Summer 2009.   ~mike gradziel.
to the index page

Four hundred years ago lava flows formed in Lassen National Park and a multi-colored cinder cone rose hundreds of feet above the surrounding hills. We climbed it, sliding backwards in the soft crumbly gravel with every step. It was (barely) warm enough to swim in the lakes, there were no mosquitoes, and the rain held off until we returned home though some thunderstorms passed and brought blustery weather around dinner time on Saturday.

   September 2009
lakeside campsite at snag lake, lassen evening swimming priming the stove
clouds and stones at snag lake, lassen trees a few years after a fire bright moss fallen on recently charred twigs
Joy crosses a cinder field, lassen national park Joy crosses a cinder field, lassen national park tiny people approaching the cinder cone, lassen
climbing the cinder cone; lassen peak beyond climbing the cinder cone; painted dunes below HTC approaches the caldera - Lassen National Park
hikers on the rim, and lassen peak people in the caldera pathways atop cinder cone
painted dunes, lassen national park Joy walking onthe cinder cone descending a steep trail
lava bomb embedded in the hillside leaving the cinder cone, lassen Joy, Hsun-Tzu, Joanna
storm clouds cold water flowers on the gravel beach

Wine tasting in Napa, and hiking near Point Reyes and on Mt Diablo.

   September 2009
hiking by Tomales Bay napa grapes napa grapes
hiking on mount diablo nearing the top of eagle peak near Clayton, CA

High meadows and lakes in the Sierra Nevada are a five hour drive from San Mateo, a little farther than it was from southern California despite us being technically closer here. The eastern escarpment rises sharply from flat desert where cars cruise hundreds of miles at great speed, while to the west the roads wind their way up forested slopes where great cattle drives of yesteryear still continue in a few places, horsemen and farm dogs taking herds up from parched lowlands to lush green mountain grass. We hiked in seven miles to a stunning campsite on the shoulder of a ridge where golden late evening sunlight washed across the rocks and a gentle breeze kept most of the mosquitoes away. For an entire afternoon through the night we saw absolutely no one, but the next day we hiked onward and found the next lake jammed with campers. Storm clouds loomed to the east but shifted north a little before pouring down rain, leaving us to watch for meteors while lying around the campfire.

   July 2009
hiking at the southern border of Yosemite hiking at the southern border of Yosemite green forest meadow
Joy at lower chain lake setting up the tent low sun colors
Mike cooking dinner - by Joy campsite, early evening waiting for dinner
the whole lake to ourselves glowing tents gourmet camping food
campfire campfire and sunset colors water rings around a rocky pool
climbing high above the lakes Joy and Mike - by HTC climbing high above the lakes
an odd cubic boulder sitting by the high lake the last night at camp

to the index page