The magnificent view south, from the Old Ski Bowl.
Last weekend, after leading the Cub Scouts on a hike through Panther Meadow, we headed up to the Old Ski Bowl to watch the sun set, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the spectacular scenery. It was spectacular as always but it was made even better by the thin layers of smoke from the still smoldering fires. The slight haze allowed each layer of the mountains to be highlighted. Even better, it caused the color gradient in the sky to be especially dramatic.
While everyone was drinking their hot chocolate, staying warm and enjoying the scenery, a ran up to the edge of the Old Ski Bowl’s picnic area, set up my tripod and captured this fantastic shot of the mountains. Two thoughts occurred to me while standing there. First, this complex tangle of mountains was what I believe John Muir was referring to when he said this:
“When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”
These are braided folds indeed.
The second thought that occurred to me was that most of this area burned this summer, between the Carr, Hirz and Delta Fires. You can see the burned area (part of it, at least) below, highlighted by the orange line:
It may only look like a sliver of the image but it is a bit deceiving. The zoom lens compresses the image, making the area appear smaller than it is. In truth, the area within the lines covers a distance of over 40 miles from north to south. It is stunning that so much territory burned.
In spite of the destruction, the region remains beautiful and vistas from Mount Shasta like this one remain tremendous. The views from this spot reach further than just about anywhere else in California reachable by car. I may be wrong about that but if there are accessible vistas that reach further than this I’d like to know what they are. Worth noting, Snow Mountain was visible 135 miles to the south, but was out of frame in this image. To give some context to the image and to help give context to the image, I identified many of the landmarks and listed how far away they are from the Old Ski Bowl.
We are blessed that, in spite of the destruction, this is still a beautiful and remarkable world!