Oregon Coast, Los Angeles Times

Read the original article here. August 26, 2012 FLORENCE, Ore. — My mind drifts back to Ken Kesey’s 1964 novel, “Sometimes a Great Notion,” as my friend Rob and I drive west from Eugene to the Oregon coast along scenic Highway 126. The curling two-lane road sweeps through views of the Cascade Range cloaked in […]

Captive Backpacker Suffers Helsinki Syndrome

I was taken prisoner for six nights and seven days by a Sierra Club Local from southern California. I am now suffering from Helsinki Syndrome. I fell in love with my captors.

They marched me up tall mountains, some more than 11,000 feet above sea level. They led me into an isolated northeast corner of Yosemite National Park. They did not need to blindfold me for the sun was blinding at those dizzying heights. My vision was filled with blue sky so deep it had the loft of velvet. Scintillating, light-reflecting lakes with diamonds bouncing off the surface finished (Finnish-ed )the job. For I was a captive audience. They didn’t need to lure me by appealing to other senses, say, like filling the air with a fragrance so divine – of pine and vanilla of wood baking in sun. But they did.

Rock & Wood Art of Sierra Nevada

It’s catnip for the muse of a writer to get lost in this level of life, sans mots. An artist acquaintance introduced me to wabi sabi (see below) and it inspired me to see with new eyes. Every writer needs new eyes, oh say once a year. My annual trip to the magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountain Range always renews me from the inside out.

In the Jungle, the Mayan Jungle

Belize’s unspoiled Caribbean shores teem with brilliant sea life. With its 180-mile-long barrier reef and 200-isle archipelago, the Central American country was bound to be a haven for pleasure-seekers.

Snorkeling in warm waters and baking on white-sand beaches sounds wonderful for two days. It wouldn’t raise my pulse for eight. Beyond its seacoast, lagoons, and mangrove swamp lies Belize’s broadleaf rainforest. Twisting paths are overgrown with vines, lianas, and strangler figs. Black orchids and bromeliads proliferate amid mahogany trees and cohune palms. Thousand-foot falls and smoky rivers score the jungled face of mountains. The air waxes with the primordial calls of birds, insects, and howler monkeys, and throughout the forest, dark caves and Mayan ruins wait to be explored.