Monday, July 30, 2012

Road Trip Part 1: Volcano Lands


Lassen Peak as viewed from Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park. First stop on our recent week long road trip, and oh what an awesome trip it was!

While it seems my blogging mojo has gone completely missing this summer, I was determined to post about this trip before it fell into that ever-growing backlog of fun things I have yet to post about. So here we go…

By the way, Lassen Peak is one of numerous volcanoes in the park, its most recent eruption having been in 1915.


Our campsite at Manzanita Lake had a big boulder that made a perfect stage on which Clover danced around amidst the campfire smoke.


I’ll tell you what, if you’re looking for an easy way to make friends with fellow campers, get yourself a teardrop trailer! People are constantly wanting to check it out. Here’s Lucas giving one of his tours of our cozy little abode on wheels. Oddly enough, this group happened to be from our very own town.


The next day, back on the road, someone needed a spot to stop and pee.


Not a bad view for a pee spot, eh? One of many scenic vista lookout points along the way.


With a tank full of gas and The Wind in the Willows audio book on heavy rotation, we were off to our next destination…


The high desert beauty of Lava Beds National Monument. With the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America, this park is full of amazing places to explore and adventures to be had.


We began at the visitor’s center, soaking in some knowledge about the area’s native peoples, the Modoc.


From the visitor center we embarked onto cave loop road and decided to check out Hercules Leg, a lava tube cave that appeared easy enough to explore with Clover.


That is until she realized that, even with a flashlight, it got pretty dark in there, and went running back out into daylight.


Lucas and I took turns venturing around the dark bend which pretty quickly led out into the light at the other end of the tunnel (where two other smaller openings could be entered).


We tried convincing Clover to go all the way through, but she was having none of it, so back out into the sunshine we went.


A Mariposa Lily standing tall and lovely along the roadside caught Lucas’ eye.


As I was photographing it, a friendly ranger happened by, which is how I came to know what it was. He said they had just recently begun to bloom. We were to see many more, along with so many other beautiful wildflowers, most of which I never did catch their names.


Heading off on a hike in the hot desert sun.


Indian Paintbrush and Juniper berries along the trail.


Our destination… Symbol Bridge.


Ancient cave paintings on smooth blue-gray rock surfaces.


The light beyond.


More pictographs.


This was such a neat place and we were the only ones there!


On the way back up, I noticed the tree growing out of the rock overhead.


As we started off down the trail, it held the sinking sun in its branches and appeared very much rooted in magic.


High desert lands, rich in turbulent history, both geologically and with regard to native culture. Lava Beds has the same sort of intensity that one experiences in the Southwest. Which it very much reminded me of!


Hey, there I am :)


Our hike to Symbol Bridge ended up being a bit of a scorcher so we decided to take a detour on our way back to the campground. 24 miles down a small mostly dirt and gravel road, and we arrived at Medicine Lake, where we were greeted with a nice cool breeze and a shady spot to relax.


Our water baby loved it and she and I had a great time playing catch and release with the many resident tadpoles.


On the way back, we spotted a sign that read: Mammoth Crater.


After a quick jaunt up a hill, that is exactly what we found.

As inviting as this trail sounded, we opted to head back to camp.


Where we settled in for the night. A night that would bring one of the most amazing star-filled skies I have ever seen. Not a city light for miles upon miles and the Milky Way stretching across the heavens in all its shimmering glory.


The next morning I photographed this beauty. Turns out she goes by the name Blazing Star.


Clover took these!

On our way out of the park we stopped at Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a trail through the historic battlefield site of the Modoc War.

I had tweaked my lower back while doing breakfast dishes earlier that morning and was hobbling around barely able to walk upright. So Clover and I hung out at the little rest area at the trailhead while Lucas ventured off to do the hike.

While we waited (with the strap carefully secured ;) I let her try out my camera for the first time. While it was big and unwieldy in her tiny hands and probably weighs about as much as her head, she was so determined to do it on her own and so excited when she did. She wanted to take more and more pictures, so to pass the time we took pics of each other.

Those first three I didn’t even crop at all. I was pretty impressed with how she did!


Mom, take one of me looking sad, she says, ha!


I think I’ve found my new outfit photographer! Check it out, she even takes detail shots:


Again, no cropping on my part, the kid’s a natural :)


Back on the road, snow covered Mount Shasta looming ever lovely in the distance.


We made one more stop at Petroglyph Point, a protected offshoot of the park.


This rock formation was once an island within the then much larger Tule Lake. The lake was drained to create farmland and auctioned off to white settlers :(


Petroglyph Point is one of the largest panels of Native American rock art in the United States.


The island was the center of a Modoc creation story and generations of native people traveled to it by canoe, where they carved images into the soft sandstone rock face. The heights of the images vary along with the changes in water level throughout the years.

We spent each night of our trip at a new place we’d never visited before. It ended up being like a sampler trip. We got a quick taste of what each place was like.

Lava Beds was definitely one that we’d love to return to one day with more time to explore. There were so many cool caves to see and trails to hike. Perhaps when Clover is a bit older and more into cave adventures ;)


Next stop, Crater Lake, Oregon! Astoundingly beautiful to behold. With the bluest of blue waters, this volcanic lake is (at 1,943 ft) the deepest in the United States.


View of Wizard Island. Not even my wide angle lens could capture this entire lake in all its glory. It was visually quite impressive.


We attempted to make the loop drive all the way around the Lake, but the road was closed off about half way, forcing us to head back the way we came. Notice the dark storm clouds building overhead.


Working on my photography from a moving vehicle skills.


Those storm clouds did end up dumping rain with thunder and the whole bit, but not before we were able to make our way to Vidae Falls. Just off the road as you head around the lake in the other direction, this breathtaking spring-fed waterfall cascades 100 ft down the rocky cliff face.


Leaving a trail of life, lush and green, on its way down.


While absorbing this spectacular scene, I thought of our lovely Heather, whose baby due date had come and gone just before we set off on our adventure. I even sent her a little birth blessing as it felt like the right time and place to do so.

Little did I know that she had been laboring throughout the day and precious Lucinda Violet would be entering the world that very night! Talk about the sweetest little family ever, I’m so happy to see Heather and Darin basking in their new baby bliss!

In other fun summertime news, last weekend involved seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, Fiona Apple at the Fox Theater in Oakland (!!!!!!!!!), and a Woody Guthrie 100th Birthday Jubilee down in Railroad Square :D

Ok, gonna try to round up that missing mojo now, more travels to come!


Alexa said...

Lovely shots, including Clover's! Sounds like a magical trip. I love seeing pictographs, that tangible connection to someone so long ago.

Teeny said...

I love your adventuring! Isn't it so cool once they hit about 4 travelling with them gets so much easier (the kids i mean) - I wish I could've ventured there with you, so much to see! Impressive lava caves indeed, but i especially love the pictographs...and want to interpret the very ancient ones as documenting alien landings, cos that's how i roll. Colonial history is so heartwrenching isn't it, i thank you that you wrote about it here. Your dress is beautiful and so are you! I have many exact pics of Steve carrying Mia/Oscar as you do Lucas and Clover - great dadas huh.
much love

flaming hag folkwear said...

K's class is spending two nights in Lassen in September. I wasn't going to go but your photos make it much more enticing :-)
So good to see you and yours enjoying such a beautiful adventure!

Miss Claire said...

These photos are beautiful and I really did feel as though I was on the trip with you! Clover is such a precious little thing, those photos are fantastic! I am swooning over your second frock and if you do ever decide to sell that one I've got m y hand up first! xx

Ginela Gonzalez said...

Wow I love the way you narrate everything, I don't know how the other readers feel, but you almost take us along on the trip just from these gorgeous images and awesomely remembered heroic points like the majestic pee spot, the cave turn taking, the magical tree from the ledge and all the insanely beautiful flowers! Clover is ridiculously talented at photography, my gosh, you look stunning, she knows her moms best! That is so awesome :). Thank you so much for posting this! I will tell my boyfriend about this place and one day hopefully we can venture off on an adventure to it just like you guys :)

Good luck with your blogger mojo Missa!
Hope to hear more soon!

- Ginela Gonzalez - Sugar Magnolia

bonfire of my vanity said...

i love the story of Kintapuash and the Modoc. they were so brave. amazing photos! you look so beautiful and Clover is a great photographer. jackson is super into photography, he constantly steals my camera and runs off with it, and i only find out what he he has been doing when i go through my pictures later. glad you had a good trip!

A. Rodenas said...

Congrats! Great pics!! :)

Andrea said...

Absolutely amazing photographs Missa-- I never tire of your beautiful tree photos :) Just love them! Looks like it was an amazing trip.

Nicky said...

Gorgeous all of it, and fun adventuring too. Reminded me of playing in the lava fields in Hawaii :D That last dress is so stinkin cute on you!!! Happy Tuesday Missa!

Milla said...

Good job on the postings girl, can you tell from the onslaught of comments how much everyone has missed you?!?!? I'm glad you guys got a vacation in, it looks like a beauteous one. Also super happy that you got your star gazing on, was Lucas suitably impressed? Clover is such a natural photog. If you start training her new, by next year we won't need those curmudgeon-y husbands of ours to take our millions of group shots. Oh and totally already stole your idea to make a necklace from those earrings. Love you!

anne said...

beautiful trip missa! all the stops on your journey look amazing. crater lake is on my list of places i'd like to visit. i've never been to oregan but it looks spectacular. i also love your teardrop trailer :D

i guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree with little clover! love her shots and esp. the detail ones. your dress rules big time too!

glad you're back! we all miss your epic posts!

sally said...

yay, this all makes me so happy! glad to see the trailer and y'all hitting the road! i hope to have more time for the internets again coming up.

Janet Scarborough said...

missa, wow....the pictures are stunning, this looks like a wonderful place to visit. I can tell that you and your family had a great camping trip. my husband and i enjoy camping, as well. there's nothing like feeling the fresh air and going on long hikes. I love the moccasins... and that dress is georgeous on you. so lovely. moccasins are a staple of mine that i wear all of the time.they are so comfortable, huh? have a great day, missa... janet Magnolia Wind