I watched my battery gauge closely as I climbed higher in elevation, interested in how much of a toll getting up to 7000k feet would take. Even though I had started out in Red Bluff with 90%, I had already dropped to 70% over the course of 40 miles. I wasn’t worried at all though. What takes a bunch of energy going up is sure to put in quite a bit on the way down easing any anxiety I might have had if I hadn’t experienced this before. Still, it always amazes me just how much energy it takes to push a 2 ton car up a mountain at 60mph.
The higher I climbed, the lower the temperature dropped and I soon started to see patches of snow alongside the road. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as thoughts of my morning flooded my mind. I had been an hour away at Black Butte Lake, but the world couldn’t have been more different, with fall colors and the sun shining down temperatures in the 60’s. That’s the biggest thing to love about California, the sheer diversity of its wilderness. I quickly brought myself back to the present as I pulled into the Manzanita Lake parking lot.
The parking lot was empty and a fresh blanket of snow covered the path to the lake. A few footprints dotted the trail, but it seemed as if all other people were long gone, leaving the park for me to explore on my own. It’s a rare opportunity to be alone at a place as popular as this and I relished every chilled breath I took as I set off to get lost in the sounds of nature. The rustling of the few leaves still attached to trees accompanied by calls of songbirds filled my ears. Towering overhead was Lassen Peak, the active volcano and namesake of the park.
Soon, I found myself lakeside watching sheets of ice bob about in the water, causing ripples just big enough to distort the reflection of the peak in the lake. The picturesque scene astounded me as I felt the pine needles crush beneath my feet.
Why wasn’t anyone else here?
I knew Covid-19 was keeping most people inside of their houses in the cities, but I couldn’t understand why more people hadn’t retreated into nature. It seemed to me that places like this were the the best antidote to the mind numbing depression cabin fever was sure to be causing in so many people.
As much as I wanted other humans to be able to experience this, maybe this was also the reprieve that nature needed from us. We, as humans, always seem to be suffocating the earth with our presence. Not just in the literal sense of carbon emissions, but in the sense of never letting nature get a break. We always seem to be wanting to enjoy it more and more. To bring more people, share more experiences, show everyone how great the world is. Maybe this was the first chance in the last 100 years that Mother Earth was finally able to step back and take a breath.
I continued on my walk around the lake, diving deeper into this line of thinking.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the human race has continually pushed the boundaries of its existence, mostly without regard to whatever stood in its path. If other humans had been toppled without thought, only an iota of concern had been given to nature and ultimately, that in part is what had gotten us in the position we were in today. Cities built on top of each other led way to quarters so close and environments so unforgiving, that now the entire world was forced inside away from their fellow humans.
In that moment, I was eternally thankful for separating myself from the majority of society the way I had over the past two years. By positioning myself to be alone on my adventures, I had somehow escaped this nightmare that was overtaking society. My home was nature, so opposed to only having a concrete box to retreat into, I had the entire world. This thought was as freeing as any thought could be and I grasped onto it with my mind, determined to not let it go when all of this ended. If it ended that was.
Winter was coming and only time could tell what the near future had in store.
Closest Supercharger Red Bluff CA 64 mi
82 Belle Mill Rd, Red Bluff, CA 96080
Manzanita Lake Lassen Volcanic National Park
39477 Lassen National Park Hwy, Shingletown, CA 96088