 

 

As much as I love the photos my phone takes, it doesn’t do a great job when I’m shooting toward the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting downstream gives a better idea of how clear the water is and how many rocks populate the creek bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the  Vallecito forest fire in 2012 many trees fell. As you hike, you will notice several trees have been removed from the trail to sit a few feet from where hiking boots tread. Others lay higgledy-piggledy throughout the forest. I think it makes for a great photo.

 

 

 

In this photo the fallen trees have made natural bridges across the stream. I walked across many of these in my youth, but at my age, I will take the safety and security of man made wooden bridges as pictured below.

 

 

Foot Bridge

When you come to the footbridge, there is a kiosk with information about the Weminuche Wilderness area.

I was only taking a small hike, but some people hike for days at a time. There is a sign-in book that helps the emergency rescue staff locate any missing persons. I didn’t take a photo of the kiosk, but I thought this sign was cool.

Whenever I go across a foot bridge, I always try to get a shot from below the structure. Some times I’ve taken shoes and socks off to get the shot, but this one turned out fine without getting wet.

Weminuche Wilderness

 

Even though I was only hiking for a few miles, I appreciate the grandeur of the Weminuche wilderness.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service,  “The Weminuche Wilderness is the largest Wilderness area in Colorado at 499,771 acres.” Read more about the area here:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sanjuan/recarea/?recid=81032

 

 


Walking Meditation, ADHD Brain

Walking Meditation, ADHD Brain

Walking meditation works well for me. Having ADHD has challenged my efforts at meditation. It’s hard for me to sit still and even harder to still my thoughts. But, if I walk quickly, putting my body on automatic pilot, my mind “zones out” of daily troubles and my scattered jumpy-ADHD-brain settles down to a place where mindfulness can slip in. I take joy in smells, sights and birdsong. I can be mindful of all around me.

Walking Colorado

Getting up to Colorado and out of Texas for the summer is a dream come true. Walking in Colorado in the cool morning temperatures brings meditation into a firm gratitude zone. Not far from where my little RV is parked is Vallecito Lake.

Walking Vallecito Dam

Walking alongside the Vallecito Dam offers lovely scenery. The San Juan Forest borders one side of the road, but doesn’t start for several yards. Those yards are filled with wild grasses that sway with the wind. 

Wild Grasses, Wild Winds

There are many different types of wild grasses, each one beautiful in its own way, much like people. I ponder about how our lives are spent.

 

 

 

Some times we must learn to “go with the flow” swaying with gentle winds breezing through our lives.

 

 

 

Some times the wild grass has spiked out when the seed is ready to take flight. I’ve had spiky times when wild winds have roared through my life, plucking away everything that feels safe and throwing it out to the ground. It’s taken me years to realize that those painful life lessons took root, grew into empathy for others, and I am a better person for it.

When there is so much beauty around me, it’s easier to meditate on all the flowing and spiky bits of life.

Lake Vallecito

Walking across the dam of Vallecito Lake reveals the full scope of the cold water lake.

After walking back toward the direction I started (except across the top of the dam), I discovered a trail alongside the body of water.

This trail offers opportunities to go down to the water level. Swimming is allowed but the water is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit on the surface. If any of your limbs go below the surface of the water they will freeze and fall off.

Kind-of a gruesome thing to be meditating on, but it does keep me from jumping in the beautiful clear waters of Vallecito Lake.

There are benches placed along the trail if you want to rest a bit, or you can just perch on a large rock to “sit a spell” and take the obligatory selfie.

 


Feisty Fleetwood RV, Vallecito Resort, Colorado

Feisty Fleetwood RV

Calling my Fleetwood RV feisty is my way of retaining some of that wonderful adjective for myself whilst knowing that I am NOT FEISTY learning how to pull a trailer up and over the mountains of Colorado. Terrified would be a better descriptor for yours truly on my first long distance RV camping trip. I have yet to be able to back the thing up with any kind of acceptable skill. I did, however, manage NOT to take six inches off the side of my adorable trailer when I forgot to swing WAY OUT before pulling alongside a gasoline pump. I remain delightfully mystified on how I managed to get out of that tight spot.

New Mexico Scenery

Stunning New Mexico scenery did not get photographed because I was too afraid to pull over on the shoulder that appeared to be four inches wide. This spot where the shoulder did not appear to be life threatening offered a nice view but not spectacular like the ones I didn’t photograph.

Aren’t you glad I shared that information with you? Don’t be too disappointed, here is the link to the New Mexico tourist bureau where you can see incredible photos that will inspire you to go and visit.

https://www.newmexico.org/

Smaller Mountains, Bigger Engine

Even though the Bayfield area has smaller mountains than the Denver area, I still feel like I needed a bigger engine to pull my feisty trailer up the highway. The salesman that sold me my Dodge Durango (with a 5.7 Liter Hemi engine) told me it was plenty big enough to pull a small trailer. This is true most of the time. I put on cruise control and let the truck slide in and out of whatever gear it needed to complete the task. No problems, except on one hill where I had to slow down to 45 mph so the RPM’s didn’t rev up over sounds-like-engine-is-about-to-blow-up speed. There was a slight burny smell coming from the engine which was not pleasant. There was a long line of vehicles waiting to pass me. They were not happy until I got to a slower-traffic-to-the-right lane. I pulled over and let the line zip around me. A mammoth red truck with a 747 Boeing jet engine passed me while leaning on his horn as if the mere sound would transfer some of his power to my Durango. I shall call him Horn Devil.

Sliding Brake Gadget

One has to have special brake connections installed in their vehicle when towing an RV. There is a control box next to your right knee. It has a small knob that will adjust the trailers brakes to perfectly align with the vehicle’s brakes and a magic sliding brake gadget for emergencies. My son, Shane, who has been towing an RV for years, conferred with his brother, Jason, on how to set mom’s breaks so she doesn’t run over a teenager who walks right out in front of her while she is creeping through the main drag  of Pagosa Springs. Thankfully I had been practicing with the magic sliding brake gadget or else I would be writing this from prison.

Horn Devil

I passed Mr. Horn Devil while he was at a gas station. He had a very distinctive truck and trailer so I recognized him. As luck would have it he ended up behind me AGAIN on a two lane black-top curvy road going toward the resort. When I put on my blinker to turn he zoomed around me almost clipping my front fender. “Why the hell don’t you get a bigger truck you stupid driver,” I imagined him screaming at me as he swerved his mammoth I’ve-got-more-money-than-you-rig over into my lane.

My Dodge Durango is doing just fine! I thought trying to catch my breath. It’s hard enough learning how to drive a trailer without mean drivers on the road. I was a nervous wreck for the two days it took me to drive to where I am now at Vallecito Resort. I’m contemplating just leaving the RV here so I won’t have to drive it back home.

Vallecito Resort, Bayfield, Colorado

Vallecito (Vi-ya-see-tow) Resort is in Bayfield, Colorado. http://vallecitoresort.com/   Nestled in the San Juan National Forest( east of Durango and west of Pagosa Springs) it is a stunningly beautiful area. Vallecito means “Little Valley.” The Pine River and the Vallecito Creek join in this basin making it a perfect spot to build the Pine River Dam. Managing the water resources helped the ranchers and farmers. The collateral benefit of creating Vallecito Lake brought droves of tourist to the area for the fishing, hiking and cool summer temperatures. Colorado welcomes the whole population of Texas as the citizens escape the severe heat in their home state.

Located within walking distance of Vallecito Lake, the RV parking spots are arranged around “150 Tall Pines” which making wonderful afternoon shade when the sun can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours in the afternoons.

That’s the back of my Dodge Durango with my little trailer to the left of it. And NO I did not back into my spot. One of the old time RVers backed my car in for me. I still suck at backing up.

 

There is an outdoor pavilion for cookouts, entertainment, etc. Behind the covered structure is a playground, basketball court, horse-shoe-toss, etc.

 

 Many people own trailers here and pay a seasonal fee. They come up every year for the five months the resort is open (May through September) and they landscape around their trailers. I could post dozens of these pretty little gardens.

 

The Resort also has an honor system library, indoor dining/entertainment center, restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. There is a small store in the office. I do not get phone service AT ALL. There is WiFi but there isn’t a reliable tower nearby so the service is sketchy.

When I was walking to the Vallecito Lake, I noticed a perfect spot for a Cell/WiFi tower. There’s already poles bringing us lovely electricity, why shouldn’t there be a tower? They could paint it green like a Pine tree.

“Dear Colorado, please build a Wifi tower on this hill. Sincerely, 77.7 Million Tourist ”

(Who spent $19.1 BILLION, generating $1.13 BILLION in tax revenue in 2015. The Denver Post www.denverpost.com

At 5:30 am there is enough of a signal, if I hook my phone up to the WiFi, I can read my Facebook page and send text messages. If I want reliable service I drive to Bayfield where there’s a lovely library with free internet and friendly librarians.

Carving Project

Vallecito Resort is home to the beautiful carving, “Fireman with Shovel” one of the many in the “Carving Project.” These carvings are spread throughout the valley honoring over 4,000 firefighters, one of which lost his life battling the devastating fire of 2002.

 There were 70,000 acres of forest lost in that fire. Vallecito was hard hit losing almost half of the total 58 homes destroyed by the fire and many vehicles, boats, trailers and antique cars.

The carvings are mounted on concrete pedestals, weighing up to 2,600 lbs. and some standing 18 ft. high. The resort staff gave me the brochure “Tour of Carvings” which I found most useful.

The nicest part of the Vallecito Resort is the wonderful friendly people. Cooler temperatures and beautiful countryside promotes happy people! Maybe there’s even hope for Mr. Horn Devil.