Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Return to Mount Shasta

Soon we returned to the beautiful town of Mount Shasta, thanks to Harold and Elly. 
It was the second time that Freebird and I came here, and the first time for Pocahontas.
We all loved every moment of this town and got to meet many amazing people.

One of many metaphysical shops in town.

Mount Shasta provides fresh, cool spring water to all who enter the town.
Once we filled up our water bottles, the very first person we crossed paths with in Mount Shasta was none other than Love Flame! I had been wanting to meet her since the last time, when Freebird talked with her in Sisson Meadows. I had been too occupied with my blog to really explore the town the previous time! So this time, thankfully we saw Love Flame instantly upon our return!

We were all hungry and thankful for the opportunity to eat at a restaurant. Pocahontas chose to go to an Indian restaurant, while we opted for Thai food. Then we were to meet up again afterward. Once we did so, Pocahontas had a few phone calls to make, trying to decide what to do next - stay on the trail or go back to Fort Wayne. Freebird and I went on to Sisson Meadows to watch the sunset.

We watched the ever-changing kaleidoscope of vibrant colors unfold before our eyes, in awe of the whole experience. This was a sunset to remember, watching the clouds continuously morphing and taking on different colors of the spectrum. Once it was dusk, we returned to find Pocahontas.

We began walking for the supermarket to re-supply. What happened on the way there was incredible! Outside of Round Table Pizza was a group of musicians playing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold." Freebird had just been singing that on the trail that very day! We listened until they were finished, thanked them, and then walked on to the store.

Once all the food we needed was purchased, we decided to visit Andy again and see if 
there were any rooms available. We felt horrible because we arrived very late, and clearly 
we had awoken him from sleep. But he was happy to see us again, 
and he graciously offered us the suite at a lower rate!

Pocahontas sleeping in, enjoying the comfortable bed that so often we take for granted.

Freebird and I had laundry to do, and Pocahontas was to figure out what she was going to do next. Before she went off to mull over things a bit, we all stopped by the free clothing bin at the thrift store. I traded in the Mexican soccer jersey for this "wild" dress, which I would hike in during the next week! Pocahontas was excited to pick out some new clothes for herself as well. A friendly worker at Shasta Base Camp named Sarabekah allowed us to change our clothes inside the store, and then she took our picture. After that, she allowed us to leave our packs behind the store, rather than having to lug them those heavy things around town.

A few inspirational and funny quotes in the laundromat.

While doing laundry, we met some caring and friendly people there. The owner gave us 
two extra quarters, and one of the customers offered us the remainder of his dryer time. 
Such is the giving spirit of the people in Mount Shasta.

A sign post outside of Berryvale, where we ate lunch. It displays the same message of goodwill in four different languages.

After finishing laundry, we returned to the thrift store to visit the cats. All the kittens had been adopted into families, but Tripper was still there. He was very happy to have a visitor. We would've liked to get him out of the store, but it would be difficult to take care of him while backpacking.
All we could do was say a little prayer for him. I'm sure he's gotten a new home since.

Next stop after visiting Tripper - the library. Again I became attached to blogging and worked as long as I could on it. That was one of my vices for a very long time. I love sharing inspirational stories, but I would get so consumed with trying to get everything done and completely miss everything that was going on around me. I wouldn't be getting to know the town and meeting the people there. I'm glad that one day on the journey, I would finally let go and stop caring about being "behind" on writing. But I had not done so at that point yet, while in Mount Shasta.

Pocahontas came to say goodbye to me, to tell me that she chose to head back to Indiana. I didn't even bother to get off of the computer and try to spend some final moments with her.

At least something amazing still came about despite this attachment. While Freebird was waiting outside, a man named Robin came to the library and couldn't enter with his bearded dragon friend named Stevie. He asked Freebird if he would keep an eye on him. Once my time limit on the Internet was expired, I came outside and was rather surprised and excited to meet Stevie. At first, I thought I was looking at a statue or some sort of toy! It seemed odd to me to see a bearded dragon sitting motionless right outside the front door.

I learned that one of Stevie's favorite foods are bees, and that he remembers how to return to Robin's place. Robin told us that wherever they were at, sometimes Stevie would just disappear. The first time, he freaked out. But when Robin would get back to his house, 
Stevie would be waiting patiently outside the door for him!

Stevie and Robin.

Freebird and I had been recommended to call a "trail angel" named Vinnie to 
drive us back to the PCT. We had arranged with Vinnie to meet him at the park around 6 PM, 
so we left the library early and went to Express Burger for one last meal in Mount Shasta.

A girl and her father playing in a fountain at the park.
At the park, we saw Pocahontas again! She was to stay one more night in town, and then travel out in the morning. Freebird and I picked some more blackberries along the railroad to take with us, until Vinnie pulled up in a Mercedes. We greeted him, loaded our packs in his car, and gave Pocahontas some final hugs. As we drove off, heading back for the trail, she waved goodbye to us. 

It was sad to part ways with Pocahontas, though it was her decision and I couldn't make it for her. 
I don't blame her, since I wasn't treating her as a true friend would. I wasn't understanding of her while she was suffering on the trail, nor did I try to spend much time around her in Mount Shasta, leaving her to roam an unknown town by herself. Looking back though, I'm glad that she did join us for the journey. Now that we're talking again, I hear that Pocahontas is considering starting a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail again. I admire her enthusiasm and persistence, and I couldn't be happier for her. That week left a deep impression on Pocahontas. It also did for me. I'm sorry that I wasn't there for her when she needed someone to care. Through the whole experience, I learned so much about myself and how to be a better friend.

Driving off with Vinnie, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for everyone's kindness in Mount Shasta and simultaneously so much regret for how I treated Pocahontas in quite the opposite way. I felt completely and utterly undeserving of everything. But over the next few months I would reflect much and learn through the examples of others of what it means to truly and genuinely love others. 
I still had much growing up to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment