Lying in the middle of Highway 138, inside Oregon's Crater Lake National Park, the Pumice Desert was created by some 200 feet of volcanic ash after an eruption of Mount Mazama nearly 7,700 years ago.
The lack of nutrients in the soil prevented anything from growing back.
Today, the Pumice Desert remains as a scar that may never heal on an otherwise spectacular geography.
Just walking out into the middle of the field and then standing still, I felt a sense of personification, as if Crater Lake National Park was an old man nursing a wound from his childhood that never went away.
I know some people who are like that. Overwhelmed by a load of burden placed upon them by others, and then criticized when that load topples over, they languish in their shame and guilt, forgetting to see how beautiful they are everywhere else.
|The Pumice Desert, Crater Lake National Park, OR, June 2006, with my Yamaha Road Star|
It makes me think about how we as humans grow up with success and failure, joy and hurt, pride and humiliation. The opposing experiences creates conflicts inside us as if we're a rope being pulled from both ends.
And isn't it the scars that make us proud of our finer points? Isn't the pain and hurt that makes us appreciate our joys and triumphs? Without emptiness we can never define fulfillment. Without death we can't appreciate life.
It makes us sink into one continual feeling, like a machine over an assembly line that runs at a constant speed, creating a rhythm of stagnant noise that we can't shut our ears from. We yearn for an opposing emotion, just to feel alive and exhilarated, even if'painful.
It was rather cold when I rode through here in June of 2006. Much of central Oregon had been warm when I rode south along US 97. I guess even the cold, wet conditions at Crater Lake was a welcome reprieve.
And Crater Lake National Park is like that, offering a motorcycle rider a change of pace when traveling through Oregon, with its amazing views of the lake and the twisties along the rim. The high elevation at 8,000 feet leaves banks of snow on either side of Highway 138 making for more unusual riding.
Remember to visit the Crater Lake Lodge and get yourself something warm to eat.
From there, head south to Klamath Falls for some small town relaxation.