Mt. Shasta Diaries: What Goes Up…

Tuesday morning, I woke up not so bright, and definitely not very early. My intention, to hike up to the water source above South Gate Meadow. There you’ll find a heart-shaped pool, with water pouring out of the rock. It’s so drinkable and damn, is it delicious! You’ll often find a person or group of people performing some ritual in this pool. Hey if I could go back in time and pick a location for my baptism, this would be it.  However my current ritual was much more straight forward: some hydration so I don’t pass out from this hike! Ya feel me?

Hiking up to high places, requires a commitment to coming back down, unless of course, you plan to spend the rest of your days atop Machu Picchu. For me, the hike up is always easier than the way down. Without proper planning there have been times I will expend most of my energy to get to the top, only to realize I have a great distance left to get to my car or campsite. And the way down is usually not as glamorous or exciting, unless of course you’re on a trail loop, and there’s more to see. But I digress.

But these “there-and-back” trails and the burden of “going home”, reminds me a lot of my youth and how I approached many things in life. I loved going to the high places, but never wanted to commit to the trip back down. And like all forces, if I’m not coming down on my own, the universe finds a way to bring me solidly back to earth. And it usually involves some bruising on my ass.

Early in my career as a software engineer, I would work fast to get something working. The thrill of seeing something you create in action! I’d burn so much energy getting to that point. But then would often skimp on some the details that ensure stability, because I’d run out of patience and focus. Age, experience, and mentors in my career have taught me the importance of crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

They say the last 10% of a project takes 90% of the time. Imagine that! You spend 90% of the time on a project, on all the details needed to make sure what you created will last and be resilient enough for your use case, however these are usually the invisible aspects of a piece of work. However without that effort, your work may become meaningless, or sometimes harmful to your users. Anyone remember the Experian hack? 

But these are the things I reflect on when I hike. Nature is a great teacher and reflector of what’s in our own minds. It’s why I enjoy so much the solace and gift of being in her embrace, even if it involves pain, dirt, sweat, and chaffing. Something always chaffs. And with that, here are some photos from my hike up to South Gate Meadow. No photos were taken on the way back down.

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