Root Creek Falls
I went on a really swell hike up to Root Creek Falls in the Castle Crags State Park not far from Dunsmuir. We started from the parking at Soda Creek freeway exit, 6.8 miles round trip. The elevation at the falls lookout is about 3200 feet. We ascended approximately 900 feet of elevation, whew!
There are a few steep climbs, but most of the way is on the Pacific Crest Trail and the new handicap accessible Root Creek Trail. Still, the signage is scant, perhaps to keep the hordes out of this magical ravine. At the lookout it is VERY STEEP where we stood along a narrow rock ledge carpeted in moss and native sedum.
Below a bridge crossing a large wet drainage, we spied many choice plants: azaleas still flowering, huge Columbia Lilies, five fingered ferns and established clumps of Mountain Ladys-Slipper Cypridpedium calceous with little white pouches hanging from their drooping stems.
The portion from the creek up to the falls is not marked. The trail, such as it is, is obliterated in several sections from blow-downs and erosion and is not recommended for casual hikers. We were lucky to have Steve Lewis with us to keep us on the right path to the falls lookout. Steve is a local celebrity and trail guide author who hikes everywhere and takes excellent pictures, especially a video of the mud gush in McCloud in 2012.
I met Jerry in Beijing in 2011. His greatest desire was to study in the United States. After a year at the Confucious Institute in Bowling Green, Kentucky, he returned to Beijing and applied to colleges, being accepted to CSU Channel Islands. He’s living now in Camarillo, Ventura County, north of LA about twenty minutes from the beach.
Got my car shortly when I came here 2016 as I already had experience of living in US and I know it’s hard to live without a car. I don’t have a girlfriend yet but I’m always open to have one, take every chance to mingle with friends. There do has one girl I really like, she’s Italian and works in Shanghai now. It’s hard to say but there is a hope.
About recent media features about Chinese students, Jerry says:
Very interesting article, some are true but not exactly. About Shuping Yang's speech at Maryland University, I think it’s also some exaggeration about the air pollution. Americans mainly get news of the outside world from media, often it’s full of negative and prejudice, especially for China or maybe some Muslin countries.
China is rising in a short period of time, as people who live and study abroad, often feel proud to be a Chinese and at the same time have to deal with a lot of stereotypes.
I can totally understand Chinese student organization and government's reaction, they need an objective view but not slander. I also can remember when I went to Disney world in Florida, the movie shows about China is still people wearing same color clothes, bicycles everywhere in the street with no cars. I guess that’s many American people’s first image of China if they haven’t been abroad.
Glad to hear from you, and I’m doing great. My GPA 3.9 and I've almost finished my MSCS degree. it’s a great opportunity to study here in US as an international student. I meet a lot of people from everywhere in the world. European, African, Asian and South American, we just look different but share a lot of same values.
Good or bad, you must experience by yourself.
I just returned from the developer week in Oakland, near San Francisco. Great people and cool technologies to see. I work two days for a Chinese blockchain company. I would love to make a visit at where you live possibly when I’m free.
Jo Miller from New Zealand just finished writing a detailed, updated and comprehensive guide on the 100 best things to do in Belgium, over 10,000 words and packed with practical tips and advice. Here's one tempting excerpt:
Moon Food (Brussels)
Vegetarians and vegans rejoice! You have not been forgotten in the meat and fish-infested Belgium. Moon Food is a small bistro with organic vegetarian and vegan dishes, including some amazing desserts. They also carry gluten-free and sugar-free options.
Origin of the Human Hybrids
From the first pages of Origin of the Human Hybrids, the character, Mai Martin, is pregnant and struggles for control of her body after a dramatic collapse and revivification involving manufactured blood carrying miniature nano bots developed by the American government. This Sci bi – Science fiction bio sub genre – illustrated story about high technology in the near future, when humanity attempts to save itself with advances in nanotechnology and the creation of augmented humans, is 113 pages, 27,800 words, and 13 illustrations.
Mai Martin, an American in Beijing, escapes from the corrupt official who murdered the father of one of the unborn non-fraternal twins and plays high stakes in a game with the US government over control of the research surrounding them. She awakes in a strange room hooked up to an IV on page one, convulsing and gasping. In a struggle, she pulls the tube out, jumps out of bed, collapses, hitting her head on the way down and passing out, as her doctor, husband and lover rush into the room. Once she’s recovered and feels the baby kick, the men surrounding her explain and lies are exposed. The reader learns that a previous test subject died. The story unfolds from here.
Mai’s objective is to get as far away as possible from China and the corrupt and murderous officials who pursue her. She strives to gain control of the research surrounding her stem cells and placenta while others are similarly determined to bully her into compliance.
She fends off claims from her husband, Rick, and the retired CCP minister, Zhu Chengyou. Beyond the simple fact of paternity, sovereign nations, the US and China, lay claim to each child. Ron Zhao is not the father of either twin although Mai wishes he was. When Ron returns to Beijing, leaving Mai in California where she's vulnerable to Rick’s machinations.
Mai Martin’s husband, Rick, works at the Department of Homeland Security in a boutique unit which cooperates covertly with the Peoples Liberation Army in China on mutual goals. He’s involved her in dangerous situations in the former series, An American in Beijing. In this new Sci-fi series, Origin, he invades her body with ever increasing alterations while Mai lies about the babies’ paternity. She claims the father is her Chinese lover, and the couple plans to develop a research institute in Mendocino, California, when they discover the extent of Rick’s surveillance on his wife.
Mai still isn’t aware of the extent of the SynTel intrusion in her body and Rick’s involvement with it. She’s aware of the stakes and dangers but feels unable to keep him out of the house and her life without tipping him off about her plan to retreat to the safety of the institute as soon as she can. She and Ron believe nothing dramatic will happen until after the babies are born, that they have a little time.
At the midpoint, Mai travels to a nano-technology conference in Xi’an, China, with Dr. Ludwig, the research scientist running the synthetic telepathy experiment for the US government. She’s his best test subject. Here Mai’s enemy picks up her scent and sends goons after her. Her martial arts lover and her contacts at the PLA seem helpless to protect her and the babies from the maniacal minister and his cohort at the National Armed Police. The synthetic telepathy experiment set systems in play that symbolically present as spots on her body which fluctuate, her remarkable vitality and a super-human strength when defending her babies.
Mai faces her fears about the horrible events surrounding the ghastly death of one of the babies’ father, General Huang, which occurred in the same city as the conference. Here she meets up with her crew, Ron and General Gao, the Commander. They reassure her of her safety. At the same time, they discuss the threat posed by the NAP, attacking them while they walk around in the evening. Mai goes berserk, bites and chases her attacker like a wolf, black spots cover her face, and she gets a taste of blood.
Does Mai resolve her challenges, defeat her demons? She partially succeeds in determining who are the real fathers of the twins with a secret test in Xi’an. In the states, she refuses a test, hoping against hope that the father of the other one is Ron and not her husband Rick.
For this moment in time, she ceases to worry that it’s all been for nothing. She’s with her dream lover and hopefully father of the girl child. Rick is far away in the US or places unknown. She feels good, better than good. She’s strong and hopeful, and she’s looking forward to closure with Huang’s ghost at his memorial and living her happy Beijing life with Ron.
She catches a break by identifying a NAP officer spying on her at the conference hotel. The antagonistic forces are revealed, and their plot intensifies at a cliff-hanger ending forecasting events in the next book of the series, Dangerous Visions.
The three novella length books will be available boxed in time for Christmas shopping!
Excerpt Chapter 1
Mai Martin lies quietly in a hotel room made up as a hospital room. The whir and click of the EKG monitor’s white noise washes over her in the dim light. The equipment LEDs cast a cold glow upon the sterile ceiling and walls.
Her rustling in the bed wakes Dr. David Ludwig lying on a cot beside her in a lab coat and with his long hair tied back with a rubber band.
Ludwig flips on the lights and watches Mai’s lips twitch with clinical interest. She jerks, convulses, goes rigid and convulses again. Sitting up she gasps for air, choking with each painful breath. She doesn’t process that it’s Ludwig who holds her arms. To her he’s a white coat. She feels the baby kick.
“Where am I? What’s going on? Who are you?” The questions spring forth in rapid fire from her lips.
“Mrs. Martin, please lie back. You’re fine. This is Dr. Ludwig.”
He calls his assistant, the loyal Mr. Trung. It’s this moment that Mai breaks his grip. At the sight of the IV in her arm, she yanks it out screaming, “I said no needles! Where am I?” she repeats, her panic accelerating.
Ludwig, grasping the serum bag swinging on a wheeled rack, urges her, “Please, Mrs. Martin, stop struggling. You’re hurting yourself. You need that,” he shouts, meaning the serum. “Stop that! No! Not that!” He reaches for the IV tube as Mai elbows him and jumps off the bed.
Trung and a Japanese doctor burst in, followed closely by Ron Zhao, her lover, and Rick Martin, her husband. Ludwig has Mai around the waist and drags her to the bed. She rakes her fingernails across his cheek, drawing blood. He yelps, dropping Mai onto the floor.
“Put her on the bed,” screams Ludwig, dabbing blood with a tissue he’s fished from his coat pocket. Suddenly sweating and red-faced, he mops his forehead with the same tissue.
Mai shouts, “Stop!” The faces of those around her shift into familiar focus. The large man in a white coat is Dr. Ludwig. Relieved, she sees her lover, Ron and her husband, Rick, surrounding her.
“Get him outta’ here,” she chokes panting, her red face getting redder and her eyes bright with blue sparks.
Ron strong-arms Ludwig to the lobby while Rick pushes the others out the door, but he stays behind with his wife. Mai crouches on the ground on all fours, quivering in her hospital gown printed all over with azure shooting stars.
“Give me a hand up, Rick. And tell me what the fuck is going on! The last thing I remember is lying in warm spa water,” she says standing, suddenly collapsing again, hitting her head on a bed rail on the way down.
The door flies open, Ron takes in the scene.
“Help me lay Mai on the bed,” snaps Rick, bending over Mai’s backside. Her flimsy hospital gown falls open and exposes her spine, curving at the sacrum and disappearing into the cleft of her glutes.
Dr. Ludwig pushes into the room, “How is she?”
“Passed out again. Stood up and fainted, hit her head here,” answers Rick, gesturing to the chrome rail.
“I must complete the injection,” asserts Ludwig.
“She said no needles,” reminds Ron, turning his attention to Mai’s breathing, rubbing her cold hands.
“This procedure is incomplete. There’s only 20mL left in the bag. Let me finish this,” pleads Ludwig. “Her life is dependent on completing this as planned. Gentlemen allow me to finish!”
Ron and Rick exchange looks and back to Mai’s blue lips.
“Dui, okay, do it,” concedes Ron.