Mount Shasta, Castle Crags, Boulder Peak, Echo Lake, and Seven Lakes Basin
Bob picks up Reenie in the morning and we begin driving at 8:45 AM. At Redding we stop at a Subway, then drive about an hour to Mt. Shasta City to the ranger station to get a permit which it turns out we do not need. While there, we sit in the car and eat lunch prepared by Reenie. We watch a train go by, then continue driving, getting a glimpse of Mount Eddy, which we will climb tomorrow. We drive to the Parks Creek trailhead.
We hike from the trailhead to Middle Deadfall Lake. [This link shows the trail to there (see 1 to a bit beyond 3) and then the hike to Mt. Eddy (5) which we take the next day]. Today's hike is basically flat on a well maintained trail, much of it through forest, although not all of it. We find a nice campsite at Middle Deadfall Lake, set up our tents, eat Subway sandwiches. A chipmunk helps evaluate our ursacks.
We see a beautiful sunset at the end of the lake. At night we see the Milky Way Galaxy and so many stars.
Here's the Alltrails map (all the way to Mt. Eddy and back, which of course we do not do today).
At The Mt. Eddy Summit!
Although there are not many flowers in bloom, we do see a few while hiking. We also get views of lakes - upper, middle, lower Deadfall and Siskiyou.
So we have summit to ourselves.
At the summit we see that Mount Shasta is cloud covered, but we have a great view of Castle Crags and we can also see Lake Siskiyou. There is a hole in the ground at the summit which has a concrete floor and concrete walls. There is just enough room for both of us to sit inside, thus getting protection from the cold wind blowing. We eat lunch there.
Hiking back down we have the trail entirely to ourselves. We again pass Upper Deadfall Lake.
Then comes a very strange occurence. Suddenly a very loud bang goes off, sounding as if it is right in our campsite. We both are awakened, get out of our tents, and there is nothing there indicating anything about the bang.
Bob goes down to the lake for water. We eat dinner which Reenie had dehydrated at home and now cooks - cous cous - along with salmon. We eat on a rock overlooking the lake. Absolutely wonderful ambiance. After dinner a deer wanders into our campsite, ignores us, eats a bit of a bush, goes over to a tree where Bob pees. The deer takes a while sniffing the ground there, then leaves.
The night sky is clear and we get a great view of stars and the galaxy.
We cross rock fields, then walk through a beautiful forest along a relatively flat, nice dirt trail about 3 - 4 miles each way. We meet no one and enjoy a picnic sitting on a log in the forest above Toad Lake. We see lots of granite and other types of rock.
It takes us three hours to hike out, only two hours to hike back, again meeting no one. So, including lunch, we hike from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Upon our return we find we still have the lake to ourselves. Well, ok, we have to share it with a butterfly.
Reenie prepares a meal of Tagine chicken with vegetables (including mushrooms, potatoes, green beans, red bell pepper, Moroccan seasoning).
We backpack out of camp and see a deer near the trail in front of us. The deer sees us and moves away from the trail. Then a man with camouflage on his face comes out of nearby bushes. He is carrying a bow with arrows and was clearly hunting the deer. We find out later that this is bow hunting season.
As we backpack to the car we meet 12 people coming in, including 4 trail workers and a group of 4 elderly people (looking as old as us!).
We get back to the car, load it with our equipment, and begin driving out on a long forest road which is rocky, not paved. At the end of the road, we cross a highway and enter the parking lot at the Gumboot Trailhead. The car indicates we have a low pressure tire problem. Sure enough, we find the rear tire on the driver's side is now flat.
We put on the emergency spare tire.
We then begin backpacking, now around 2:50 PM. Although we had planned on going to the Seven Lakes Basin, we decide instead when we see a sign on a tree pointing to a small side trail stating 200 feet to Lake Helen, to take that. It is a very steep, but only 200 foot, backpack up to Lake Helen.
Lake Helen has spectacular views. There is one couple at the lake when we arrive, but we find another wonderful, private campsite a distance away, set up our tents.
For dinner Reenie prepares spinach rice, mushrooms, masala. And for dessert we eat a chocolate bar.
Here's the map from Gumboot Trailhead to Helen Lake.
We get up, eat and begin hiking cross country in the direction of Boulder Peak. [On the map link above, click the down arrow to hide the elevation diagram to see Boulder Peak on the map]. We see wildlife and then a lake, Echo Lake, far below us at the base of the peak, but that is private land.
We are hiking just below the ridge line and the "hiking" is extremely steep, a difficult climb along the way. At the ridge top there are great views and we get cell reception, so we can contact our families.
As we are approaching the base of Boulder Peak there is a forest to go through first and we decide not to try to go up the mountain. So we eat lunch in the forest, then head back cross-country on the other side of the ridge we had just come from. As we near the end of the hike we have to drop down into a ravine which is forested and very, very steep. So steep, we get on our butts and slide down much of the way.
When we get back to camp we both do some washing. We now have the lake entirely to ourselves.
For dinner Reenie prepares spaghetti with mushrooms and parmesan cheese. The night is once again clear with stars and the milky way galaxy visible.
We awake to the sound of chipmunks. After eating and packing up, we backpack around lake, then down the steep 200 foot path to the main trail, then backpack up to the junction with the PCT. The PCT provides us with the long, up/down but mostly flat path back to the car. And we get to see more wildlife! While at the car we talk with a couple of bicyclists who had just come up the road.
We decide to go to city of Mount Shasta to get the emergency tire replaced before we continue our adventure.
The road to Mount Shasta City is down a gorgeous gorge and it is a very long, very steep downhill. We are impressed the bicyclists had come up it.
We set up our camp at Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort, then walk down to Lake Siskiyou, passing nice looking cabins with shops nearby. There are people with boats and paddle boards on the lake. Mount Shasta is in the background.
Next we drive into Shasta for dinner at the Black Bear Diner where Reenie and our good friend Adele once ate back in 2018.
We say a toast to Adele. Then Bob has fried shrimp and Reenie has three cod filets, all of which we share. We bring one of the filets back with us.
We have a good night's sleep in the quiet campground. We each take showers which are just across the street from us. For breakfast we have the left over cod filet, along with jelly we took from the cafe.
We pack up our camp, leave the "resort", and drive into town, leave the car at Point S Tire and Auto shop to fix it, and walk into downtown Mt. Shasta, about two blocks away. We stop at an Ace Hardware store, a grocery market, and Papa Murphy's, buying batteries, eyedrops, and a large fresh salad. We return to Point S and they have just completed repairing the tire.
We drive to Lake Siskiyou, find a picnic table next to the lake with just barely enough shade to use, and eat our lunch - the salad.
We drive the 14 miles back up to the trailhead for Cliff Lake.
Because it is so hot we wait for an hour to begin backpacking (Bob naps in the car), then we backpack up the easy, mostly level though very rocky, rough road to Cliff Lake. Here's the map from the Cliff Lake Trailhead to Cliff Lake and Terrace Lake
We set up our tents and Reenie prepares the packaged Mountain House Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken dinner to which she adds spinach.
We wake up around 7:30 AM and have breakfast (granola, nuts, fruit). We begin our day hike - immediately crossing Cliff Lake outlet stream on a log and a rock, then head up to Terrace Lake along a very steep, rocky path - about a mile roundtrip.
Once we arrive at the lake, Reenie gets into it and swims. Bob believes the lake is freezing cold and does not get in. However, Reenie had become very hot as we hiked up in the sun, so this was great. Reenie swims while Bob takes pics and videos.
We hike back down, Reenie in wet shorts. We are very slow and careful coming down the steep, rocky path. Back at Cliff Lake we have lunch (cheese and crackers), then we each get in our tents and take naps.
After our naps we try to walk around Cliff Lake, but there is no real path and we don't get far. However, there are large logs leading out to a platform in Cliff Lake. There is even a dragonfly. Bob watches Reenie walk easily out on the long, large log and then decides that he can do it also. Bob successfully walks out to the platform over the long log.
We briefly see 3 women at the other side of the lake, but they soon leave and we once again have the lake to ourselves.
It is a beautiful, sunny day with few clouds. An odd looking plane flies over. Then we hear another very loud jet fly over.
We return to camp, we eat dinner Reenie prepares (Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with rice and vegatables, to which Reenie adds mushrooms and squash). A chipmunk checks out our food bags, so Bob puts peanuts on a nearby tree stump. and after cleaning up we get in our tents, work on Sudoku, and go to sleep.
We drive past the city of Mount Shasta, get on Highway 5, and drive safely home with a stop of course at a Subway sandwich shop.