Tim & I are off on an adventure. We left for Lake Mead with Mom, Dad, Uncle Chris, Aunt Sally, Doo-wah (Katie), and the Grittens for a few days in the stormy Arizona heat. I say stormy because we had thundershowers which rained on us on the second night, and low gray clouds that hung about intermittently. The storms kept temps cool (90s) and the water FLAT! We returned home from that lake and unpacked, just to re-pack for a three week road trip.
This trip was difficult to pack for considering that we have varied needs throughout the whole trip. We need car camping equipment including firewood and a stove and chairs. Then we need backpacking equipment for our hike on Mt. Shasta. Finally, we will be in some downtown areas in Portland and want to dress up if need be, so we're packing some town clothes too. We're both pretty laid back in our style, if we even have one. We tend to think there are FAR better things in life than being concerned with what we're wearing. We're like the lilies of the field in that sense I guess, though we do far more worrying about other things... So, we put everything in the car, packed the Playmate with cheese, grapes, yogurt, put my bike on the bike rack and drove for Northern California.
Mom gave us the Focus on the Family theatrical reading of C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles. Since Tim has been reading through them, he is on Horse and his Boy. But since I only read Prince Caspian after the movie came out, he was gracious to listen to Voyage of the Dawn Treader with me. It made the car ride go much faster! We pretty much just drove straight up the 5 and passed through the hills where we stopped at the Val Verde Museum. It is a visitors center that is huge and very well done; it details the life of water in California- it's passage from the Sierras to the central valley and all the pump stations and down the aqueducts and to our homes. Pretty awesome the way it works to create energy for us, and how we reserve it in places like Pyramid Lake, which is where the lavish center is located. (Seriously, Tim and I had never seen a visitors museum so well done and so massive!) We drove on through San Joaquin valley and finally crashed out in Red Bluff to sleep. In the morning, we were back on the road to see Castle Crags Recreation Area and hike around to stretch our legs. We stopped at the Castle Crags camp and proceeded to a trailhead. We got a good view of the Crags, which are granite pinnacles in the sky, and we did a little 2 mile trail run to Root Creek. We splashed some crystal cool water on our faces and necks and ran back to do a few yoga stretches at our car. We headed back on the freeway making two detours at a motel area where you can book a caboose for your family vacation. The whole campsite had a great view of Castle Crags and every "room" is a different train caboose. We love finding silly little areas like this when we travel- and there are more than you would imagine out there. Then we went to Shasta Caverns, but were unwilling to pay $40, just to see some caves, we decided our lava tubes in Hawaii could help us last until we go to Mitchell Caverns or Carlsbad Caverns on some other road trip. We traveled on, finally reaching our destination: Mt. Shasta City. Here we picked up some essentials and rentals at the 5th Season outdoors store and checked into our hotel. We bellyed-up to the Billygoat's Tavern where we won a free pint of New Belgium 1554 beer for answering 3 questions correctly:
1. On what street does Peter Griffin live?
2. What did the US purchase for 7.2 million dollars in 17xx. (can't remember)
3. What is the strongest bone in the human body?
Thanks to J. Mize, Lex and Mom for helping us out. We owe you one! Tim had "Possibly the best burger ever" with garlic fries and I had the "Tree-hugger" a yummy veggie burger with walnuts mixed in served with sprouts and cheese. So yummmmmmmmmmmmm.
Then we walked all around town- like most transient mountain communities, there are some weird people here and there are lots of new age book stores and tarot card readings and aura picture takings and dirtbag kids playing flutes on the street. People ride bikes, if you've lived here over a month, you know almost everyone, and most of the money comes from tourists- like us. Very organic, very existential, which I think is fun, but kinda sad. Many people in the area believe that Shasta is a mystical place (like Sedona) where powers and crystals bring healing or destruction if you are not in tune, or at least honor them. There is a strong crowd that even believes that the mountain is home to an alien race who return in the lenticular clouds that encase the mountain to refuel their ships with magma from the volcano (yes, Shasta is a volcano- we learned this when Tim took me to the Natural History Museum on our "use no gas" date) Later, we even squeezed in a 5 mile hike up Black Butte, just to help acclimate and get our muscles warmed up. Unfortunately, with all the fires in the area, the visibility is very low, though the sun looks awesome through all the smoke.
We went back to our hotel and packed for the next day- our attempt on the Shasta summit. I will post on our climb later, and add pictures, but for now let's just say we are back at Cold Creek Inn and definitely exhausted...