"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cow Country

I had no idea there were so many cows in California. We've moved on from Vacaville (vaca = cow, in Spanish?) and the Napa Valley, up Route 5 to Red Bluff.  We're staying at Durango RV Resort, a very nice park with wide, long, flat concrete sites; plenty of grassy space between sites; landscaping that includes fountains and some trees; a dog wash! (that's a first); a pool and a hot tub. We've been enjoying the hot tub.  : )  It's right on the Sacramento River so Kona gets a little swim almost every day.

Red Bluff is another small agricultural city in the central valley, but cattle seems to be the mainstay rather than grapes and wine. Almost as many cowboys as South Dakota. This draws fewer tourists, though some pass through on their way to Mt. Lassen. It's pretty flat right here, in the Sacramento River Valley, but only a few miles in any direction leads to foothills and then snow covered mountains. We can even see Mt. Shasta sometimes, which from here looks huge.

Mt. Lassen in the furthest south active volcano in the Cascades. It's not blowing sparks or smoke or lava now, but it was pretty active throughout the 19th and early 20th century. In 1915 it blew like Mt. St. Helens. Mount Lassen Volcanic National Park does still have an active hydrothermal area with mud pots and steaming water.

We visited Mt. Lassen one day last week. going in as far as we could given the winter conditions. The main road through the park is closed all winter, but the visitor's center is open (barely).

Snow banks along the roads and parking lots were easily 6 feet.

The visitor's center.

Mt. Lassen and the peak of the visitor's center roof.

Countryside between Mt. Lassen and Lake Almanor.

We met the rangers and agreed to come back on Easter Sunday for a snow shoe hike. That's today. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day, with plenty of deep snow still on the trails. I hope to take plenty of pictures.

A few days ago the three of us took a 4 mile hike in the Sacramento River Bend Trail. It's BLM land so Kona could come with us, even without a leash, as opposed to National Park land where dogs are usually not allowed. It was an idyllic day for a hike: sunny, but cool.  Although it's been a dry winter, there's been lots of rain around here in the past month, so the wild flowers are coming along.

 Great lava rocks cropping out everywhere and a grand view of the river bend.

Gnarly black oaks and lots of green grass for the cattle soften the scenery. Yes, the land is used for grazing too, so when you walk through here, you're in their territory.

I also took a little sunset adventure on my own up into the foothills to take some photos one evening and hit the jackpot with these cloud formations. Anyone know what kind they are?

Just caught a few deer my way home to top off the evening.  

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