|"All paths lead nowhere, so it is important to choose a path that has heart"-Carlos Castaneda. Carlos Castenada described our day best. We started to attempt a different hike in another area of Mt. Shasta but the road to our destination had not yet opened. The winter snows were heavy this year and the road opening was delayed. Thus we parked at "Bunny Camp" and took the trail to Horse Camp. This trail is the one used for the ascent of Mt. Shasta peak.Horse Camp is more or less the base camp for summiting the mountain. It has a great camping area and a historic cabin built of stone about 1923-the Shasta Alpine Lodge. Matthew McAllister made it possible for the Sierra Club to purchase some 720 acres in the vicinity of Horse Camp. He then hired a Mac Olberman to act as custodian of the Inn. Mac was already 60 and wanted to live his life in the remote and gorgeous area. Mac lived among the squirrels and Clark's Nutcrackers while he studied the red fir trees of Mt. Shasta. Mac was a likeable old lanky Kentuckian and dedicated his remaining life to caring for the inn and to helping climbers and hikers. He maintained and marked the summit trail and saw that the fragile sub-alpine plants were protected. It can take twenty years for them to grow since they grow only 2 inches a year. It was a beautiful sight-almost a mirage-to see this majestic structure in such a beautiful setting. Mt. Shasta is a presently dormant giant Stratovolcano in the Cascade Range. Mount Shasta is not connected to any nearby mountains. It is a giant dome that rises abruptly and stands 10,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. It is 14179 feet tall. Its last eruption was 1786. It could become active again at any time. In 8000 years it has erupted 8 or 9 times. The oldest known human habitation was some 7000 years ago and by about 5000 years ago there was substantial human habitation in the area. It lays on the Siskiyou Trail-a historic trade route of Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest To California's Central Valley.It is of significant religious importance to many Native Americans-it is inhabited by a spirit chief who descended from heaven. We were so inspired by the climb to Horse Camp and the majestic scenery that we struck out toward the summit on the summit trail. We proceeded to 8600 feet through the giant snowfield and sat upon some rocks for the grandest vista imaginable. Words are inadequate and only a 360 degree picture could begin to describe the experience. We would not proceed higher without technical gear and much preparation. There was almost 4000 feet vertical yet to do. We hiked about 5.5 miles and 1600 vertical feet. The experience was a true five star. Teddy Roosevelt said it best,"I consider the evening twilight on Mt Shasta one of the grandest sights I have ever witnessed." We celebrated our conquest with a fabulous lunch at Goat Tavern. We had fish tacos and hamburger along with excellent salads. Tasty draft beer washed it all down.