Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Castle Crags State Park

The rest of the group moved on, but Ron and I just weren't tired of our spot in the forest yet. We'll catch up again soon.

Meanwhile, we did a day trip to Castle Crags State Park on Father's Day. We started with breakfast at the Cornerstone Bakery and Cafe in Dunsmuir (CA). I had a banana pecan waffle (yum) and Ron had what he always has - he's nothing if not consistent.

Then it was off to the park. We drove up to the vista parking lot, which happens to be where most of the hikes start. Good thing we went on a Sunday - the parking volunteer said on Saturdays it's usually full by then and he has to close it down. How sad. They need buses!

Anyway here's a shot of Castle Crags from the vista point - just a short walk from the parking lot. Although we've seen granite spires like this in other areas, it's an unusual formation here.

And looking the other way, Mt. Shasta appears in all her glory. Since my camera is not as efficient as our eyes, I had to underexpose this to show the pretty snow. I don't know how the pros do it.

Although we really didn't come very prepared (only one bottle of water between us and no hiking pack,) I convinced Ron that we should follow the parking volunteer's suggestion and hike up to Indian Springs. He looked older than we do and he insisted we could do it. He pointed out that we can refill our water bottle at the spring. The hike uses the same Crags Trail that goes up into the Crags, but cuts off after 1 1/2 miles (and 1000 foot elevation gain.)

The first quarter mile was a snap, then it was a continuous climb from there. Just look at the gorgeous trail - no rocks and covered in pine needles.

Ron decided to turn around after 1 1/4 miles of this climb through the woods and, wouldn't you know, just after that, it opened up and flattened out.

There was enough sunlight for some interesting plants to bloom. I like this hairy little thing.

And this one that looks like a tiny iris.

The cutoff for Indian Springs (an easy .2 mile) had fantastic views of the valley . . .

And the Crags which seemed close enough to touch.

I filled my water bottle at the cool oasis. (If you're really paying attention, you realize that Ron went back down without water.)

I had seen a picture someplace of Castle Dome (one of the Crags) with Mt. Shasta in the background and I was determined to find that shot. So I returned to the Crags Trail and continued up (and up, and up). I even had to do some rock scrambling, but finally, there it was!


As you can see, I was right up in the crags at this point. I'm thinking this makes up for my failure of the other day.


  1. There's something magical about being in the mountains and high peaks.

  2. Excellent shot of Craig Dome and Mt Shasta in the distance. That would definitely make a great photo for on a wall of your home.

  3. Boy I'll say!! What a great view. I know Ron was kicking himself for turning back...but each has to do what each can--
    I dont blame ya'll for hanging in the area its beautiful! That photo was well worth the scamper to get it!

  4. My kind of trail ... something spectacular to enjoy at the end. It pays to be an early bird. There have been so many times we've come off a trail to find the parking lot filled to overflowing.

    You did a good job with the Mount Shasta photo. I have a graduated neutral density filter that I use in these situations (darker on top/clear on the bottom), it helps some.

  5. What a nice hike, too bad Ron missed out, but then, you took all those great pictures for him to enjoy...with no effort on his part.

    Don't let him get into making this a habit! ;c)