About 5 days ago, I got my first good look at Mt. Shasta. It’s a big deal for me to have it in view, because it’s the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, a place I once called home. I love it. I love that there is so much innovation and friendly spirits, love the coffee, the local farms, and the beer! I appreciate the varied shades of green and the smell of that fresh, ocean air. What a place!

I am humbled by volcanoes. As I look at Shasta, I think of how easily we could all just be gone, tomorrow. How I might get proud of myself for walking this far, but then I remember that a rock could end me. A bug, even, or an overlooked decision. I think of how I could run as well as Carmelita Jetter (no, I couldn’t), and still….a pebble could bring me down. I spend so much time worrying about all kinds of things, but for some reason, these volcanoes comfort me. Imagine how small my cell phone bill will seem when this baby blows! And I’m grateful. I have so much gratitude for life being temporary, and so much for it being constant.

That day, was the most magical day of my life. I was greeted by a magic trail camp in the morning, with Pocahontas and Legasaurus, who had set up a resting area with lots of food and cold sodas. Then in Old Station for lunch, I was given a beer and a Gatorade, by two hikers. Then I stopped on a highway to get some water before hitting a dry stretch. There were two men making sandwiches in the back of their pickup. They stopped me walking by to offer me a beer, and when they found out what I was up to, they were blown away. They called me their hero. Sat with me for a while, gave me all kinds of food and drinks, and talked about life. They both had grandchildren and showed me pictures of them. They were so warm and welcoming. I walked away feeling like I was saying goodbye to my uncles or something. They even got out their wallets and threw some cash at me. I refused, but they wouldn’t let me. I was holding back tears at their generosity. Then I came to a lookout and was confronted by another nice couple, middle-aged, who asked me a bunch of questions, then said, “You have to let us give you something.” He started rummaging through his car and found a bag of pistachios, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I thanked them, and was just feeling so blown away by the kindness I come across, when a young couple woman came up to me from her car and said, “Excuse me, but did you say you’re hiking the whole trail?” I smiled and said yes. “We figured you might like a fresh mango.” “Of course I would! Thank you so much.” So in one day, I got a soda, a bagel, a cinnamon roll, a beer, a Gatorade, another beer, three avocados, two ice teas, a sizable cash handout, a lb of pistachios, and a fresh mango.

People tell me all the time that the world is a terrible place full of dangerous people. Maybe they need to go hiking.
Shayla's PCT 132

5 thoughts on “Volcanoes

  1. Hi Shayla, Thanks so much for the letter.What a magical trek you are on..I agree,there are so many wonderful people out there.We tend to take too much time reflecting on the bad which is sad..I found the same feeling when I woke up and looked out the window and there before me was that beautiful white Mt ..That was why I named our litle white dog Shasta…
    Am I understanding right,you and Eric are going to meet up in Aug.??? Birthday Gift? I bet he couldn’t think of a better one…ha….I don’t hear much from him.Hope the job is going good.I do know he loves SteamBoat……So glad he finally got to go live his dream and be with his “dream Gal”…I am also glad you keep in touch..We all think the world of you Shayla….Keep up the good work..Are you half way yet? Be careful and stay safe….
    All is good here.It has been hot and humid and lots of Mosquitoes…but it is summer in MN…
    Alittle rain today but nothing to speak of……You take care…our love to you…

  2. Hey Kiddo
    Andy from Mammoth Here, glad your progress is good! Lots of hikers have come thru Mammoth since you, so the Davison St Guest House has been interesting. Our hiker box has grown! Straggling PCT hikers are getting food out of hiker boxes all along the trail…tales of bountiful hiker boxes from Muir ranch to Mammoth etc…
    I have hiked the JMT to Kersarge and will finish the rest in a few weeks. Rae lakes was a good tip thanks! We got an article in the newspaper, Eric became the assistant Manager, 4th of July was fun.
    keep inspiring and hiking. Andy

    1. Andy! So great to hear from you. Thanks for the hospitality and the update. It was a really meaningful and rememberable stay at Davidson. Having you guys to come back to really made me feel great about getting back on trail, when it could have been hard or lonely. I seriously hope to hear more about your adventures in the Sierra and am so glad to see you getting after it!

  3. Hi Shay, Mark and I think of you often. It’s just amazing–the trek, the sights, the stories. It’s also so nice that now you’re getting some Mom time. She’s pretty happy about it too. We saw some beautiful scenery on our road trip / honeymoon as we drove through rural Wisconsin. We also saw parts of MN, IA, IL, and MO. All in all, a fabulous trip.

    We heard about your incredible 40 mile day! You’ll be deserving of another zero day soon!
    Keep on hiking–and staying safe. Love ya!

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