Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta, located in northern California, is an area that can inspire awe from a distance and then seal the deal with any amount of further, up close, exploration.

Shasta from the road
Mt. Shasta from the road

The lineup for this adventure involved White Lightning (the infamous Hyundai), a couple of kayaks, and two adventurers scheming for some – Shasta view – trail moments. We were able to grab a nugget or two in a very short period of time on a drive from Washington back to Los Angeles but came away vowing to return. Two adventurers, White Lightning (the infamous Hyundai), and a couple of kayaks.

Trail 5
Pacific Crest Trail
White Lightning and Shasta
White Lightning

Our first stop involved freebie camping and some online research offered up Gumboot Lake (yes, you can fish). The name revealed little beyond the word “lake” but the scenery driving in looked very promising and the location was an easier find than some no-fee camping. For any backpackers, there is an Upper Gumboot Lake, accessible only via trail.

Upon pulling down the final stretch (a gravel road) we caught a glimpse of the lake and it was a beauty. There were a few other campers but the sites offered privacy as well as rock fire rings and pretty level ground. Take note that there is no running water, we filtered and the only toilets are of the pit variety.

Gumboot Lake 5
Gumboot Lake

We set up camp, met a few neighbors, and did a quick tour before heading out for a little hiking on a stretch of the famed Pacific Crest Trail. Side note, do not place a camera on top of the car and be sure to thank your camping neighbors profusely when they retrieve from the ground and keep it safe for few hours.

The Pacific Crest trailhead was easy to find IF you keep going as the mountain road seems to continue on a bit longer than envisioned. Trailhead is on the left side of the road and there is parking.

Trail mark
2,600 miles total, the PCT runs from Mexico to Canada

 Hiking this section of the trail provides some stunning vistas and at certain points, a 360 degree view. We did not plan for sunset but this was regrettable as the billowy clouds foretold an award winning end of the day.  For future reference this would be part of the paln and headlamps employed for the return hike.

Pacific Crest Trail magic
Never too old to dream… PCT

After our PCT hike we kicked it back at the campsite and enjoyed a campfire before nodding off to the sound of absolutely nothing.

Dog meets Gumboot Lake
Dog meets Gumboot

The next morning we were up early as a return to LA was imminent, however, we took a little detour over to the Mt. Shasta Lavender Farms and ended our trip with the mother of all freebies. That’s right, NO FEE. You simply drive up the dirt road to the farm and gift shop(they also have an online store) and prepare to swoon.

Lavender frame of Mt
Best frame ever

The lush lavender in the foreground and Mt. Shasta in the background guarantee a dizzy, just in love, emotion. While there is absolutely no charge, we will confess to succumbing at the gift shop with Ladybird grabbing a basket and harvesting two bouquets of lavender while, yours truly, purchased lavender goats milk soap and a box of spicy lavender seasoning for an on a dime daughter’s fire-eating boyfriend.

Gift Shop 2
Lavender Fields gift shop

The lavender fields were the perfect ending to the Mt. Shasta fairytale and it our hope that if you are in the area 2016 or beyond, you make time to stop.

*Soil rejuvenation is taking place at the fields and they will reopen 2016.

Feel free to share to FB and/or Tweet if you wish and as always, deepest gratitude.

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