Hedge Creek Falls & Sacramento River Overlook

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In the weekend coffee share last weekend, I shared that we always go for at least one day trip in the weekend. We do some research, usually over the internet, and set our sails towards an amazing destination in northern California. We drive there, and enjoy the nature for a day. Usually by going for a hike, and having a picnic lunch. If it’s a longer hike we might try some local restaurant for dinner. I’d say that we try a couple new spots every month, and return to a couple favorite spots every month. I had two different ideas for our Mother’s Day weekend adventure. One about an hour drive away, with a waterfall, the other a little further away..well my family voted for the closest one. They didn’t feel like a long drive.

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We set our sails towards Dunsmuir (CA,) where my waterfall idea is located. It was an easy uneventful drive through our northern California landscape. I particularly enjoy driving over Shasta Lake, it’s so beautiful looking down at the lake, with the mountains in the background.

Hedge Creek Falls, is a beautiful spot to stop at, if you’re driving the I-5 and happen to pass Dunsmuir, in northern California. The waterfall is very close to the Dunsmuir Ave/Siskiyou Ave exit of the I-5, and there’s plenty of signs to guide you, and a parking lot dedicated to visitors of the falls.

This fall is sometimes called the million dollar fall. When they built the I-5, the original plans would of destroyed this place. The locals raised hell, and eventually the plans were changed, and now everyone can enjoy this amazing place. Thank you citizens of Dunsmuir!

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There’s a cave behind the falls.

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Hedge Creek Falls is located on the southernmost tip of a pre-Pleistocene lava flow from Mount Shasta. Thousands of years of erosion, mostly from the freezing and thawing of water trapped in cracks on the basaltic face, has resulted in the sheared appearance at the face of the falls. The cave behind the falls is a normal occurrence in thick lava flows and not the result of splashing water. – Wikipedia

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There’s a legend (with some evidence of truth,) about a stage coach robber, named Black Bart, using this cave as his hiding place, back in the 1870’s. I told my daughter about the legend before we visited, and naturally she had to explore every inch of the cave. She crawled under the narrow part you can see in the photo above, to the other entrance (the light by the end of the tunnel.) She hit her head twice, pretty hard. Didn’t think of bringing a helmet..to view a waterfall ..lol. Some people have taken the red clay next to the falls, and made hand prints on the wall.

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The trail continues on the other side of the cave, to a beautiful overlook of the Sacramento River.

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I had seen photos of the waterfall, the cave, and the overlook, but those did not match the beauty that we saw with our own eyes. It was breathtaking.

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I need to go back on a clear day, to see Mt.Shasta from this amazing spot. It was a little cloudy when we were there, and we only saw glimpses of our beautiful volcano. (Speaking of volcanoes, I watched the old movie Dante’s Peak last night. Made me feel good about not living super close to either of our two dormant volcanoes..)

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We wandered of the trail a little bit, and had our picnic lunch by the river.

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After lunch we climbed up on a ridge to enjoy the views. My daughter loves climbing. (It does make me slightly nervous sometimes.)

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I hope you enjoyed our weekend adventure, and that your new week started out in a fantastic way! Time for me to go out and see about my four legged friends outside, and get some work done in the garden, before it get’s to hot. There’s lots of mulching on the schedule today. I believe in lots of mulch, and less weeding. Weeding is not my favorite thing. Let’s grab a cup of coffee soon, OK? Have a great day!

Love,

Ms Zen

A Face in the Crowd 2 – McCloud River

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Yesterday we took a hike along McCloud River, just outside McCloud (CA.) This is a well maintained hike, of an amazing waterway. It’s often challenging to photograph the river, and the three waterfalls along the trail, without accidentally catching a A Face in the Crowd (this week’s photo challenge. Here’s my first entry to the challenge.)

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We did see around 20 people, during the 3-4 hours we spent along the river yesterday, not too bad, for this kind of place.

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My daughter suggested that we built a house next to the lower waterfall! Why not? LOL.

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As always when there’s water included, Gretchen, my dog, had a blast!

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We had hoped for lots of snow, but there was only some patches here and there. The temperature was comfortable, in the upper 30s, and the sun felt warm on our cheeks.

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We started at the lower fall, and hiked out, and back, viewing all three falls. It’s not a very long hike, 3.8 miles all together. It’s perfect for a Sunday stroll with a 5 year old. We stopped many times looking at rocks along the river, crashing some ice, throwing sticks to our dog, comparing different kinds of moss on the trees, and we climbed some bigger boulders on the side of Middle Fall (where we had our picnic lunch.)

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The perfect picnic spot!

We had a fantastic day. I love combining; fresh air, exercise, play, education, exploring, photography, quality family time, and meditation in one outing. That’s the kind of multitasking I like!
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To the right, from where we had our lunch, the pine trees covered the river, making part of it in full shade. The shady patches, like the one on the photo above was really cold.

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This is also Middle Fall, seen from above, further up the trail. We had our lunch on the boulders, in the center, of the bottom of the photo. If you look closely, you can see some people trying to get to that spot. I love how the trail follows the river. It’s a peaceful hike. I believe I’ve done it in all seasons now. They are all wonderful in this magical place.

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This is the Upper Fall, the last one on our trail. We started at the Lower Fall, walked up to Middle Fall, and saw the Upper Fall last. Then we turned around, and walked the same trail back. You can park at any of the falls, and connect to the trail there. You don’t have to do it in a specific order. There’s plenty of parking spots, and clean restrooms at every trail head. This is a hike, or outing for everyone that enjoys beautiful nature. You don’t have to hike if you’re unable to, you can choose to drive to each trailhead and just enjoy the waterfalls.

The easiest way to get there is by taking 1-5 towards McCloud (CA,) and then take Highway 89 for 15 miles, east of the I-5/89 junction, and 5 miles east of McCloud and turn south on Road 40N44. Look for a Fowlers Camp/McCloud Falls sign. It’s easy to find. If you have access to a smartphone, google maps will take you right there.

If you want to stay longer, there’s simple campgrounds next to the falls, but I can highly recommend the RV Park in McCloud, if you’re an RV;er looking for a cool place to spend some time. McCloud also have several B&B with good reputation, but I haven’t personally tried any of them. McCloud is an old logging town, with many beautiful houses, and interesting things to see. There’s an abundance of hiking trail, and Mt Shasta is close by.

I actually shared a post about McCloud Falls in June last year, when this blog was a newborn. Have you seen McCloud River Falls? If so, tell me about your experience! I would love to hear about it!

I hope that your week got off to an awesome start 🙂

Love,

Ms Zen

Crystal Creek Falls

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On Sunday evening I craved a nature experience. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area was close by, so I suggested a spur off the moment visit. It’s a gorgeous 39 000 acres wilderness area, with over 70 miles of well maintained trails. I love hiking there, and enjoy this area quiet often.

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It has four amazing waterfalls. Neither are that challenging to get too. However, Crystal Creek Falls, the one we visited on Sunday, is by far the easiest. You can drive almost the whole way there. The “hike” is 1/4 mile one way. It was perfect for an unplanned visit, with limited time left off the day.

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That said, with a place that is so easy to get too, you can’t expect to have the place to yourself. We did have to wait a while, before the two families that got there before us, decided to move on. When there were no-one there I let Gretchen off leash for a few minutes, she was dying to get into the water. To her it doesn’t matter if it’s cold, she needs to jump in. She is usually a very quiet dog, (she only barks on command, or if attacked.) While waiting for our turn to enjoy the falls she sat next to me, longingly looked at the water and whined…and whined.. She was SO happy when I finally set her free, and told her to play.

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After visiting this waterfall last weekend (February 2018,) I was inspired to dig out a photo from last spring. To compare the water levels. This last photo was taken in April 2017.

This is the perfect place to visit if you’re just driving through, have a disabled, or elderly person in your party. Everyone can enjoy this beautiful waterfall. There’s picnic tables, plenty of parking, and clean restrooms. You do need a park permit. You can get that at the visitor center (daily/weekly/yearly permits available.) During our hot summers, this is still a good place to visit, the thick surrounding forest provides plenty of shade. If you want more solitude there’s plenty of other hikes nearby, that provides that. Further up the same road, there’s Whiskeytown Falls, that is a bigger 220ft waterfall, that also requires a little more effort to get there. It’s a 2.8 mile out and back hike, the way there is almost all uphill. It’s not too bad, my daughter have done that hikes many times, the first time she walked the whole way by herself she was 2,5 years old. It’s rated as a moderate hike in most hiking apps.

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Whiskeytown National Recreation Area Visitor Center

If you’re interested in visiting these waterfalls, or just enjoying the magnificent lake that this area is named after, I suggest visiting the visitor center first. It is a real nice visitor center, with knowledgeable friendly staff, and you need to get a permit anyways.

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Last Years Annual Park Pass

They usually have free maps off the area, and are more than willing to direct you to any place you may desire to see. This is the address to the visitor center:

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
14412 Kennedy Memorial Drive
Whiskeytown, CA 96095

 

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Whiskeytown Lake seen from the visitor centers parking lot. The waterfalls in this post is on the other side of the lake, only a short scenic drive away.

I truly hope you get to enjoy this area in person ❤

 

Love,

Ms Zen