After a latte and Facebook, I was heading east on CH 108 to the other side of the Sierras, where, afterwards, I’d turn north on US 395, and then drive up to Lake Tahoe.

There’d be no sleeping on the ground, under the stars, miles from everyone. I’d not scavenge for berries or kill a bear. I wasn’t making observations with sextants or barometers, nor sketching flora and fauna. A trek that would’ve taken weeks to complete two centuries ago, and would have afforded time for such endeavors, would be completed in four or five hours with an ease unbelievable to more adventurous men.

The drive started. I went past little places called Mono Vista, Twain Heart and Cold Springs. The road went through thick pines and firs. The forest went on forever. Whatever large horizons to be seen were obscured. Frankly, it was kinda’ boring.

This didn’t help my burnout. But, what else was I to do? The idea of spending the day at a motel in Sonora to rest didn’t sound appealing. So, keep moving. Keep changing the scenery. Keep distracting yourself. Thus, burnout.

But that’s ok. I learned long ago that not every moment of traveling is some transcendental high. There are moments of boredom, frustration and aggravation. There are worse moments, but they always go away. Good times always come back.

Here the trip became something else. Here it was for observation. Granted, my observations wouldn’t have the intellectual depth like Humboldt’s. I’m not a trained naturalist who thrills at seeing a great variety of grasses and flowers. But, the seeing the change from west to east across the mountains did keep me going.

As I said on Monday, the Tehachapi Pass only rises to 3793′ feet. The Sonoran Pass tops out at 9623′ That’s almost 6000′ higher.

I was curious to see the desert below from as high possible. Granted, you can do this in Southern Arizona. There are many mountains that rise above the desert floor to an elevation where pines and firs grow because of orographic lift. “Sky islands” these mountains are called. Here too is a stunning change in climate over a short distance.

But this stunning climactic change persists over an enormous area in California. From one side of the 400 mile-long mountains to the other you go from one of the most desolate places on earth to the most agriculturally productive. The whole thing blows my mind.

And, could this enormous divide, somehow, be responsible for the biggest, the tallest and the oldest trees in the entire world to grow HERE? And even if not the slightest inkling to “some overarching, transcendent, romantic secret about the whole earth” could be revealed where titanic communication between land and sky occurs, nonetheless, what would standing at almost 10,000′, at the epicenter of this divide, be like in this Range of Light?

Perhaps I’m failing in communicating passions that impel such wondering and wandering. Perhaps I’m exaggerating sentiments to fill paper with words, as I would accuse some romantic writers of.

Nonetheless, my curiosities are real to me. Thus, they kept me driving… up and up…

7000’…. 8000’… 9000′