Tag Archives: Trail

McCloud WaterFalls Trail

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST

NEAR MCCLOUD, CALIFORNIA

Activity: Day Hike, chasing waterfalls

Distance :4 miles, elevation gain: 350’, 90 minutes duration, rated Easy

Date: June 25, 2020

This out and back Easy hike has the extra bonus of not one, not just two, but listen to this, three beautiful waterfalls in the Mount Shasta area. The trails winds along the McCloud River at the southern base of Mount Shasta. That whole Siskiyou County is a very special place. The McCloud Waterfalls Trail is a beautiful trail through spectacular woods just off of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Hwy 89).

You could actually drive to a scenic overlook of each of the wonderful falls, but why in the heck would you do that if you can hike it, for goodness sake!?

Chasing Waterfalls in the Siskiyou in the shadow of magnificent Mount Shasta, that is ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Waterfalls just tug at your heart strings like few things can. The music of the cascading water as it takes the plunge and crashes over the rocks below beckons throughout the forest, as you breath in the pine scent and drink in all the sights, sounds and the experience.

I started out at a parking area at the McCloud Lower Falls. This area is popular because it makes a great swimming and cliff jumping area. The next falls along the trail is the McCloud Middle Falls. The waterfall is 44’ high and has the distinction of being the widest in California at 120’ across.

There is a campground along the trail, Fowlers Campground and the folks there looked very content with the hiking, swimming, and just relaxing. This isn’t the first encampment there as a one time in the past there were cottages and a historic hotel. Besides that you can trace back to native peoples using the area for hunting and fishing for a couple thousand years.

The third falls is Upper McCloud Falls. There are other waterfalls in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest area, but to have three falls right together and with the amount of water tumbling over them from the McCloud River makes this a must see. I added a little to my hike as I wanted to see the view from above and climbed the trail each time to the observation area above. I also went a little past the trail along the river which was also quite nice.

Still pictures alone don’t cut. You have to have video of waterfalls.

Lower McCloud Falls is popular with swimmers and cliff jumpers.
McCloud Middle Falls
Upper McCloud Falls
McCloud Falls is on the southern base of Mt Shasta

If you like waterfalls, mountains, forests, and nature than LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and FOLLOW. Checkout the menu above as PBTA travels to many splendid places that will leave you with a feeling of restlessness that you too want to hit the trail, or I am more than happy to bring you along through my stories of adventure, pictures and video that don’t do the places justice, but I try. Each of the locations in the menu are a separate site and thus need to be FOLLOWED independently. Please go to SHOP APPAREL and pick out a hat or moisture wicking high performance shirt. They are top quality and it supports my efforts. Also just added are cool t-shirts.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Boucher trail

Near San Simeon, California

Activity: Day Hike, Scenic View, Wildlife Viewing

Date: 9-5-19

4 miles, 82’ elevation change, enjoyment time 2 hours, rated Easy

If you are driving from Northern California to Southern California I would say this is a must do. This is a beautiful spot, and there is a cool lighthouse, and lighthouses are alway good, but the reason this is a must do is this is one of the best spots for wildlife viewing of the Northern Elephant Seal. Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area is operated by the California Department of Fish and Game. They have done a great job of setting up an viewing area with a parking lot and extended wooden decking along with informational signage. There are volunteers, Friends of the Elephant Seal, clad in recognizable blue logo jackets that are on hand to answer questions regarding these wonderful creatures. The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is located 7 miles north of San Simeon on Cabrillo Highway 1, and about the same amount of mileage south of Ragged Point, the Gate Way to Big Sur. Big Sur is where I had spent the couple nights before backpacking.

This is one of the most robust rookeries of the Northern Elephant Seal in the world. The male Northern Elephant Seal can weigh up to as much as 5000 lbs and received his name from the rather pronounced schozolla, for lack of a more scientific term. You will see one large male making his way up the beach towards my camera in a video clip I nicknamed Darth Vader.

My hot ticket suggestion is this, certainly dive into all of this tourism excitement and have fun, but if you are interested in stretching your legs, experiencing this wonderful seaside locale a little more in depth, catching a closer view of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, seeing some elephant seals without standing shoulder to shoulder in a crowd with camera shutters going off in your ear, and would like to get down on the beach, then take the Boucher Trail hike.

Boucher Trail hike winds along the sea shore and has some additional uncrowded view points to catch the elephant seals doing their thing, horsing around with their friends on the beach and in the shallow water. More of the sun bathing goes on at the tourist spot. The shoreline then protrudes out to a rocky point which is Piedras Blanca and that is where the lighthouse is. Boucher Trail continues on straight and not toward the lighthouse, which is operated by the Bureau of Land Management and tours are available on selected days and times. Reservations need to be made in advance for lighthouse tours. The trail travels through a grassy area and ends up at another smaller parking lot roughly 2 miles from where you began. This is where you will find access to a broad beach. Being enchanted by the lighthouse, I headed along the beach to get a better view. It is possible that I may have went further along the beach than I was allowed to go, but what can I say I wanted to see the lighthouse.

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was built in 1875 and the tower was 100’ tall before an earthquake damaged part of it. With it’s special lens, the light could be seen by ships 25 miles out to sea. It is one of the oldest working lighthouses in California.

The sea, the elephant seals, the lighthouse, you just gotta’ luv’ this wonderful little hike, Boucher Trail.

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Darth Vader might not rule the Galaxy, but he certainly rules the Elephant Seal Rookery as he charges up the beach at my camera.
You will only see this type of Tom Foolery from the Boucher Trail.
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
A different sort of sunbather at the Elephant Seal Viewing Area.
“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller

’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ along the Northern California/Central Coast is a special treat and I thank you for joining me. For more adventures checkout the menu above for a host of different locales around the West. Stay Balanced by leaving a COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE, and please FOLLOW. Please note each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED individually. If you so desire you can support PBTA and yourself by purchasing top quality adventure, workout, casual wear at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Days, Happy Trails

Roger Jenkins, ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’

Kirk creek campground to Vicente flats trail

BIG SUR

VENTANA WILDERNESS

Activity: Backpacking

Date: 9/3-5/19

11 miles, 2600’ elevation change, approximately 6 hours of hiking time, rated Hard

I arrived at Big Sur after leaving Monterey in the evening. If I had it to do over I would have skipped Monterey, because I had been there before and by trying to jam that in as well I feel I missed out on a large part of the Big Sur experience. By the time I hit Big Sur it was dark and one of the most wonderful things in that area is the drive right along the coast and the incredible views. Besides that I had no Ranger to talk to once I arrived in Big Sur to gain expertise from. All I could do is read the boards at the campgrounds, and outside the visitor center.

Once I decided on ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on the Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats Trail it was pretty late, so I slept in my little car, never a pleasant experience. But I noticed at the lookout I pulled into I was not the only one with that same idea as there was a truck doing the same thing.

At first light I was up and adam excited to begin my journey, and the coastal views from the lookout were spectacular, along with the taste and smell of the salt air, and the sound of the waves far below.

The trailhead is across the road from the Kirk Creek Campground, which is pretty close to being on the beach. There are a limited amount of head in parking spaces for the hike so that could be pretty tricky. The other reason to get there early is most of the hike is exposed with plenty of sunshine, so it can get hot hauling a big pack up the hill. There are some majestic oaks, and even a stand of red woods for a periodic reprieve from the sun.

The hike has the most excellent coastal views, as you wind your way up the trail. Put on your repellent because it is one of the buggiest place I have been. Thank goodness they don’t bite, but the little black flies are most annoying. I suggest a head net. I certainly put mine to good use. The trail is long, narrow and winding. Careful of your footing as there are big drop offs in places, and keep an eye out for poison oak, I suggest long pants.

I set up camp at the first small camp Espinosa, which is one of two areas designated for backpacking on this trail. I was there midweek, just after Labor Day, so I really didn’t see that many people, which generally isn’t the case. There is a water source on the trail just beyond the camping area. I went on to the end of the hike which was Vicente Flats, the other larger campground. That was a pretty cool place with big trees, but no ocean view for that one, and even more bugs, ugh!

Speaking of bugs a couple college freshman went by my camp during the day and were planning on camping at Vicente Flats, but changed their minds with the bugs. After I was out enjoying the wonderful views of the Pacific I returned to my camp to find the boys starting to set up their tent near mine at Espinosa and complaining that they heard nothing about the bugs in what they had read, so I gave them my website info so they could be better informed in the future. They finally couldn’t deal with the bugs, packed up and zoomed down the trail trying to beat the sun before it set.

The next day I headed back down the hill from my journey. There was marine layer, fog down below which gave an interesting mystic feel to Big Sur. It really is a beautiful place. The bugs were irritating, but with the head net I could manage, and other than that it was a fantastic time.

Daybreak at Big Sur
Twilight at Espinosa Camp
Heavy Marine Layer early the next morning over Big Sur before the fog burned off later in the day.
“Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and to reconnect to that inner place of peace.” – Janice Anderson
Little black flies were a real nuisance thus the head net.

Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats Trail is a fine place to be ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Stay with me for other adventure, on this journey to find this inner peace, I refer to here as Balance. Balance between Civilization and Nature, Balance between our very busy existence in a world always in a hurry, and the tranquility of soul. More to come, some epic, some just exercise in nature. Please COMMENT, FOLLOW, LIKE, and SHARE. Check the menu above for other locations and I would appreciate it if you would support PBTA by outfitting yourself with top quality adventure, workout, casual ware check it out at SHOP APPAREL.

Horse Camp

MOUNT SHASTA WILDERNESS

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Day Hike, Backpack Camping Available

Date: 9/1-3/2019

Distance 3.5 miles, 1000’ elevation change, duration 3 hours, rated Moderate

I arrived in the town of Shasta the evening of September 1st. The quaint kick back town was bustling as they had some sort of celebration just ending. After I got the information and permit that I need for my three days of exploration, from the Ranger Station, I headed for Bunny Flat an area that I could pitch my tent for the night before heading up the mountain. Since it was Labor Day Weekend that spot was pretty busy. It is not a campground per se rather a space they allow folks to camp, and there is a trailhead outhouse, which would prove a luxury compared to the rest of my adventure on the mountain.

Early the next morning the mountain looks glorious; It would be a perfect Summer day. The hike to Horse Camp is most delightful, starting at the Bunny Flat Trailhead. On the way to Horse Camp your journey begins with stunning views of the looming Mount Shasta. At the end of Summer it is mostly tan in color, barren of 3/4’s of it’s snow. You will make your way through green meadows and picture perfect woods of Mountain Hemlock and Shasta Red Fir. It is really your quintessential walk in the woods, very fitting as Horse Camp is private land managed by the Sierra Club Foundation for the public’s benefit. Famed Naturalist and Explorer John Muir frequented the camp before climbing to the Summit.

On the way to Horse Camp I enjoyed the company of a herd of deer. However, they did not fancy my company all that much and were off in a bound. It was amazing how quick and effortlessly they could make tracks through wooded brush and at a steep incline to boot.

All at once you come to a clearing and there before you is the historic Shasta Alpine Lodge built in 1922. Don’t get to excited by it’s name for it’s actually a hut or a cabin. But it is exactly what you would hope to see in such an alpine setting. I almost expected to see Heidi with her Grandfather chopping wood.

As I approached the natural stone cabin I was greeted by a friendly volunteer caretaker. They are there in the Spring and Summer to answer questions. During inclement weather this shack can act as an emergency shelter. It is a fun place to checkout. There is also a wonderful natural spring around back with deliciously cool water. There are some beautiful campsites at Horse Camp available at a small fee through the Foundation.

As I said, the hike to Horse Camp on Mount Shasta is the quintessential walk in the woods and should not be missed. Now, if you are going to go on from there… well now, that is another adventure all together.

“These mountains are our holy land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not hiked through them.”  – John Muir

Thanks for joining me in this first adventure post for NoCal Hiking while I find myself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Mount Shasta is a place of great mystical energy and is revered even today by many Native American Tribes, and they are not the only ones that love this stunningly beautiful mountain. There is more to come on Mount Shasta and more to come for NoCal Hiking Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. If you go to the menu you will see there are many sites and different areas to explore. If you like what you see then please COMMENT, FOLLOW, SHARE, and LIKE.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure