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Lost Dutchman State Park and Drum Circle for Peace, Phoenix, AZ

I arrive at Serenity’s by late afternoon. I want to ensure we have time for her to show me her bus, which she is converting to be her home on wheels.


I admire women who learn and figure out how to build anything. I am spoiled and grateful to have my dear friend Mike willing to help me with my build-up. Serenity is doing it all by herself—you go, Serenity!


Like her name, Serenity is a beautiful, calm soul.; We connected quickly and dove into deep conversations, which I always appreciate.


Later, another solo traveler stopped to park for the night. Sadly, the energy is shifted, and there is not always common ground with everyone.


I get up early to make the most of the day to hike and try to get to a camping site at Lost Dutchman State Park. I fell in love with this park last year. I want to hike Superstition Peak 5024 via Siphon Draw Trail. Last year, the weather didn't allow me to do this challenging hike.


I also hope that if I get there early, I will get a "first come, first serve site" like I did last year. No luck this time.


What glorious weather! The sun and the fluffy white clouds add beautiful harmony to this morning.


I know that there is a significant elevation gain ahead of time, and yes, I said I would never do a hike with so much gain. I am going with the mindset of hiking until I feel it enough. I am thrilled to hike in this beauty. The Superstition Mountains are stunning and stand tall and mighty compared to their surrounding neighbors' landscape.


It's time to put my hiking stick away. I need my hand to continue hiking. At this point, I feel I am mountaineering more than hiking. I am questioning whether I should continue in several sections, knowing I need to consider the descent. However, I am hooked on the view with its endless horizon, along with the challenge.


I take my time as this strenuous hike needs my respect and attention. As I get to a point of the climb that I know will be dangerous for me to attempt as I go down, I decide to turn around. On the AllTrails app, I see only a quarter of the trail left. You need to know when to count your blessings. I don't feel disappointed at all. If anything, I feel wise for letting my past experience guide me in making smart decisions.


I catch my breath when another hiker looks up at the section I just decided to ditch. We start conversing, and she seems to have the same thoughts as I do.


I have to admit I am glad Kelly decided to join me in the difficult descent. Sharing the challenge will make the journey down easier. Many times I am sliding on my butt using all my limbs for a safe path. If climbing up was challenging, going down has an extra layer of difficulty for sure. Getting to know Kelly adds a special memory to today's hike.


I am exhausted! Now, I still need to figure out where I will camp for the night.


I badly want to camp at the park. I am unwilling to give up and stop again at the ranger station. I ask Dennis, the ranger, to be my lucky charm and find me a site. The camp does have an "emergency" site that they hold for late check-in. You should see my smile when Dennis said yes, we do! It is a shared site, and I am the only one to use it right now.


I park and start setting up camp. A heavy cloud suddenly appears from nowhere. It is a big, lonely cloud floating in a sunny sky. As I begin preparing dinner, soft drops of rain land on me. I know I still carry the lucky charm when I see the most amazing rainbow I have ever witnessed.


These are the moments in my life when I feel gifted to see nature gloriously. The Superstition Mountains get a double rainbow contrasting on their dark surface, letting the colors stand raw and vibrate.


As the day comes to its end, a family from Quebec joins me for the night. Isabelle, Francis, Caleb, and Joakim join me at the picnic table for dinner while we enjoy a pink sunset and wonderful travel conversation.


I am sore this morning. I lay my yoga mat on the picnic table to stretch my aching muscles. I am not rushing to leave and I will take my time to have a leisurely morning. The only thing on my 'new day experience' is to join Jen and her group for a drum circle in Phoenix.


While scrolling through one of my Facebook groups, I saw an invite to join A Drum Circle for Peace in Phoenix. My timing is perfect, and peace is my place.


Here I am, sitting among strangers, drumming. I am quiet today. I just had a self-conversion, trying to lift my spirits up. I have a hard time enjoying my happy self. Why can't I just surrender to the universe's plan for me? I know better. Still, I am having a hard time lately.


Jen and her partner Cyrus welcomed me to their circle of music and friends. The humming of a drum on my palm started to vibrate my soul and slowly melted my confused self.


To my surprise, the fun is still ongoing. Tonight, I am boondocking next to Jen and Cyrus at Wild Horse State Trust Land for another drum circle.


Drumming around the fire has its own magic. Not being able to see and only relying on my hearing added an extra flavor to tonight's experience. By now, I am back to my happy self. It has a lot to do with this wonderful group of people. Jen, Cyrus, Elliot, Kaya, Dahvid, Petra, Nadine, Jesus, Ira, Micki, Elida, Jesse, and Julius have a peaceful, loving energy.


If I thought I would have a quiet weekend, I was wrong. By ten in the morning, we are gathering for another drum circle at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. I love it when a blue lake rests in the brown desert and they complement each other in a graceful balance.


At one point, Jen and I went for a walk, giving ourselves a chance to get away from the group and truly have respectful space for each other and our stories. It is a gift to be rewarded with another soul who embraces vulnerability. Thank you, Jen, for being you. Thank you, Cyrus, for sharing your wisdom. I admire a guy who is willing to be vulnerable.


Today is a "working" day. I am curious to see where my writing will take me. Am I on a new career path? Sometimes, I think of stopping and feeling like Forrest Gump after his run. Then, a phone call from a friend (thank you, Lauren) or a comment on Facebook keeps me going.


The power of gratitude is understanding the simplicity of the gift and its power. The gift of friendship is one of the beauties in life I cherish.


I am excited! Tomorrow, Barb and Nikki are arriving from California to meet with me. I met Barb and Nikki last year in Borrego Spring at the Sisters on the Fly event.


Last year, I wrote this in my journal: "By early evening, I got to Nikki and Barb's house at Lake Forest. I need time to regroup and catch up on many little loose ends that everyday life gives us. I am looking forward to spending time with both of them. This part of my journey is becoming my favorite of all. With all the tremendous joy I get from nature, the pleasure of creating new friendships soars above it. Yes, I meet quite a lot of people as I travel. However, not all friendships will last; the separation of me moving around the country is for sure a challenge. I know my friendship with Nikki and Barb will stand that test".




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