California: Week 7 Reflections

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Hello friends!

Week 7 has come and gone and I am now 1 week and 3 days closer to beginning my journey back to Columbia! I was a little hesitant on taking a shorter, 2 month contract, but in this moment, I am so grateful that I did. One of the things I have learned about being a traveling therapist is that it’s a lot faster pace and much much harder. So, after nearly 5 straight months of traveling, I am exhausted mentally, physically, and even a little emotionally. I would do it all over again, but I’m ready to get back to Eric so we can start the next chapter of our lives, together!

 

This was a busy week at work and by Wednesday I needed a major stress reliever. On the way to work, I took a detour to one of my favorite nearby locations, Rocky Hill Road. How could I say no to the first clear, non-rainy day we’ve had in over a week! I’ve decided before I leave this place, I’m going to hike the entire road from start to finish.

It was a beautiful day! I couldn’t resist!!!

 

Rocky Hill Road

 

The view of the Sequoia mountains from Rocky Hill Road

The Sequoias are some of my favorite mountains. The area is absolutely gorgeous. Eric and I have talked a little bit about hiking the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) which is a 2,650 mile trail from the Mexican border in California to the Canadian border in Washington. I think technically it extends into Canada a bit, but supposedly it’s illegal to cross into Canada from the trail. We’ll see. We have some ideas in mind, but it’s been a ruthless winter! With all the rain and snow that has been hammering the west coast, California may actually pull itself out of its multiple decade long drought. The downside is that there will be a LOT of snow and water flowing which will make hiking the PCT even more dangerous well into the summer. Since it takes 5+ months to hike (especially to noobs), it may not work out for this year. But, someday. If of course Trump and his cronies do not give away our national lands!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/bureau-land-management-federal-lease

I’m not going to get all political on my blog, because I respect that everyone does have the right to think, feel, and even vote the way they want….but this really PISSES me off! If we as Americans actually took the time to understand all the things going on in our world, I think we’d make better decisions about who we choose to lead our country! I’m not just talking presidential, I mean in every office. Sigh. I’m guilty of not feeling like I can make a difference for far too long, and now I’m paying for my ignorance. No more. It’s never too late to change, unless it’s too late. There are a lot of really bad things that are on the brink of the horizon and I’m mostly just angry at myself for being a part of the population that let it happen.

“Ignorance is bliss until you break free from the darkness.”     -Me

OK, rant over (for now!)

What else happened this week you ask? Friday night, Matty (my airbnb host/roommie) taught me how to play chess and then he proceeded to kick my butt x 3 games.  Now I see why he made some popcorn with fancy flavors, baked cookies, provided me with a Corona, and played the perfect ‘thinking’ music (straight out of the club). It was a ploy to lessen the blow! haha. It was a great time! Thanks for putting me in my place man!

 

Saturday, I decided to drive to Bakersfield and ride the Kern River Parkway Trail which is roughly 21.4 miles long and as the name suggests, runs along the Kern River. Riding the trail also gave me an excuse to drive an hour away to go to a Trader Joe’s for a special special treat that I discovered this week thanks to Jake (the PT from work).  Although the trail is relatively flat, it kicked my butt! Between being sick, all the rain, and not having the safest place to ride, I haven’t been on the bike much in the last 2 months. Below is the story of my trip.

 

The drive to Bakersfield is actually quite beautiful.

I was trying to snap a photo of the thousands of birds, which you can see a few in the top left and some left/center. There was no place to pull over and by the time I got my camera out I was past the majority of them. But the green hills, cloudy blue-grey skies, and the black swarm of birds was super cool. The photo doesn’t do it justice!

I arrived in Bakersfield, which actually felt quite odd considering I spent 7ish mostly miserable years of my life there. A lot has changed in 9 years. But, all in all, it was the same and it felt weird being back. I didn’t really think much about the memories, but during my long ride, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how much I have grown and changed since living there. It was however an important time in my life that I needed to live through to make me who I am today. Also, it is where I discovered that money does NOT equal happiness. I worked ALL the time and had more than I ever wanted or needed. I was wasteful and stuck on the hedonic treadmill (hedonic happiness-look it up-quite interesting. Anyways, I hated myself and I was truly and sadly a miserable human being. Thankfully, I found my way back to myself and I am much stronger, wiser, and happier than ever before.

In the spirit of my new mindset, I went back to enjoy some things that I never had time or made time to do while I was there! Here are some photos of the trip.

They forgot to add a picture of the tarantula! So glad I didn’t run across any of these, except for the bird.

 

Stark and cloudy start.

 

Stark and less cloudy 🙂

 

It was a beautiful sky day!

 

Maybe a little off-roading?

 

So pretty out

 

Did I mention how awesome the sky was today!?!

 

My MO shot. Have to get one wherever I go.

 

A cool old wooden rail bridge

 

The Kern River. Starbucks should have a booth out here. I was really craving some coffee after taking this pic.

 

Bakersfield’s main industry: Oil. There are millions of them everywhere! I should have stopped and snapped some photos of the oil fields.

 

This one is kinda lonely though.

 

See.

 

Here are a few sky only shots. It was soooo beautiful. My photos really do NOT even do it justice!

 

 

 

Here are the only animals I saw on the trip: A big fat bird (which was actually pretty far away so not a great pic). I did see a woodpecker but couldn’t really get a shot and a TON of bunnies. I surprisingly did get a pic of these little guys just chillin’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you spot all three of them?

 

Back under the railroad bridge

 

Check it out. The sky was different from EVERY direction!

Looking South

 

Looking East

 

Looking North

 

Looking West

 

This world is so beautiful and I was very appreciative of this day.  Bakersfield is nicely situated with mountains on 3 of 4 directions. Nothing beats the view on a clear day (although they are few and far between!)

This was the clearest shot of the mountain view to the South. Pass those (the grapevine) and you’re almost to Los Angeles.

 

So after my ride I hit up Trader Joe’s to pick up some Speculoos, a cookie butter made from crushed shortcrust biscuits from the Netherlands. If you are ever at a TJ’s you must try this stuff! Wait. Don’t because I don’t want you to buy it all up! This flavor is the BEST!

 

Sunday is going to be a catch up on blog and chill out day. I don’t want to do anything too exciting because I’m not sure if you all can handle a longer post! So, if you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Until next time…..

 

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