Have you ever made a decision based on the fear of the unknown?

Is there really any difference between the known and unknown?

Is the outcome ever really that different?

Is it both ignorant and arrogant to think we can even control life’s outcomes?

Would you feel more comfortable making a life changing decision that offered a guarantee of happiness and success?

Is that guarantee even realistic or is it more a mental fairy tale?

My personal love affair with the known was fueled by fear. These days I find security in life’s uncertainties and I feel somewhat comforted by the unknown.

Security for some implies a theoretical feeling of safety, while for others it seems more like an organized defense, a harm reduction if you will, to combat life’s unpredictabilities  and unknowns.

Over the past two decades I have noticed self-help books preaching the “living in the now, staying in the moment mantra, while society and media have co-signed our internal fear of the future “what ifs” The what if’s, must’s, and should’s tend to be fear based, fear driven, limbically controlling,  self-defeating, and spiritually crippling.

Remember the old joke, why did the chicken cross the road? The answer to the question now appears rather simple. Indeed the chicken made it to the other side, but more importantly, the chicken was not scared to venture into the unknown.

Two weeks ago I felt like the chicken crossing the road. I was making a pilgrimage into the unknown. I accepted a seasonal job offer in Marble Canyon, Arizona. Without a formal face to face interview, my employer did not request employment or personal references. Her main criteria for employees was the ability and interest to live in a remote area. Housing would be provided, and my dog SHADOW was welcome to live on site too.

A straight through drive to Marble Canyon, Arizona from Fresno takes 12 hours. Understanding that Shadow had never experienced more than a 20-minute car drive, I decided to spread the journey out over a seven-day period. I had no idea as to how he would fare in a car for long periods of time, plus I wanted to expose him to camping and hiking adventures.

Is it possible to take a homeless street puppy from the 559 and turn him into an adventurous pit bull?


The answer is YES, say goodbye to Fresnoand Marle Canyon here we come.


Fresno is often referred to the as the city located in the middle of nowhere but close to everything. A three-hour drive to the south will take you to Los Angeles, three hours to the north San Francisco, and let’s not forget John Muir’s pride and joy, Yosemite National Park, right in Fresno’s backyard.

The first stop on our journey was a town 2 1/2 hours to the southeast, Tehachapi. Tehachapi, the town of four seasons has always fascinated me. Firstly the Pacific Crest Trail runs through Tehachapi, secondly, I love wind farms, and finally the lesser known “tree faces” of Brite Lake.

I decided to camp at Brite lake so Shadow could have his first camping experience, and I could pay respect to the brilliant tree art of sculptor Holmgren.



Pulling into Brite Lake campground we were greeted by the tree faces. There really are no words to describe them, outside of magical. If you ever make a visit to Tehachapi, even if you are just passing through, STOP, and visit the tree faces. In my mind, they are a Tehachapi treasure!








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Before Shadow went off to explore the lake, we set up camp. SHADOW had never seen a tent before, never lone slept in one. I was beginning to notice how much he was scared of the wind. Note – barking at the wind does not make it stop.

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I have never been a parent; however, watching the joy on your puppy’s face might be similar to how a mother feels when she sees happiness and uncontrollable excitement in her child’s eyes. Today was Shadows day! Shadow’s only experience with swimming was in the dirty canals of Fresno.Today would be different; he would experience his first lake.




By late afternoon, the winds were hitting 40 miles an hour; however, not even the wind chill could stop me from shooting the winter sunset. Mother nature in my mind is the ultimate artist, she never paints the same sunset twice. She has the ability to entice a Reynaud’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis sufferer out in the cold with her camera, no questions asked. Shadow would probably disagree, like his mama he does not like to be cold and would have preferred to stay inside the tent.

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By 8pm, we were snuggled up inside the tent. The overnight temperature sunk below 30 degrees and the winds were howling. Shadow now considers the wind to be an invisible monster that disappears when hiding inside my sleeping bag. We gave the invisible monster a name, the windy man.

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After a successful first night camping with Shadow I started packing up our gear. Shadow can be a slow mover first thing in the morning and spent most of the morning yawning, stretching and sleeping. He calls this helping!



Undoubtedly, Shadow would have preferred to stay at the lake sunbathing, however we had to be in Apple Valley by dinner time. We had plans to reunite with our J.M.T. (John Muir Trail) trail angels, the Ramos’s. As we left Tehachapi I wondered if Shadow would continue to get carsick. I was hopeful day two would be kinder to him.


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