Thursday, May 29, 2014

83 Miles in the Shadow of a Giant...

The Pacific Crest Trail begins a long westerly trajectory at Burney Falls in Northern California.  From this point, the trail goes mostly west for 83 miles to Castle Crags, before starting a slightly more northwesterly trajectory in the Trinity Alps.  This 83 miles from Burney Falls to Castle Crags was very intriguing to me because it lies just south of the biggest, most impressive mountain anywhere in the region...Mount Shasta. 

With Susanna and Jasper dropped me off at Burney Falls on May 17.  I had four days to backpack to Castle Crags, 83 miles away, where Susanna and Jasper would camp for the next 3 nights. 

The adventure was absolutely incredible!  In four days, I saw just two people!  I hiked along lonely ridges and forgotten ravines, past raging rivers and old growth trees...and each day, I saw the Giant.  The weather was unsettled at times, (I had several hail storms go through on the afternoon of the second day) which meant that Mt. Shasta was constantly changing in the swirling clouds. 

The pinnacle of the trip came in the evening of day 2.  I set up camp above 6,200 feet, nearly at the summit of Grizzly Peak.  From this vantage point, I had unparalleled views of so many of the amazing areas I have spent time in while living in Northern California.  I could see Lassen Peak way to the SE, Castle Crags and the Trinity Alps to the W and the massive bulk of Mt. Shasta to the N.  The sun set through the clouds that evening.  The whole world seemed to be illuminated in a perfect glow.  I will miss you Northern California!
Mt. Shasta on Day 1

Views along the trail on Day 1

1st Campsite:  Sunset Forest
Mt. Shasta on Day 2
Views along the trail on Day 2

2nd Campsite:  Grizzly Peak
Mt. Shasta on Day 3

Views along the trail on Day 3

3rd Campsite:  Squaw Creek
Mt. Shasta on Day 4

View from the trail (Castle Crags) on Day 4

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spring in the Bald Hills

We spent a glorious spring day in the Bald Hills in late April.  The sun was shining, the sky a perfect blue and the lupine were more spectacular than I've ever seen them there.  Each year we make a trek up to the Bald Hills, a treeless collection of hills in Redwood National Park, in the spring.  Each year the lupine impresses us...but this year, it was spectacular!  

All that purple is lupine!

Barn at the end of Lyons Ranch Trail

Bald Hills Road