Beyonce’s “Love on Top” was the theme song of this portion of the trip. We screamed out the lyrics from the van, on the trail and in the ocean surfing, thus earning us intrigued looks from strangers.
We woke up early the first day of climbing Shasta to get our gear and meet our guides at The Fifth Season. Garrett led the pack on the hike to base camp trailing right behind our leaders, Brian, Kerr and Adam. When we got to camp, Katie did a great job at quickly catching onto the knots our guides taught us to keep our tents down. Once camp was set up, Daniel cooked rice to perfection while Evan used his incredible cutlery skills to slice up the plentiful amount of summer sausage. After dinner our guides taught us how to use our ice axes, crampons, and poles and informed us of things to help prepare for the climb early the following morning. We all went to bed nervous and excited for our early wake up at 2AM for climbing!
Our guides woke us up early and we made oatmeal and started our trek up the mountain. The steep ascent combined with altitude sickness caused a few of us to turn back, but Daniel, Jacob, Maddie and I (Evan) were successful and able to make it to the summitt. The climb to the top was very difficult and included hiking up ice sheets and skree fields. We used our crampons and ice axes to walk up the ice field, post-holing every couple steps due to the poor snow conditions. Maddie was awesome and impressed our guides with her positive attitude up the mountain. Jacob’s philosophical insights on the summit were very interesting, yet possibly delerious. Daniel was always first to motivate our small group up the mountain both during our short breaks and while climbing. He always seemed to be in the front of the pack, closely trailing our guide, Brian. Brian and Kerr told us we were one of the fastest groups they have ever led up the mountain, second only to a group of triathletes.
On our descent, we “skiied” down the terrain, which took a fraction of the time it took us to summit. We were greeted by our group at base camp with mac and cheese, lemonade and many smiles. The climb took us a total of 13 hours from base camp to base camp, a much faster time than the guides expected.
The following day, we woke up and hiked back to the trailhead where the van was waiting for us. We embarked on a short drive to Lake Siskiyou where we camped, played at the lake, and cooked hot dogs. Derek made a great fire that we used to cook the dogs over and we all enjoyed some good laughs around the fire listening to music. We woke up early the next day to drive to Half Moon Bay to start our surfing portion of the trip. Christine was really good at surfing and was able to stand up multiple times. We saw a seal out on the water and all had incredible time surfing, body surfing, boogie boarding and playing in the big waves.
Abigail and I can’t believe we have less than 48 hours left with this group. We have had an incredible time and made many memories. We all can’t wait for surfing and exploring San Francisco on our last day tomorrow!