Sunday, July 31, 2016

Eastern Oregon and Idaho: Road Trip 2016

John Day Fossil Beds

Rt. 20

Strawberry Peak and view into John day Valley in Eastern Oregon

View north towards the huge mountains in Sun Valley Idaho

Lava flows in Craters of the Moon National Monument
As a native east coaster, the highways, land formations, and wide open expanses of the west never get old. Too much to see, so little time. Here are a few random (and out of order) photos from the road. How will progress continue to change the land and towns in coming years? Only time will tell...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Crater Lake: Road Trip 2016

Looking towards the PCT and the Three Sister's in Bend, Oregon.

Clarke's Nutcracker

Mazama Village

20 years ago, when I was 19 and a freshman in college, my roommate and I took a month to hitchhike and camp in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. While hitchhiking near Dinosaur National Park in Wyoming, we were picked up by a man in a van who was once a seasonal park ranger in Crater Lake. He said Crater Lake was the most beautiful place he had ever been to, or had seen in his life. I remember him describing the surreal quality and color of the lake itself.

Fast forward 14 years, the first time I laid eyes on Crater Lake was while hiking the PCT with my friend Indie in 2010. The words of the seasonal ranger were ringing in my ears as Indie and I approached the rim around 6:00pm, however my thoughts were consumed by food more than anything at the time. Perhaps due to feeling famished, the cold, or "wilderness fatigue," the lake didn't strike me the way I had hoped. Actually, I don't think we were there at the right time of day.

A couple weeks ago, my parents and I reached Crater Lake around 2:00 or so in the afternoon. The parking area was buzzing with tourists. Miraculously, we scored a perfect parking spot with the trailer. When we approached the rim and saw the lake, all we could say was "Wow!" The blue color of the lake was absolutely stunning. I don't think I've ever seen a blue like that before...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Northern California: Road Trip 2016

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

Vineyards in Napa Valley

Walking in Arcata

Arcata Used Tires and Wheels did a superb job patching the tire on my parents car, offering great advice, fast work, and very, very affordable.

After finding a nail in the tire and low air pressure, my parents have the tire patched at Arcata Used Tires and Wheels

My parents bought a bottle of wine from St. Clements Winery. They graciously sold us a bottle 30 minutes after closing time.

Golden hills in Calistoga, CA

Some delicious seafood at the Fisherman's Restaurant in Crescent City, CA

Laid eyes on the redwoods of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park for the first time. Unfortunately, only caught a glimpse from the road. Further exploration will have to wait for another time.

View towards Alcatraz

I showed my parents one of my favorite groves in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Free Spirit unloads some fish in Crescent City

My parents and I made good time through Northern California. We were able to spend an afternoon in Napa Valley, a short time in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and an evening in Arcata and Crescent City. We stopped in Arcata where I had a storage unit filled with my belongings, packed up a 5x8 U-Haul trailer, patched a rear tire that picked up a nail, and said goodbye to a few Arcata friends I made while living there last year. It felt great to be back, bittersweet to say goodbye. Part of me didn't want to linger too long, as it would increase the pain of having to say goodbye to one of my favorite places I've ever lived! Maybe sometime in the future I will be able to spend quality time with the redwoods again, maybe not. Still very grateful for my time in those forests...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Big Sur: Road Trip 2016

One of the southernmost, naturally occurring redwood groves

My parents and I made our way up the California Coast and I saw Big Sur for the first time. As fantastic as the ocean was, the highlight for me was seeing the southernmost, naturally occurring redwood groves in Big Sur. I've heard a lot about them, but this was the first time I was able to see them in person, which created another memorable experience in what I call the "redwood journey." The trees basically grow only in the canyons between the mountains where they receive just enough moisture to survive...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Southern California: Road Trip 2016

Point Loma

It felt great to be back in California again. My parents and I took the I-8 from Yuma to San Diego. It was the first time I had seen the far south eastern portion of California. It was the first time I had been back to southern California since 2011. The first thing that I noticed was the effect of the drought. The vegetation in and around San Diego did not look as vibrant as I remembered, the same was true of the mountains and hills around LA. Weather along the coast was fantastic...