California's Mt. Shasta and Shasta Lake-Beautiful Places to Visit
Recently I traveled to Sacramento, California to visit family. Sacramento is a beautiful city located on the Sacramento and American rivers. Not only is it the state capital but has so many interesting places to visit including Old Sacramento, straight out of the old west, and an amazing Zoo. But that is the subject of another hub.
While there, we decided to take a road trip up through northern California and into Oregon to visit friends. During our journey north the landscape was amazing, it changed from long stretches of tan fields with Olive groves and fruit trees to huge expansive areas of land, dotted with native trees and bushes to views of enormous mountains completely populated with tall, dark green pines. The sheer expanse of our views of the mountains was breathtaking and exciting. To see the land so unspoiled and unpopulated, as if we were still exploring and discovering the west.
Not very far from Sacramento a mountain came into view in the far distance, it was completely covered in snow and loomed high above the other mountains. As we continued north, that mountain stayed constantly in the view through our windshield, slowly becoming larger and larger. It seemed magical, to see a mountain completely covered with snow while we were driving through a 90-100 degree beautiful sunny day. We were curious but never dreamed we would get close.
The mountain we were seeing along our journey north is called Shasta Mountain, located at the southern end of the Cascade Mountains. It stand 14,789' tall and is called a Stratovolcano. It's last recorded eruption was over 200 years ago.
What makes it unique is that it stands 10,000' above the surrounding terrain and is not connected to any mountains. This is why it seemed to jut into the sky and we could see it from so far away. Mt. Shasta has caught the attention of poets and even a president who said: "
"When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since." Theodore Roosevelt
When we got close enough to really see Mt. Shasta, we found a great Vista Point from which to take pictures of the mountain. It looked as if someone took all the tree of the mountain and poured a creamy white glossy paint over it. And rising from amongst the greenery around it, it was incredibly breathtaking to view.
The last two pictures were taken around 6am, with the clouds still circling the mountain.
After Mt. Shasta, we climbed higher in elevation and started to see a huge lake stretching as far as the eye could see. To our right, far down the steep banks of I-5, the unusual and beautiful green waters of Shasta Lake could be seen. We were in awe of the sheer expanse of this lake, surrounded by a sandy shore from which tall pines were seen on the mountains around the lake.
Shasta Lake is a man-made lake, a product created from the construction of Shasta Dam across the Sacramento River. The shoreline covers 365 miles and the depth of the water is 517 feet. Simply breaktaking was all I could think, as I viewed mile after mile of Shasta Lake. It is a popular vacation destination for all water sports and also camping, fishing, and house boating; people often take their entire vacation week spending it onboard a houseboat touring the lake.
The bridge on I5 stretches over one section of Shasta Lake and while traveling over it, the passenger (it is a bridge where you definitely want to pay attention on staying in your lane) is afforded beautiful views up and down the lake. The bridge itself isn't very old and is also picturesque.
We were able to stop at one point, at a Visitor's Center which allowed great photo opportunities of the lake and also had an information board about the lake.
A place to visit
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Northern California, I would definitely recommend visits to Mt. Shasta and Shasta Lake. The views will reestablish your beliefs in the wonders of Mother Nature and the talents of modern man.