CA – A Month of Seasons, Far NorCal Style (April 2022)

The month started with temperatures feeling more like summer, but thankfully Mother Nature decided to shake up the forecasters by sending us on a rollercoaster ride. From freeze and wind gust warnings, to low elevation snow, and finally to measurable rain.

When Whiskeytown National Recreation Area announced an April 1st opening of trails after a nearly 4-year closure, it was easy to wonder if this was an April Fool’s Day joke. But alas, it was true and I was first legal steps on the Papoose Trail. It was worth a dedicated post (link). A few days later my friend Rebecca and I took the main Boulder Creek Trail to Boulder Creek Falls. This view of the creek brings back memories of days before the 2018 Carr Fire.

The Park was a little tardy in removing their closure signs. The snowdrop bushes were loaded. Indian Rhubarb (top right) likes to grow in creeks, and I believe I initially learned about these beauties at Whiskeytown. Star Tulip and Hosackia stipularis var. ottleyi (bottom right).

I was ecstatic to join my friend Cathy for a jaunt in Trinity County where I was introduced to the Fritillaria purdyi lily. It’s a tiny little thing. My friend Bino Bob is about 1.25″ tall for reference.

I was treated to displays of Lemon Fawn Lilies and Lady Slipper Orchids, hidden in the leaf littered oak forests.

When the local forecast called for 90+ degree temperatures, I grabbed Poppy Pack and headed for higher ground. With no goal in mind except to turnaround at snowline. We found plentiful sights, smells and sounds of spring.

When I reached snowline, I was happy to soak in this grand view and dream of further exploration.

Home sweet home. Lulled to sleep by a nearby creek. Temp dropped to 44 my first night and 34 the second. I added this one pound tent to my quiver in 2021 (Zpacks Plexamid) and finally replaced my quilt with one from Enlightened Equipment (10 degree 950 fill). With my aging body I’m motivated to drop pack weight while maintaining safety and comfort.

Finding this display of Western Pasqueflowers was a highlight of this trip. I used this photo as a headline in my recent post about individual responsibility when it comes to caring for public lands (link).

This sunrise view was a reward for sore muscles after climbing 3,800 feet. My mantra was you need to do hard things if you want to do harder things.

One week later the trail was buried again (not my photo). I was giddy to delay spring!

Locally rain finally arrived! We are still far behind normal levels but more rain fell in April than in the previous three months combined.

When the storms cleared, I couldn’t resist a visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

I was ecstatic to find the first of the season snow plants.

A ranger pointed out this goose sitting on her nest. She expected a hatch any day.

Since we were cheated out of winter, I need another snowshoe adventure and Mt Shasta offered the perfect opportunity.

I found icicle goodness and moody skies.

Nature’s decorations are better than anything we can mimic.

This storm made for a wonderful reason to delay my spring jaunt departure.

I might be feeling a little prickly after focusing on trip prep rather than enjoying daily adventures. Happily I still got out for daily walks where I could find roadside surprises like these yellow cactus blooms.

I’m super excited to get back into jaunting mode. If all goes according to plan, soon I’ll be frolicking among these beauties.

It’s going to be a challenging season as I work to avoid fires and smoke. My motto will be get out now, enjoy every day and hope for good air tomorrows. There are already big fires in New Mexico and Arizona.

Dino and Bino Bob are ready for adventure and nagging Jan to hurry with her final chores. Where oh where shall we go? Oh how I love the unknown with many opportunities awaiting exploration. Curiosity is a good thing!

CA – Early Winter Jaunting, Far NorCal Style (Dec 2021 – Jan 2022)

The week before the calendar officially declared winter, a big snowstorm arrived in far Northern California. I-5 was closed for about 36 hours delaying distribution of all those holiday goodies. Meanwhile the nearby hills were turning white and I finally had an opportunity to go snowshoeing and test my post-surgery knee. I’m happy to report it was 100%. As for the rest of my body . . . it needs some work.

Lunch with a view at Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park. My favorite snowshoeing lunch is piping hot homemade turkey soup.

On my third snowshoe outing of the season I found myself ascending Diamond Peak at Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was a great cardio challenge and improved my confidence.

Sadly it also gave me my first look of the burned trees from the 2021 Dixie Fire.

I found myself back on Mt Shasta for my fourth outing. By now it had been a couple weeks since our last storms and the wind swept the ridges bare making it obvious more snow is desperately needed.

With hard pack snow conditions I couldn’t resist the temptation to try summiting Brokeoff Mountain at Lassen. I turned around before the top as my legs said not today. I wasn’t disappointed as I was beyond thrilled to be outside climbing mountains again.

On each walk/hike I challenged myself to find something worth photographing and sharing. It’s been a fun game and just when I think I’m going to be skunked I find a gem like the bark of this sycamore tree.

After the frost, comes the dew.

With many of my local trails impacted by wildfire, I’m happy to celebrate the areas that have escaped damage.

I also cheer on the new trees working hard to replace their burned ancestors.

I found the first bloom on January 4th, Wild Radish. I was interested to learn “the entire wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) plant is edible, from the veined purple, white, or yellow flowers to the leaves and roots. Wild radish pods are crisp and peppery, much like the root of a true radish, and can be eaten raw or cooked.”

We have a lot of pretty rock in the area.

The nearby creeks make for nice lunchtime lounging.

Manzanita dominates the landscape, but often when you look closer you find nature’s gifts.

I found a variety of tree lichen or fungus.

And other fungus as well.

This bark caught my eye.

We had crazy warm temperatures for a couple of weeks in the middle of the month and soon enough the landscape began to look like spring. Oh how I love green!

And then it happened, WILDFLOWERS in January! I checked my photo library and blooms are about three weeks earlier than I’ve previously documented. Buttercups appeared first, followed by Shooting Stars, Warrior’s Plume and Pacific Hounds Tongue. Interesting factoid shared by a friend, “The genus name Cynoglossum comes from greek Kynos- meaning dog and -glossum meaning tongue, while the specific epithet creticum is a reference to the island of Crete, where this plant can indeed be found.” 

Glue-Seed, Night Shade, Saxifraga and Redmaids.

Butter ‘n’ eggs, Lupine, Padre’s Shooting Stars, and Blue Dips

When a friend was looking for a backpacking opportunity, I volunteered to join him. We went to the Sacramento River Bend Recreation Area in Tehama County near Red Bluff where the elevation is around 500′. While daytime highs were in the 60’s, we experienced an overnight low of 27F. We camped with this sunset view of Lassen peak. What a great way to end the month!

While the lack of precipitation for the last three weeks of January is bad for the earth, it’s been really good for my spirit. Spending most days under sunshine filled blue skies encouraged daily hikes and sent my typical SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) symptoms into hibernation. This is my best January since 2015 when it comes to mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, and that’s saying a lot when so many are suffering from pandemic issues.

Photos are from hikes and walks in the following areas.

  • Redding Area
    • Clear Creek/Cloverdale Area
      • Horsetown/Piety/Cloverdale Loops
    • Keswick/299W Area
      • French Fry Trail
      • Hornbeck/Waterfall/Lower Ditch Trails
      • Lower Salt Creek Trail
      • Shasta Dam/Upper Ditch Trail
    • Mule Mountain Area
      • Princess Ditch Trail
    • Sacramento River Trails
    • Swasey Recreation Area
      • Wintu/Mule Mountain Trails
      • Meiners Loop Trail
    • Westside Trails
    • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
      • Mt Shasta Mine Loop Trail
      • Oak Bottom Ditch Trail
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
    • Manzanita Creek
    • Manzanita Lake
    • Brokeoff Mountain
    • Diamond Peak
  • Mt Shasta Area
    • Bunny Flat/Horse Camp Cabin
  • Sacramento River Bend Recreation Area
    • Yana Trail/Massacre Flat

On this 27F degree morning, nothing is quite as welcome as the sun hitting my tent.

CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Nobles Trail, Hat Creek Section (July 2021)

The Nobles Trail is an old wagon route with a few remaining sections in the park. “it was used by emigrant parties from the east as a shortened route to northern California. It was pioneered in 1851 by William Nobles, who discovered an easy shortcut between the Applegate Trail in Nevada and the Lassen Trail in California. The trail was extensively used until the 1870s, when it was superseded by railroads. The 24-mile section of trail within the boundaries of Lassen Volcanic National Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 3, 1975. The section within the park is maintained as a hiking trail.” Source: Wikipedia

We chose the trail for creek access knowing it would be another hot day, but I was reminded that maps lie and creeks aren’t always as accessible as depicted. So instead it became a day to find beauty and change as the land regenerates from the 2012 Reading Fire.

We were happy to see many new trees.

The wildflowers were flourishing with all the extra light.

Especially the Lassen Paintbrush.

This section of the Nobles Trail is still in use by Park vehicles providing access to the Hat Creek Patrol Station.

The trail becomes less defined after the cabin but is still relatively easy to follow. Just look for the log cuts and piled clearings.

The first creek crossing is via a bridge where you have to work a bit to gain access to the water. This is the second access point. Plan on getting your feet wet. Notice all the new growth aspen trees. We found quite a few patches and one giant mother that survived the fire and was now surrounded by her children.

This trail also provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail.

We found large meadows of blooming balsamroot near this junction.

This was the third creek access point, just a short distance off the trail, and our turnaround for the day.

I found a perfect hole to cool off in preparation for the return trip.

The highlight of my trip was finding a few large patches of Ranunculus aquatilis L., white water buttercups. I’d seen photos of these in Warner Valley and I really wanted to see myself. They grow in floating mats of algae or something similar.

The wildlife was back! We saw tons of deer prints, this bear print, and enjoyed watching the squirrels and birds.

The Reading Fire was massive and changed this landscape. It won’t recover in my lifetime so I’m trying to learn to appreciate what remains. While many trails in the Park are heavily used, there are still some like this one with low to non-existent traffic. On this day, it was all ours.

More jaunts in Lassen (link)

CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Sifford Lakes (June 2021)

It had been 100+ degrees in the valley. We needed to escape so even though we knew it’d be warmer than preferred for hiking, we’d be near water and shade, and it’d be at least 20 degrees cooler. It was slightly below 60F when we arrived at trailhead around 8am, and 85F when we finished about 3pm.

I first hiked to Sifford Lake a few years ago when I was on my comeback after my wrist surgery (link), so it seems apropos to do the same following my knee surgery. This is the first lake and by far the most visited of the multiple lakes in the Sifford Lakes basin, thus we’ve renamed it Lake Popular.

There are several opportunities to obtain views of the distant mountains and down into Warner Valley.

This was my first time to explore the network of lakes. The trail was in good condition and easy to follow to the first lake in the cluster. We called this one Island Lake (notice the tree coming out of the rock in the middle of the lake).

Finding the rest of the lakes required a bit of wandering and fun navigation.

We called this one Rock Lake.

Some of the lakes are quite close together. In this photo, Rock Lake is on the left with Lassen Peak in the background; Island Lake is on the right.

Most of the lakes weren’t very inviting for a swim like this one we called Grassy Lake. Most likely this will soon become a dry pond.

We were surprised to find one lake already dry, so yes this one became known as Dry Lake.

The largest of the lakes, Big Sifford Lake, offers views of Lassen and Reading Peaks. We enjoyed lunch at this spot and were hopeful a bear would saunter out of the woods and take a swim.

Panarama Lake

Unknowingly we saved the best for last, Swimmer’s Lake.

Looking down at Lake Popular, from where we started our jaunt to find all of the other Sifford Lakes.

We also did some wandering around to find viewpoints.

The most common bloom of the day was these Mariposa Lilies.

Penstemon provided bright pops of pink along the trail and seemed to enjoy hiding in rocky alcoves.

This hike begins with a descent along Kings Creek to the first Sifford Lake aka Lake Popular, then it’s a climb to the lakes basin. We saw a young family in the early morning hiking the waterfalls loop then didn’t see anyone until we reached Lake Popular on the return trip when we met another young couple. There were many hikers in the afternoon on the waterfalls trail. Our route was less than 7 miles with about 800 feet elevation gain/loss. How were the skeeters? Lucky us non-existent until we stopped by Kings Creek to soak our feet. That water was freezing COLD and the mossies seemed to love the environment. Needless to say we didn’t stay long. That was our cue, exit left!

Other nearby jaunts:

CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Paradise Meadows (June 2021)

What happens when you don’t use your resources like maps and books to plan a trip? Well you might end up making it harder than necessary. This wasn’t my first time to visit Paradise Meadows which is connected by two trailheads. The Hat Lake trailhead starts at 6,400′ while the Terrace Lake trailhead starts at 8,000′. Paradise Meadows sits about 7,000′. For me I’d rather hike the uphill on the way than in reverse. So you can guess the “mistake” I made on this day.

If I wasn’t still recovering from knee surgery and feeling tubby and out of shape, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.

According to my guidebook, “Paradise Meadow(s) is one of the supreme wildflower gardens in the park. . . . ablaze with color from a host of wildflowers, which typically reach the height of bloom from late July to early August.” Once again a little advance reading might have been helpful because this is the meadow I found in mid June.

I found a few blooms like these bright paintbrush.

The bees were quite happy.

Bog orchid and paintbrush.

I found purple and white varieties of monk’s hood.

Monkeyflower

I’m going to call this the highlight of my day as I don’t think I’ve seen previously. According to my Seek app, this is California Jacob’s Ladder aka Sky Pilot, Polemonium californicum.

Notice the bee flying away in previous shot.

Look at those details.

Just above Paradise Meadow is this view of Badger Mountain, West Prospect Peak and Prospect Peak.

You also get some different views of Lassen Peak along the upper trail.

Reading Peak is also visible.

Lupine was the predominant bloom along the trail.

I believe this is Cobwebby paintbrush.

I was grateful for these snow patches as I got quite warm ascending those 1,000 feet in less than 2 miles.

A friend shared photos she took on her recent jaunt so I was expecting to find the same. I was a little disappointed in my finds, but looking back at photos I feel more accomplished.

Nevertheless I decided to stop at King’s Creek Picnic area to explore the wet areas near the creek. I was pleased to find a nice collection of fawn lilies, even if they were at end of life.

There were mass displays of mountain heather.

First of the season Lassen Paintbrush, Castilleja lassenensis. This was the only group I saw blooming.

Just remember pick your poison. If you prefer hiking uphill first then use the Hat Lake trailhead; if down first is your preference then start at the Terrace Lake trailhead. The bonus is a stop at the end for a swim in Terrace or Shadow Lakes. As for Hat Lake, it’s just a mirage of days gone by and you’ll be disappointed if you count on that option for an end-of-hike swim. Of course for those a bit more ambitious I recommend starting at the Hat Lake trailhead, visiting Paradise Meadows and then at least Terrace and Shadow Lakes before reversing direction or coordinating with a second vehicle.

Other nearby jaunts:

CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Manzanita Creek Trail (June 2021)

We were in the midst of a heat wave. At 5am it was 77 at my house; by the end of the day it would be 110 or more. I opened my weather app to find which nearby areas were at the lowest temperature and North Lassen was the winner at 49F. I’d been wanting to hike the Manzanita Creek Trail so I assumed I’d spend the day frolicking in the creek. It was 56 degrees when I arrived at 8am.

I found myself gradually ascending through a forest. It was quiet except for the birds. The terrain was mostly a forgiving sand that was easy to walk through. I met two backpackers coming in from a night in the park where they said they enjoyed cooler temperatures. I also crossed paths with a runner. Otherwise it was just me and a few blooms like this lupine.

I found one patch of snow. Funny it was on the trail and no where else to be seen except high on the mountain.

The first signs of Manzanita Creek is at about the halfway point. With this culvert bridge you won’t get your feet wet.

From this point on the trail parallels the creek but access is limited except at a couple places and near the terminus of the trail where creeks merge and it becomes marshy. It’s here you’ll find the best blooms like these elephant head orchids and marsh marigolds, both a bit past peak bloom.

Wandering around I found the prize of my trip, Monk’s hood, Aconitum columbianum. I believe the speckles are pollen.

Thankfully there were few bugs as I wandered through the secret gardens. I’m sure this can be a mosquito’s paradise.

I found tiny white violas.

Stickweed, Forget Me Nots.

The shooting stars buds were ready to burst.

Most of the aster were at the pre-bloom stage as well. In another week or two they’ll be peak. The thing I love about asters is they are one of the longest living blooms.

Pussypaws.

Loomis Peak is the only mountain offering clear views. If the meadow wasn’t so boggy I might have wandered further to see if I could get a better look at Crescent Cliff. According to my guidebook, most of the Manzanita Creek Trail use to be a road where travelers could reach a trail/path to summit Lassen Peak from the north rather than the south as it’s currently designed. “In 1925, Benjamin Loomis, an early settler whose photographic record of Lassen Peak’s eruptions is on display at the Loomis Museum, and a crew built a narrow road, which the trail initially follows, to the base of Crescent Cliff. From there, a 2-mile, 3000-foot trail climbed to the summit of Lassen Peak. That trail, which averaged a 30 percent grade and was twice as long as the current Lassen Peak Trail, fell into disuse after the completion of the modern-day route to the top in the 1930’s.” Source: Lassen Volcanic National Park, A Complete Hiker’s Guide.

As the day warmed, I was grateful for the water crossings and really enjoyed seeing all the plant life growing out of old logs and other debris.

I crossed paths with a few others on my return trip. The trailhead is near a very busy campground so I was surprised it had such low use. I guess because it doesn’t offer any WOW factors. No lakes, waterfalls or views. When I returned home and looked at the book it says “few seem to tread this trail up the canyon of Manzanita Creek . . .” Well lucky me, just the way I like it! I was also surprised at how much easier this trail was than my previous jaunt to Mill Creek Falls (link) which was less miles and elevation, but this 7.5 mile 1100′ elevation gain/loss was just right for my current level of knee surgery rehab fitness.

What better reward than a little soak in Manzanita Lake with this grand view of Mt Lassen? Oh and the temperature at my car was 85F at 2:30pm.

Other jaunts at Lassen Volcanic National Park:

CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mill Creek Falls (June 2021)

There are still trails in Lassen I haven’t hiked, including this one to Mill Creeks Falls. When a friend called with an invite I said YES!

I’d seen photos of the falls before and knew they weren’t WOWtastic but I figured with it being early season, they’d be at peak. What I wasn’t expected was to find peak blooms of Woolly mule’s ears and Arrow leaved balsamroot.

I have a hard time telling them apart in photos. In person I know the mule’s ears have soft and fuzzy leaves. My botany friend told me these in the photo below are Arrow leaved balsamroot.

Bleeding hearts and stickweed (NOT hounds tongue as I incorrectly assumed) were also in abundance.

California Stickweed (Hackelia californica). There was a lot. Initially I thought it was popcorn flower but looking closer I was sure it was the white version of hounds tongue. But I was wrong on that count also.

First view of Mill Creek Falls with a little paintbrush in the foreground.

Mill Creek Falls, much more impressive in person than this photo shows. According to my guidebook “this is a 75-foot drop and it’s the tallest in Lassen Park. It consists of 3 separate falls: East Sulphur Creek and Bumpass Creek tumble 25-30′ into a swirling pool before their combined waters plunge another 50′ to the base of Mill Creek Falls.”

We found a nice shady area next to the creek to cool off and enjoy lunch before working out way back to the trailhead. There are only about 3-4 areas along the trail with water access. The yellow blooms tried to steal the show.

Wooly Mules Ears with Brokeoff Mountain and I believe Mt Diller.

Nothing FLAT about this trail. You can see on the profile those steep areas that were super challenging for me at this point in my rehab. It was hard to believe the hike was less than 4 miles and less than 700 feet of elevation gain/loss. I’d always had this on my EASY list thus mostly avoiding it. I found out upon returning home it’s really considered moderate because of the incline and rocky terrain. For those looking for a bigger challenge or who have two vehicles to shuttle, the trail continues another 3.5 miles to Kings Creek Picnic Area. The bonus is seeing Cold Boiling and Crumbaugh Lakes as well as Conard Meadows.

Other jaunts at Lassen Volcanic National Park:

CA – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Flowers, Ice and So Much More (May 2021)

As the snow recedes in the high country, Snow Plants (Sarcodes sanguinea) welcome spring. When I caught wind they’d arrived, I made it a priority to go see them the next day. These are the most pristine specimens I’ve ever seen.

Snow plant has no chlorophyll; it derives nutrition from fungi underneath the soil, and for this reason the plant is called “mycotrophic”. These fungi are the mycorrhizae (“fungus-roots”) of conifers, an interesting topic by itself. Many conifers (among other plants) require these fungi to live normally. Mycorrhizae are composed of strands of cells (mycelia) that grow about in the soil; these strands are quite numerous and extensive, and the conifer uses them to bring water and minerals to itself. In return, the conifer provides the fungus with some of the products of its photosynthesis. Snow plant takes advantage of this felicitous arrangement by parasitizing the mycorrhizae of the photosynthate provided it by the conifer, which makes sense, given that it is a plant without chlorophyll, and therefore a plant that cannot photosynthesize. In this indirect way, Sarcodes is a parasite of conifers; this is why they are always seen beneath (or very close to) them.

https://www.fs.fed.us/…/plant…/sarcodes_sanguinea.shtml

The snow plant emerges like a bright red nose.

Soon they look like a red pinecone.

As the plants matures, flowers the candle-like leaves open revealing a flower. Eventually fruit will fill the flower. “The fruit is a capsule containing sticky seeds. Once ripened, seed is released through an opening at the base of the style.”

Seeing the aquamarine ice of the melting lakes had been on my must-see list. While the lakes are conveniently located next to the road, winter closure keeps them inaccessible until the road is plowed unless you want to walk or ride about 5 miles from the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center. This is Helen Lake with Brokeoff Mountain, Mount Diller and Pilot Pinnacle in the background.

What causes the color? I’m guessing it has to do with (1) the minerals in the water and/or (2) glacial silt. There are no longer active glaciers at Lassen but maybe there is enough silt remaining? I wonder how long it’ll take the lakes to melt? This is a closer view from Emerald Lake.

Most trails are still buried under the snow and with limited mobility I was limited to wandering around mostly snow-free lakes although Summit Lake still had a bit more than I should have navigated. This is a view of Lassen Peak from the shores of Summit Lake where there is a one-mile perimeter trail.

One of the views of Lassen Peak from the 2-mile trail around Manzanita Lake.

Reflection Lake offers this reflection of Chaos Crags and Lassen Peak as one wanders the one-mile loop.

This view of Chaos Crags was captured from the road. It was shocking to see it nearly barren of snow in early May. But then again it’s been an extremely low snow year and I read this is the earliest the 30-mile road through the park has opened in 40 years. “The road clearing process in 2019 wasn’t finished until June 22, and it went all they way to July 26th in 2017.”

Lassen Peak should be buried but instead it’s ready to be hiked, and in fact on this day the road opened there were at least a dozen vehicles in the parking lot.

I returned ten days later and found a few more blooms including these Marsh Marigolds.

These were tiny Fawn Lilies.

Not to be outdone in the tiny flower department, these were miniature violets.

There are lots of plants hiding their identification including this one, although a botany friend guessed Pedicularis attollens aka baby elephant heads, another favorite.

Lily pond was filled with yellow buds. I’m looking forward to a colorful mat on my next visit.

I anticipate this meadow showcasing Pilot Pinnacle will be filled with Corn Lilies.

Meanwhile Helen Lake was still in the melting stage.

Another round of snow plants were emerging from their winter nests. My goal is to find mature plants sporting seed-filled fruits in the flower.

Just outside the Park on the southern end is Child’s Meadows and I was hopeful to find mass distribution of camas. It appears I should have stopped during my previous visit.

I never regret stopping to enjoy this view of Brokeoff Mountain from Child’s Meadows.

What will June bring? I plan to return to Lassen regularly to enjoy the transition from spring to summer. It’s a great place to continue to work on my knee rehab as many of the trails are gentle. Until then . . . .

CA – Leaping into my 2020 Spring Jaunt

Leap Day seemed like the perfect day to kick off my next jaunt. As has been a tradition my first stop was at nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park. While December and January delivered a fair amount of snow, February was one of the driest on record. So sadly I was able to walk around much of the northern end of the park sans snowshoes. I’d never hiked the Lily Pond loop and was happy to find this great view of Chaos Crags and Lassen Peak.

Last year I rushed down 395 knowing I had a one-day window to beat a storm. When I checked the weather forecast a few days prior to my departure this year there wasn’t any precipitation in the forecast. Well it appears I should have checked it again.

I awoke to a little snow in the morning.

With little to do in Bridgeport and the road to the hot springs sketchy, chain controls awaited. Thankfully I have 4×4 with Mud and Snow tires so I could skip chains.

Thankfully there were few vehicles on the road and the plows were keeping it clear and sanded. I don’t love driving in these conditions, especially as it was very windy with snow blowing across the road somewhat limiting visibility.

Mono Lake

Convict Lake

This was a welcome sight the next morning.

Lone Pine Peak from Alabama Hills.

I’d say March came in like a lion.

Adventure Date(s):

  • February 29 – March 1, 2020

Links:

CA – Shasta-Trinity and Lassen National Forests . . . winter play

Welcome to 2019, Jan style!

That’s right, I wanted to witness the first sunrise of the year, so good morning Mt Shasta! 

Happy New Year Burney Mountain and Hatchet Ridge, home of the infamous wind turbines. 

Cheers to another of my good friends, Lassen Peak. 

Hike #1 – PCT, Cache 22 Trailhead

It was a frigid 13F degrees overnight. My all time low! Regardless I was up at dawn to catch first light and then warmed up with hot coffee and cereal. The few mile hike back to my car did little to warm me up but I was happy to celebrate the turning of the calendar doing what I love.

Date(s) Hiked: December 31, 2018 – January 1, 2019 (no stats)

Hike #2 – McArthur-Burney Falls State Park, Falls Loop Trail

Since I was in the vicinity after my overnight on the Hat Creek Rim, I decided I’d add 1.5 miles to my earlier jaunt.

Date Hiked: January 1, 2019 (no stats)

Hike #3 – Sacramento River Bend Area, Yana Trailhead

The Carr Fire destroyed most of my winter snow-free trails so this nearby option is better than hiking through burned trees. 

Date Hiked: January 12, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Hiked #4 – Lassen, Sulfur Works

I introduced a friend to snowshoeing on this short trek from the visitor center to Sulfur Works, a hydrothermal area featuring boiling mudpots and steam vents. 

Date Hiked: January 14, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Hike #5 – Mt Shasta, Sand Flat Trailhead

Following a week of storms, I had to find some powder. I knew there was a risk of finding ice as the storm had included warming temperatures with rain. Forecasters dubbed the day, “blustery.” Well, I went prepared to stay in the trees and away from wind slab avalanche areas. 

Date Hiked: January 21, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hike #6 – Castle Lake

Snow conditions were perfect for an ascent up Left Peak. 

Date Hiked: January 23, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hike #7 – Lassen, Mill Creek Falls and Ridge Lakes

I’d been dreaming of seeing these falls in the winter for a few weeks. Well those dreams didn’t turn into reality on this day. You gotta pick your risks and this one wasn’t worth it to me. That’s about 7 feet of snow on the bridge and no alternate options to be found. 

Plan B was a good climb on a near perfect day to Ridge Lakes. 

Date Hiked: January 25, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

What Else?

To combat winter blues and maintain fitness, I set a goal for 2019 to be active outside a minimum of an hour 20 days per month.  I’m happy to report I met that objective in January. Here are a few extra credit photos from my daily wanderings. 

The local flora is primarily manzanita and oak; finding hearts is a reward. 

The Carr Fire severely changed our landscape and available trails. 

When all else seems wrong, this message in a neighbor’s front yard is right. It’s my mantra!

Links: