Mt. Shasta - from Gray Butte 1994, description

At Mt. Shasta, I camped atop Gray Butte in an electrical storm. This is what I wrote there. See also map and pictures.

It's September 24, 1994. I've wanted to camp on Gray Butte since I saw it in 1979. I've been back to Mt. Shasta four times. Now I'm determined and excited to finally reach my goal.

From Panther Meadow, I started hiking up to Gray Butte at 3:32 in the afternoon. The spring draws me to the island of plants where I scattered Leo's ashes last year. This is the second anniversary of his death. From here I can see both Gray Butte and Mt. Shasta.

Met two women on the trail. The first, named Catherine, is custodian for Mt. Shasta High School. She urged me to write the "Keeper" saying, make this an historical district, stop it at the current use level. Urge no more commercialization. Other woman near radio tower--no stopping for talk.

Where did the hollow (earth drum) feeling start? I think after the turnoff to Squaw Valley.

I got up top at 5:04. Can't believe I got up here that fast. But 'tis true. Must quickly set up my tent. At 5:57 I'm seated in my tent, hearing a few sprinkles outside, but thrilled to be at my target, Gray Butte! Sprinkles stopped, will go out. Pray lightning doesn't strike here! Please. Went out. This is awful. There are rain sweeps in every direction. And I saw lightning! Argh. I'm near the peak. More sprinkles drive me into the tent again.

Maybe I should go back? Then I'd have to get down the mountain road, a long ways. I'd rather stay here. Who knows if I'll ever get this chance again. I've dreamed of being here for so many years. Need to review my purpose. I hear ... what ... wind? Outside again to see the most beautiful sweeps of vast landscape.

There are showers to the southeast and that's where clouds are coming from, so I suppose I'll be huddling in my tent soon. Lots of lightning-blasted tree tops here. Sun is still beaming here at 6:39 and Mt. Shasta just has a cloud draped over a glacier. Now sun on it!

I can see the parking lots in the old ski bowl. I could see a person maybe, because cars are fairly visible. I'm so hung up on being here that I can't think of my purpose.

7:08 It's raining now. I'm back in tent after seeing two lightning glimmers and one bright white lightning to the east!

I think I'd better write my will here! {Note, I did!}

7:14. Now it's raining pretty strong! Sorry I didn't dig a trench on the uphill side. But it's mostly bushes and rocks. Not much of a purchase here. Certainly not flat. I hear sound. Airplane? Or thunder? Can't say. I add to the will to put some cash into research on lightning rods for tents. 7:16 rain down to light patter. Rain is stopped. Wish headache were! Will get wet feet outside? Want to look!

7:51. Starting to rain good now. I freaked and threw my pack out, because it's aluminum, a good conductor. Flashes getting closer to thunder now. "I'll always love you", I write after the will instructions. Flash, crash a few seconds later. This is too close for comfort. Unless it's gone over my head. I'm very scared!!! If this round goes past, I might have a chance.

Rain. Flash. Can measure distance. Count six seconds to thunder. That means it is about one mile away. It sounds like it is overhead. I'd love to look out. Never counted down to zero on the thunder. Slept.

In middle of the night saw the stars of Sagittarius in south, milky way galaxy up to Deneb and Northern Cross straight overhead. Rain, lightning and soft clouds around the rift in most amazingly dynamic blocks and texture. Also saw moonrise way back in the east behind clouds. Later I saw Deneb/N Cross on the western horizon. The North star was just to right of Mt. Shasta's summit. In night, felt wiggly jiggly ground, as if undulating. And everything below and above moved both ways, just for awhile, reminding me of the thin membrane I'm on.

Actually slept most of the night to 6:30 (too cold to do anything else). The thin foam mattress balanced on tough bumpy manzanita bushes and rocks. Certainly wasn't a flat spot. If there was a time when Gail's abduction theory might have been true, that might have been it. Usually I would toss and turn on such uneven ground. I must have slept solid from 2-6 or so. Seems so unlikely.


Surprised to wake up when it was light. Saved one cup of water for morning coffee. Ate potato chips, pancakes, sunflower/walnut crackers, and pineapple rings.

It's now 7 a.m. Sun struggling through the horizon. Never woke up on a peak before. Feel slightly vulnerable but perfect. Want to hold this place/moment. A morning yoga to die for. Keep trying to do 360-degree head swings. I feel mellow and right and whole and like not having any special me. So happy to be here.

Got down to Panther Meadow at 10. Met friends at the campground; we arrived together.

They brought heaps of baked goods, mostly whole wheat. And juices. Then I got a real medicine wheel healing. We found a place at the end of the parking lot that was flat, surrounded by large stones. I felt totally enwrapped in the healing spell that Patricia and Gail created.

Patricia brought plant (sage), mineral (crystal), fish (abalone), and bird (feather). Gail said I had a flag of grief at each chakra. It was time to turn the flag to joy for each one. Patricia told of contacting the Elo spirit of adventure while contemplating cloudbase. She said that Leo had experienced a greater feeling than most humans and I should be happy that he achieved it. He was willing to pay the price he did for what he got. We should be inspired by his continuity as the spirit of adventure.

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