Parting is such sweet sorrow…

It is always such a sweet sadness for me to spend my last day on one of my incredible journeys.  I am so grateful for my life and what I have chosen to experience!

Today I had the pleasure of facilitating a 3 ½ hour workshop on “Coaching Through Challenging Times” for a small group here at the ADRP Conference.  ADRP (Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals) draws attendee’s from all over the world from Nigeria to New Zealand and always does a phenomenal job in educating their members.  I have had the honor of presenting at their last 2 conferences – the last one being only 4 days after I had an emergency appendectomy and had 3 areas of sutures in my belly!  But, I made it to St. Pete Beach, Florida to do a 2-day workshop and a keynote for a few hundred people.

Today’s workshop

I love the people here because they are so gracious and loving!  So many people remembered me from last year and a few actually asked for my autograph (a weird feeling) because they consider me a “celebrity” to them!   I am so honored!

Ross…a “fan”

Being the last day of my journey, I thought I would reflect on some of the things I have learned while I have been traveling West the last 2 weeks:

A group of friends from last years conference workshop

So, now I sadly say good-bye.   My Journey West has been an experience I will never, ever forget.  I have met wonderful people, spent quality time with myself learning more about what I need to grow further, spent time appreciating the beautiful country we live in and most of all learned valuable lessons that I can now share with the thousands of people I chose to inspire every day.

Me and my good friend Zali saying goodbye…

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to follow me on this journey.  Stay tuned….August 4-10 is ALASKA!!!

With much gratitude, light and love,


Flying High….

Today I decided to make my day all about airplanes.  Boeing’s main factory, where they assemble most of their airplanes, sits right in the heart of Seattle.  It was a great day to be inside touring because it was raining and overcast most of the day.  Again, my luck with weather prevails!


So my day started at 9am when I got picked up by Daniel, our tour bus driver and off we went to Boeing.  I shared the Boeing tour with a great group!  Yugi from Taiwan who is a pilot and flies 747’s; Gordon from Glasgow, Scotland; Bill from Aberdeen, Scotland (yes, ANOTHER Aberdeen!); Shane from L.A.;  a nice lady and her son from Austin, TX (they didn’t know you Tina…I asked!  lol!) and a couple from Sydney, Australia.

Me and Daniel

I learned many new things about the city of Seattle from Daniel I did not know:

Also, today is apparently the 30th anniversary of Mt. St. Helen’s erupting.  When it erupted in 1980, it leveled 150 square miles of trees, killed 57 people and dropped gray ash around the world.  I wonder how many flights got delayed then….????

Mount St. Helen’s

During the Boeing tour, you are not allowed to take cameras, cell phones or anything at all electronic with you.  Bummer man!  THIS WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST TOURS I HAVE EVER BEEN ON!!!  I was so excited about it I even shot a video clip for the tour company after the tour that will be on their website:!  Woo-hoo!

A shot of the factory building…see the 6 blue doors? Those have the digital graphic on them.

A shot inside of Boeing (where we were allowed to take pics of course!)

It was so amazing to watch these HUGE planes being constructed piece by piece!  We saw 747’s, 777’s and the new 787 which looks so cool!   Some facts we learned:

Overall, I could have spent all day in there watching the planes being assembled.  It literally still amazes me that we can sit in a chair and be 30,000 feet in the air!

I spent most of the tour talking with my new friends from Scotland, Gordon and Bill.  Awesome fellows and they told me all about their country and what to see when I visit!

Gordon, Me and Bill on the observation deck

Gordon and I decided to go to “The Museum of Flight” after the Boeing tour.  It was THE BEST being with Gordon on this tour and at the museum because he worked for British Airways for 30+ years and knew EVERYTHING about planes!  I got an awesome first-hand education as we walked through the museum.

The Museum of Flight

We saw everything from the Sputnik prototype…

Sputnik prototype

All kinds of different planes from throughout the years….

Old U.S. Mail plane

Old Newsboy plane

Museum ceiling shot

Went outside and got to tour the inside of Air Force One (from the Kennedy-era) and 2 other planes…

Air Force One

Inside Air Force One

Read the sign then look at the pic below…

And then decided we wanted to know what it was like to be a pilot and did a “flight simulator” and I was the pilot!  (Scary, I know…those of you who know me and know how I am with directions understand why Gordon and I were upside-down for most of our flight!)

Gordon and I getting ready to “take off”

Gordon and I spent a good 3 hours at the museum and then took the bus back into town and parted ways.  I was so blessed to be able to spend the day with him!  I promised him I would be in Scotland soon and he promised to check out the blog!

I came back to my hotel room, ordered room service and spent some time prepping for my workshop tomorrow.  (Yes, I have to work in the morning…NOOO!)  I am one of those very lucky people who love what I do so much it never, ever seems like work!

Signing off….Sopa out!

Does this rock make my butt look big?

This rock make me laugh…not convulse!!

Started my morning off this morning crawling out of bed because my gluts are killing me!!  (I couldn’t help but remember my ego boost from yesterday….lol!)  I took my time waking up, had 2 conference calls with potential clients and headed out my hotel room door to do some site seeing in Seattle.

I decided to just grab a map from the hotel lobby and make my way down to Pike Place Market, which is only a couple blocks away from my hotel, and see what trouble I could get into. My first stop was at a store I wish we had in Maryland, Protein Planet, where I stopped and got myself a high protein, high vitamin C shake. Yum!

Pike Place Market

Awesome place!!

I almost got coffee, but was a little thrown by the “original blend” they had for the day….

Can’t I just get a Colombian Roast…..???

I then headed into the Market and immediately ran into the World Famous Fish Market with “low flying fish!” I loved it because I have used the “Fish Philosophy” video in several workshops in the past and the same guys in the video still work at the market!! If you have seen the video, the real life market is EXACTLY the same! Yelling the orders out loud to each other and everyone repeating it, throwing the fish across the store, teasing customers walking by and all of the employees with an overall “jolly” attitude!

World Famous Pike Place Fish Market

The “Fish” guys hard at work…


As I walked through the market I tried a variety of different foods from chocolate pasta to cheeses and also sampled organic soaps, lotions and hair pieces. The market has everything!!….vegetables, flowers, fruits, meats, and lots and lots of FISH!!

My favorite…fresh flowers!!

Was a bit frightened to buy veggies from this lady…

As you walk around the market, you notice the tiles that make up the entire floor are engraved with names on them. I asked about this and apparently 20 years ago they decided to re-do the market floor.  So, in order to raise money to do it, they sold tiles to donors for $35 each!

EVERY SINGLE tile in the WHOLE market had a name on it! (I made sure I didn’t take a picture of a tile that said, “Doug” on it…lol!

I continued walking and of course, ended up in “Gem Heaven,” a crystal store. I had a nice chat with Chris, the owner and ended up buying a beautiful Carnelian stone right from Mt. St. Helen.

Chris holding a Eudialyte stone from Mount St. Helen that we discussed for awhile

I next headed into “Double Dorjee – Gateway to Mystical Tibet” and spent quite awhile talking with Tenzin, the owner. We talked about Buddhism, Shamanism and the tradition of Tibetan prayer flags (which I have been looking for forever and finally found a great set!). Tenzin takes groups on Sacred Journeys to Nepal every year and guess who signed up to go!!! (I feel another blog coming on…..)

Tenzin in his store

I walked back out near the river to find some lunch and loved seeing several bands whose instruments were made of scrap. One in particular, The Slimpickins, were awesome!

“The Slimpickins”

I finally stopped and had an amazing bowl of Smoked Salmon Chowder from Seatlle’s Best and #1 place for chowder…Pike Place Chowder! I immediately followed my nose to where I smelled cinnamon rolls and stuffed my face again with the biggest cinnamon roll I have ever eaten! I was in heaven!!

Pike Place Chowder

I figured I would just keep walking and eventually ran into the original Starbucks and also spent some time in the Vital Tea Leaf where I sampled teas that ranged from $98-$259 a pound! I then made my way over to the Seattle Library that I had heard so much about and was completely amazed! Most modern-day library I have ever seen!! My daughter would have loved it because the entire inside of the library is painted neon green…same color as her room! 10 floors make up this library with hundreds of computers, reading rooms, books, magazines, DVD’s, CD’s, etc. etc. I may have actually studied if I had a library like this in college….!!

The Seattle Library

A shot from inside the library

I then continued down 5th Street and jumped on the Monorail (which carries 2.5 million riders every year and is the fastest full size monorail train in the country) toward the Seattle Center where the Space Needle sits. I rode up the needle to the top (520 feet – which took 41 seconds by elevator) and spent some time checking out the awesome view of the city!

Seattle Monorail

View of the city from the top of the Space Needle

The Space Needle

For dinner I was thrilled to head to the “Blue C Sushi”  for my favorite food of all time…SUSHI…with my cousin Paul.  We had a great chat and spent time catching up with each others lives.  I will be back here in Seattle in July for another speaking gig so we plan on getting together again then!

Me and my cousin Paul

Then to top the night off, I ran into some dear friends from South Africa, Zali and Gayle, who flew 31 hours for this conference!  We went to Morton’s Steakhouse so they could eat dinner and I could drink and eat carrot cake…(don’t judge me – I already ate sushi, remember?)  The entire time Tina and I were in South Africa, Zali and Gayle would not let us pay for a thing.  So, when the check came at Morton’s, I quickly snatched it up to their surprise and said, “You are in MY country now!”  They could not argue and graciously let me pay the bill (the least I could do to repay them for the gracious hosts they were when Tina and I visited their country).

Me, Zali and Gayle…why am I always drinking with these ladies?? lol!

Tomorrow morning I head to Boeing to take a peak at their factory here and then I am going to head over to “The Museum of Flight” to check out some old, vintage planes!  Love it!!!

Now I need to go soak my “bum” in some hot water….Sopa out!

A “Sign”…..????

Today I left at 6:00am from Mount Shasta to begin my drive to Seattle where I will be for the next 4 days.

I started the morning off in a bit of a panic.  As I was getting ready to put my suitcases in Kia I could not find my keys.  I frantically looked EVERYWHERE for them to no avail.  So, I did what my mother always taught me to do and that was to pray to St. Anthony for a sign.  Within minutes I noticed a pair of pants I forgot to pack and realized that I left my keys in the pants pocket of the pants I wore the day before!  (Of course those pants were in the BOTTOM of one of my suitcases!)  Thank God for signs but I have to say I wouldn’t have minded getting stuck in Mount Shasta!

It was extremely sad for me to leave Mount Shasta.  Have you ever been somewhere that you just feel you have a special connection to?  I felt like I was leaving home and had to literally pull myself away from the city.  I kept looking back at the mountain and could not help but feel an energetic difference in myself as I drove away.  As I looked back at her the last time, the sun shone so brightly on the top of her peak it looked like a rainbow…a sure sign I would be back to visit!

Saying goodbye to my mountain…

The drive to Seattle from Mount Shasta is a straight shot on Highway 5 North for literally about 600 miles.  Highway driving.  Not much scenery.  Enough to drive someone who has been driving alone on roads, going 90mph, with beautiful mountains and canyons to look at along the way insane!! (Thank you Judy and Donna for the phone calls to keep me sane!)

Still in California…

Driving in Oregon…(please excuse the “bug juice” on my windshield)

It is interesting to note how one entertains oneselves and what one notice as they drive alone for long, boring distances.  Some signs and scenery I noted as I drove along Highway 5 for 8 hours included:

Speaking of signs, remember in my first blog when I told you I sat next to a guy that looked just like my friend Doug?  Well…today I had quite the interesting experience.  Driving along Route 5, minding my own business, I saw the following:

Aberdeen, Washington…I felt right at home like I was in Maryland!

I thought I was free and clear after the truck stop sign until I arrived at the Seattle Sheraton and the young man who helped me looked EXACTLY like the cartoon character “Doug” (remember that cartoon?) but with hair and not bald like cartoon Doug (although my friend Doug is bald too, but that is beside the point…ANYWAY…).  It was when I looked down at his name tag and it said “Doug” that I fainted!  When I finally woke up, I thought maybe I should call my friend Doug and ask him to marry me or something because all of these signs surely must mean something!  (I’m sure if I continued to drive on Route 5,  I would run into “Doug’s Bridal” and be able to pick up a quick dress!)  LOL!  (Love ya Doug!)

In case you’re wondering what my friend Doug looks like….

Anyway, Doug (the bell boy Doug, not my friend) helped me get all of my luggage to my room and then I drove Kia back to the airport to drop her off and said my sad goodbye’s to her.  I ended up logging 2,434 miles on little Kia!  What a trooper she was!  I got back to my room at the Sheraton to find that someone had sent up a basket of fruit and 2 Perrier waters to my room anonymously.  Whoever it was…THANK YOU!

Now I have 2 full days in Seattle before I work (yes, I actually have to work for a ½ day – poor me!).  Plan on doing some normal site seeing stuff and putting the hiking boots aside this time.

Until another sign arrives….Sopa out!

Tears of Gratitude

Since this is my last day in Mount Shasta, I wanted to make sure I squeezed everything I could out of my day today so I started off at 7:30 visiting the Mount Shasta Pastry Shop for some coffee and a scone.  WOW!!  is all I have to say about that!  Best scone I have ever had!  I had the pleasure of meeting Steve, the owner, who was a chef that moved here to Mount Shasta 6 years ago to open his own pastry shop.  (I have met so many people that have been drawn to move here for one reason or another.)

I found out yesterday that since Mount Shasta is considered such a sacred mountain, that there are actually 11 other sacred sites around this area that are considered sacred because they are near the mountain.  I decided to check some of them out.  The first place I stopped was McCloud Falls.  This was about a 3 mile hike round trip with 3 different waterfalls along the way; Lower, Middle and Upper Falls.  This was a beautiful paved path along the river through the forest.  The Lower Falls were the first thing I came upon right at the beginning of the hike.  After about 1 ½ miles I began to well up with tears for some reason.  As I walked around the next corner I came upon the Middle Falls and literally burst into tears!  They were so beautiful they literally took my breath away!!

Lower Falls

Base of Lower Falls

Middle Falls

I tell many of my coaching clients that tears are a form of release.  Crying is what helps us heal our old emotional wounds.  My tears at Middle Falls were not sad tears, but tears of gratitude and healing.  I could hardly believe I was standing there looking at those falls!  I began to reflect on the last week of my journey and for the next 20 minutes I was a bawl-bag!!  I realized the many things I am grateful for:  grateful to be able to take this trip, grateful to have had the courage to do it alone, grateful for the weather and how I “lucked” out everywhere I went (except my day of solitude in Baker, NV) with beautiful sunny, clear skies, grateful for my life and what I do for a living, grateful for each and every experience I have had on this journey so far and each and every person I have met, and grateful to be able to share this whole experience with all of the people I love that take the time to read this blog.

A scene on the McCloud Trail

I tried to access the road to Upper Falls (even though there was a big sign that said “DO NOT ENTER”) but no such luck!  I decided I wanted to live!

I then headed to the Castle Crag Wilderness area to hike the Castle Dome Trail.  Now, you would have thought I might have actually learned a lesson from my experience on the Syncline Loop…but NOOOOO!  I chose this trail because it was the longest and I wanted a challenge.  Well, let me tell you about my “challenge!”  First of all, the Ranger had to give me the “bear lecture” before I left because all over this forest are Black Bears and cubs.  Can you imagine me running into a bear!?  Sopa out…literally!!  So the Ranger tells me that if I come across a bear to make a lot of noise and that it would be best for me to just make a lot of noise as I was hiking because it is a bad thing to “surprise” a bear.  I guess that is when they charge you and get mad.  Now I am sorry but if I saw a bear, the LAST thing my instinct would tell me to do would be to make noise so the bear KNEW where I was!!  Call me crazy!!  So what did I do to make noise along my hike alone….I cleared my throat a lot, I shuffled my feet really loud as I walked, I talked into my digital tape recorder and I finished the last verse of “Raw Hide.”  I figured the best way to scare off any bear around me would be to sing…that will scare off anybody!

Just thought you might like to see the “exciting” forest sign…..

On top of the “bear” challenge, this trail was not a loop so it went UP to a point and then you just had to turn around and come back down.  Now, when I say UP, I mean UP!!!  Straight up for 2.7 miles!!  I was swearing out loud (to keep the bears away of course) the entire time, calling myself crazy and thinking I must have something loose in my head to AGAIN choose another trail that would kill my poor little body!  The only thing that kept me going was that I figured if this trail is called “Castle Dome” there must be a “castle” up ahead and who lives in castles…PRINCES!!  So I kept imagining my “prince” at the top when I got to the “castle.”  (Ok, YES, I was hallucinating again!!).  Unfortunately at the top, there was no prince for me (story of my life) but some beautiful scenery that was well worth the hike up.

My “Castle”

Another view of my “Castle”

The main thing I noticed about this hike in the forest was the smells.  I kept getting whiffs of the most fragrant smells that stopped me in my tracks.  (Of course, on the way UP I was barely breathing so I wasn’t able to finally breathe through my nose to smell everything until on the way down.)  I also realized while I was hiking this trail that on this trip I have hiked just about every terrain:  desert, canyons, snow, dirt path, paved path, waterfalls, and forest.  Go Sopa!

Another view on the trail

I decided on my way down to take another 1.7 mile hike on the Indian Springs Trail which was beautiful and FLAT!  Next I drove a few miles down the road to Hedge Creek Falls and hiked a little less than a mile there.  All so beautiful!!

Hedge Creek Falls

After all of my hiking this last week (I figured I logged about 40 miles at least) I decided that I was extremely grateful for my body not clunking out on me and allowing me to put it through everything I did, so I decided to treat my “body” to a 3 hour spa treatment at the Sacred Mountain Spa!  My 3 hours consisted of a hot aromatherapy foot soak, 1 ½ hour full-body massage and then a full-body lemongrass/ginger salt scrub.  Ahhhhh!

I ended my day feeling like I needed to say good-bye and thank you one last time to Mount Shasta so I drove up to Bunny Flat again, where I started my hike the other day, and spent some time in gratitude for the beautiful mountain and what she taught me while I was here.

Mount Shasta in the background on my hike today at Castle Dome

Tomorrow I drive 8 ½ hours to Seattle and cannot wait!  I get to visit with my cousin, Paul,  who I have not seen in over 20 years, speak at one of my favorite conferences and see some of my friends from South Africa!

Until Seattle….Sopa out!

Mount Shasta

Please contain yourself…you get 2 days worth of blogging in one!  Yes, I know…too much to handle.

Yesterday I left Baker, NV at 5:20am and began my 9 ½ hour drive to Mt. Shasta, CA.  I passed several interesting things along my drive…just to name a few:

Entering the “cloud”…..

I was so excited to get a new memory card for my camera I took a picture of Shayla, the lady who sold it to me!

One of my many driving scenes…

Once I finally got into Shasta County, about an hour or so from Mt. Shasta, I was driving through the most beautiful forests I have ever seen.  Although, my view was obstructed several times by flying wood chips!  I felt like I was under attack!  Wood chips everywhere!!!  I think Kia still has one somewhere under her hood…

Forest view with Mount Shasta in the background

As I got closer to Mt. Shasta, I could actually feel the mountain.  Mount Shasta is the most sacred mountain in the United States and there are many stories surrounding her mystery.  Often you will see lenticular clouds (large, round, flat, layered clouds) floating above her glistening peak like snowy sand dollars.  Some say these clouds cloak the “space ships” that hover over her at times.   Some believe the ancient people of Lemuria or Atlantis live underneath her in underground caves.  The word “Shasta” in Sanskrit means “teacher.”  All I can say is that when you are close to her, you can feel and hear her “teachings” of peace, serenity, stillness, and oneness.

Beautiful Mount Shasta taken on my way up the mountain on my hike

This morning I had the pleasure of hiking up the mountain.  I began by stopping at the Visitor Center and the National Forest center to get my maps and advisories for the day.  I then stopped at an awesome adventure store, “The Fifth Season,” to rent my snow shoes and poles and was helped by great guy named Ben.  Ben and his wife moved here to Mt. Shasta 6 months ago from Arkansas after he hiked the Pacific Trail and fell in love with the area.  (I can so relate because I am right there with him…don’t be surprised if I move soon!)  I told him what I have been doing and we had a great conversation!  He is going to check out the blog so….”Hi Ben!”

My lovely snow shoes

I drove to the top which dead ended into the Bunny Flat where everyone starts their hike up the mountain.  I strapped on my snow shoes and off I went!  This was my very first “snow” hike and I loved it!  Even though there was tons and tons of snow around me, I wasn’t cold at all.  It was a steep climb up but so beautiful!  The majority of the people hiking the trail were hiking to a place called “Horse Camp” where they camped out for the night to actually climb to the peak of the mountain the next day.  (I am sooo doing this next time!!)  The people I saw where mostly groups of men, a few women sprinkled here and there, but lots of testosterone flying in the air!!!  Macho men climbing a mountain!!!

Bunny Flat

On my way up I chatted with a guy named Rick who lives here and hikes the mountain weekly.  He is an aspiring motivational speaker so we had a great conversation and he even took my picture!  (Now I have TWO pictures with me in it!!!)

Near the top…

Once I got to Horse Camp I found a place at the base of the mountain to plop, took off my snow shoes, ate lunch and meditated and napped for an hour.  A cute little bird decided to land on my pole and say hi and woke me up (scared the shit out me actually!).

My nap and meditation area…

The view when I opened my eyes from my nap

Other hikers and the cabin at the top (or what you can see of it!)

I finally decided it was time to descend and on my way down I ran into a gorgeous man (sorry, I had to add that!) named Melio and we chatted for quite awhile.  He actually thought I was “cool” for doing this alone and we gave each other a high five with our snow poles before we left.    I love it here because no one thinks I am crazy!  Everyone “gets me” and KNOWS why I want to do these types of things.  Kindred spirits, I guess.

On my way down…

Overall the hike took me a total of 4 hours and was the most beautiful hike I have ever taken!

I seriously am thinking about organizing a “women’s group” to come here for a sacred journey and hike and climb the mountain next year at this time.  I met a woman who organizes trips like that here and it is totally do-albe.  Let me know if you’re in ladies!!!

I got back to my hotel, changed my clothes and decided to see what the little town of Mt. Shasta had to offer.  One word will describe what I found…..

Need I say more….

Yes, it is true.  More crystals!!!  I think I need another suitcase for my flight home!!???

I would have seriously bought this if I thought for a minute it would fit in my suitcase…do you think Homeland Security would let me on the plane with this????

Tomorrow I will be hiking the Castle Crags and McCloud River Waterfalls Trails near Mt. Shasta.  Both of them together will take me the majority of the day.

Now I am going to go eat my Italian food I ordered and give thanks for the beauty of my life to be able to have the kind of experience I had today.

Peace and love….Chris

Next Service 83 Miles…..


This is seriously the sign I saw in the middle of nowhere! (courtesy of The Border Inn website)



Hi.  My name is Chris.  It has been 2 days since I have had technology.

~ Baker, Nevada….population = 125 people

~Border Inn Motel …..Sits directly on the border of Utah and Nevada.  The only road leading into this area from Utah to Nevada is Hwy 50/6 which Life magazine described as the “Loneliest Road in America” in 1986. The only place to stay and get gas, food and water for miles.  No other cars around for miles.  Mouse traps in the room.  No cell phone service.  No internet connection.  No T.V.  No hairdryer (loud scream of NOOOO!).  Camera is not working.  Door to room barely closes but it doesn’t matter because there is no one around for miles.

~ I found Jesus’ sandals as I went for a walk earlier because this is SURELY the place where he lost them!

~As you drive into Baker you see the following signs:
Death Canyon
Cattle Crossing
U Dig Fossils
Gold Mining
Beware of Falling Rock
No Water
Blind Valley
Watch for rocks next 10 miles on roadway
Elevation 7,720 feet
Salt wash ahead  (what the heck is a “salt wash” and what is it for????)

I have entered the Twilight Zone! 

When I left Moab at 7:00am this morning I was a bit melancholy.  Such a beautiful place with such pure energy and I so wish I had more time to spend here discovering and exploring.  I will most definitely be back here to do some back country camping soon!

I had a fairly uneventful 5 hour drive to Death Valley…I mean Baker, Nevada.  Kia had a hard time getting up the hills (at one point I swore I was going to have to get out and push her…thank God I am so “fit” after my hike on Syncline Loop!) so I kept sending her white light and energy as I drove.  The medley of songs I chose to sing on this leg of my journey included “Macho Man,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “It’s Raining Men,” and “Low” by Flor-ida.  I had a mixture of sun, rain, snow flurries and 6 oversized vehicles which I had to pass with what I swear looked like missiles on them!  What were they and WHERE THE HECK WERE THEY GOING….this is the middle of no-where!!!  (or as Wayne Dyer says, “now- here.” – I will come back to this later!)  Ironically, when it started to rain heavy, I found myself getting a bit annoyed and immediately on my iPod began the song “It’s in the Rain” by Enya, which of course talks about listening to the rain and enjoying its beauty.  Thank you Providence for the reminder!

When I finally arrived at the Border Inn, I checked in and immediately went to Great Basin National Park.  The sky was filled with very ominous looking black clouds and I had a weird feeling about hiking so I honored that and took the tour of Lehman Caves instead.  Did you know there are over 40,000 caves in the U.S. – 15,000 of them in the Tennessee and Kentucky area alone!  The caves were breath-taking (get a pic from Lehman Caves or Great Basin website) and I could not help but notice a very angelic and peaceful feeling while I was in the caves.  Our ranger was a hoot!  He asked us all “what the heck we were doing in Baker!?”  He said he was driving through here last October and his car broke down and he is still waiting for the parts!  Lol!

Lehman caves (courtesy of the Lehman caves website)

When I travel alone, as I often do, I make sure I do 2 things.  One, stay in the present moment and two, stay in a state of joy and awe.  When I do this, I find that many synchronistic events happen that make my journey more enjoyable than if I would have planned it myself.  I also look at the events that happen from a symbolic point of view rather than a literal point of view.  For instance, my camera memory card somehow got corrupted and I could not take any pictures today at all.  I get to Baker and have no cell phone service, no internet connection, no T.V., no hairdryer, etc.  Don’t you find it ironic that I am in one of the most secluded places in the U.S. and all of the things that keep me “connected” to the outside world stop working?  I did.  Literally, my camera broke and I have no connection to anything or anyone beyond this place.  Symbolically, maybe I am supposed to slow down, stop and listen to the beauty around me, honor the seclusion and silence and trust that all happens for a reason (even my camera not working).  I CHOSE to honor this gift I have been given rather than being annoyed that things aren’t “how I want them to be.”  The world will still be there when I get back.

As I drove into Baker and began to experience the seclusion, I asked myself, “Why was I supposed to stop here along this leg of my journey?”  I chose to believe it was for health, healing and clearing of old energies I no longer needed.  Something I am supposed to experience because I chose to be present…”now- here.”  Listen to the “clues” in your life.  Trust your gut and intuitions.  Know you are safe and protected where ever you go and that we are always “connected” to each other ~ we cannot help it….we are one.

Now, I am going to check out the beautiful night sky which “ironically” cleared up so I could see the stars!




Hole in the Rock…literally!
Can I just say that Milk Duds and Dead Horse Amber Ale beer from the Moab Brewery ROCK together as a combo!

Anyway…I digress…today I decided to do some hiking in the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park which is about an hour and a half drive south of Moab.  I got into my little Kia and headed south, singing Bette Midler’s “The Rose” for some strange reason.  (Probably left over from all of my hallucinating yesterday!)

On my drive to the Needles

I decided to use my head today for more than just a vehicle for hallucinating and stuck to 2 small trails instead of the 11 mile Elephant Hill Trail I had planned to do.  Something about the name “Elephant Hill” after my experience yesterday sent me into immediate convulsions and a strange craving to kick a pile of rocks!

I started with Pothole Point which was a measly .6 mile hike.  After yesterday I felt like I had taken 2 steps and my hike was over.  This was a different kind of terrain than yesterday.  Instead of sandy, loose rock, today I had slick sheets of rock with potholes all in it.  I guess that is why they call it “Pot Hole Point!”  The other part that was so refreshing is that the rock carin markers were actually visible to the naked eye!  Amazing how those work when they aren’t surrounded by other rocks!!!

The trail on Pothole Point Trail

On the trail…see the Needles in the background?

Then I headed to the Slickrock Foot Trail which was about a 3 mile hike.  I have to say when I was done with this hike I actually felt a little guilty that I could feel my legs and I wasn’t shaking.  I did feel like I had worked out so that made me feel better.  This was a great trail with 4 View Points that had some amazing scenery of the Needles and surrounding canyons.  I was hoping to see some Big Horn Sheep that are quite common on this trail but no such luck.

One of my trail paths

Slickrock Foot Trail 1

Slickrock Foot Trail 2

Slickrock Foot Trail 3

I became extremely hungry all of a sudden and then the hallucinating returned….(see below)

A HUGE hamburger!

Stack of pancakes…where did I put my syrup?

I was sitting on a rock taking a break (eating, of course!) when I met a really nice couple from Portland, Oregon.  We had a great discussion and for some reason the lady kept telling me over and over again to be careful because she could not understand why or HOW a woman could travel alone!  (My lip is still purple from biting it so hard!)  They graciously took my picture, I think mostly out of pity because I was alone.  The man asked me twice if that would be the only picture I have on my trip with me in it.  I played along and said, “Probably”….:(

Me…all alone…by myself…the whole trip…the ONLY picture I will have with me in it! lol!

On my drive to Needles, I passed a huge sign that said “Hole in the Rock.”  I assumed this was a restaurant or something so decided to stop there on my way home.  To my pleasant surprise it was not a restaurant but a general store and trading post.  Oh my!  I spent about an hour in the store buying a ton of Native American artifacts, crystals, crystal jewelry and gifts.  I think the owner was happier I stopped there than I was!

After I visited this store they informed me they are going to re-write their sign in GOLD!

Tomorrow I have a 5 ½ hour drive to Baker, Nevada where I will spend the afternoon at Great Basin National Park and hope to see some awesome night sky scenes.  Baker, Nevada is one of the darkest places in the U.S. because it has the lowest amount of light pollution.  Because of this, you can see stars, including the Milky Way, that other parts of the U.S. cannot see.  Tomorrow it is supposed to be cloudy there but I hope it clears out by night so I can see the cosmos!!

On the morning of the 13th I will drive 9 hours to Mount Shasta, CA which I am super excited about!  All I can say is Thank God for my iPod!

Until I have internet service again…Sopa out!

“Normal” people go to the beach on vacation!

Today I decided to spend my day in the Island in the Sky part of Canyonlands National Park hiking.  I started my morning with a sunrise hike at the Mesa Arch.  It was chilly and cloudy (thank God it never rained!) but beautiful none-the-less.  The clouds took away the view of some of the sunrise a bit but just to sit there on top of the mountain looking down at the canyon, drinking my OJ was spectacular!

So you can appreciate where I took the next picture from…:)

In Mesa Arch at sunrise

I drove to the Visitor Center next to ask the Ranger some questions about my back country hike.  I was torn between 2 trails and finally decided on Syncline Loop Trail.  You know, we all have those times in life where we look back and go, “WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!!!”

Now those of you who know me know I am a hiker.  I mean, I’ve hiked the Inca Trail in the Andes for God’s sake!!  This trail (pardon my French) KICKED MY ASS!  I seriously almost died 3 times!  Lol!  I left a suggestion with the Ranger who recommended I hike this Loop because I was an “experienced hiker”  to rename the trail, Syncline CLIMB!  Wow is all I have to say!!

At the bottom of one of my trails after coming DOWN!

Another “trail”

To start off, most of the terrain I was hiking on was sandy and loose rock and for those of you who hike you know that is the kiss of death.  I twisted both ankles at least 3 times each!  There were many, many sections that went straight down and straight up…all along the side of a CANYON!  There were several times I seriously tried to manifest a rope and climbing carabiner out of thin air and prayed that I just ascend and get the whole thing over with!!  There were a couple of times I was on the side of the canyon and literally had no footing at all!  On top of that, the way you make sure you are on the trail is to watch for the “rock carins.”  These are small piles of rock used to mark the trail.  The problem is, THE WHOLE DAMN TRAIL IS ROCK!  You are literally looking for a pile of rocks, among other piles of rocks, but looking for the one that looks like it was PURPOSEFULLY made into a pile.  After this hike, I have vowed to kick over the next pile of rocks I see!!!  Lol!

A rock carin

A rock carin they apparently did NOT want us to miss!

Several different phrases passed my lips as I hiked this trail alone:

“Holy shit!”
“You’ve got to be f*#@ing kidding me!”
“I’m definitely gonna die!”
“Normal people go to the beach for their vacation!”

I was about ½ way through the hike and had just literally scaled down a WALL of rock and when I got to the bottom I hear, “Hi there” and just about shit my pants!  The poor young guy that said hi almost got a round kick to his jaw I was so scared!  When you are out in nature alone like that and you “all of a sudden” hear another voice it scares you to death!  Anyway, we had a nice conversation and left each other to our own deaths on the trail.

After hiking another few feet, I realized how exhausted I was and seriously thought I was hallucinating when I saw a rock that looked like a bed.  I didn’t care at that point so I laid down, put my back pack under my knees, my water bladder under my head for a pillow and fell asleep in the sun on my “bed.”

My “bed” – now all I need is my “man blanket!” (You had to have read my South Africa blog to get that one!)

Upon waking up to the biggest fly in the world buzzing around my head, I continued my hike.  I then passed a few more people who proceeded to tell me I had another 3.7 miles to go.  It was then they saw a grown woman cry!

I finished the hike in about 6 ½ hours total (including my nap) and when I got to the end I kissed my car when I saw it.  I never thought that hike would end!

Overall, the hike was beautiful!  The weather was perfect ,being a little windy and in the 60’s and I did make some interesting parallels to my hike and my life as I was hallucinating along my trail:

In closing, during my hike I felt like I had Mother Earth all to myself to explore and discover.  It was quiet, peaceful and impossible to capture the beauty of what I saw with a camera.  I got back to my hotel room, crawled in the door and took a small nap.  I then jumped in the hot tub, drank three beers and went to bed.

Looking forward to another hike tomorrow….Sopa out!