As the sun sets, the summit of Mount Shasta is obscured by clouds.
I had a few things to take care of in town this evening and as I headed home there were some nice, puffy clouds surrounding the mountain. I thought this might be another fine sunset similar to the one from last Thursday. As the sun sank, my kids happily played in their “forts”, thrilled to have a later-than-normal bedtime because dad was going to take pictures again. In the end, the clouds dissipated somewhat and the sunset was not nearly as dramatic as I had hoped.
It isn’t fair to say I was disappointed, since I am keenly aware that having the nightly opportunity to witness even an “average” sunset on Mount Shasta is a blessing. However, the sunset did not live up to my high expectations. Nonetheless, there were some interesting and more subtle features in the sunset that I thought deserved some attention.
The first of the notable details was how the cloud formed an interesting cup on its interior. In some ways this resembled the doomed lens shape of a lenticular cloud but the exterior of the cloud was an amorphous, puffy formation. The end result was that, for quite some time, the summit of Mount Shasta was not in the clouds but was nonetheless surrounded by the cloud. The snowy summit was partially visible, though in shrouded in shadow. I wondered what it would be like to be have climbed up to the summit area and be within the cloud area and not engulfed by it. I fascinating set of circumstances to experience, no doubt.
The other interesting element occurred when the cloud began to collapse. The pocket where the summit had been obscured for a while fell apart and the top of Mount Shasta was swallowed up into the cloud. Interestingly though, was the sudden prominence of Misery Cone. This peak is one of four major eruption cones that composes Mount Shasta, the second highest after the main summit of the mountain. The effect was the emphasis of this secondary summit, making it look as though the Misery Cone was the highest point on Mount Shasta. Though a bit of an illusion, it presented the answer to the question (which no one is asking, obviously) of what Mount Shasta would look like if only composed of the three smaller volcanic cones.
I am recognize that my musings are not interesting to a lot of readers but it is a reflection of a slightly different approach I am trying to take. Rather than seek the grand panorama or the spectacular vista all the time, I am pushing myself to look at detail and appreciate the subtle side of an overwhelmingly magnificent mountain. It has been edifying discovering these minor features, where so much beauty is evident but has been concealed by my own approach.
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Hello, I tried today to get to the lookout for Whitney Falls. I got lost in the Manzanita fields of the old trail. There were several places to cross the wash earlier, but I chose to try to find the old Trail, maybe not the best choice. On the way back, I did get across the wash up higher and had an easy trip down. I never did get to see the falls. There was no water running in Whitney Creek. I don’t know if there was water running at the falls. I thought there would be with the heavy snowfall this year. Perhaps there is water running at the falls and not lower in the creek. I just thought I would give you this update. I think I will go back again to see if there is water running at the falls. Thank you again for your wonderful website. It is so helpful and thorough. Thanks, Jane
Thanks for the update! My experience with Whitney Falls is that the creek does not really run until it is hot enough in summer to really start melting the Whitney Glacier. I have been up a few times in Mays past hoping to see things flowing and they never were. It is definitely a summer waterfall.
As far as the trail, I think the old trail needs to be lopped. The banks on all the creek crossings are so unstable, it is not really a good option, long term. The brush route also has really good views of Mt. Shasta. A half dozen people with loppers could probably clear the whole path in a day. Maybe a good job for this summer…