Friday, July 22, 2016

Mazama, Sisters, Bachelor, Hood. The Pacific Ring Of Fire - Part 2.

Technology has integrated itself into our lives so inextricably - to the extent of becoming an extension of ourselves, lulling, perhaps dulling us into relying so heavily on the gizmos we constantly find in our hands, or at our fingertips - scanning a screen to give us the information we need. A glowing screen has replaced paper. Although, the irony of lamenting on a weblog isn't lost on me, I brought this up because it pertains to this narrative - do we even carry paper maps anymore? I haven't for years now. I should, they are essential, but I haven't been. I have been relying too much on my gadgets. My Ultrabook to plan my itineraries - translating them into meandering routes, and a scattering of way-points, before sending all that data to my GPS devices - which have been my rudders, steering me collectively through over 120,000 miles of wandering travels over the past 8 years. Evidently, this has worked pretty well for me over the years - until it didn't. :)

Adventure begins when one leaves their backyard. Northern California - even around the Shasta area is still my backyard. I consider Shasta home after all. Adventure can still be found here, if I had decided to go way off the beaten track, but I didn't this time around. The plan was to visit Crater Lake first - come in the South entrance, snap a few photographs and exit the north entrance, to find the Aufderheide scenic byway (for off the beaten track fun). Crater Lake was hardly busy at all, it was still early enough in the morning and not a lot of souls were stirring yet. Chilly as it almost always is, but still pleasant. Not a cloud in the sky, although I would have preferred some of those white fluffy ones to be floating around. The lake was mostly calm, and reflective in that deep, deep blue hue, echoing the thoughtful and introspective state of mind it instills.     

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Lassen and Shasta. The Pacific Ring Of Fire - Part 1.

What drives my fascination with volcanoes? It's not the danger or the peril. On a day to day basis, those are practically non-existent for volcanoes which lay dormant for decades if not centuries. Yet, being fickle, mysterious monoliths, often shrouded in the mist - volcanoes permeate mystical in our legends and our psyche. We are drawn to them, like the one ring destined to return to it's fiery origins in the depths of Mt. Doom - volcanoes exert an inexplicable pull on the strings of my heart and my mind.    

When Europeans settled the West-unknown,  in some instances they were undoubtedly drawn to settle in the stunningly gorgeous and fertile shadow of these sleeping beasts. Unaware of their history, or the fire which churned in their cores. The natives who roamed the land before the Europeans arrived, had no written history, only legends passed on through word-of-mouth, of the explosive battle between the gods of the sky and the earth, atop these mountain peaks. It's easy to theorize that when the West was conquered, the victors paid little attention to these fairy tales from the natives. 

It had been a long 4 years since I toured these volcanoes in the Cascade range. July of 2012 was the first time ever, that I had strung together a vacation ride through the Cascades. At the end of that trip, I had vowed to return again within the next couple of years. Although, as most resolutions often do, it fell victim to life, work and responsibilities galore. So it was to be 4 years - almost to the day, and countless invitations later, when I embarked once again stringing together volcanoes along the way from Lassen to Rainer, with the goal of seeing and spending some quality time visiting my very dear friends Lisa and Tobie, who have a mountain cabin near Rainier.  

Archiving the memories of the first portion of the trip in this post, taking some time here and there to do so. Hopefully, I don't run out of time, or steam in it's midst .. it might happen. Ride more, write less.. sigh.. :)