I love fall. If there was more water in the creeks and rivers, it would be my undisputed favorite season. The crisp air, the colored trees, the lower angle of the sun and the sense of having finished something all add up to make it a magical time of the year. Obviously, this is a time to get outside and enjoy the incredible beauty and gorgeous weather. This has certainly been the case this past week. I didn’t hit a lot of fall color (yet) but the weather has been sublime and demanded I get out and enjoy the mountains. With a tip of the hat to John Muir, the mountains called and I answered.
Last Monday I headed out with my family to the PCT as it enters the Scott Mountains. Straddling the divide between the Shasta River and the headwaters of the mighty Trinity River, this is a gorgeous and lightly used section of trail. There is a spot where it is easy to scramble up to the top of the ridge and get spectacular vistas that range from Bully Choop and the Trinity Alps to the south all the way to Mount McLoughlin to the north in Oregon. Weed, the Shasta Valley and Mounts Eddy and Shasta all fill out the incredible vista. There is no shortage of rocks for my kids to climb on as we all enjoy this magnificent spot.
A couple days later, I headed out for a sunrise. It was beautiful but both the clouds and Lake Siskiyou were very uncooperative. I did manage to at least document a little lenticular that hovered above the mountain.
On Friday, the opportunity presented itself to do some exploring in the Sand Flat area on Mount Shasta. While this area has winter trails, it is not well known as a great hiking destination. Nonetheless, it is a great place for easy cross country travel and this was certainly the case when i was there.
The the best part of this particular afternoon was at Jack Flat, where the views of town and the surrounding mountains were enhanced by the fall color that has appeared on the flanks of Mount Shasta. Even when the view of town does not include Mount Shasta, it is striking how awesome this area is. It Mount Shasta was not here, Mount Shasta City would still have a beautiful location and an enviable array of mountains around it. We are very fortunate indeed.
The real highlight of the week, however, came on Sunday morning. I headed up to the flanks of Herd Peak for the dawn and was rewarded with one of the best sunrises I have enjoyed in quite a while. It was absolutely tremendous.
The next week should present more of the same. With a little precipitation in the forecast, I think there is a chance for a lenticular or two, but the temps are supposed to be in the upper 60’s again, so there ought to be plenty more opportunities to enjoy this incredible region.
Stay blessed and hit the trail if you can!