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Posts tagged ‘Mt. Shasta’

The Joy of Dumb Luck

For the past few days, Kelly and I have been relaxing in a national forest just outside the small town of Mt Shasta, which is located in far northern California.  The town sits in the shadows of its namesake – Mt Shasta volcano (elevation 14,197 ft).

Looking east towards Mt Shasta

Looking east towards Mt Shasta

Having driven past the mountain many times, we’ve often admired it from the car, but have never stopped until this week.  The mountain happens to sit in the midst of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the largest forest system in California.  Combined the mountain and the high elevation forest seemed like a combination we felt would make for a nice resting place for a couple of days.

It was me who picked Fowlers Campground as our landing spot.  And I didn’t have much time to complete a lot of advance research … so if the place sucked, it would be me to blame.   As luck would have it , the past couple days here have been fantastic.

Sometimes a guy is just lucky.

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Wednesday, we arrived to a mostly empty campground … it’s primitive, has two loops with roughly 18-20 spacious sites per.  Not sure what the crowds would be like through the weekend, we opted for a site off to itself and with the added bonus of a spacious grassy area opening up to a hillside.

Now, having seen the entire campground now in more detail, I think we have the best location … and Kelly deserves all the credit, as I was thinking about another one elsewhere.  As an added bonus, our spot is proving to be a great point of entry for deer and other forest critters … which has provided plenty of excitement for Lilly.

Our site

Our site

Lilly keeping an eye on things

Lilly keeping an eye on things

There is nice river with three waterfalls near the campground.  Conveniently, our site is adjacent to a connector trail which links all three.  We’ve seen two waterfalls thus far, and plan to view the third before leaving in a couple days.  The trails here are nice and since this is a national forest, dogs are welcome on-leash – not so in California State or National Parks.

Once the trailer was set-up, we went out to find the “Middle Falls”, the closest of the three to our location.

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The trail to Middle Falls

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The trail to Middle Falls

Middle Falls below…

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Stopping to admire Middle Falls

This morning (Thursday) we went looking for Lower Falls, which made for a great morning hike – this one following the river.

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The river is a local favorite for fly fishing, and provides plenty of access points to the water.  Lilly wasn’t interested in the fish, but could not get enough of the rocks – climbing all over them (and only slipping into the water a few times).

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Eventually, we arrived to Lower Falls (above).  While this particular falls is not much of an attraction per se, the general area is gorgeous.  It’s so nice to be back at high elevation and in amongst the trees.

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Eventually, we began making our way back to camp.

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Along the way, I wanted to grab some firewood and decided to split this felled tree with my knee.

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Upon arrival back to camp, it was time for lunch.  The remainder of the day was spent … lazy.

Let’s Go To Ashland

Today we took our time getting ready to depart. Per usual, Lilly got a nice walk before much else was completed. We strolled down to and through the marina – a great location really. Every once and a while I wish we lived on a houseboat – today was one of those occasions. Something about living on the water appeals to me. Maybe some day.

After returning from our walk, I began getting things ready for the road while Kelly made breakfast – eggs, sausage, and toast. It doesn’t get more staple than this. Sometimes less is more and in this case, a simple breakfast really hit the spot.

Breakfast sandwiches in the making

The drive today was relatively straightforward, only about seventy miles but I was curious to see how our truck would handle the numerous high passes between where we were and where we were headed. There is one particularly big mountain pass on the way towards Oregon. At 4300 feet (ish) it is the highest point anywhere along interstate 5, and certainly the makings for a good “umph” test.

When we bought our Airstream the most stressful decision in that process was deciding what type of tow vehicle to get. After making about a dozen “final” decisions, we landed on a 2012 Ford F-150. Brand spankin’ new.

I specifically wanted a half-ton, not a three-quarter ton truck as this is also my daily driver. There are many who evangelize the need for a massive truck, but there are also many touting the F-150 as equally fit for purpose when spec’d correctly.

Upgraded towing features were a must in my mind as was the optional and relatively new ‘Ecoboost’ engine. A six cylinder engine designed to be a brute, the Ecoboost engine pounds out a whopping amount of torque and horsepower. The truck did fabulously over the passes.

At one point We decided to stop in the town of Mt. Shast. I was craving and espresso and since Northbond Roasters – one of my favorite coffee roasters is located there, we pulled into town. I assumed there would be a hip little coffee shop I could drop into and grab my pull. I was wrong. Apparently these folks roast beans only, no hipster point of sale to be found. Total bummer.

All wasn’t a total loss, the views of Mt. Shasta mountain were great today.

After a bit of research, we decided to book two nights at the Glenyan RV park, located about five miles outside Ashland. The park is pretty nice – a mix of what appear to be full-time RV residents and travelers like Kelly and me. Full hook-ups will run you $34 per night and the place has a quasi state park vibe. Not too bad really.

Like so many RV campgrounds, claims of available wi-fi are just shy of a boldface lie. Our Verizon broadband seems to be doing ok; a bit slow for streaming, but probably should fine for work purposes. If connectivity speed proves to be problematic, I’ll simply head into town and squat at a coffee shop as needed.

We’ve been to Ashland many times – we quite like it actually. Often on our short list of Oregon towns to make residence someday (Portland and Bend being the other top vote getters), we almost always stop here whenever passing through. I’m looking forward to spending a few days in the area in order to more thoroughly test drive this place.

I also cannot wait to visit Noble coffee shop. I so hope they are open tomorrow even though it is a holiday. Fingers crossed.