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Nature may heal

What quote am I vibing? "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." John Muir

Road Day: 60

Trails Hiked: Heart Lake Trail from Castle Lake (Shasta-Trinity National Forest). 2 miles officially, but I did about 3. Elevation change: 682 feet. Surface: Dirt and then rocky with a little scramble.

I saw two more sacred spaces today - I drove to Castle Lake which is super near where I'm staying, and then did the one-mile trail to Heart Lake. Well...I got to Heart Lake, the trail was sort of another story. That brings my Sacred Spaces total to 9/12 if you're keeping count!

Castle Lake is a stunner - gorgeous colors and sheer cliff walls surround the lake. It took me a second to find the trail which is actually well-trodden, it's just that the trailhead was sort of hidden behind a bush. I don't know what it was about this hike, but it made my heart pound with exertion. The ascent was intense - I intended to eat my lunch when I got to Heart Lake, but I just stopped on any old log I found about half a mile into the hike to chow down on my delicious sub from Mount Shasta Super Market.

After I left the very clear trail through the woods, and got into what seemed a European fairyland - rocky paths, gorgeous green hills, sunlight and colors to lull you into a dream...I got lost. But I didn't really fully realize I got lost. In fact, when I found Castle Lake again, I thought I had made it to Heart Lake! I sat gazing at what I thought was Heart Lake for 45 minutes, soaking in the breeze, living my best quiet life, thinking that everything was perfect in the world. Then when I consulted my AllTrails app to confirm all was well and make sure I was heading back in the right direction, I realized that I had gone wildly off trail, I was looking at the very lake at which I started my journey, and I still had a little ways to go to Heart Lake.

I went that little ways - which was probably more treacherous than the little ways I had already gone, and did eventually reach Heart Lake. Had I known what she looked like, I would have never gotten her confused with Castle Lake. But I can see how she would be very appealing when the weather hasn't been so dry for so long.

I am happy that I got a little lost and spent time on the cliff overlooking Castle Lake. The autumn colors and mountain views were so quieting for my mind. A beautiful place to continue to gear up for my journey back East, which starts in only a few days. Eeek!

In my mind, I was captioning this "Me at Heart Lake" - but I'm not always as clever as I think I am.

Castle Lake from the parking lot.

Any old log will do when you're hungry!

Somehow I was transported to the Scottish Highlands for a wee while.


This is where I sat and contemplated forever. It was Castle Lake.

I'm the blue dot. The red line is the trail.

Caught some gorgeous sunlight before climbing up the rocks.

ACTUAL Heart Lake. Probably. It might not even be. I'm going to ask a park ranger tomorrow.

These colors! How sad that autumn is just beginning and I'm about to leave it behind.

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