Creating Magic

May your day be sprinkled with pixie dust

Half Dome Adventure: The End … again … Epilogue? July 28, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy — Faerie Magic @ 5:16 pm

One of my instructors from the trip contacted us today and emailed us some cool photos that I thought I might share with you!  So awesome!

The first photo I would like to share is actual PROOF! that yes indeed I was on the cables climbing up Half Dome … No … I didn’t photoshop myself onto the top of Half Dome!

Shannon ON HD

That’s me in the middle of the photo, in the blue shirt and green khaki shorts! And look Mom … both my hands are on the cable!  See, this time I was being cautious …. I think most people would be …. almost!

The next photo is a group shot of the ten participants who worked together to get to the top …. as we all know, you can’t make it on a hard journey all by yourself!

HD Group

And I think I may have been channeling my friend, Kris, at this point with my eyes blinking!  Oops … Atleast I have a good smile!

The last photo is PROOF of the impending storm that trashed my campsite!  UGH!

Pending Storm

Now you get an idea of why I got into trouble.  Fortunately all turned out on the up-and-up ….




Day 9: When I went down to the valley … July 26, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy,Mother Nature — Faerie Magic @ 1:10 pm

As magnificent as my trip has sounded to everyone … it was not without its challenges … most of which occurred directly after the coming down off of Half Dome.  Although I do not typically choose to share some of my personal challenges, I think maybe these might be helpful to others in the future who might not be such avid backpacker/campers … I, too, am a beginner in this area.

WARNING: Some content is meant for ADULTS ONLY!

As we headed down the mountain and were making our 3 mile trip back to Little Yosemite Valley and our campsite with the intention of packing up and heading all the way back to our original starting point from the day before … a storm, which had been brewing in the distance, a storm, which up until this day didn’t reach the valley until 3:00 p.m. … decided … on this day to greet us early.  Sometimes it isn’t so great being the first one back at camp!  But that is besides the point … I was.  I began to break down my gear, take the rain fly off, lay my things on the ground … WHEN…. a deluge of water began to pour from the sky!

All of my gear, my pack, my clothes, my sleeping bag, tent … all drenched! UGH! … I emptied my backpack of what water I could and stored it in the bear box and ran promptly into Lindsay, the assistant guide’s tent.  We waited and waited and waited and waited for the monsoon to pass.  I got colder and colder and colder and became sad knowing that I was wet and cold and had no dry clothes to change into at this point either even once the rain stopped.  CRAP!  AND  we still had to hike 6 miles from this point back down to Yosemite Valley with our 30 pound (now 40 pound packs with the water) …

Two hours later, rain slowed enough for us to pack up, everyone emerged.  I squished as much water from all my gear as I could and gathered water drenched clothes and pushed my water engorged sleeping back back into its now too tiny home filled with remnants of mud from the flooded campsite.  We made our way to the river to restock our water packs when one of the other participants and her wife looked at me and said, “Shannon, you look really cold and really hungry.”  I denied it, but they were right.  Pegha said, “Oh no!  You cannot hike back like that.  You will get hypothermia.”  Pegha took off her now dry rain pants and handed them to me to put on.  I took off my drenched hiking pants, rung them out and slung them over my backpack.  Sirie, Pegha’s wife, took off her dry, warm, long-sleeved shirt and told me to put it on after taking off my own long-sleeve water-logged shirt.   AHHHH … so much better … it is nice when you receive help especially when it is from people who don’t know you that well but as humans, know that you could get sick and so step in to be of service!  At that point they fed me a bowl of hot beans and rice (which although sweet and tasty and nourshing would later come back to HAUNT me!) … I know your curious … I did say this particular post was full of ADULT content … I guess you presumed Nudity, Sex, Profanity … Yes, No, Yes … As you have see the nudity part from the story above…. Pegha and Sirie also put a enzyme tablet into my water bag to re-hydrate me …

6 miles back … all that once was UP UP UP was now DOWN DOWN DOWN … Around mile 4 … I begun to realize that there were certain things on the trip that if nothing went wrong, my equipment was perfect BUT if challenges occurred, my equipment, not the best for this type of trip.  I rather quickly collected a list in my head of what I would need to change out for another trip of this nature.

1.  Hiking shoes:  MINE:  Good condition, broken in … wonderful for the hikes I’ve done

NEW:  Hiking Boots! with ankle support … by the last two miles downhill my ankles were so sore, I admit, I was crying … most people who know me know I don’t like to show my weaknesses … at this point in our group though I was by myself with some of the group ahead and some behind.

2. Backpack:  MINE:  Good support, good waist band, good harness and steel frame.

NEW:  Backpackers pack where all the equipment fits inside the frame with nothing loaded on the outside and is waterproof!

3.  Hiking Poles:  MINE:  Adjustable with spring action (Thank you Sally!)

NEW:  Hiking poles adjustable with clips instead of a turning screw mechanism

4.  Cooking Equip:  ME:  None

NEW:   A small portable Jet Boil … many of our campers had these small portable apparatus’ and I became jealous after deciding I wanted some hot tea to warm up with.

5.  Rain Gear:  MINE:  Rain Jacket – single layer

NEW:  Waterproof Rain Jacket and Pants with double layer insulation!

Okay, okay … so now I know!  Atleast I survived in order to learn what I did well with and what I could do differently … that’s Life right?

So at this point in the last mile, with my body warmimg up, the beans and rice cooking in my intestines and the enzymes in the water rehydrating me … well you can guess … maybe … I begun avidly to pray to GOD …. “Please don’t let me shit myself on this trail … Yes a bear does shit in the woods … But I don’t want to …”   My prayers were partially answered … PARTIALLY …

We made it back to Yosemite Valley and now I needed to find lodging.  I was supposed to camp one more night, but as you might recall, all my gear is wet and gross.  I drove 90 minutes west to Buckmeadows Lodge and hope one, there was a room and two, a restroom cuz now my intestines are not happy.  I found a room! Yes! and as soon as I stepped in the room, well … lets just say … I was 20 Feet from Stardom! …I am not proud but at this point, I was grateful for a toilet, a tub, a restaurant next door with hot food and a comfy warm bed to crawl into before the drive home the next day.

As you have noticed this blog post has NO photos … I didn’t think you wanted that much information!

I also want you to know that success is not without its hard journeys and shit!

Enough of that …. Now … for some more pretty pics on my journey back to Tucson …..

That’s the NEXT and LAST Post form this adventure!






Day 6, 7 & 8: To Half Dome and Beyond! (No Kidding!) – PART TWO July 24, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy — Faerie Magic @ 7:44 am

Are you still curious?  I hope so!

Our group leader, Lindsay, a former Forest Ranger and current nature guide, informed the group that Bears had actually begun to profile cars/trucks to know which ones were the easiest to break into and had the most food …. any guesses?

SUV’s that have the window in the rear that lifts up away from the tailgate.  The Bears found from trial and error I am thinking that if they climbed on the roof of the SUV and jumped hard and long enough, like a two-year-old jumping on a bed, that the window would pop open and food would be hiding inside!

Well, you will be happy to know that I, in fact, did not spot one bear on my entire adventure BUT I did spot a hungry buck who had the same idea that the bears did.  I went to the Curry Village parking lot to store my personal items and discovered the buck finding some grub …

Buck Food

After storing my items and having my tent pitched at camp, I decided it was time to wander lower Yosemite and see what else I could discover.  In the not so far distance I heard the burbling of water over stones.  I followed the sound only to discover the Merced River.  A few families were swimming in the cool clear water and I decided to step into the water myself …. ahhhhhh…. WATER!

Shannon Ranger2

Hey! With this hat, courtesy of Mr. Prater, maybe one day I could be a Ranger!  I certainly look the part, don’tchathink?

Many local tourists cross the Merced River via a stone bridge located conveniently across it.  Who needs a bridge when you can tromp around IN the water!

Merced River

I spent much of my time until meeting the rest of the group hanging out in the water.  After discussing our plan of attack for the next day, we headed off to bed.  The first day of hiking would consist of a 6 mile hike to Little Yosemite Valley where we would set up camp for the night before tackling Half Dome the following day.  I thought, “6 Miles! That’s it! No problem ….” little did I know that that 6 miles would consist of hiking uphill the entire time with my 30 pound backpack totting on my back.

Raven, another intelligent scavenger who loved the Curry Village camp sites was the first one to wake me up at 5:30 a.m. the next morning crowing like the morning Rooster!  The group gathered with all of our equipment at the John Muir Trail Head, which would take us to Little Yosemite Valley base camp.

On the way about three miles into the upward climbing hike, huffing and puffing my way up the trail, we made our way near Vernal Falls.


The rapid moving water over the 317 foot waterfall is beautiful to view.  We were told by our guides that although the water seemed to be abundant that it was actually low for the season as they had not received enough snow or rainfall for the year.

Vernal Falls1

One of the many flowers that benefit from the waterfall itself is a flower known as the White Bog Orchid of Yosemite Park.  The mist from the waterfall sprays the side of the trail walls of rock and this delicate miniature orchid is able to grow from the combination of sun and water.  This beauty of tiny proportions is actually often pollinated by mesquitoes in fact!  For more information on this flower you can follow this link:

White Bog Orchid

Orchid Mesquito

Well … many of you who know me well enough, know that sometimes I like to push the envelope … every so often … what is the point of seeing Vernal Falls from a distance … let’s take a closer look shall we!

Over Falls Shannon

Shannon on the rocks please!

Did I say there were only two parts to this story?  Hmmm…. apparently there are three and no one bothered to tell me ahead of time.  We haven’t even made it to base camp for heaven’s sake.  Now you know by reading this story why I called it to Half Dome and Beyond …. it just keeps going and going and going …

I hope you look forward to Part Three!




Day 6, 7 & 8: To Half Dome and Beyond! (No kidding!) – PART ONE July 23, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy,Mother Nature — Faerie Magic @ 6:50 pm

If I had a jet pack like Buzz Lightyear, I probably would have used it if I had known how crazy hard the hike was going to be!  It’s probably  better I didn’t know ahead of time.  Well … are you wondering if I made it out the other side?  Did I make it to the top of Half Dome?  The answers shall soon be seen.

On the morning of meeting my hiking group which was through the Yosemite Conservancy, I drove into Lower Yosemite Valley.  Upon entering the valley, I pulled over and was greeted by the Stone Gatekeeper who stood in the middle of the stream.  He called himself George.

Gateway George

I asked him if it was okay for me to take a close-up photo for my friends and family.  Although he wasn’t too enamoured of the idea, he did agree to the portrait.


After George’s photo shoot, his friend, Butterfly, showed up at the water’s edge asking politely, “May I also be in the story?”  Of course, I agreed because how can my story to Yosemite that has Unicorns not also contain Butterflies.


Once I earned George’s permission to head into the Valley of Yosemite, I thanked him and Butterfly and was awe struck as I turned the curve in my car where the view opened into a waving grass, yellow wildflower covered valley floor surrounded by enormous mountain ranges, whose names I would soon become more familiar with (and if you continue to read on…. so will you)

The Valley

The Valley Floor of Yosemite is around 3800 feet in elevation … me in the photo, at 3800 feet, oh so unaware of the hike ahead of me!  Me, blissed out in the yellow dazzling wildflowers, thanking God that it isn’t Dorthoy’s field of poppies in Wizard of Oz or I would never have completed my adventure … and aside from some ground squirrels around me, I didn’t see any Flying Monkeys either.

Valley Floor with S

I spun around in a circle to take in the view of the surrounding mountain ranges rising up around me….

Valley View  WD

The glow of shimmering lemon yellow wildflowers pushing up from the valley floor …

Valley Flowers

The first mountain to catch my eye was El Capitan, Rock Chief, rising 3000 feet from the valley floor.  He is made almost completely of granite and is a favorite mountain for rock climbers and base jumpers to scale.

El Capitan

The next peak to catch my attention from the valley floor was Sentinel Rock reaching up towards the sky to reach an elevation of 7000 feet

Sentinel Rock

Once inside the main camps for Yosemite, I headed over to find my first night’s camping space.  The Rangers showed me to Space 44 in the Upper Pines Curry Village campground.  I was the first one in our group to arrive, so what’s new there right?  I set up my tent at noon so I would have the rest of the day to explore Yosemite. I think I did a fine job of pitching and staking my tent, rain fly and all.

Camp My Tent Curry Village

One of the most important pieces of information I learned from the Rangers was BEAR BOXES, BEAR BOXES, BEAR BOXES.  All food must be stored in these bear boxes at all times except when you are actually going to be consuming your food.

Bear Box

We were even required to sign a waiver and form saying we understood the dangers of leaving our food out … and what I learned is it isn’t just food … ALL scented products like toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, hair products, bug spray, sunscreen … anything with a strong scent is attractive to a bear … which brings me to a question of what prevents a bear from attacking me in the middle of the night in my tent if I have shampooed hair, deodorized underarms with skin slathered in sunscreen and lips covered in lip balm all covered by bug spray … shouldn’t I, too, be stuffed inside the bear box???

Bear Box1

Bear Box Rules2Part Two … to follow ….





Day Five: Yosemite – Love at First Site July 17, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy,Mother Nature — Faerie Magic @ 9:53 pm

Bet you are wondering, “are there Unicorns?  did you see one?” … Just wait … you will see …

My first day of adventuring into the wilderness that is Yosemite National Park … words? … I probably shouldn’t write too much and let the photos speak for themselves … I may add some brief commentary as needed …

6:00 a.m. – a Yosemite Sunrise – Brilliant!

Sunrise over Yosemite

Hues Pink Purple Gold before the Sun shows His face …


Where 56 degrees meets the warm water from the day before … mist rising and curling …

Misty Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake with its curving shores bringing her water right to your feet….

Tenaya Lake2

Yosemite’s beauty surrounds you on all sides.   Above you, the clouds curl and roll with the breeze…

Sunrise and Clouds

And when you thought that only clouds can be in the sky, you find them under your feet too!

Glory Be2

And what you are fishing for in this great lake ends up sitting right in front of you.  What you thought was your imagination is suddenly real.

Meditation Spot

You may even look up in gratitude ….


Only to find the Moon starring back at you ….MoonStone

Smiling down at you

Over a stone face …

Faces of Stone

That’s when you know your surrounded …..

Lake Surrounding


Surrounded Beauty

by Love …

Lake and Cloud

So … you’re still wondering … are there Unicorns?

I’d like to think so …


And we are friends.

Unicorn and Me

Love at First Site … that’s Yosemite National Park!

I will be going off-line for the rest of my journey backpacking into the wilderness to meet Half-Dome face-to-face.  See you when I come out with more adventures!




Day Two: A Day at the Beach July 14, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy — Faerie Magic @ 10:10 pm

As we arrived at Mission Beach, we were greeted by friends ….

The trees said hello …

Banyan Tree





The Seagulls sat waiting for some tasty treats … “Mine, mine, mine, mine”




.… as we made our way onto the sands of the beach, we heard the crashing of the ocean waves on the shore ….

The Waves2

I smiled since it has been two years since I last made it to the beach.  The gentle ocean breeze, the smell of the salty air, the mist of the ocean spray ….


My nephews had a blast chasing one another ….

The Chase

My younger nephew was so excited to be at the beach again that he leapt….

Leapin Lizards

and jumped for joy ….

Jumpin for Joy

While he was busy playin’ in the surf, my older nephew was apparently sent wishes of fun from a nearby Faerie Girl … some of the Faerie Dust may have landed in his eye!

A Faeries Wish

…. as the sun set on our day of fun …. I knew that we had been blessed with a day of magic in the surf ….

Surf Boy

We shall see what magic the day holds for us tomorrow ….

(not seen in the accompanying photos would be my mom and sis … who requested to be kept behind the scenes!  )




Day One: The Road to Yosemite July 13, 2014

Filed under: Faerie Dust & Whimsy — Faerie Magic @ 9:32 pm

On the road to Yosemite, there are many pre-adventure adventures!

My first excursion was to visit my Faerie Godchild, Lincoln Dilinger … now being 19 months old, he was ready to play catch with me for an hour.  We ran around the house until I was worn out!

Faerie Godchild

Faerie Godchild


Then I headed toward Yuma … along the way, the cloud people parted the heavens ….

The Heavens

and gave me a sweet heart to make my trip feel blessed ….


… and when I arrived, I was greeted by two elfin children, my nephews ….

C&J 072014

… and then I was so exhausted from all of the blessings, I fell fast asleep 🙂

I dreamt of playing all day at the beach in San Diego!

Sweet Dreams


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