Evening light on Mount Shasta and the Whaleback.
There is obviously a lot happening right now, though in some ways it seems like nothing is happening, since the way to fight contagion is to turn things off and break apart into smaller social units. I don’t have much to say about the events taking place other than to say they seem strangely distant and detached. My wife and I home school our kids and I work from home. Consequently, our lives haven’t been disrupted other than a few canceled events for the kids. Nonetheless, the method of combating a virus is for the maximum number of people to buy into isolation and help slow the spread of the sickness.
In my mind, what better kind of a place to do that than out in nature and on the trail. Few people, lots of isolation, not pent up inside. The timing for the social distancing was a bit frustrating, as the call for it hit right when the Mount Shasta area was getting a decent dose of snow. The kids played outside some but, after the warm weather we have had and the obvious onset of spring, the enthusiasm for playing in the snow has waned considerably. Thankfully we have a few days of warmer, sunnier weather coming in and Wednesday afternoon was the first such moment.
With our house and the surrounding area still covered in fresh snow, I opted to head up into the Shasta Valley, where the views are excellent and the high desert prevails. We were not disappointed. It was a grand time and the views were, as expected, excellent. The kids relished the opportunity to get outside and climb on the rocks and run through the grass and juniper. Naturally, I had to capture a few images. This segment of the valley is particularly interesting to me because of the proliferation of old rock walls. They add a nice compliment of lines to the naturally beauty.
Click to enlarge:
It was notable that north of Mount Shasta the snow level was at around 5,500 – 6,000 feet. It was good evidence that the mountain’s rain shadow was having its effect. My house, which is west of the mountain, is at about 3,900 feet and we have 6-7 inches of snow on the ground. Outside of the rain shadow, the snow levels are significantly lower. North of the mountain less precipitation falls and the higher elevations are able to pull more out of passing storms.
On a more sober note, it is fascinating to witness the events whirling around us. Isolating may be necessary but it can cause feelings of helplessness too. There is a lot of uncertainty afoot and the potential for a lot of suffering. Psalm 145 comes to my mind frequently during times of trial and it is a good reminder that things are bigger than they appear and there are powers at work beyond our finite appreciation.
With that being said, if you are in the Mount Shasta area, and our in some kind of need, be it food or “mountain money” or anything else, shoot me an email. My church is actively out helping people during this crisis (in a responsible fashion, of course). I can mobilize someone to help if you need it. In the mean time, isolate on the trail!