Golden Hour Hill Hike

prettiest-hike

Yesterday we went for a golden hour hill hike. You probably think we do this all the time but we don’t. Payam and I have gone on exactly two hikes together, four if you are counting other years. Does the camping count? Maybe.  But we plan to change our hiking deficit. We love hiking! Maybe we’ll even go every other day. I don’t want to talk crazy or anything but it could be cool.

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Payam is training to go on a really big adventure hike with his brother in September. They are hiking Mount Lassen together and camping. I’m really excited for him but it’s not going to be easy. I think he’ll be fine. His brother is super aware of his recent neck surgery and other limitations. I just hope they come back talking to each other. I’m teasing but you know how long hikes with siblings can go…

I love hikes because I am driven by photography. I love taking pictures. If there is a photo opportunity I’ll go to great lengths to get there. I’ll hike miles and put up with sweat and bugs and whatever… I love making photos. It’s like painting paintings with your eyes. My family rolls their eyes at me. They think I am not enjoying the moment but I disagree! I am enjoying it even more! If I wasn’t photographing then I’d be water coloring and I don’t even care if I never show anyone. Of course showing everyone is a huge oxytocin hit so I would share if I had the chance. BUT I still would photograph or paint even if my pictures stayed hidden from everyone but me. I say this because my journals are full of photos and drawings that no one but me has ever seen. Whatever. Maybe I am looking guilty just by protesting too much. I’ll just shrug it off. To each their own, right?

If it makes you happy and it gets you outdoors then it’s a win.

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Payam is so serious about this hike coming up that he even bought himself some walking poles. The kids made fun of him but he really likes them. I think they are more psychological than actual help but I can’t really say. I tried them and I couldn’t tell that they were helping me pull myself with my arm strength. But then I’m a pear-shaped girl who has ALL of her strength in her massive thighs and hardly any in my arms. Payam is obviously built way differently than me. I just dig that he’s into it. Buying gear is always a fun part of committing to a sport.

I remember when I bought myself $90 running shoes once. They were the most expensive shoes I had ever bought at that time, this was back in the 90’s. I felt so guilty buying them that I ran with them every other day for an entire year. I was in the BEST shape that year. So if you think about it, $90 for a year is a pretty good investment. Maybe we should all go out and buy ourselves $90 shoes! Of course buying gear doesn’t always do the trick though. I’ve seen many a $1000 treadmills holding up laundry. Not me of course but you know who you are.

I digress! Let’s get back to our pretty hike:

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Aren’t these the prettiest colors? Late summer gold against clear blue skies and just a potato chip of a moon in the distance… Swoon! And then there is just a smidge of Joon’s red shirt. This would make a great painting. Maybe someday. I have so many things I’d like to paint. I just hope I get them done before my hands are riddled with arthritis. And sadly, even as I type this I can feel it creeping into my fingers. This is the heartbreak of getting older. Is there a cure for arthritis?

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Every year I make a calendar for the grandparents and us of random pictures we’ve taken all year. We didn’t have an August picture so I forced the fandamily to squish together for a group selfie. I’m not loving my massive face prominently in the middle but them’s the breaks when you are the one holding the phone. I’ll make it a collage and be sure to make that photo extra small. Maybe I’m just not used to myself without bangs. Have you ever seen such low eyebrows? My face is so weird. Good thing nobody else cares as much as I do!

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And then there are these cuties.

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And this one. Long legs forever! Long shadows are clearly helping my case.

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You can just hear her, “Come on Mom! Not everything is a photo moment.” And then I say,

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Yes, it is!

 

Dinky Creek Camping Trip: Part 3

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This is my last installment of blogging about our Dinky Creek camping trip. After this it’s back to garden news and dog walks. I know, gripping. But we do what we can, right? Pandemic life surely has its challenges.

Starting up where I left off, back we went to the creek. We pretty much lived at the creek that day.

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The water was sooooo nice. I realized that Payam is the most happy when he’s floating around in the water. One of his favorite outings when we are back home is visiting Raging Waters at Knott’s Berry Farm and just floating down the Lazy River all day. I’m not as fond of Raging Waters, as it is usually quite crowded and germy (in my mind at least. I know there is a ton of chlorine but still…) so finding our own lazy river in the wild is a dream come true for all of us.

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We found a nice big swimming hole and the kids and Payam played around in it with Cody for hours. Whisky and I enjoyed the shade nearby.

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Poor Cody, he swam so hard he really tired himself out.

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Summer + dogs + water = happiness.

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I wish we lived here permanently.

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And yes, I swam too. But I much preferred to sit along the sidelines and take pictures.

This is probably one of very few times I will ever post a photo of myself in a bathing suit. Look at those thighs. Red beans and rice didn’t miss her. But I actually like this photo of me. I feel happy in my own skin and my bangs that are growing out. Payam took it and you can see that he makes me feel great about my body. I wish I could go back to my twenty-year-old self and give her a hug and tell her that somebody is going to love every part of me someday. I probably wouldn’t have believed me. I’m glad to be here instead of there.

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Finally we got our fill of swimming and headed back to camp to cook dinner and chill.

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Everyone relaxed and Cody probably slept for an hour or two. He was wiped.

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Here I am in my sexy camp outfit.

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You know what’s great about getting older? You stop caring so much what other people think about how you look. I love not having mirrors and just wearing what feels good. Sure, this isn’t my proudest moment in fashion but I was comfortable and happy. Camping is dirty and full of weird things like bugs (ew!) but once you get over that  and desensitize yourself, it is really wonderful to just embrace nature and and enjoy the beauty.

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The best part is watching my kids detach from their virtual worlds and connect back with us in the present. They are really quite pleasant to be around when they don’t have their noses stuck to their phones. They have lively conversations and they don’t hate our company. Go figure!

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As the sun began to set Payam made a roaring fire and we settled into our camp chairs around it.

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Each crackle of the fire seemed to erase another wrinkle of stress from our foreheads. We almost forgot there was a pandemic going on. Well, until we had to go back into the main campground for water or to use the restrooms. But we stayed away as much as we could and were never happier to find a tree to pee behind than this trip. I never thought I’d say that but my recently acquired pandemic-related germ phobia has made me re-think everything.

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You know you are winning at camping when your daughter is bored enough to braid your dogs hair.

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We sat around and relaxed. I finally broke down and had a glass of wine. It was nice but nothing I want to continue. At least not until I’m really comfortable my drinking habits. I am feeling much better about it though. I haven’t had anything else to drink since that campfire and it feels good. I love my new non-drinking self. I feel much better in my own skin.

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Then we tucked in for the night. The girls had battery-operated lights on their tent which is a cozy addition to our camping list. The first night Joon had a really hard time sleeping with all the new noises but the second night she was out like a light because she was so tired from sun exposure and swimming all day.

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The next morning we woke up early and started breaking camp. We all had mixed emotions about leaving. While we couldn’t wait to get home and shower off the gritty layers of sweat and dirt, we were also sad to leave our lovely campsite. It felt like home.

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The girls took the dogs on one last walk and then we were off.

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“Make a face like you hate camping.” I said as I took our last selfie.

I think you can tell by their faces that nobody hates camping. Until next year, Dinky Creek! Hopefully by then we’ll be pandemic free.

Le sigh.