Car freshly provisioned, we set sail from LA and headed north. With a quick stop to pick up our friend Ajay in Berkeley, we were soon prowling backroads in search of a spot to while away the night. Luckily, our sleuthing skills led us to a pullout with a trail down to the gravel embankments of a crystal-clear river, which provided the perfect wake-up call in the form of a morning dip. Not so luckily, we all forgot our cameras, so you’re going to have to take my word for it.
Continuing north, we made a quick pit stop at a particularly scenic section of coastline for Chris to try his hand at coldwater surfing, while Ajay and I snacked on almond butter and tried to stay out of the howling wind.
Chris hopped back in the car, teeth chattering, and we drove another couple miles up the coast to a favorite spot of mine. Scrambling down steep dirt paths, gulls squawking overhead, disposables clenched in our fists, we made our way out on top of several sea arches that create a breathtaking maze of whitewater and kelp awash in turquoise waters. Improbably, the Goodyear blimp circled overhead - if that isn’t a sign that today is about to be a very good day, I don’t know what is.
Screaming inland, we made a quick pit stop at my parent’s place in Vancouver, Washington for burgers, beers, and beds, and called it a night. Rising the morning of the 4th, we met up with our friend Evan and heading east to our friends in the epicenter of Independence Day celebrations - Bend, Oregon.
Our friend Presley’s house, perched above Bend with sweeping views and an idyllic porch, served as home base for the next few days. We quickly provisioned ourselves with enough beer to drown a small village and hit the town, awash in bikes, as is local custom. The youth of Bend hop on all manner of vehicles and roam from park to park until the sky begins to darken and fireworks start going off in earnest.
The next morning was spent on the banks and in the waters of the Deschutes, regaining our strength as there were still many breweries left on our list.
Before we knew it, we were packing up our car on the side of the road next to a community garden, and were headed south. Hours later, realizing we were mere minutes from the volcanic glory of Crater Lake, we called an audible and arrived on the crater’s rim as the sun was going down and the mosquitoes were coming out.
As we pulled out of the parking lot, a look at the gas gauge threw a wrench in our plans - we had nowhere near enough juice to make it to the next station further south. Flipping a U-turn, we made our way back to the small “resort” town of Diamond Lake and elected to spend the night on the shore.
We awoke the next morning and promptly traded in our sleeping bags for a sun-drenched dock.
Reluctantly hopping back on the road, we headed south again to drop Ajay back off in Berkeley - but not before one last fog-cradled night in our hammocks near Mt. Tamalpais and a morning roaming far and wide throughout the many distinct micro-climates that make up the park.
The sun was setting on our trip, but with our minds full of memories and hearts full of promises to return to the new and old friends whose company we reveled in along the way, our appetite for adventure was satiated - at least for the next week.