Clouds had hung heavy in the atmosphere for the last 24 hours and I was searching for a place that I could see the sky. The hills along the 98 north of Mt Shasta were a mixture of green conifers and volcanic rock. Orange fields filled with dead grasses greeted them at the base along with charred stumps from fires that recently raged through the area. I knew that the ginormous volcano should be prominent in the landscape, but the fog lay so thick across the horizon, it was all I could see. Then, a few clouds broke open revealing a rainbow rising from the mist. This was a sure sing that the day would bring good things.
A few hours later, I found myself driving along the 5 with the end goal of reaching Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was as if I had entered a different world from earlier that morning. Temperatures had risen to the high sixties and fall was grasping the trees, their changing colors seemingly at their peak. I had a longing to go get lost in them, even though I initially had other plans. The scene looked so inviting that I simply couldn’t resist. I pulled off at the next exit, hoping to find a pull of to take a couple pictures at.
Before I knew it, I was on a path headed into the trees, my inner sense of exploration having put itself on autopilot and taking me into the hills. A magnificent display of reds, oranges and yellows had turned nature into a magical world of wonder. Every direction I looked in, another picturesque area presented itself and quickly I had forgotten about the gloomy skies of that morning. I am always amazed by how quickly nature can change its tune. No matter what, the sun breaks through the haze and shines its light upon the world.
One step kept leading to another and before I knew it miles had started to add up. I found myself at the top of a hill overlooking a lake formed by a dam off in the distance. The view that the world had laid out in front of me was so serene. The brilliance of nature so astounding, once again humbling me. That has to be one of my favorite parts of traveling, constantly being reminded how small I am.
A single tree stood in front of me at the end of the path. Its bark was a deep red accompanied by bright green leaves that stood against it in amazing contrast. I stared off at the crystal blue waters in the reservoir and found myself lost in thoughts of man interfering with nature by building dams and cutting down forests. The water level was so low, serving as a constant reminder of that story. Was I doing enough in my life to do my part to counteract those things? Were we as a people? The answer probably is no on each. As long as we keep using lumber and plastics, we will continue down this spiral. Not wanting to get too caught up in this thought, I moved on to the next adventure, but those thoughts still plagued my mind…
Closest Supercharger Red Bluff CA 33 mi
82 Belle Mill Rd, Red Bluff, CA 96080
Black Butte Lake
Orland, CA 95963