Articles tagged with: trip report

Kauai, Vacation Destination for Nature Lovers

Kauai, the Garden Island, is a wonderful vacation destination for nature lovers. As absolute lovers of nature, my wife Mary and I had contemplated a trip to Kauai for years. Somehow, we managed to visit all the other major islands first (Maui, the Big Island and Oahu) due to cheaper airfares and/or more direct routes. We finally splurged and spent eight glorious days in Kauai. I’m very glad we did.

My idea of a tropical vacation includes secluded beaches, waves, snorkeling, and beautiful scenery. We found all of those in Kauai, and more. On beaches, people reach meditative states effortlessly, and we did, soothed by the sun, sand and sound of waves. If you don’t have the opportunity for a tropical vacation, try this Beach Visualization Meditation.

Rather than rambling on about each day of our trip, I’m going to share some highlights, in hopes they’ll inspire and inform.

Nightlife

There probably is one, but I’m not sure. Our nightlife consisted of having a glass of wine on our lanai and going to bed early, so we could get up before sunrise the next morning. I may have this backwards. Maybe we went to bed early, because we were so tired from getting up before sunrise in order to fit in as much hiking, snorkeling and exploring as we could.

Our second floor lanai actually sat directly above the poolside bar, at Islander on the Beach. We never even got around to having a drink at that bar, but it did sound like a few people were having fun there. They were quiet enough to be drowned out by waves crashing on the beach. If nightlife is a big priority, you should probably go to a different island. There is an article covering the 10 Best Bars on Kauai, none of which we made it to.

View from our condo at Islander on the Beach, Kauai

View from our condo at Islander on the Beach

Restaurants and Food

I don’t know much about restaurants on Kauai either. As budget travelers, our first stop was Costco and a grocery store, where we bought enough food to take us through most of the week. Farmer’s markets are popular on Kauai, so we picked up some fresh produce at one. We did have a few meals at the Island Country Market deli, across the street from our condo project. That doesn’t really count as a restaurant, but they had good, reasonably priced food. Actually, we also had a nice Italian dinner at Bobbie V’s and delicious coconut shrimp at the Shrimp Station in Kapaa. Now that I’ve covered the stuff that I don’t know much about, I’ll dig into the important stuff, like hiking trails and beaches.

Hiking Trails

Now this is where Kauai excels. There are many fine trails with some spectacular scenery. If you want an idea of the kind of scenery you might encounter, consider some of the countless movies that were filmed on Kauai, including: the Jurassic Park movies, Donovan’s Reef, South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Pirate of the Caribbean, Lord of the Flies, Tropic Thunder, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Fantasy Island, George of the Jungle, King Kong, and many more. If you recall these movies, you might have surmised that there is lots of lush tropical jungle on Kauai. There is, along with miles of sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, craggy inland cliffs and a vast variety of plants and birds.

Speaking of birds, there is no avoiding the thousands of roosters and chickens on Kauai. They’re everywhere. Apparently, hurricanes destroyed chicken coops in 1992. The chickens bred with red junglefowl, brought over by the Polynesians. Now, you encounter chickens in the jungle, in parking lots, and on the beach. While sleeping on Poipu Beach, Mary had a chicken and her little chicks running around by her legs, then over to a neighboring beach chair, where they hid under the person sitting in it. They are quite entertaining to watch, and since we were up before dawn most days, the rooster crowing didn’t bother us. They’re actually quite entertaining to watch.

Hikes we did:

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon Trail

On our first full day, we planned to drive to the end of Waimea Canyon Road and hike the Pihea Trail, with stunning views looking down on Kalalau Valley and the blue waters of the Pacific. When we reached the trailhead, we found ourselves inside a misting rain cloud, with a wet, slippery red clay trail. So much for that. We headed six or so miles back down the road to the Waimea Canyon Lookout. The Waimea Canyon Trail took us to waterfalls deep in Waimea Canyon, a 3000’ deep gorge known as Grand Canyon of the Pacific, carved out by the Waimea River.

Mahaulepu Beach Trail, Poipu, Kauai

Mahaulepu Beach Trail, Poipu, Kauai

Mahaulepu Heritage Trail

The trail starts at Shipwreck Beach, tucked between the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Poipu Bay Golf Course. The beach is popular with surfers, boogie boarders, and cliff jumpers. The trail itself climbs from the sandy beach up onto cliff tops, following a spectacular rocky shoreline. Part of the trail collapsed into the sea, so the hike took us along a fairway of the golf course, with mountain views over the golf course one side and waves crashing into cliffs on the other.

Sleeping Giant Trail

This trail was a mere six minute drive from our condo in Kapaa. It climbs to a mountain top with panoramic views of the whole east side of Kauai, along with miles of the Pacific. Near the top, there a hole through a cliff, known as the eye, a great natural frame for photos.

Kalalau Trail

Curt on Kalalau Trail, Kauia

Curt on Kalalau Trail, Kauia

One of our goals, in going to Kauai, was to hike the famous Kalalau Trail, along the Napali Coast. According to the Huffington Post, it’s “hands down the most incredible hike in America.” Unfortunately, I had no idea how difficult it is to get a permit to hike more than the first two miles of this trail. We never got one.

The trail starts at the end of the road, in the northwest corner of the island. On the short part of the trail we covered, we did reach the very scenic viewpoint featured in the Huffington Post article.

Kuilau Ridge Trail

This trail is a real jungle hike, following a ridge and looking down into lush valleys. We did this hike on the rainiest day of the trip, slogging through mud. The weather did seem to add to the jungle feel.

Smith Family Garden

This really is more of a relaxing stroll through a botanical garden setting, with mountain views, all sorts of plants, and possibly even more birds. I bought a couple bags of cracked corn and held some out in my hand. Zebra doves swooped down and literally piled up on my arm, trying to get at the corn. For some strange reason, I had a hard time convincing Mary to try it. All the birds following us reminded me of that old Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds.

Rudderfish, Poipu Beach, Kauai

Rudderfish, Poipu Beach, Kauai

Beaches and Snorkeling

There are a lot to choose from. We managed to arrive during an unusually cool and cloudy stretch of weather, with plenty of sporadic rain, so we checked weather forecasts and often based our destination for the day on seeking sunshine. Weather varies a lot on Kauai. Polihale Beach (southwest) seems to get the most sun, followed by Poipu (South). Our location on the east side of island is reasonably dry, and the lush north shore gets more rain, but it doesn’t come close to Mt Wai’ale’ale, one of the wettest places on earth with an average of 374 inches of rain per year.

Like I mentioned under “Restaurants and Food,” Costco was one of our first stop. The local Costco also carries a variety of beach gear at very reasonable prices. They have boogie boards, snorkeling sets, Tommy Bahama chairs, and Hawaiian shirts.

East Side

Islander on the Beach

There are miles of beaches along the east side, including the beach directly in front of our condo, Islander on the beach. We found this to be a very quiet and relaxing place to kick back and relax. Other than at the military base on the west side, beaches are public. If you can find access, there are lots of places to find your own little patch of sand to hang out for the day.

Lydgate Park

When we arrived to snorkel, we put in alongside a beachside wedding that was taking place. Lydgate can be one of the few protected places to snorkel, during rough weather, with a wall of boulders to protect it from surf. After some underwater searching, I found a lot of fish gathered together along the boulder wall, but the water clarity was close to terrible that day.

South Shore

Poipu Beach Park is popular, and for good reason. It had sun, good snorkeling, and an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, hanging out on the beach, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world and the rarest seal in US waters.

Our condo came with two very versatile Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chairs, which seemed to be all around us at Poipu Beach. As we went to leave the beach, we realized that we had no idea how to fold the chairs. There’s a trick to it. None of the people sitting in the same chairs offered to help, as we wrestled with our chairs. I began to feel increasingly foolish and soon gave up, leaving it to Mary. She enlisted the help of an elderly woman near us who flipped our chair on its back and pushed in the right place. It made a click sound then folded right up. Now that I know how to do it, I’m going to buy a couple of those chairs for our neighborhood beach in Washington.

Of the four Kauai beaches we snorkeled at, Poipu was the best; however this changes with the season. Some of the north shore beaches are reportedly better, but the surf was really pounding the north shore beaches while we were there.

West Side

Polihale Beach, Kauai

Polihale Beach

Polihale Beach Park

Just getting here was an adventure in itself, bouncing five miles down one of the worst roads I’ve ever been on.  The state park recommends four wheel drives, one of the reasons we rented a Jeep, although I did see a couple of conventional cars here. I have to admit that I’ve always wanted to try a little Jeep Wrangler, so I didn’t need much of an excuse to upgrade from our planned compact car. The Jeep was fun, but by the end of the week, it made me really appreciate the space, comfort and mileage of our Subaru Outback.

Polihale State Park’s enormous and remote beach reminded me of the vast beaches of the Oregon Coast, except it’s actually warm in Kauai. Here’s another Oregon Coast blog. Views to the north of Polihale look up at the rugged cliffs of the Napali Coast.

Salt Pond Park

This has a very local feel, like the place you’d go to if you lived in Kauai. We found a nice stretch of protected sand and reasonably good snorkeling. The park gets its name from salt ponds that have been used to harvest sea salt for generations.

North Shore

Kilalauea Lighthouse

Kilalauea Lighthouse

The North Shore has so many beautiful beaches, however we arrived during rough surf. At Kilauea Point and Lighthouse, waves smashed into the cliffs then bounced back, colliding with the next wave and sending enormous plumes of spray into the air.

At Tunnels Beach, we watched a pair of brave surfers venture out into huge waves, at the beach where Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a tiger shark.

Hanalei Bay, the setting for South Pacific, seemed reasonably protected, with small enough waves for boogie boards and beginning surfers. The scenery from the pier is great.

Ke’e Beach is at the end of the road, the trailhead for the Kalalau Trail. The outer reef provided enough protection for snorkeling, although currents were strong, and fish were relatively few.

Kayaking (Not Really)

Catamaran in Rough Seas

Catamaran in Rough Seas

As a serious kayak enthusiast, I really wanted to paddle 18 miles along the Napali Coast, which is listed in a book in a book I have, 50 Places to Paddle Before You Die. After booking our March flights, we found that they don’t start the kayak trips until April. Instead, we booked a dinner cruise, on a 65’ powered catamaran, with Holo Holo Charters. The seas turned out to be too rough, even for the 65’ boat, so we only saw part of the Napali Coast. I guess it’s a good thing we weren’t out in kayaks. As we got farther up the coast, the waves got bigger and two foolish passengers on the bow got wetter and wetter. A few other passengers in the cabin got sicker and sicker. Once the captain turned the boat around and ran with the waves, the motion settled down, so we could enjoy Maui Beer and fish tacos. We finished the cruise on the protected south side, watching humpback whales surface while the sun dropped into the Pacific.

Sunset over the Pacific

Sunset over the Pacific

Next Time

Of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is the last one we visited and the first one we’d return to. For an outdoor enthusiast, there is so much to see and do. For our next visit, we plan to go later in the year to make sure we can kayak the Napali Coast, snorkel at Tunnels, and hike the Kalalau Trail. Even without those highlights, Kauai is a wonderful vacation destination for those that enjoy hiking, quiet beaches, and stunning scenery.

In the speech below, I share some of our mishaps in trying the reach the Kalalau Valley on the Napali Coast.

Kayaking Desolation Sound

For a profoundly satisfying experience, venture deep into nature and immerse yourself in her solitude. ~Curt Remington

The above words came to me while writing a speech about our trip to Desolation Sound. In this blog, my goal is to share our trip with you and to encourage you to venture into nature for your own profound experience.

Kayaking into Desolation Sound

Kayaking into Desolation Sound

Our kayaking adventure actually started with a very scenic drive and two ferries, bringing us to the northern end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. In fact, we spent our first night in the historic Lund Hotel, across the street from a marker for the northernmost end of Highway 101, the longest highway in the world. The other end is 9312 miles south, in Castro Chile. Lund may be the end of the road, it is also the “gateway to Desolation Sound,” and a rest stop for boaters headed up the Inside Passage.

Lund Hotel in Lund, British Columbia

Lund Hotel in Lund, British Columbia

Leaving Civilization Behind

For us, Lund is where we left civilization behind, first thing the next morning. We stuffed containers filled with gear, food, and water into our kayak hatches, donned drysuits, sprayskirts and pfds, then paddled out past docks and boats. Lund is open to Georgia Strait and is fairly exposed to a westerly wind, and we definitely had a westerly wind that morning. The bow of my heavily loaded kayak occasionally plowed deep into a wave, sending a good deal of water up the deck and into my midsection, making me glad I had a drysuit.

My real concern was Mary. She is not a fan of big waves and wind, and she had been worried about what kind of conditions we might run into. This didn’t seem like a good way to start. I nervously kept an eye on her as she kept paddling onward, wide eyed and looking tense but handling her kayak well. She’s a much more competent kayaker than she gives herself credit for. After a few miles of hard work, we reached shelter behind the first of the Copeland Islands. What a difference!

Through the Copeland Islands, we hugged the shoreline, minimizing wind and getting an up-close view of the rocky shoreline, the evergreen forests, and the fascinating scenery below the water’s surface, where schools of minnows darted and jellyfish slowly swam in pulsating contractions.

By the time we reached the north end of the Copeland Islands, the wind had dropped significantly, and we’d only seen a few boats speed by. We started paddling more direct routes, crossing large expanses of open water as we made our way around Sarah Point, stopping for lunch at Feather Cove, and continued the last nine miles to the Curme Islands. Our direct route shaved off miles but also put us a considerable distance from the nearest shoreline. By the time we reached the Curme Islands, we’d covered about 15 miles, more than enough paddling for Mary in one day. I was so anxious to explore, that I set out and kayaked more, once we got camp set up, while Mary took a much-needed nap on the deck.

Curme Islands

As to our camp, we arrived on a Thursday, expecting serious competition for one of the nine campsites (deck platforms) on West Curme Island. Instead, the only other people on the island were one other couple and a very quiet and private single woman, in her own campsite. After the first night, the other couple left, leaving just three of us on the island. Eventually, the very solitary woman warmed up to us, at least a bit. I would bet she didn’t appreciate that we’d picked the campsite next to hers. We had chosen it based on the view, expecting the other campsites to fill up too. If we’d known it would just be the three of us, we would’ve gladly camped farther away from her. Oh well. We were quiet. She was quiet, and there was roughly 100 feet of trees and bushes between us. We really didn’t notice each other much.

One of the Curme Islands, across from our camp

One of the Curme Islands, across from our camp

By the way, the Curme Islands are beautiful. I have no idea why George Vancouver named the area Desolation Sound, unless he arrived at the most depressing point of a long winter. We had beautiful weather, stunning scenery, and apparently we’d arrived (late June) just before the crowds showed up.

Exploring Desolation Sound

On our trips, we often rush from place to place, trying to see as much as possible. In the Curme Islands, we stayed in one place for a few days and really started to relax, meditating and connecting with the beauty around us. We sat and watched the changing light on distant mountains and islands. We walked and kayaked around the nearby islands, encountering some of the wildlife, like eagles, seals, hummingbirds, red mergansers and seals.  The water clarity was so good that we focused more on undersea life, including shiners, minnows, starfish, more jellyfish, crabs and lots of oysters. We had passed an area where humpback whales had been breaching, but they didn’t cooperate for us. When I did spot creatures underwater, I just set my waterproof camera on video and held it under my kayak, aimed in the right direction. While on the island, Mary took the camera and sat along the shore, watching and filming crabs and fish scurrying about in the shallows.

On day four, we paddled along Bold Head, into Tenedos Bay, lined with steep cliffs. At the end of the bay, we hiked up to Unwin Lake for a freshwater dip, rinsing a few days’ worth of salt off. We also restocked our fresh water, ending up with more than we needed.

With much more to explore, I set out alone that evening and paddled up a narrow channel between Bold Head and Otter Island, east of the Curme Islands. As I emerged from the channel, I looked beyond more islands to the east, up at the Canadian Coastal Mountains. The vastness and rugged beauty, with many inlets and passages to explore, beckoned me.  We simply didn’t have time on this trip, and I knew Mary was probably watching for me anxiously. I turned my kayak back towards the Curme Islands and took gentle paddle strokes as I skirted Otter Island, watching for fish in the shallows.

Connecting with Nature

Our time in nature was truly rejuvenating, reminding me of a quote in my book, Simple Meditation.

In nature, we’re more aware of and are connected to our surroundings in an expansive way. Our senses open up to the damp smell of the forest, the cool breeze on our skin, the layer of pine needles beneath our feet and the orange and pink clouds of the sunset. Spending time in the outdoors connects you with the more primal you, the one that understands without analyzing. By making this connection, you can return to your usual environment more at peace and aware.

Copeland Islands

After a few days in the Curme Islands, it was time to leave. We broke camp early and started back towards Lund, however we decided to camp in the Copelands, breaking up the return paddle. Mary had no interest in another 15 mile day, and we both looked forward to a more relaxed pace. On North Copeland Island we pitched our tent on a south facing deck with spectacular island views and views of the distant mountains of Vancouver Island, to the west. Of the ten campsites, only one other was occupied, giving us a great deal of solitude. We felt incredibly blessed to have so much beauty to ourselves. After dinner, we hiked to the north end of the island to watch the changing water, as the tide filled channels and the stunning sunset painted the sky in shades of blue, turning to golds and shades of orange.

Sunset in the Copeland Islands, BC

Sunset in the Copeland Islands, BC

Time to Go Home

On our drive home, we camped at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, feeling reluctant to end our vacation.  During the drive, I contemplated the many kayak destinations along the British Columbia coast. Desolation Sound is on the sheltered side of Vancouver Island, providing for calmer conditions, warmer water, and sunnier weather than the exposed west side of Vancouver Island. I definitely planned to return to Desolation Sound, to explore more of those areas we didn’t have time for. On our next BC kayak trip, I’d like to visit the wide open Pacific, like we did on our Oregon Coast trip.

We found our time in nature to be profoundly satisfying. If you plan to do some venturing too, the BC coast and Desolation Sound is a wonderful place to do it.

Is it Sea Kayaking if You’re on a Lake?

Destinations: Washington’s Ross Lake and Clark Island in the Salish Sea

Can you sea kayak on a lake? In order to answer that challenging question, I signed up for two trips with the Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts (WAKE), one on Ross Lake and the other to Clark Island, in the Salish Sea. To those of you that think the answer is obvious, don’t be so quick to judge. I’ve paddled my whitewater kayak in sea, as you can see in the video below. This wasn’t considered whitewater kayaking, and it wasn’t even considered sea kayaking. It was considered paddling a slow, stubby kayak in the sea, and getting tossed around a bit. What makes sea kayaking sea kayaking? Is it the kayak? Or is it the sea?

Curt in Whitewater Kayak on the Sea

Curt in Whitewater Kayak on the Sea

 

You might wonder why I would even care. Well, my wife Mary and I had recently joined WAKE. This is a group of serious outdoor enthusiasts, and we certainly didn’t want to look like numbskulls. The Ross Lake trip leader, Reg Lake, along with a group of famous climbers had once carried their kayaks over California’s Mt Whitney to be the first ones to kayak the Upper Kern River. One of the couples on the trip had both belonged to Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, one of the oldest and most experienced teams in the country. Another trip participant would qualify for mountain man status, living and working deep in the North Cascades. Others in our group had kayaked and adventured in remote locations all over the world. So, imagine if on the Ross Lake trip, I slipped up and said, “isn’t this sea kayaking stuff fun?”

One of them might have responded, “Sea kayaking? This is lake kayaking! Don’t you know anything about sea kayaking?” For the same reason, I couldn’t ask anyone the sea kayak question. I’d have to figure it out for myself. Thus, I signed up for a lake trip and a sea trip. Before I answer the big question, let me tell you a little about these trips.

Ross Lake

Ross Lake is a spectacular 23 mile long lake that winds through the North Cascades Mountains. Although most of the lake is in Washington, my wife Mary and I decided it’d be easier to reach the lake by driving up to Hope BC, Canada and down a 40 mile gravel road to the boat launch, which is just across the US border. Three out of the nine of the trip participants opted for the alternate route, paddling across Diablo Lake, up a canyon to the dam, then calling Ross Lake Resort for a portage and paddling another 10 or so miles up the lake.Kayaks on Ross Lake

As it turned out, we struggled hard for each of the 12 miles against a 15 knot head wind. We continued for hours because waves crashing into the rocky shoreline made it unsafe to stop. It sure seemed like sea kayaking conditions. During this struggle, Mary barely responded, when I’d ask how she was doing, so I worried. Is she miserable? Will she ever do a kayak trip with me again?

When we finally reached Lightning Creek Camp, sometime after six, the group that had taken the southern route greeted us cheerfully. They had effortlessly been carried up the lake by wind and waves, mainly using their paddles to steer. We forced a smile and said, “That’s great!”

Although our Lightning Creek campsite was remote, the National Park Service does a fine job of furnishing and maintaining the campsites. We had an outhouse, picnic tables and a bear box. There are lots of black bears in the area, and a few grizzlies too. If you’re not familiar with bear boxes, your food goes in the box, not the bear.

In camp, we really enjoyed visiting with our fellow paddlers. I already mentioned Reg Lake and the search and rescue couple. Our camp neighbor, Pam Beason, whom we shared a picnic table with, is a novelist, part-time private investigator, scuba diver and adventuress with plenty of fascinating stories.

Mary on Desolation Peak

Mary on Desolation Peak

After a surprisingly good sleep, we had breakfast and discussed our day’s adventure, a hike up Desolation Peak. Three members of our party kayaked to the base, while the rest of us opted for the longer route, hiking from camp to avoid more kayaking in the wind. Our longer route covered 14+ miles and 4,400 feet of elevation gain. We definitely got a well-rounded workout, working our upper-bodies the first day and our legs the second day. Views along the way and from the lookout were outstanding, as you can see in the photos. We returned to camp with a strong sense of accomplishment.

Kayaker in front of waterfall

Reg Lake and a Waterfall

The third day was glorious! We started out early and paddled up Lightning Creek and other fjord-like inlets, finding crystal clear water in cascading creeks and beautiful waterfalls. Reg Lake and I even did a little whitewater style surfing with our sea kayaks. Unfortunately, he never referred to it as “sea kayaking,” so my question still hung in the air. If you’re on a lake is it sea kayaking? On our paddle up the lake, we didn’t have much wind, giving us a chance to visit all the places we’d paddled right by on the way down. We visited more waterfalls, campsites and took a close look at miles of beautiful shoreline.

Clark Island in the Salish Sea

On the following weekend’s trip, my wife opted not to join me. She apparently had enough kayaking to last a few weeks. I set out with six other sea kayakers for Clark Island, in the Salish Sea. You probably noticed that I confidently referred to them as sea kayakers, since we were in sea kayaks and on the Salish Sea, leaving no room for doubt.Kayaks at Clark Island

We paddled in protected waters until Pt Migley, at the north end of Lummi Island, where we were suddenly exposed to wind and waves from far up Georgia Strait. To make matters more exciting, Pt Migley has shallow rocks, currents and a dozen or so harbor seals that slid into the water as we paddled by, reminding me of the crocodiles in a safari movie.

Between Lummi and Clark Islands, we contended with wind, waves, and crossing a major shipping channel, definitely sea kayaking. At Clark Island, we pulled our kayaks up onto a gravel beach with stunning views of Mt Baker and the Twin Sisters. Like everyone else, I set out to find an appropriate campsite, choosing one set just back from the beach with surrounding brush for privacy.DSC_0404

Once I’d organized my camp, I set out on a trail to explore the island. We got a better look at it that evening, when four of us paddled around the island. After dinner, we watched Mt Baker turn from snowy white to alpenglow red; then we hiked across the island just in time for sunset.Sunset from Clark Island

Around 1:00 AM, a fierce wind hit, pulling up one of my tent stakes and shaking the heck out of my tent. I stared at my tent ceiling and listened to it flap while contemplating what the wind would mean for us, if it didn’t die down. How big would the waves be? If we had to sit it out, how much food did I have? How much water? Eventually, I went back to sleep and awoke to relative calm. Later, I learned that most of my fellow kayakers had been awake thinking similar thoughts. Our paddle back actually turned out to be quite pleasant.

Conclusion

As to the sea kayaking question, it was clear that paddling a sea kayak on the Salish Sea qualified as sea kayaking. I still wasn’t sure regarding paddling a sea kayak on a lake, so I tried Wikipedia. Searching for “sea kayaking,” their entry for “sea kayak” comes up. It describes “a kayak developed for the sport of paddling on open waters of lakes, bays, and the ocean.” Clearly, it mentions lakes. We’ll have to go with the answer “yes” that it is sea kayaking if it’s on a lake, as long as you’re in a sea kayak. If Wikipedia says it, it must be true. The truth is it really doesn’t matter, as long as you’re enjoying yourself. I sure did on both of those trips.

Quick National Park Trip

Glacier

National Parks: Glacier, Yellowstone & Roosevelt

by Curt Remington

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Fantastic! I got recruited for an impromtu road trip to three national parks: Glacier, Yellowstone and Theodore Roosevelt. Along with that, I would see 3800 miles of our glorious country, visit my mother in Minnesota, move our daughter to Washington, and do it all in five days.  Truth is, it was a trip to pick up my daughter, but I decided to squeeze in the national parks too. My schedule didn’t leave much times for the parks, so I planned to hit a few highlights in each, all at a whirlwind pace.

I set out from Bellingham, Washington on August 27th, taking a scenic route through the North Cascades.  I could have just stayed on the freeway, but what’s a few more miles? I sure didn’t want to miss any potentially stunning pictures. In the Cascades, I saw some beautiful rivers, mountains and waterfalls, but the lighting just was just too overcast for great pictures. Once over the Cascades, I made a brief stop in Leavenworth, Washington, a scenic tourist town that looks like a Bavarian village. I filled up on bratwurst, visited a few quaint shops and moved on towards the Columbia River and eastern Washington.


Glacier Park

After dark that night, I made it to a campground in Glacier National Park and crawled into a sleeping bag in the back seat of my Toyota Tundra. The next morning, I was up before dawn, hoping to catch sunrise over Lake McDonald. As I brushed my teeth, I debated on whether to throw the camping fee into the box. All I had really done was park in a spot for a few hours, not really what you’d call camping. I’d pretty much decided I’d pay, just so my conscience wouldn’t trouble . I arrived back at my truck to find the campground host filling out a registration in the dark. Wow, they sure get up early. I gave him the money and set out to get some pictures of Glacier.

sunsetDriving through Glacier brought back memories for me of many earlier trips. Just out of high school, I had decided to spend a year as a mountain man. My plan was to get a PO box in West Glacier and camp in the mountains south of the park. After about a month alone in the mountains, I decided that civilization in Minnesota wasn’t really so bad. Years later, my wife and I brought our kids to Glacier for a week of rafting, hiking and sightseeing. It was one of the best vacations we ever had.

With these memories going through my mind, I arrived at Lakerivertwo McDonald at sunrise. Like the day before in Washington, the scenery was beautiful but a bit cloudy. This is a definite problem when you only have one day in a park. I shot a whole bunch of pictures anyway, so I’d have something to discard later. Go figure.

Making my way deeper into the park, I stopped at a few trails and falls, hitting the trails at a run with camera gear flopping at my side. Back in the truck, I started climbing Going to the Sun Road, which was carved into the side of the mountains in 1933. The road is always narrow and winding, but road construction made it incredibly so. I folded in the large mirrors and reflected on memories of another earlier trip. Shortly before my mountain man experiment, my dad lent my friends and I his Winnebago, so I could do some scouting. Looking at the cliffs which overhang the road, and the shear drops, it was obvious why motorhomes are no longer allowed. Sure enough, I managed to bang the Winnebago into a cliff, moving over for an oncoming car. I don’t think my dad even mentioned the dent. What could he expect from a bunch of 18 year olds?

horsesAlthough it was August, Logan’s Pass had three inches of new snow and a horrendous wind chill. Hidden Lake, and the trail to it, was still beautiful, so I sat on a rock overlooking the lake and meditated for 15 minutes. A great alternative to Hidden Lake, is to hike north from Logan’s Pass to Granite Park Chalet, a rustic and remote lodge surrounded by alpine meadows, jagged mountains and grizzly bears. That all day hike was too much for this trip. Next, my quick tour took me to Saint Mary Lake, Two Medicine Lake and into East Glacier. Just east of the park, I came across some very rugged looking free-ranging horses with lots of scars. I’m sure there were some fascinating stories behind all those wounds.

Once I left Glacier behind, all I had to do for the rest of the day was drive across what remained of Montana. For those of you that haven’t done this, Montana is one seriously large state. Highway 2 has long straight stretches that seem to go on forever, and it is indeed big sky country. I reached Wolf Point, as the sun was setting, and turned south onto Highway 13. Between Wolf Point and Glendive, I lost count at roughly 60 mule deer, including one with the most monstrous set of antlers I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, it was way too dark for pictures. Near the North Dakota border, I pulled into a rest area to get some sleep.


 

Theodore Roosevelt National Parkbigsky

elkBy dawn, I was up again photographing an elk herd, just outside Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Over the years, I had taken I-94 through the park more times than I can remember. A few of those times, I had thought of stopping and visiting the park, but I always thought it looked like a bunch of little, dried-out hills with nothing much worth seeing. Why waste time on my way to Glacier? where they have some real mountains.

Once in the park, I felt a real connection, driving and running among its buttes, plateaus and gulleys. The connection may have been due to a past life I had as an Oglala Sioux Indian, spending much of my time in South Dakota’s black hills. Or, maybe the blissful feeling I felt was because the sun had finally come out. For whatever reason, I sure enjoyed the winding road through the park, stopping for pictures of bison, prairie dogs, antelope, grouse and wild horses. If I’d known there was so much wildlife, I would’ve stopped years earlier.


 

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Along with touring the park, I managed to cover North Dakota and half of Minnesota, arriving in St Cloud early enough to get a truck wash and oil change. The next morning, I arrived at my daughter Sarah’s apartment so we could load her stuff into the truck. I was surprised to find that even leaving her furniture behind, her collection of stuff exceeded the carrying capacity of my full-size, extended cab Tundra pickup. We stuffed as much as we could in, while she decided what to leave behind.

Our next stop was the Twin Cities, where we spent a night at my mom’s. I also managed a side trip to visit some old friends. I mean ones that I’ve known a long time. They’re not that old.


Yellowstone

After a good breakfast at mom’s, we set off towards Yellowstone. The drive was a great opportunity to catch up with happenings in Sarah’s life, and to share all the summer’s events in Washington. It was also an opportunity for her to try out her dad’s traveling style, eating and sleeping in the truck along with driving almost constantly. No point in wasting time. Unfortunately, the truck had gotten a little less comfortable now that it was stuffed with so much stuff. I just thought back to my life as a Sioux in the 1800’s and knew that I’d survived much worse. We spent the night sitting upright in a truck stop, listening to semis coming and going. Maybe Sarah will look back someday and think that “if I survived traveling with dad, I can survive yellowstoneanything.” Like my usual routine, we arrived in Yellowstone at sunrise, hoping to get some of the best photography light of the day. At least that’s what I was hoping. Sarah may have been hoping to get some more sleep. Just after crossing into the park, we came across a herd of elk. The stubborn animals wouldn’t move out of the trees and hold still for a picture. Well, I was pretty sure there were plenty more animals in the park. Our first scheduled stop was Lamar Valley, a broad open valley that’s known for its abundance of game. Unfortunately for Sarah, in addition to “scheduled stops,” traveling with me involves lots of unscheduled stops for wildlife, steamscenic overlooks or because the lighting looked just right. She, and the rest of the family, spent a week with in Europe with me in June, while I shot over 1600 pictures, so she probably knew what to expect.

After stopping for antelope, a bison and waterfalls, we made it to thebuffalo Lamar Valley. In order to find game, all you need do is watch for cars lining the road. We pulled in with the rest of them and watched as a distant wolf pack moved in on a bison herd. The wolves were unsuccessful with their hunting, but it was wild to watch. Anyone remember Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom?

Farther up the valley, I got out and ran around a rock formation, looking for a scenic photo angle up the valley. Rounding the corner, I almost ran into an ornery looking bison. As he glared at me, I defensively drew my camera, thinking about the warnings that more people are attacked by bison then by bears in the park. As I took his picture, his only reaction was to stick his tongue out at me, then he went back to standing around. Good thing I found a lazy bison.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was an inspiring sight. The upper and lower falls have flows as high as 60,000 gallons of water per second. The 1200 foot deep canyon is steep and colorful. After the falls, we hiked around Norris Geyser Basin, careful not to step off the boardwalk into steaming water.


waterfallHome

After Sarah’s exciting Yellowstone tour with dad, she was anxious to get to her new home in Washington, a condo near our house. I even offered to pull over in another truck stop for some sleep, but she was sure that driving straight through was a better idea. We got to Bellingham at four in morning, ending the fast-paced scenic national park tour. Sarah is now living happily in Washington and enjoying occasional picture taking outings with her dad.  

Rafting Hells Canyon on the Snake River, Idaho

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Rafting Hells Canyon on the Snake River, Idaho

by Curt Remington

Friday, August 14th, 2009


Rafting Hells Canyon on the Snake River, Idaho

I left the house at 4 am, thrilled to finally go on a multi-day Idaho raft trip, especially one on the Snake River’s Hells Canyon. The canyon is North America’s deepest river gorge, at 7,993 feet, almost 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. The USFS website says, “the Snake is a big river with power many river users have never experienced.” Yep, the volume of water we’d be rafting through was more than I’d experienced. Before we moved west, five years ago, I’d bought a raft, frame and all the necessary gear to take my family on multi-day raft trips. Since that time, that gear’s sat in a pile in the garage, largely due to my failure at convincing my family that rafting is a good idea.

riverFor that very reason, I’d be alone, while my friend Kerry brought his wife, sister and daughter. I pulled into a campground on the Snake River and waited in the 100 degree heat. They arrived soon, and we shared stories from our recent adventures, like my trip toAlaska and Kerry’s mountain climbing trips. We had become friends years earlier, through whitewater kayaking, and we’d climbed Mt Baker together. Along with catching up, we discussed our next day’s plans for rafting Hells Canyon. Kerry brought a 16 foot Maravia raft and lots of gear, much more than my 13′ Aire Super Puma could hold. Maybe, a bigger raft and more gear, was the secret to convincing my family to go. Then again, it might just make for a bigger pile in the garage.

At the put-in the next morning, inflating and loading the rafts became chaotic, as outfitters competed for space, working to get their flotillas of rafts and gear into the water. The permit system only allows for a few groups to enter the river each day. Unfortunately, they all seem to do so at the same time.

I threw my gear together as quickly as possible, feeling apprehensive about rowing through big, pushy class IV rapids. The rangers at the put in told us some recent, inexperienced rafters had flipped eight times. Two of the hardest rapids, Wild Sheep and Granite, would arrive within the first six miles.

My whitewater experience had been in maneuverable kayaks, or paddling a raft with a number of people. Rowing a raft loaded with gear was a brand new experience. Would my gear stay together, if the raft flipped? Maybe I’d learn fast and keep it upright. Kerry and his family looked up from their gear organizing, so I just smiled, trying to look confident. Once they had their massive pile of gear strapped in place, we set off down the river.

Within a half mile, we reached a class II rapid, and I learned an important lesson. A raft with gear, in a pushy river, does not respond anything like a whitewater kayak. I found myself rowing frantically, while the river still pushed me into the largest waves and holes. New strategy! I would have to pick a line through a rapid that involved very little course correction, once the whitewater started.

rapidsWhen we reached Wild Sheep, one of the class IVs, I learned another technique. The raft crested an eight foot wave, a bit diagonally and started to flip. I jumped out of my seat and threw my weight against the higher raft tube. That one was close!Eventually, I also learned that rowing forward, and proper timing, help keep you upright in large waves. Now that I think of it, that usually worked in rapidstwokayaks too.

Along with powerful rapids, the river’s enormous eddies and whirlpools kept us alert. If you wandered into cliffan eddy, the river pulled the raft upstream, sometimes faster than you could row. By watching the currents, and working with them, the rafts continued in the right direction.

That evening, all that gear the big raft carried made camping downright luxurious. They had real beef and potatoes, cooked at one table and served at another, along with a variety of wines. They even had a selection of appetizers. Lucky for me, my friends are generous. I had brought more of that freeze-dried food that’s been sitting in my closet for years. Kerry’s family is also very friendly, welcoming and are considerate listeners, asking questions about psychic readings, past lives and the spirit world. Conversation stopped as a young eagle circled overhead, then dived at a fish in the river.soaringbird

Overnight, the river level dropped significantly, leaving our rafts high on a gravel bar. For my light raft, that meant lifting together. For the heavily loaded raft, that meant unloading an enormous dry box and cooler, then moving the raft and reloading. Finally, we set out and made our way to the first rapids of the day. While we scouted, a group of bighorn sheep stood, watching us from the cliff above.

The second class IV that day had a group of big holes at the top, on the right side, then more big holes on the left, towards the bottom. I stood on a boulder, trying to find a path that didn’t involve hitting a big, churning hole. I couldn’t find one, so my plan was to hit the hole hard and throw my weight around, hoping the raft kept going. At this point, I mentioned to my spirit guides that help would be appreciated. Once in the rapids, I skirted the top holes, hit some waves, and the next thing I knew, I was in the clear. What happened to the holes at the bottom?  I’m not sure if I somehow missed them, but my theory goes like this: In a big surging river, a hole can be a wave one second, then turn back into a hole the next. It may be that my guides saw to it that they did just that, before I hit them. For whatever reason, I managed to make it through all the rapids, still upright.

bouldersOur next night’s camp had a swimming beach, trees for shade and beautiful views of Suicide Point, a tall cliff across the river. On most rivers, it’s the rapids that have morbid names, like Jaws, Boatbeater, Gore and Slaughterhouse.

With only seven miles, and no major rapids ahead, I left my friends early morning, hoping to make it home at a reasonable hour. Each day, we had only encountered a few other boats, due to the permit and lottery system. As I floated alone, and looked up, the remoteness and rugged beauty of the canyon truly inspired me. The eddies even settled down enough so I could meditate while I drifted.

At the Pittsburg Landing takeout, I felt a great sense of relief in finding my truck waiting, with a third of arafttank of gas. It had been close to full, when I had left it at the put-in, along with a key for the shuttle service. As I drove up the steep, winding gravel road out of the canyon, I realized how they’d used so much gas. The drive to get my truck there had no doubt been a long, steep and winding one.

After seventeen miles, I came to an intersection and realized that I was now in a remote part of Idaho and didn’t have a decent map. My gas gauge kept dropping, and there was no cell phone reception. I should have meditated and asked a guide for directions. Instead, I guessed at the next few turns and wound up miles down another winding backroad, with Highway 95 visible on the hillside above me. Tuning into intuition, I backtracked and my next turn took me to the highway. Soon, I ended up in a town with gas and phone reception. Mary, my wife, gave me directions for back roads halfway across Washington, a much quicker route than heading straight for the freeway. In fact, I made it home in time to unpack and spend a few hours sharing my adventures with her and working to convince her that raft trips are a great idea.
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Hay House Cruise to Alaska

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Trip Report: Alaska Cruise with Hay House

by Curt and Mary Remington

Monday, August 3rd, 2009


Alaska Cruise and Port Details

We boarded the ship to Alaska with anticipation, knowing this cruise could be a key turning point in our lives. Hay House (see ad to the right), a major book publisher, reserved the entire 1,380 passenger ship, the MS Amsterdam. Part of this group, myself included, signed up for a writer’s workshop with a contest for a book deal. As you may know from my blogs, I’ve been writing a book on meditation. You may also  know that my wife and I are in regular communication with the spiritual realm. The book idea, Hay House as a publisher, and signing up for this cruise were all ideas strongly encouraged by advanced spirits. They didn’t exactly promise I’d get the book deal out of this cruise, but they did strongly allude to the possibility. That’s close enough to get me excited.CurtFamily

Mary, my wife and a talented clairvoyant, eagerly signed up for another on-board program, featuring eight keynote speakers: Wayne Dyer, Brian Weiss, Sonia Choquette, Gregg Braden, Caroline Myss, Iyanla Vanzant, John Holland and Cheryl Richardson. Mary wrote the last section of this blog, describing her experience.

Heather, one of our teenage daughters, had some mixed feelings about the cruise. She looked forward to fun activities, great food and a chance to shop, while maybe feeling apprehensive about a cruiseship full of psychics and spiritually enlightened people. We all found the fellow passengers to be very warm, friendly, open-minded and quite normal.

ziplineAs an added bonus for all three of us, these seminars were taking place on a Holland America ship that would be cruising past the rugged islands and coasts of British Columbia and Alaska, visiting places like Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier and Victoria, British Columbia. While boating in Washington’s San Juan Islands, close to home, I’ve often dreamt of continuing north to these places. In fact, I have an earlier manuscript about The Passage. That link will take you to a chapter that was published in a canoe magazine, while Goat Hunt will take you to a chapter about a man facing aging and his mortality.

For the first day, the ship, Holland America’s Amsterdam, made mountainpasssmooth, steady progress through the open Pacific and waves which would’ve tossed my 23′ boat around violently. Along with Hay House programs, the ship offered a whole variety of activities like working out, shopping, gambling and of course eating.

The second morning, the Amsterdam cruised up sunny Gastineau Channel, with views of fishing boats and snow-capped peaks, arriving in Juneau at 11 am. Although it’s the capital of Alaska, Juneau can only be reached by air or sea, unless you have a dog sled and are very adventurous. The downtown cruise dock area is lined with tourist shops and surprising bargains, like an Alaska t-shirt for $4.99 or a small bag of quartz for $2.99. For someone with more expensive tastes, there’s also perfume, watches, electronics, furs and artwork. There are even free items stores give away, just to get you in the door.

We left the shopping behind, as a jet boat brought us across to Douglas Island and a ”rain-forest canopy and zip line adventure.” The thrill comes as you launch yourself off a tree-platform, hanging from a climbing harness and pulleys, then slide “zip” on cables as much as 180 feet above the ground. Approaching the next platform at over 30 mph, you reach up and grab the cable, stopping your zip just before crashing into the tree. The course has ten cable sections, covering 6,000 feet of cable, along with treetop suspension bridges, finishing with a rappel to the ground.

cruiseOnce back in Juneau, we boarded the Mt Roberts Tramway. It departs from the dock area, carrying passengers 1800 feet above downtown, to a visitor’s center. Mt Roberts has a network of hiking trails, with spectacular views of Juneau, Gastineau Channel and the surrounding mountains.

After a few miles of hiking, Heather returned to the ship, tired from the day’s adventures. Mary and I had just enough energy left to drink a cold Alaskan beer at Hangar on the Wharf Pub and Grill, a renovated seaplane hangar. Beyond Mary and the beer, you can see the Amsterdam towering over the red jet boat from our zipline tour. As we made our way back to the ship, three floatplanes descended to the channel and pulled up to the dock in front of the bar.

Day four, the ship made slow progress through fog and small icebergs in Yakutat Bay. Early afternoon, the fog lifted, revealing the jagged peaks of Fairweather Mountains along with Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska. It extends 76 miles from its source, with a ”calving face” stretching for six miles across the bay. The glacier appears very blue, since the ice absorbs other wavelengths of light. At the steepest part of the face, large chunks of ice rumbled, then cracked off, sending up immense plumes of spray.

Sitka is a beautiful town and an important part of Alaskan history. The port was originally settled by Tlingit planenatives. Through negotiations and fighting, control passed between the Tlingits and Russians a few times, with Sitka becoming the Russian capital of Alaska in 1808. The US bought Alaska in 1867 and kept Sitka the capital until 1906.

After taking a tender (lifeboat) to shore, we picked up our reserved mountain bikes. This turned out to be a great way to see a lot, with limited time. We managed a trail to an alpine lake, an eagle center, historic park, Bishop’s mansion tour, lunch and still fit in some downtown shopping. Who needs to rest while on vacation?

Ketchikan is the rainiest city in the US, with 152 inches of “liquid sunshine” a year. Sure enough, it rained. The local weather forecast joke goes, “If you can’t see Deer Mountain, it’s raining. If you can see it, it’s about to rain.” Our original plan to hike up Deer Mountain didn’t make much sense, because if you can’t see Deer Mountain, you probably can’t see much from the mountain either. We settled on a walk around town and exploring the marina. Creek St, an old red-light district, has very quaint shops with some true bargains, like fleece jackets for $20.

boattwoDowntown Victoria, British Columbia is spectacularly scenic and has a long list of things for tourists to do. This city is close enough to home that we’ve visited regularly. The harbor has float planes, yachts and tourist tugs, along with views of the Empress Hotel, Parliament Building and the distant Olympic Mountains. Having seen most other sights, we walked the harbor and visited the Royal Canadian Wax Museum, which you can see just above the old yacht’s stern.

Writer’s Workshop

Between all the adventures and sightseeing, I did manage to attend the on-board writer’s workshop, learning powerful techniques for writing and for improving and marketing my book project, Simple Meditation: Connecting With Spirit and Finding Your Life’s Purpose. As I mentioned earlier, my book proposal will be entered in a contest (winner picked in December) for a deal with Hay House, the publisher highly recommended by my spiritual contacts. Along with the quality of the book, publishers also look at the number of contacts writers have, so please sign up for my new Facebook fan page. You might help ensure the success of my book, get more people meditating, and improve the quality of life on the planet Earth. Thanks!

As you may have noticed, I was so enthused about Hay House that I signed up as an advertiser. Clicking onfloatingbuildings any of the Hay House banners will take you to the appropriate page of their website where you can find enlightening books, cd’s and cards. Buying and reading some might dramatically improve your life.

The night before the cruise, we went to see Wayne Dyer speak in Seattle. My daughter, Heather, was so moved by his talk that she asked if she could listen to all the speakers on the cruise. We signed her up, so she and Mary attended them together. Heather enjoyed and learned a great deal from all eight speakers. Unfortunately, I missed these, so Mary wrote the rest of this blog, describing the talks she attended.


Mary’s Write-Up of Hay House Program

When I look back on this life changing and inspirational experience, it will be remembered with great reverence and gratitude. I am grateful to our spirit guide “Chief” who, without a doubt, was the guiding light that inspired my husband and I to go. I would also like to extend my greatest appreciation to all of the Hay House authors who have inspired me and touched my soul forever. They have devoted their lives to such worthy and healing causes, which is surely having a ripple affect throughout our planet. Although I couldn’t possibly sum up all of the invaluable information I absorbed during the seminars, I would like to share some of my thoughts and say “thank you” to each author.

Wayne Dyer

How can I begin? I would consider him one of the greatest inspirational teachers of this generation. My husband, Curt, has been a big advocate of his for many years, since he read “Your Erroneous Zones.” He has promoted this book to the whole family, from time to time, for various reasons. If you had a problem, it was always “go read Your Erroneous Zones”. He read it as a teen ,at a time when he was searching for answers, and it changed his life. I have

great admiration for Wayne Dyer. From all of the turmoil in his childhood, he found a way to transform his life into something with great meaning and purpose. He had a vision and he followed it and continues to follow it. He truly motivates and inspires everyone he touches.

Caroline Myss

What a smart, tough, no excuses approach to heal your life. She tells it like it is and teaches us to take a hard look at ourselves, stop blaming others and stop trying to find a reason for what’s gone wrong in our lives. She emphasized forgiveness, gratitude and being of service. This was my first con tact with Caroline Myss and will definitely not be my last. I feel that my life’s purpose is in healing and I’m like a sponge for any information about it. Thank you Caroline for your inspiring words.

Brian Weiss

He’s definitely good at what he does. He had the entire audience in a state of hypnosis in a flash with his caaaalm, soooothing voice and description of beautiful, peaceful places. Who wouldn’t want to go there? I’m a strong believer in re-incarnation and know that healing can come from discovering events or trauma in our past lives, that keep us stuck or unhappy in our present lives. Brian Weiss is well respected, and his revolutionary techniques are revered world wide. He’s certainly an advocate of meditation, which I think is a healing and powerful practice that we should all adopt.

Sonia Choquette

Sonia is a gifted psychic with a colorful, creative and energetic personality, and she knows how to have fun! Sonia teaches us how to wake up our spirit and our sixth or psychic sense. We need to listen to our higher self, which has important information that we cannot get from our conscious mind. She also stresses the importance of connecting with the creator, our spirit guides and angels who help guide us on our path. To help us let go of our inhibitions and wake up our spirit, a little dancing didn’t hurt either. Very fun!

Gregg Braden

Gregg’s talk was a mix of science, history and spirituality that was fascinating. It was interesting to learn that we’ve had cycles throughout history and these cycles or patterns repeat themselves. Most importantly, the choices we make as a species, can have a big impact on these cycles. The Mayan predictions about the end of time in 2012 have many people questioning, is it true and, if so, what can we do to change it. Getting in touch with our inner spirit, letting go of fear, helping others and healing the planet are some of the things we can do now. Gregg’s vision of our future left me very encouraged and hopeful

Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla is a vibrant, free spirited, crazy kind of woman and I loved her! Starting with some Hallelujah’s, some movin’ and swayin‘, connecting with ourselves as spirit and having great gratitude for life was a wonderful way to start the day. What a beautiful soul she is. She is a minister of God and seems very devoted to helping us get beyond our past and find our purpose. Again, this was my first experience with Iyanla, and I left feeling truly empowered.

John Holland

John is a gifted psychic medium who connects with the audience in a unique and compassionate way. He is very dedicated to what he does and delivers such healing messages from the spirit world to those that are grieving. It is so wonderful to see the audience reaction, knowing that their loved ones are still around and want to communicate with them. Tears of happiness pour from them and they’re surrounded with comfort and peace. It brought me to tears to watch. I’m finishing my clairvoyant training this fall, and I know how good it feels to be able to help people in this way. The healing goes both ways and it’s very rewarding.

Cheryl Richardson

I really connected with what Cheryl Richardson had to say, because I too, am the general manager of my universe. I am constantly busying myself and doing doing doing for everyone else, leaving what I want for last. Often, this time in the day never comes. Cheryl teaches us to make our own selves a top priority, which is something I don’t often do. My own family recognizes that in me, more than I do. This was a big wake up call for me. I need to get to know me! Wow! What a concept! I’m reading Cheryl’s book “Stand Up For Your Life” and I’ve scheduled a solo vision quest for myself in early August so I can get started getting to know me and my purpose in life. Thanks Cheryl!

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would also like to say a great big thanks to Louise Hay and all of the staff and help that made the Alaska cruise possible. I’ve had a very tough past year with one of my daughters, and this was just what the doctor ordered to nourish my soul. I feel that I can get back on track and move forward again. Thanks to all of you! Mary Remington