Saturday, May 28, 2011

Last Stop

Friends of mine have been calling me an ascetic for years, even before I came to practice, though it was probably one of the reasons I took to it, especially Tassajara, so readily - I always liked to attribute this to the somewhat spartan English boarding school regime I went through as a teenager. Nonetheless, I have always had a sybaritic streak as well, and if Tassajara taught me anything, it is that there are few finer things in life than hanging out in hot plunges with nowhere you have to be any time soon. So, the final stop on this very full journey is a couple of days at Sierra Hot Springs. And it is snowing again.
I knew there would be some extremes involved in this trip, but I had partly planned for this time of year to have the best of spring. Or so I thought. From snow on the first night in Yosemite, through the hundred-plus degree weather in Death Valley, back to snow; it was thirty-two degrees when I came up the side of Lake Tahoe this morning, and there have been flurries all afternoon. This does not stop me enjoying watching flakes falling, from the quiet of an outdoor plunge where the only noise is the wind in the pine trees.
A few pictures of extremities:

Snowy first day in Yosemite

Looking down on Stovepipe Wells, over a hundred degrees

Looking up towards Mount Whitney from near the end of the road at 8400'

The next day at Badwater salt flats, 280' below sea level


Jeannie said...

You take beautiful photos! I especially love the black and white image.

Happy and safe travels!

Sandy's witterings said...

I seem to have caught up with your blog right at the end of your trip. It all looks very peaceful - I wonder if many Americans appreciate just how empty (of people that is)large chunks of their country is.

Shundo said...

Thanks Jeannie - a lot of it has been so spectacular it is hard not to take nice pictures.
Sandy, the place is huge, and pretty epic; some of the valleys in the Sierras reminded me of being in the Highlands when I was a kid. Admittedly, at Yosemite there is a whole industry of housing and feeding people, but as I was told before I left, and have found to be the case, once you get more than a few hundred yards from where you have to park your cars, you find yourself more or less alone very quickly

Dawna Foreman said...

This is my first visit to your blog by way of inklings. So many of us in the Zen community are nature lovers preferring places where few footprints are left and, like you say, enjoying gifts of the Mother that manifest as hot springs and cool pools! Cheers and safe journey to SF!

Shundo said...

Thanks Dawna, I hope you stick around for the more mundane parts of the ino's life as well.