Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Acorn Woodpeckers to Volcanoes ... Roll along on our Northern Cal to Reno Loop

While we do live definitely in Northern California, we don't live far enough north or east to see Mount Shasta until we mount up on our wheels and ride. And on June 17th we did just that. 
I don't remember what I was trying to capture at freeway speeds, but I caught this yellow truck.  It is a road trip...
Everything is green and gold as the road rolls north until suddenly from various vantage points, a white peak looms into view.
John Muir called her " ...a noble landmark...for all within a radius of 100 miles."
As you approach it's like peek-a-boo...
and I felt happy as a child waiting for the next sudden glimpse around a bend.
It is actually 4 overlapping volcanic cones  rising 14,179 feet
  Black Butte is a lava dome satellite cone of Mount Shasta and has already lost any frosting she may have had this last winter and spring.
Looking north east at the Butte's 6334 feet

We were treated to some very unexpected super gracious hospitality by dear family friends who live right close to Black Butte.  The family tour guide, already a near expert and not yet five years old, also had much to share.
Beyond Shasta, traveling north on old highway 99...the valley was quiet.

We kept stopping to look back at Mt. Shasta and Black Butte .

I took 191 photographs Tuesday and Wednesday...lots had to just be deleted.  None of my photos are great...but the subjects themselves keep me trying. At the ranch, the home of one of my brothers and
 his dear happy-to-have-her-new-horse wife, I watched birds flock to a second-story-balcony-isolated-from the-cat  bird feeding station.  I saw a lot of sharing, birds of different feathers fed together.  In an hour's time I saw 4 acorn woodpeckers, a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, several Rufus sided Towhees, a lone Nuthatch, a very large woodpecker that I think was a female Red-shafted Flicker, several Quail, Black Birds, Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, Banded Doves and at the adjacent feeder, Honeybees and Hummingbirds. Alas, the bird photos were  taken through the window glass.

Acorn Woodpeckers
Remember you can click on the photos to see them enlarged.  

The pastures of the ranch and the Marble Mountains

The pond outside the guesthouse.

Water Iris in the pond.

View past the chicken house on the left and greenhouse on the right from the guest house.

Well...we better keep moving....yes there are horses and goats, one sheep, two dogs, one cat  and beaver in the creeks and osprey diving into the ponds to snack on fish...but we had also promised to visit some extended family in Reno.  So, after pancakes on the ranch, we got on the road, turned back toward Mount Shasta and then east toward the historic timber and railroad town of McCloud.
Generations of hard workers have lived in this town.
We had checked with Uncle Google and learned that the road was open through Lassen Park; and you know, volcanoes have their draw.  The Ranger pamphlets say that Lassen Volcanic National Park is "a valuable laboratory of volcanic events and hydrothermal features."   I think that rather euphemistic language.  Only 100 years ago this peak blew a huge cloud of ash over 30,000 feet into the air; hot stuff, these volcanoes. Hat Creek travels that neighborhood too.  Hat Creek looks quiet now, but ...

Hat Creek not as high as it might be,
 but still a lovely sight

Hat Creek 

"On the  night of May 19, 1915, the few people homesteading outside of Old Station along Hat Creek near the foot of Lassen Peak, a volcano in northern California, went to bed expecting a peaceful night’s sleep. By now they had become accustomed to the sounds of small steam explosions coming from the volcano, which had been intermittently active during the past year. Around midnight, Elmer Sorahan

 was awakened by his dog barking furiously and pawing him. Dressing quickly, Elmer went outside, expecting a bear or other animal. Instead, he dimly saw a 12-foot-high wall of muddy water and logs rumbling down Hat Creek. After running more than a mile to warn his downstream neighbors, the Halls, he burst through their front door exhausted and shouting “Get out! get out! there’s a flood coming.” Mrs. Hall quickly spread the alarm downstream by telephone, and then the family scrambled uphill just before the house was swept off its foundation.
The next morning residents of the area saw that a wide swath of the northeast slope of Lassen Peak had been devastated by a huge avalanche and mudflow triggered by a powerful explosion at the volcano’s summit. Fortunately, because of the warnings, no one was killed, but several houses along the creek were destroyed. When Lassen Peak erupted again on May 22nd, the area was further devastated by a high-speed flow of hot volcanic ash and gas (called a “pyroclastic flow”), and the incorporation of snow into this flow generated new mudflows. Ash from the eruption rose high into the air and wind blew it eastward. Fine ash fell at least as far as 200 miles from the volcano. Because of the eruptive activity, which continued through 1917, and the area’s stark volcanic beauty, Lassen Peak and the area surrounding it were declared a National Park in 1916."  ( from the .S. Geologic Survey

Lassen is one of the world's largest plug dome volcanoes
Yikes, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill to set aside Yosemite Valley to the state of California to be held for public recreation..."inalienable for all time," because of its  unique beauty....but  Congress declared the entire Lassen area a national park because it is a bit of a hot spot!  Park brochures use words like "stark beauty" rather frequently and there are areas in the park with signs that read "Devasted Area."

But it is indeed a beautiful area...and perhaps some day we can visit longer...but we were on a mission and though we stopped here and there we were just passing through.

Just outside of Reno where the traffic really flies...I stuck my camera outside the window ( the passenger window of course, I wasn't driving at this point)  and aimed it westward .... we were entering the desert and  the last stop before we turned back toward home.  

And thus ends my roll along, hope you've enjoyed the trip. I did.
best wishes!


GretchenJoanna said...

That was a truly lovely travelogue...I didn't want it to end. Your pictures are great! And it made me want to do my own (more leisurely, of course!) road trip. We are always too rushed, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

Lovely! I was so excited to see this come across my feed because I hadn't seen any posts in a long time. Then I visited your blog directly and realized you've been posting, but my reader hasn't been picking them up for some reason. Just spent an hour catching up. :-)

Love all the pictures.


peacework projects said...

looks like a great trip!!! thanks for all the pics!!! and same goes for me about the feed thing. . .i haven't seen a post in quite a while and, as it turns out, there are many.

Farm Girl said...

I just loved sitting here reading your lovely post and looking at your beautiful pictures. I haven't been up there since I was a kid so I really enjoyed seeing it now. It really makes me want to go visit.
We can see Mount Shasta a couple times of a year, like right before a rain, but seeing it in your pictures is so nice. I love that history of Hat Creek.
I never knew any of that.
Thank you for taking the time to share this it was just lovely.

Pom Pom said...

Oh, I love your California! Mt. Shasta is incredible.
I hope you find your sprig of lavender. I am crazy about it this particular summer. I think it's because I have the essential oil and it does so many nice things. All of a sudden, I'm more appreciative of such a pretty and useful little herb.
We've had such crazy winds and rains, but sunshine, too. I'm glad it isn't too hot. Heat makes me real crabby.

the wayside wanderer said...

Absolutely gorgeous! What a wonderful trip and such beautiful landscape. Thank you for taking us along. I just made a new friend this weekend and she was telling me about her son hiking Mt. Shasta. She was cute and quite proud of him.

Neal said...

Always enjoy your photos and stories as they make me feel like I was there. Cheers. Neal