Friday, August 10, 2012

A Morning on Úytaahkoo or the "White Mountain"

Karen and I have been working at home all this week on home improvement and gardening projects.  Temperatures in the North Sacramento Valley have consistently been up to a high of 104F in the afternoon and down to a low of 65F in the early morning. 

I decided to go hiking today on the south facing slopes of Mt. Shasta.  I left early this morning a drove north on Interstate 5 up to Mt. Shasta City.  This is a lovely drive from about 300 feet above sea level in Red Bluff up thorough the Shasta-Trinity National Forest to 3,600 feet in Mt. Shasta City. It is about a 200 mile round trip drive from Red Bluff to Mt. Shasta City. 

I plan to hike from Bunny Flat (6,950 feet) up to Horse Camp Lodge (8,000 feet).  There is little snow left on Mt. Shasta this summer.  Mountain hiking is always a good physical challenge for my overall conditioning and for my feet. I do, however, intend just to sit many times in the shade and observe the mountain scenery.  

Afterwards, I will spend some time in the Mt. Shasta City for a late lunch and shopping at some New Age stores.  This is a popular tourist town in the summer months.  Then, I will spend some time in the shade along the Sacramento River near Dunsmir.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like falling leaves."
-  John Muir 

"My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing."
-  Aldous Huxley 

Mt. Shasta, California: Notes, Quotes, Photographs by Mike Garofalo.

Strange, unusual, and "other-worldly" events do happen on Mt. Shasta:

"I first met Chang San-Feng above the forest, 
near the clear spring,
when gathering clouds darkened the day,
and Mt. Shasta was silent.

His long beard was black as emptiness,
ear lobes to his shoulders,
holding obsidian in his hand,
pointing to the sun,
eyes staring into infinity,
his long body clothed in silence.

We exchanged "hellos"
smiled and bowed,
a barbarian and an Immortal,
both panting from the climb,
ten-thousand echoes
between our rocky minds.

After billions upon billions of heartbeats past
(for he must have been 888 years old),
I was so bold
as to ask the ancient one
for the sacred mantra of yore.
He lifted his whisk,
and brushed my face,
I could not speak,
my lips were stone,
ideas stopped -
I was alone."
-  Michael P. Garofalo, Meetings with Master Chang San-Feng


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