From Mount Shasta to the Mojave and how the Desert Brought Me Back to Life

My friends in Grants Pass told me that I had to go to Mount Shasta on my drive through the backbone of California.  Thank goodness I did.  It gave me the strength and energy I needed to face millions of trucks and other cars.  Every time I drive I-5, I think this is how we are ruining the earth and as more people populate the planet more of the earth will become desecrated like this.  Fortunately, I communed with nature and medicine circles before I set out on the long drive and when I arrived in the Mojave Desert…

I decided to hire a guide in Mount Shasta and was fortuitously assigned Robin, the Mount Shasta Fun Guide.  She is an aspiring photographer and has published a book on the area.  (She is also a naturalist, historian, skier, search and rescue person, and has an ice ax and crampon school.  Prior to meeting Robin, I had always considered myself fairly tough. )  Robin took me to many wonderful vantage points of Mount Shasta, the Serenity Vortex, and Faery Falls.  We had a wonderful afternoon together, connecting with the special energy in the area and making photographs.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.

Faery Falls ©Lynne Buchanan

Mount Shasta with Medicine Circle ©Lynne Buchanan

Twin Peaks of Mount Shasta ©Lynne Buchanan

Mount Shasta in Divine Light ©Lynne Buchanan
Then I went to Redding to photograph the Sun Dial Bridge, which is quite amazing. 
Sun Dial Bridge ©Lynne Buchanan
Unfortunately, the hotel I stayed in was horrible, and after I woke up at 2:30 am and realized I could not sleep another moment there, I decided to hit the road and drove 13 hours to Nipton, California, an historic town and access point to the Mojave Desert, the least visited of all the National Parks.  The Hotel Nipton and the train depot were very picturesque in their own quirky way.  Turns out the train still runs and went right by my room, but I was so tired it did not bother me at all.  
Hotel Nipton ©Lynne Buchanan

Heading Nowhere in the Moonlight ©Lynne Buchanan

Nipton Train Depot at Sunset ©Lynne Buchanan
The next morning, I saw the most incredible sunrise.  The sky turned amazing colors all around me and the desert floor picked up these vibrant shades from the sky.  I kept going from one side of the road to the other, because the entire desert valley was glowing.  It took my breath away.  Then I drove on to see Joshua trees, volcanic cones, and sand dunes.  The Mojave Desert has incredible diversity and is teeming with life.  Some might call it a wasteland as it is in the middle of nowhere and the driest place on earth (I went through tons of water just standing there making photographs and could not believe how thirsty I got on the sand dunes), but I would rather be here than on the I-5 corridor in California any day.  I spent until noon drinking in the sights and let the desert resuscitate me, before heading on my way to the Grand Canyon, where I arrived just as the sun was setting.
Sunrise over the Mojave Desert ©Lynne Buchanan

Volcanic Cone Beds, Mojave Desert ©Lynne Buchanan