Day 7 – April 11, 2014

Departing Mount Shasta, Greg and I stop at Stewart Hot Springs for a mid-morning soak. This secluded wooded establishment by a creek reminds me of Harbin Hot Springs, the grand dame of northern Californian hippie hot springs.

Arriving when Stewart Hot Springs opened, we were lucky enough to get time slots for the mineral baths. Over the course of ninety minutes, we soaked in our own individual tubs, ran into a wood-heated sauna, and then plunged outside into the almost-freezing creek. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m not a fan of water but I like new experiences. Greg called the experience “Dinosaur Water Torture.” For me, water is invariably too hot or too cold, and here at Stewart, it was both. Nonetheless, we emerged happy and relaxed, if not chaffed from the high silica content of the mineral water.

Six hours of driving from Shasta to Portland felt exhausting, even with lunch in far-too-cute Ashland, Oregon. As I shed my old habit of constantly checking my phone, I find that few now write to me, and I write to few. Greg says I have been gone just two days! Still, I’m losing contact with the world, and I do want to be uncontactable.

My former company’s Chief Technical Office badgers me about a crazy work scheme. Could I help a lab in the Netherlands with gold functionalization? It would be for just a few weeks and months as a post-doc. Ten year’s ago I worked as a post-doc in the Netherlands. I find the current offer a step backwards. This executive continues to press and I continue to say no. Does he realize how hard I worked to carve out this time away? I cut away this final tie against freedom.