"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, August 21, 2009

Juniper Lake 2009

Arrived Wednesday afternoon and we got comfortable. Note that Ripley's whites are mostly still white.

Checking the park's website before this trip I learned that the trail to Lassen Peak was closed due to a terrible accident on July 30. A 9-year-old boy hiking with his family was sitting on a rock wall along upper part of the trail when it collapsed, and he was killed in the rock fall. I have thought a lot about that over the last few days, watching the sunset behind Lassen Peak.

Ripley voted on which bed she thought looked more comfortable. As the calm assertive pack leader, however, I have veto power. Sort of.

I borrowed a kayak from one of my coworkers and launched it onto the lake Thursday morning. The wind had already come up a little bit. First thing in the morning, Juniper is glassy-smooth.

I reminded myself that kayaking on a lake is supposed to be a relaxing, meditative activity while I was paddling for the opposite shore of the lake as fast as I could. Because it's easier to relax and meditate after you've worn yourself out in a frenzy of purposeless activity.

There is a lot of dust and dirt in the Juniper Lake campground but there is less than before we arrived, since my dog soaked up about half of it. Whites not so white any more.

Thursday afternoon after a little nap I hiked up to the latest in my collection of Lassen lakes - but this view is overlooking Juniper.

About 400' up and 3/4 of a mile from Juniper Lake Campground is lovely little Crystal Lake. I had a much needed swim - Ripley thought I smelled too bad and was threatening not to sleep in the tent if I didn't clean up. Hmm. Didn't play that one too well, did I? The swim was delightful, though, until I started thinking about Grendel and Lord of the Rings and what dreadful things that might live down at the bottoms of small mountain lakes. I laughed at myself for being so silly as I got out and my heart rate returned to normal. From the exercise.

This morning I took the kayak out on Juniper again, hoping to catch the earlier morning still water time. Didn't quite catch it - had a nice relaxing meditative hike with Ripley (dogs are good for that kind of thing, as is hiking while carrying a travel mug) - but close enough. The water is different colors in different spots on the lake, depending on depth, but here it was a sort of Caribbean tropical blue-green and I could see all the way to the bottom, maybe 20 - 30 feet.

I couldn't take a picture of this but last night I stood by the lake and could see stars reflected in it. That light traveled all that way just to bounce off some little lake in the mountains. At least I saw it. Another year when I camped there I talked to a guy who took his kayak out at night and said he saw the stars in the water, and it felt like he was drifting in space. I would like to try that some other time when I have a buddy along, preferably one who can yell 'Polo!' when I yell 'Marco!' Nothing against Ripley. [She claims she was just warming up my space for me, she never intended to sleep there - but then she fell asleep. I'll have to remember that one in case I ever need to use it.]


George said...

I could think of one small thing that would have augmented the whole experience and that would have been a dry fly beyond a clear bubble and tossing it out on one of those beautiful lakes.

Was anyone fishing there?

Emily said...

I gave it a try Thursday morning - there were a lot of little minnows jumping in the morning eating the bugs. All I had was a trout lure and some salmon eggs though. Juniper Lake doesn't seem to be much of a fishing destination - I don't think it's stocked.

Alice said...

That looks like a really nice vacation. I wish we could have been there- but then it wouldn't have been the quiet relaxing trip that it was.

(from the exercise....hahahaha)

Emily said...

I guess it would be a long way for you guys to go to a lake in the mountains, but there are always families with kids there having a great time (so in that respect it wasn't necessarily quiet). I woke up one morning to a very stirring rendition of Oscar's song "I Love Trash" being sung by a little girl and one of her moms. :)

Patrick Evans said...

i stumbled upon your blog because I'm coming here next week for a trip. your pictures and stories has me very excited for what to expect. I usually camp in humbug valley off of 89 so this will be a different type of camping at such a high altitude. Sure wish i had a kayak tho to explore the lake. I guess i'll hit the trails instead. thanks

Emily said...

Thanks for visiting the blog and I wish you an awesome trip and good weather! (I was there in mid-August once and got rained and snowed on; woke up with a sheet of ice around the tent - so prepare for potential cold temps.) I recommend the hike up to the lookout tower atop nearby Mt. Harkness, if somebody is staffing it they might let you in for a tour and views are fantastic!