Day 365 ~ Go John Trail to Overton Trail Cave Creek, AZ

March 25th, 2017 ~ Day 365

The day has finally come! Today I get to complete this journey of hiking every day for 365 days!!! To celebrate, my wonderful amazing friends have created a Meetup event to celebrate all that I have accomplished. Trail Mix Hiking is a Meetup I joined a few years ago and they have been a huge part of my journey since that first hike I hiked with the group. I’m so grateful for all the friends I have met along the way.

In the last 365-days, I have hiked 1100 miles, 22 mountains, 133 different trails, in 45 cities and in 7 states. Even with those stats, I wish I could have done so much more!

Where has the time gone? Now that the end is here, it seems to have gone by so fast! I have been to so many amazing places and experienced some awesome adventures, such as Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon, Mt. Whitney and Cactus to Clouds, to name a few. Physically these were the hardest hikes for me on this journey.

I’ve met some great friends along the way, along with meeting my new granddaughter and my amazing boyfriend! I’ve manage to hike through this journey while losing my best friend Robin, my grandmother Elizabeth and my own mother Rebecca. Some of though toughest hikes were on those days. Dealing with loss is difficult, but using my hiking as healing, I have continued this journey and begun to heal.

For day 365 I chose to hike the Go John Trail in the Cave Creek Regional Park. Go John is the first trail I hiked almost four years ago, training for an adventure to come later that same year in Havasupai. This is the trail that truly began my love of hiking. Hiking this trail today means so much to me. Ending my 365-day journey where it all began and coming full circle on this adventure, has such meaning and purpose. The day couldn’t have been any better!

Our hike began heading east on the Go John Trail. We started at 3 p.m. and it was beautiful outside. Not too warm out, which is something I was afraid of, and we were blessed with a slight breeze for most of our adventure.

From the first moment we set foot on this trail, the views were amazing. The wild flowers in this park covered the landscape and were in full bloom! The skies were a bright blue and the clouds fluffy and white. It’s a beautiful day for a hike!

As we began heading north, we were greeted with brighter blue skies, white fluffy clouds and a valley of green. The cacti are in abundance to help make for the stunning views we were blessed to see. Noticing that on the north side of the mountain, there weren’t as many wild flowers, possibly because they have yet to bloom. I may have to come back here to see the beauty it has to offer in a couple weeks.

I don’t think I could ever get enough of this place. The views of the desert, if you could call it that (currently is doesn’t look like a desert), are so spectacular. If you have never been to one of the Maricopa Regional Parks, you need to go. I believe there are ten parks and they are all amazing, each with their own features.

As we hiked the trail, we were visited by many small white butterflies. My twelve-year-old daughter often tells me that when she sees a butterfly it means her daddy visiting from heaven. Her daddy, Jimmy, passed away only a year-and-a-half ago, and whenever I see a butterfly, I think of him. I have seen many butterflies as I hiked along my journey, wondering if he’s accompanied me along the way, but today, there were more butterflies than I have ever seen on the trails.

I found the meaning of a white butterfly online stating that… “butterflies generally represent souls, and white is the color for purity. In general terms, it’s simply a pure soul. If it visits you at an important moment in your life, it may represent a guardian spirit, ushering you along the path of life”.

How beautiful could that meaning be on a day like today? With the loss of so many loved ones that I’ve come to endure in the last year-and-a-half. I can’t help but think of the importance of this day, and how just maybe, my loved ones are here to join me on my final day of this journey.

We stopped after a few miles of hiking to take our group picture. With Trail Mix, we always do a group picture, it’s like a tradition. An amazing group of friends, new and old. I am truly blessed to have some amazing friends in this life who share the same passion as I do. Honestly, all the hikers I have ever met are truly amazing souls.

Hiking along the Go John Trail, after about four-and-a-half-miles we made our way to the Overton Trail. I happened to have hiked the Overton Trail on day 36 with Trail Mix, when this journey was in the beginning stages. The Overton Trail offers more stunning views of the Cave Creek Regional Park.

The last couple miles of our hike were on the Overton Trail. My journey would be coming to an end with this hike, and I was happy and sad in the same moment. I was happy to have completed my goal. I set out to do something and I completed it. No matter what the circumstance I had to endure, I was determined to accomplish my goal. I was feeling sad because my journey was ending. For the last year, this has been my life. Hiking daily has been my focus and it has become a part of me and who I am. Tomorrow, that all stops. Tomorrow I am choosing not to go hiking. That seems like such an odd thought now.

I was asked to wait a moment on the trail while everyone set up a tunnel to greet me for my final steps of my 1100 mile journey in 365 days! What an amazing feeling to have my friends here to support me. I truly am blessed! And now, my journey is over. I have hiked every day for 365 days!

After the hike, I was lucky enough to have a few more friends make it to the party. We had a wonderful potluck. Which after a six-and-a-half-mile hike, it’s always great to eat. I had made a slideshow of 400 of my favorite photos from this journey, and everyone sat down to watch my journey.

The bonfire had been started and Sabrina had brought marshmallows. With roasted Marsha-mallows, we enjoyed s’mores as we sat around the fire pit trying to avoid the smoke.

This day couldn’t have turned out more perfect! I was able to complete my 365th hike with some of the most amazing friends. I look forward to more adventures and who knows, maybe I’ll get the opportunity to hike 365 days once again.

Join me on my journey of hiking every day for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook , check out my videos on YouTube, and for more photos follow me on Flick and Instagram!

Day 293 ~ Slate Trail to Flume Trail Cave Creek, AZ

January 12th, 2017 ~ Day 293

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Today I took my oldest son up to Cave Creek Regional Park to get some more mileage in for the 100 miles in 100 days challenge. Fingers crossed I can actually get enough miles to complete this goal. 

Beginning on the Slate Trail, a trail I had first done only a couple of weeks ago, we started where Eric and I had finished the last time. The Slate Trail itself is an in and out hike about a mile one way, but it intersects with the Quartz Trail and the Flume Trail, so you can connect with another trail for a longer hike if you choose. Today we will be exploring new territory and connecting with the Flume Trail. 

Shortly after we began our hike, I noticed a trail off to the right and I could see the most absurd looking cactus. I had to go check it out, I hadn’t noticed it the last time I was here. I have never seen anything like this before. Maybe it has some sort of mutated gene? After trying to find out more information, I could only find the name, the Michelin Man, in reference to this amazing saguaro.

The Slate Trail is an easy mostly flat hike. Traveling along the trail there were more saguaro cacti to be seen. The Cave Creek Regional Park is one of my new favorites in Maricopa County. I love that I’m getting the opportunity to explore more of it. 

After our first mile, we made a right, turning onto the Flume Trail. We set out to explore new territory and see more of what this park has to offer. As we began, you could see a little bit of blue skies off in the distance, peaking out beneath the overcast skies above. 

The Flume Trail began and we were hiking along a dried creek bed, and eventually we were hiking through the creek bed, then back on the trail. Luckily it was dry. The Flume Trail was just as easy as the Slate Trail, but with a little more elevation. A mountain to the east and a small hill the the west, we headed south with amazing views of the valley. 

Eventually we were hiking along the trail, next to people’s back yards. Soon this trail would lead down a dirt road along Carefree Highway. That didn’t appeal to me, so once we made it to one mile on this trail, we headed back to the trailhead. 

Heading back the views were so beautiful. I began to realize how lucky I am. To be out here in nature and know, you only get to see this by taking a hike. 

My son and I hiked a total of just over for miles. It was a great way to spend the day with my baby boy. I’m happy at least one of my children share my love of hiking. 

Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!

Day 283 ~ Go John to Quartz to Slate to Overton Trails Cave Creek, AZ

January 2nd, 2017 ~ Day 283

In trying to complete this 100 miles in 100 days challenge, Eric and I headed over to the Cave Creek Regional Park to add some more miles onto my trek. Beginning on the Go John Trail, the amazing trail that catapulted my love of hiking, we began our hike. 

It was a slightly overcast sky, with the sun casting it’s rays through the clouds as we began. A little bit of a chilly morning out, but not too bad. The ground still wet from the recent rains made it feel a little cooler. 

The views of this park are absolutely amazing. We could see beautiful mountain ranges off in the distance and because of the rains, there was so much green. Thank goodness for this 100 miles in 100 days challenge, or I would never get out here to explore all of these amazing trails. 

As we climbed up the Go John Trail, we ran into some horses along the way. I think they may have been Rangers taking their horses for a ride. There were three of them, all beautiful. I love seeing horses in the trail. A little bit of added beauty in nature.

The amazing scenery continued on as we turned off the Go John Trail onto the Quartz Trail. Soon after we began the Quartz Trail, we heard them, coyotes. Frozen, yet again, we listened to what sounded like babies howling for their momma. Since I wasn’t alone, I asked Eric if we could continue on and face my fear. So we did and we didn’t see a single coyote. 

While hiking on the Quartz Trail, we were hiking in crushed slate. The slate was crunching under our feet as we hiked. The slate, as it reflected off the sun’s rays had a bright sheen. Another added beauty to this wonderful place. 

There are so many saguaro cacti in this park. As we were looking at all the different shapes of saguaro around us, I was telling Eric how you never see the one they portray in all the photos. As I was saying this, Eric points this cactus out to me. I think this may be the first time I have ever seen a perfectly shaped saguaro cactus. 

Eventually we made it to the Slate Trail, where we found an enormous piece of quartz. I found it ironic, slate on the Quartz Trail and quartz on the Slate Trail. This trail is all downhill until you come to flat trails, making it an easy finish for our hike. 

A form of what looked like moss, covered the small pieces of quartz along with the ground in this area. A beautiful mixture of color. 

We made it to the end of the Slate Trail and came upon the Overton Trail. A quarter mile or so, hiking along the road, and we were back at the car. 

I could never get tired of this place, there’s just so much to explore it here. Grateful for all the opportunities this life has to offer and I love exploring new territory. Always an adventure! Life is good!

 
Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!

Day 254 ~ Dragonfly Trail ~ Jewel of the Creek Cave Creek, AZ

December 4th, 2016 ~ Day 254

When a friend of mine posted a photo of this sign, it called to me, and I knew I was going to do this hike! So a few days later, Eric and I headed up to Cave Creek to find the Jewel of the Creek!

I’ve only hiked once in Cave Creek since this journey began. I’m not familiar with the area and it’s a 45 minute drive from my house. Yet the trails and the amazing beauty it has to offer are spectacular. I need to plan on coming here more often. 

Oh what a jewel it is! Our hike began walking through the desert. From the start of the trail you can see the desert with a forest stuck in the center and mountains surrounding all of it. It’s December and the leaves are just now changing their color. So amazing seeing the changing leaves in the middle of the desert!

The views surrounding us were far and wide. There’s just so much area to hike! With the mountains in the background, it makes me want to go exploring! 

The Jewel of the Creek trailhead is only a half mile from the Spur Cross Ranch trailhead. I’ve done a hike once from there, a long time ago, heading up to Elephant Mountain. Besides that, I’ve done nothing else in this area, but from where I stand in this moment I can see there’s so much more to hike. 

From the desert hike we looped back across the dried up river bed heading toward the forest. Hiking along we walked through a canopy of trees in the middle of the forest. It reminds me of hiking back in the Midwest where the trees are so abundant. 

We happened upon an old mining tunnel on our way back to the trailhead, so of course I had to climb in. I didn’t go too far. I’ve heard these things like to collapse and I’m always overly cautious. I was happy we found an actual cave in Cave Creek. ☺ I’ve since learned the area is filled with old mining shafts. I’d love the opportunity to find more. 

Just before we turned onto the trail that takes us back to the trailhead, we found cattails along the dried up creek bed. It’s not very often you get to see these in the desert. Another thing to remind me of the Midwest where I grew up. 

Our hike was about two and a half miles in one of the most beautiful places I’ve hiked. The Jewel of the Creek definitely lives up to it’s name. 
Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!

Day 36 ~ Overton Trail Cave Creek, AZ

April 30th, 2016 ~ Day 36

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10% of my 365-day goal completed!

Today was another awesome Meetup hike with Trail Mix Hiking. I love to see my hiking friends! Especially the ones I haven’t seen in a while. We did a little over 3.5 miles on the Overton Trail and a portion of the Go John Trail in Cave Creek.

A little over three years ago I did the Go John Trail with Lori. This was our first hike while training for our big Havasupai hike. It was the beginning of my love of hiking and I have been addicted ever since.

It was beautiful out today. Clouds were white and fluffy and the sun was shining. Temperature was in the mid 60’s. Not too warm out, just the perfect weather. The Palo Verde Trees were full of color and there were plenty to see. Some areas of the trail had a sea of yellow. We also caught a glimpse of horses on the trail. They were off in the distance, but still amazing to see.

Join me on my journey of hiking every day for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook , check out my videos on YouTube, and for more photos follow me on Flick and Instagram!

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Day 22 ~ Jojoba Trail Cave Creek, AZ

April 16th, 2016 ~ Day 22

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This weekend we are camping at Bartlett Lake. My plan, to take the kids on a hike. As we hiked over to the trailhead, the kids saw a snake cross our path through the wash. That didn’t make for a good start to this hike.

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As we began on the trail, I captured the beautiful mountains surrounding the area. Lori and I had taken this trail with the older kids a couple years ago and made it a good four-mile hike. Today we wouldn’t even make it a mile.

 

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A we made our way through the trail, we came upon rodent holes. Many rodent holes, where sometimes a snake may take shelter. After seeing the snake when we began this, and seeing so many holes in the ground, my little guy was in constant fear. Screaming and crying the entire way. It made for a miserable hike.

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Eventually I saw a clearing that would take us to the water, so instead of finishing this trail and what may have been the worst hike ever, we headed that direction. Once we were off the trail, there were no more snake holes and the hike became much easier for all of us.

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My son never stopped crying until we got off the main trail. I’m hoping it’s the age and he will grow out of the fear. As a single mom completing this challenge of hiking every day for 365 days, some days I may have to take my children. I am trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for them, but it’s obvious to me, today I didn’t succeed. I do hope by showing my kids the outdoors, one day they will come to love it as much as I do.

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Heading towards the water, the kids we excited to play. The kids could explore, play in the water and collect sea shells. Exploring in the water and getting their feet wet, there were no more tears. The water level was low, so a lot of items they had once been under water had been uncovered on shore. They made it a treasure hunt.

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The water that was here, was a beautiful shade of blue.  With the sunlight gleaming off the water, I was entranced with it’s spectacular beauty. It was a beautiful day at the lake. Since we are in the desert, any time I can be around water, I am in heaven.

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Since the water level was low, as we made our way back to camp we saw an underwater graveyard of sorts. The kids found some cool stuff from boats, possibly anchors. It was a lot of fun watching them find these objects. Objects that I have no idea what they are.

 

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Overall, we only ended up hiking .66 miles and it took us almost an hour. I will take what I can get. As a mom, the kids come first. I’m grateful they were able to join me on this hike today. I only wish it could be longer.

Join me on my journey of hiking every day for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook , check out my videos on YouTube, and for more photos follow me on Flick and Instagram!