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.