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A View from the Road: Crater Lake & Mt. Shasta

Our luck with volcanos had been disappointing. Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier — they had all veiled themselves coyly behind a impenetrable curtain of mist and rain and gale force winds that rendered seeing them, let alone hiking them, a fool’s errand. Yet again and again we tried. AT Crater Lake we expected finally to be rewarded for our perseverance. It was sunny and 70 degrees when we began the winding ascent up to the lake itself. It was 25, snowy, and covered in fog when we reached the top. Turned away by closed roads and regretful park rangers, we descended the mountain, and found once again at the base it was a gorgeous day, the sky dappled with dramatic clouds and slants of warming orange sunlight.

Still determined that we should bear witness to at least some aspect of the Pacific Northwest’s volcanic heritage, we forged ever onward, across the state line then to California, where initial cloud cover once again threatened to spoil of experience of Mt. Shasta. Mystical, conspiracy theory laden Mt. Shasta. Entrance to the Hollow Earth. A convergence point for magickal leylines. A breathtaking volcano — hidden again behind a moody curtain of mist. Resigned then were we to our cruel fate, to have traveled so far, with such visions and such hope and so many trail maps loaded onto the GPS. Only to have it all prove for naught.

Until, at last, nature took pity on we weary pilgrims and parted the clouds so that we might catch a glimpse of Shasta and drink in some of the volcanic impressiveness that had otherwise been denied us. And though we saw no UFOs nor hints of Hyperborean technology, it was never the less a most impressive sight and a well worthwhile drive.