Sunday, August 2, 2009

From the Atlantic to the Pacific

I am finally back along the mighty Pacific! I left the coast of Georgia late afternoon on July 16th, right after graduation from FLETC. After camping in Oconee National Forest in Georgia and Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, I arrived in Michigan on July 18th. Five days was not enough time to live up summer near the shores of Lake Michigan, but I did manage to have lots of family and friend time. Much of my time was spent along the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan and hiking on the North Country Trail in Newago County.
On July 23rd, I left Michigan with my brother Mark enroute to Fort Collins, Colorado to visit my brother Dan and his family. After an interesting stay in a small campground in rural western Iowa, Mark and I arrived in Fort Collins on the 24th. We also had time to travel off the beaten path to Pawnee Buttes, a couple of tall buttes on the eastern plains of Colorado. After a nice visit with brother Dan and family, I continued west into the mountains. I soaked up the cool mountain air as I hiked on the Continental Divide near Rabbit Ears Pass. The wildflowers were absolutely incredible. From there, I drove down into the wide open spaces of far western Colorado. I camped that night along the Green River in Utah (Dinosaur National Monument).

On July 26th, I drove nearly 15 hours from eastern Utah, over the mountains near Salt Lake City, past the Great Salt Lake, across the barrens of Nevada and finally to the forests and mountains of Northern California. I camped that night along a rushing river in the Plumas National Forest.
On the 27th, I awoke early in the crisp mountain air, and drove into Lassen Volcanic National Park. Twice in the past, Susanna and I have been to the park (once in the north and once in the south) and both times we have found the scenic drive closed due to snow. Fortunately, in the heart of the summer, this was not the case! I spent the morning driving the scenic drive and hiking several shorter trails along the way.
Finally, on the evening of the 27th, I crested the final summit on highway 299 and drove to the cool, foggy coast. I am home at last with my wonderful wife! I'll be home for about a week and a half before driving south into the deserts of southern California. Over the next 2 and a half months, work will take me across much of southern California and parts of Nevada. I'll hopefully make it home a couple of times in between. But for now, I'm living up being home with Susanna along the beautiful coast of Northern California.