Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spirit Journeys in Mount Shasta

 Recently our friend Nicolette moved from Seattle, WA to Mt. Shasta City, CA. We decided that a mini vacation was needed to visit her.

Jon has two weeks off of school between teaching terms, and since this was my pre-birthday weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to go!

Jon spoiled me with my early birthday present the day we left - a Fujifilm INSTAX camera!!

Like the Polaroids of yesteryear, the instax is an instant developing film camera. My new baby is the WIDE version, which I was excited about because I can fit a lot more in the picture vs the old school squares or the instax minis.

It also made me super happy because I thought a lot more about the pictures I wanted to take for our album of the trip. I didn't spend the whole trip looking through our DSLR lens, and there were no "do-overs" or editing of pictures. They come out just as they come out, and they had an instant '70s vibe to them. It reminded me of using disposable cameras back in the day. The especially best part is that they are all ready to go inside an album. SO fun!

Nicolette found us an awesome room at The Woodsman Lodge in Mt. Shasta City. It was very kitschy.

There were fun old school "lake" signs everywhere, like this one!

"Lots of bull spoken here"

Before visiting Mt. Shasta, we had expected more of an Auburn or Colfax experience. Woodsy, campy, retired people, conservative, cabins and fishing, etc.

Well, aside from being an extremely small town at the base of a mountain, Mt. Shasta is considered one of the most spiritual/mystical locations in the world, and people travel there from all over to experience the healing powers of the mountain. Spiritual journeys and guided mountain tours are led daily. It is also like Santa Cruz, except in the woods instead of by the ocean. HIPPIE CENTRAL. Everything was natural, vegan, organic, tie dye, spirit names and people either walking or biking. We encountered a modern day shaman with a legit gypsy caravan, and most of the people we saw had dreadlocks.

Nicolette informed us that there were also a large number of crystal shops in town where we could find crystal pendulums, wands, and spheres harvested with healing powers, specific for personal meditation and communication with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Atlantis, and the Lemurians who inhabit the inner parts of the dormant volcano which is now Mt. Shasta.

What's even greater is that Jon was reading The Hollow Earth while on our vacation, so he was very familiar with the Lemurian civilization and their beliefs. Boy, were we in for a neat experience!
 After checking in on Friday, we went to Lake Siskiyou for some playtime:


I finally got a pic of Jon and Kate's ET moment. She loves to hold out her index finger and touch his!

The beautiful lake view:

It was super warm up at the lake and not very crowded at all. My favorite part was all of the snacks we picked up at Berryvale Natural Foods Market before heading out to the water. Dark chocolate almond bar, fresh peaches, ginger molasses cookies, vegan potato salad, honey dijon kettle chips, veggie chips, flour covered dates, and cheesecake for Jon and Nicolette. MMMMM!

The most awkward part of our afternoon was the middle-aged nude woman hanging out with her young children in the group nearby. Apparently Lake Siskiyou is clothing optional... (not really. Just for her it was.)

After the lake we went to dinner at The Goat Tavern. Jon and I had amazing burgers, and Nicolette had the pulled pork sandwich. Their garlic fries were amazing! I found it funny that the power went out through the whole town for about five minutes while we were there, and nobody skipped a beat. Ah, small towns.

From The Goat, we walked over to Berryvale to pick up some vegan ice cream sandwiches (which I was really really excited about!) and while we were crossing the street we saw the most epic sunset! I photographed it with the instax. The sun rays coming over the mountain were beautiful!! The instant camera captured it really well. We then headed over to the local movie rental store and picked out a cheesy chick flick (Post Grad) to watch together. Super awesome :)

The next morning was Saturday. Nicolette biked over to meet us for our continental breakfast at the Inn across the street. The man who was there making breakfast was super nice! He offered us two choices of homecooked waffles: regular, or oatmeal and sunflower seed. While we were helping Kate eat her apple cinnamon instant oatmeal, she kept looking at the ceiling, whereupon the hippie man informed us that babies can see spirits, and this hotel has discovered a number of aerial "orbs" on the property which he was sure was distracting her from breakfast. Made sense to us!

From there we trekked over to the Sacramento River Headwaters. Nicolette had so much fun holding Kate!

This is where the Sacramento River begins - with the purest water on earth, straight from Mt. Shasta. We know it's special because people were there dipping their crystals in it to help absorb the mystical powers.

Jon wanted to join in the fun and stuck his face right in the water.

 Although the sign posted CLEARLY stated that the water was not tested for drinking, many world travelers were there filling up their water bottles and full jugs with the pure watery Mt. Shasta goodness.

Kate was even lulled to sleep by the mystical sounds of the waterfall.

The Headwater park was so beautiful and green!

Of course, both Jon and Nicolette can never take a serious picture:

Nicolette and I decided to do our own rendition of pretty girls/ugly faces:

After Headwaters, we went across the way to Spring Hill trail, which was a leisurely one mile hike with gorgeous views of Mt. Shasta!

The Katherine fell asleep on the way, so I let her wear my hat to cover her baby cheeks from the sun.

That afternoon Nicolette had work, so Jon, Kate and I visited downtown, including stores like Crystal Wings, The Shambhala Center, Middle Earth Crystal Room, and the Dolphin Star Temple.

I was very excited to find a teal colored mystical toe ring at the Shambhala Center so that I can have a bit of Mt. Shasta's power with me always! The proprietor of the Shambhala Center owns one of the Earth's rare Crystal Skulls and offers spiritual readings by appointment to help one find their life path. We really wanted to have ours done, but a used book store across the street caught our attention instead.

I especially liked how some of the crystal shops sold velvet pillows for resting one's crystal spheres or wands on. We picked up a 2014 wall calendar from the Dolphin Star Temple with seasonal pictures of Mt. Shasta. At the Crystal Wings shop, we read about Lemurian crystals and all of the special properties of other fantastic healing stones. Some of these gems go for thousands and thousands of dollars! Oh my . . . .

I especially loved the super colorful artwork we found in these shops, including some paintings of spirits dancing at the base of Mt. Shasta. The lenticular cloud formations in the area are believed to be signs of UFOs emerging from the dormant volcano. One can only hope, right?

That night we visited a Thai restaurant (which was FANTASTIC!) Katherine really likes Pad Thai and dimsum. For dessert we had sticky rice with warm coconut milk and fresh mango. Oh man! So delish.

We met Nicolette as she was off work and headed back to the lodge where we watched ADORABLE puppy shows on Animal Planet. We also talked about the awesome experiences Nicolette has had at work (like how she works in the supplements section and they sell Crystal Gem Essences - mixed together during the full moon with ingredients like love... customers saying they are allergic to certain quarters, and others insisting that she call them by their spirit names) which inspired US to all find our spirit names too! We weren't sure if someone like a spirit guide had to officially give you one or if you were named during sacred meditations? So we googled it and found a quiz online.

Nicolette: Egrit Lionclaw.
Jon: Water Dreamer.
and Me: Mwuaha (?)
On the way home we gave Katherine the spirit name of Cloud Shadow.


Sunday morning we had a delicious continental breakfast again with english muffins, raisin bread and fresh strawberries! There was a sweet Asian couple at the Inn who really wanted to hold Katherine... so they just took her. We were within arm's reach the whole time - but it was just very interesting! Katherine is popular wherever we go. They absolutely LOVED her and showed her their iPhone, which had an awesome bunny-ear case, and even took a picture with her. Famous American baby!

After breakfast we went to the local fish hatchery to wander and feed the fish some pellets. We also checked out the Mt. Shasta museum.

We finished the day with an awesome group instax selfie:

The instax has a little lens with a mirror that you attach for selfies so that you can make sure you're all in the shot. I love it!!

We're so grateful for an awesome weekend in Mt. Shasta and will definitely miss it. Maybe next time we'll take the train! It was a great birthday weekend for sure. We miss you, Nicolette, and hope to visit again soon!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kate's 1st Birthday

On Saturday, August 3rd, Kate turned ONE!
Kate enjoying the company of super-awesome-friend, Baby Emi.
  We had a summer BBQ!
The grey and yellow polka dot runner on the table was the same one we used at my baby shower last year.

Michelle, Gram and Kate

Tim, Ali and Kate

Summer, Riley and Kate

Bay, Shawn and Kate

The candle in her cake was supposed to sparkle, but it wasn't feeling super jazzy that night :)

Kate wasn't sure what to do with her slice of cake when Jon handed it to her, so she stuck her whole face in it instead!

We had homemade vanilla ice cream...

Delicious lemonade and homemade root beer too!

I baked fresh chocolate chip cookies and put them in glassine bags, printed with "Thank You for celebrating with us!" on the front to match Kate's party invitations. They were taped closed on the back with red and white polka dot washi tape. I didn't get a picture of all the cookie bags in the basket before they were lovingly claimed!

Crystal, baby Emi, Kate, me and Jace

Aunt Beth, writing a note to Kate for her scrapbook.

Brenda, Jake and Kate

Brandon and Tristen (Tiani, where are you in this picture??)

The VanWagenens and The Alstons

I missed out on a TON of friend and family pictures, so if you're not here - just know that we are so grateful that you celebrated with us and next year I need to put someone other than myself in charge of pictures!

ALSO, the most humongous of THANK-YOUS goes to Ben and Breanna Baker for letting us use your home and doing SOOOO much behind-the-scenes work to make Kate's party happen. Between yard work and dishes and chopping veggies and just being all around awesome, this never would have happened without you guys. I am so sad I didn't get pictures of the Bakers because they were running around helping so much! Seriously, you guys are awesome.

We will have to "re-create" pictures with Kate in her birthday dress for sure.

Happy Birthday, Baby Kate!
We are so glad that you are part of our eternal family, and we could not have imagined a more perfect first year with you!!