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Fountain Hills, AZ, my "medicine journey," and Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Sometimes, all you need is to have the right friends. For the lucky ones among us who know Gina, you know what I mean.

It is great to be in the presence of Gina and Bob. Bob always makes me think further...

Tonight, Gina informed me we are going to a concert. Her friend Nipa has free tickets to see Toto at Talking Stick Casino. I am unfamiliar with the name, but after a quick Google search, I recognized a few of their songs.

I am pleased to meet Gina's friends, Nipa, Julie, Will, Cindy, and Denise for dinner before the show. The concert energy is fabulous! I am having a blast! 

It's fun to let loose and enjoy myself, but I need to spend some time working on planning my Canada adventure this week. I am still struggling with pushing myself to travel in the state with no plans and a very soft route. The weather is challenging me, and I do need to make changes. Instead of going north toward Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, I will now travel west into California and Nevada.

My next deadline is mid-April, when I will be in Boulder to spend time with my boys. 

Whenever I write a vulnerable piece about my life, my heart rate increases. I often question why I continue writing and sharing. I still do not fully understand it myself, but I know I always have the choice to stop. This is my journal, after all, and it is important for me to keep it honest and truthful.

If you have been following my journey from the beginning, I am sure you know I am very much in touch with my feelings and emotions. I read a lot and educated myself to better understand who I am.

My journey last year, which peeled away the layers of armor around me, was incredible. I surprise myself with the extent of my success with forgiveness. However, I still feel I have more work to do to peel off the rest of the layers of trauma in me. I recognize that I lost the ability to cry as part of self-protection. I can now see how I functioned in "auto mode" during my married years.

For a while now, I have felt that my true self had to stop existing at around the age of four in order to protect the little girl and continue until my divorce at the age of 50.

We all have our own journey with trauma. For myself, I want to make sure it does not define who I am. I know I am the only one responsible for melting away the protections I put on myself.

Therefore, when I had the opportunity to experience "a medicine journey" in a safe environment with the right people, I seized the moment. 

No, I am far from being a lost soul. For a while now, I have been reading about the benefits of "a medicine journey." It is another tool to help me unlock myself.

All I have to say is, Wow! I sit for hours trying to find the words to describe my "trip," but I can't. It was a beautiful journey into myself that I am still processing. The main message I constantly receive is that I am my own obstacle. As I was floating into a deep, peaceful world, I tried to penetrate through my armor and find my tears, but all I found was "ME" guarding "MY" gate.

I know I will find my tears one day. I owe it to myself.

It's time to get back on the open road. I am heading to visit Nikki and Barb at their new home/community near Temecula. As I travel, I keep an open mind about where I would like to set roots one day. The winter on the East Coast doesn't agree with my bones. Their RV community sounds like a good option.

Whenever I plan my route on Google Maps, I always like to see what my route will be if I avoid highways. So when I checked my route to Nikki and Brab with no highways, the result led me to the north entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. 

Driving on the road with a view of endless open land, long mountain ranges, and big blue skies is my welcome to California. 

I am glad I have the opportunity to visit Joshua Tree National Park again. By three, I get to the Visitor Center to get a map and try to squeeze in a hike before I need to find the BLM where I will park tonight. 

The nearest trail is Fortynine Palms Oasis. It is a three-mile hike to a small Oasis resting at the bottom of the mountains. The hike requires me to keep my attention on my step, so it is a sweet surprise that when I lift my eyes, I notice the palm trees in the distance. Even though they look out of place, You can sense the love story between a palm tree and a rugged mountain. 

The wind is blowing heavily this afternoon, and there is a wind advisory until morning. It is so windy that cooking outside is impossible. Again, the wind challenged me and my setup. I can see that I will need to move a few things around so I can have access from the inside of my van when going out is not feasible.

It is five am, and I am awake. The moon is shining her light, brightening the dark skies. I want to make the most of the day and try to avoid the crowd. By six, I am on the road. The moon is still shining my way while in my rearview mirror, daybreak is unfolding slowly. That is magic!

I have forty minutes of driving to my first hike to Ryan Mountain. It is a luxury to have my "home" with me and be able to eat anywhere I wish. It is a freezing morning, so I take my time enjoying breakfast while waiting for the sun to warm up the chilly morning.

The climb up Ryan Mountain is a great warm-up, not just because of the incline, but because the stunning view is full of diverse landscapes that will surely warm your heart. The unique rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park are like sculptures scattered on a flat land. As I continue my climb, the background of snow-capped mountains takes over the horizon giving me a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature.

My next hikes are to Face and Skull Rock. I do find the Joshua Tree to be a fascinating tree, but what I like the most about this park is the rock formations that capture my imagination. One more stop, one more hike, but this one is a short and easy hike that leads you to see Heart and Arch Rock. Again, I find myself in a garden of sculptures.

If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods but only have a little time, do yourself a favor and at least drive from the north of the park to the south park. 

I am boondocking at the south park tonight, which I did last year. The wind picked up again, and I am honestly getting tired of dealing with it. Sometimes frustration is part of my life.



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