Ghost Highway into the Highlands
The Medicine Lake Highland area is, quite simply put, bizzare. Not in a bad way though, but rather in the best ways possible. The sudden transitions in terrain leave you guessing what's around each corner. And the roads are largely vacant, giving the feeling that you've got the whole place to yourself, especially Highway 89.
The day started as most do: waking up in the back of a car parked in the clearing of an abandoned logging road. After some yoga, breakfast, and a gravity shower, I was off on the road and eager to find out what these "Pumice Stone Mountain" and "Glass Mountain" really were. Well, turns out they're mountains made of Pumice Stone and Glass (Surprise!). Although that may not sound quite so interesting, they were visually striking in terms of their color, shape, and contrast to their surroundings.
Pumice Stone Mountain had a alien aura due to the bright red rock that appeared to bleed out of the ground in stark contrast to the surrounding white. Pumice rocks are bafflingly light due to their air pockets and walking up a hill of them gave the feeling that you had suddenly gained weight as the light rocks easily give way to you.
Glass Mountain is foreign feeling as well. Partially because of the sharp and shimmering deep black wall, but also because it stands out completely separate from the surrounding nature of dirt and trees. Take care if you dare to climb it's slopes. Although not as sharp as broken window glass, these obsidian rocks are sharp enough to cut you down to the bone if you take a tumble.
The entire park is full of surprises. Sometimes it's finding a giant snow covered sand mountain in the middle of a forest with Shasta in the background all while standing on a mountain of glass.
Or that an open cave along the side of the road transitions from 100 degrees to 32 degrees in just 10 feet.
But one of my favorite surprises was seeing the flowers that popped up on the forest floor in only one area of the park.