Friday, October 31, 2014

Rim to Rim - Hike Across the Grand Canyon

Guest Blog by Becky Cervantez.
On September 27th, 2014, one day after my 37th birthday, I tested the boundaries of my physical, mental, and emotional strength by conquering one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon. I hiked with my husband and 5 other friends, we descended along the South Kaibab trail at the South Rim of the canyon, down into Phantom Ranch, then across "The Box" of the canyon and finally up the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim. In total it was 21 miles, which took me just under 13 hours. You carry about 3 liters of water and plenty of salty snacks, electrolyte mixers and emergency gear. The last 5 miles (about 5 hours worth) was done in and out of a constant rain.
Picture 1- The sign at the "South Kaibab Trailhead", technically we didn't hike to the river and back in one day, we hiked to the river, crossed it, and went up the other side :) I trained for about a year for this hike, mainly at North Mountain and Thunderbird Mountain in Phoenix, AZ, carrying Abygail in my Bjorn when she was still light enough to fit in it, then over the summer I trained without her, but carrying my water pack and extra weight to train for the backpack I would carry and the heat we would encounter at the bottom of the canyon. I hiked an average of 5 miles each time I trained.
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Picture 2- The hiking group at the South Kaibab trailhead, at 4:30am. Dan and I are on the right. All night we had group discussions on weather or not we would do this hike. The weather had been poor all week and was calling for 50-80% chance of rain for the day of our hike. For 2 of our hikers, including my husband it was easy for them to blow it off if warranted, as they had done it numerous times before, but the other 5 of us it was our first time. We had prepared and planned for this for a year in the making, it was not possible for us to reschedule for another weekend, rooms for the South end and North end of the canyon must be booked a year in advance. So we were all praying for any signs of hope that we could make this happen. When we woke up at 3:30am, the skies were clear enough to see the stars, so we decided even though we knew we would hit rain at some point, we wanted to take the chance of getting thru as much of the hike as possible before the rain came. We all decided to get an early start, power thru the descent and across the bottom to race the weather. So away we went....
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Picture 3- Sunrise at Cedar Ridge, about 1.5 miles down into the Canyon. As you can see the threat for weather was minimal at this point, and continued that way for the majority of the hike. It kept the weather cool and the sun shaded by clouds coming and going.
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Picture 4- The South Kaibab Trail ahead of us.
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Picture 5- The mighty Colorado
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Picture 6- Dan and I standing on the Suspension Bridge the crosses over the Colorado river, about 8.5 miles achieved, and the weather at the bottom of the canyon was beautiful, about 75 degrees...compared to the 90 to 100 degrees we prepared for and is usually the case...the 7 miles across the canyon was the best part for was beautiful....
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Picture 7 - "The Box" the trail along the bottom of the canyon follows a creek and you are surrounded by canyon walls, you take pit stops at Phantom Ranch, and Cottonwood Campgrounds, where you can replenish your water packs, treat your feet if needed and mentally prepare for the 7 miles ahead of you as you ascend up the North the beginning you are slowly gaining elevation and in the process you come across many waterfalls....we also started to come across....the RAIN
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Picture 8- Dan and I, at the bottom of the canyon...we are about 12 miles into our hike at this point....we only got about 3 or 4 more miles before the rain came, thus the last time you would see us dry.
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Picture 9- Our scenery for the remainder of the hike looked a little like this, unable to see the trail we had hiked behind us...walking thru continuous muddy trails that your feet sink into then you have to yank out, in and out of clouds,   the constant runoff of  rain water over canyon walls, the sound of thunder in the distance echoing thru the canyon, your mental health is already breaking, your tired, your feet hurt, your socks and shoes are soaked, you can  feel everything squishing between your toes your pack is heavy and the wetness makes all of that worse...your pushing your body thru elements you never thought possible...and somehow you find that power, that will to GET OUT. I was broken...the last 5 miles I cried on and off I was so exhausted, I would literally take 10-15 painful steps and stop and choke back tears,  but I was also so overwhelmed at what I was achieving...I just kept telling myself..."Its just a walk in the park, it just happens to be "The Grand Canyon National Park" just a really big park. And the little face of my silly baby girl...I knew I could do it...for me...and for her.
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Picture 10 thru 12- Enjoying the sunrise over the North Rim, My husband and I, and the North Rim Lodge, the morning after our journey.
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In hindsight, although a powerful experience for my emotional and mental health, I was disappointed it was so “Rushed” to beat out the weather, I didn’t get to soak it in as much as I would have liked, or take the pictures to really do it justice. And we powered thru it so fast going down and across that by the time we had to go up, with the rain…our bodies were spent.  I may never get the chance to do this again, so I wish I would have been able to take it in just a little bit more, and take my time…not only would I of been able to get a better experience but my body would not of been as beaten up either if I would have been able to “stroll” through it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Animal Summer Safety

Practice basic summer safety
Never leave your pets in a parked car
Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police. Spread the word about the dangers of leaving pets in a hot car. 

Watch the humidity
"It's important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet," says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. "Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly." Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs' temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.

Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

Don't rely on a fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.

Watch for signs of heatstroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke
Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Children's Audio Books

Just released on Audio, Robby's Quest: Return of the Cat, written by D.C. Rush and Narrated by Tracy Elman. 

Tracy is an American Voice Actor who has appeared on film, stage and television. Her passion is in voice acting. Tracy has voiced and published a variety of children's books as well as instructional books. Tracy has voiced over 60 characters as she effortlessly changes voices during the many dialog exchanges between the characters. She has a unique natural soothing voice and does an excellent job bringing our stories to life. 

Joy the Sparrow and her new best friend Josie want to see the world and why not start in Las Vegas, where the birds can visit Caesars Palace, the Eiffel Tower and New York City, all in the same day. They persuade the flock of birds they live with to take a vacation there. So the loyal group of friends - Sparrows, Robins and a Blackbird - fly there to have some fun. 

However, Hershey the Cat, whom they’ve bumped into before, is back in the picture and would love nothing more than ruining the birds’ vacation. He’s determined to have at least one of the birds for a morning snack. Can the birds keep out of his clutches and claws? Will they get to their destination safely? 

The courageous birds are pushed to their limits and Hershey also has to face some tough truths about himself. 

This is a bright and inspiring story about facing challenges and being the best you can.

For more information, visit our website at There you can read more about each book, view some of our amazing illustrations, watch a book trailer or listen to a sample from one of our three Audio Books.

Buy Robby's Quest: Return of the Cat here 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Very Interesting Signs

A friend sent me these pictures today of signs posted in Africa. I don't know exactly where someone could find these signs, but some of them are pretty funny. I thought I'd share them.

It hurts just reading this sign. Ouch!     
Very interesting Lanterns

Pretty sure I'll pass on this restaurant

I think the boneless bananas are more expensive

This policy actually makes sense to me 

Enough Said

Absolutely no drinking and driving

Tax dollars hard at work

I actually like this one

I think this is very good advice

Alrighty Then

Can you hear me now?

Wow, this is really lazy

Never really thought about it this way

You won't find this at Krogers

No sign required!

Now you know how I spend my time. Hope you got a good laugh from this pictures.

Robby's Quest children's storybooks, written by D.C. Rush
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