Thursday, June 23, 2011


So, it seems it never gets above 60 degrees on the coast of northern California. This might not be generally true, but it was the case for us, so we headed inland for a spell - to warm up (Also because it's on the way to Crater Lake). Crossing those pesky mountains once again, this time on a road that luxuriouly sported shoulders, we arrived at our campground in Shasta Lake, just north of Redding, and 104 degrees HOT. Damn, that's a little more warmth than I was looking for. We saw a temperature rise of 50 degrees over the course of the drive!

The next day promised to be another scorcher. It was pleasant in the early morning hours, in the low 70s, but at 10:00, when the sun cleared the trees and poured forth its energy onto the earth, it rapidly became unbearable outside. "It's a dry heat" they say, as if that makes it right. We hid indoors until mid-afternoon, when it was pushing 100 outside and the air conditioner didn't have the cahones to keep it pleasant inside. So, we went over to Shasta Lake, found a beach where we could swim and launch the kayaks, and got our relief that way.

The dogs got all soaking wet, then rolled in dirt and sand, and hunted for goose turds to eat. Aren't they charming? By the time we got back to camp we were refreshed, and the hottest part of the day was past. We got cleaned up and went into town to have a nice dinner in celebration of 15 years of marriage. After dinner we went to Redding's Sundial Bridge, a striking asymmetrical structure spanning the Sacramento River, with a plexiglass tile walking surface which gets illuminated at night. Very nice.

I got up early the next morning to go for a mountain bike ride while the air was still cool. I went to Whiskeytown N.R.A. where I found a series of single track trails that linked together to make a fine loop. Very enjoyable. Back at camp by 9:30, ready to get some chores done before heading out in the afternoon, back to Whiskeytown, but this time for some more kayaking. We had another very nice paddle in the cooler, clearer waters of Whiskeytown Lake.

Every now and then we'd get a glimpse of Mount Shasta peeking over some hilltop, bright white against the azure sky, shimmering from the waves of heat radiating off of the landscape. Finally we got a really good look at this lone white mountain; this 14179 feet tall stratovolcano, rising nearly 10000 feet from the surrounding terrain:

Next we leave the state of California and cross into Oregon, hoping to find more reasonable temperatures, and gaze into the depths of Crater Lake.

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