Saturday, June 4, 2011

Redding, Calif.

We began our vacation with an extremely wet (but beautiful) drive through the Siskiyou mountains down into California. No pics of the drive, but we did stop at Castle Crags State Park before we hit Redding, our final destination.

Behind those clouds is a snowy Mt. Shasta. We drove past it, but couldn't quite see all of it. Sorry, no pics of that either, but it's an impressive mountain.

Here's Castle Crags, which are granite. Apparently you can hike/rock climb to the top. We opted out of that one.

The following day, we hit Whiskeytown Lake National Recreation Area, which was just west of Redding. It's an old mining town (now the name makes sense, huh?), and has some old, broken down brick buildings left. There's always tons of hiking, horse riding and water sports happening around the lake, but most hiking trails were very quiet and secluded.

Here's a shot of the lake, which was peppered with sailboats, and Shasta Bally mountain, which has a bit of snow at the tippy top.

We started with a nearly four-mile hike along the old Shasta Mine Trail. It was beautiful and difficult, with tons of sun, interesting flora and views.

Former mines are fenced in and adorned with these signs. I found them humorous.

These trees were everywhere, and I fell in love with them. Their bark was dark and smooth.

After that hike, we stopped and ate lunch (PB and honey sandwiches, trail mix and fruit snacks. Oh, and TONS of water). Then we drove to the other side of the lake along a ridiculous, unpaved road to get to some waterfalls.

Here's Crystal Creek Falls, which was a short jaunt (we needed a rest). We sat on some rocks right at the base of the falls, with the clear, turquoise water flowing around us. The sun was warm and inviting; thank goodness we wore sunscreen.

Then we made a bad decision. We decided to go to Whiskeytown Falls a little down the road, and the map's hike didn't look too long. No biggie, right? Well we got there, and the hike was nearly two miles. No biggie again. Then we started walking.

We quickly realized that it was nearly two miles almost completely uphill. And we were already tired. And hot. And probably dehydrated a little. But we kept going to see if the hike got easier. It didn't.

Then we reached a point where it would be ridiculous to come this far and not see the falls, so we soldiered on, taking tons of breaks. Then we heard rushing water, and...

We made it! Luckily the water was icy and a breezy mist coming off the falls cooled us off, which energized us for the walk back. But man, we didn't hardly move the rest of the night.

After the hike, we trolled around for food, finding this little Mexican joint that had killer salsa and gave us a large amount of leftovers for our lunch the following day (when we were driving to San Francisco).

That was Redding! It was a beautiful town surrounded by mountains, and our hotel gave us a voucher for breakfast, instead of offering a continental. WHAT A GOOD IDEA. We ate at Lumberjacks, ordering from the pre-determined menu for hotel-stayers. Breakfast and coffee were awesome both mornings, fueling us for the day.

Coming next, our visit to San Francisco!

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