Texas and Back Again

In April I took a trip to Texas for a wedding/music festival.  It was another one of those trips that I planned on taking alone and not meeting up with anyone.  One of those “eh, I’ll make friends or run into someone I know I’m sure, just buy a ticket and see what happens” kinda trips.  Those trips always turn out to be the best and this one did not disappoint.  It turned out that my Muddy family could go and I was excited to see them and camp with them again!

On the way out I stopped at as many Park sites as I could.  I visited Walnut Canyon National Monument, El Morro National Monument, El Malpais National Monument, and Chemical National Memorial.  Walnut Canyon was, by far, my favorite.

Walnut Canyon features 800 year old cliff dwellings with 25 that you can walk right past on the Island Trail.  The Island Trail is only a mile loop, but you decent 185 vertical feet to get to the dwellings and have to climb that 185 feet back up.  273 steps on this trail and it is worth every single one.

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The Inscription Rock Trail Loop at El Morro National Monument takes you past hundreds of Spanish and Anglo inscriptions, as well as pre–historical petroglyphs.  It was cool to see all the inscriptions and think about the people who wrote them.

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Chamizal National Memorial commemorates the diplomatic settlement of a long-standing border dispute between the United States and Mexico.

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The main event of the trip was the Walk this Earth Music Festival and Liz & Jareds wedding.  Liz and Jared put a lot of hard work into everything and it showed! The ranch was beautiful and amazing and no detail was missed.  The music was awesome, the food was amazing (even though I didn’t eat much of any of it with it being meat and all), and there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowed during the wedding ceremony.

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It was a fantastic trip with music, friends, and celebration!

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Go Future!

I’ve been away from this blog for awhile.  I decided to get my bachelors degree and took an accelerated path to get there, which meant that all my time was dedicated to school and I had no time for travel blogs.

I finally graduated (yay me!) and now have time to share my travel stories, but that is not why I am posting today.  Today I want to tell you about an awesome dude I met at the last Muddy Roots in Cookeville, TN.

Kody Oh is a pretty all around rad dude.  He’s a musician, poet, awesome storyteller, and amazing humanitarian.  Even his dog is super cool.

Last October he hopped on a plane and flew to Ethiopia to help build a community skate park in Hawassa with the organization Ethiopia Skate.  You can learn more about Ethiopia Skate and the cool things they do HERE.

When he returned he set to work creating his own way of giving back.  Below is a quote taken from Kody’s Facebook page (because he can explain his vision better than I):

“I started a thing. It’s called The Go Future! Foundation. It’s an organization to instill at risk youth across the globe with skills and attributes to not only succeed, but share their success and instill future generations with likeminded ideologies toward the enrichment of their communities: to teach children to grow up and teach children to grow up and be teachers and community leaders. Skateboarding is the sole reason of my existence and survival. It’s time to give back...”

Kody then headed to Puerto Rico with the goal to build a skate park and community garden for the soon to be Puerto Rican Cultural Arts Center in Santurce, which is a district of San Juan.

You can follow all the rad things that the Go Future! Foundation is doing over at their Instagram site or better yet, head over to their GoFundMe Page to make a donation to the Puerto Rico build.  You can also click the donate button at the bottom of this page.

Go Future! Foundation can also use donations of any kind of skate gear; decks, wheels, helmets, knee pads, etc.  You can leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you would like more information on how to get physical donations to them.

Grand Canyon National Park

In March I was sent to the Grand Canyon for a two week training course and it was the most fantastic experience.  I stayed in the dorms at the Albright Training Center, which is within walking distance to the South Rim.  I had been to the Grand Canyon before, but only for a quick look on my way home from Muddy Roots one summer.  This was quite a different experience.

For one, it was cold and snowy this time around.  The first day I arrived it started to snow.  Luckily for me, it waited to really snow after I was parked and didn’t have to drive in it anymore.  It was absolutely beautiful to see the canyon covered in snow.  It was also quite magical to see the elk and deer in the snow.

Please excuse some of these photos.  I used my cell phone for photos for a few of them.  This first picture shows my vehicle after a night of snow!

The one below is the view from my room.

The second thing that made my trip so different this time around was that I was there as a National Park Service employee.  I was there to learn all about the Park Service.  I was in class with close to fifty of my peers and got to work in teams to solve everyday problems that parks are faced with.  I met a ton of wonderful people and we all got to experience the wonders of the Grand Canyon together.

My team for the two weeks.  These people are awesome!

And of course, a few shots of the canyon…

I had an awesome time at Grand Canyon National Park and Albright Training Center.  I hope to go back soon to visit the North Rim and maybe another trip in the future to venture to the bottom of the canyon.

Joshua Tree National Park

A couple of weekends ago my old roommate from Redwoods came down to visit me in the desert.  We had plans to go to a concert in Santa Ana, which we did, but before we headed to Santa Ana we took a detour through Joshua Tree National Park.

I have been to Joshua Tree a few times.  Once on a camping trip with Lacy and a few times for work.  We didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, but had a lot of fun exploring different things in the park.

We discovered Ocotillo plants, which were really cool.  Look at these things.  They have beautiful green leaves that hide long sharp thorns and they flower in the Spring.  I bought a National Parks Annual Pass while I was here so I plan on coming back to see these in full bloom, which should be in the next couple of months.

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I took a ton of pictures while I was there, but didn’t notice that I had my camera on a special setting.  All my beautiful landscape photos look like they were taken in a post apocalyptic world.  I had it set to a sepia type tone.  I did get some cool shots, just not exactly what I was trying for.  Here are a few shots that came out pretty cool despite the lack of color.

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This is the shot that made me realize I wasn’t shooting in color…

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And finally, we have color!

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One spot I am sad that I didn’t capture in full color is views from Keys View.  We had a beautiful view of the snow capped San Gorgoino Mountain, Coachella Valley, and the Salton Sea. This picture just doesn’t do it justice.

dsc_0043The Coachella Valley without color isn’t very impressive either…

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My next adventure is to the Grand Canyon.  I have a two week training class for work and will be driving up with a co-worker from Redwoods.  Hopefully I’ll have my act together and get a Grand Canyon post up in a few weeks!

 

 

California Route 66 Museum

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Last month, after Thanksgiving, my Dad and my sister came down to visit.  One of the places I took them was to the Route 66 Museum in Victorville.  This place was a blast!  They had a ton of great exhibits, friendly volunteers with a wealth of knowledge, and an awesome Route 66 video to watch.

We were greeted by one of their wonderful volunteers as soon as we walked in the door and encouraged to take pictures in their VW bus.  We even got dad to participate!

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There were lots of fun exhibits to see in this place.

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The museum is not that big, but we managed to spend over an hour in it.  You can check out their website here and if you are in the Victorville area, I highly recommend a visit!

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Cesar E. Chavez National Monument

I made a trip home to Fresno this weekend and on my way back I stopped in to visit the Cesar Chavez National Monument.  The Monument is located in Keene, CA and well worth the stop.  It’s less than a mile from the freeway to get to the monument, but easy to pass.  I saw the sign on the side of the road, but the driveway didn’t appear to go anywhere.  It makes a sharp turn and goes down to the visitor center.  So what looks like a pullout IS actually the driveway.

Once I found my way to the visitor center I was pleasantly surprised.  The grounds at La Paz (short for Nuestra Senora Reina De La Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace)) are absolutely beautiful.  You can take a virtual tour of the grounds HERE.

There is a museum in the visitor center, which used to be the administrative building for the United Farm Workers.  Now the building houses displays such as; Cesar Chavez’s office, a replica of farm housing, photos and displays of the Delano Grape Strike, and so much more.

Before it was a visitor center it was the headquarters for the United Farm Workers movement and before that it was a tuberculosis ward.  The history in just one building on the property is amazing!

Outside they have a beautiful memorial garden that includes the final resting place of Cesar Chavez.  There are also trails around the gardens and beautiful roses everywhere.

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Nice Peter and My Move to Southern California

This morning I watched this video from Nice Peter and it inspired me to pick back up with this blog.  I haven’t felt like I have had much to write about that is interesting, but after watching Nice Peter’s video it made me think, maybe someone out there is wondering what I’m up to just like I was wondering about where he had been and what adventures he had been up to.

The biggest news is that I have moved from Northern to Southern California.  I went from working in a forest of giant trees to a desert filled with Joshua Trees.  It’s been a huge change, but all for the better.  I’m now working for Mojave National Preserve and am learning a TON of new things.  I’m also a lot closer to family down here so that is a big plus.

I’ve gone on a few road trips since I have been here, but nothing that I have felt was blog worthy.  I made a couple of trips to Vegas, which is only 2 hours from me now.  One trip was to pick up furniture for my new place and the second was to see the Goddamn Gallows play at the Dive Bar.  I also made a trip down to Lake Elsinore (a hour south of me) to see The Urban Pioneers play at Lucky’s Tavern.  Lake Elsinore seems like a cool little town and I hope I have a chance to explore it more.  I’m excited that there is so much music so nearby.  I felt a little cut off up in the Redwoods.  I loved my park up there and loved the people, but the lifestyle was a little lacking for me.

So now that I have been inspired once again I hope to keep up with this.  I have a new job, and am working on getting my bachelors degree so of course adding one more “assignment” to my to-do list seems perfectly reasonable to me.   I think I am going to follow Nice Peter’s lead and try for a once a week posting.  I guess we will all see how it goes.  For now I will leave you with a few pictures from my new park.  Enjoy!

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