Roughly 7,700 years ago, high in the southern reaches of the Cascade Range, the 12,000-foot Mt. Mazama began to erupt with astonishing force. Over the course of several days, the volcano released a towering column of pumice and ash that reached 30 miles into the atmosphere, spewing debris across 656,000 square miles of what is now the western United States and southwestern Canada.
I’ve always been one to love a good interconnected narrative. It’s the reason I spent much of my twenties poring over the mysteries of LOST, attempting to unravel the connections between survivors and Others and past, present, and future. It’s why in the span of two weeks, I watched every single film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, diving into a meticulously layered chronicle of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, Nine Realms, a Mad Titan, and a team of avenging heroes.
The first time I ever saw Zion National Park was by accident. In July 2001, as my family was moving (and driving) from the San Francisco Bay Area to Washington, D.C., our trusted Chevy Suburban ran into trouble in the desert outside Las Vegas.
On November 4, 1875, under dark skies and a mounting gale, the sidewheeler Pacific collided with the sailing ship Orpheus as it rounded Cape Flattery en route to San Francisco. The Pacific sank almost immediately; only two of its 250 passengers and crew lived to tell the tale.
It may not rival the stories of Grettir the Strong or Erik the Red, but our own Icelandic saga continues in the geologic wilds of North Iceland. This is the realm of charred lava fields, desolate peaks, and waterfalls named for the gods—not to mention a memorable stretch of the Ring Road that traverses remnants of ice and fire.