We had visited Mt. Shasta back in the Summer of 2012; but this trip was different because,
- We had never visited Shasta in winter.
- None of our GSDs had been to Shasta.
- This was the most hastily planned trip we had ever gone out on; even we were pleasantly surprised at the end of the trip and realized that at times a lack of planning can actually bring in some of the greatest joys and cherished experiences of your life.
Here’s a quick look at the trip and some tips that may come handy for future visitors:
Where To Stay:
Dunsmuir, a quaint little village cradled in the heart of Sacramento River (10 minutes drive from Mt. Shasta) can be an awesome place to stay. Far more idyllic than the Shasta City and nestled right in the core of Alpine wilderness, Dunsmuir fosters a stronger feeling of detachment from busy city life and facilitates a closer bonding with Nature. The shores of the Sacramento river are studded with awesome vacation rentals. It feels great to take a walk along the gurgling river meandering through the woods, enjoying its fascinating beauty while sipping hot chocolate on your front porch and feasting your eyes with the enthralling views of sunrise and sunset.
Where to eat:
No matter how pristine and tranquil Dunsmuir looks, dining options are not that great. Shasta City Downtown, on the other hand, can take your taste buds on a culinary tour across a wide variety of cuisines including Traditional American, Italian, Chinese Fusion and Mexican. We loved the big meals at the cozy Mexican place of Casa Ramos (their Chicken Carnitas is such a tongue titillating delight…m’…m’…m’) and Owen’s Bakery & Cafe for breakfast (with some of the freshest croissants in the world).
Things to do in winter:
Skiing may be the best option for you if you’re a big fan. But since none of us is a big time skier and we also have two fur babies in the tow, we had to look for some other options.
Some particularly conducive areas would be Sand Flat and Bunny Flat, both offering exquisite views of miles of dense impeccable milky white snows, frosty Alpine forests, open vistas to play with pets and looking mesmerizingly beautiful under clear sunny open skies as well as during intermittent snow showers.
2. Hiking down to Lake Siskiyou:
Lake Shasta, unfortunately, hasn’t been able to take the brunt of drought too well; it looks all dried and perched with the water levels falling miserably low, as you can see at the Shasta Dam. Fortunately, the neighboring Lake Siskiyou still looks pretty vibrant and full of life. An easy hike will take you down to the lake shores. A brand new footbridge built over the lake makes the hike even easier and the Lake offers countless vista points to witness the panoramic view of Nature’s bounty.
3. Visiting Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery:
A great place to stop by if you’re interested to see how fish are bred and haven’t been to a hatchery before. Varieties of trout are being hatched and raised here in optimum living conditions (ice cold water with a constant flow and current in it). Feel free to buy some fish food and feed the fish as you study the unique hatchery designs and operations.
4. Driving Off Road:
There’re many stunning off road drives that’ll take you right into the heart of the snowy woods; but opt for this adventure only if your vehicle has a four wheel drive and even better, if you’re carrying a snow shovel with you as unexpected delays and skids are common during such escapades.
Some Quick Pointers:
- Always carry a snow shovel and a powerful flash light as overcast skies, premature sunsets, and heavy snow showers during the winter are common.
- Drive safe during and post snow showers and that too only in vehicles with four wheel drive and/or snow chains.
- Sprained ankles and other injuries are common during snow adventures; hence, take a note of your nearest Rite Aid Pharmacy (there’re multiples) and also local pharmacies (Owen’s Pharmacy is pretty well stocked for these purposes).