Desolation Valley trail towards Lake Genevieve (near Lake Tahoe, Ca) takes you directly under this tree. It's a ghost tree now, likely killed by lightening or beetles. The base of this tree has been gouged out on one side by someone or something, leaving only half a trunk to support the knarled mass. The tree has begun to list to one side in the direction of the trail. I hurry past when I hike this trail, sometimes peering up as it crouches towards me. I wonder what or who will wage the final blow to this old ghost, and if anyone should be passing underneath on that fateful day.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
From afar, the desert just beyond Mono Lake appears dry and deceptively lifeless, but hike into the brushlands a ways and observe the tell tale signs of creatures in the sand --the curving path of a sidewinder, prints of rabbits, coyote droppings dotting the dunes. I did not see a living thing when I poked around one morning, but I sensed life dwelling within and under the dense sagebrush, observing my presence, waiting and watching...
On a friday evening heading to Mt Lassen for some car camping, I wove up and down and through the hills of the Ishi wilderness as the sun set and clouds gathered for a storm. Every turn offered open views of a lengthening sweep of cloud that darkened the road ahead. With one hand tight on the steering wheel, I looped my other above the roof of the car and pointed my cell phone camera in the general direction of the storm. I snapped several before the camera began to shake too dangerously in my hand from the force of the wind. When I entered Lassen Forest, the skies let loose and hail the size of moth balls chunked against my car. I pulled to the side of the road behind a trail of headlights, other wary drivers sitting out the storm, and enjoyed the spectacle of a road turning from black to white before my eyes.