We have landed in the City of Mount Shasta, named after the looming snow-capped mountain that provides a pretty incredible backdrop to this cute town. Glimpses of Mt Shasta over the last several days helped us mark our progress, as it grew ever larger on the skyline.
The last ten days or so has been so varied and striking in its contrasts. We loved Lassen National Park with its lovely alpine lakes and ragged burned areas bursting with wildflowers. We enjoyed snowy views of Mt Lassen and Mt Shasta as we ambled along Hat Creek Rim, a tumbling sun-baked ridge formed by a long volcanic rift zone. For weeks, Hat Creek Rim inspired not a little anxiety for me. It’s a 33-mile waterless stretch of chaparral and heat. We’d heard there might be water caches, but how reliable were they?
Amazingly, locals go to much trouble and expense all summer long to put water at several junctions with fire roads. In two locations, we found Gatorade and sodas, too! The ongoing generosity of these trail angels is incredible.
On the other hand, not all the natives are friendly trail angels. We tried to stop some local dirt-bike yahoos riding on the PCT (strictly verboten). They knew exactly what they were doing, and not surprisingly we found that talking sense to them was a bootless endeavor!
After sweltering through Hat Creek Rim, we cooled off in the spray of the unbelievable rushing waterfalls at Burney Falls State Park. The riverbed above the falls was completely dry less than a mile upstream, but springs tap into a huge aquifer to create a deluge of water. From there, we wound through more landscapes, from splendid sun-dappled oak woodlands with gushing wild rivers (Pitt River, McCloud River, Rock Creek) to creepy, dark conifer tracts latticed with a gazillion logging roads.
And now we find ourselves in town, delighting in all things clean. We are doing pretty well, spurred on by the wonders of care packages, personal emails and letters! So many thanks to you — you are making us so excited to stop in at the post office. Really, really.
Unlike a lot of mountain towns in CA, Mount Shasta is decidedly alternative with its three natural foods stores, a great tavern boasting four vegetarian entrees along with its 100 types of beer, some decent bike lanes, and even some aliens. Apparently, the Lumerians landed their spaceship inside Mt Shasta and they use lenticular clouds that form around the mountain to access both their world and ours. There’s even Lumerian Lager on tap at the tavern. It made me wonder how many folks dining around us this evening had come by cloud!
Here are some recent photos to round out the post. First, some have inquired about our vittles. Below are two photos with four days of food. I carry lunch and snacks (including many wonderful goodies provided by friends and family!), while Rog carries breakfast and dinner. As we increase our daily miles into the low to mid 20s, our snack requirements have soared, so I’m making Rog take some snacks. :). He’s happy to carry more than his share of homemade cookies!
Four days of lunch and snacks.
Four days of dinner and breakfast. Rog claims that these meals are actually quite heavy (“Dense!” he chirps as we parse out the load), but you be the judge.
Hat Creek Rim–thank heavens for the cloud cover!
On Hat Creek Rim with Shasta beckoning in the distance.
Burney Falls State Park
Oak woodland near Castle Crags State Park.