One of the perks of being Canon for Music at Trinity Cathedral is the opportunity to take a summer sabbatical every five years. This summer turned out to be a great time of travel, family, and adventure.
Following the wonderful celebration of my thirty years of ministry at the Cathedral, it was a time of Sunday morning relaxation. Not having to be out the door before 7 am was quite a luxury.
Our first trip of the summer was to visit JoAnn’s family in Northern California, and to spend a little time in the Lassen area. This included my first ever visit to McArthur-Burney State Park, and the beautiful namesake waterfall. What a spectacular place it is, despite the drought and the crowds. I also managed to squeeze a quick early morning hike to the top of Brokeoff Mountain, my favorite hike in Lassen Park. It was a great start to our summer adventures.
After a couple of days of recovery and re-packing, JoAnn and I drove off for a five day trip to Mendocino. Though I have driven through here, I’ve never really spent any time in the area, so was really looking forward to it. We stayed in a tiny (truly) cottage about ten minutes walking from town, which proved the perfect base to explore the area.
We did a lot of hiking… in both Van Damme and Russian Gulch State Parks. Beautiful forested scenery, with some good strenuous climbing. We spent evenings walking along the beautiful Mendocino Headlands, and had fantastic anniversary dinner at the Trillium Cafe (highly recommended). On our last day we explored the headlands around the Point Cabrillo light station… a still working light-house in a state park. It was a wonderful time together, and one of the absolute highlights of my summer.
After a few days to recover from our extreme relaxation, we were packing for a big family adventure: JoAnn and I were taking Justine and her friend Eliza for a backpacking trip to Yosemite. It was the first backpacking trip for JoAnn in forty years, and the first ever for Eliza!
We preceded the backpacking part of our Yosemite adventure with a couple of days of “campground” camping in the park. We spent our first night in the very busy/noisy/crowded valley, but escaped to the relative quiet of White Wolf campground on the Tioga Road the next night.
Our backpacking plan was to hike from the Porcupine Creek trailhead to a camp at the Lehamite Creek junction. From our basecamp, we planned to dayhike to the top of North Dome on our second day, and then return to the trailhead on the third day. It was a very warm and sunny morning as we set out, and even though it was only 3 miles to our campsite, there was a fair amount of uphill, and challenging for those not used to carrying a big pack. The camp area is a spacious area next to the junction of the Lehamite Creek trail and the North Dome/Yosemite Falls trail. We all settled into our camping spots and relaxed for the rest of the day.
The next morning it was up with the sun, and a hike to the top of North Dome. It’s a fairly substantial hike, with some good uphill sections, but from this campsite, it’s a fairly short hike. It is spectacular as you come out onto the valley rim, and see Half Dome and Nevada Falls across the way. After a little scrambling down a cliff, and a stop for lunch, we walked up the final ramp to the summit. This is really one of my favorite spots in the park, and I am surprised at how few people hike to it. After many summit photos we headed back down to camp to relax and get ready for our hike out the next morning. (NOTE: The area around Lehamite Creek, including our campsite is currently on fire. I had remarked when we were there, how much dry fuel there was on the ground, and what a mess it would be if there was a fire. Prayers for the firefighters!)
After returning from Yosemite, we had a few days to recover before heading up to Lake Tahoe for a few days with our friends Wayne, Kim, and Robin Linse. The weather was perfect, and it was a time to relax. Of course, I did manage to squeeze in a couple of quick hikes, as I was training for my next adventure.
The morning after we returned from Tahoe, I packed the car and headed up I-5 towards Mount Rainier. I have not visited this park before, and it’s been on my bucket list for some time. I planned a five day backpacking loop trip in the Northwest corner of the park, and a couple of days of touristing afterwards. This turned out to be one of the most amazing and enjoyable backpacking trips I’ve ever taken. I have written a detailed blog about this trip, which you can see here: Canon in Wonderland I am definitely smitten with this park, and hope to return to explore it further before too long.
Driving back home to Sacramento, I stopped to visit my old friend Bruce Neswick at Trinity Cathedral in Portland. I finally had the opportunity to play the magnificent Rosales pipe organ in the Cathedral… one of the finest instruments I have ever played.
Soon, it was to time think about returning to work at Trinity Cathedral. The last couple of weeks of my sabbatical were a mix of planning for the fall music season, and trying to squeeze in a few more leisure activities. Now back at work, I am grateful for the opportunities which this time off afforded. Thank you to the Dean, vestry, choirs, and congregation of the Cathedral for providing this time of re-creation for me. It is truly appreciated, and I returned to work in September, relaxed and ready to dive in, head first!