This was the first trip of my master plan (hatched while car camping in April at Yosemite) to get off my fat butt and get outdoors. My new camping buddy, Ed and I decided that we were going to have fun this year wether our families wanted to go or not!
We were fortunate on this trip as Ed's whole family showed as did my brothers Dave and Andy. Andy and his family came down from Grants Pass Oregon. My 15 yr old came along as well. We all met at the Castle Crags campground Friday afternoon. We had a wonderful evening by the campfire where I casually suggested weall go for a little hike in the morning.(sinister laugh). Much to my suprise everyone was in!
We hit the trail Sat morning around 10am. We were 17 strong, raging in age from 4 to 41, size from 3'6" to 6'4", weighing from 36lbs to 280lbs(thats was me unfortunately). The first 15 minutes were bliss, then it started. "Wow this is far" "How much farther" etc. After 3/4 of a mile or so the trail gets steeper and the teenage girls began wining. Remarkably the 4 and 5 year olds were quite happy. Around 11:30 we made it up to the Indian Springs for lunch. What a neat spot! Everyone enjoyed the views and played by the springs. we had a fabulous time.
Now was the time to go for the gold,"Who wants to keep going to the top of Castle Dome?" I asked innocently enough. You would have thought I farted or something. Andy and his family bailed, then Dave but he had the little ones so I expected it from him. Then Ed my new partner in crime came over quietly and said he really wanted to continue but thought it best to go down with his family (guess who has the teenage girls). The final blow? My strapping 6'2" teenage son said see ya back at camp dad. Ouch. If I wished to continue I was on my own. How would the rest of them react? Screw it I came here specifically to do this hike! My first test so to speak. I announced that I would see them all from the top, thanks for hiking with me catch you back at camp. Aside from thinking I was nuts, they didn't seem to mind.
Off I went. The trail is alot steeper after the springs. Being heavy doesn't help, but I knew that if I stayed within myself (kept my hert fromexploding thru my chest) I could make it. This may sound funny to you hard core guys but remember this is my first adventure off the couch in along time!
The trail soon became rocky,making me glad i had worn the heavy boots i bought recently. Yes i broke them in first! I could see Castle Dome up ahead but the overcast had been hiding Shasta all day so far. Finally I reached the rock! It is supposed to be an easy climb, I kept telling myself. Heck back when i was young and thin and had hair I could climb 5.8 all day long, this should be a snap(I kept telling myself). A nice diagonal rib up. then some wandering around to find the alley. Out to the back to start up the "stairs". About 10 feet up the "stairs" I became extremely concious of the exposure and came back down. Coming back a bit I found a small ledge and then some holds to get me up out of the alley and scrambled up onto the summit without too much stress. Not bad for your first time as a reforming middle aged couch potatoe. The view straight down to the hiway was good. Looking south to the Trinity Alps was cool but Shasta was still completly socked in damn. Took a few pics and turned around to the East and found the Weather coming in fast. Hmmm 2:30 pm, them aint thunderstorm clouds are they? I sure as hell wasn't sticking around to find out!
I retraced my steps back down the rock, smiling as i went that i could still climb a little bit. Hit the trail and boogeyed down to the Indian Springs. When I got there my feet were killing me! Stopped for a while to relax. Looking back up at Castle Dome the clouds were very dark and ominous. I heard thunder a couple time but never saw any lightning. Eventually i hiked
back down to the trilhead feeling very self satisfied.
Back at the campground i had some much needed food, a beer and of course told everyone how they had missed a spectacular hike and very fun adventure! I think i saw Ed eating his heart out a little bit. He will get his chance. Next month Ed and me are off to climb Mt Lassen in old guy adventure # 2 :-)