Light from the rising sun illuminates Mount Shasta’s massive Hotlum Glacier.
Amazingly, after a month of smoke, little sunlight and no shadows, we have had three clear mornings in a row. Perhaps we really have turned a corner on the ordeal that has been the previous month of summer. If the smoke returns in force like it was through the rest of August, the last few days sure have been a welcome respite from the depressing conditions we have endured.
Up early and seeing clear stars and a white moon, I decided to head over toward the sunrise side of Mount Shasta and see how the mountain looks. What really drove me over there was the paucity of snow on the west side and the knowledge that the mountain’s great glaciers still blanket its rocky flanks. The presence of all the ice on the Mount Shasta really changes its appearance. From the west, with only small patches of snow clinging near the summit, the mountain still looks tall and massive but from the north and east, where the four great glaciers reside, the mountain looks tall and massive and distant. It seems to reside in a different world than where we go about our lives. Seeing the magnificent ice sheets light up with the rising sun was a refreshing and encouraging sight.
On the way home I observed that Mount Shasta had developed a great sunrise shadow. The mountain’s crags cut into the sunlight, casting seemingly solid beams that contrasted brightly against that which the sun had not yet graced. I headed over to one of my favorite go-to spots for quick pictures and found that the shadow had settled on top of Mount Shasta, forming what seemed to me to be a sort of shadowy crown. It’s a bit of a dramatic name for it, but Mount Shasta is a dramatic mountain, so in my mind it fits. Just one more morning at the foot of the mountain…
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