Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fun in the archives again

As part of recent conversations about the 2008 Tassajara fire, Colin, who is now at Austin Zen Center, sent me this picture which I had never seen before, and which shows me at the wheel of the Isuzu, about to set off as part of the final evacuation which turned out not to be a final evacuation. It was one of the more memorable times I went over the road.
So that gave me a flimsy excuse to root around in my old photo folders for other fun times on the road. Such as the time the previous winter when it took us two days to get the tanto out. The first day, he and I drove up as far as the bathtub in one of the Suburbans before the fallen snow started getting treacherous. I slid the vehicle into the water run-off ditch on the rocky side of the road and couldn't get it out again. My solution to that was to run back down to Tassajara to get some snow chains and to return with Bryan in the lumber truck, which also had a winch, just in case. Jordan had managed in the meantime to extricate the Suburban, but we didn't get much further - the drifts below the ridge were too deep. We did get some use out of the winch though:
With some careful reversing down to Ashes Corner, we returned to Tassajara, and resolved to set out the next day. In the meantime, a number of trees had come down and blocked the road in about half a dozen places between the bathtub and Chew's Ridge; the tanto spent much time on the chain saw, and Jess and I hauled many tree limbs and branches off the road. The last tree we just winched out of the way.
Having deposited the tanto and the lumber truck at Jamesburg some hours later, Jess and I returned in the more nimble Landrover. As you can see, the Jamesburg side of the road was well rutted, and there were streams coursing down each rut:
We dodged round the tree we had winched, perilously close to the edge of the road:
As often was the case, lower down the road there was no snow at all, though that day it was raining pretty fiercely. This is the view to Flag Rock from the first lookout; I didn't get out of the car to take it...
I have already covered the tangaryo storm. Here are a couple of the pictures I took from that journey up and down the road, though they really can't do justice to the wildness of the weather:

Once I had been at Tassajara a certain amount of time, I was asked to do some of the personal town trips, where one person goes out to buy supplies, mostly chocolate, that the monks ask for. Several of the trips I made were quite beautiful - on the road, you get sunrises and sunsets such as you rarely see deep in the valley itself.

These last two were from perhaps the most spectacular sunset I ever saw at Tassajara; there had been a fire up at Morgan Hill, I think, and this caused the amazing light and colours that I enjoyed all the way back into Tassajara. I waited for probably half an hour at Lime Point to watch the last light diminishing.

I used to try to claim that I had been up the road more times under my own power than I had in a vehicle; as time wore on, I think that was no longer the case, but in the summer I used to love riding a bike up and down the road, and I would run it, as well as the trails, winter and summer. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the bike is not actually on the Tassajara Road, but the road leading to the Church Creek ranch. 
I don't remember why I brought my camera on this particular run, but it was one of the occasions where Bryan and I ran to the ridge and in doing so, climbed above the low clouds that were hanging over Tassajara and into clear blue sky, which always seemed like a pretty epic thing to do. This was taken on the way back down, as we descended into the clouds once more.


Ruth said...

Fabulous photographs, I really enjoyed looking through those.

Shundo said...

Cheers, dear. How are you doing?

Chris Burnham said...

That last photo is breathtakingly epic.