4th Of July Water Front Fireworks On The Bay

I’m kayaking 4th of July and thought I’d share a few links. Last year I was in front of Pier 39 See video clip. I recommend Aquatic Park San Francisco for kayak’ers.

4th of July Bay Area Water front Fireworks Double check the links for current information on google map.

 

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/0wRQx

More resources:
http://sf.funcheap.com/aquatic-park-4th-july/

 

More fireworks double check links – I found the headings aren’t all accurate when you click on the link. Always check the city when you find a spot. I will keep my Google Map updated.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014-fireworks-celebrations/

By Stacy Poulos www.PostcardTravelers.com ©2014

Two Stones Continue, Anse-a-Galets, on the Island of La Gonave, Haiti.

February  2013

 

Like any life’s journey it’s all about your focus. And how you look at things and what is revealed to you. I hold in my hands the remains of one building that still lays crumbled and flowed over onto the sidewalk and into the street of this quaint little beach town Anse-à-Galets, on the Island of De La Gonave, Haiti. (French: Île de la Gonâve. Remnants everywhere by the devastation of the 2010‘s relentless earthquake, three years later I am at the epicenter of the disaster admiring the resilience of this city and it’s people.

 

From San Francisco SFO to Mami, FL to Port-Au-Prince on America Airlines. Then a ferry from Port de Carries to Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave Island, Haiti


The journey that got me here was my brothers journey, much longer than you would truly know. God gave his hands the power to build and he does it with all his might. The wind has pointed his life in the direction to help others with his gift to build. This week will be his one year anniversary of being here in Haiti building a Childrens Village.

Haiti building a Childrens Village w/ Steve Poulos, Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave
Haiti building a Childrens Village w/ Steve Poulos, Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave


A little healthy play time in-between working, my brother Steve finished
off the week with an intense soccer match against the guys that are
building the hospital for the Wesleyan mission. Final score, Extollo
team 2 – Weasleyan team 1, YES!!

La Gonave, Haiti.

 

Stacy & Steve Poulos, Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave
Stacy & Steve Poulos, Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave

Stacy & Steve Poulos  La Gonave, Haiti.

 

He has been on many missions; two to three week missions in Africa, Jamaica and on the mainland of Haiti, but this time he has been left to manage this major project on his own, but not alone. The children who will occupy this village are many who were orphaned after the disaster because their parents died. Some left behind.

 

Happy Girls in  Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave
Happy Girls in Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave

This amazing woman (Mme Soliette, the inspirational leader of the new orphanage) stepped up and started looking after them, soon she had over 70 children. As crowded as they are in the safety of this 3 story home, they seam to find little joys, playing games with each other. As I walked up they were playing a game singing a song in French (their native language) and holding hands walking in a circle, when they stopped, they all stared at each other. The first one to smile was out of the game, then they started singing walking in a circle again and stopped again, until the last one was standing being the champion stare’er.  A much different perspective then what I have seen from people who cover Haiti. Yes, they are all cramped up in this building. 70+ but they are kids and find their fun. My guide entertained the boys with a short cartoon on his cell phone. Obviously enthralled with the technology and the cartoon they have never seen, in a city that barely has electricity except by generators and small solar panels.

Boys in Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave
I took photos of the location and couldn’t help but wonder about the doodling on the chalk board of a ship with smoke stacks, on the ship is a basketball player shooting hoops. How is it they have seen this image to draw it on the chalk board? It makes sense the building has bars to protect the children from falling 3 stories down and to keep out, outside predators from coming in. But you can’t help but feel for these cramped quarters. Soon this will all change.

Maiden Voyage,  Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave
Maiden Voyage, Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave by Stacy Poulos

 

My mission was to document the process and the people my brother works for, Extollo International. My personal mission was to find the beauty in what so many call a ‘3rd world Country’?

 


Note: To
see the panorama click on the link, then the blue arrow in the upper
right corner to see full screen. Then scroll left or right with your mouse double click to zoom.

Click on photo to see pan-o-rama

 

Back to my brother. Haiti has different standards in buildings. On this Island it seams the only standard for many of the buildings is you have to stay within your property line. What you build is what you build. But who can prepare for a relentless earthquake? Haitian’s know how to build, buildings are all around and they are quite resourceful. That is an understatement. But earthquake standards are very different and expensive, and have been almost unnecessary until it shook the Capital of Haiti to the ground.

 

Pan-o-rama; Rue de M. Laporte and A Michelle road. Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave
Pan-o-rama; Rue de M. Laporte and A Michelle road. Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave

 

Pan-o-rama; Rue de M. Laporte and A Michelle road. Anse-à-Galets, De La Gonave Island, Haiti By Stacy Poulos ©2013  http://www.dermandar.com/p/deZLVD/rue-de-m-laporte-and-a-michelle-road-anse-a-gal

 

This
panorama is near what they call the Saline’s, an area close to the water
in Anse-à-Galets. Anyone in America would love to live this close to
the water and pay big dollars to do it. However, here it is considered
the poorest area on La Gonave to live because during storms it gets
flooded. I guess it’s all how you look at it. Several of the people who work for Extollo live in this area. This is Innocent probably on of the most gracious men dedicated to his family and job.

 

‘Inside Extollo’ La Gonave, Haiti By Stacy Poulos ©2013
‘Inside Extollo’ La Gonave, Haiti By Stacy Poulos ©2013

 

This town reminded me of Santorini Greece where the buildings are made of brick and cement. In hot areas they stay cooler and hold up to the battering of storms that tropical Islands often get. They are quaint buildings and a photographers pipe dream. I don’t think much about how they live, I just think, ‘Oh my God another photo opportunity on every corner’. Every inch. Here comes a Donkey holding supplies. You think ‘Oh my God what a great moment to capture’ next thing you know 5 minutes later another two are right behind. It’s the way a many of locals get their supplies home or too their store.  Some of the ‘Stores’ resemble what Americans know as a small fruit stand along a country road. Some have actual buildings that host their products. Many are no bigger that a 7×10 foot room.

 

'Mass Transportation' La Gonave. by Stacy Poulos ©2013
‘Mass Transportation’ La Gonave. by Stacy Poulos ©2013
‘Mass Transportation’ La Gonave. by Stacy Poulos ©2013 PostcardTravelers

 

Those who do not have donkeys, wrap a cloth in the shape of a donut and place it on their head and then place things on top of that, like a gigantic bowl or basket on top of that to help stabilize it on their head. Or box, or ice chest (good to know), or bag, pretty much any container. It’s easier to carry things long distances in this way. Inside these containers is charcoal, or fruits, vegetables, fish, what every you would carry in your hands to get to your car, they carry on there head, men, women, children. On top of that, some put more than what one would put in a shopping cart. Some will take it off their head and present to you what is in it, because they are selling it. Kinda like the ice cream truck pulling up in your neighborhood. Others who have motorcycles will load it down like you’ve never seen before. Tided to the back seat and rack, held in their lap, and on the front of the bike. There’s usually always 3 people on one motorcycle. It’s Island living.

The building colors are mostly off white with natural stone colors with an occasional beach town colors my favorite turquoise, salmon pink, blue, yellow and green. I absolutely love when some layers of stucco fall off revealing the brick or stone underneath. (Something many Italian restaurants try to duplicate). Of course these would never pass American standards but have 100 times the appeal. Many of the fences are long sticks tied together exactly what you see at the Oakland Zoo or Disneyland. Some of the shack like buildings are made of sheets of left over old plywood, left over fragmented and rusted pieces of corrugated metal roofing sheets. Some buildings have brown or blue plastic tarps. Somehow, it’s all order in chaos that represents a beautiful mosaic of living. It’s 90 degrees out side most the time, so protection from the sun is bliss.

Every were you go along the roads are these “Banko/ Loto” written on the side where you can exchange money and buy American Loto tickets. They are a little bigger than an out-house and look like a shack. Usually the bottom half is painted turquoise green, and the top half white with red, black and yellow lettering. It’s kinda funny because there are so many it’s like a chain store. Pretty close to these Bankos are gas stations. In La Gonave, usually a chair sitting on the side of the road with what ever can fit on it or a very small. The gasoline comes in containers of semi see through gallon jugs that look like antifreeze bottles a little shy of being filled up.  Some are on small sheltered tables. But that’s it. That’s your gas station. And for 450 gourde you can fill up a motorcycle.

The infrastructure however has not been able to rebuild it’s self, like cleaning up and hauling off the broken buildings. While I was there, they were re-building some of the roads. But in this town, the city of Anse-à-Galets there is only one stretch of paved road to the boat dock. I love this little island! It’s a pain to get around in a car, (one of the reasons I rented a dirt bike) most all the streets are dirt roads with cracks, pits and mounds of dirt and gravel, pit holes and such. But I love it. There is no easy way to get through town. Who are on the streets? People, donkey, goats, chickens and pigs running free. By the time you get to the one stretch of paved road you want to speed like you are free from the terrain.

Before I show you what my brother built. Here is a video of the journey to get supplies on a hand made sail boat…

(I had to add this photo of Eko Depo, no relation to Home Depo, they get a lot of thire supplies here on the main land Port-au-Prince, then the big stuff it trucked to the boat dock where they pick up his supplies and bring it over to La Gaunave )

eko depot port au prince
eko depot port au prince, the Home Depot of Haiti

I’m going to show you what one of the people he and other volunteers trained to built. Besides fulfilling a contract to build a Childrens Village with Extollo International, his mission with Extollo was to train and employ locals to become carpenters, share techniques we (Americans) learned about earthquake building standards. Hopefully to help survive another earthquake.

Steve poulos

So, in between a break in construction, he lost one of his workers going into construction business for himself. This man was contracted to do the mason for another building. Which was Extollo’s mission in the first place. Although they are sad to see such a great worker go, he is ecstatic to know his mission is accomplished through this man’s work. This room behind them resembles planting a seed in someone. Faith in their abilities, and the opportunity to do it. So the money that flows in to rebuild Haiti will go to Haitians to rebuilding it themselves. And that is priceless. It fulfills their economies. Not just by us going over to Haiti and buying their food to feed Americans while they do their work. But by feeding the economy by hiring and guiding the Haitians to do it themselves so they can feed their own family and economy.  This was the brain child of Sherman D. Balch the founder of Extollo International who entrusted my brother to see this project through and represent the integrity of this project, Steve loves it here and wants to live here. He feels they are more appreciative of the little things. Of course I don’t want him to stay.


Extollo couldn’t have picked a better man to do the job, he has always taken great pride in the integrity of his work to the smallest of details. I have driven down the city roads with a few people in Anse-à-Galets, but when you’re with Steve you hear out of a distance as he drives by “Steve”… “Steve”… from both sides of the road everywhere you go. Even in the dark night where there is no electricity you will hear coming from the bungalows. “Steeve”. I don’t know what it’s like being in the presidential car, but this is what it feels like to me. Many Haitians have somewhat of a hard look when it comes to Americans because they feel exploited and are intrusting of Americans and foreigners gifts… or as they call us ‘blonds’ – for ‘whites’. Rightfully so. Haiti is the first Country to be independent from French colonization. They know we don’t help them unless they have something we want.

But if I mention Steve is my brother or friend a new face appears of welcoming joy, following with a sincere two handed hand shake and/or hug. I am the el presidente’s sister. It’s quite entertaining that he has such a status since he’s kinda of a quite guy, not much for the lime light. Usually he is absorbed in some project building some amazing thing.

So here is the Childrens Village almost complete. The grand opening where the children can move in is April 5th 2013. I’m sure it will be a little getting used to the open space and the freedom to run around. I am looking forward to learning about the new games they will play.  The boys will be on one side of the Village and the girls on the other. Rain will be captured into a gigantic tank and treated for drinking water. They will also have electricity coming from a generator and solar panels. I loved meeting the people who work for Extollo, I have been to a few of their homes and I am humbled by their grace.

There is so much more to tell. I will blog about the things I have seen and their fascinating way of life. I hope that my photos tell the rest of the story. But please do not look with judging eyes. These people are good people, they are resourceful, they work very hard and they live a simple life we all can learn from. Most people I know would whine to walk a day in their shoes. I hope and pray they keep the charm of this city as they rebuild it. And if they modernize anything, that it will still maintain the character it has now. Progress doesn’t always means  ‘progress’ I think there should be a balance. …to be continued.

https://www.facebook.com/postcardtravelersxoxo

Port To Port; Port-au-Prince Haiti to LaGonave Video by Stacy Poulos PostcardTravelers


My brother Steve in Haiti getting building material supplies to build a
Childrens Village with Extollo. He sent me on this journey that
resembled something of the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. Once out,
you realize the ship is completely made by a machete knife and has no
navigational tools to guide you home, I wondered how they will get back
at night with a huge load of supplies. I set sail on the “MSD #2″ for
‘Mother, Son, Daughter’ Sail Boat. This is that journey in photos from
Port To Port; from Port-au-Prince, Haiti to Anse-a-Galets, LaGonave. @
2013 Stacy Poulos Photography www.postcardtravelers.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlNhxX2I5Hc&feature=youtu.be

Kids singing at La Gonave Childerns Village Video By Stacy Poulos Photograph


Kids singing at La Gonave Childerns Village By Stacy Poulos Photography PostcardTravelers

http://youtu.be/0LwAhZ6KxTE
My Brother Steve is building a Childerns Village in La Gonave, Haiti. This is the home they lived in before they moved in to the new Village. As you can see they have fun playing games but can use a little more room to be kids. Here they are playing games. The boys were fascinated by my guides cell phone that played a cartoon. While some were goofing around showing off how to do hand stands.

Video By ©2013 Stacy Poulos www.PostcardTravelers.com

 

Two Stones



When I was riding around on my dirt bike, I
came upon this road that had this broken building, the wall had fallen
into the street and the roof’s frame ribs are still hanging on. I was a
attracted to its color because it’s the same color of
my Harley. I love the color because it reminds me of Catalina Island
where my parents met and I was conceived. It reminds me of being free
riding around on a scooter along the ocean (on this day, a dirt
bike). So I stopped and took a picture of the wall and picked up two
pieces to put one in my garden and one in my Airstream. It keeps me
connected to the places, the stories and the faces I have visited along
my journey. To me success is seeing the world, appreciating beauty even
if it’s broken.
There is more to tell about these two stones I don’t
know where to start. I promise you, you will be amazed. When I get
through my photos, I’ll get to the one where I picked it up and maybe that
is where my story will begin. https://www.facebook.com/postcardtravelersxoxo

Indiana Jones; Temple of Fall Creek Trail. California State Park, Felton, CA By Stacy Poulos


Indiana Jones; Temple of Fall Creek Trail.  California State Park, Felton, CA
By Stacy Poulos Postcard Travelers a Playback.net Production

180 photos of Fall Creek by Stacy Poulos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.497623620283042.122936.109163505795724&type=3

Video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=524435057581725

Not so deep in the woods of ‘Scotts Valley’ is a lush forest of Mossy trees in Felton, California. The broken ones that lay across the ‘Fall Creek’ of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park trail and forest floor are as full of moss, as the ones standing tall gasping for sunlight. We took a short hike about 3 miles round trip the day after Thanksgiving to work off the trimmings. I can only equate my experience to the lush forests as the forest on the Hilo side of the big island of Hawaii; Lush. I learned one time in a movie you can tell which way was ‘North’ since the north side doesn’t get as much direct sunlight (If it gets any at all). Of course this is scientifically confirmed (not) with wiki answers.  I suppose it depends where you live. “In northern latitudes, the north side of trees and rocks will generally have more moss on average than other sides (though south-side outcroppings are not unknown). This is assumed to be because of the lack of sufficient water for reproduction on the sun-facing side of trees. South of the equator the reverse is true. In deep forests where sunlight does not penetrate, mosses grow equally well on all sides of the tree trunk” -IndianaHoosier / yahoo answers.  Unless your in the middle of ‘Fall Creek’ where the sun can only peak through for short moments to some spots of the valley floor, there’s no way of telling which way is north, because moss grows every where, all sides. All kinds of moss and fungi. Until you get your blood flowing from your hike, you are going to be chilly, chilly as the damp, cold and dark environment it takes to grow moss.


I was with my cousins, my youngest cousin 13 years old taking photos, as I was; at the Intricate details from banana slugs that stood out like a sore thumb in the dark fall colors, to the contrasting images of various mushrooms and fungi and yellow fall leaves. In fact if you’re a science teacher and want to take kids on a nature walk to point out different fungi as a challenge this is a great spot. I don’t know much about fungi accept to avoid it. But I had seen more than a hand full of different types. The valley floor is sound deadening, quite and peaceful. If you settle down enough to listen, your own voice sounds different to yourself, you can hear crackling of wood from settling trees, creek beds trickling, and water drippings, distant visitors approaching. Once in a while you may hear a wrestling in the trees; hopefully not the native bob cats.

I don’t have a lot of experience hiking but the worst hike I went on was when I went 7 miles; a great deal of the hike in the heat of 90 degree weather 75 percent of the time in direct sun. We internally begged to get to the next little oases of shade to gather our strength to carry on. I can see having the ability to hike twice as long here because you are covered by trees. I think that’s the trick. Water and shade!  I can’t imagine this would be a tough hike in 90 degree weather being so close to the Pacific ocean and out of the sun.

A mile and a half into our trip we were rewarded with a scene that resembled something out of a Indiana Jones movie; abandon limekilns from the 1870s decaying into the mossy forest. Slightly camouflaged with blankets of live and dead leaves, canopies of moss, rivers of dirt covering what was once tracks of wood beams for a tramway that carried tons of lime from ‘Blue-Cliff’ a 150 foot high quarry to the kilns.

Henry Cowell was from Massachusetts when he was enticed by the lure of the gold rush in California. This rush infused a high demand for construction, eventually he found his riches in the building materials key ingredient –limestone. The key ingredient used to make mortar for brick buildings. Limestone itself is formed from a bed of sea shells layered and changed from heat and pressure from millions of years ago. More evidence of a even greater History.

Here in lies the lime kilns 1.5 miles into the forest from Felton Empire Road; the graveyard or headstones to an era in California’s History. Lime kiln’s are used to produce quicklime through the calcination of limestone (calcium carbonate). The chemical reaction takes place at 900°C to 1,000°C+. Burning 24 hours a day for 3-4 days. Hard to believe in this cool, thick forest was a thriving / bustling factory that made Codwell the richest man in Santa Cruz at one time, as well as the mortar that held parts of California’s buildings together, still today. A grave site of only remembrance of the road that was once the path way to deliver the lime that built California. It seams now the banana slugs are the rich ones.

I love a hike that has a appreciation for History, beauty, nature and a sense for adventure. As my cousins move on through the forest trail and I take photographs of all the intricate details, I think how blessed I was to have been gifted with this kind in attention to details, so many details. As I wonder, and I wonder. Looking for what is disguised or swallowed by nature. Shortly up the road I finally under stand what ‘Powder Magazine” meant on the map, as I thought it was strange to have a path named after a magazine? ‘Powder magazine’ was actually a housing for the explosives they used to break up the limestone. Like any mystery, the poorly labeled map only becomes a treasure map of what only your imagination can fly from when you are actually there discovering for yourself.  For a short run it’s a great and adventurous hike. Of course you can carry on up the hill and make it a 7 mile if you want, but who knows what’s up there. Who knows what is buried underneath the discarded limestone.  

The park features Redwood Grove, Douglas fir, madrone, oak and a stand of Ponderosa pine.  The northern area (Fall Creek) is 2,390 acres, with about 20 miles of hiking trails. The tallest tree in the park is about 285 feet t
all and about 16 feet wide. The oldest trees in the park are about 1400 to 1800 years old. Zayante Indians tribe of the Ohlone people once lived in the area, where they found shelter, water and game. (And moss).

For the details; there are no bathrooms and the trail head parking lot is hard to find so it’s best to set your milage counter before you start down Fleton Road.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zayante,_California

http://www.thatsmypark.org/cp-parks-beaches/henry-cowell-redwoods-sate-park/

180 photos of Fall Creek by Stacy Poulso on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.497623620283042.122936.109163505795724&type=3

Video: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=524435057581725
 

Devils Hole; To Hell and Back; Las Trampas Regional Wilderness By Stacy Poulos

Devils Hole; To Hell and Back 

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness

By Stacy Poulos

More photos: [Click] 

Here’s a 360 photo. Click on the upper right to expand. [Click here]

Ok Here’s the thing, I got my ass kicked yesterday. The good part about every mountain, is it hides the next mountain and valley you must walk through. So, when you think you have concord an extraordinary feat in your life, to walk the miles you have, you come to another clearing where you have an even longer and harder distance to go. Shit! I was thinking about an analogy of what I went through yesterday, when I was driving over the San Mateo bridge and seen a tiny distant light across the bay to my left thinking, that is where I’m going… in my car. Yesterday, it was on foot, times 10. That light was like the people ahead of me near the bend of the trail. Really!!?? ….that’s where were going! Again!!! Shit! I kept thinking, obviously I have no concept what these maps mean, or what 6.6 miles is in people feet walking. I was just proud as a graphic artist, I was able to highlight the proposed trail on my map. (I think my guide, who has the body of Jack LaLanne, also has no concept what a 4 in difficulty, means on a scale of 1 to 10 to out of shape people), like what 4 beers  is to someone 180 lbs, is a lot different to someone 110 lbs. I guess it’s all relative, and I really need to qualify the situation a little better, if I live. People who make up these numbers should consider the delusion of out of shape people, who think they can hike. He was just concerned that it was 94 degrees high noon heat in the thick of it. Humm. [Thats it! ...in my own mind... You think only 'heat' is the issue here, as I pant, grasping my stomach wondering what Turkey Vultures gonna get me when I'm left behind.  As people drop off in the shade to bring there huffing down to a point of manageable blood pressure after a hiking some horrendous incline at a 500 feet incline back out of Devils Hole.] “Only 200 zig zag feet in elevation to go, he says” but look theres a shady tree up ahead.] Deeeevvvviiiils Holeeee, That! Should have been my first clue when I read the map. ["Oh good, Devils Hole sounds mysterious, this is going to be a great adventure. Wooo hooo, here we gooooo."]  Now I know why they call it Devils Hole, sounds like fun, but to get there, and out of there, you will feel like you have gone to Hell and back.

 

So, all kidding aside (not), it was; beautiful scene, after beautiful scene. Amazing this is in the heart of the East Bay surrounded by rural areas and city life. You couldn’t see any homes once you got to the other side, but a lake (San Leandro reservoir) with lots of green trees and brush, a few mountainy rocks and 60 miles in the distance you could see San Francisco smaller than a inch.

I chronicled my trip in photos, so when they found me dead underneath a poison oak plant, they would know how far and why I had past out. Besides our fall back group having fun plotting out how we were going to hold down the leader and kick his ass, if we lived to see the end, who now looks like a dot, on yet another ridge we must conquer. I thought to myself, self, thankfully America has the foresite to preserve these areas. And even though I’ll never see Devils Hole again, unless it’s on a post card, in my nightmares, or from a helicopter. I want to figure out how I can support State Parks more.  If we’re to stupid to not enjoy them, we should at least make sure they are their for those who do.

If you’re an in shape experienced hiker, you may like this hike. Our leader is a great guy and super nice. Maybe a little delusional about his numbers. I’d go to this kind of hike at any point …for a mile and that would be pushing it. Unfortunately you have to go to Devils Hole, to get to ‘Sycamore trail’ which is the best of all the trails. It was the most interesting to see, but the most treacherous  elevation hike. It was under the most brush, which made the 94 degree weather not so bad for the hardest part.

360 At lunch in Devil’s Hole [click]

For some one like me, I would take a trip like this if it was a 4 day hike. Hike camp. Hike, camp. Not all in one shot. We started with 47 people, all grouped up for the first quarter mile. Then our group  spread out about a quarter mile apart in smaller groups. Me, taking up the tail with the fall back group, another couple who had a baby with them, and with another experienced woman hiker of this Trail with a old and slow dog. (My buddy). Who eventually split, before Devils Hole. (Our “Half Way point”). Obviously a wiser woman.  ..another clue what was to come.

Being a mother Bear instinct myself, I was concerned for the momma and the baby, since I was huffing and puffing and had all my limbs to break a fall, she had to care for her daughter with one arm to protect her. There were a lot of situations where we had the luxury of two arms to get through some sticky situations and her only one.

So what else can I say? 24 ounces of water is not enough. I was out of water, when I got out of Hell. Once out of Hell, I would have paid $20.00 for a bottle of Ice cold gatorade. Luckily I had to new fallback people that were generous and well equipped that shared theres.

Before, I froze 3 mini 4 oz. collapsible containers, to keep my sandwich cool till lunch, great idea, BUT I think I miss read that to, it was more like concentrate, yuck. I thought of many inventions along the way, like a hat fan you clip on the brim of a baseball hat that is solar powered facing your face. Miniature handy wipe bags you can reseal.

At first I think, ‘what are these people doing bringing ‘back packs’, were going for a ‘walk’. Then I was jealous of all the amenities they had. Like our leader had an inflatable seat cushion to sit on.  It was handy when we were in Hell lingering around having lunch, looking at Heaven. In light of wanting to sit along the hike, I thought an inflatable pair of shorts would be handy. Also the babies momma could have used a unit to keep her baby on her chest like she did, but not with such thick material and something to keep them cool and secure. One gal brought crackers and espresso beans to share, since I missed my espresso in the morning I indulged. She said she froze them so they wouldn’t melt. She’s not the only one who froze something, one man who supplied me with water after I ran out in Hell, froze his gatorade the night before. We ended up having more people join our fall back team who were welcomed with open arms. Especially with extra supplies!

And for the record, if your going down and not in the direction of your car, your gonna to have to go up. In our case, up, and up, and up and up! If your wondering what those skinny unmarked lines that connect in circles from large to small around the trail you are on, they are mountains, the smallest circle is the tip. So, in conclusion, when you see several small circles on your trail, they will be the mountains in your way you will have to hike on, down, up and around. “W” means water incase your from Europe and think “W” means Water Hole as in bathroom. Ironically what seamed to be a little trail of Heaven on our last stretch, a easy paved road that seam to go straight to the parking lot, was the hardest stretch. Because of the steep decline put a lot of awkward pressure on your knees and jams your toes to the tip of your shoes. Even though I knew none of the 47 people I started out with, it was probably better that my friends bailed on me, they would have kicked my ass. I’m sure in a few days I’ll think I had fun, and forget I was paralyzed from the pain the next day and walked like a penguin with a stick up my butt for a week.

But you know, I wanted my ass kicked really, I deserved it for letting myself get so out of shape in so many ways, when I’m a born athlete. I’m not going to be my true potential God intended me to be, if I let myself go so much as I had. I’m just not someone who can go to a gym and breathe the air of others sweat, focused on just the workout. If God intended us to keep our bodies in shape at a gym,he wouldn’t have created the great out doors. So in a way, my leader was a Saint that took us in and out of Hell. The Hell we live for not getting out and seeing the world and respecting our bodies. Days like these, you think about who your are, and how you pollute yourself with unnecessary crap. (Maybe 6.6 was a little dramatic for my first day out) rubbing the skin off the back of my feet, jamming my toes and knees. Straining every muscle I have, especially the one between my ears trying to find a way out, a kebab I can jump on to kebab down the hill instead of walking it. A helicopter to pick me up and take me home to my mommy.

“All ails fails, read the directions” is our family motto. As I go back to review the website to see where I may have missed something, I read the the leaders profile for the 1st time.  He says: “My experience level with hiking is very advanced – numerous hikes more than 12 miles, many with many, many thousands of feet of elevation change. …and am always pushing my hiking further – literally. That being said, I love to introduce new people to the sport, and can enjoy anything from very mild to ugh! level hikes. Between hiking, treadmill, and trail running my goal is to get in at least 20 miles a week of cardio, shooting for 25+ though!..” Well. Sigh! There you go. I followed a psycho hiker. Thank you!! I now have a Callus on my foot named after you. 

Then I read The Sierra Clubs description “About this Trail… This is a 6.3 mile long loop hike to Devil’s Hole over Rocky Ridge. Enjoy lung-busting climbs to rocky ridges offering breathtaking 360 degree views of Ramage Peak at 1401 feet, Mt. Diablo at 3849 feet, the Ohlone Ridge out beyond Livermore, and Grizzly and Volvon Peaks dominating the Berkeley Hills horizon. Enjoy the wild life, eagles, hawks, and buzzing buzzards (turkey vultures, cousin to the more glamorous California Condor) patrolling the deep blue skies, bobcats and mountain lions skulking about or sleeping nearby in the sandstone cave outcroppings.” Blah, blah, blah.. “Change in Elevation: 1200, Elevation at trailhead: 1080, Highest Elevation: 1960 (Why my knees and butt-tox hurt) Lowest Elevation: 1080″ .. eeeexxxxaaaccctttly!!

Thank you my fearless leader for taking the brunt of our commiserating I loved every minute of it. I think all the new comers miss judged the ’4′ in difficulty and probably didn’t read your personal profile. Then again they were probably like me, wanted the inspiration of a group to go on a journey. No matter how difficult.  If I go with this group again, it will be on a ’1′ difficulty for a mile. His next trip is to be a 10 mile hike… Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve… I’m out! ‘But there’s a cave… ‘nope, I’m out!

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-Stacy Poulos

PostcardTravlers.com

THE BEST of Pennsylvania Sessano Cafe and Deli

THE BEST Hoagie of Pennsylvania!! Sessano Cafe and Deli

Sessano Cafe & Deli

4.0 star rating

13 reviews Rating Details

1840 Markley St

Norristown, PA 19401

(610) 270-9607

http://www.sessanocafe.com

12/28/2009 

THE BEST Hoagie of Pennsylvania!! 

I went to 4 Hoagie places in Pennsylvania, some twice (two Lee Hoagie locations, and the Food Network’s famous ‘Pat’s’ and ‘Gino’s’ ) in Philly and hands down my last day, I wanted to go back to end my Pennsylvania eating experience here at Sessano Cafe and Deli. I recommend award winning Roast sandwich with sweet peppers. They start slow roasting the meat 4 hours before they serve it. It’s run by a small Italian family.  The father; Santino Ciccaglione is from Central Italy out side of Roma and somehow landed in the odd small town called Norristown, PA.  The food is worth the trip. Don’t expect a fancy environment, it’s a deli style restaurant with seating and just good food, the atmosphere is your happy taste buds. Santino said he has shipped the sandwich to people out side the State, it’s REALLY that good!!! (I am personally plotting to get him drunk one night, hoping to have him spill the beans of how he makes it). In the meantime, Santino my address is…. 

Bon Appétit – Stacy Poulos PostcardTravelers Facebook 

History of The Hoagie:

http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/HoagieSubmarinePoBoy.htm

A Photographic journal of Alameda Antiques Show 2011 Stacy Poulos Photography

A Photographic journal of Alameda Antiques Show 2011 Stacy Poulos Photography

I love the Alameda Point Antiques Faire! It makes me dizzy because there are so many cool things I want to take home!  1st Sunday, every Month
http://www.alamedapointantiquesfaire.com/

Alameda Point Antiques Faire
2900 Navy Way (at Main Street)
Alameda, CA 94501

Enjoy the video Stacy Poulos Photography
Music By Ronnda Cadle
http://ronndacadle.com
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Miss Pearl’s Jam House Creole Gumbo And Jack London Square, Oakland Ca By Stacy Poulos


Miss Pearl’s Jam House Creole Gumbo And Jack London Square, Oakland Ca By Stacy Poulos

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I love a great discoveries! Today I toured the ‘Jack London Square bay’ taking photos on a Kayak with a friend. We went in the public entrance at Jack London Square, free to launch my own kayak, and my friend rented a paddle board $15.00 an hour at “California Canoe And Kayak” which was very helpful and lots of cool stuff to buy. We parked our car for $5.00 for 12 hours a block away takes cash and cards. 

After, my friend wanted to go a restaurant ‘with a view of the water’ and we were too dressed down from paddling to go in any of the fancy restaurants, so we poked around and found ‘Miss Pearl’s Jam House’ Cuisine Inspired by the Caribbean Islands. It looked fancy, but we asked if it was ok the way we were dressed, and they welcomed us with open arms. When I saw ‘gumbo’ on the menu I knew that’s what I wanted. I am always excited and leery about restaurants that claim to make ‘Gumbo’ I’ve had the best ‘Gumbo’ in the center of New Orleans. And I haven’t come close to what I’ve experience yet and that’s always a disappointment when your pallets been so sophisticated. So I took a chance. I ordered the “Creole Gumbo” (Pulled chicken, Andouille sausage, Tasso ham, Gulf Prawns, and Okra, floating around a cup steamed rice) ($18.00). I’m not a huge fan of Okra, so I asked them to use a little less, and dice it. They were happy to accommodate me and my ‘high maintenance’. It was soooo good, I am trying to figure out when I can come back again. I forgot to ask for extra sauce, as I do for everything I ever order, but it came plenty saucy already- woo hoo extra bonus! The meats were of high quality had a great texture and flavor.

My friend had just a few appetizers, very tasty ‘Rosemary Polenta’ ($4.00) and ‘Seasonal vegetables’ ($4.00) which happen to be ‘Young Broccoli marinated in fresh (un-refrigerated, huge difference!) potent Garlic cooked absolutely perfect.

So as the sun fell on the water, we enjoyed a superb 2008 Petite Sirah; R&B Cellars Pizzicato, Napa Valley’s; Rock Wall Wine Company ($9.00 glass). www.rbcellars.com From a very fun and knowledgeable waiter and staff that checked in often. They went as far as letting me in the kitchen to get a photo. If you didn’t get the window view, the restaurant is uniquely designed with beautiful mosaic sea shell tiles on the wall. If you go into the bar, they have live music as well, and a nice atmosphere. I’m definitely coming back soon. Problem is, there looks like a lot of good stuff on the menu, but I think I’ll have the gumbo again, and warm up to the chef for the recipe.

Caio’ for now.  -Stacy

Miss Pearl’s Jam House
Cuisine Inspired by the Caribbean Islands
One Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Jack London Square
at the Water Front Hotel
Telephone: 510.444.7171
http://www.misspearlsjamhouse.com

California Canoe And Kayak
Oakland Retail Shop
409 Water Street
Jack London Square
Oakland, CA 94607
http://www.calkayak.com/store_oakland.cfm
510-893-7833

PS Make sure if you go on the estuary it’s not too windy, paddling up wind is a lot of work.

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