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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 40.5875, -122.393
The plan for today was to see Mount Shasta in all of its beauty, on our way to Redding, CA. So, we set out at 8:40 AM and 64 degrees with overcast skies, hoping that the clouds would lift and give us that spectacular view. Unfortunately, the clouds came down instead. We had rain off and on…not a downpour, but just enough to keep the windshield wet. Since we would not be in Shasta until afternoon, we still had hopes for a clearing.
We drove miles and miles through the Cascades, with constant elevation changes. At times we were on flat ground, by fluffy yellow fields peppered with dark green trees and the occasional farm, with rectangular bales of hay piled neatly together in blocks. And we saw fields of grazing cows, horses, freshly sheered sheep, and even a few llamas. At other times, we were making passage between mountains, sometimes over them, and sometimes around them and sometimes down in the canyons. Although we were on the Interstate, the speed limit was often as low as 40 mph as we made sharp turns around the rims. Some of the canyon walls were made of black volcanic rock, occasionally tinged
with strands of burnt orange. And yellow grass grew out of them as if they were made of soft soil. And I wondered if the massive explosion that created Crater Lake had anything to do with this. We shared the road with 18 wheelers and it was clear, they had a difficult drive up steep inclines that challenged their engines and down steep slopes that challenged their brakes. We even saw a few of them using the break-down lane, presumably so as not to impede other traffic.
Around noon we stopped in a town called Yreka for lunch. Most may not recognize this town, but I used to be a Court TV addict and I watched the entire trial of Jodie Arias, the woman who slaughtered her ex-boyfriend in his home. She was from Yreka and her parents still live there. So it was interesting for me to see just where she came from. It's an old town, and kind of run down. Nothing like Jodie.
As we drove on, I knew we should be seeing Shasta, but our view was still obscured. When we were right beside it, all we could see was a vague outline in the fog.
After a discussion, we decided to climb the road up the side of the mountain that leads to an elevation of about 10K ft. As we began the ascent, the sun began peeking through enough for us to see the road clearly and we made our way to the top. Well, not exactly the top. The mountain is 14,800 ft., give or take, depending on the source of that information. And we shared the road with many, many bikers making the very same climb. We don't know if this was a special event, or whether this goes on every Sunday, but I suspect it was not a weekly event, for there were so many of them. After about half an hour we made it to the highest point a car can go and witnessed many riders celebrating their incredible accomplishments. From that point, one can hike further up toward the peak, and some people were out there walking the trail. We settled for taking photos then descending back to earth. And when we got there, we were in the clouds once again. Go figure.
Along the road we spotted a lake and decided to go see what was there. It turned
out to be Whiskeytown Lake which is a reservoir in the Shasta Trinity Recreational Area, a national recreational facility. The lake is very low right now, but my research says that, although it is a bit low from drought, it is lowered and raised as needed. The facility has a LOT of houseboats available for rental, and that sounds like fun to me.
We checked into our hotel in Redding after 5 PM and were given a huge suite, almost as big as my first house. Thank-you La Quinta. Beamer is really enjoying having his own digs. Tomorrow Lassen National Volcanic Park.
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