A Purple Nation

Today is Election Day and it’s an important one. Please vote–let your voice be counted.

The other day, I found this op ed I wrote in October of 2008 and re-read it. It was published in the Denver Post’s Online Guest Commentary on October 31, 2008. When I read it again, I was disheartened by the fact that our country has become much more divided rather than united in the last 10 years. Over the last 10 years, I’ve also changed my political affiliation to Independent, as it feels more in alignment with my own truth.

A Purple Nation
By Rhonda Ashurst

     I am a Democrat and my husband is a Republican; my father is a Democrat and my mother is a Republican. The bipartisan nature of my families, of this nation, fascinates me.
     Political maps show red Republican states and blue Democratic states, as if we can be so easily divided. I have long suspected that there are many purple families like my own, and that we also more blended individually than our party affiliations might indicate. I vote for Republican candidates when I think they are better suited for the job. I know many people, including my family members, who regularly cross party lines. We have informative, respectful debates and sometimes we sway each others’ opinions and votes. We can agree to disagree, and still have dinner together and get the dishes done.
     My curiosity about partisan politics led me to George Lakoff’s book on The Political Mind. Dr. Lakoff is a cognitive scientist who studies the underlying differences in how conservatives and progressives view the world. In a nutshell, Lakoff defines progressive thought as empathic and protective and conservative thought as strict and authoritarian. He makes the excellent point that we are all bi-conceptual, using both types of reasoning in different circumstances. Like good parenting, good governing requires a balanced perspective between nurturance and accountability.
   A current example is the $700 billion bailout of the mortgage crisis. A bi-conceptual solution would include helping people to stay in their homes, as well as offering assistance to financial institutions to keep our financial system from collapsing as it did during the Great Depression. In addition, there would be accountability to the American people in how this $700 billion was going to be spent and a return on investment when the markets recover. We would question the wisdom of laissez-faire free markets and increase regulation of financial markets in the future. As individuals and as a nation, we would take an honest look at our spending habits and resolve not to spend beyond our means.
     Getting out of this mess requires a bipartisan, bi-conceptual solution that is both supportive and accountable and involves all of us, as well as other nations. This global crisis has underscored the fact that we are all inter-connected and when a stone is thrown, it causes ripples in worldwide pond.
     In times like these, we need a nurturing parent who says, “Don’t panic, we will find a way through this. Here is what I can do to help.” We also need a strict parent who says, “If I’m going to help you, we will have to agree on a plan for how you will do this differently in the future. I will hold you accountable to the plan and I expect you to do your part.” After reviewing information on the current plan, I’m not convinced we are there yet.
     When we go to the polls on Election Day, we must consider which candidates and ballot measures represent the balanced perspective we so desperately need to meet the challenges we face as a nation. We cannot afford to let partisan polarities immobilize this great country. It is time to unite towards common goals, utilizing the strengths of our different views, and honoring that we all have a role to play in the recovery.
     Republican or Democrat, red or blue—we are all united in the common dream that we may pursue life, liberty, and happiness from a place of security and stability. We all want our children to have these same opportunities and not to be saddled with our mistakes and a mountain of debt. As a long-time member of purple families, I know we can rise above our differences and be a purple nation.

~~~~~~~~~

It is up to each of us to look for our common threads of humanity, our shared dreams. If we look under the surface of our differences, we may find we have far more in common at the deeper levels than we realize. It is time to stop feeding the fire of division and nurture our unity as a nation and a people.

When we are divided, we are challenged to think of where our unity exists.

Strawberry Creek Monthly Quaker Meeting, 1989

Changes I’m Noticing After Removal of the Cerclage Cable

Before I forget, as my body returns to normal, I want to make sure I note some of the changes I’m observing now that I have my right leg back under me:

  • When I wake up in the mornings, I no longer have the achy, arthritic stiffness I’ve grown accustomed to. I thought I’d have to live with that for the rest of my life. Since my right hip replacement, I’ve felt like I was 80+ when I got out of bed in the morning. I did 30 minutes of Qigong and Tai Chi to be able to move and dissipate the pain. Now I don’t have pain anymore. (I even removed the ever-present bottle of ibuprofen from my night stand!) The really odd thing is that pain affected most of my body: legs, glutes, back, shoulders, neck. Now it is suddenly gone and I feel my old self again! Could it be possible that my whole body was reacting to that cable? Maybe it was just a lot of muscular contraction and holding of tension? I don’t know, but it’s a very welcome relief!
  • The soreness from the surgery is already mostly gone. I actually have less pain now than I before the surgery! It’s Day 5 and I can hardly tell it ever happened.
  • I can do lunges and squats, and hinge from my hips. The pain which caused me to favor the right side and shift my weight to the left, is gone. As a result, I am much more balanced and stable when doing these movements. As of Day 5, I can squat all the way down to the floor, sit on my heels, and come back up. I would have screamed doing this before the surgery, or collapsed on the floor.
  • Because of the increased balanced stability in my legs, when I bend down to pick something up, the familiar twinge going up the right side of my back (QL) is gone. I no longer fear throwing my back into spasm every time I reach for the floor. I didn’t realize the contortions I was going through trying to avoid engaging the right leg and hitting the cable. As a result, my back is looser and I feel much more confident using it. I can effortlessly touch my palms on the floor again.
  • This morning, I reached over the right arm of my recliner for something on the floor. I didn’t even think about it. I could never do this without a lot of pain before, so I avoided it. This motion requires me to shift my weight onto the outside edge of my right thigh and it always caused so much pain once my flesh hit the sharp edge of the cable that I stopped. I’d get out of the chair and bend over my left leg instead.
  • I can lift my leg to put on and pull off pants without needing additional support. I trust my balance and can control the right leg.
  • It is much easier to get up from a sitting position.
  • I can tighten my glutes and not feel an aching pain in my right hip and outer thigh.
  • I vacuumed yesterday and caught myself extending the right leg and pushing from there. I’ve been doing left-leg-leading vacuuming for probably 2 years!
  • I’ve stopped continuously massaging the outside of my right thigh.
  • I am no longer constantly aware of having a foreign object in my leg. Now both my implants feel like an integral part of my body and I cannot even tell they are there. It was like this on my left side by about 6-weeks. But the right has always bothered me until now.
  • From my first walk on Day 4: My full, even stride is back! I can walk uphill and step up stairs and onto rocks without pain and with confidence. I was able to lift my leg over a fence, which I couldn’t do before. Uneven ground is no longer a scary negotiation. Hey, maybe I won’t need to always use hiking poles on a trail! My back isn’t stiff and my legs don’t ache when I get home. 
  • From my second walk on Day 5: I expected to be sore, because I did a lot yesterday! I was having too much fun exploring what I could do! I figured I’d pay for it today, which is what usually happens, but instead I am only a little sore. I was able to come back home and do some yoga without feeling wobbly on my legs and having a tight back and achy legs.
  • I can do belly dance moves which have been impossible since the replacement, these moves require me to shift all my weight onto the right leg and engage the gluteus medius. For example, I can now do hip drops, figure 8’s and the 3/4 shimmy. I can also push the right hip out to the right side, as if I were bumping a car door closed, and not get bit by the cable. I might actually dance again! This is one of the great joys of my life and I realize I haven’t even put the music on to tempt me, because I simply couldn’t do it without a lot of pain and awkwardness.
  • I can do the high kick in Tai Chi 24-short form and control, extend and straighten the leg. In Snake Creeps Through Grass, I can step onto the right leg (which is extended out in a lunge) and pull the rest of my body and my left leg up to join it. Before I had to sort of hop my left leg up, using it more than my weakened right leg.
  • From the yoga mat: Poses that engage the right leg no longer hurt, e.g. Warrior I and II. I still can’t do Warrior III or Dancer, which require full extension over the right leg, while extending the left leg back. But, I am finally able to begin tentatively shifting weight onto the right leg and extending the left leg back while leaning forward. I was totally unable to do this before. While lying on my left side, I can lift, circle and hold the right leg with control and without pain which I have not been able to do, particularly holding the leg up and forward while scissoring my left leg up to meet it. I can do a supine twist to the left without the catch in my right side and back. All poses which open the right side are easier and my range of motion is back. It honestly felt like my whole right side froze up every time I asked the muscles to stretch over and rake that cable. And I can certainly see why! It was like pulling them over a piece of barbed wire. I’d say that most of my practice (and daily life) has been affected by the cable and my body struggling to work around it and avoid pain. 

Last night I realized I’ve been depressed. I feel like my life has been on pause and now I’m back! Scott told me last night that he can tell I’m happy again. I feel so sad for him–he’s had to live with my pain, disability and depression all this time. I’m sure he felt like he’d lost his partner, and he did.

Scott and I were trying to pinpoint when the depression started. He thought it was two years ago. That’s when I started aggressively working with physical therapists and body workers in a vain attempt to heal my hip pain. This, of course, only aggravated my condition and increased my pain and disability. Then, I was diagnosed with dysplasia in July, 2017. My right hip was replaced in September, 2017 and the cable was installed to support my femur. It took me 3 months to walk without a limp and walking was never easy or pleasurable again. Then my left hip went and it was replaced in May, 2018. No cable was required. I could walk without aids in 4 days and had no limp within 2 weeks. It was then that I knew my problems on the right were caused by the cable and it had to go. Turns out, it was true!

But it wasn’t just the leg that was affected. Now it seems my whole body was affected with all the aches and pains I suddenly had. And I was depressed. Life had lost its luster. I no longer had the strong body I’d always counted on. Now I feel like my old self again on all levels. I’m 40 instead of 80!

There is no way to express how wonderful it feels to be able to do all the things I love to do with my body without pain. I am indebted to the miracles of modern medicine which have allowed me to walk again, and to my awesome surgeon, Dr. Shukla and his equally awesome assistant, Davis. They are truly masters of minimally invasive hip replacement and surgery. I can hardly tell they were in my leg to the bone 5 days ago. I will be forever grateful to them for my ability to walk, dance, do yoga and Tai Chi, and live my life again. The only thing that could have been better would have been a kinder, less invasive cerclage cable system. Hopefully, that can be corrected in the future, so others don’t have to go through what I have for these last 13 months.

Goodbye to my Farty Friend

This morning, while doing Qigong, the Prevena started to squawk. I turned it off and on a couple of times, hoping it would reset itself. When that didn’t work, I got online and looked up the alarm code. It indicated that my pump was full, but when I looked in the window, I didn’t see anything and had never noticed any drainage in the unit itself. So, I was puzzled. The instructions said to call my doctor if this happened.

Of course, the Reno Orthopaedic Clinic is not open on Sundays. I called and got the answering service. They took down all my information and my issue and said the on-call nurse would call me right back. And she did. She asked if I could see if the pump was full and I told her it didn’t look like it. She said the pump often stops around day 5-7 and the alarm can simply be part of it shutting down. She asked if I had any swelling , heat or pain and I told her I hadn’t since the surgery. She instructed me to cut the tubing flush with the bandage and put a piece of tape over the end, and then throw the unit in the trash. So, I did. Seems a shame to waste a medical device like that, but I guess they make them that way…

Once I cut the tube, the bandage puffed up. Davis had told me it would do that. Here’s what it looks like now:

Alas, I have lost my farty little friend! I am no longer tethered to the Prevena pack. All I have left is a poofy saddle bag on my right thigh! I’ll take it. No more worries in the grocery line.

Third day after cable removal

My leg is having a party, celebrating being free at last! It is truly amazing how fast this recovery is going. I feel my whole body breathing a deep sigh of relief.  It’s like I’ve been all crunched up on my right side, drawing the leg protectively into my body and not using it fully because of the pain. I can already do things pain-free that I haven’t been able to do all year. For example, I can do belly dance hip drops and figure 8 moves that have been impossible. I can lean forward on the leg, though not very far yet. I’m starting to get my forward and side lunges back, and was able to do 24-short form Tai Chi this morning and sit cross-legged for meditation!

I had a couple of tired days on Thursday and Friday, which is pretty normal and often more about getting over the anesthesia and all its various effects. Today I feel great! I have had virtually no pain since Wednesday, so I stopped all the pain meds. So far so good. I’m not even using Tylenol. In fact, the leg is less painful now than it was before the surgery!

Physically, my body has already moved on. It’s over. Emotionally, however, I go from anger to sadness to relief to gratitude to joy and sometimes back again. I’m angry that this brutal piece of hardware was placed in my body and it hurt so much that it really set back my recovery. I’m sad about all the pain and disability I suffered for the last 13 months. Every time I’m able to do something which has alluded me all this time, I cry all over again. When I touch the cable, which I keep on the kitchen table, I tear up. When I notice how much better I feel as I move, that I’m not off balance and favoring the leg, I feel relieved. I don’t feel like I’m 80-years-old anymore. And then there are those ever-increasing moments of gratitude and joy. It is finally over and I am whole again. There were times in this process when I wondered if that would ever happen.

I do want to say in support of my most amazing surgical team, Dr. Shukla and Davis, it wasn’t your fault. You did the right thing by putting a cerclage cable around that femur. I was the one who stubbornly kept walking on a totally destroyed hip until I stressed my femur. It already had bone spurs when you started. The wise and prudent thing was to support the femur until it could knit around the implant and repair any micro-fractures that might have occurred during the replacement. On this end of it, I have two solid replacements that are holding perfectly and I have equal leg length for the first time in my life. I also noticed, looking at my wet footprints at the pool the other day, I am no longer duck-footed! I have real hips for the first time in my life and I can walk again. For me, this is a medical miracle! I will be forever grateful to the two of you for the magic you’ve worked in my body. Without you, I would be in a wheelchair.

What I do want to say is that this piece of hardware does not belong in the human body. I realize that this is the cerclage system that comes with my Smith & Nephew implants. Why they are still using this cerclage system is beyond me. But there is a better one that uses a polymer system and a connector that lies flat against the bone and doesn’t have sharp ends, both for the safety of the patient and the surgeon. Here is a link (which may be helpful for my fellow hip people, or any of you who have to have orthopedic surgery):   http://www.kinamed.com/products/orthopedic-products/supercable. I think I could have tolerated this cable better and might not even have had to have it removed. I found this site when I was Googling problems with cerclage cables.

I do plan to discuss this with Dr. Shukla and Davis at my follow-up appointment. But, I also want to share it here, especially for my fellow hipsters. From my perspective, Dr. Shukla and Davis are gifted in their ability to perform minimally invasive replacement surgery, which causes very little disruption to the muscle tissue. I had the benefit of experiencing this on my left side–I was able to walk unaided in 4 days! It took 3 months to walk as well on my right side, because of this cable. It seems a shame to ruin the amazing work they do with a piece of hardware like this! My hope in talking with them, and in sharing this here, is that others might be spared the pain I have gone through.

On a lighter note… Me and my new friend, the Prevena pump are figuring out how to better live with one another. Scott discovered that it could be disconnected from the bandage for showering, which I did yesterday and it felt wonderful! I also found two pairs of pants I can put the tubing in and still get around. I located my old western belt, which the pump case belt loop fits over, thankfully. So, I am mobile and can drive! In fact, right now, I’m going to the store to go grocery shopping for dinner.

Good to go with my little Prevena buddy

I must say that this unit is pretty amazing. There is absolutely no swelling, bruising or pain in or around the incision. But, it does have one little quirk… It farts. That is the sound it makes about every other hour when it suctions. So, pray for me that it doesn’t do that in line at the grocery store!

Cable Removal Surgery

Today was my third surgery in 13 months to remove the cerclage cable placed around my right femur after my hip replacement on that side. It has done its job of holding my femur together while the bone knitted and formed around the stem of the implant. But, it has caused me a lot of pain and disability for these 13 months and it became very clear it had to go. 

Here’s the email I sent out this afternoon (I was actually able to comfortably sit in my chair at my computer and do it all by myself!):

Hello All!


I am so happy to report a quick, successful, pain free surgery and I was home by 9:30! We couldn’t believe how fast it all went, and easy, compared to hip replacements.


I went in at 7:00 and was out by 7:20. By 8:00 I was conscious and by 8:15 clear. They had me dressed and out the door by 9:00. Unbelievable!
I’m taking it easy at home, but feel well enough and can actually sit to write this email, so thought I’d do it myself. This also works well for Scott :-). 
You cannot believe what a nasty thing I’ve had around my femur for the last 13 months! No wonder I was having so much trouble and pain. It is large, with square rough edges. The end where they cut it after cinching it tight post-hip replacement (imagine a metal zip tie) is very sharp and frayed. If you aren’t careful while handling it, it can cut your finger. And that was rubbing on my soft tissue all this time! I started to cry when I touched it and felt how sharp and rough and bulky it is. I attached photos so you can see it. Scott, thought to add the quarter to show the size. I took one close-up of that sharp, frayed end. I’m so glad I decided to have this surgery to get that nasty thing out of there!

Scott put down a quarter to show the size.
It looks like something I’d have fixed fence with on the ranch!
This was the connector my leg muscles were snapping over.
There isn’t a smooth edge on the whole beastly thing!
Close-up of the connector and the sharp, frayed end where they cut off the excess cable.
This was sticking into the muscles of my outer thigh and I’m sure was causing most of my pain! It is so sharp that you can cut yourself just touching it if you aren’t careful.


I don’t have pain, though I am taking 1/2 a Tramadol every 4 hours to make sure I don’t get any when the blocks wear off… The really cool thing is that my muscles seem to be unaffected. I can walk, touch the floor, sit, bend my knees, reach my toes in a chair–all the things which are impossible for awhile after a replacement. I attached a photo of me doing tree even, on the surgical leg!

Photo was taken at noon, 5 hours after surgery and I’m standing on the surgical leg!


I came home with a new bandage (there’s a pic of that too). It comes with a battery/suction device that draws fluid out of the wound, so there is less chance of infection and improved healing. the surgeon explained that when he goes into the same incision a second time, there is greater risk and that this bandage system seems to ameliorate that significantly. The bummer is that I have to have this attached to me for the next two weeks! That means no pants and it’s getting too cold outdoors to be without them. I’m also not sure how I’m going to shower… May have to get creative with that! But, if it keeps me from getting an infection, I’m all for it in spite of the inconvenience. 

The Prevena bandage and wound suction system. Very cool!
Its main purpose is to remove fluids and prevent infection.
Attached to a battery pack in the black case.
This will be my little friend for the next two weeks…
I include this for my fellow hipsters in case you want to ask your surgeon about it. 
Here’s the link:
https://www.acelity.com/products/prevena-incision-management-system


My sense is when that bandage comes off, I’ll be doing awesome. I’m already noticing that the snap is gone when I flex my muscles. It is now fluid and easy like the other side. I also discovered that I’m already standing more on that leg than I have been. I usually favor it and list to port when standing. I have had to consciously remind myself to stand on both legs, but already that is changing! Isn’t it amazing what our bodies can do?


Thanks to all of you for reaching out and keeping me in your prayers and thoughts. I always feel swaddled in all your love when I go in for a surgery. I dearly hope this is my last.


Much Love and Gratitude,
Rhonda

Soaking in Nature Before the Cable Removal Surgery

We decided to take a trip to the Redwood Forest and the Trinity River to soak in nature and all its good energy before my cable removal surgery. It was such a needed sojourn! 

Here are some of my favorite photos:

Soaking in the energy of this giant redwood
Scott peers through the remains of a burned, fallen redwood 
Our little cabin on the Trinity River
The Trinity flowing by in front of our cabin
Walking down the country lane behind the cabin
Trinity River with Trinity Alps in the background
Painted sheep and their guard dog made this old shepherdess smile
and wonder… who paints their sheep and why?

I came back renewed, yet still having difficulty psyching myself up for my third surgery in thirteen months. But, hiking through the hills of the redwoods, I had so much pain that I knew there was no option. It was the first time I’d done hills since my hip replacements, and even with hiking poles, it still hurt. I really don’t want to live the rest of my life with this kind of pain and disability. I want to be able to hike moderately in beautiful places and not fight this anymore. So, it has to go.

One more day. Tomorrow I spend half the day in pre-op appointments and then, at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the cable will come out. Happy Halloween! Pray for me. 

I’ll let you know how it goes on the other side, when my head clears.

4 Months Left Hip; 1 year Right

Wow, it’s hard to believe I’ve reached the one year mark with my right hip! Unfortunately, I am still struggling with that danged cerclage cable around the femur (aka The Zip Tie). I did a new video which demonstrates the problems I’m having functionally because of it. You can see it at this link:  Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.

So, I went to see my surgeon for the one-year follow up appointment on September 18th. Both he and Davis watched me demonstrate for them what is on the video. Dr. Shukla had me stand next to him, so he could touch my thigh as I contracted my muscles. You can both hear and feel the snap of the muscles over the cable. I winced with the jolt this always gives me and he winced right along with me. I will always remember him looking up at me with his cherub face and telling me he was sorry, but he had to do it. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he understood how much pain and difficulty this cable has caused me over the year. I looked down and said, “I know you had to do it. We always agreed the structural integrity was the most important thing, and you nailed that. You told me the cable might bother me and if it did, we’d take it out. So, let’s just take it out.”

It was one of those sweet moments you never forget, when compassion shines through and you realize why you trust this man to help you function again with your legs under you and without pain. I know we are getting there. One last surgery to go. 

On October 31st (Halloween), they will take out the cable. It will be about a 20-minute operation. They will cut a 2-inch incision into the bottom of my current scar, part all the muscles to the bone, clip and remove the cable, and put me back together. I’ll have a different bandage this time that has a battery-operated catheter in it to remove fluids and help it heal faster. I’m looking forward to getting that thing out of there and seeing what I can do then!

Leftie is doing very well at four months, getting stronger and more flexible all the time. I occasionally get a little stiff and sore if I overdo, but mostly I can’t even tell I had a hip replacement on that side. I can’t wait to feel the same way on the right side!

Meeks Bay Trip

Last weekend, we went to Meeks Bay at North Lake Tahoe for a 4-day camping trip with our neighbors, Bruce and Peggy. It was beautiful! The temps got a little chilly at night, but thankfully Scott bought us a Little Buddy propane heater that made the inside of Pearl nice and toasty. This was our last camping trip of the season, which is always a bit sad, but what a way to end it! I was able to do a 2+ mile hike with them through the meadow which was lovely. We also met a new friend, Sandy, from Oregon who was camped next to us.

Sitting area in our camp site
Their tent trailer and Pearl snuggled in the trees
The Beach
View back into campground from the beach
Martinis to celebrate Bruce’s Birthday in real glasses!
The traditional trip to Garwoods for Wet Woody’s and delicious food!
Rhonda, Scott, Bruce and Peggy
Yoga and kayaks
Bruce, Peggy, Sandy and Scott standing under Pearl’s galley door
Kayaking in Tahoe

3 Months Left Hip; 11 Months Right Hip

I am at that magic 90-day mark when they say you are over the biggest hump of your hip healing. It’s WAY BETTER with this hip and I continue to be very grateful for this. My walk is back to normal, though I am still working on the stamina to go longer distances and to stand longer. Here’s the latest video of my walk (the last one):   Rhonda’s Hip Adventure Videos.

As you can see I no longer have a limp or stiff hip. Yay! I can do a mile pretty easily now and 2 miles once a week. I did learn this month that doing 2 miles three times in one week was a bad idea and I set myself back and had more pain and stiffness as a result. It’s taken a couple of weeks to get over that. I was just so excited to get back on all my familiar trails and favorite places… But there is nothing like pain to encourage you to return to your Goldilocks Zone!

My new routine includes swimming three times a week, walking a mile once a week and 2 once a week, plus short walks around the neighborhood more frequently. I also do Tai Chi and Qigong every morning for 30 minutes to wake up and warm up. I do yoga 3-4 times a week in the afternoons to stretch, keep up my core and upper body strength and work on my one-legged balance poses which strengthen my legs and improve my balance. 

I tend to move from one activity to another (sitting, standing, moving) at least every hour. This seems to keep me from having too much pain and stiffness by overdoing any one activity.  I can sit for 2+ hours if necessary (e.g. to watch a movie or performance). I do some stretches and flex muscles around the hips in my seat when I sit that long. 

I am down to taking 1-2 ibuprofen at night and one dropper of CBD oil for sleep. This is working well. 

I continue to have problems with bearing weight and really contracting the muscles in my right leg. At this point, I am solid in my plan to request the cable be removed at the end of October. I see my surgeon to discuss this on September 18th, so I’ll include the result of that conversation and some video footage of the problems I’m having with the cable in my next monthly update. 

Until then, I’m cruising along, staying in my Goldilocks Zone and listening to what my body tells me. It’s amazing how smart it is! You would think by now I’d be better at listening to it instead of what my head’s agenda is. But, the tricky thing is I still don’t know when I’m overdoing it until I’ve done it and then it’s too late! My advice to my fellow hipsters is take it easy and slowly build up your stamina and strength, even if it feels like you could keep going.

Silver Lake Trip

We just returned from a beautiful trip to Silver Lake, one of the lakes on the June Lake Loop off 395, near Mammoth, California. I used to ski at June Mountain when I was a kid, but had never been on the Lake Loop before. 

We went with our friends, Lisa and Terry (and their dog, Beauty). They planned the trip last winter and we decided to tag along once we knew my hip could handle it. They are easy to be with and experienced campers. They have a Mercedes van conversion which is very cool! We spent a whole afternoon eating and talking and drinking wine in this sweet spot in the aspens overlooking the lake.

Beauty, Lisa, Terry, Scott at our picnic table — Silver Lake Resort

View from our picnic table–not bad huh?

We stayed at the Silver Lake Resort and RV Park and had a great spot looking up at a waterfall.

On the second morning, they went on a hike to Parker Lake, about a 3-4 mile round trip hike. My “girls” said there was no way they were taking me that far! So I stayed back and took a short hike up Rush Creek which meanders through the Silver Lake Campground. It was beautiful and easy.

We stayed two nights and I got this cool, crazy shot of the sunset on the last night:

It was a very relaxing and pretty trip, even with the smoke from all the wildfires. I’m happy to report I was able to stay in my “Goldilocks Zone” and not overdo it like I did on the Graeagle trip! See, old gals can learn new ways of being…