Category Archives: 52 Hike Challenge
I’m pleased to share that my 2019 calendars are available for pre-order. Last year I made a calendar almost on a whim and people went crazy for them. This year, I had a request for an all-flower calendar. To be honest, it was hard to pick photos for that because I have so many flower photos. I also wanted to do a landscape/nature calendar so I have two for people to choose from.
The options are on my website and all orders will be sent or delivered in December. For those who live near me, I’ll be hand-delivering them. Otherwise, all will be sent priority mail. These are full 8×10 calendars with sturdy pages. Each page is like receiving an 8×10 color print of my photo. I have gotten samples from other, less-expensive places but I couldn’t do it. I had to go back to my original vendor because quality is important.
Go to https://jennifergonzalez.com/calendar-pre-orders/ to place a pre-order. Obviously, I recommend ordering one for the office and one for home. Or one for you and one for a friend.
Questions? Let me know!!
I think this post goes along with mine about dogs off of their leashes. If you’re out in nature, respect the rules. They are there for a reason (usually many). Keep your dogs on leashes at all times. Do not take your bike on trails where they aren’t allowed. Pack all your trash out with you. Just respect where you are.
April 26, 2018
In late afternoon, as I was descending a dry, exposed section of trail, I was startled by a rattling sound, behind me, approaching fast. Adrenaline flooded my body as I jumped to one side, just in time for a bicycle to whiz past, inches from my pack! Terrified and outraged, I managed to yell to the back of the receding cyclist, ” You don’t belong here!”
The PCT is closed to all wheeled vehicles. There are some parts of the trail where a bicycle could cause serious danger to hikers. Closing the trail to mountain bikes helps to protect fragile trail tread as well as provide a unique, safe place for hikers and equestrians.
As I continued hiking, and my heart rate slowly returned to normal, I fantasized of things I could have done. My fantasies ranged from throwing rocks at the bicycle wheels (perhaps a bit…
View original post 939 more words
This is a good read. And you should read it. And you should share it.
You’d have to be living under a rock this week to not have heard that King Donald the Unwise pardoned the former Sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona (where I reside), Loyal Joe™ Arpaio.
Of course the purpose of this article is to illustrate that those that support this regime must be living under a rock.
This week I’ve heard
conservatives, the base, numbskulls, talk about how Arpaio should be pardoned because he was simply doing his job and that he should be rewarded for that and that he’s a Real American™ and True Patriot™ and that he is tough and we need tough people.
So, I thought I’d share a few Did You Knows related to King Donald’s loyal friend Joe…
Did you know that Loyal Joe referred to his jail lovingly as a concentration camp?
Did you know that prisoners in Loyal Joe’s jail died at an exponentially…
View original post 650 more words
Sunday morning I arrived at the lower White Oak Canyon parking lot at 7:00 am. I was pretty proud of myself of getting there so early. I wanted to hightail it to the waterfalls before the sun became too bright. I already knew there wouldn’t be any clouds. For those who may not photograph waterfalls the best, dreamy photos come with no sunlight. It just makes them look so much better.
I started my hike and was feeling incredibly good. I couldn’t believe just how beautiful the canyon was. Shenandoah National Park never ceases to amaze me. I feel pretty lucky to live as close as I do and to get out there fairly often. The best part was that many small falls and cascades were right off of the trail. The downside is that I spent a lot of time photographing these. In hindsight I should have spent a little less time there and gotten to the falls sooner.
The trail takes you up the canyon. You will come to three sets of significant falls. They are all beautiful but the last one, the second-to-last one is breathtaking. You can’t see it very well through the trees but what you can see is gorgeous (see photo below through the trees). I would like to think that during the winter months there is a way to hike to the bottom of it and really get a great shot but it could be too difficult. When you finally reach the top you’ll come to an overlook. Careful at the edge as it is straight down. You’ll see the 90 foot waterfall – how much water is there will be dependent upon the previous week’s rainfall. It may not be much during the summer months. Thankfully, it rained a ton Friday/Saturday so the view was wonderful.
For those who don’t want a longer hike, you can turn around and hike back down. I did consider this but wanted to complete the hike I had in mind. The downside was I didn’t really look at my map closely. The elevation gain between the lower parking and the last waterfall overlook is 1200 feet. In continuing I would gain approximately another 1200 feet. After you leave the overlook you can continue up the trail and take the path that points you towards Skyline Drive. It becomes a yellow blazed horse trail. I began this portion of the hike and noticed the elevation. Oops. It felt never-ending. On the map it showed the trail taking a hard left and then a hard right and after that I’d be close to reaching Cedar Run. I felt as if that left/right combo happened three or four times and was dreading my decision. There was a couple on this trail with me and we chatted now and then. But mostly it was the wife asking, “Are we there, yet?” I thought only my son did that.
Finally I reached Cedar Run. I was very much looking forward to going down for a bit. That didn’t last too long as my shoes reminded me that I had made a poor choice when purchasing them. I failed to buy the standard 1/2 size bigger and with each step down the mountain my toes hit my shoes. I knew I had about 3 miles to go to reach the parking lot and I wasn’t happy. I was really upset with myself because I knew I had bitten off too much. It isn’t that I’m not capable of a 10 mile hike. I am. However, I hadn’t been training. I’m still rehabilitating my sprained knee and my shoes were not good.
Eventually I came to a creek crossing. I stopped to take photos of the cute, little waterfall. The pool in front of it looked so inviting. I knew that the cold water would feel awesome on my legs and feet. I also knew that I was fairly close to finishing my hike and did I want to add another 20 mins onto my hike? I chose not to go for a swim. I think back, now, and wish I had. I also was a bit intimidated because across the creek were two college boys who were quite friendly. And honestly, I would have felt embarrassed. I have no idea why. I guess I didn’t want them to sit there and just watch me swim.
After starting back down the trail I finally reached the natural water slide. This part of Cedar Run has a smooth slope into a deep pool. People slide down it and take a big splash. It looked so fun. Again, I wanted to stop and try. I stood for a bit and watched others slide down. I kept thinking, “It will be me who splashes so hard that I go over the other side and then I’ll get hurt and that will be it.” So I decided to continue on down the trail. I passed a lot of families and they kept repeating, “It will be easier going down.” Sorry. No. It isn’t. It is a tough trail.
I was overjoyed to finally reach the parking lot. It was super full by this time (only 3 cars when I arrived). I lamented that I hadn’t brought my flip flops for driving home and my shoes squished as I sat down to drive. All I could think of was getting home and soaking in the hot tub because I envisioned how sore I would be the next day (I was wrong. I was more sore on Tuesday.).
I think in the future I will return and do portions of this hike. I want to return to Cedar Run with my kids and friends and take time sliding. We’ll go early in the morning and beat the crowds. And hopefully I’ll beat the sun and get some great photos.
If you go, park at the lower parking lot (for map apps type in White Oak Canyon Lower Parking – they will all find it). You will need to pay the fee to get into the park. Do not skip this. It isn’t cool. Also, if you arrive late there is overflow parking for $10. So bring cash.
Go check out the rest of my photos. Prints are always available.