Like I mentioned in my first post of this series, in September of this year I visited all eight of California’s rural regions. I was surprised in the best ways by how much I enjoyed each place for its own merits. In visiting Shasta Cascade, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bridge designed by one of my favorite architects. There was also a lake that looked more like the Caribbean than California!
I am so excited to be promoting California’s 8 rural regions for VisitCalifornia‘s #CaliforniaWild campaign with my fellow bloggers Ottsworld, Stuffed Suitcase and Border Free Travels. The ATTA is coordinating this effort and has given me freedom in how I share my experiences with you so that even though this is a paid project, I can assure you all opinions and words are my own.
Visiting Shasta Cascade to explore Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen was the destination for a spectacular hike we completed over the course of our first full day in California for this project. The park has many geothermal areas which include several groups of hot springs and fumaroles. They are remnants of former volcanic activity. Most of them are in, or are adjacent to, Mount Tehama’s caldera.
Visiting Shasta Cascade to hike to Bumpass Hell
You have to hike to Bumpass Hell, there’s no way to drive. It’s worth the work to get there. It is the “destination” but the journey there and back is every bit as stunning and then some. The unusual name is in honor of Kendall Vanhook Bumpass. He was a miner who worked in the Lassen area in the 1860s. He discovered it and his name was on a mining claim for the area. In 1865 the editor of a newspaper took a trip with Bumpass to see the area. While they were there, Bumpass broke through a thin crust above a boiling mud pot. His leg was badly scalded and eventually had to be amputated.
Geothermal areas can be spectacular but they are also dangerous! Of course these days, park staff maintain the boardwalks very well. So there’s no need for concern if you stay on the marked paths!
Visiting Shasta Cascade for adventures at Whiskeytown Lake
Our group went out kayaking as part of the Free Ranger-Led Programs at Whiskeytown Lake. It was fun to learn more about the geography and the history of the area from the people who are tasked with maintaining it. We departed from Brandy Creek Beach during the day and spent more than an hour on the water. They also offer moonlight kayak tours and you can go out on a paddleboard instead of a kayak. As long as you’ve paid your entrance fee to the park itself, the tours are free and staffed by volunteers.
The lake itself is man made and I was surprised by how clear it is. If being clear is also the sign of a clean lake, then Whiskeytown is very clean indeed. Not to mention this spot along the shoreline looked so much like the Caribbean, to me, that if it weren’t for the lack of palm trees I would have thought we’d been transported to some islands.
Visiting Shasta Cascade in search of Santiago Calatrava
I was so excited when I realized that this project would take us to the town of Redding. It is home to the Sundial Bridge designed by one of my very favorite architects: Santiago Calatrava. As the name suggests, the bridge acts as a sundial along with a marker on the ground not far from where the bridge connects to land. In my home city of New York, Calatrava is most famous for having designed the Oculus. From the great City of Arts and Sciences in his home city of Valencia, Spain to Milwaukee to Malmö – he has made the world a more stunning place with everything he has built.
From an article in the LA Times: “[The sundial] is a suspension bridge, 700 feet long and 23 feet wide. The angled steel pylon at the northern end — 217 feet or about 20 stories high — supports 14 cables. Its deck, made of 2,245 panels of triple-layer glass, allows natural light to reach the water and the salmon spawning beds below. By night, the bridge is illuminated by 210 lights. […] because it is not precisely aligned with Earth’s axis, the sundial is accurate only for a few hours a year on June 21, the longest day of the year. The bridge is open from 6 a.m. to midnight daily; access is free. It’s about one mile west of Interstate 5 [in Redding].”
I loved it so much that I asked to visit twice! All of us visited together during sunset…
And then I returned with Kristen, of Border Free Travels, early in the morning and that’s when I created these photos:
Future posts in this series will cover the remaining four of California’s eight rural regions referenced in the map below. Please let me know in the comments what you enjoyed most about this region or what you’re most looking forward to learning next!
My thanks to GoPro for the gifted Hero 5 Black that I took some of the Whiskeytown Lake photos with. It’s a great camera for action and adventure!