From summer to summer

– Fall 2011 –

For most people a year begins and ends deep in winter; for us it turned out differently: Some who read this already know that we have two years, two summers: One begins mostly some time in October down in southern California when we feel autumn in the air and winter chasing us but spring already waiting across the border to Mexico. It ends with a mostly brief mixture of fall-winter-spring in early April when we return to the Pacific Northwest where the next one will begin accordingly with a real long spring and end with a mixture of late-summer and fall in October. So we have two summers and a pretty wild assortment of springs and falls in between.

  Fall in the Sierras

It wasn’t any different this time. When we left home in mid October it wasn’t the first time that a severe cold front came just rolling down from the north, a first icy puff of winter making the nights on our travel a bit uncomfortable. We made a nice fire the second evening in southern Oregon but woke up to brutal frost. It’s neither as bad as it may have seemed when we started this crazy life style so many years ago, but nor has it become any more comfortable over time. Starting your day with breathing white clouds into the air and staring in disbelief at the thermometer displaying something in the low twenties, the water in the kettle frozen, the windshield white with frost, is no fun at all. Ok, it takes less than an hour then until the sun is out and warming things up while we roll down a lonely country road and marvel at the light dancing on the sage in the open range. It is really not so bad, but our old bones don’t like it much.

 Conway Summit, CA

We are no greenhorns and always have a prepared thermos waiting in those mornings; when the first coffee is spreading its warmth through my inside and the wonderful sun is lovingly kissing my outside I’m content again. The skies are cloudless and transparent, brutal and merciless when you look with a timid mind, but vast and full of pleasant potential that calms the senses and nourishes the heart.

Soon we pull up at the first hot spring in Bridgeport CA and wash a northern summer off our weary bodies. It was a somewhat lumpy year. – Funny how I search for an appropriate word. – Those who read my blog on a regular basis know how I was digging a bit into our good old days and bygone adventures this summer. As much as this was a most delightful endeavor, it also came with some bitter-sweet taste. Impermanence is a real experience, not only a philosophical phenomenon. As much as we two can look back on a wonderful rich life full of luck and good fortune it still leaves the question quite open if we really used this precious gift of life wisely. We too will lose it all one day. The act of reviewing your life and trying to frame it with concepts can interfere with actually living it; however, without examining it, it can also become the blind commute, the hasty transition on auto pilot that misses it all together.

In the forests the leaves of summer are littering the ground.

 In higher elevations the aspen are on fire. Tioga Pass is still open and we spend a few days on our favorite trails around Tuolumne Meadows.




Recent early snow makes the peaks look arctic already, but it is actually still quite warm during the days even at 11000 feet.

 At “The Sheepherder” near Mammoth we stay a couple of days as usual.

 We sit under the mild sun and let the spectacular landscape work on us. And in the frosty, starry nights we sit and spread our senses out into space. There are often some other souls out there seeking refuge in the stillness and sometimes deep communication flows between us; it can work in exquisite, passionate words but also sometimes in lighthearted babble or in precious silence.

 In Independence the cold front finally has caught up with us. So we push on and reach our usual half-way point in Joshua Tree. It’s warm outside. It is finally warm outside, we hear about severe snow storms in Colorado and are happy to have escaped once again …

                                                                    Klaus end of October 2011

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5 Responses to From summer to summer

  1. Klaus Mack says:

    You are already that far south Klaus? Stay warm my friend, all the best for Mexico and best regards to Parvin.


  2. hazel says:

    beautiful images..peace be your journey(s)!

  3. I’ve just been skimming through your wonderful photos and captions. What a rich and excellent life. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Christine says:

    Dear Klaus,
    the summer of looking back – I read it all , some stories once again. I didn´t answer, because our summer was – in spite of our one week with the comfortable modern sleeping car to rent – again full of work and struggle . Your wonderful life – I admired it and more so the fact that you managed to get it so aufgeräumt this summer. I wish I could.

    I think about your question – believe me, that´s my question too and I am convinced it comes with age. From my distance, your life seems to me like a work of fine art (Kunstwerk), and the sensible taken fotoes this autumn underlign this. I would be glad if I could blätter in a Bildband (take a book and not a screen) to look at your life and read about – but I must admit that your blog has some advantages. It is not closed, finished…..

    You seem to fade away into the landscape – and everything emptiying into white…. I would be glad to be able to do so some time …

    We had a quiet october week in Leutaschtal recently – fine clear sky, first snow, warm sun around noon and cold mornings. Everything calm, no season, only a few other well-aged people on the mountains estimating the far outlooks, comforting austrian cooking and this beautiful cosy language…….. one 72 year-old man missing on Hohe Munde, not a steep rock – meanwhile others struggle for a Nachtfllugverbot at Frankfurt airport and against the huge robbery finance industry. Problems we didn´t imagine when we were young. Arne asks more complicated questions – about mathematics ( he has inscribed for that in Gießen now) and about Europa – and we face our disabilities.
    (Mine begins with your four buttons below – what shall I do?)

    I see your life u.a. as a wonderful offspring from a generation which wanted so ernest to believe in world peace and communication as a means of it, which made journeys instead of get shipped senseless and funny around the world and come home with no understanding. But I must confess that our understanding didn´t reach far enough.

    Arne has a girl friend from Solms now who has a flat in Frankfurt and earns money as a extra stewardess on intercontinental flights – the Normalos fly to London and back and want to be home in the evenings. He looks forward to the cheap flights …. what sense does this make?

    Lets be grateful and laugh a lot and admire beauty where it appears!
    Best wishes

  5. scott walker says:

    Klaus and Parvin,
    May you have an excellent travel to Baja and a wonderful stay while you overwinter there. We think of you often.
    scott and cara

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