18 April 2021

Mount Shasta, ca. 2009


While travel opportunities have not afforded themselves to me as they have others, I have been a few places that were not Oregon. In this wise, I and the Brown Eyed Girl and some SCA friends went to Sacramento to attend a big heraldic doing back in 2009. And, continuing the theme of Cascade volcanoes which has insinuated this blog as of late, I give you the Cascade Range's second peak: Mount Shasta.

I think I've posted this before, years ago, but I don't feel like diving back right now.  The search itself was inspired by a remark that a fellow member of the Annex Art Society Facebook group made. 

Shasta (indigenous name in the nearly-extinct Karuk tongue of northwestern California: Úytaahkoo) is the second-tallest peak in the Cascade Range and almost the southernmost dormant peak in the arc, but for Mt. Lassen. It's summit elevation is 14.179 feet/4,322 m, making it almost 2,000 feet taller than Wy'east; its prominence which, in layman's terms is the difference between the summit elevation and that of the surrounding terrain, is 9,772 ft or 2,979 m, which makes it amongst the most prominent peaks in North America (Wy'east's prominence for comparis is 7,706 feet/2,349 m, also about a 2,000 foot difference). In volume it's the most voluminous stratovolcano in America.

Thus it's strange to me that it doesn't seem to impose, even close up, as Wy'east does from a distance. It does have some unique features in its local geography. One is the flatness of the terrain surrounding it; it's part of the Cascades but extraordinarily isolated for a mountain of its size (the nearest mountain higher than it is White Mountain Peak, about 335 miles away on the California-Nevada border). There's not much nearby for it to compete with.

The relative friendliness of the surrounding relief allows for a thing which must be fairly unique; a major cross-country highway, Interstate 5, comes to within eight or nine miles of the summit. Even on a easy, well-maintained road one comes remarkably close. With the gentle slopes of the foothills giving a largely-unimpeded view, the mountain does not seem, subjectively, as large as it must be. It seems close-up and friendly, rather a large, rather attractively-constructed hill. 

I have other pictures of driving past Shasta on I-5, but I think this is the best one. It not only shows the gentle spread of the shield-shaped peak, but a small dark shadow just right of center allows one to just see the famous satellite-parasitic peak, Shastina; the mountain itself being somewhat muted in the haze of an increasing distance, as we pulled north, headed back to Oregon from Sacramento.  

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