The photo above is of an alien that attacked me when I was climbing Mt. Shasta. Just kidding, this one did not attack me … because he was too afraid of me :). Actually, this photo is a very nice example of Brocken spectre, that is usually magnified shadow of an observer, cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun. But I hiked up Mt. Shasta, true story, read on.
When I was 9 or 10 we decided to spend some time in Smith Rock. Also, since Mount Shasta was on our way anyway, my dad wanted us all to climb Mt. Shasta. My mom is into “spiritual”, so she was excited to be at the first-root-chakra-energy-center of the world, that is Mount Shasta, believe it or not (hey, you can google it yourself). To dad’s and mine surprise she new a lot about Mt. Shasta, although her knowledge was mostly about alien encounters, living under ground Lemurians and such. I was doing cheerful face too, just not to show to dad my concern about mom’s and mine zero-level experience in climbing snow and ice (who wants to disappoint dad with the questions and concerns about his brilliant (read crazy) idea?).
Long story short, one splendid and sunny Summer day we came to The Fifth Season local store to rent crampons and other equipment. There we were told that snow on the mountain all melted and we should not do Avalanche Gulch route, because it is too dangerous and no fun at all. Instead, we selected long but supposedly easier Clear Creek route (no crampons, we are saved, yay).
On first day we had easy and nice hike that started in forest and ended at alpine meadows with beautiful springs. Next day dad woke us up at 2 am, bummer. Steep and miserable trail without an end. You know that feeling when you go on and on but the summit is not getting any closer to you, that is what I felt that day. So many times I was ready to give up, but I knew that “real men” do not do that, they do not turn back just because hike is hard. Suffering is part of the fun, or so I was told.
Very close to the summit we came to the section with unstable and falling rocks (answer to our question why other hikers had helmets with them). Truly terrifying experience, few times I was sliding down on huge blocks. Below me struggled my mom (Lemurians offered no help to her). Dad commanded me and mom to retreat back down to safety; he went on towards the summit, promised to be back soon.
You know, mountains is scary place when your dad is gone. I was too used to safe and soft environment of my every-day life. In mountains you do not have any people around, you are on your own, exposed. This is when I encountered new, alien feelings and sensations in me, primordial emotions if you will. Fear mixed with deep respect to the environment, or something like that.
While sci-fi writers and scientists dream about exploring other planets and star systems, the average people dream about their coach in front of TV hugging huge bag of chips. Instead of going out to acquire better grip with reality we tend to replace reality and our real life with 2-dimentional moving pictures of someone else life projected into our eyes while we are squeezed inside our little houses. For most people getting on top of Shasta is as unreal as getting to Mars. So I am glad I had that experience on Shasta, I can’t explain it to those who never climb mountains, but exploring world yourself is much more fun than watching how others do it on Discovery channel. Live your own life, not life of someone else on TV screen.
The photo at the top belongs to the nice gallery of pictures taken at Caucasus Mountains area: