The sight of Mt. Shasta from Lava Beds National Monument sparked our quest to Mt. Shasta. We took the state line road on the border of Oregon and California going west. It was a perfect straight road due west most of the time. There was an inspection station at Dorris. The lady at the inspection station asked where we traveled from and if we had any produce from other states. It seemed that California is very serious about protecting their agriculture.
We drove southwest on highway 97. Near Macdoel, Mt. Shasta came in sight in the southern sky. Further south on 97, through the burnt out woods in Klamath National Forests, we saw the summit of Mt. Shasta soared above clouds. At the vista point on 97, Mt. Shasta and Mt. Shastina rose above everything.
“It is like a dream.” Said Stephen.
I agree. The snow capped mountains were blended in the sky with the colors of clouds and the sky. They looked like a mirage.
When we arrived at the KOA Mt. Shasta in the city of Mount Shasta, we were at the foot of the majestic Mt. Shasta. The beautiful peak was seen from the streets in town. Mount Shasta is a hip town with natural food grocery stores, gourmet restaurants, galleries, supply stores for mountain climbers, hikers, and skiers.
The Big Springs in the Mount Shasta City Park is the headwater of Sacramento River. The crystal clear water rushed out from a lava tube. Some young men and women were filling up the spring water with big containers. I asked a girl if the water was drinkable. “Yes. It is the best water I’ve every had!” She claimed. Although there is a sign by the spring stating that the water is not tested as a source of drinking water, locals and tourists continue to get the spring water for cooking and drinking.
I heard the sound of flute nearby. It was played by an older man siting on the bench by the spring. The young men and women in the park wore loose pants, long hair, and stretched on the yoga mats. They looked like the new hippy. The sign by the spring told us that “the spring water emerging here fell as precipitation on Mount Shasta more than fifty years ago.” I couldn’t help to get some spring water myself. Luckily, we had an empty one-gallon water bottle in the truck. So I carefully stepped across the rocks among the spring, filled up the bottle with the pure glacier water at the mouth of the spring. Stephen had a sip of the spring water and said it was just the right temperature. The water was cold. I had some spring water myself as I am tying this blog. It has the freshness and subtle sweetness.
We drove into the Mt. Shasta after visiting the park via Everitt Memorial Highway. The cone shaped Shasta red firs lined up the mountain road. The higher we climbed up, the closer the beautiful peaks were. Looking at the glaciers on the peaks, Stephen said, “So if you come back in 50 years, that water will come out from the spring.” We stopped at some viewpoints and took photos. At Bunny Flat, elevation of 6,950, the vista of the Mt. Shasta was mesmerizing. Looking across a field of alpine plants and trees, the beautiful peaks sat peacefully against the blue sky with fluffy clouds flew above it. Stephen spotted a family of golden mantled ground squirrel sitting on top of a boulder right away. They are cute little animals. Their home is under the groundcover by the big rock.
I took the Horse Camp trail. A sign by the trail read
“No Dogs in the Wilderness
Dogs leave predator scent that disrupts the habits of native animal species.”
The trail led me walking among the huge Shasta red fir trees. A field of purple and red wildflowers bloomed happily by the trail. Suddenly, I stood still. A dear standing by a tree was looking at me just 20 feet away! We looked at each other and none of us moved. After a minute or so, the deer turned its back towards me and slowly walked further away, then crossed the trail and stayed in the woods. I learned that those purple flowers were bluntlobe lupines.
At the end of the Everitt Memeorial Highway, we were at elevation above 7,800 feet. We were almost above the tree line. The summit of Mt. Shasta seemed so close to us! But we were only half way there. Mt. Shasta is 14,179 ft high. The second highest mountain in Cascade Range. There were lots of rocks scattered around. Rock arts created by tourists were plenty. Some were as simple as stacked up rocks, some were complex with lots of rocks forming symbols. I also took some time to stack several rocks on a big rock. I hope my rock art can stay here for some time to enjoy this beautiful vista. Standing on Mt. Shasta, the hazy blue mountains in the distance were all below us. What a grandeur view!
I took the Old Ski Bowl trail walking up. There was a young woman and an elderly man meditating in the middle of the valley. Some birds flew around that caught my attention. I located one using my camcorder. They were mountain bluebirds! Wow! I was so exciting! I kept walking up and saw the bluebirds jumping around the rocks searching for food. I sat by a big rock and enjoyed the gorgeous view. I have never been so close to the summit of a glaciated mountain. A mountain bluebird landed on a big rock some 20 feet away. My heart was racing as I took photos and videos of the the cute bluebird. It was such a beautiful moment surrounding by the nature I would cherish for my life.