I’ve spent the bulk of my life with views of Mt Shasta. She was my first compass and with her stately presence in much of northern California she continues to provide visual directional assistance. But more importantly her beauty is deep within my skin and I was craving some time with her when I returned home from my Summer/Fall travels (link to related post).
I accessed the PCT from Girard Ridge Road out of Castella, then hiked the old Castle Crags Trail aka Tom Neal Trail. It was in excellent condition, I’m guessing thanks to the Mt Shasta Trail Association.
Girard Ridge connects with some very interesting historic trails. The Tom Neal Trail goes from Girard Ridge down Tom Neal Creek to Squaw Valley Creek. It was built by the Neal brothers who worked at the lookout and took hunting clients from Castella up the Castle Crags Trail to Girard Ridge Lookout then down Tom Neal Creek to a cabin they built near its mouth (no longer standing). The Castle Crags Trail was abandoned when the more gentle PCT was constructed. Source: Mt Shasta Trail Association
Even with a mid-day start, I was able to enjoy a nice hike and most importantly spend a night with my mountain. I didn’t get a spectacular sunset or sunrise. The photos are hardly worthy of sharing. Did I have any regrets? Heck no! I was smiling. I giggled a bit as I sauntered through the several inches of leaves piled on the trail, spent time enjoying the creeks refreshed from recent rains, listened to the trees rustling in the wind during the night, awoke to the bird calls . . .
- Date(s) Hiked: October 25-26, 2017
- Distance: About 11 miles round trip