Kangaroo & Bull (Klamath National Forest) 20-Jul-2020

Remember business travel? How it was a necessary chore but one that now we (maybe) long for? The upside of those days was an accumulated a pile of hotel reward points that we planned to squander on some BIG TRIP of our own choosing. But, alas, no. 😦 So we spent some on our trip to the Oregon Coast in mid-June and the rest on a just completed multi-day trip to Northern California. But that’s only two hours from home you say! Yes, but we wanted to do a few hikes in and around Mount Shasta and didn’t want to spend four hours per hike commuting. So we made a surgically clean hotel room our basecamp for a few days. Which was good because the soaring afternoon temperatures made it really nice to have some A/C (and a shower). California has slipped back to only take-out or outdoor seating at restaurants, so we had some nice meals outdoors – just like camping but the cooking was way better. 🙂 There were other tourists around but not nearly as many as in a “normal” year, so it didn’t hurt that we were there to pump a little money into the local economy.

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Mill Creek Lake (Trinity Alps Wilderness) 02-Jul-2020

Five years ago, we did a late-season loop hike to East Boulder Lake in California’s Trinity Alps Wilderness. Just over the ridge from East Boulder Lake are the Mill Creek and Washbasin Lakes. A trail, the Little Mill Trail #5572, connects these three lakes. We thought to take advantage of the excellent early summer hiking weather we’re currently having (not too hot (yet) and no smoke (yet – but hopefully never)) to hike the Little Mill Trail up to the Mill Creek Lake.

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Goosenest (Klamath National Forest) 07-Oct-2018

Goosenest Mount Shasta Northern California

Tricky drive; short hike; spectacular views. Goosenest (8,280 feet) is an extinct (hopefully) shield volcano with a cinder cone on top, resembling a goose’s nest (actually it looks more like an albatross nest, but those aren’t that common in Northern California). It sits just north of Mount Shasta and affords amazing views of the north side of that peak and a 360º view across much of Northern California. The hike to these views is short (3.3 miles total – if you circle the crater) on a well-graded, well-maintained trail plus an obvious use trail. It even has an official trailhead with a sign and an information board. The trick is finding that trailhead, as we would discover as we followed conflicting (and sometimes incorrect) driving directions to (eventually) reach it.

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Pluto’s Cave & Haystack (Northern California) 12-Dec-2016

Pluto's Cave Northren California

Northern California’s Shasta Valley, a wide valley extending north from the foot of Mount Shasta, is a pocket of high desert resulting from Mount Shasta’s orographic seizure of moisture from east-bound Pacific storm systems. This wringing-out of the waters creates a sagebrush/juniper biome strikingly at odds with the moist, green forests found just a few miles to the south or north. This orographic lift also raises the odds for sunny, snow-free hikes during the winter months – a possibility we were alerted to by the excellent Hike Mt. Shasta website.  So, when the forecast for the Shasta Valley was for clear and sunny (but colder than squat), and our local forecast offered only more rain and gloom, we went south to explore Pluto’s Cave (Pluto Cave on the USGS map) and hike up near-by Haystack.

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