Last Blast Summer Trip // Mt.Shasta City

In an effort to escape the oven known as the Northern California Valley and take one last trip before the start of school, we spent a couple nights at 3,600 ft this past week; elevation gain:  +/- 3,000 ft. So unbelievably worth it. I know, it’s a dry heat here, but no matter how you slice it 100 to 110 degree temps are HOT! And mommy gets very cranky in the heat. Especially when peppered with rapid fire questions in a hot car by her boys.

sicky boy

Morning of trip – Where is JOHN??? Oh wait, there he is laying on the bathroom floor because he’s throwing up. NOOOoooooo!! Our vacation. Isn’t this the way with kids. We instead delayed our departure, waited until John asked for crackers and a sandwich and headed on our way. Thankfully the sickness never resurfaced the duration of the trip.

To kick off the trip, we stopped in McCloud. Known for its triple falls hike, river, now defunct dinner train and post trip I discovered a historic candy shop selling candy by the pound out of vintage barrels. So glad I didn’t know about that ahead of time. Vacation is the time I let my calories mount and have a huge weakness for gummy candies.

mccloud hike

A hiking we will go…

There isn’t much in the way of directions online about the falls, at least from my quick searches, but we did find the park where the lower falls is located. Although, we never saw the falls themselves. Hubby isn’t really a fall seeker and just as happy to hike the river and find a nice private pool to splash around, so that’s what we did. I’ve since found this link for those looking to actually hike the falls. (link here)

mc pg

A giant book monument of McCloud’s history next to the playground in the shadow of Mt.Shasta. (left) A little fun at the river (right)

The city of McCloud is a picturesque place reminiscent of an old logging / mill town. The houses neatly in rows with super steep roofs for all the snow. We happened upon this pristine City park and playground…nary a soul in sight. So strange. The town itself seemed nearly deserted, but the beauty. Oh the beauty. McCloud is right near Mt.Shasta City, yet somehow upon exiting the park, we accidentally ended up on the freeway going South. Oy vey.

Back in Dusmuir, in search of ice cream cones to pacify our mini beasts from this minor detour, we stumbled on a restaurant, YAKS, displaying a banner announcing it as one of the top 100 restaurants in the county. In the whole USA? This little dive was in the top 100?! I couldn’t believe it. You can guess what happened next. We weren’t even hungry yet powered down giant burgers, bourbon sticky buns, fries and chips like it was our last meal for the week. The staff was super friendly, the atmosphere quaint, the presentation spot on, and the food tasty, but a little on the pricey side. I can’t say we’d make a special trip to the place, but if you’re in the area, I’d recommend it.

yaks dad

Hubby’s burger. The sticky buns disappeared too quickly to capture.

yak brendon

The presentation on the kids burgers. Brendon kept saying how it was too big for him to eat. Somehow he managed.

We arrived at Mt. Shasta Resort to find Expedia had oversold our room. Turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened; we were upgraded to a chalet on the lake. That’s right baby!! A one room cabin on the lake. Ahhh. I don’t know we will ever be able to stay in their “hotel-like” rooms in the future after being so spoiled.

back porch

View from the back porch.

skipping rocks

A childhood classic – learning how to skip rocks. Yes, John fell in before all was said and done.

As per our new vacation norm, we only had one thing on our “must do” list. Check out Lake Siskiyou’s Splash Zone!! My sis had told me about this via Facebook and it looked like a blast – combining bounce house with water. Weeelll, once we got there, the water was refreshing, but the Splash Zone (click for link) too advanced for the ages of our tikes. Pretty reasonable too. $8/1 hr or $15/4 hrs. Ah well, next year maybe.

beach boys

John’s rock/sand circle. John trying to keep the sun out of his face while sunbathing (middle top). Brendon enjoying the sand…beyond…

The lake and beach area were perfect. My boys are so versed in beaches. John spent time making sand and rock creations and Brendon. Well, he’s a different sort. He made numerous sand angels and spent a lot of his non swimming time rolling around in the sand by himself. It was a great day for all.

trail run

View on our morning trail run from another arm of the lake.

The lake is surrounded by an extensive trail system. If it was just hubby and myself, we’d likely spend hours at a time running or bike riding around the lake. This definitely seems like a place we’d visit again with and without the boys. We took several different outings during our stay on the trails. John had his first ever blackberry picking experience; very exciting!


Blackberry picking. Boy they were sour.

dandilionWe did make a day trip into Mt. Shasta City, but other than some $2 cleats at the thrift shop, there wasn’t much to be had there and can’t say any of the shops were “must stops”. Although there was a nice quilt and sewing shop, if you’re in the market while vacationing. Hubby indulges my hobbies from time to time.

It was hard to come home to the 106 degree day we faced (I think it maybe hit low 90s in Mt. Shasta), Hubby declaring we need to leave Redding for the Summer next year. I concur.

father and son

One of my favorites from the trip. A father and son moment; I hope they always know how much he loves them.

Sacramento River Headwaters

It was such a pleasant week last week. The temps in the low 90s and the mornings felt “brisk” for Nor Cal Summer. Then, the weekend hit. Triple digits again. Oh dear me. We had to escape and escape we did. About an hour up “the 5”, as they say here, is a picturesque town. Very Mayberry: Mt. Shasta. There’s a historic main street area, an upclose view at the mighty mountain of the same name and a lovely park that’s home to the headwaters of the Sacramento River. Who knew?!

Now if you read about the headwaters spring online, you’d imagine a little spritz of water and people around with little bottles at the ready to taste a sip of extremely cold refreshment. Well, it’s not really like that at all.

The spring

Vance filling his bottle from the headwaters spring. You can see one of the 5 Gallon jugs off to the right.

There’s a spring rapidly flowing into a creek at the base of some rocks, with an adjacent sizeable sign posted about not wading or swimming in the water, which I would’ve normally thought odd they’d need to post, but given what I saw there, I’m not surprised.

The water is refreshing and something to see and there are numerous people arriving in a constant stream (pun intended) with 5 gallon bottles to bottle up as much water as they can. I’m not talking one 5 gallon per person, I’m talking a dozen to 20 of them each. It was a little off putting. Gives the whole experience a bit of “woman at the well” type third world feel.

good stuff

A sip of the good stuff. No matter what else is at the playground, the boys are drawn to swings.

Despite this, it’s still worth a visit. The adjacent park and dual playgrounds are very well maintained and there are easily accessible trails along the creek. While there were some alternative sorts there, such as the guy doing yoga in the tennis court, there wasn’t the overwhelming homeless population currently plaguing Redding.

We’re definitely going back for another visit and most likely to stay the night. Not at the KOA campground. The mister has firmly declined any camping this season. So likely, a low budget hotel instead.


Over the river and through the woods…the easy walking trail just behind the playground

spider dome

Taken on the final day of the “love your spouse” FB photo challenge. (Right) Brendon just had to have his photo with this weird clown; there were two that served as trailhead markers.

On the way back, we drove through Dunsmuir. A name so familiar by school athletics to both Hubby and myself. It’s essentially Mt.Shasta’s gritty younger sibling. We can whole heartedly say Burger Barn there makes a tasty burger and fries and boasts a wall of tribute to the many locals currently serving in active duty military. I highly recommend the place.

After being home only for a couple hours, John deemed it too HOT to do anything and we headed to the lake for a nighttime swim. Half of Redding and even some of Anderson were there, but we had a quick hour dip and were able to survive the heat until bedtime. Mama Sherry, we may be stopping by for a swim before you know it.

conquering fears

And lastly, Brendon conquered his fear: after three attempts he was able to crawl down the other side of this bug. John felt it better to be part of the cheering team.