What quote am I vibing? "The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom. " Theodore Roosevelt
Road Day: 58
Trails Hiked: Castle Dome Trail (Castle Crags State Park). 9 miles. Elevation Change: 2,752 feet. Surface: packed down dirt and then rocky crags to scramble
Since I wasn't able to make the summit happen yesterday, it was important for me to take this other weekend day to do one here at "home" in the Mount Shasta area. I chose the difficult Castle Dome hike to challenge myself.
Today's hike stats were new records for me both for distance and elevation (thanks for pointing that out, Wendy!) - in fact I hiked about 800 feet higher than I ever have before. And I feel that now in my legs, even after a long soak in the tub when I got home.
The hike started just off an exit of I-5, and went UP .5 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail. I spent my first time on the PCT today, for about 1.5 miles each way. At first that part of the trail was flat and shaded, and just beautiful with old trees - I thought, "Wow, these PCT hikers really have it easy" - of course the trail shifted after not too long to something less leisurely, and never gave in to flatness again...maybe for about .2 miles rounding a side of the mountain. But the ascent was relentless. Not many switchbacks, just a constant uphill plod.
At some point the terrain too shifted, it was no longer a tree covered forest, but an exposed field of crags that required scrambling, crawling, and occasional grabbing for whatever you could get your paws on. I was never terrified of dying like I was climbing Black Butte, because there wasn't a steep cliff drop. I was more worried about breaking an ankle in this scenario.
I am so glad I climbed this mountain. There is really nothing like being at the top, and feeling the wind in your hair - the breeze and your sweat working together to cool your body temperature, slow your heart, let you breathe fully, let you experience the beauty of the entire world laid out before you.
The round trip took me about 4 hours and 40 minutes, including intermission. I will to bed now - I am going into my last week here in Mount Shasta, and I will have to do an adventure every day. And that will still leave adventures left un-experienced. Always the most frustrating part of traveling to wonderful places.
SPOILER ALERT: I could NOT get to the top of that thing I said I could get to the top of. I don't know why I thought I could. Adrenaline, I guess. Also, apologies again for the vertical video. Some day I'll be punished for the bad things that I do.