Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pacific Crest Trail Expedition!





Several years ago, I was able to do some hikes with my husband on the Pacific Crest Trail, at its lowest elevation, along the Cascade Locks of the Washington-Oregon border.  I was so delighted to have been able to hike the PCT in two states (Washington and Oregon), that I ordered a PCT medallion for my hiking stick.  A close-up of the medallion is shown below:




 When I was reading about the trail on the Internet before we went, there was a warning about the poison oak that was plentiful along some parts of it:

















I am very fortunate to have been able to hike the Castle Crags area of the Pacific Crest Trail with a local author who has published a definitive book on the history and geology of this area:
A photo of the author of the book is shown below, standing on a crag outcropping, and I am thankful to say he is my beloved son!

I was glad my son had pre-hiked this trail, which he had done while doing the "footwork research" for the book he published, called Mt. Shasta Area Rock Climbing.  It is available from Amazon.com, as well as the local Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce office, as shown in the photo below:
Getting to spend a week in Mt. Shasta, California,  with my son and his wife, gave me "MILES OF SMILES"!!  Tricia

Saturday, May 27, 2017

KINGS RIVER DECK HOUSE EXPEDITION!

The Kings River Deck House ( www.kingsriverdeckhouse.org ) is a rental property that sits on a bluff, overlooking the Kings River, near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. 

The house and two adjoining bungalows are owned by The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas ( www.nature.org ).  The home was originally built by the Liedtke family of Houston in 1970. 

The solid wood dining room will actually seat 20 guests at one time, which is the absolute maximum that the management allows to stay, for overnight rentals.


I took
this photo of the large and fully-equipped kitchen, from the stairs to the sleeping loft.  I had the wonderful blessing of being there with 18 other adventure-minded ladies, who were prepping to kayak the area rivers.  We call ourselves "The WHOyakers", because we are a "spin-off" of a hiking group called "WHO" which stands for "WOMEN HIKING the OZARKS". 


 War Eagle Creek was our location for the first float.  This old arch-style bridge has been a landmark for decades.
I have noticed that getting the kayak from the vehicle to the river is seldom an easy chore, and War Eagle Creek was no exception.  The photo below shows the group walking on top of the old bridge, surveying possible ways to get our 19 kayakers safely into the War Eagle Creek.  The photo above shows the location that was chosen.  (There are not photos of the actual "conveyor belt" operation that occurred on the steep hillside between the roadway and the river entry, because I fell in the incredibly slippery mud, and had to spend a few moments trying to restore my mud-covered outer clothing and mud-covered camera, to full function again!)
I was thankful Peggy K. took this photo below, of me giving the "Paddler's Victory Salute", as I made my way down War Eagle Creek, for the first time ever, in a kayak.
Since kayakers are basically "sitting on the water", sometimes it takes some help to get back to a standing position, after several hours of sitting, especially if one is getting out on a slope, or on slippery mud.  This group shows teamwork in helping one another out of their boats, in the photo below:







When choosing a lunch spot where 19 kayaks will fit, it is always about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!


At the lunch stop on War Eagle Creek, one lady in our group got tangled into a grove of willow trees in the fast-rushing water, and her kayak filled with water.  Her fellow WHOyakers rushed to the scene to rescue her and her boat!


My photo of a few bluffs on War Eagle Creek,  for the "Look At The Front Of My Kayak" page on Facebook. 

Everybody pitches in,
when it is time to carry the boats out of the river, and up to the pickup truck loading area. 





The Monday before our Wednesday float of Kings River, several of us went with Peggy V. to scout out the location of the group's takeout point on the Kings River.  The photo below shows our Marshall Ford Bridge stopping point.  We all had instructions to NOT go past this bridge!



There is a very nice nature trail at the Kings River Deck House, that goes beneath one of the bungalows, and gives you a nice view of the pillars that support the structures. 



One of the points of interest along the trail is called "ShipRock", and I could not pass up the opportunity to have my photo made on it, since my son has the name "Ship Man"!   Plus, he is a rock climber, so I called this photo "ShipMan's Mom on ShipRock"!

The nature trail ends at an overlook of the Kings River.  Since the Kings River Deck House, has a hiking stick available for every guest at the entrance, we posed with the hiking sticks they supplied for this photo I call: "Girls in the 'STICKS'!"











The ladies in our group who so generously allow the use of their pickup trucks for hauling kayaks are greatly appreciated!  In this photo, Becky wanted "evidence" to show her husband how FIVE kayaks could be packed into the vehicle!

When our group awoke on Wednesday morning, all eyes were on the weather!  (Well, not ALL the eyes were on the weather, as I was looking through the wrong end of the powerful binoculars provided at the Deck House, so I could get a photo of the eyes of the elk on the fireplace wall!)

Fortunately, the living room was aglow with the rising sun!

Our group had to stage the launch into the Kings River on a gravel bar in the middle of the river.  This meant we got wet at the very beginning of our float!  However, thanks to help from the younger and taller ladies than me, I only got wet up to my thighs at the beginning!  This would not be a big deal on a hot day, but it was NOT a hot day!

Amy took this photo of our group at the beginning of the epic (it was epic for me, but not so much for more experienced paddlers!) 11.3 mile journey down the Kings River. 




And here is a photo of Dee, as she loads up the kayaks onto her trailer at the end of the float.  Do you notice there are no photos of the gorgeous bluffs that we saw along the Kings River?  That is because my only goal for the day was SURVIVAL!  The Bible verse I kept praying was from Isaiah 43:2a that says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."    Even though several ladies in our group had full-body immersions along the way, and swamped kayaks, (which required a full change of clothing from "the skin out"), we started with 19 ladies, and we ended with 19 ladies!  Thank you JESUS!

And a  big THANK YOU also,  to Peggy V., for making this adventure possible for me!  It is an expedition that gave me thrills, spills, and "MILES OF SMILES"!!   Tricia