We headed off today for our first Fun Stuff© day in the PRC (Peoples Republic of California). The day’s destination was Dunsmuir CA to start off with a visit to Hedge Creek Falls…this entailed a hike of about 3/4 of a mile and 200 or so feet down and then back up on the return trip to the parking lot. Then we would continue up the road to Mount Shasta City…stop at the visitor center to get some information…and visit Mount Shasta itself.
Before that though…I just need to give progressives a beatdown. As ya know…our President tweeted yesterday that transgenders aren’t allowed any more in the military…and naturally, despite the fact that the Pentagon has stated that no directives have been given to them and they don’t change policy based on a tweet…the progressives are all up in arms and the twitterverse is ablaze with hatred of all things Trump. Now never mind that there’s no such thing as transgender except in the minds of ignorant, politically correct millennial morons…you can’t turn a woman into a man…or a man into a woman for that matter…anymore than you can change a human into a cephalopod. That just don’t make a lick o’ sense. You can’t change genetics…I like silk stockings and garter belts as much as the next boar does…but if I put one on it doesn’t make me a sow…just a cross-dresser. And never mind that we should allow all citizens to serve in the military…I’m all for that but the same ignorant, politically correct millennial morons want to make all branches and all job specialties open to men, women, and whatever’s…including combat. Now I’ve not seen combat…but Neil was in the Navy and there are a whole lot of things on a submarine that simply take brute strength…loading stores, moving weapons, pulling in heavy, wet mooring lines to name a few…and ground combat has even more. Those folks routinely carry 60 pounds of equipment while hiking 20 miles a day and in the event of a firefight might have to pick up a 220 pound wounded soldier and carry them to a corpsman. The fact is that most women simply can’t do that job…or walk 20 miles a day with 60 pounds of equipment. Some surely can…but most can’t. Heck…even a decent percentage of men can’t do that but at least the possibility of working out to gain muscle mass and thus be able to do their job.
The aforementioned morons though…aren’t interested in this…they’re more interested in the military being an agent of social change rather than what militaries have been formed for millennia to do…kill people and break things in the execution of national policy. What really needs to happen is there should be a minimum physical requirement to enter the military and it needs to be the same for both men and women. Then each job specialty needs to be rated as to what physical requirements you need in order to be a combat infantry soldier, a tank mechanic, or a radio operator…and again the requirement is the same no matter whether the soldier is male or female. Women that can carry 150 pound toolboxes and pick up 200 pound tank cleats can be tank mechanics…if they can’t then they should be excluded from that job. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve been following several forum threads regarding the success or not of women in various branches of the military with differing physical requirements…and it’s simply amazing how many of these ignorant, politically correct millennial morons with zero military experience are telling us how easy it would be for women to be in front line ground combat units. Pffft.
Ok, rant over…sorry about that but ignorant, politically correct millennial morons need to learn what the actual purpose of a military force is.
Dunsmuir is about 50 miles north along I-5…it’s essentially a long curvy climb up from the 500 foot elevation in Redding where we’re parked to 4,000 or so in Mount Shasta City just north of Dunsmuir. We arrived at the parking lot about 0915 and quickly set off…the outbound leg was easy as it’s all downhill and into a gradually cooling gorge due to the evaporation of some of the water as it flows over the falls. Hedge Creek Falls is about 40 feet or so tall at the main drop then a bit downstream there are several other 3-5 foot drops as the gorge deepens…we couldn’t get to any of these but did have some nice shots of the main drop…including some from in back of the falls. They have cut away a large cavern behind the falls so Neil climbed around the edge of the falls and took shots from both outside and inside.
One from inside the cavern you can see behind the falls in the first shot.
And one from the other side outside of the falls.
We hiked back up the hill and headed off to our second destination of the day…Mount Shasta.
Mount Shasta is a 14,161 foot tall compound strato-volcano…don’t worry…I’ll ‘splain what that means in a minute. It’s only been known as Mount Shasta since 1850 when the California legislature settled on that name…before hand it was known as Sasty, Saste, Sastise, Shasty, Shasté, Shaste, Shasti, Tshasti, Chasta, Chaste, Chasti, and Chaste. The current Shasta name most probably comes from the early Spanish maps of the California area…Spanish place names typically ended in a. Before the Spanish maps…the name probably goes back to the the Sastise Indian tribe that inhabited it’s southern flanks.
As you’ll see in then picture below…Shasta appears to have two volcanic cone peaks…the taller main peak and the shorter Shastina peak at 12,330 feet. However…thats incorrect. Shasta is what is known as a strato-volcano which means it was built up in layers and further as a compound strato-volcano since it is actually made up of 4 volcanic cones with a fifth cone known as Red Fir Cone being a remnant of a previous compound strato-volcano that collapsed before the start of the current mountain. The entire visible mountain is less than 200,000 years old and the lower visible Shastina peak is only about 9,700 years old. From the air you can see all 4 of the volcanic cone craters that form the current mountain as well as the remnants of the Red Fir Cone crater.
Shasta last erupted about 200 years ago in approximately 1780…and although dormant at the moment is not extinct and will eventually erupt again…as it has 10 or 11 times over the last 3,400 years. Eruptions of volcanoes in the High Sierra mountains typically go on for years…for instance Mount Lassen about 50 miles SE from Shasta erupted from 1914 to 1921 with 170 explosive eruptions in the first year of that period. We’re just glad it didn’t erupt while we were up there.
There are no trails to the summit…you can climb it but it’s all cross country climbing…with the closest parking area located at Bunny Flat at about 5 miles away and 7,000 feet below the summit…so it would be a considerable hike…about half of the 8,000 climbers that attempt it annually reach the summit. The good news is that…assuming you reach the summit, and that it’s winter, and that you brought your skis along…you can ski the 8.500 feet vertical drop down from the top that’s available most years.
We were only able to get up as far as Bunny Flat on the road…the road beyond there up to Panther Meadow is still closed due to snow…but it only goes another mile or two past Bunny Flat.
Taken from the road about 3/4 of the way up to Bunny Flat…the lower Shastina Peak is on the left side and the higher Shasta Peak is hidden in the right side of those clouds…like most mountains Shasta tends to make it’s own weather. It’s well known as generating what is known as lenticular clouds. Lenticular clouds look like stationary disks around the top of a peak but they’re actually forming continuously on one side, being blown to the other side and then evaporating…the stationary look is just an optical illusion. There weren’t any today…so Neil grabbed the second photo from Pinterest on the internet so ya can see what they would have looked like if they had been there
Pano taken from the Bunny Flats parking lot…again the lower Shastina is on the left and the higher Shasta a to the right
This is looking Southeast from the Bunny Flat area…this part of the PRC is really a lot more mountainous than we thought it was.
Thursday morning we set off on another half day trip to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park about 45 miles east of the Mountain Gate RV. It’s named for the falls it contains…Burney Falls which is…naturally…on Burney Creek and drops 129 feet to a 20 foot deep 48 degree Fahrenheit pool…that’s practically beer drinking temperature so ya definitely don’t wanna be swimmin’ in it.
The water in Burney Creek comes from snow melt up on Burney Mountain about 15 miles away…but it takes a strange path to get there. Rather than running down a creek bed the melt disappears into an underground aquifer that surfaces in the headwater pool for the creek about 3/4 of a mile upstream from the falls…well, actually only part of the aquifer is forced to the surface there and the rest continues underground along the top of a non-porous rock layer. So…what you get is both surface flow over the two main falls and seepage from the still underground portion of the aquifer. The area behind the falls is the primary nesting location for the Black Swift…we saw a couple of these but (a) we didn’t have the bird lens along and (b) they were flying way too damned fast to actually get a picture of one…so here’s a shot Neil found on the internet for ya…credit to the Slater Museum in the UK.
Anyways…some shots of the falls.
This one is taken from the viewpoint just at the parking lot. We then headed off on the 1.3 mile 200 foot drop and regain Falls Loop Trail Hike. For reference…after this shot we walked to the right a little then down a series of switchbacks to the viewpoint just across from the two main drops…then continued another 300 yards or so downstream to the right before crossing the creek then heading back up another series of switchbacks on the far side of the gorge that got us to the top of the falls just out of view to the right in this shot. We then continued away from the water a bit to another bridge that crosses the creek upstream of the falls about 100 yards to the left of this shot before returning to the parking lot.
HDR shot of the falls from a secondary viewpoint 2/3 of the way down the switchbacks. You can see the two main drops just to right of center (the tallest ones)…everything else is just the aquifer shooting out of the rock face between the porous aquifer layer and the non-porous layer just below it…as you can see the non-porous layer is about 30-40 feet below ground. This is actually a pretty cool waterfall…definitely one of the better ones we’ve seen lately.
Closeup view of the aquifer coming out…the rightmost main fall is on the left side of the shot. You can’t really see any openings where the aquifer comes out…it’s just a bunch of fractured rock that’s passable by the water in the aquifer.
Taken from the closest viewpoint at the bottom of the falls…it was at least 25 degrees F cooler than it was at the top and the humidity was approaching 100%. Looking up into the sun to the left you could see the mist floating away.
We really think these little ripples over rocks to show the flow are cool…Neil used a tripod and a shutter speed of 3 or 4 seconds to get both the flowing water and the flowers across the way.
Closeup of one of the two main falls.
Looking back from the base of the bridge downstream towards the falls…you can see how steep the gorge is…it’s lined with volcanic rocks like the ones in your bbq grill only bigger.
Connie and Neil took a photo for a couple of kids back at the main pool and for a couple of folks our age at the bridge downstream…they returned the favor. The main pool is just out of sight around the bend on the far right.
Once we crossed the creek and made our way up the switchbacks on the way back…a nice shot from the side of the falls through the trees.
I put this one in just to show ya’ll the trouble we go through to get these photos for ya…way on the lower left there’s a person in blue who is standing at the lowest/closest viewpoint. Upwards just to right and below center the person in red is standing at the middle viewpoint. Look straight up and a little to the left from the red shirt about 2/3 of the way to the top of the frame you can just make out the entry pay station roof…total of 200 feet from the lowest viewpoint up to the parking lot. I just wanted ya’ll to fully appreciate the efforts we go through on your behalf.
We got more Fun Stuff© coming up of course…but Ima gonna go ahead and post this before it gets too many photos in it.
Interesting Stuff found on the net this week…
This kid is definitely going places.
Musta been a slow news day in Wales.
The Bus Knight…I put in the red lines over the 4-letter words to keep it PG.
Police in the small town of Lynnfield MA are happy to help.
And finally…wrinkles well earned.