Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mt. Shasta Trip



We travelled a lot last year and made a long trip almost every month. 2008 has been rather sedate on the travel front with only a couple of day trips to the beach so far. The Memorial Day weekend, which marks the start of summer, also saw us make our first long trip. With our usual travelmates Sundar and family, we drove to Mt.Shasta.

Can't say the trip started off too well. Our first stop, timed so as to coincide with lunchtime, was Shasta Dam. The vista point on the way to the dam was supposed to give us a view of the 3 Shastas(the mountain, the lake and the dam) but with the heavy fog that enveloped the mountain, we had to be satisfied seeing just 2 Shastas. Our plans to spend some time at the picnic area at the dam itself were also dashed by the constant drizzle and so we had to be content with views of Lake Shasta and the dam itself. From there we drove to Burney Falls. Fortunately, the skies brightened up to by the time we reached the Falls. The waterfall was gorgeous and I would count it among the most beautiful I've seen. There was a short walk down to the base of the Falls and a longer hike that looped around it and we did both before heading back to the hotel.

Our original plan was to spend Day 2 in Lassen National park but since some friends said that most of the areas were stillclosed, we moved that to Day 3 and drove up Mt.Shasta. Bunny Flat, at elevation of about 7000 feet, was the highest point we could drive to. There was a lot of snow here and the kids, though ill-prepared for snow, had fun playing in the snow. From there we drove to Turtle Bay, to have a look at the Sundial bridge. The place also included an aviary, a butterfly garden, a Botanical garden and a museum and so we spent some time walking around (the kids had fun feeding the birds at the aviary but there was a small scare as Karthik, in his enthusiasm at being able to touch a cute birdie, grabbed one by the neck, almost strangling it. But his mom was able to pry his fingers off and the grateful birdie, which probably saw its life flashing before its eyes, flew away). After a last-minute decision, we raced to Shasta Caverns and managed to catch the last tour to the caverns. Cavern tours are pretty much the same - stalactites, stalagmites and rock formations - and this one wasn't much different. But it was the first one for Kavya and Karthik and they were captivated enough to make it through the entire, rather tiring tour, without complaining.

After a short stop at the Sacramento River headwater(where we collected some bottled water right from the source), we drove to Lassen Volcanic National Park on Day 3. The rain and fog prevented proper views of the lakes at lower altitudes but the gorgeous snow-covered landscape made up for that as we drove higher. Pretty much everything around us was blanketed by snow and driving through it was heavenly. Lassen is primarily known for its geothermal areas, which are remnants of the area's volcanic activity. With most of these accessible only via hikes, we stopped at one, Sulphur Works, which is right by the road. The steam rising out of vents in the ground and the boiling sulphur were some very unique sights. Drove home straight from the park.

Some photos from the trip can be seen here.

4 Comments:

At 11:52 PM, Blogger anits said...

hi balaji...nice view ah?good that you enjoyed ur trip..hv a nice day

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Balaji-

we missed seeing Burney falls due to lack of time, now, we know what we really missed out on. Catch my blog for summary of our trip.

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous A-kay said...

We did this trip + Crater Lake a few summers ago and it was really fun! Did you do the guided tour in the caverns of Lake Shastha?

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anits, thanx. and u too :)

mitr, i'm a sucker for waterfalls and so would rate burney the highlight of the trip :)

a-kay, we did Crater Lake last September. So skipped it this time. And yes, we did the guided tour in Shasta Caverns :)

 

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