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Now my eyes are open

What quote am I vibing? "Your heartbeat - make my heart beat, when we share love. Like a plate of corn, like a honeybee, like a waterfall, all a part of me. Like the color purple. Where do it come from? Now my eyes are open. Look what God has done." from The Color Purple on Broadway, lyrics by Stephen Bray.

Road Day: 38

Trails Hiked: Black Butte (Summit) (Shasta-Trinity National Forest). 6.1 miles. Elevation change: 1,991 feet. Surface: dirt and rock near the bottom, rocks and crags near the top.

I knew I had to do something scary today. Another full day off for Labor Day. Not a thing scheduled. And I haven't done any truly challenging hikes so far. The opportunity to summit Black Butte and return to my car while only traversing 6.1 miles seemed like a great opportunity to challenge myself, but within reason.

This mountain was a volcano, originally - the bottom was a pretty shaded walk up a narrow dirt path - the mountain always on one side, a healthy drop down on the other. It wasn't necessarily challenging, just up. Always. And I was walking so slowly, but there was nothing I could do about it. It was like my body was in slow motion. Step. Step. Left. Right. Up. Up. The hardest part was mentally giving myself the patience to accept my speed.

At some point, the path shifted to crags - rocks. Sometimes I needed all four limbs to scramble across. Sometimes I still used all four limbs just to feel safe. At this point, my slow speed was the least of my worries, with rocks shifting underfoot. I mostly looked ahead to follow the path - which was very clearly laid out (thank you National Parks Services!), and I was super glad to be wearing my real hiking boots which gave me more ankle support than my Hokas would have.

It took me 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach the summit, which was really an emotionally overwhelming experience. I spent 45 minutes at the peak. Taking everything in. Enjoying the wind. I even found a little rocky recliner to lay back in for a while. I'm pretty sure there were no snakes. None bit me anyway. Excuse my finger in the video of the summit - I'm certainly not a YouTube superstar.

After my lengthy respite at the top, I started my descent. A woman was coming up just as I started down. She didn't notice me and I didn't want to scare her.

Me: Hi!


Me: Oh God. I was trying NOT to scare you.

Her: I scare easily.

Me: Okay.

Her: I was feeling very alone.

Me: I understand. There's no one else up there. Enjoy!

Continuing on my way, I saw 5 more people - another single woman, a father and son, and two women. How lucky that I had all that time up there by myself. How unfortunate that I ruined that poor woman's calm.

It took me 1 hour and 30 minutes to descend. There were a few times I had to scoot down on my butt when it was steep, but for the most part, I felt more sure-footed and comfortable than on the way up. There were many bees along the way, but no stings. A tiny snake. It turns out the scariest thing on the mountain today was me!

Reached the summit!

View of my future climb as I approached.

It's official.

I don't know if you can tell how narrow that path is, but it was a little nerve wracking.

So many rocks.

One of the few trees that existed high up in the craggy part.

Water break. Better to keep moving though. Inertia is a hiker's friend.

Why so steep?

Why so steep? (Part 2)

View of other mountains from the peak.

View of Mount Shasta from the peak.

Looking down. Eep!

Forgive my hair. It was windy.

I live here now.

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