Today I pass 3 volcanoes, hike 1000 year old trees, visit hot springs and arrive at the Oregon Eclipse festival.
Up at 5:30am and packing as fast as I can so I can see the sunrise at SUNRISE RIM. I am more often in my life going to bed at this time than waking up at it, so this is quite an accomplishment for me.
Yet when I arrive, my initiative goes unrewarded. Clouds are everywhere, what I assume are stunningly gorgeous sunrise skies all hidden beneath a blanket of white. My pre-coffee, half asleep self growls internally at the families happily taking selfies at the “viewpoint”, their spirits untampered by the socked-in backdrop.
I reluctantly continue the trek to the top of the mountain, and at this point nature nods a moment of approval – one minute of clear skies, just as the sunrise light shines golden on the glacier of Mt Rainier. Thank you mountain, I promise to stop growling.
The cold and cloud curb my enthusiasm for high altitude hiking, so I travel down the mountain to the Grove of the Patriarchs, a stand of millennia-old trees absurdly named for men when they become “nurse logs” and foster the growth of new trees, so if anything they should be called Matriarchs. (Perhaps the morning growls have not stopped completely).
The Ohanapechosh River runs through here, so I happily pause to wash my hands and face, then sit in the silent trees, somehow alone in the magic forest, and soak up the peace of these giants like I did in Haida Gwaii. Thank you nature, for teaching me calm composure.
By now I am awake and dance feverishly to Justin Beiber on the radio as I continue the drive south on canopied forest roads. Beibs!
I pass Mt St Helens, then stop at the Carson Hot Springs, where for $35 you get your own claw footed tub filled with hot springs water, and they wrap you afterwards like a tight little mummy in hot sheets, until all your stress melts away. Highly recommend. I think I’m being sneaky washing my clothes in the shower facility, until I realize the showers spray hot springs mineral water, and now all my clothes smell like sulphur. Jokes on me!
Cross through crazy tunnels, a crazy bridge, past Mt Hood and so many windsurfers.
The drive through Madras, then Prineville, is hot and dry. Wait wait wait. Is this festival in a DESERT?! I was picturing forest and trees and a lake! I’m going to Burning Man right after this, this one can’t be a desert!!
Ok, it is a forest, but it’s desert forest. Ponderosa Pine and Sagebrush everywhere.
I reach the gate to Oregon Eclipse. Festival life, here I come.