Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Summer in full swing: Shasta, Garry Lookout, Alice Creek

Mount Shasta is the dominant visual

Katie at the Wilderness boundary

The Castle Crags

 It was great to see some new places, as was the case with our trip to California and Mount Shasta.

It was followed by a hike to the former Garry Lookout site near Essex adjacent to the Great Bear Wilderness with views into Glacier Park, and an ambitious nearly 14-mile loop on the Continental Divide Trail in the Alice Creek drainage near Lincoln.

Shasta, at over 14,000 feet seems so huge that it is hard to comprehend.

We visited Katie's brother, who has a cabin near Mount Shasta and hiked in the adjacent national forest including an exciting trip into the Castle Crags Wilderness Area, Cliff, Castle and Terrace lakes.

It was scaldingly hot with temperatures over 100 degrees.  On our drive there we experienced 117 degrees in Redding, CA.

The Crags, which I had never heard of,  was my favorite hike, climbing to the base of immense granite spires.  The trail was steep and challenging in spots.

I was surprised that there were so few hikers in this gorgeous area, although we encountered larger numbers at both Castle and Cliff lakes over this 4th of July holiday.

The outdoor recreation at Shasta is limitless.

I would have enjoyed climbing the big mountain some 20 years ago when my fitness and balance were better.

I was amused by all the "spiritual" attributes ascribed to this area, particularly the Lemurians, who believe there was a city inside the mountain with a special race of people.  Crystals are the thing here with many shops touting their healing.

I came looking for Bitterroot and found them

Silky Phaecilia was everywhere on Green Mountain

A look back at the ridge I walked

Lodgepole is coming back from a devastating fire

Alice Creek loop with Green Mountain

 I've done this 11 mile loop at Alice Creek near Lincoln numerous times and have written about it.

What made my latest trip different was that I added a climb of nearby Mount Green on the Continental Divide Trail.

Besides climbing the mountain I was hoping to find bitterroot flowers and I wasn't disappointed, spying a patch about 100 feet below the peak in the red shale that had been "rototilled" by grizzlies.

When I got back down to Lewis and Clark Pass I decided I was still fresh enough to do the Alice Creek Loop that included Red Mountain and a walk across a long shelf of limestone.

The flowers this year are unexceptional except for blooms below Green Mountain that included an array of purple and lavender Townsendia, and Silky Phaecilia.

It was a hot and somewhat hazy day, but I had enjoyable solo stroll of nearly 14 miles and an elevation gain of more than 4,100 feet.

The view into Glacier from the Garry Lookout

Garry Lookout looking into Glacier

This is a 3.6 mile climb to the site of the former Garry Lookout just east of U.S. 2 mile post 168.

This hike was an after-thought on our way back from Kalispell, where we had caught a flight to Santa Rosa for our Shasta trip.

The only thing left of the lookout are the footings.

However, the views into Glacier from just below those footings are remarkable.

The trailhead is unmarked and there is a gate across it. It is a 900 feet gain in deep forest. The wildflowers were quite beautiful.

We had a black bear encounter on our way back to the car.  I thought it was a big, black dog at first and it was bold.  But after we shouted and clapped it worked its way uphill for a better view of us.  No sweat. 


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