Monthly Archives: January 2015

Taking Time to Explore

I’ve been debating on a word to call on as a muse for 2015.  I’ve been looking for a word that is active…that will push me to move out of my comfort zone, challenge me mentally and physically, and will work for both my professional and personal life.

And today’s adventures pushed me to decide.

We knew we wanted to squeeze one more hike into these precious days off…something a bit out of our ordinary choices.  And when we left the house this morning in our hiking gear, with cold weather layers ready, we thought we were heading up into our local mountains.  But at the gas station, we changed our minds and headed off on a two-hour trek to Palm Springs and the aerial tramway.

tram to the mountaintop

The tram takes you from the bottom of the mountain near Palm Springs to near the top of San Jacinto at over 7000 feet.  What we didn’t anticipate were the crowds…or the snow.  Each tram holds about 80 people and takes about 15 minutes to go from the valley to the mountain station…and there are two.  We were lucky and only waited 90 minutes for our turn to go to the top.  By the time we boarded the tram people were waiting more than three and half hours!

Once we got to the top, we headed off on a five plus mile hike…in the snow!  And ah, it was breathtaking!  As we walked away from the lodge, we moved away from the throngs of people who had come solely to throw some snowballs and slide in the snow.  The sun shone brightly on the clean, white snow.  We could hear birds chirping and our own breath as we climbed the mountain.  We happened by this family of snowpeople as we headed out on our hike.

snowman family

We reached our destination at 9100 feet!  Crisp and white and fresh…Round Valley (the peak is another three miles up, we’re saving that for another day!).

at altitude

The views were gorgeous!  I had that same feeling of peace and relaxation that I get when I walk on the beach–a sense of the power and beauty of nature.

tree on San Jacinto

From the magnificence of the trees, rocky mountainside, and enormous boulders, to the fragile elegance of icicles and the reminders of what is yet to come from the pinecones…the wonders of Mother Nature surrounded us and wrapped us in her arms.

pinecone in the snow

And for the cherry on top, as we got back into the tram for the trip back down the mountain, the sun was setting with the full moon in view.  As the tram floor rotated 360 degrees during our descent, we were treated to amazing and colorful views of the entire valley below.

full moon at sunset in the tram

A friend reminded me that I could actually stick with my word from last year for more than a year…play has plenty more potential.  I could probably stay with it for a lifetime.  (And I think it will remain with me!)

But I’m ready to add to play…and this year my word will be explore.  I want to explore possibilities and places, new ideas and old habits.  I want my explorations to take me in new directions, to push me to try things I haven’t imagined I would ever do, like hike up a mountain in the snow!  I look forward to exploring this year…physically, intellectually, imaginatively, and playfully.  Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

New Year, New Eyes

There’s lots of cliches about the New Year…resolution making, retrospectives on the year that passed, champagne at midnight, polar bear plunges on New Year’s day, and so many more.

And somehow, there is something about a new number for the year that encourages the idea of fresh starts, new habits…and maybe a new way of seeing the world.  I got ready for my new year by heading up to our local mountains for a rare…and wonderful snowy day.  You might remember last week that I said it never snows where I live.  Well, that is still true, it didn’t snow in most of San Diego…but we did get enough snow in the mountains and surrounding foothills to create a winter wonderland.

For someone who seldom sees snow, this was a treat!  The world looks entirely different when covered in a layer of white.

snowy trees

Even the familiar…dandelions and native plants take on new dimensions against a snowy backdrop.

dandelions in the snow

frozen flowers

And we couldn’t resist the urge to build a snowman…even if it was a miniature version!

snowman building

I love the way snow creates a quiet space, there is a sense of a hush and opportunity for reflection and introspection.

in the snow

Maybe that’s what the cows were thinking (although this was later in the day after lots of snow had melted…and at a lower elevation)!

cows and snow

I’m sure I’m not going to be able to depend on snow to give me new eyes to view my life this year.  But maybe a ride high above the ground will help…like in these skyfari buckets at the zoo!

skyride

But mostly, I know, I will need to stay on the lookout for new ways to see what is most familiar to me.  I couldn’t resist this shot of three seagulls as I walked to the parking lot at our local beach…seeing with new eyes in the new year!

3 seagulls

What will you see this year as you look with new eyes?