Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Out and About Around Mt. Shasta


Our five nights here at Lake Shastina during the busy Memorial Day weekend have been amazingly peaceful. The cats and I have especially enjoyed watching all of the birds early in the morning.

This is why we love our big Lazy Daze windows.



On our first day here we stopped at the Mt. Shasta ranger station to get some information about hiking in the area. We wanted to do a hike on Mt. Shasta itself, but with the normal snowfall this year most of the trails are still covered in snow. As it turned out, hiking away from the mountain gave us a better chance to actually see it, rather than be on it.

So we settled for the Lake Siskiyou Trail, starting at the Wagon Creek Bridge. The mostly level seven mile trail encircles the entire lake, but the ranger told us the temporary bridges on the west side were not in place yet so we may not be able to cross to make the loop.


We followed the scenic trail west along the north side of the lake.




Then in a couple miles we came to a creek crossing over logs where one of the temporary bridges will be placed. Following that we were stopped by the Sacramento River’s inlet into Lake Siskiyou.


Jim watching a crazy mountain biker carrying his bike through the river.


The water was deep and the current strong so he had a really hard time getting across. This is where we decided to turn around.


Wagon Creek bridge and Mt. Shasta on the way back. This is a really nice easy trail.



One day we just took a walk around Lake Shastina, and that afternoon decided to finally do some laundry. We’re about 8 miles from Weed, CA, where the only laundromat is now closed, so we had to go to Mt. Shasta City, another 7 miles farther south. I decided this would be a good time to drive a little farther to another place the ranger recommended, Castle Lake. We started up the trail to Heart Lake, supposedly about 1.2 miles, but I failed to read about the trail and how steep and rocky it was. We had our low top trail shoes on and did not bring our hiking poles, and were not even sure we were on the right trail, so after about three quarters of a mile we gave up.




We also visited a unique place 13 miles from Weed, the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden. It was a fitting place to visit on Memorial Day weekend, as the sculptures are a tribute to all veterans and very well done. Here are just a few. You can see more photos and descriptions of all the sculptures here.

DSC05310                            P1040577





For our final hike in the area we decided to attempt the trail up the lava dome to the 6,334’ summit of Black Butte, a well-known landmark seen while traveling I-5 between Mt Shasta and Weed.


The Black Butte trail is 2.6 miles of steady uphill, gaining over 1,800’ of elevation.


The uphill wasn’t nearly as difficult as we thought it would be, probably because we were so intent on watching our every footstep for the rocks. And trying not to have a panic attack over the exposure, as almost the entire trail is right along the edge of huge drop-offs.

Starting off nice and easy.


But soon it is like this for almost the entire way.


They aren’t kidding!


There was a lot of stopping for photos, a welcome break from the rocks and uphill climb.




I only twisted my ankle once, and luckily my foot got wedged in a rock and couldn’t turn any farther.


The last part is narrow switchbacks that are especially exposed. Neither of us liked this part, but we knew we were almost to the top.




Jim at the summit, just taking in the magnificent views. He had a particularly good day on the trail, maybe due to the energy vortex of Mt. Shasta.


This flat rock at the summit is the former foundation of a forest service fire lookout that was relocated in 1973.


Mount Shasta in all its 14,180’ glory.


The Eddy range and Mount Shasta City.


Coming back down the trail we could see the switchbacks. The trail barely looks wide enough for a foot. It’s not a place you want to trip or slip and fall. We were very careful!


Despite this being a challenging trail, I would highly recommend it for a relatively short hike that gives you so much spectacular scenery. We really like this area, particularly Mt. Shasta City,  (Weed leaves a bit to be desired) and there is much to see and do, but it would be better in the late summer/early fall when all the trails are accessible.

Today we’re moving on to Ashland, OR.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Released and Settled in for the Weekend


We were finally released from All Wheel Auto yesterday afternoon, several thousand dollars poorer but the Lazy Daze should be good to go for a long time. We’re very happy with the improvement in the ride, which may be partly from the new Koni shocks, and/or the new tires.

While the work was being done Jim didn’t want to leave in case something came up that he wanted to look at. That did happen several times during the first two days of work, but yesterday was just a matter of putting everything back together, so while they were finishing up we decided to go back to the Sacramento River Trail, this time with the bikes, so we could see a bit more than we did on the short walk we took the other night.


Diestelhorst Bridge was the first automobile bridge to cross the Sacramento River, but since 1997 it’s been a pedestrian/bicycle link on the trail.


We rode up to the Keswick Dam from our starting point next to the Diestelhorst Bridge.


Then backtracked a bit to cross the river on the 418 foot long concrete Stress Ribbon Bridge.


In the fall you can see the salmon going upstream here.


We passed by Turtle Bay, and saw lots of, what else, turtles.



And a nice heron.


Rode through the gardens, although there wasn’t a lot blooming.


And rode over the Sundial Bridge. You can see Jim about to go under the shadow.


Since it was 12:09, here is where the shadow was. Seems to work pretty well, although apparently the only day it is 100% accurate is the summer solstice.


After leaving the shop around 3 we stopped for gas and propane, since they were just across the road, then drove north a short 17 miles to Trailer In RV Park.


We needed to dump and fill our fresh water tank, so for the $18 Passport America rate it wasn’t a bad place to spend the night, although some of the permanent residents looked a bit sketchy. Unfortunately the sewer connections were too high, which always makes it tricky to dump, and the restrooms and laundry room were closed since they had just been painted, so my plan to throw in a couple loads of wash didn’t happen.

Needing to find a place for the weekend, this morning we stopped to look at McBride Springs, a forest service campground on the road to Mount Shasta that doesn’t take reservations, but the sites were not long enough for us, so we continued on to Weed and found a spot at Lake Shastina, a Siskiyou county campground on the lake.


It could turn out to be crowded and noisy this weekend, but at least we are parked in a beautiful place, and it’s free. This afternoon we hiked up a nearby butte, and enjoyed lovely views of Mount Shasta, Lake Shastina, and some of the high dollar homes surrounding the lake.







We’re happy to have our home put back together and to be out of the city.