Friday, June 25, 2010

Mt. Shasta Zodiac

Mt. Shasta at sunset

The Sacramento Wheelmen held a brand new Zodiac (monthly multi-day tour) in the spectacular region surrounding Mt. Shasta in Siskiyou County. With late spring storms, the surrounding mountain ranges - Marble, Scott, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Cascade were ringed with snow.

The 14,162' Goliath - Mt. Shasta had a deep mantle of snow - and it's ominous presence was mesmerizing. This massive white snow cone of a mountain was constantly coming into view and your eyes were drawn to it like a magnet as you rode around the country-side.

Daily rides over a 5-day period included challenging climbs into the surrounding mountains and pastoral ranch-land valleys. Gushing streams and rivers, cascading waterfalls and pristine lakes, flowering dogwoods and wildflowers, rustic barns and homesteads in picturesque valleys, vistas of snow-capped peaks, long climbs, steep descents and meandering rollers are reasons why this region is called Superior California.

For the most part, the conditions of the roads were excellent and low trafficked. Cycling really doesn't get any better than this.

Dale Johnson and Dennis King, co-ride leaders, did an impressive job of offering many options and a variety of scenic routes. I joked that this zodiac was like a Death Ride Boot Camp with the major rides totaling more than 252 miles and ascending 20,440'.

The following photos highlight our rides over the 5-day period of June 21-25.

For expanded view, click on pic twice

Dale Johnson, the head-honcho, ran a tight ship

Fifteen members participated in the new Zodiac

Musubi, my teardrop trailer, home for 5 nights

Most of the members camped at the Mt. Shasta KOA

Mighty "Mo" Kemp, newly retired from her state job is resurrecting her biking life-style after a 7 year hiatus

First night was cold but it warmed up nicely over the next 4 days

Mo and Dennis King at Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Eddy range on the horizon

Magical and mystical Mt. Shasta as viewed across Lake Siskiyou

Dogwoods were in bloom at around the 4,000' elevation

Black Butte and Mt. Shasta viewed from Castle Lake Road

Climbing Castle Lake Rd. to one of the best views of Mt. Shasta, elev. 5000'

Hee Haa!! . . . cresting our first big climb, a 7 mile climb to Castle Lake

Castle Lake at 5300' is half frozen

Omnipresent Mt. Shasta at every turn

Black Butte from I-5

North Pinnacle, on the Trinity Divide, is the highest point in Castle Crags Wilderness

Climbing Edgewood Rd. to Weed after looping through a beautiful valley

Jeannie Ennis proudly wears her Triple Crown jersey

Bob Barker another java-junkie

Ed Delano and Mo

Stopping for a cup-o-joe

Tom Gardner leading the group on Old Stage Rd.

Dale Johnson swoops by

Riding by Black Butte

Mt. Shasta looms over many roads

A couple rustic barns with spectacular backdrops (above and below)

Riding along the rip-roaring So. Fork of the Sacramento River on W. A. Barr Rd.

Bob and Dale grinding to the turn-around point

Taking a break on a bridge over the S. Fork

Bob, Jim Farrell, Dale and Tom

On the 3rd day, we did a 84 mile loop over Forrest Mtn. Summit into Scott Valley, Callahan, and returning over Gazelle Summit to Yreka

Jeannie summiting Forrest Mtn.

Up and over into Scott Valley (above and below)

Pastoral Scott Valley and Marble Mtns.

Meandering along Eastside Rd. in Scott Valley

Another view of Scott Valley and Marble Mtns.

Dredger tailings on Scott River near Callahan

Stopping and checking out Historic Callahan

Most of Callahan is abandoned

The only viable business - tiny market and bar

Taking five before heading toward Gazelle Summit

Riding through scenic alpine valley on Callahan-Gazelle Rd. surrounded by Trinity Mtns.

Small homestead in spectacular valley

Heading toward Gazelle Mtn Summit

Wild iris' growing along fence line

Unique red iris with blue . . . a nice pair

Bob swooping down Gazelle Summit, elev. 4921'

Sweeping switch-back 2000' descent into Shasta Valley

View of Shasta Valley from summit

View of northside of Mt. Shasta from Gazelle

Middle Falls of McCloud River

On the 4th day, we take a 60 mile RT ride to McCloud and visit several waterfalls off Hwy 89

Diane, Scott, Dale and Hal at waterfall overlook

Weather at Mt. Shasta is very changeable . . . clouds suddenly move in

Affable George Neill talks with visitor at waterfall overlook

Upper Falls of McCloud River

Many smooth potholes created by rushing water (above and below)

A natural hot-tub

A section of Hwy 89 was oiled for resurfacing. Pete Becker's tire gained a new layer of rubber.

Stopping off in downtown McCloud for lunch

McCloud, a former lumber town, is now a popular tourist town with many bed and breakfast inns, shops, and tidy neighborhood.

Neat log Catholic Church

View of Castle Crags

On the 5th day, we ride up Everett Memorial Hwy to the top of Mt. Shasta

Close-up view of Castle Crags from Mt. Shasta

A Wowzer Moment!

About 9 miles up, you come around the corner and BOOM! . . . the big mamba jumps out at you.

Awesome amount of snow!

Close-up view of Avalange Gulch, Red Bank, and Misery Ridge (middle of mt.), the most popular climbing route to the summit

Parking lot at Bunny Flat, elev. 6950', packed with climbers

Heck with it, let's walk the last 3 miles!

End of the line - snow blocks road to top at Bunny Flat

Bob and Dennis at the end of the line

Great view of The Eddys, elev. 9025' (above and below) as viewed on descent from Mt. Shasta

Black Butte, elev. 6325', on the descent from Mt. Shasta

End of Mt. Shasta Zodiac blog

Thanks Dale and Dennis, it was a great trip and looking forward to next year.