Mt. Shasta, California

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Many, many moons ago… about 26 years ago to be more precise, 3 generations of women got into a Mazda 626 and made the long trek up the I-5 to Washington State. My mother, my infant daughter and I were making an emergency visit to see my grandpa who had just gotten out of the hospital after a heart attack. It was January and it was a horrible drive in a car with a busted heater core. It was cold and wet, it rained so hard during parts of the trip that we had to stop because we couldn’t see the road. The horrible weather and Mt. Shasta are pretty much the only parts of that trip I really remember.

I fell in love with Mt. Shasta and Shasta Lake from the window of the car. The weather was crappy and I could just barely make out the outline of the snow covered mountain in the distance. The shores of the lake were this bright red clay. I had never seen this part of California before and I loved it, there was something mysterious about it all covered in clouds and mist. I don’t know what camera I used, maybe it was one of those throw away cameras, but I took some photos from the car as we passed through.

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Lake Shasta

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Mt. Shasta in the distance ~ January 1990

Something about Mt. Shasta just captured my imagination on that trip, but I never made it back until last summer. I made a point to spend a night in Shasta as part of my Northern California road trip and I couldn’t wait to see the mountain again! The plan was to explore the area and get some awesome photos at sunset and maybe even some star photos that night. But… things don’t always go as planned. When I arrived in town there was so much haze in the air that you couldn’t even see the mountain. California was being ravaged by wild fires this summer and my view of the mountain was a casualty. That evening’s trek closer to the mountain was sidelined by a massive headache, so I grabbed some food and opted for an early bed time. Tomorrow would be better!

Mt. Shasta from the road

Feeling a bit better the next morning, I headed for my mountain. It was still barely visible through the haze, but as I got closer it emerged from the ashes so to speak. I stopped at the side of the road for a few shots. I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up on this road up the mountain, but I was too excited to see my mountain to wait for a better vantage point.  Finally, I came to an official looking, but small parking lot. There was a small information booth, so I figured this is where I wanted to be.  There were flowers in bloom and a bench for just sitting. I sat on the bench for quite a while just taking it all in, the meadow, the flowers, the trees and that beautiful snow topped mountain!

My majestic mountain!

Already behind schedule for this trip, I didn’t get the chance to hike the trails and check out all the surprises that lie beyond the tree line. I’ll have to be satisfied with having spent some time sitting in awe of this place. I will be back again, next time when the lavender fields are in bloom.

~L


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