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On our last full day in the Shasta area we decided to jaunt down to Castle Crags to see if the view in the park was any better than the brief view from the road. We’ve made a few trips up to Castle Lake that sits behind the Crags, but have never made the time to visit the Crags. The view is a little better than that brief look driving up the hill, but it’s somehow not quite as impressive. Maybe it was just the time of day.

Once you’re in the park, there is a tiny one lane road (at least it was paved) that leads up to a parking lot with a few trailheads. The viewpoint for the Crags is about a quarter mile hike. The Crags are solid granite that has been thrust up from the geologic activity, then worn by ice and wind to give them their shape.

Castle Crags

From the north side of the viewing area there is a great view of Mt Shasta (about 20 miles away).

Mt Shasta from the Crags Vista

After we got back to the parking area hubby decided to relieve himself and I played around a little bit with my camera. The light and shadow playing in the trees was interesting and I wanted to see if I could capture any of it.

Shadow and Light

At the other end of the parking area was another trail leading off to Root Creek, the Crags, and a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. We hit the trail an hour or so before sunset and I was lucky enough to catch a shot of the sun shining through some of the trees ahead of us.

Root Creek Trail

About 2/3 of a mile or so we crossed a small creek (not sure if it was Root Creek or not) and noticed some gorgeous red Columbine flowers growing near the water.

Crimson Columbine

Since it was getting late and the light was fading, faster on the trail because it is heavily wooded, we decided to just head back to the truck. I didn’t even want to try and take that narrow road back down in the dark! It wasn’t obvious on our way out, but coming back there is a clear area between heavily forested sections of the trail. We couldn’t not take a shot of the forest entrance.

Heading back into the woods

Just before we got back to the parking area I noticed this small plant with its tiny purple flower. I haven’t been able to find it in our books yet so I’m not sure what it is.

Our Crag excursion was relatively short compared to the Trinity Alps drive and Medicine Lake area exploration (about 6 hours each) but in some ways it was nicer. It’s been a while since we’ve done any hiking in the woods and even though we were fighting off the mosquitoes in places near water it was a gorgeous walk.

All in all it was a nice trip … just not long enough. Are vacations ever long enough? Maybe. But this past year has been so stressful I think it will probably take several vacations to recuperate fully. Even Cindy seemed to be reluctant to leave this year. When we were loading the truck we left her on the deck so she could watch. But when we were done and ready to leave, she’d moved herself back inside the house and really looked like she wanted to stay. I’m already planning a trip to Sedona in a few months and I think we will probably hit Big Bear this winter. Maybe by next summer we’ll be better rested and I’m definitely adding a few days to the vacation next year.

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