Saturday, November 28, 2015

California Here We Come - Northern California

Four days before Thanksgiving we returned from a family road trip that took us down the west coast from Seattle to San Diego and back.  Spanning 17 days we traveled just under 3,000 miles making stops in three different cities and visiting 4 different amusement parks as well as numerous points of interest along the way.  We also had the opportunity to connect with family and friends we hadn't seen in a while.

This was the first time I had ever taken time off from school to do something like this but after the past sad and difficult year our children really wanted us to take some time to do something fun with them and to create some new and happy memories.  So at the end of the first week of November the Inspector and I hopped in our car to caravan down the coast with our two sons and daughter-in-law. Because this is a family trip I will be sharing more pictures of my children than I usually do as most of my photos are of them.

That first day we left right after work and drove 6 hours into central Oregon then got up early the following day heading for the California border, destination San Francisco.  California Here We Come!

Weed is one of the first towns you come to when you cross the border over the Siskiyou pass from Oregon to California.

Oldest son is on the right with his wife.  Youngest son is in the middle.

You can see Mount Shasta in the background.

  Driving through Northern California we saw one of the largest land marks in the area, Mount Shasta.  Standing 14,179 feet high, it's the 2nd largest volcano in the 700 mile long Cascade Mountain Range.  It's last recorded eruption took place in the 1790's.   As you get closer to it you can see that it has more than one cone.



As with any mountain that suddenly rises out of the clouds in the distance, Shasta seems to give off a sense of sacredness. The Native Americans have their legends.  We know that it is not the mountain that is sacred but the hands that created it.   Indeed as I look at it I am reminded of Moses going up the mountain to commune with God in Exodus.  When he came down from the mountain his countenance had change for he had been in the presence of Yahweh.

As we left Mount Shasta behind we came upon Shasta Lake.  Here you can really see the effects of the 4 year long drought.  The water level is down about 140 feet.  Interestingly enough, it seems that a number of old building sites have been found, which would indicate that the water levels have been this low before.

I also noticed that the among the fall color on the hillside the evergreen trees had a pale gray cast to them rather than the rich verdant green of pine trees.  I wonder if that is another sign of the water shortage.

Below are some views of Mount Shasta from the other side as we were making our return trip home.  We were very fortunate both coming and going that there was no snow and so the passes were dry and clear.  Our timing was great as a snow storm hit the area the day after we arrived back home. 

Don't you think it looks more like a volcano from this angle? Hopefully it will be a very long time before it erupts again.
When next we meet we will have made it to the city of San Francisco.  See you then.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall around the Lake

 It's always such a joy to take a walk around the neighborhood, especially this time of year.  Each season brings its own special beauty but as I have said before, this is my favorite time of year.  Of course the Northwest is known more for its evergreens, but we do have some pretty fall color.  Unfortunately, between working, planning for a trip and redecorating there hasn't been much time for walking.  But as I was driving home from work yesterday I realized that I had my snapshot camera in the car and so I stopped to take a few photos to share of some of the lovely sights I see as I drive to and from the school each day.  

We are starting to pass the peak of color so these two maples are starting to shed but they still look beautiful.

I love driving past this row of trees each day.  The red tree in front is a Japanese Maple.  The others, I think, are some kind of cherry tree.

 Coming down the hill towards the lake I always go past this little old house with this beautiful big tree in the yard.   I wish my little camera had been better able to capture the golden color of the the leaves cascading down from the branches.

As I was standing there I could hear the sound of the little creek behind me.   After our long hot summer it's good to see and hear the sound of flowing water again.  It's a spawning creek and we were concerned the kokanee (fresh water salmon) wouldn't be able to make the trip this year.  By the end of November we will see them making their way up the stream.

Each morning I drive up this little road on my way to work.

And each afternoon I drive back down towards the lake.

And my heart, as always is filled with gratitude.

My little snapshot camera couldn't really capture that true essence of this fall afternoon but it made me stop and take a few moments to enjoy this lovely tableau of color spread before me instead of rushing home in a whirl of business, forgetting it is a gift.  And so I leave you with this verse from Genesis 8:22

"while the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."