Saturday, July 28, 2012

High Country Adventure For Alex - III


Song:  Gift Of Life

Artist:  Thomas Bergersen





The next morning we went to Mammoth Mountain
to ride a gondola to the peak for lunch and a 360 degree view 
of pure enchantment.



On our way up from the base.


This is the halfway point.  
The small reservoir is for their snowmaking in winter.




This cafe at the top of Mammoth Mountain is billed as California's highest
public cafe...elevation at approximately 11,003 ft. (just 50 ft below the actual summit).




Alex patiently awaiting his lunch while using his iPad.



The views from the cafe were stunning.


Mountain bikers on their way down the mountain.





No...I don't have a pot belly.

I don't breathe from the chest...
I breathe diaphragmatically (true).

This picture caught me in mid breath (partially true :)















The top of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 ft.
The information brochure says the farthest visible features
that one can see from atop this point is 400 miles away.

There was a beautiful stiff breeze blowing.
The temperature was in the 50s...perfect weather.

I LOVE high country...
10,000 - 15,000 ft is my favorite elevation.
I wish I could live in this range of elevation forever.
The air feels so good on the skin...
and my mind feels so free at this altitude.

The beating of the buffeting winds set to mind
a beautiful symphony orchestra playing heavenly music to the awe-inspiring views
(the song for this article had played non-stop in my mind 
while I stood entranced by the entirety of the ambiance.
Everything seemed so perfect...the temperature...the wind...
the sights...the taste and feel of the air and of the colors).

As Mammoth Mountain is just 30 minutes, or so, from Tioga Pass...
it is a MUST see.  It is so, very much, worth the trip here. 
 I know the winter views must be even more spectacular.

Alex had really enjoyed himself here.
It is the highest point of land elevation he has, as of yet, experienced.



We are headed back to the gondolas for our return journey.


One of the hotels at the base of the mountain.


A small zip line for children.


A rock wall for children.


Our last moments at Mammoth Mountain.


We are driving away from Mammoth Mountain...
headed toward home...
with a few more stops on the way.


A small detour while driving home.
The June Lake Loop (Highway 158) provides a very scenic diversion 
off the main highway.

It is just 16 miles long...yet has full views of 4 different mountain lakes...
and small, colorful mountain communities.  

It reconnects with the main highway (US 395)
farther up...so there is no backtracking.  
Whether heading north or south...it is a must see loop.












Mono Craters is near the ending of the June Lake Loop
(or beginning...depending if you are going north or south).


Our final stop was at Mono Lake.

This is a terminal lake which...due to the constant influx of minerals with incoming water...
and no outlet...and with constant evaporation...its salinity and alkalinity just keep rising.

The mineral spires are a result of underground springs having fed calcium carbonate
into the, then, higher level lake.  They hardened into limestone and are visible mostly
because of the lower level of the lake due to a now stopped 
siphoning off of the water supply.

There are an estimated 4-6 TRILLION brine shrimp living in Mono Lake...
and there are millions of sea gulls feeding on them throughout the year
(it is a breeding ground for them here).




We stayed but a few moments here.
As it was right off the main highway...
it was worth the side trip.


Alex simply loves our road trips.
He always gets excited when he hears that we are going on a road trip...
whether for a day...or for longer.

Alex gets especially excited by staying in motels/hotels.
He just loves the pure adventure of staying in new places.

He also loves riding in the minivan...
especially since he has a 4g iPad to enjoy along the way.

He loves the ever unfolding new scenery...
and the new adventures to be had at our destinations.

He never gets bored...
he never complains...
even on long trips.

When the scenery gets monotonous...
he plays an app on the iPad.

When we pass a landmark that is exciting...
he looks up the route and elevation on his iPad.

On longer trips...
we will have him do some studying on the road...
but as this was but a few hours long...
we just allowed him to enjoy himself as he pleased.

My wife usually sleeps during long highway trips.
I love listening to my iPod while driving.

My favorite music is Epic music.
Full orchestras playing beautiful symphonies...
such as this article's song.

My mind is free to wander.

During this homeward journey...
I had felt so fortunate in life.

(yes...now comes the proselytization I had warned you about in the first article  :)

To be retired at a fairly young age...
to fully enjoy complete freedom...
unhindered by worries...
is the result of decisions and sacrifices made decades earlier...
always looking towards a planned future.

My life...
while great now...
could have been even greater had I made my decisions and sacrifices even earlier in life 
(this is one of my greatest shames...I had wasted much of my youth...
especially during my school years.  I had daydreamed my way through school).

This is one misstep in life we are ensuring Alex doesn't make.

Alex is preparing for life at a much younger age...
in a much more vigorous fashion...
and with a greater passion than I had done.

Even though I consider myself to be very fortunate in life...
we are preparing Alex to have an even greater life.

It all comes down to looking into the future...
finding a true passion as early as possible...
and pursuing it without pause...
without doubt.

It is the sacred flames of true passion which leads to a great life...
a non-stop wave of deep seated drive which propels one on an 
emotional journey which is boundless and ever giving.

It is to fully experience life in all its grandeur...
all the rich colors and flavors...the full sensations of everything around you...
to have an ever increasing feeling of excitement and energy...
yet to have the feeling of serenity...a calm mind...an assured one...
as a result of having a committed path to follow...
one that synchs the mind with the heart.


Live for Today...
and you are a mere grasshopper...
a short term thinker who has short term fun...
but never any deep satisfaction...
as the worry for the future shall be ever present in your mind...
the dark clouds of doubt...
forever ruining any peace of mind...
forever spoiling the one shot at life we have.
All that is left for you is the negative spiral of hedonism...
attempting to fill the ever present void in the soul
with ever increasing amounts of short term pleasures
while receiving ever decreasing satisfaction from them...
until it becomes unsustainable.

With the realization that time has passed you by...
never to be gotten back...forever gone...
the only avenue left open to you is a steep vertical climb
to a much lower peak (which most never even attempt)...
or an endless number of attempts for mere distractions in life
to temporarily stave off the inevitable justified depression which 
robs you of all joy and energy in life.

It is to ultimately fail at life...
and to ultimately sully your one chance at having a good death...
one which is free from regret...
one where you feel deeply satiated from having truly lived your life...
one where you feel no reluctance...no fear...
one that is to be your greatest reward...
as you already stand at the peak and are looking down at all 
of the surrounding peaks of your memories and accomplishments...
your chest filled with true pride...your heart filled with true courage and love...
the sensations of the vivid colors and sights...
the feel and taste of the alpine air...
the gentle breeze blowing...
all welcoming you to spread your wings one last time
as you soar toward your final journey.



Live for Tomorrow...
and you will be ever rewarded by the previous accomplishments having come to fruition.
With ever more trees of accomplishments being planted farther up the road...
the succulent fruits ripening as you reach them...
always nurturing your hunger for more...
always filling you with passion and drive...
 always keeping your eyes and heart looking to the future...
is to allow you to truly enjoy today.

It is living life on a positive spiral...
always having something to look forward to...
always having life get better as time goes by.
It is to live in a constant state of peace of mind...
as your future is planned out...
your route and destination is always in sight as they coax you onward...
always giving you energy with each step forward.

It is to fully live life... 
as there are no dark clouds on the horizon...
just the energizing sunrise of hope for the future.

It is the cobalts, crimsons and ambers
of the beautiful sunset of a good death.

This is the Gift of Life.

4 comments:

  1. When I read your blog post, I always think lake is so nice. There are some lakes in Tokyo, but to me, it's not so easy to go (too far from my apartment).

    Thomas Bergersen is wonderful, by the way. I checkd out his other songs on Youtube, and those were great too. Now I'm considering buying his album.
    I'll never know his name if I don't read your blog. Thank you so much. I think it's a "Gift of the Internet". :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, Thomas Bergersen is one of my favorite composers. He was the driving force behind the group Two Steps From Hell - many songs of which are also in my articles. I just never tire of epic orchestral music...it is especially my favorite to listen to on long road trips.

    I am very glad you like the music also. It is all part of the total article I want my readers to experience. In many cases...it is what I had heard internally while at those particular locations.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my! What breathtakingly beautiful places you went to! I have very fond memories of my own visit to Yosemite about a decade ago, but never went to Mammoth Lake or the other places. You are making me want to move out West. :)

    You are giving Alex a great foundation on which to have the type of life you write about. He is fortunate to have such dedicated parents.

    Oh, and that reminds me... I love the pictures of you and young Alex at Yosemite. You looked much younger then, too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, Both, Alex and I have changed throughout the years. Both of us have grown so much. Him...upwards in all levels. Me...let us just say that I've grown in breadth :)

    There are many more places we are going to visit soon. I love the adventures to be had so easily here. Alex is already asking for more trips.

    ReplyDelete

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