Days go by without my ever leaving my office. I'm not complaining... considering I hang with my Wolf Tales characters (Anton! OH. MY. GAWD.) it could certainly be worse. However, I've been feeling really awful lately, a combination of weird ailments and general exhaustion, and my husband agreed that I needed to see some fresh scenery. We took off to the high Sierra for a quick glimpse of Fall colors. A photo can never do justice to the magnificence of the high mountain passes in October. We had hoped to go for three days, but with a big winter snowstorm blowing in, we made due with two. Still it was unbelievably satisfying to see the rugged granite peaks and the brilliant splashes of bright yellow aspens.
We followed the Mormon Immigrant Trail, a winding mountain road that made me wonder about the people who crossed these mountains in something a lot less comfortable than our SUV. The road is a challenge with an engine for power--I can't imagine the fortitude (or even the shear stupidity!) of men leading their families, their wives and children, into such an inhospitable wilderness. Then we reached Highway 88 and Kit Carson Pass. The meadow is huge, the views spectacular, and you get an idea of what drew these people onward.
We'd had the news on the radio and had listened to predictions of a fierce storm due in the following day, so after spending the night in Tahoe, we took a leisurely trip home through Truckee and then down Highway 49, another point of California historical interest. Following the Yuba River, it's still possible to see remnants of the gold mining and logging of years ago. Whole hillsides were washed away by hydraulic mining, and foundations have crumbled beside the river.
We were gone less than 36 hours, but I came home with the feeling I'd been away for weeks. Healthwise, I'm still not feeling 100% and recovery is taking longer than I want, but the trip to the High Sierra had exactly the effect my husband hoped for me. Those mountains have always been my sanctuary, the place where I go to recharge. We live in the mountains, in the coast range, where the trees are as tall, the scenery as lovely, but it's not the same as those high, granite peaks. Seeing that grandeur, reminding myself of the often tragic yet amazingly powerful history on those trails, is like a tonic. My body reacts, and my mind suddenly fills with ideas, with the sense of how many stories are yet to be told.
What do you do when the well is dry and the muse is tired? Where do you go for inspiration, for the chance to recharge your batteries? How long does it take? For me, a couple days is actually better than a long vacation, but I would love to hear what works for you.