Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oregon Trail 1

A good day to travel. We started out on the Oregon Trail at about nine in the morning. Leaving was hard to describe. Basically I got packed, kind of ate, drank a cup of coffee, put all the stuff in the car and was suddenly on the road. It all happened naturally. Almost too much so. My mother cried, and everyone got to take pictures, but everything happened with an out of body quality. It just happened. It was almost as if I was being dragged by fate forward. Not that I'm complaining. It was good to have things move smoothly.

I'm not sure how smoothly they really happened though. I'm sure Ciera has a different perspective. She worked really hard and got everything moving. I'm almost positive that the fate I referred to earlier was a determined sense of drive emanating from Ciera. Which is good. I love being home, but I certainly don't want to be there forever.

The weather beckoned to us. Patchy clouds cast shadows over the Reno valley, a spring-like breeze swept the smells of the desert by my nose in delightful waves. It was time to go. We got on the road and opened our eyes to a world in a different perspective—a world that was free of any responsibility but the ones we impose on ourselves.

The world was different. I realized it somewhere past Hallelujah junction. I had no lens on. Before the world felt safe, fuzzy, and protected. Everything now felt clear, in sharp contrast, like a cool wind brushing against my cheek—a cold glass of water.

The weather was in love with us. I couldn't romanticize it if I tried. The weather was perfect without the additives of rhetorical flourishes. The desert was a brilliant spectrum. Blue skies and crisp clouds, Snow in the jagged peaks of the mountains. The foothills were maroon and sea green—a beautiful mixture that showcased a perfectly watered desert. Normally dry riverbeds flowed with cold alpine waters, cattle and horses (brown, cream, mottled, and black) grazed peacefully as we passed different ranch lands.

At Susanville we made the transition to the evergreen forests of the Northern Sierra Nevada mountain range. The colors there took a different twist. The dirt turns a red-orange brown. The bark on the many varieties of evergreen conifers has a well-defined texture and exhibits every shade of brown imaginable. The leaves on the trees, however, are a deep green that make one think of the perfect pine forest. We climbed into the mountains, passing shallow mountain lakes and logging trucks. At the edge of the descent down one of the passes, we stopped at a scenic vista and looked out on the volcanic basin of Lassen park. The whole area had a deep black dirt, the rich soil and rocks from mellenia of volcanic activity. This was sharply contrasted by Burney mountain and the distant Mt. Shasta that rose thousands of feet above the valley floor where the road was. The two peaks were covered in a solid white, no doubt the product of the extra moisture that hit the West not two days previous.