Being Present in the Wild Kingdom

Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Lately, I’ve been leaving my camera at home on local hikes.  Honestly, I haven’t been inspired enough to bring it along.  Same trail, same view.  On the contrary, hiking without the camera allows me to be present, in the moment, and fully aware of my surroundings. Maybe that’s why this week I’ve stumbled across my own version of the wild kingdom.


Something told me to take the Blue Trail today and bypass the Green until the cove. My knee and hip have been hurting (yes, I’m old) and I wanted to avoid steep climbs. Good thing, because the trail was occupied by a family of Javelinas ~ Two adults, a mama, and two babies! Amazed, I stopped and watched them until they disappeared over the ridge.


After reaching the cove,  I decided to soak my feet in the river and rest a bit. The cove has a BLM camp site with a picnic table and restroom ~ It’s a great spot to sit and re-charge. Looking up at the cliff above, I spotted a few Desert Bighorn Sheep checking me out.  This is the second time this week I’ve run into Bighorn Sheep ~ apparently they like hiking in the cooler weather, too!


Tired, I headed back to the trailhead via the Blue then Yellow Trail. The Yellow Trail runs through a wash with high rock walls on both sides. As I stopped in the shade for a quick drink and rest, my eyes focused on a little Chuckwalla blending into a little niche in the wall.


Hiking this week, fully present of my surroundings, I was fortunate to catch sight of quite a few wild creatures. Two weeks ago, I shared space with a bobcat in the cactus garden at the state park. Of course, in each circumstance I was without camera.

And maybe that’s why I was gifted a peek into their world….it was a reminder to stop being so preoccupied and to awaken and just be present.

It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses ~ Charles de Lint


Note: All photos are from MS Word online clip art.



Urge for Going

“She’s got the urge for going, So I guess she’ll have to go…”  – Joni Mitchell

I heard this beautiful melody on the radio recently, and although inspired by wintertime, I found it quite relevant to my migratory nature and love of wandering. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.

Thanks to the Adventure group I joined, I discovered a wonderful new place to get “going.”  Cattail Cove State Park is located between Havasu and Parker, Arizona, and offers some nice hiking trails.


Whyte’s Retreat Trail

The one and half mile Whyte’s Retreat trail follows the Colorado River shoreline winding in and out of coves and ending at the BLM campsite of the same name. Gorgeous!


Wayne’s Way with the state park in the distance

The more strenuous Wayne’s Way and Ted’s trail lead up and down through desert hills and shallow gorges. A section of Ted’s trail runs through a wash with bluffs on both sides and includes a few dry “waterfalls” to scale.


Grow where you are planted

I’m always surprised what can grow in areas where climates and conditions are harsh. So wherever you are today, adapt, grow and bloom where you are planted.


Clark Regional Park, Buena Park, California

038Completed in 1981, Ralph B. Clark Regional Park was originally known as the Emery Borrow Pit, a sand and gravel pit created in the 50s for the construction of the I-5 and 91 freeways.  After the discovery of prehistoric fossils, the land was purchased by the County of Orange and created into a park.  I visited this park last weekend with my grandson Tyler, but forgot my camera and was unable to photograph our outing.  So, I’ve returned this week, camera and notepad in hand, for an early morning walk on Clark Park’s unpaved 1.5 mile perimeter trail.

010The weather is cool and foggy, which I appreciated since trail starts straight up a hill. Climbing, I can smell the scent of buckwheat, sage, and dirt in the morning air.  On the right, I notice a chain link fence topped with barbwire, enclosing a trash area below and wondered is this original pit?  I got to the top for a view of the street, the baseball diamond, and the adjacent country club.  There were three paths to choose from—I chose to go down.

032After descending the hill, the noise from the traffic finally subsided and I could hear a few birds twittering.  The path is extremely shady, canopied by Monterey pines and other shrubbery and bordered on the right by an old-fashion split-rail wooden fence. The trail reminded me of a country lane and I had an urge to whistle the theme to the Andy Griffith show.  Is that you Opie?

024It takes quite an active imagination to feel like you’re away from the city when all you can hear is the noise from the traffic, equipment from the park’s work yard, and the crack of a bat from the baseball diamonds.  Although the trails are visually appealing, I prefer a park that tricks the imagination for a little while, allowing you escape to the simulated great outdoors.

My favorite part of the park is the Interpretive Center—a free museum dedicated to the areas prehistoric history. My grandson and I enjoyed checking out the fossils and learning how the area has changed from sea to land in the last billion years.  The park is a perfect fit for families interested in picnicking and getting active.