I’ve never been a morning person, but I find myself waking up early to start my days.
Got my first sunburn of the journey/summer, so I guess I can check that off my list…!
It felt good, though, basking in the sun on a tough hike up the side of Mount Shasta. I read that the area east of the mountain (accessible by way of the Brewer’s Creek Trailhead) was one of John Muir’s favorites, so I had to check it out since he’s my new (er, old and dead) homeboy. The drive in was a bit daunting (I don’t just want a Subaru; now, I really kinda need one!). It was so washed out and rocky that I sometimes couldn’t drive more than 2 miles per hour. (I guess that’s a snail’s pace indeed!) Because of this and the difficulty of the trail, there were probably only 10 cars at the trailhead, and this is ideal. I like to hike in nature, not in crowds, so difficult and hard-to-reach trails are where it’s at for me. The folks I met (5 total in 3 hours) had hiked to the summit and camped. They were legit, packing ski gear on their backs for the high elevations. Someday, I’d love to come back and make it to the top. I won’t do that solo, though, even though John would have (and did). As it were, I took my time on the way up, reminding myself each time I felt too slow that my pilgrimage isn’t about a destination; it’s about the journey. I stopped and rested a few times in the shade of the alpines and rocks, and once some ants literally crawled in my pants…but I didn’t much care. I was too tired and aware that I was, after all, invading their space, not the other way around.
Speaking of insects…to prepare for the day, I ate cricket chips for breakfast! You heard me right – cricket chips – chips (crunchy, salty) made from cricket flour instead of wheat flower and thus packed with protein. They are yummy, and I definitely recommend checking them out. They seem very California crunchy to me. When in Rome…
I’ve never hiked with bear spray until today. Hopefully I’ll never have to use it, but it’s apparently a useful defense against both bears and creepy people. So I’m sleeping with it tonight too, just in case. I’m camping in the Shasta National Forest. As I write, I’m looking out my screen “door” at the mountain beyond the trees, and it is nothing short of spectacular. There are no other humans in sight, and the only noises I hear are from nature. It’s glorious. This is what I pictured in my heart when I planned my trip. I didn’t have too many other expectations, just that I’d spend my days in the wild. Tonight is my first “wild night.” It’s both exciting and a little scary. But I’m channeling my inner Muir and trusting that nature is the best space for me and my soul.