South Gate Meadows (Mount Shasta Wilderness) 22-Jul-2020

We were originally alerted to South Gate Meadows by the Ashland Hiking Group and got the details from Hike Mt. Shasta. Older maps will show the springs in the meadow feeding Squaw Valley Creek, but that pejorative name has now been struck from Forest Service maps. We’d had a wonderful clear day on the east side of Shasta the day before and expected to have a similar one here on the west side today. We arose, however, from the embrace of Morpheus to find the sun an incandescent orange orb in a sky infused with orange-brown smoke from wildfires burning to the south and east. We drove up to the Panther Meadow Trailhead (at 7,400 feet / 2,255 m) hoping to get above the smoke. No luck. The whole place smelled like an old campfire. But there was a certain strange beauty in what the smoke was doing to the color of the light and to our views of the mountain, so we pressed on. I suppose that’s an upside to getting old – you just get on with it because you’re not quite sure you’ll get another chance. o_O

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