A spectacular fall view of Mount Shasta.
The last two days I have made the time to head up to three elevated vistas of Mount Shasta at sunset, sunrise and then the following sunset. It has been a spectacular way to spend the last couple of days, which have been exceedingly beautiful autumn days. Once again, it is hard for me to express how sublime the mountain and the region are this time of year. The weather has been quite warm and though we certainly are at the point where precipitation is needed, I am enjoying the conditions we have been dealt.
Monday’s sunset was spent up on Gumboot Point, on the PCT. This view, high above the Gumboot Lakes and the South Fork of the Sacramento, is one of my favorites. With an epic view of Mount Shasta to the east and good perspectives on parts of the Trinity Alps, you can’t ask much more for this. Indeed, this vantage was a bit of two-for, since I was able to get a good view of the Trinities as the sun set.
Thankfully, my family was able to join me for this sunset too!
While the kids had their headlamps on, my wife and I really enjoyed the fading light as we hiked back to the car. The glow over the Trinity Alps set just the right tone as we hiked on the trail, the kids dancing in the light of their headlamps.
The next morning I left early and headed up to the Whaleback to watch the sunrise. This might very well be the most spectacular sunrise vista in the Mount Shasta area. The view of the mountain is great, with the light-catching east side readily visible. This side of the mountain is also much whiter than the others. Not only are the mountain’s massive glaciers blanketing the upper flanks, but snow from a couple of weeks ago was still present at the lower elevations.
Another great feature of the view from the Whaleback is the ability to really make out a lot of the great detail on the Hotlum Glacier. In particular, crevasses and the large icefalls are easy to observe. In the end, however, the sum of the parts of the Whaleback view is greater than they are individually. It really is one of the most epic spots in the area.
For Tuesday’s sunset, I headed up onto Girard Ridge, which has a particularly pleasing perspective on Mount Shasta. This view is also blessed with a lot of good fall color. While most of the trees around the base of the mountain have faded in the fall show, many of the trees above the Sacramento River are still clinging to their leaves, giving the forest bright spots of color. The addition of clouds to catch the evening light made this view even better!
Of course, if one is on Girard Ridge, then Mount Shasta is by no means the only spectacular sight. The view of the Castle Crags from the ridge is one of the few that can give Mount Shasta a real run for its money. This is a down right jaw-dropping perspective on one of the most magnificent landmarks in Northern California. I don’t think it is as iconic as it should be!
In the end, though, Mount Shasta always wins out. As the sun set and the light on the mountain went away, I was once again amazed at how diverse the mountain and the landscapes around are. It was grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy all of these spots in such short span of time. I hope others have been able to get out in this great weather and enjoy the incredible creation we have all been blessed with!