i got to lassen by 8am and was ready to rock and roll. I debated going on my first hike via recommendation by a friend to check out brokeoff mountain but i decided against it as i wasn’t sure if my body was up for the hike. my foot had still been bothering me so i opted for a less rigious hike todwn to miller’s creek. even though i hadn’t ran in over 2 monrhs, as soon as i got on the trail i got a bit ansty and started to do a little trot. with the excitement of starting the journey at a national park, i could barely contain my excitedment. as i was trotting along, i remmember an article i read about ‘fast packing’, where people pack really light in order to hike more considerable distances and at this point, i am getting into the idea quite a bit. compared to my regular trail running the considerable packable filled with camera gear and hiking clothing on, i did a respectable pace where i was able to accomplish about 4 miles an hour. it’s pretty much half of the speed that i normally run but it still felt considerably faster than just hiking. with regular hiking, your mind tends to wander a bit but at this pace, i was getting into the zone that i get when i am running. basically, you’re just simply focus on nagivating the trail and my mind is keenly focus and in somewhat meditative state. well, i did pay a nice price for my trotting experiment. after the hike, my foot acted up but this time, i did post exercise stretches and took some advil and i feel considerably better the next day.

after my morning hike, i decided to take the road bike and the seemingly endless elevation climb kick my ass. I thought i was in pretty good shape considering that i was riding mostly in the last few months but i guess the week off when I was in ann arbor really showed. It didn’t feel too bad because it was a slow climb but my legs cramping up was some sort of sign and i paid for it for the next couple of days. although not anywhere nearly as fun as been on a mountain bike, i think the grind up going up really big hills still quench my thirst for pushing myself to the edge. by the end of the day, i was super exhausted considering that i had just got to the higher elevation, didnt exercise for a week and when overboard with both activities. there are where some nice guide stops along the bike ride but after having been to yellowstone, the geothermal aspect of the park wasn’t my primary reason on visiting the partk. still, i have learn to enjoy the smell of sulphur and felt the draw of finding a hot spring soon. in between all this was squeezing in a few emails at the visitor center but really, i was going into the journey with a big splash phyiscally with a national park in the background. lassen wasn’t even on my radar a few days ago but a friend had just gotten back and rave about it so, why not.

i decided to stay at summit lake, which is about midway from the south entrance of the park. the great thing about camping after school season starts that there is a small chance that you can get sites on the day of your arrival and i was lucky this time around! as compact as my RV is, i always have to consider if it’s worth going to a popular destination in a national park because of limited parking options. So, i opted to hike to king’s creek water fall, which was about 4 miles south and the hike wasn’t particulary visually that interesting. still, i throughly enjoyed the fast hiking style and got to the waterfall within an hour. The water was pretty darn cold when I got to wash off and i figured sweat off the fall chill with the trot back to base camp. throughout the hike, my mind was in a state of flow and the few times i stopped to take a breath, i would find myself in a state of meditative awareness. i had ephaniny that as much as i enjoyed exercise for the sake of feeling healthy, the meditative and flow states that i am reglarly achiveving, especially in nature is reallhy bringing my medation pratice beyond the cushion. the idea of returning to a meditative experience throughout the day has slowly been seeping into my daily experience more often and it’s wonderful commplement to a regular formal sitting pratice.

my last night in lassen was by the northern entrance of the park next to a decent size lake. although it was pretty packed, i got lucky again and found an open campsite and took the kayak on the lake. it’s so much easier kayaking in a lake compared to the few times i had taken it out in the bay area on the ocean. the kayak is a nice change in pace in ‘exercise’ and i found myself floating in a meditative style to the rhythm of the waves. more blissful moments of just being and healing in the natural world. with even more time to myself and very little social interaction, i figure the less time i am ‘thinking’ the more balance i would feel through this journey. i can imagaine if i didn’t have these practices in place, my mind would be constatntly be spinning and would feel bored with being inside head all the time.

although i know that i am in a goregeous national park, my attitude towards going to visually powerful locations to photograph/experience is considerably pretty weak. unlike in vacation mode where you want to maxamize your time in visiting as many cool places, i am feeling rather non chalant about ticking off locations to just say i’ve been there. i am already feeling pretty grateful to be on this epic advenuture and i think the pace of exploration will need to be grounded to still feel productive while not having all the regular conviences of a stable home. even more so, i am feeling pretty nourished by just having access to natural world so easily with the mobile home that i don’t feel a strong desire to have to go to the most beaitful places. already my addication to social media has wane considerablly as i have removed the apps from my phone and without regular internet access, i don’t find myself missing it much. as a photographer, sometimes i feel ‘obliagated’ to share more but i find myself more at odds with my professional affinity and my inner development. still, i know i will be sharing bits and peices of this journey but i think a weekly pace would probably be more than enough.