Glass Mountain, Medicine Lake and a Giant’s Fridge

I am back in Mt Shasta area again staying with a different friend, actually an Aussie.
I am staying with her because I got here a bit too early for the start of the Spider Rock tour.  She is showing me around places I haven’t seen yet, and is enjoying having a visitor from Australia, even if that visitor is me!!!
The first place she showed me is called Glass Mountain.
It is made of chunks and seams of black obsidian within some other type of rock.  The whole Mt Shasta region is volcanic, and obsidian is made from cooling lava.  It is actually naturally made glass and has something to do with when the lava hits water and cools.
I have tried in the photographs to show how there is so much of it in the chunks of volcanic rock and how it shines in the sun.  That is the amazing thing about obsidian.  It is jet black, but shines like a light.   You can see it glittering in the sun, and even the far off hills have shining streaks across them which are the obsidian seams.
This is why the traditional medicine sees obsidian as the symbol of absorbing the shadow (fears and ‘negative thoughts’) – and transforming it, and then shining it out again as light.  So obsidian is very important in medicine business.  It is also important in practical business – because it is glass – it gets made into arrow heads and cutting implements, and because it is so pretty and eye catching, it is made into jewellery and ornaments and sacred objects.
There are HUGE chunks of it here – chunks of all sizes actually – and people turn up in pickup trucks and load up – and then sell it.  My luggage allowance does not include hige chunks of obsidian, and I am not sure that I could even lift some of the beautiful ones that caught my eye.
Then we went to a beautiful peaceful place in a national park called Medicine Lake, and M took me around to the traditional women’s section.  It was a really relaxing time sitting in the sun, paddling in the water, and being still.  There were ospreys and turkey buzzards flying around.  A couple of times we saw an Osprey plunge into the water with a splash and then emerge with a fluttering of water, and flapping of wings, bearing a little silver fish in its claws.  One flew around overhead with its fish for quite a while, sort of like he couldn’t decide where to take it.
All my attempts at photographing Ospreys and Turkey Buzzards did not work out well, so you’ll just have to imagine what they looked like wheeling around overhead in a very peaceful sky.
Just before the trip I came across this book called  “The ancient giants who ruled America,  the missing skeletons and the great Smithsonian Coverup” by Richard e Dewhurst.
The author is a newspaper editor and he has always been unusually tall – so since childhood he has had an interest in giants because he related to them.  One day he played around with newspaper archives and put in search terms to do with “giants” and literally hundreds of newspaper articles came up, dating through hundreds of years.  The articles are all published in his book.  They come from all over the country and tend to be about farmers ploughing fields, builders laying foundations, or kids out exploring, and stumbling across massive skeletons and artifacts that pre-date everything by a long time, and show a technically advanced civilisation that was engaged in mining, smelting and quarrying work and appeared to somehow be trading with other continents.
So that was very interesting – when M took me to this place in the national park called “Ice Cave” – it makes you rather believe in giants because it looks like someone with a huge fist just punched a whole in the ground.  But what is weirder – is that in there, very close to the surface is this ice that never melts.  Even in summer when it is dry and dusty and no other moisture around.  You can see in the photos below there is this white blob, that is the top of the ice.  It is a stone’s throw from the surface.
M has a friend who climbed in further down through the gap into a larger cave that he said is full of more ice, and he told M it is ‘freezing in there’.  Go figure.  Why does it not melt?
Anyway – the legend is that the giant race has not actually totally gone, but lives underground in the lava caves and things – which is just a tad cool – creepy – hmmmm …………………….. – and when I remembered that bit I began to hope that they don’t mind us poking around taking photos of their fridge.
There are these wild deer that come to M’s place and she feeds them chopped up watermelon, carrots and grapes.  Here are photos of three that came today.  Two were waiting when we got home from the morning coffee run (my coffee run actually, M wont drink it) and a third was waiting when we got home again this evening.  M said there is a 4th deer, who has two little fawns that she hides in the scrub near M’s house, and comes and goes from them, and she is apparently the tamest of all the deer and will even come into the house.
Soon we go camping at Spider Rock in the bottom of a place called Canyon de Chellys.
The camping is the interesting bit.  It is REAL camping.  We are even taking our own poo bags.  I slept in my car at Woodford a few times when I was young, but apparently, this does not count as camping.  In fact I am told that I get no camping-points whatsoever for that.  So this is quite outside of my comfort zone – much as I love wildlife, there really will be not much between us and the wildlife, some of which is not cute and cuddly.  We won’t even be able to go and hide in a car because we are hiking in – plus there will be no coffee there.  So it will be interesting to see how I handle this adventure.    If you hear little sobs in the night, that might be me at Spider Rock, deciding that I don’t like camping …..

2 September 2014, Mt Shasta – California, USA

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