noun: yerba maté
an infusion of the leaves of a South American shrub, which is high in caffeine and bitter.
It was wizard day at summer camp. I was working the last day of my first summer job. Camp ended about 10 minutes ago and I was still in wizard dress when a stickered-up Honda CRX rolls into the parking lot. The iconic wreath surrounding an image of South America lurks the side mirror of this infamous little go cart. The captain of this cherry red ship goes by the nickname of B- naughty. He is my ticket out of here.
The night before, I was lurking at my girlfriend’s house when I get a ring from Coach. Coach runs the semi-satirical wheel company, Entitlement Urethane. He is the homie that has pushed my progression as a skater and gave me the opportunity to ride and write for him. And now he is calling me the night before a new expedition into the mountain. Specifically, Mount Shasta.
Brendan and I know the order of priorities. Since we constantly are on team take forever (credit to Tom Flinchbaugh for that one), burritos will forever have more value than being on time. After we dip out of the back parking lot of the taqueria, we are finally on the road towards the squad.
The squad on this trip consisted of Miles Parker, Ryka Mohamadian, Bently Anderson, Morgan Owens, Brendan Reid-Naughton and myself.
Speed round background:
- Miles, Ryka and I have deep roots from middle school and skating.
- Bently Anderson is Coach. He organizes the kooky teenagers that OBG is and gives us embarrassing nicknames.
- Brendan Reid- Naughton recently moved from Sebastopol to Oakland and he’s brought nothing but good vibes and Yerba Maté.
- Morgan Owens is a Shasta local who let us sleep in his house on this trip. In between this tour and writing this article, he’s moved up to Seattle to work some more with Omen Longboards. At the time, I had no damn clue who he was.
After Brendan and I get wind of a story of some recently murdered and torched bodies in the town we stopped in for gas on the way up to Shasta, we burn a little bit of sandal wood for the lost lives and high tail it the hell out of there.
When we make it to Shasta, there are two things that I immediately notice. Clean air and starry skies. This place feels good. Brendan and I meet up with the rest of the squad around a small fire at around 11:30pm. Nobody sleeps until 2 am when Ryka finally went to bed, more on that in part two.
I woke up to the warm sun coming out of the bedroom window and reflecting off of the sizable glossy printout of Morgan kicking out a quick sitdown. Definitely a skater’s stomping ground. I roll out of bed and into the kitchen downstairs to notice two things: Morgan is talking about his most recent skate trip and Brendan is making some maté. Wheelbase Magazine took a tour and Morgan managed to get on their schlarp train. I followed the Instagram posts in between breaks while I was working last week. I honestly was a little jealous, he was killing it and going places. Thanks to my rad crew with Coach keeping us on point, we are now living the dream. This is where the magic happens.
The other integral part of the first morning is the incredibly potent Yerba that Brendan had in his gourd. His maté is fucking heavy. He tells me to wedge the bombilla at an angle into the leaves and pour the hot water down the bombilla to make as little disturbance as possible to the leaves. There is a hidden art to extremely caffeinated tea. Making as little disturbance isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially with the Oakland Born Goons.
It takes a minute to get the crew rolling, but we make it work. When we get to the top, we see the ominous peak of Mount Shasta. There is a plethora of legends that treat the mountaintop like a shrine. Honestly, I kinda get it. This is quite the special rock. Shortly after getting to the top, we notice a line of white figures traversing up the mountain. Morgan tells us they are called the “I AM”ers and they are looking for a crystal skull. After the experience, I later wrote a persuasive essay to my English teacher about “I AM’ ers and the highly respected alien society known as Lemurians. Hit me up if you want to learn the real truth about Lemuria and the highly advanced alien societies of yesterday. I only use peer reviewed journals, so it’s legit.
We are getting ready to drop the run, with the whole crew crazy stoked. With a few quick hits of my tail devil, we drop. It’s a tight pack with quick butt touches. We kept it close and personal for what felt like an eternity. The run lasted about 15 minutes, but in my mind, the long sweepers seemed to never end. As a bay area kid with only two or three “long” roads to skate, this is the epitome of mountain runs. We kept slamming the run until the whole crew is burnt and can barely walk.
Morgan went to work and we hit a local watering hole. It was a neat little spot with huge voluptuous clouds, only surmounted by an extremely vivid image of Ryka naked. Definitely going to be in the OBG and friends 4 edit, don’t you worry folks.
Later that night after relaxing with the squad, I was astounded by how quick I was moving. Yesterday I finished my first job, today I worked the hills with my homies until we were sure there was no more lactic acid our body could possibly produce. I went to bed on the first night feeling that our squad made something today that could never be duplicated. I’m not saying it went all as we planned, but it moved seamlessly.
Keep sending it out there,