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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Brewer Creek (Mount Shasta Wilderness) 21-Jul-2020

For our second foray in the Mount Shasta area, we once again relied on Hike Mt. Shasta to point us toward something interesting – in this case, the Brewer Creek Trail on Shasta’s east side. The promise (fulfilled!) of staggering glacier views was just too much to pass up. Getting to the Brewer Creek Trailhead entailed driving all the way around the mountain on a combination of paved, good gravel, and almost 4×4 dirt roads. The last three miles on long rutted switchbacks were particularly interesting. We arrived at the trailhead to find a pit toilet (with TP!), a kiosk, and various permit boxes. The free wilderness permit was self-issue and since we weren’t going above 10,000 feet (3,050 m), we didn’t need a $25 summit permit. The fact that this is a popular climber’s trailhead did lead us into doing a little unplanned cross-country travel.

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The Seven Summits of NorCal (July 2018)

Seven Summits Northern California

In 2015, I came across a small book (The 7 Summits of the Siskiyou Trail) by Aria Zoner – an Ashland-based ultra hiker~backpacker~peakbagger – that described a 448-mile long hiking loop through seven wilderness areas in Northern California (NorCal), with scramble climbs (Class 3 or less) of the high points in each wilderness.  While 448 miles seemed a bit much, these seven hikes/scrambles looked like fun, so we added them to our never-diminishing list of hikes to do just in case the couch started to look too inviting (assuming, of course, the cat ever lets us sit on it…).

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