2017 Northeast California diary: August 1 - 5

    August 1, Tuesday

Leave Oakland ~ 10 AM: 74 degrees F.
Air very smoky in Central Valley, probably from forest fires, can barely see Sutter Buttes.
Reach Corning on I-5 about 1 PM; 99 degrees. Lunch at The Olive Pit, our usual place.
105 at Red Bluff, 111 at Redding; even though we are gaining altitude.
Reach Clearwater Lodge around 4 PM, check in, find our cottage. A very nice, friendly place.
We quietly celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Dinner at 6:30, family style; we chat with other guests who are mostly here for the fishing; catch-and-release, BTW.

    August 2, Wednesday

To Lassen Volcanic National Park.
We travel down little Cassel Road past the place we stayed at 12 years ago (fond memories), and some weird sculpture.
Hike circuit of Manzanita Lake.
Hear a guy in one kayak call to a guy in another, "Do you have your phone with you?" He does not; both are wearing only swim trunks.
Have box lunch from Clearwater at lakeside (beef wraps, very good), then drive to Hat Lake.
Not up to hiking all the way up to Paradise Meadow and the headwaters of Hat Creek, but go a little ways.
Then to Summit Lake and hike toward Echo Lake for a while; but forest is closed in, offers no views, is hot; so we bail and drive to "This is it".
Known officially as Kings Creek Meadow , we were searching for it several years ago after seeing a photo on a calendar.
It comes up suddenly, and we both said "this is it" the instant we saw it.

    August 3, Thursday

Drive to Burney Falls State Park; hike the waterfall loop trail (notice the rainbow).
In the heat, it is good to stand in the valley at the base of the falls and be bathed in cool mist.
Return to visitor center area and have today's box lunch from Clearwater. Ham & swiss on rye; again very good.
Resist temptation to have ice-cream cone despite seeing 20-30 tourists blissfully enjoying theirs.
Pass park's wi-fi zone with a bunch of people plugged in; probably all watching kitten videos.
Drive to McCloud River, park at Lower Falls; plan to walk river trail to Upper Falls.
Is punishingly hot on trail; we get as far as Middle Falls and turn around.
Drive to Upper Falls and view it from above; another time, we plan to walk to base of falls for best view. Not today.
In the parking lot, a young woman is putting on a wedding dress in the back of a truck for a photo shoot.
Return to lodge; have pint of local beer (Hexagenia Ale, named for local mayfly). And with last ounce of strength, dinner.

    August 4, Friday

Have done all the hikes on our A-list, time to mellow out a little.
Maybe view Pit River Powerhouse #2 and stroll down Hat Creek to where it meets the Pit; then go into town and pick up some bags of Fall River wild rice; might even just sit around with feet up for a while.
Another excellent breakfast at the Clearwater Lodge; they could run a restaurant here in the off season.
Well. We set off for Pit River Powerhouse #2 and cannot find it.
Return to room, do search, it does not exist; what we wanted was Hat Creek Powerhouse #2.
Except that it does not look that interesting; Google search has saved us a second trip.
After lunch we drive to county park and hike trail to confluence of Hat Creek & Pit River.
Hot again but breezy, which helps.
At destination, I was hoping to stick one foot in each river, but access down the slope is too difficult.
Take nap in shade of oak tree (whole area is an oak savanna ), then return.
Drive into Fall River Mills, find wild-rice growers co-op, buy 2 lb. wild rice. Some as gifts, some to keep.
FYI, a 50-lb. bag costs $176.

    August 5, Saturday

Cooler, cloudy; begins to rain as we pack. Glad it didn't rain while we were hiking.
Leave around 10; stop at Burney for gas, and Fall River Ale like we had at the lodge; mmmm...
Reach Redding, temperature down into the mid-nineties. Expect to see everyone in mittens and woolen overcoats.
Pause at "Historic Cottonwood"; pffft. Kind of derelict; also no public restrooms. Move on.
Think of stopping for lunch at Ide Adobe homestead park, but find good I-5 rest area instead.
Down 5 to I-505, then 80, not much to say there, home at 4 PM, begin unpacking.
Will not say how much dirt got into socks while hiking, but there are some planets with less.

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