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A sacred heritage

What quote am I vibing? "Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance." Theodore Roosevelt

Road Day: 59

I wanted to take today's blog to discuss more about the "sacred sites" in the Mount Shasta area - I visited two today, Pluto's Cave and the Sacramento Headwaters, which brings my total to 7 of the 12 sacred sites laid out in the Mt. Shasta Sacred Sites Guide Book by Soul Connections. You've been with me for the other five - Hedge Creek Falls (the fairy), Panther Meadows (it was smoky), Castle Crags (I climbed Castle Dome in the crags two days ago), Burney Falls (TR called it the 8th Wonder of the World), and Stewart Mineral Springs (bath, sauna, creek.)

These sacred spots have been established as spots of great power - connection with the Universe - oneness with Nature -- call them what you will, they're peaceful, you can meditate, you can just enjoy being in a pretty place. For me, they give me some guidance and purpose for how I plan some days of my trip. And I try to come closer to that Connection.

I have been trying to get to this cave for days, and life kept getting in my way, but I finally made it this afternoon. I was the only person in the parking area, and I was dubious as I approached because there was a very human, off-putting smell - I've since established that it was the smell of parties and beer and peeing - despite a small fear that started nibbling at me, I approached and entered the first of the four-part cave system, crawling down a rock wall.

The cave consists of three "tunnels" with meadowish places in between, and one final cave with a back wall. The first tunnel is clearly where parties happen. There was a firepit, plenty of graffiti, and as I mentioned - the smell - I moved quickly through it to the next, and it was better from there. The third tunnel had a very cool space where part of the ceiling apparently fell in and sunlight comes through in the most beautiful way.

Before I left for my trip, Greg purchased a few things for me - a fancy flashlight, pepper spray, and a lantern that lasts for 12 days. This lantern struck me as rather dramatic - if I was in a position to use this lantern for twelve days, I said, just write me off. As it turns out, this lantern was AMAZING for spelunking. :) So, props to Greg for being clever and anticipating my adventures.

Even though I had moved on from the party cave, signs of humans still lingered throughout the system, and by the time I got to the last cave which was more of a true "cave" - a fear had grown inside me - not of the darkness, or snakes, or bears, or spiders, but of men. It bothered me that I had overcome so much fear to get to that place, and still I was afraid that a fellow human might be hiding or living in there and frighten or harm me. I had my taser in my pocket (it's usually in my pack), and I was okay. So, I turned my lantern off and let myself feel the darkness and feel the ABSOLUTE QUIET. The quiet was unbelievable, warm in my ears. I never got to a place of actual calm, but I was comfortable enough to breathe, which seemed like a good step. I turned my lantern back on and moved forward, or back in this case, to the beginning - a little braver than I was before.

After the cave I headed back to Mount Shasta - to City Park where the Sacramento River Headwaters lie. It seems like an exciting place - when I got there, some fellows were playing music and people were filling bottles and praying in the water. I sat crosslegged beside the water. My guidebook said that a joyful song sung at the headwaters is absorbed by the water, sending your love flowing through all of California, and blessing all. I quieted my mind, and the song that I ended up humming was Edelweiss. Not sure why, but it did feel like a fine choice. "Bless my homeland forever."

I hope to get to the last five sites before I leave Mount Shasta on Sunday morning - stay tuned, my friends. ❤️

By the light of a lantern, alone in a cave. She poses.

California desert mountain lizard. Not your normal Florida variety lizard!

Approach to first part of cave. (What is that smell?)

Rocks to descend into and ascend out of the cave series.

I dunno. Cave.

Hole in cave ceiling.

Natural ceiling hole light.

If you love sunlight through trees, I'd like to introduce you to sunlight through caves.

My sweet lantern.

I think something to do with this might be why I had an ominous feeling in this cave.

More cave.

Me by the light of the lantern before I turned it off.

Mount Shasta view from outside the cave. It's much snowier on this side!

Sacramento River Headwaters. Small and white, clean and bright, you look happy to meet me.

I finally put some TR pins on my hiking pack!! The Bull Moose Progressive Party one and TR's face are from David. The other from Crater Lake. TR represent!

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