2020 is in the can and we move on to a new year with new challenges and new successes. I don’t need to go into the difficulties that were faced by our society this past year, as that is obvious to everyone. However, I almost don’t want to say it considering how hard things have been for so many, but this was a good year for my family and for that I am very, very grateful. Work continued uninterrupted, we all got outside a lot and there were practically no disruptions on the home front. It is difficult to express the degree of gratitude that I have for the blessings my family has been bestowed.
Here at the foot of Mount Shasta, life continued through its normal cycle. A fairly mild winter gave way to a gorgeous spring. The temperatures were warm, the precipitation was punctual but never overstayed its welcome and the sky was filled with strange and fabulous clouds. Sunrises and sunsets were sublime and I was sad to see spring fade into summer, which is unusual, as it is often my least favorite season here in Mount Shasta. Summer was beautiful and the smoke held off as much as was possible once the fires were going in earnest. Even then, this region was spared a major fire, which is a blessing beyond measure. Summer turned to autumn, which proved to be a strange one. The best season for lenticular clouds under normal conditions, this proved to be a low-frequency year and there were few sightings. The fall color also proved to be less than stellar due to the dry winter earlier in the year. However, once December began, the conditions around Mount Shasta improved and it proved to be one of the most beautiful months of the year.
In terms of activity, this proved to be a year of explorations. Tracking down lost and unknown waterfalls, ferreting out abandoned trails and exploring crags seldom seen were all activities throughout the year. Many new places were discovered, while a few old favorites were rediscovered. This proved to be all the more fortuitous since this year saw unprecedented visitation to the Mount Shasta area.
In total, a good year and one I am grateful for, despite the adversity. Thank you Lord!
Now, on the to the pictures!
January kicked off the year with some good snow and beautiful skies. The winter began early, dumping snow before Thanksgiving and continuing through December. After the new year began it seemed like the snow was going to continue in strength but about halfway through the month it started to peter out and it never really showed up in force again.
Epic lenticulars defined February. There were quality specimens throughout the month but several of them turned out to be notably spectacular. Snow fell occasionally but it was not an extremely wet month.
The dry weather systems continued into March. More interesting lenticulars graced Mount Shasta but this proved to be the last month with really consistent activity. Of course, this proved to be the last month where everybody acted normally too.
April was an unusual month. Society ground to a halt but we responded to that by going outside a lot. This was made all the easier because the weather warmed up considerably. We gravitated toward the Castle Crags, which really are the premier spring destination in the Mount Shasta area. The waterfalls, granite, balmy conditions and general “Sierra-ness” make it the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors this time of year.
May saw the last bit of interesting weather over Mount Shasta as well as the transition to greater exploration of the mountains and rivers west of the mountain. Many creeks were explored, lakes were accessed and the high country generally began to become a part of our lives again.
In typical fashion, June saw the high country fully opened and we took full advantage. Waterfalls and lakes, meadows and creeks and great views of Mount Shasta highlighted this time of the year.
July was the month of Neowise. Nights were spent tracking the comet while the days continued to be put to use enjoying the high country of Mount Shasta and the Trinity Divide. This was also the month my family took its annual trek to Yosemite, which was followed by an entire week of Yosemite related blog posts on Hike Mt Shasta.
The defining activity of August was the time spent up on Mount Shasta. Whether the Old Ski Bowl, the Brewer Creek area or the mysterious north side of Mount Shasta, there are always new delights to enjoy. The waterfalls and creeks on the mountain tend to get really full this time of year, since they are fed by glacial melt water and they make great destinations jumping-off points for exploration.
The smoke finally showed up in September. The lightning storm that passed through in August left many fires and the shadow cast by the smoke was dismal. Nonetheless we persevered and made it through.
Mount Shasta was very bare by October. The light winter left little snow on the mountain’s western aspect. Still, the trees began to change color and the temperatures moderated, bringing cooler conditions. Of course, the nice weather arrived just in time for my family to leave Mount Shasta and enjoy a trip to northern Arizona. A fantastic time was had by all!
Beauty began to creep back into the Mount Shasta area in November. Snow fell, once again painting the mountain white. Interesting clouds began to appear in the sky. The gorgeous weather meant that it was time to get outside as much as possible, before the winter snow once again began to fall.
December truly was one of the most beautiful months of the year around Mount Shasta. Lenticular clouds, colorful sunrises and sunsets and a light amount of snow all made it a gorgeous time of the year.
Now that December has eased into January, there is much to look forward to. New trails are being built, snow threatens to deepen and the mountain still strikes awe into the hearts that stop to appreciate it. I pray we all recognize the majesty and power to which Mount Shasta testifies and that 2021is a year of comforted hearts and hiking feet. I’ll see you on the trail!