Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hooleys joins me and is Going to Everest

Hooleys Irish Pub and Grill sponsors me!

I have so much love and appreciation for Craig and the crew at HOOLEYS IRISH PUB and Grill for being a sponsor. A huge THANK YOU for seeing in my dream and supporting one of your local Jamulian/Rancho San Diegans!

Why do I love Hooleys?
Hooleys is an experience from the moment you walk in and is designed with such care and charm. The atmosphere is friendly and instantly comfortable, with the warmth of a neighborhood pub in Ireland. The food is oh so delicious, always incredibly yummy and tantalizing to all the senses. My favorite two favorite dishes are the Cobb Salad and the Lobster Tacos; however I do have a hard time deciding between all the mouthwatering traditional Irish dishes. I love the staff they are always welcoming and engaging.  Jennifer and Eddie are my too favorite bartenders. Craig, the owner, has always been incredibly real and friendly. Most of all Hooleys is a fun, relaxing, and very inviting place to eat with the family, have drinks with friends, listen to live music, watch the game, or simply chill.

Much Love Hooleys 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

She and I - A poem. Running in the hills of Jamul

She and I

by Molly Winjum

I missed her soft earth,
She was welcoming and familiar,
My mind still lost in the chatter of life,
She eased me in with a her gentle hills,
My body resisting the sensation in my legs,
She whispered for me to keep going,
A sweet song rushing in,
Her birds and breeze serenading me with each step,
The chaos began to fade and I was present,
Her twisting path needing me,
Every rocky step escorting me upward,
The beauty of her, quieting the noise in my head,
The wet grey air camouflaged,
As she eased my senses by the smell of fresh rain,
A cleansing of the earth that brought clarity and ease,
We shared this moment,
The clouds heavy and dull,
Yet, the brilliant glow of her red clay lit my way,
Wondering if she collects the sun’s rays
She found my soul entranced in her light,
Running her ridge, the little hidden neighborhood below gave view,
Its green vegetation softening the square pink roof tiles,
Life entered the homes lights began to twinkle,
Its time of day when a few sprinkled lights begin to shine,
My mind dancing back in creativity,
She smiled back heartening me to fly,
With the grace of a deer, I took bounding leaps down her side,
Her slope steep and comforting with each step,
My spirit soared as I raced the last of her trail,
She and I were one.

Want to visit her?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One Huge Thank You!

Thank you Nanci K., for believing in me and so kindly contributing to the sucess of my journey. It means more than I can say.

So much love and light!!!  -Molly

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mount San Jacinto, Cactus to Clouds - Training Climb 5

MOUNTAIN: Mount San Jacinto
ROUTE(s): Cactus to Clouds via Palm Springs Musem Trail and Skyline Ridge Route to Palm Springs Aerial Tram
ALTIDUDE GAIN: 8069   Start: 580ft  to End: 8519ft
DISTANCE: 12 Miles

Cactus to Clouds Topo Map
Cactus to Clouds Topo Map
“J” and I were itching to get out of town. We craved being on a mountain with both a challenge of distance and altitude.  Our last two climbs, Yosemite and Mount San Jacinto via Idyllwild, had unfortunately been cancelled due to weather and heavy snow. This weekend had a forecast of beautiful and we were both available for a two-night stay away(allowing us an early start), perfect for a mountain adventure.

Without much debate, we decided to hike the “Cactus to Clouds” via Skyline Ridge Route. We had recently learned of the hike and were excited to check it out first had.  We planned to leave early the next afternoon, Friday.   I spent about an hour and half that evening Googling the trail and browsing of some of the pictures posted via Summitpost. I packed with delight  and couldn't wait to plant my hiking boots on a new mountain.  Part of me felt off though, I just had a funny feeling and couldn't shake.  I summed my butterflies up to a rush of excitement and pushed my intuitions aside.

We arrived in Palm Springs about 5pm and went straight to Kobe Japanese Steak House for a delicious Teppanyaki meal of protein and carbs. At dinner, we met a very enjoyable couple who were spending a civilized night in Palm Springs before spending the next evening all out camping.  The husband, Jim, realized he could get his bride to enjoy camping by slowly using positive associating some of her joys, red wine and delicious cuisine with things associated with his passion for camping , such as a tent, evenings outdoors etc. They were still in love and quite a pair after 35 years of marriage.  Bravo to Jim, for his ingenious idea!!!

That night in our hotel, “J” started getting achy and flu-like symptoms.  My "funny" feeling returned and I wondered if maybe we should post-pone this hike. We agreed to wake early and just see how we both felt and then go from there. 

I’m not sure what time I first woke, as I felt calm and cozy under the covers and had already decided the night before to let the day lead me. Knowing that my partner wasn’t feeling very well, I slipped back into a sweet slumber and waited for him to wake and set the tone for the day. The tone was achy and coughing…….

Needing a nice dose of coffee before making any decisions we went to a Starbucks inside a Vons grocery.  We needed caffeine to think clearly, and supplies for our “not-yet-decided-day”.  After, finally sharing my “weird feeling, aka premonition” back at the hotel I felt a bit silly for any panic or apprehension I was having.  The day was bright and clear, and we were happy in its bliss.
We parked in the Palm Springs Art Museum lot, which also serves as the trail head for the Palm Springs Museum. This is the first portion of the “Cactus to Clouds” trek.  “J” was still feeling feverish and achy and we weren’t feeling committed to anything, but we were here and the mountain was calling.  We want to see more than just the trail head.  I made and packed us tuna sandwiches, lots of water, protein bars and Cliff bars. We forewent any of our  cold weather gear as we didn’t consider needing it on such a warm day and not planning on hiking too far.

The trail doesn’t start out easy, it’s more of a “Here I am, can you hang?” kind of roar.  She is steep and rocky, and warns you to be prepared with water for the challenge.  The Palm Springs Museum Trail is marked with spray-painted white dots on the rocks, that serve as carins.

It wasn’t long before we reached the picnic tables, a distance of 0.7mi and an altitude gain of 910ft.  We stopped for a drink of water and decided to continue on up, enjoying the hike so far.  Within a few minutes we found ourselves at Painted Rock. What’s painted on Painted Rock: NO WATER ON TRAIL UNTIL ROUND VALLEY RANGER STA. 8MILES 10 HOURS . I recognized it immediately from researching our hike two nights prior, and felt assured  knowing we were on the right path. We later found out it is actually about 10 miles to the Round Valley Ranger Station / Tram. 

With both us feeling ready for the challenge (even the sick one of us), we happily began the long traverse up Skyline Ridge Route Trail.  We were confident that we would make the Tram before sunset as it was only about 9:30am. 

“J” and I make good hiking partners for many reasons.  We are just as happy in our silence and reflection as we are sharing it.  It’s easy for us to trust and understand the other and we find equals in each other’s leadership and thought.  Our friendship has the same beautiful rhythm as does our partnership on the mountain.   By about 2300ft, I began to yawn often and feel dizzy.  “J” being the good partner reminded me to clear my lungs and focus on my “rest step” and brought me a sense of calm.  Within minutes my mini panic attack and yawning ceased and my focus was on my breathing and rest-step. 

The beautiful mountain was abundant with sunlit cholla, barrel cactus, yuccas and amazing rock formations.   At lunchtime, we found a shady plateau to dine We sat beneath the the filtered shade of some Ribbon Woods and enjoyed our sandwiches. They tasted delicious and I very maturely, stuffed with the Jalapeno potato chips. We continued to  nourished our bodies and hydrated with lots of water. 

We had gained about 3500 in altitude and were making good time or so we thought.  A fellow hike descending the mountain stopped to say hello. He was a friendly occasional hiker from Alaska, who had flown the night before and was returning from about 5000 in altitude. 

We took count of our remaining supplies, which we had plenty, and agreed to continue up the mountain to the tram. Within 20 minutes, we saw the 4300 marker, made out of rocks. We reached the top of the peak and I was certain we would see the Tram, but there was nothing only more ridge line. I was beginning to wonder if we were on the right trail.  I could sense my partner feeling worse and knew that sight of the Tram would provide a new sense of energy for him (for us both). Finally, as we were ascending the third peak since the 4300 marker, I heard an engine moaning.   It had to be the Tram! My heart leaped with excitement and I rushed up the ridge.  I later learned that this portion of Skyline's trail is referred to as the Never Ending Ridge. 

Looking up, we saw a snow covered boulder faced ridge, the top of the mountain. 
"J" spotted the Tram first and pointed it out me.  It was a good distance to the right of the summit above a large craggy looking boulder. It was then that we realized the summit was NOT "The Summit" and we still had quite a way to travel up the mountain. I stopped for a minute to take the realization in and regroup.  I looked around.  Even in this moment I was stunned by the pure beauty surrounding us, in all directions.   I did feel a sense of ease knowing the Tram was real and that we were in the right direction, but it was frustrating not knowing the trail or exactly where we were on it.

Skyline Ridge has little to no markers along its trail. We were basically following footprints and intuition.  There is a trail, however there seemed to be many areas where the trail forked, and we followed the most trafficked paths. There is also good distance between the each of the "markers" and quite honestly unless you have familiarized yourself with these there is plenty of room for error that might stray one from the actual trail.  

We weren't quite as far up the trail as we thought, but we gained enthusiasm and quickened our step in the lowering sun.  The spots of snow became less sparse as we gained altitude and the snow and ice began to edged the trail.  Soon the shoe prints narrowed down to a one remaining pair.

We soon reached "Flat Rock" which was surrounded by thick manzanita bushes and icy packed snow . Here the path seemed to just disappear and we eventually found the boot prints we'd been following. The path steepened and we continued onward and upward.  The snow and crunchy ice soon took over much of our trail.  The sun was leaving us in the shadow of the mountain's high ridge and the air had a sharp chill. I stopped and put my polar fleece on and thought of the supplies we'd left in the car. It wasn't the brightest idea to leave the gloves, hats, jackets, crampons, and headlamp in the car!  I was glad we at least brought some extra layers and  "J" had his trekking poles.

Coffman's Crag was just above us and one of the steepest parts of the trail. This portion was now thick with a blanket of snow and ice. Palm Springs began to sparkle below an the mountains had a halo of pink floating above their blue bodies. I felt happy to be nearing the Tram, but I had a strong feeling of trepidation.  

The pines were thicker here and I used their branches to steady myself on the icy patches.  I dug my boots into the snow as I would with crampons, and concentrated on my rest step.  I tried to slow my pace, but I was racing inside. I was really nervous to be caught in the dark and also knew it was inevitable.  To calm my mind and slow myself, I found "treasures" (i.e. pyramid shaped rocks, funky roots, etc.) and left them for "J" on "unmissable" fallen trees and such.

The sun was setting, and its remaining light dim.  It was about 5:30 and we stopped for water, thankful for the bright moonlight above.  The snow was cold icy and potentially dangerous, but it also helped light our way. We were both exhausted and "J" was feeling weak with chills and fever. I let him lead as we needed to stay together,now that it was minutes from dark. This portion of the trail was edged with icy chutes that would be our death in one false move.  

I tucked my freezing fingers into my sleeves, but my face was exposed and the air bit at my face.  The path was barely visible now and we had to stop every few minutes and reassess where to go next.  The pines darkened our path from the moon and the icy patches held no clues or prints.  I tried to concentrate solely on the path, but my mind started to wonder with dark thoughts of the worst.  Part of me wanted to cry and I knew that this would be stupid, so instead I spotted places that could provide warmth for the night if we lost our trail or hope.

The steep traverse finally plateaued and just in time as we were exhausted mentally, tired from the cold  and long day.  I spotted the silhouette of sign on the path just ahead. I was so happy for a sign, literally, that I ran to it.  "J" was excited too, I could hear it in his voice. "What does it say, is it for the Tram?" The sign was facing in the direction opposite of us and it was difficult to read in the poor light. I squinted close and read, "DANGER, Icy Skyline Ridge."   Yeah, we know!  

The "path" started to become one big patch of ice, about 3-4 ft wide.  We came to an open field sprinkled with trees and could no longer see footprints. Everything seemed to be iced over, and now there were many paths in various directions.  We stayed to the right knowing the Tram was more to the North and  spotted another sign.  The sign had an arrow pointing to the South and said "Grubbs View Point". This was a good sign and the Tram had to be near.  We followed the icy trail, and rounding a big bouldered ridge  when a bright light showered us.  

I think I may have heard a choir sing, that light was my beacon.  Like a moth to a light, I ditched the trail and started straight for it.  I really didn't care that I wasn't on a path, or that I had to climb a few boulders, or that I may end up in the dining room window,  I wanted to be inside and warm and safe. "J" reasoned with me and I halfway met him to the trail. I wasn't letting the Tram out of my sight!  

Ahead we saw another light, the Ranger Station and then another sign, and then a cement walkway and railing, the path to the Tram! Oh were we happy.  I took a deep breath and and felt like skipping. We made it!  

We were on our final ascent up the cement path when a Park Ranger caught up with us.  He was just finishing his shift and it was a little embarrassing for him see us. It was 7 o'clock at a night, and here we were  traipsing in from the mountain with our climber packs.  We knew better than to have planned so poorly and we knew it could have ended up worse.  I also felt a little joy to see the Ranger here on the cement path, rather than needing his aid.

The warm air felt wonderful, as we enter the Palm Springs Aerial Tram at Long Valley.  We  bought tickets for the Tram, checked out the scene and found our way to bar for a celebratory drink.  Our adrenaline kicked in and we were two happy kids laughing at our little adventure.  I was so amazed with "J", I knew he felt less than well and here we just trekked 12 miles with a 8000 altitude gain and he was smiling.  Cheers to him!  

The Tram took us back to Palm Springs in just 10 minutes and there was a taxi waiting for us, thanks to a call from one of the Tram employees.  On the way to dinner we chatted with our driver. He was a very nice 3rd generation local, who also happen to be a guide for Skyline Ridge Route.   Through the conversation, our driver, realized what we just did, trekking up the route not only in the snow but in the dark. He was really cool about it though giving us props inspite of our stupidity.  The driver, laughed saying the locals don't even go in the winter.  He told us how dangers San Jacinto actually is during the winter months, with Navy Seals and avid Skyline Ridge hikers finding themselves in dangers and deathly situations. 

We had our driver take us to Trio, as we were elated and ready for a yummy dinner. Trio is a hip  modern American restaurant with a very "Palm Springs" contemporary atmosphere.  The patrons looked dressed and fabulous and as much as I would have loved to be dolled up, I felt great.  We opted for the patio table under a heat lamp, which was perfect.  Our dinner was absolutely delicious and I ate every bite of my well-deserved dinner.  

Time for sleep!  A taxi returned us to the Palm Springs Art Museum parking lot which was now full from and evening event. We were both exhausted and ready for sleep.  Neither of us wanted to even think about going anywhere else. We folded the rear seats of my HHR to make bed. We used our packs, a sleeping bag and warm clothes to make a bed.  I quickly changed into some clean clothes and hurried into the car. I don't remember much after lying down and getting snug. The museum goers let out shortly after I closed my eyes and the sounds of the their car doors opening and closing and engines turning lulled me to sleep.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


The last month, has been very busy, with kids, the holidays and new artistic endeavors.  I wanted this blog to be perfect before I actually launched it, but that is proving to be a endless journey.

The entire purpose of me starting this blog was for you, the readers, my family and friends to share the experience with me.  I quite honestly, its not perfect, but I know the end result will be worth every moment, doubt, faith, hope, and glimmer of inspiration.  There will be time to polish the rough edges along the way.

With time being a main factor I am launching, Molly's BIG Adventure today, and will be going back of the next few weeks publishing posts I've been fine tuning as well as adding current posts.

I am asking for your support in following me, as well as supporting me on my adventure to the Himalayas, whether you decide to support me as an individual, with your company.  Please feel free to pass this along.

Thank you for all your love and support.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Celebrating 3 years without a Cigarette! Part 1

Three years ago today marks the day I quit smoking once and for all and chose to live again.  

I decided “no more” and I took control of my life, emotions, and once again began fighting for the fiery athletic girl inside of me.

It was shortly after my 35th birthday and I was sitting outside smoking a cigarette.  All I could think about was this vivacious spirit that once embodied my soul: a girl that set goals and achieved them. A girl full of dreams and determination, a girl that participated in life, instead of just watching it.  “Where did she go?”

This night the cigarette smelled dirtier than usual and my shame for smoking felt deeper than ever. Done!  I broke the remainder of the pack and threw it away.  The next morning I went and bought the patch on and started a very painful withdrawal.

It was also the Christmas holiday.... and my marriage was hanging on by a tattered thread. 

I haven’t always understood why, however, I have always believed everything happens for a reason and “how” and “when” it’s supposed too. In a most unlikely situation I had both my mom and dad in town for Christmas. My mother was visiting from Seattle and my dad here from Montana working.  Never before had I ever shared Christmas with them.  Having both of them here was the support I needed during this emotional transition.

13 days after finally saying goodbye to smoking, I bought a new pair of running shoes.   This was the day after Christmas, and it was my first run in nearly 12 years.  The last time I had been running was when I was pregnant with my daughter.  

I have always had a passion for running, this was my sport. It began early first in Elementary School competing with the boys to prove myself and then on the track team in Middle and High School.  I started running longer distances my freshman year, running 3-5 miles about 5 days a week.  There was comforting solitude and peacefulness I experienced during these runs and it became my saving grace, alleviating some of the depression I already coped with. This is when I first decided I had to run a marathon.
I kept with running through my early twenties increasing my distances until I was pregnant with my daughter.  Running felt awkward, and I had little energy. be continued

Monday, December 10, 2012

Be a Sponsor


An Artist's first expedition...

Molly in Awe, a climb in SedonaHi, I'm Molly, an artist and single mother of two. I have a dream of trekking through Nepal to Mount Everest and sharing the "Journey", experience, through original oil paintings and a writing.
I have spent many years hibernating in my own self-doubt and excuses.  Painting and creating are my passion; they are what I dream about and what I can't wait to do each day. I recently had a friend tell me it’s time for me to do something big, something life changing, and he was exactly right!  
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
~Eleanor RooseveltMolly Painting
Molly -I am a child that grew up way too fast and got lost in the world.  I am a woman who’s finding her way back.  I am the Mother of two amazing, bright and beautiful children.  I am a self-taught artist and designer learning my way and growing stronger each day.  I am a runner who finds peace within bounding up a mountain (an ex-smoker now marathoner). I am a free spirit who loves nothing more than finding simple treasures along the shoreline or high in the mountains.  I am full of love and joy and have overcome the deep pull of depression.   I am a dreamer and a believer!Salmon
Why Now - Its time!  
It's time to believe in myself and take flight with my dreams. This is an awesome adventure with a beautiful palette to paint and story to share.
The Journey started the day I said “yes” to trek in the Himalayas.  I knew I was taking a leap of faith. It was the chance of a lifetime to embrace my dream to paint and write about a very personal and empowering experience.   
Since planning this venture, I've seemed to get slapped with a financial test from every direction.  As much as I've skimped and tried to save I'm still short. It is getting down to the wire and I have to believe that I can still make my dream come true. I refuse to give up   
Molly and Her BabiesThe Goal - Travel to Katmandu Nepal and trek to Mount Everest Base Camp, writing
and painting about the entire experience.
The Outcome -
1- An exhibit of original paintings, inspired from Expedition, at my 1st Public Art Show in 2013, my launch into a life doing what I love.
2 - Be published. Write this personal story about the entire "journey" and what lead up to it, including the believing deep, staying strong and surviving depression. I hope to talk to the many of the sherpas, other climbers and beautiful humans we meet along the way and include some of their stories in the book.
3 - A journey to Mount Everest, a beautiful inspiration.
4 - Telling my sweet babies they can do anything they put their mind to....and knowing they believe me. Priceless!
5 - Paying it forward.

  • $5
    Love and Light

    I will be forever grateful for your support and encouragement.
  • $15
    Special Mention and Love

    You will be in my heart and you will recieve a special mention and thank you on my blog.
  • What's Needed - 

    $2500 Summit Climb Trek -A month long trek starting in Kathmandu to Mount Everest Base Camp. I will be alone at BC for about a week,(this time will be used for drawing, writing, photography, interviewing and reflection) while group continues to Camp 4
    $2000 Air Fare
    $1500 Expenses to cover while away
    I have kept my request for funding extremely trim as I can forgo any extras and just take in the experience.  I am using my sewing skills to make some of my warmer winter gear, and will borrow what I can.
    NOTE: I am in need of a decent digital camera to take photos for documenting and for the Expedition Paintings.  If anyone has one to loan or that I may rent I would greatly appreciate it.Molly at her 1st Private Art Show 2012
    Just for you -
    This experience is something to be shared whether it is with a simple encouragement, an inspiring photo, words rich with emotion or a life lasting painting.  Each work of art will be made with the up most care and passion.  I appreciate all your support; please choose from the perks on the right.
    Can you spread the word?
    Along with your the support through perks, I would love to have you help me spread the word with friends and family who dream big and support the arts.
    What happens if goal isn't reached? - The dream doesn't die, the adventure just gets more interesting.
    "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~ Helen Keller