The Borderlands

Hi Everyone! Here are some photos that Andy took in Northern California and across the Oregon border, as well as a couple of journal entries from a few weeks ago. As always, stay tuned.

The beautiful Mount Shasta, taken from about 40 miles to the south as the crow flies. It’s not quite as high as Mount Whitney (see earlier posts), but it has much bigger glaciers because it’s farther north. Many new-age locals believe the mountain houses an underground city of aliens, called the Lemurians.

Castle Crags National Monument, southwest of Mount Shasta. The trail goes right by.

Weathered but not weary, Astro Andy stands triumphant at the Oregon Border. “I’ve only been in one damn state this whole time,” he complains over the phone. But if he were on the East Coast, it would be like having traveled on foot from Georgia to Upstate New York – in other words, most of the length of the Appalachian Trail.

Self-explanatory.

Oregon Trail.

From Andy’s Journal (late July):

Yesterday was tough. As the afternoon came, I continued truckin’ on, and though I didn’t feel great initially, my body and mind slowly got their groove back. I walked up toward Ebbet’s Pass in the last hours of the evening, crossing the pass around 7:30. I saw one car and knew I could get a ride if I wanted “outta here,” but I just took a breath, crossed the one-lane road, and kept walking.

I passed a cooler, left at the side of the trail, belonging to Meadow Mary, a trail angel. One granola bar was left, which I took. I looked at the log-book for a while and saw some of my buddies not too far ahead of me. Meadow Mary had left some health tips, which I also read. She’s a massage therapist and wellness consultant, so there was a whole list of all the health food stores along the trail. I grabbed one of her cards, then kept walking, until 9:00 pm.

As it got darker, part of me said, “you better hurry up and find water and set up camp,” but another part said, “this is fun and beautiful; I know Nature will give me what I need.” At 8:30, water empty, I passed through a meadow that I hoped would have a small trickle, but it was dry except for a nasty, muddy puddle. Hmmm. I stared tromping downstream, through the thick grasses. In the distance, I heard trickle trickle trickle – SAVED! After a few more marshy steps, I emerged on top of a small muddy crack in the earth where clear water was flowing, a spring letting out water from the meadow above. I put my bottle under the cascading trickle and smiled. “Thank you,” I said to Nature. “I am blessed, I am safe.”

I walked on another mile, till I could barely see, then found a site in a patch of pines overlooking the valley below. I set up my sleeping pad facing east.

***

My first storm last night!

I saw flashes of light as I went to sleep – signs of a storm way in the distance. By midnight, I saw more clouds on the horizon, and by early dawn, little drops started falling, intermittent “plops” landing on my sleeping bag. I thought, “should I set up my shelter?” No, I decided. Just a few drops won’t hurt; my bag is water-resistant.

A few minutes later: a BIG thunderclap right above my head! And within seconds, it started pouring. I peeked out from the warm tunnel of my sleeping bag to see huge thunderheads lit by the first light of dawn.

FLASH! Big lightning, BOOM, CRACKLE, crackle, craaaaackle, big long thunder. And the rain intensifies. My mouth doesn’t know whether to smile or frown. My bag is now reaching its water-resistant limit, and down is not supposed to get wet. I once again wonder, “should I set up my shelter?”, but think, “no, the sun will come up soon and dry up all the rain.” Still, at this point, it’s pouring. I cinch up my bag just so that one eye and one ear are still exposed. I am completely shielded, but can still enjoy the sights and sounds of this early dawn thunderstorm – my first storm of the trip.

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