Wildlife Encounter in Colorado: Kill or be Killed?

I am hiking across acres of Southwest Colorado with my fabulous best friend, a Black Mouth Cur that I named, appropriately, “Blessing” on our morning “walk” through the fields and woods of the farm where we now live.  It is out … Continue reading

Are You Heavenly Aligned? The Truth About Noah the Movie! (Video)

Originally posted on Revive:
Are You Heavenly Aligned? ? March 27 2014 ? “Come in, I will give you shelter from the storm.” He congenially said to me. I had another dream. It included three black sheep, a new wine…

A Hotel Built Into What?


Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Construction Is Underway

Adventure will meet luxury at the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental, a five-star hotel currently being built into the side of an abandoned quarry Songjiang District of Shanghai.

The hotel, designed by the British firm Atkins, is set to have 19 stories and 380 rooms. Its facade will line one portion of a 100-meter-deep cave-like quarry at the base of the Tianmenshan Mountain.

The quarry that will soon house the Shimao is partly flooded, meaning the lowest levels are set to be submerged under water, a rising trend in futuristic hotel design. The two underwater levels will feature an aquarium, an underwater restaurant and guest rooms.

Adrenaline junkies will be in close proximity to activities such as rock climbing, bungee jumping and watersports, while those looking for a more relaxing retreat can admire eco-friendly roof gardens, a swimming pool, a sports center and unparalleled scenery — including a waterfall.

According to the Daily Mail, the hotel is set to open in 2015, with rooms starting around $300 a night.




I’m Packing My Bags Now!

5 Treehouse Vacation Rentals

Travelers can indulge their inner child with these amazing treehouse properties, all available for private rental. Whether in search of close-to-home luxury, a faraway escape or just a little bit of adventure, one of these vacation rentals will surely suit one’s needs. Check out the five treehouse homes TripAdvisor recommends for vacation rentals.

Exotic Treehouse at Kilauea Volcano on Big Island, Big Island, Hawaii

ht_exotic_treehouse_hawaii_tk_130605_wmainThe Exotic Treehouse is a romantic perch in the rainforest for two to linger. There is a queen-sized bed, cedar hot tub on the lanai, outdoor shower and more. It is built mid-canopy in the forest, overlooking tree ferns and almost eye-level with the upper canopy. The treehouse is less than five minutes from the gate to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Volcano Village is a short walk, with restaurants and galleries. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, “Most unique place we’ve ever stayed.” It has one bedroom and sleeps two people; prices start at $200 per night.


Tropical Treehouse, Rincon, Puerto Rico

ht_tropical_treehouse_puerto_rico_tk_130605_wmainLocated on 12 acres of hardwood forest and bamboo groves, this treehouse provides a secluded retreat with spectacular views of the Caribbean sea. It has one bedroom and sleeps two people; prices start at $150 per night.




Treehouse Hideaway- Hot tub & Log burner, Canterbury, UK

ht_treehouse_hideaway_canterbury_uk_tk_130605_wmainNearly 20 feet high, this treehouse allows its guests to sit amongst the willows, conifers and fruit trees. Relax in the hot tub, warm up in front of the log fire or enjoy a cocktail on the verandah. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, “Romantic, luxurious, a hidden treasure.” It has one bedroom and sleeps two; prices start at $228 per night.




Into the Woods Tree House, Whippingham, UK

ht_into_the_woods_whippingham_uk_tk_130605_wmainCome and stay in a cozy and exciting little house in the trees. Fantastic for adventurous families, but equally wonderful as a romantic break for couples, or a unique treat for groups of friends. The treehouse is divided into two separate pods – the Living Pod and the Sleeping Pod and joined by smart decking. The Living Pod includes one lovely timber clad room with kitchen area, dining table and benches, and sofa – and is heated with a cozy logburning stove. French doors lead out onto a sunny decking area for al fresco eating and relaxing. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, “Into the Woods exceeded all hopes and expectations.” It has two bedrooms and sleeps six; prices start at $228 per night.

The Treehouse, Taunton, UK

ht_the_treehouse_taunton_uk_tk_130605_wmainThe Treehouse is situated in the beautiful conservation village of Halse in Somerset, in an area of outstanding natural beauty between Exmoor, the Brendon, Blackdown and Quantock Hills. It has a private hot tub and use of an indoor heated swimming pool every afternoon. It has two bedrooms and sleeps five; prices start at $229 per night.

An Introduction To Bear Awareness. Pt 2 from Lessons Learned As a Novice Hiker

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Felled tree by Marybeth Haydon

Strolling along, enjoying the quiet tranquility of the forest stepping among mild weather, highlighted with a perfect breeze, I duck under a low-lying tree that has slid down the rain-softened mountainside, toppling it across the trail. I check the section that is obscured; I’m ever-snake-aware these days, watchful of my footing, particularly over a larger rock or a felled tree, who knows what’s on the other side? I note that I am sweating profusely as I check for snakes. I don’t like this fear I’ve developed, it’s unhealthy.

As I pass a few piles of bear scat, I’m reminded that I have bear bells in my pack. I’ve never felt the need to use them before but the bells are relentlessly drawing my attention. Finding scat and tracks along this trail is certainly not unusual, why this change of attitude?  The impression is intense enough for me to stop and dig deep into my pack for the bells. I strap them to my trekking poles and continue my most-enjoyable morning trek.

Step jingle, step jingle.
There is sudden, chaotic movement ahead, my heart beats violently; I’m instantly alarmed. Something is just not right, there is an outright panic in the air!  My ears are straining to distinguish the sounds that I hear. I recognize the sound of several hoof beats, at a gallop at that, but there is something far more fearsome, deep, heavy, and threatening. Three panicked deer are charging down the trail, oh man! Do they see me?!  These animals are fast!  I jump to the uphill side of the trail, plastering myself against the rough mountainside.  A huge flying leap from the trail and they swiftly, gracefully disappear deep into the downhill brush.


Photo courtesy Google Images

Then a flat, deep noise that challenges my bladder control. This noise completely rattles my insides, weakens my bones and muscles. Undoubtedly this is a large animal making this noise; the air is motionless and thick with fear.

My fear.

Then what sounds like a smaller animal, makes a sort of baying sound, almost a sheep-like “ba”, but not. Maybe it’s “ma, maw”.  It sounds confused, if that’s possible, maybe frightened. I can’t explain it. Oh snap! More hard, deep and yet with an odd hollowness, chomping. Now I hear oruff, errhh, then a deep, heavy growl similar to the warning growl from a dog. The kind of growl you hear right before it attacks.

I’m suddenly drowning in a whirlpool of fear and panic.
It sounds like a large animal, panting  with angry, heavy stomping and scraping against the earth.  The snorting sounds like a charging bull that terrifies me beyond reason. Huff, pant, eerrhh.  The noise is a psychological stun gun, keeps me from moving. I’m literally frozen in place. There’s chaotic noises among the brush, a different growl, then a howl, almost a yip, like it was injured, definitely a different animal.  Are there two animals fighting? Now there’s heavy stomping, scraping, it’s the larger animal. Instinctive fear envelopes me. I feel as though I’m made of jig-saw puzzle pieces and each piece is about to unhinge from one another.
Silence. Heavy silence. Intimidating silence. Scary silence. Silence that is LOUD.
I look down at my chest to see if I am still breathing because i’m really not sure. Then I close my eyes, I’m trying really hard to refocus, to center myself, to trust my Savior. I’m afraid to look up or to look in any direction. My knees are buckling, an insane thought flashes through my mind: camera.  I immediately dismiss it. I need to preserve myself first! Not exactly a Kodak moment here…

The forest is very, very still. Not a single squirrel stirred, not a single bird chirped, even the lizards sunning their selves have simply vanished. I think even the ants are frozen in their tracks. It’s as if a mega pause button has been pressed throughout the woods, with the entire world in slow motion.


Angry Bear photo courtesy Google Images

Frantic, bizarre thoughts swirl: I think about the sound of crashing ocean waves, about the thrill of riding horseback at a smooth canter, about the stupid mending pile at my home … I need new tires for my car soon … HAVE I LOST MY MIND?
I don’t know how long I stayed plastered against the mountain. It seems as though I am waking up from a deep coma, my mind a little foggy, taking a bit to orient, I don’t trust my legs to support my walking much less standing. Standing still as though I’m part of this rough mountainside seems to be all that I can muster. I need to feel camouflaged. I am rock and leaves and dirt.   I am the mountain.

Seeing nothing swing out from the bushes, no horrified deer charging my way, no more nerve-shattering dinosaur-level snapping sound, just the usual bit of small animal activity. Once again, the world around me is back to normal. Oh, the joy of the “little things” in life!   I realize the threat is gone. Deep breath. Loosen the tight neck, swirling my head slowly.   I reach for my fallen trekking poles. They jingle.
Bear bells.
The bells that I have never used before. Until today.  Thank God for giving me a heads up, for causing me to step aside momentarily.  Who knows what the timing would have been, how this “encounter” may have changed if I had not stopped for a few minutes to strap on the bells?

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Tranquility by Marybeth Haydon

“All those who know Your mercy, Lord, will count on You for help. For You have never forsaken those who trust in You.” Psalm 9:10
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Lord, I want others to know just how accessible You are!

Todays Lesson Learned:  The importance of being bear aware and never negotiate a blind trail-corner quietly. You never want to surprise a wild animal, much less a mother bear and cub.  Whether you use bear bells (not my favorite) or chat with your partner, lightly clap your hands as you approach a bind corner, or simply sing softly as you relish your environment, these are all good methods to prevent a surprise for you or the animal.  Pay attention to “warning signs” such as fresh bear scat, a fresh kill, etc. and adjust your trip accordingly. DO NOT HIKE QUIETLY.

Wondering why I (temporarily) developed a fear of snakes?  See my post The Day I Stood On A Western Diamondback Rattler here at   http://ow.ly/j3LdM  Enjoy!

Visit me on Facebook for offers, photos, hiking and wildlife updates!   http://ow.ly/hycIm

You can also visit me on Twitter @MarybethHaydon


FREE E-BOOK!    FREE E-BOOK!    FREE E-BOOK!  MM900395744[1]

WT 1 cover B & W

Would you like to get a FREE copy of the first of the Wilderness Training series?

The Wilderness Training series is  based on the experiences of a certified wilderness leader who began hiking after receiving yet another new lease on life. You will be introduced to the amazing integration of hiking skills along with one’s spiritual walk, by incorporating the wilderness lessons learned as the results are played-out in stunning detail. Allow it to capture your heart and to shape the direction for your life. Wilderness Training will help you find joy and faith in everyday events and circumstances.

Wilderness Training the Novice includes over 50 color photos and will “introduce” you to the facinating Wilderness Training Series.



A) Simply leave your comment (press the About the Author tab under the page header, scroll down to the comment section) on how you heard about our free e-copy (limited) offer. Your answer does not affect the free offer, it’s informational only. 🙂

B) Leave your email address or website url that we can email your copy to. (Too shy? Feel free to email your e-address to: hikingwiththehighking@gmail.com )

C) Share, share, share! The book is too good not to! Plus, your comments/review of the book at this site or at Facebook http://ow.ly/hycIm will be greatly appreciated!

Yup, that’s it. No perpetual sales requests, no obligation, absolutely free. You do not even need a fancy e-reader/tablet.

IT CAN NOT GET ANY EASIER!     Take advantage of this limited-time offer NOW!


“…I was able to review Marybeth’s book and it is extraordinary. I thouroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading the rest of her works. are exactly the same. Our passions and desires for God and leading people to Him are exactly the same. Her experiences and survival stories are a great example of God’s love in a believer’s life.”   – Jason Kinnan  http://ow.ly/hVH0J

“… Wilderness Training is a smooth, enjoyable read. As you are reading, it almost feels as though you are on the trail with Marybeth. The details of what she sees are vivid, and colorful, and form a picture in your mind’s eye that you can enjoy while reading.  Wilderness hiking, like life, is not without perils, and we get a good look at this as well.  The near misses Marybeth experiences are exciting and I found myself turning pages quickly as I wanted to see just what was going to happen next! … As Marybeth is sharing with the reader an enjoyable adventure on the trails, she is also sharing with the reader her faith in God. … You feel challenged in a way to get busy and do something about your own faith.”  – Greg Holt  http://ow.ly/hAVyU

 “I was engaged immediately. I can almost smell the pine trees with the vivid details and feel the awesome power of God through this captivating read.”  A. Keller

“Challenges the reader through colorful backpacking details, paralleling the physical complexity of hiking with spiritual testing and growth during ones Christian walk.”         M. Millers

“A high-voltage story of survival, a compelling, richly textured narrative!” TJ Ozbourne

“Insightful revelations to blaze your own trail.”  R. Baier  http://ow.ly/hVL6B

Hiking in Sol Duc River Valley

To Know Him Is To Love Him

Crystal Cave Marybeth Haydon

Crystal Cave by Marybeth Haydon


You know when you’re totally in love with someone and you are willing to do ANYTHING for that person? That new and fresh, exciting love that reaches above the tallest of mountains, across the deepest of oceans. When you’re dating (or engaged), how you are so happy to fulfill the slightest of needs … you need another soda? Let me get it for you! Allow me to open the door for you, it’s my pleasure. You need, you want ….  let me be the answer to those for you. So eager to please, to serve, existing simply to make that person happy! You expect to spend the rest of your days making that person happy and comfortable. And happily so! In your heart of hearts you KNOW that you would lay down your very life for that person!

THAT is what I desire for my relationship with my Lord to be like. I want to make Him happy. Proud of me in all the things I do, say and think. Why is it that I fail in this area of my relationship with God? So often I wonder what is wrong with me … have I really gotten that self-centered and jaded throughout the years?

Renew in me a right spirit O Lord. Help me to listen, to grow in You. That my actions and words will reflect You and Your intimate, faithful, never-ending love. I want to fall deeply in love with You.

Standing at the incredible vista, overlooking the valley, grasslands that stretch the horizons, I’m reminded of His power and love. He has been so merciful to me. In my books I describe the sacred moments as well as the exciting hiking moments and accomplishments. But the sacred moments I truly cherish and they stay fresh in my memory. Plus His interventions, sparing me from the bite from the rattler that I accidentally stood on. Sparing me from death as I fell off the mountain. Saving me from an unknown threat that was imminent and vicious, I’m thankful that He blinded my eyes to it. I’m SO thankful that the absolute power in the Name of Jesus that I was able to quickly utter that ceased the assault, without hesitation. I was unscathed and loved Him all the more for it.

I need to fall in love with the Lord. Deeply, completely, and immediately. I need to know You more, to learn of You in Your word, the bible. You reveal Yourself so completely, help my eyes to see, my mind to understand, my heart to beat for You.

I suspect that I’m holding onto something that is not allowing this to happen to the fullest degree. I pray that You will show me what I need to release, Lord.


Black Head Juno by Marybeth Haydon

Have you, the reader, discovered your “falling in love” with God? The God Who created the heavens and earth and all that is within them? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Have you discovered what needed to be relinquished? Will you share what it is? I look forward to and welcome your comments, your experiences. TTYL and with love.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT Part Two: Signs of Presence, Danger, Precautions, First Aid


Photo courtesy Google images.

Trail Safety when practiced, will enhance your hiking experience because you will know ahead of time what to do should a problem present itself. These tips are general. I encourage you to do your own, and more thorough research. I’m available to answer questions and value your comments and concerns. Lets get to it:

Signs of bear presence:
Look for bears up in oak trees foraging on the acorns, or bedding down on the other side of a felled log, (don’t just hop over logs, check what may be on the other side first) near streams (they can NOT hear you when they’re near running water, so know that it’s easier to surprise them there) and among berry patches. More signs of bear activity are overturned rocks (foraging for grubs and worms), claw marks on tree trunks (announcing their prowess, height, and territory to other bears, sample photos at the end of this post), among heavy brambles and brush, or flattened grassy “beds”.  The most obvious is the bear track, which to me looks similar to a human bare foot print.  The tracks will have a “pigeon-toe” pattern, each paw print will show the piercings of their claws in front of the toe marking.  Also you can easily scan for fresh scat, dig marks, tracks, clawing markings on the ground where a bluff or animal challenge had previously occurred since you are checking the ground in front of you anyway. Caves, hollow trees and logs and even under dense brush are common “dens”. In other words, they’re everywhere, but there’s no reason to be frightened by it. Simply be aware that you are in their backyard and enjoy the adventure, camera-ready!

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Black bear foraging in brambles. By Marybeth Haydon

Learn to identify scat and tracks, (I found Scats and Tracks by James C. Halfpenny, Ph.D very helpful) you will be amazed at how fascinating this can be! After capturing the scat or track on film, you can research it when you get home and the thrill of discovery is enhanced by the challenge the research presents. Don’t be timid about breaking apart scat with a handy twig to discover if there are berries, fur, or bone in it. Fur and bones, probably feline and canine. Berries, fur, hairs and garbage probably bear. Once the bear begins to feed on meat, the scat will be black in color with a stronger odor. Do not sniff scat, some can be hazardous & toxic when inhaled directly. (Raccoon scat can be mistaken for bear scat and the raccoon scat can carry a parasite that is fatal to humans.)

A bear cub will make a sound that sounds to me just like: “MA!” or “Maw!” which is their distress call. You know what to do. And it’s not scream and shout and run all about. Be calm, back away, deep breath now, you can do this. (But doubtful you ever will need to.) My personal experience was, the cub was more frightened of me and went scrambling up the nearest tree, calling “ma!” which gave me plenty of time to calmly leave the area. (Disappointed at a photo op missed, but I’m not completely stupid about photos.)Black bears often follow well-established trails. Wide double ruts formed in the grass or the ground are a good indication of a bear trail. In wooded areas, these trails often go under obstructions. They are careless about the amount of sound they make vs an animal that is stalking you such as the cougar. Listen as you hike.

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Cougar or Bobcat scratch post. Marybeth Haydon

Danger signs: A distress call from any of our wild animals’ young is a definite get-away-from-the-area signal.  You will recognize it immediately once you’ve heard it, regardless of the type of animal. I had stopped for a comfort break and as I prepared myself I heard this odd meowing, but not quite a meow and there was a definite “distress tone” to it. 2+2 I’m thinking it almost sounded feline, when my ah-ha moment engages: Oh Snap! I rushed out of the bushes and headed far, far away. My nemesis the cougar, flashes of its beautiful but powerful body raced through my imagination. Near her distressed cub/kitten? I think not! So use all of your senses while on trail. It will become second nature to you, much like noticing traffic problems before they happen.

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Animal Food Cache courtesy Google images.

NOTE: Don’t carry your car keys or phone in your pack. If you need to throw your pack as a deterrent, there go your keys as well. Keep them in a zip-up pocket on your person or safety-pinned inside a pocket. On your person! I learned the hard way.

Food Cache: Another danger are food caches.  Usually you will know immediately from the distinctive odor and/or the abundance of flies that there is a kill in the immediate area. DO NOT REMAIN IN THE AREA OF A KILL OR FOOD CACHE. Remain calm, and leave the area. Animals are highly protective of their caches.

Cougar/Mountain Lion/Puma:

They are gorgeous animals, big, strong and potentially lethal. They like to be at the highest point, but they also are at ground level, under brush for surprise attacks. Even at a distance a brief glimpse should be cause for alarm. Though the cougar is most likely to leave the area, you should group together and travel with caution.

If there are repeated sightings, be prepared to aggressively defend yourself and others. Be alert and on guard for the remainder of your hike. Also, the mountain lion is crepuscular, so plan the hours of your hike around that. This is one animal I highly respect and depend completely upon the Lord for help and protection against. He is more than capable! Then I subsequently rely upon my training, research, experience and upon my God-given senses.

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Intense, focused. A cougar on the hunt. Courtesy Google images.

If attacked by a mountain lion, appear larger: Raise your arms. If you have trekking poles raise them over your head, appear large. Pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. Women, lower your voice, sound masculine, decisive. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it. Fight back if attacked, using anything as a weapon.  Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Fight back aggressively! It goes without saying, but I must; a cougar attack must be reported.

Precautions, good sense:

  • Make a wide detour or leave the area if you see a bear at a distance. If you cannot detour or retreat, wait until the bear moves from your path. Always leave the animal an escape route.
  • Do not run. Most bears can run as fast as a racehorse. A scream or sudden movement can trigger an attack.
  • Don’t throw anything at a bear; it may provoke an attack.
  • Do not wear scented perfumes, sunblock, chapstick, etc. as scents attract a habituated bear.
  • Do not pack-in food that is not in bear containers.
  • Never feed a wild animal. It is a disservice and a disgrace! The animal will likely end up euthanized because of it.
  • The sight or sound of multiple flies, ravens or crows means you are near a carcass. Leave the area immediately.
  • Heavy, foul scent, like old, spoiled meat. Carcass, a sure sign to detour safely.
  • Menstruating women should hike another time when you’re not on your cycle.

First Aid Snake Bite:

One should always carry an ace bandage and small – large band aids with them on any hike. To treat a snake bite, wrap the limb a few inches above the bite snugly with the ace. The idea is to slow the lymphatic not the blood flow. You are NOT applying a tourniquet! You should be able to get a finger under the ace, between the ace and the limb. Do NOT suck-out the venom. Try to avoid unnecessary exertion. Obviously, get medical help immediately. Take a few cleansing breaths and force your thundering heart to slow down, calm down. Rarely is a rattler bite fatal. Expensive, extremely so, yes. Fatal no. You will probably feel faint, it’s that post-adrenalin download. Go ahead & squat so that should you faint, you don’t have far to go. Just practicalities here. Where you were bitten will be painful and may begin to tingle. Don’t stress it, it is what it is. You’re not dying out in the wilds. If you have a pen in your pack (some people take notes on what they observed during the hike) draw a circle around the bite, 2″ from the center of the bite.  Write the time down. This will help first responders. It will swell. Again, it is what it is. Be calm, your body is responding the way it should.

Hiking alone? Well, with that fire starter in your 10 essentials, if it is safe to do so, start a signal fire only if you are in a very clear area around you and above you, so that a responding helicopter will be able to CLEARLY see you and the smoke. Lay flat, spread out for the maximum exposure for the helicopter overhead, you want to be a very broad, wide “target”. Spread out that large red bandana you had in your ten essentials. When the helicopter is overhead, signal with your hand a slithering snake, (remember they’re viewing this from overhead, make the proper adjustments.) then the striking motion & point to the body part. They’ll understand & arrange medical & evac for you.

No possibility of a signal fire, trees too dense? Not the ideal situation, but you need to hike out. Get your composure, obviously pray, and be as easy on the affected limb as possible, you may have to scoot your way downhill rather than chancing wide, deep steps. Limit your mobility while being safe. No trekking poles? Snag a downed limb to use as a cane, the less stress on the affected limb the better. (Assuming it’s a leg.)

Since I hike during the week, (low trail traffic) I encounter snakes a lot. Remember with weather patterns changing, that snakes are out from their hibernation at atypical times (at least for my state, CA) and you do need to keep an eye out for them. They like the trail and rocks, anywhere that the sun can bake upon them. If you encounter a snake whose eyes look clouded-over, it is in the process of shedding its skin. THEY ARE VERY UNPREDICTABLE DURING THIS PHASE. Just a heads up.

Ten Essentials:

You’ve probably heard about this. You can customize your pack, but here are a few that really are essential:

  • Extra water!!
  • Fire starter (I use cotton balls saturated with vaseline in an old, small film canister.)
  • Waterproof matches
  • First Aid to include ace bandage and band aids
  • Map. You printed the trail details from a website? Don’t leave the directions in the car!
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • Knife
  • Sunscreen. Large red bandana
  • Extra clothing (ie extra jacket, preferably waterproof)

Remember, there are always exceptions to the rule, these are wild animals. But the more informed you are as to their usual behavior, the more relaxed and confident you will be on handling any encounter.


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Do your research! courtesy Google images

Do your research from various sites on how to handle animal encounters pertaining to the area and state that you will be hiking in, for your general 411 and safety confidence. If you’re camping, after you’ve set-up go chat with the ranger and see how they handle wildlife for their particular park. If you’re hiking in a different state, please check with their local forestry dept., and with their fish & game for wildlife information particular to their state. I also look up the fire department number for the area that I’m hiking. Some small towns are volunteer fire dept and have a direct number which is actually faster than 911. Do your research. When you know how to handle a situation in advance, the more relaxed you will be while on trail, making your adventures truly sensational! My knowledge is far from replete, so please, do your homework!

Leave no trace is essential!  You got to enjoy your views litter-free, so please pass it on. It’s important that we all practice good stewardship. I carry a small sandwich bag in a designated pocket to collect any used tissue that I may have had to use (allergies), perhaps you have additional tips on keeping wildernesses beautiful and vibrant, I’d love to hear from you!

If you have something to add, I value your comments.  More Identifying Photos below. Your comments at the end of this post may help someone else logging-on to read & learn. Please post your comments!

black bear claw marks on alder tree

Bear claw markings by Kim Cabrera

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Habituated bear scat (note the saran wrap) by Marybeth Haydon


Bearprint by Marybeth Haydon

2 large area of scratchings

Hasty markings on trail by Marybeth Haydon

You can see more photos of tracks and scats at my FB page  http://ow.ly/gEwua   Click for Part 3   http://ow.ly/gY1Og   Click for Part 1   http://ow.ly/gY1Yn

Taking the Time To Savor

Small Fall

Waterfall by Marybeth Haydon

In the Wilderness Training series I write about experiencing the unforgettable thrill of summiting high, intimidating mountains; the expedition strenuous and against heart, exhausting, demanding and relentless.  All the while experiencing the desperate need for rest, energy, endurance, and physical ability that is beyond what I’m actually capable of. Pressing-in, pressing onward, a can-not-fail attitude was developed as I struggled for every breath; the high-altitude air so very thin and miserly. I’m also humbled at my desperate need for vital union with Him. Despite the pain and difficulty, I joy and revel in His creation as I climb, captivated with the passing vistas and wildlife sightings. He is with me on my journeys, on the pleasant, no-stress leisure hikes as well as the dry, hot, draining struggle to place one-foot-in-front-of-the other journeys.  Metaphorically and physically.  In sickness and in health HE is there for me. Yes, it is very much like that.

The days destination acquired, the mountains deeply fresh air, is moist and sweet-smelling. The cool marine layer seems to enliven the natural scent from the abundant trees, flowers and native shrubs. I simply stand where I am, taking-in the pleasures of the beauty before me. A slight movement in the tree ahead of me steals my attention, my eyes shift to the source as I remain completely still. I don’t move in case this is something I do not want to frighten away. A small bird has poked its head out from the thick leaves and is looking at me. It cocks its head, twitching sharply, nervously side-to-side to get a better view, studying my position as friend or foe. Apparently, I’m not all that threatening, it zips back into its hide, chirping away.         Just how cute was that?

If I didn’t take the time to simply be still and enjoy the environment, I’d miss these cute moments. I think I have actually developed a relationship with the wilderness. Relationships shouldn’t be on the move or busy, which tends to crowd out the intimate times. Relationship is best when relaxed, unhurried, cherished.

Scotts Broom in bloom

Scottsbroom in Bloom by Marybeth Haydon

In my early travels I was nearly trampled by a panicked and really large deer, that if I had not stopped to listen to the unfamiliar sound of its panicked hoof’s clamoring on rock I would have been severely injured. It’s shoulders where higher than my own. One more step, one more stride and I would have been severely injured. I will never forget the eye-to-eye contact we had as it ran past me into the camouflaging brush on the side of the trail.

How many times have I neglected to turn my ear to His Spirit prompting me, am I continuing to listen for Him? Am I hearing Him daily, hourly, minute by minute before I make a decision, or any turn of the chapters of my life? Only He knows what is truly best for me, and what is or isn’t ahead for me and those who my life will touch, however transient.

So, daily, it’s an absolute MUST: I need to double-check myself: Am I actively seeking His will, and staying on-course? Am I listening to His gentle Voice, and importantly, am I submitted to His Voice, obedient? Do I savor His presence, His leading?   It’s time I be more diligent about this before I offend His Spirit in my hurried, distracted processing of daily life.


How about you?


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Testing: One, Two, Three


  • The litany of side effects. And more side effects.
  • Signature on waivers.
  • Signature on disclaimers.
  • Insurance pre-authorizations.
  • Acknowledgment of treatment.
  • Promissory note of payment.
  • Advance directive, next of kin.

I CAN do this.

I can DO this.

I can do THIS.

For the doctor, it’s simply business as usual, routine. Does she see me?   What’s happening inside?   Right now?   The hell of emotions at war inside, can she see that I’m fighting back fear, tears, confusion, and desperation?

Oh, God, help me, please!

People can be in partying mode, business mode, work mode, survival mode. Does anyone know the tenuous and desperate mode that I’m experiencing right now? The doctor is scaring the daylights right out of me, do I really have to go through this drug therapy? I don’t want to lose my hair or to be sick!      Who would ?!

I’m disappointed on an entirely new scale. Warp five, Scotty!  I’m falling into a vortex, miserable and scared.  To the bone. Thinking back on that day that I walked into a bank robbery in progress, the gun suddenly touching my temple.  HA!  That was nothing in comparison to the fear in the pit of my stomach right now!


Colorado by Marybeth Haydon

Feeling isolated. Self imposed? Must be, because He is with me; my Lord and Savior, Jesus. In my books I describe the many times that God has saved my life, healed me of the cancers, the lymphedema, and has set me free to love and serve Him. He has been training me while I hiked in the wilderness. Now, I am experiencing a spiritual wilderness; its a steep, difficult climb.  I need more training.  Yet deep within me, I know that as I persevere, meet this new challenge with Him at my side, it’ll be ok.

I’m going through more testing. Clearly. And from previous experiences, I know that I will come through this victorious. But I’m not looking forward to this round of drug therapy.  I will miss being on trail.  Very much.  I hate being sick, I really do.  Three to six months is a very long time.

 Well, I can simply look forward to full recovery and look at my saved photos frequently. Time to meditate, get to know the Lord more.  Read His word.  Pray.  Help others, reach out.  Reach beyond my own small, selfish world and live out  my Christianity. I can and will not just endure, but overcome this time of testing.  I look forward to health and quality time with my family.  I’m looking forward to getting back on trail.  Mostly, I’m looking forward to what I will learn from this trial, this test, from this particular wilderness because He is faithful and will not forsake me.  That much I have definately learned along my rocky, steep and often against-heart Christian path.                           It’s You and me, Lord.  Take my hand, please, and walk with me.