A winter wonderland on Mt Shasta.
This past weekend, we took a drive to Mt Shasta to go snowshoeing and cross country skiing. We heard there was a huge storm coming from the Pacific Ocean and was going to hit California with force. In the central and south part of the coast, there was a lot of rain. It rained for three days already, and its still raining here in Oakland as I write. All that rain on the coast meant that there would be a ton of snow up in the northern volcanic mountains (like Mt Shasta) and the Sierra Nevadas. And since we had a three day weekend, we decided to pack up the car and go north to visit Mt Shasta.
When we started driving Saturday morning, the rain/snow storm already hit us on the coast. As we drove north on I-5, the valley slowly began to rise into mountains, and the rain turned to snow. The highway was not plowed yet, so we drove slow until we got to Mt Shasta City, about 180 miles north of Sacramento. The snow was already deep once we got there. We found a small motel which we stayed at our first night. Once we unpacked our stuff, we drove around town. The streets were pretty packed with snow, so we put the chains on the Daewoo for the very first time! The chains made it MUCH easier to drive through all of the snow.
Romy puts chains on the Daewoo.
The next morning, we expected the snow to be pretty deep, but when we drew back the curtains in our room to look outside, we were shocked! Over a foot and a half fell while we slept, and it was still snowing! We were seriously wondering how we were going to drive out of the motel and onto Mt Shasta. We started shoveling around the Daewoo, and then the motel owners called a big Cat plow to remove all of the snow in the parking lot. This took about 1/2 hour, so we packed and ate breakfast.
Romy trying to clear off snow from the Daewoo at our motel.
The car next to us was buried in snow.
When it was all clear to exit the motel, we drove up the forest service road from town which goes all the way to the summit of Mt Shasta. Its about 14 miles long, but in winter it is closed at about 7,000ft. We only drove up to about 4,300ft which was the elevation of the end of town. The forest service road was completely covered with freshly fallen powder, deeper than the Daewoo could clear, so we parked at a school, and started snowshoeing from there.
The forest service road which we snowshoed along.
All of the trees were covered with powder and they looked like they were frosted with whipped cream. The skies were overcast and sometimes we hit white outs of snow. The temperature hovered around freezing, so it wasn't too cold. We were actually getting really warm snowshoeing through the deep snow. There were all kinds of off-shoot forest roads that split from the main one. These were completely wild looking because of the snow. The only way you could tell they were there was a line of trees cleared out that showed the way. The first one of these roads we went down had extremely deep snow. We sunk down to our waists sometimes, which made it hard to go forwards, but we switched places breaking trail and took lots of rests.
An off-shoot forest road we snowshoed along.
We sunk deep into the snow while snowshoeing sometimes!
All day it snowed, and again overnight. When we woke up on Monday morning, it was still snowing! Not as much snow fell as the night before, but still almost a foot. The roads in town were plowed, so we decided to go cross country skiing near the Mt Shasta Ski Park at the Nordic Center. The Nordic Center is on forest service land (I think) but it is managed and groomed in the winter by a non-profit group. They run by skiers' donations. When we got there, the trails were beautifully groomed with a thin layer of fresh snow on top. There weren't too many people there, so we had almost the whole place to ourselves!
Romy skiing at the Mt Shasta Nordic Center.
Jenn skiing at the Mt Shasta Nordic Center.
Just like a down-hill ski resort, this place rated their trails green, blue, and black. We tried them all! The black were the most fun, because they had the steepest hills which got pretty twisty and turny on cross country skis. The green routes were mostly flat, and wove through the snow covered pine trees. The base of snow was at least 4 feet deep, because we tried poking our skis into the snow to see how far down they would go. They went all the way to the binding, and still didn't hit bottom!
Jenn and Romy
After a few hours of skiing, we had to start heading back home. We will be back!
The groomed trails at the Mt Shasta Nordic Center.