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Tag Archives: Camping

Everybody Needs a Hug Now & Then

Free Hugs at Sycamore Cove, Calfornia

How Can You Pass up an Offer Like This?

Back in late July of 2010 (actually, Picasa – and my camera – tell me it was on Saturday, July 24, 2010, at 2:45 PM) we were enjoying the Summer weather at Sycamore Cove State Beach here in Malibu, Caifornia. We had camped out in an adjacent site in Point Mugu State Park, which requires a short walk to a sand carpeted tunnel that takes you under the Pacific Coast Highway; very kid safe! I can’t recall if it was with the Indian Guides or the Girl Scouts, but we were there with a bunch other families and a bumptious horde of little girls.

Despite my having recently undergone surgery to remove a Melanoma and a couple of lymph nodes (just to be sure it hadn’t spread, which it hadn’t), I was determined to spend some time on the beach. My wife had purchased both a long-sleeve, UV-resistant shirt and a large umbrella designed to corkscrew deep into the sand. I was able to sit in the shade pretty comfortably and enjoy my children and their friends – and a beer or three – frolic in the surf and sand.

We had been there a couple of hours when this young man and two women came walking by. He was holding a sign that said “Free Hugs”. Most people were ignoring him but, being the old hippie that I am, I just couldn’t resist availing myself of his offer. Frankly, I think those who didn’t (and that was most everyone on the beach) were being disrespectful. Here was a fellow human being who, despite all the fear in this world, was offering to hug perfect strangers.

To tell you the truth, for all I know he could have been pledging a fraternity (though the timing wasn’t right) or working on some sort of thesis or paper (the timing wasn’t terribly propitious for that either). I really didn’t care. It just struck me as the right and decent thing to do. Besides, there is something magical about connecting with strangers in a very human way. Hugging is something we all do. Hell, even male professional golfers hug their caddies nowadays . . . at least after a victory!

Da Kine Hug at Sycamore Cove, California

Notice I am carefully hanging on to my beer!

It’s now well over a year and a half later and I’m still healthy, so I guess he wasn’t carrying any communicable diseases. Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind. Regardless, I think we all can use a hug from a stranger now and again and after surviving my cancer scare I suppose this was just one way of my affirming I’m alive and kicking. Next time you see someone with a sign like this, go ahead a stick your damn neck out. I doubt you’ll be sorry you did.

PS – Just in case you were thinking, “That Rick’s a lying SOB. He just took a picture with the guy for fun”, here’s the pic Linda took shortly after we posed for the one above.

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Return from Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Falls

All Levels of Yosemite Falls

I was careful not to disclose our location on Twitter recently (well, at least not too blatantly) as I didn’t want anyone figuring out where we lived and coming by and overfeeding our cats or tropical fish. Yosemite Valley was a great place to spend five days camping with two other families, despite the fact the first evening and night were cold and wet. We arrived on Thursday evening and set up our tent in a light, continuous rain – managing to keep reasonably dry. Unfortunately, we immediately discovered we had a couple of minor leaks in the floor and were not able to repair them enough to keep a few small puddles from forming.

Normally, the sound of rain falling  can be quite soothing for me, but that night it kept me awake most of the night. It was coming down hard and I was sure the tent would be flooded or something would collapse and we’d be inundated and miserable for the rest of the trip. The following morning I discovered it had actually hailed during the night, which explained the ferocity of the sounds I had heard at times. Fortunately, though there were some leaks in the tent, for the most part we remained dry through the seemingly endless, cold night.

The following morning I was awakened by what sounded like an elephant pissing outside our tent. I heard our friend’s voice and, being tired from my lack of sleep brought about by anticipation of our tent’s imminent collapse during the rain, I chose to ignore it. I learned later the rain had collapsed the center of an older EZup canopy and the only way it could safely be emptied of the large quantity of water it had managed to accumulate was to take a knife to the center and cut a slit in the canvas. Hence, it was actually the EZup that was pissing. There truly are no elephants in Yosemite Valley, I’m pleased to report.

At any Rate, we had a great time and I just wanted to share a picture of the entirety of Yosemite Falls, which I took with my BlackBerry. I can’t believe how good it came out!


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