A Painful Hike…Yet Enlightening

Since my head injury in high school, migraine headaches have plagued me. After the accident I spent years in unbearable pain. Often the headaches were so bad I would pass out. I lost job after job, had test after test done and still the headaches were there. Unfortunately, not much has changed, until this hike.

I still have terrible headaches, but truth be told they are less in severity now, and on this hike I realized that I have truly come a long, long way.

Years ago, I would spend days, sometimes weeks in bed, in agony. I just didn’t know how to fight back. I was in so much pain, I was so young and I didn’t know how to deal with it. That is why today, I’m overweight and out of shape. It’s hard to exercise when your in bed or on the couch.

Yesterday, however, was different. Migraine headache in tow, I went for a hike with my Prince Charming husband. It was the most painful exercise I’ve ever endured. Fortunately the miracle of the day is that I did endure it. I didn’t go to bed. Didn’t give in. (Even though I really wanted to) Oh don’t misunderstand, on this hike I rested and stopped, A LOT! We took more breaks than steps, I think, but I did it. I went, I walked, I hiked and we made it further this time then the last time. When the headache got really bad I stopped to sit on a rock or fallen tree to keep myself from falling. My husband would aid me along the way when my vision got too bad or I was wobbling too much. When the shooting pain through my head subsided a bit, I pressed on.

I pressed on. Wow! A truly amazing day!

Here are some images I took. I hope you enjoy them.

More trail...keep walking

Gorgeous view

Snow on the trail

Sun hitting the snow

Stay on the trail

Sunshine hitting the trail

Rocky trail

Gorgeous tree


Tree root on the trail

Huntington Library

The other day we went to the Huntington Library to stroll through their botanical gardens.

Neither of us had ever been there  before, but now that we’ve gone, it will not be our only visit.

It is truly an extraordinary place and I’m hoping that the pictures below make you want to go, because I promise you’ll love it.

Gorgeous, peaceful and serene. Nature at it’s finest in the middle of Los Angeles. Wow!

I’m thinking that perhaps going back in the spring would be a good idea. When we went a great many things weren’t blooming and I’m sure this place is breathtaking when everything is at it’s peak!

Also, far too many people just walk the gardens, which are awesome and worth it…but…. Be sure when you go to see the inside of the museum. They have an amazing library and this is also the home of the famous painting, ‘The Blue Boy’.

Don’t miss it!


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Devils Slide

Devils Slide, that’s the name of the trail we took. Located in the San Bernardino National Forest in Idyllwild, Ca, I soon found out it was appropriately named.

San Jacinto Wilderness Devils Slide trailhead

As we drove up the mountain it was a particularly windy day. The air was cool but not too cold.

Driving up to Idyllwild

Driving up to the trail

Reaching the trailhead, we started on the path. Barely a few steps in, there was a wooden sign on the side telling us that the path was dangerous and to use caution. We decided to throw caution to the already howling winds and go up anyway. The trail was indeed difficult, at least for me. Going up, the terrain was rocky and covered in gravel much of the way.

Devils Slide Trail

Trail View

The trail increased in elevation and we covered almost 1000 feet fairly rapidly. This trek was certainly good training for Machu Picchu. I had to stop a great many more times on this trail due to the air thinning out quickly and getting colder. My lungs were burning and my heart was pounding at least three times faster than my steps. As we rose in elevation the temperature continued to drop. At one point the winds were howling so fiercely we huddled next to a large rock and tree stump, held on and waited for the threat to die down, fearful that nature would win the battle and hurl us quickly down the mountain. We watched the nearby trees bend and sway in response to the fury and hoped they wouldn’t break. After the gusts died down a little, we pressed on, stopping frequently for me to take a lot of pictures. I also used the time to catch my breath, maybe that’s why I take so many.

Beautiful Tree 1

Beautiful Tree 2

Although gorgeous views were as abundant as trees, the increasing wind and decreasing temperatures told us it was time to turn around.

Tree in the sunshine

Suicide Rock

At that point we’d been out a little over an hour and the sun would be setting soon. Not wanting to be on a new trail after dark in inclement weather we went back. The descent is normally faster but with the narrow trail, occasional steep drops offs, gravel and the ever present wind we went slowly and cautiously.

Narrow Trail

Nearing the end, we stopped and climbed on top of a large boulder.


With our arms wrapped around each other we took in the almost unobstructed view of Lily Rock, covered in light and shadow from the sunset soon to follow, and listened to the forest.

Lily Rock


We sat there watching the tree tops dance and shimmer and listened to the sound of the wind. Sometimes it was so loud it sounded as if a huge powerful waterfall was crashing nearby. Shards of light peeked through the evergreen trees and created a kaleidoscope of green colors on the leaves and bark. The beauty of the forest was peaceful, no cars, few people, just the sounds of nature. I took a big, deep, down into my soul breath and I felt good. Healthy. A woodpecker flew overhead and landed on a tree next to us. His lower feathers were definitive black and white lines and his brilliant red head feathers glistened in the sun. He sat for a moment and flew away before I could capture him with my camera. That was the only disappointing moment of the day.

Gorgeous Afternoon

Breaking the spell, my Prince Charming husband asked if I was ready to go. I wasn’t. I wanted to sit there with his arms around me and enjoy the moment for a while longer. Would a week be too long? Soon however, we did go and he promised we’d come back.

Vicki on Devils Slide

Not long after we were down off the mountain and the hike was over. With each hike, each step and every new trail I’m healthier. I can breath better and I am stronger. I’m also happier, feeling good about myself and what I’m accomplishing and feeling like everything is going to be ok. I end up confident, thinking that things are looking up and everything is going my way. Is that endorphins? Maybe. Maybe just doing something wonderful in an amazingly beautiful place makes me happy. Either way, I love that feeling.

Me and my Prince

Back in town, we stopped and got something hot to drink at a small coffee shop. On the wall there was a sign that I found compelling. It said ” Awaken your inner self.” Today I did. Can we do it again tomorrow?



We had such a wonderful time hiking yesterday.

Got up and out of the house.

The weather was perfect.

There was practically no one out there, we only passed one other person.

It was quiet peaceful and gorgeous.

Take a look at the images I got because the sunset was really quite spectacular from up there.

At first it seemed overcast and cloudy and I thought we wouldn’t get much sunset…but I was wrong.

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Escaping Winter-Best Cities For Winter Travel

If escaping the cold weather is what you’re looking for this holiday season…then you need to read about these spectacular places to go during the winter months.

Travel and Leisure posted this article about the Best Cities For Winter Travel.

Obviously, I agree that San Diego is a great place to come for the winter. But I’ve also been to Phoenix, Savannah, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the winter, all of which have lovely weather this time of year.

I don’t think you can go wrong.

However, since the weather is so nice in these areas. When you get there…don’t take the tour bus. Rent a bike. Or maybe a kayak.

See the sights by walking this time.

Take your time and see it all while working off those holidays pounds.



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