Day 82: Blazing trails…

“It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.”

-Dale Evans



I woke up bright and early and this time, I had no trouble escaping my warm little nest. I knew that the quicker I completed my work obligations I would be hitting the open road and embracing the change that nature was offering as a perfect transition to the new part of this quest!  Yes, Fall was beckoning me to blaze some trails, get lost out on the open road and let nature surprise me with an unplanned adventure.

I had a couple of cups of eye-opening java onboard and I was flying through my work. The sun had risen and my mind was beginning to wander to where it was that my heart was being called to explore.    It has been a difficult week challenging my spirit to transition to this new part of the Quest.  So much so, that the writing had stopped, the Quests had ceased and my compass seemed uncalibrated.  Several days have gotten away from me with not even a thought of how to re-center myself.  Several times I have opened my writing program to begin to write and all those times I have simply closed the program being left confounded and confused.  For the next step of this mission, it is vital that I get the message right.  It is about having the courage to say what needs to be said… but did I possess that level of bravery?


Words are powerful tools… they can carry unintended emotion when simply read and not spoken. They can make you laugh, cry, smile, care, feel, sense, know, understand, feel angry, disagreeable, and yes, even make you feel misunderstood.  The meaning of the message can be lost in letters that are read in an entirely different way than they were ever intended.  POWERFUL, are the words written and spoken!


With this understanding, I had to take a week away and think long and hard about the words I wanted to give myself permission to use for the messages I think need to be sent. It has been almost a week of not writing and I was able to look back through my pictures in the last Quest to see where I have been so I knew where I need to go.  And sometimes the path we want to go down is not the path we need to go down.  Sometimes we need to walk in the valley of darkness to find the light.  Yes, that is what this shy and sheltered girl needs to do for the next part of her quest.  It all seems quite vague right now, but I assure you there is a message that needs to be shared very carefully.

I looked out my window in my office and I could hear the Aspens speaking. They quaked as the wind came through and their golden leaves echoed a calling to let my spirit travel down a road that would show me it is okay to get lost every now and again, because I do have the power to find my way.  I sat for a minute as I knew what I needed to do.  I was being called to go on a Quest to blaze a new trail, center my spirit so that “hopefully” the words could flow again.  The decision was made, I grabbed a couple of snacks, some water, a light grey sweater, my camera, and asked that Siri lead the way to a place that I was told had amazing Fall color and the name was neither coincidence nor happenstance, “Hope Valley.”


Siri led the way, at least until we reached the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains at which point I lost all cell and internet coverage. I had traveled this road once before on my way to Caples Lake for the adventure of the naked kind.  I had stopped along the way at a creek but that is all I remember as my mind was in other places that day for obvious reasons.





Today, I was meant to take in every single tree, twist in the road, follow the sun and try to get lost and hopefully found.   As I began my way through the valley, I had tall mountains on both sides and the Carson River ran right next to the road. There, in the mid-day sun, were aspens completely ablaze with yellow emanating from every leaf.  The leaves that had fallen danced along the road as the cars drove by.  Every 200 ft I found myself pulling over to take pictures as the views were something I would only see in a book of Fall color.  Then, as if my camera had turned itself off intentionally, I stepped into my car and headed as far West as I possibly could with no idea where that would take me or even why.



I drove past Caples Lake, past Silver lake on the old Kit Carson Trail on the edge of a mountain with no guard rail to console me and then through Amador county, the most desolate county in the state of California. I felt like Forest Gump, just driving as far as I could in search of something and not knowing exactly what that might be.  When suddenly, just as I was starting to question myself, I saw the sign for an overlook and I felt compelled to pull over and see what it was that was off in the distance.


I stepped out of the car and it was a cool 64 degrees.  I pulled my sweater close to keep the chill of the wind away, and walked to the edge of the mountain and looked at an incredible view of forest and rock… forest and rock… forest and rock…  I stood and thought about this site, “What makes it a site?”  The fact that I was standing at the edge of an 8000 ft mountain with a +2000 ft drop?  Or was it that as far as the eye could see there was a vast and open forest with more trees and rocks than I could imagine?  Yes, I thought the vastness of this desolate forest was what needed to be appreciated, but the risk to enjoy the view was where courage needed to come from.  Kit Carson, who explored and discovered this route, never stopped to think about whether he and his envoy had the courage to cross this rugged terrain to get to the land they so desired.  No, they fought through the toughest conditions.  On their expedition they were stuck in a snowstorm that should have taken all of their lives, but Kit had intense and astounding survival skills that allowed them to survive and even their mule lived through the fierce conditions by “eating each others tails and the leather from the pack saddles”-( )They most likely stood at this very spot and maybe wondered quietly to themselves, “Could they continue?  Was it worth it?  Did they have the strength to follow their dreams?”  How many years ago this trail was blazed by Kit Carson with only a dream.   He had an idea of direction and with amazing determination, skill and courage he accomplished what many thought was impossible.  Yes… there it was… as bright as the aspens that led the way down a road to an unknown destination. It was as if I were being led by something greater than myself to the edge of a cliff with trees and rocks as far as the eye could see.  There in the distance was the story that spoke the words of inspiration and motivation.  It was a drive through Hope Valley that made me find what my spirit was in need of… a reason to continue where the words carry a message of meaning and purpose.

I closed my eyes as the wind picked up and felt my spirit now center… I softly spoke, “I see… “ Sometimes we need to get lost in order to be found.  Sometimes the place where we think we see the least is where we see the most.  Sometimes the words are better left unsaid for a little while.  Sometimes a step away gives new perspective.







It was time to leave as the sun was beginning its nighttime ritual of slowly giving way to the night. I drove back down that lonely road and made my way to Caples Lake.  Yes, the place where I bared my skin to the cold and clear water not realizing that this place with breath-taking views would have me back again so soon.  I sat and watched as the setting sun highlighted the golden aspen grove that stood at attention at the beach’s edge.  The glow was unreal… as if the leaves spoke of glory perhaps confirming the message of inspiration that was lent to me by someone I couldn’t see or something that was more powerful than me.  It took but minutes for the bright orange glow to lessen and I bid the sun farewell as I couldn’t wait for the next day to begin again.



I began my long dark drive home through Hope valley. And before my sleepy eyes did appear was the moon to light my way and take my fear.  I did stop several times to capture the view as the sky was a light lavender as the moon shared its radiance.  There in  Hope valley was a light brighter than the stars that perhaps Kit Carson used to blaze a trail fueled by hopes, dreams and determination.   It was this brilliance in the sky that reaffirmed that sometimes the journey has us go through a valley of darkness to see the light.


Blazing trails through Hope Valley and beyond, getting lost and then found with the message of inspiration being spoken by words delivered in nature and sealed by the setting sun and celebrated by the moonlight that led me home…


Feeling re-energized, re-centered, ready to say what needs to be said… Wondering what tomorrow will bring.

4 thoughts on “Day 82: Blazing trails…”

  1. Love to read your stories Michele. Inspiring the way you write about your adventures. There is so much to explore. I can relate to your challenges a lot. I can remember myself running trough the Alps last summer, where sometimes the route was not clear or I was in doubt wether I could make it to a certain peak. Being totally alone in the beautiful environment, just running and seeing where my legs could take me. It’s at those moments I feel more alive then ever.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Christiaan! What a great story! It is amazing how being alone in such a majestic place can leave you feeling humbled and as you said, “More alive than ever!”… love that quote! 😉 Please know that your accomplishments are the kind of inspiration that help fuel my adventures. Take care my friend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.