Medicine Lake and all those critters
Medicine Lake-One visit here and I knew we had to come and camp below the pines..the place was crawling with life..and not human life:) It felt incredibly peaceful and we had our choice of spaces we could fit into and after a long chat with a gentleman that had just arrived and comes here every year I knew it was being put on our itinerary…even though the nights got cold.. I was determined to get into a pine forest. Remnants of my childhood in West Vancouver and several years in the ponderosas in Pinetop, Arizona.
We pulled out of the Eagles Nest RV Park and started to go up US 97..it was narrow and rough, mostly from the pumice trucks that went back and forth a few miles from Tionesta…the boys don’t like bumpy and there were worries about any oncoming logging trucks but we prevailed all the way to the lake…told Mike not to look at the drop offs;)
This beautiful deep blue-colored lake located in Modoc National Forest came into existence when part of a volcano collapsed thousands of years ago.It is only fed by spring melt water and rain. The level was very low but still a beautiful view through the trees. The last two campgrounds, A.G. Hogue and Medicine Lake, both can take bigger rigs and trailers.
From the moment we backed into our spot it life descended on us…chattering chipmunks and squirrels scampering to and fro…birds chirping from the trees..there was movement everywhere you looked..my kind of heaven. The cats were glued to the back window watching CTV..Cat TV;) Chipmunks sat next to me at the picnic table…cheeky little beggars were taking bits of granola from Mike’s fingertips. The Stellar Jays were yelling from all sides, as is their manner. Northern flickers seemed to be everywhere you looked..elusive brats when you want to photograph them though;)
Walking under the pines on the soft needles is a wonderful feeling, and that smell of warm pine resin. A path from the main lake leads to Little Medicine Lake, a little gem. Tree trunks lie fallen there providing habitat for trout, which were jumping, and reeds surround the edges. The main lake is quite barren as the water levels have dropped leaving the shores dead. Here at Little Medicine Lake osprey sat perched waiting and redtail hawks glided overhead.
A path going North from the campground leads to a giant lava flow that blocks everything in it’s path. The monumental size of this flow was staggering..makes one feels so very small, in a good way:) It has an ancient feel to it. Looking up at it’s mass. We climbed three quarters of the way up and gave up, the loose lava, and large loose rocks made it dicey hiking and scrambling but what a feel to sit on it!
Back at the campground loop, beside the road, a small faucet provided campers with water and a drinking spot for all the local feathered and furred creatures..far safer than a trip out to the lake. I sat for half an hour late in the day and marveled at the variety of birds and squirrels coming by. All you had to do was sit and wait and watch:) HTV..Human TV;)
The variety of life charmed me to no end, but as the evening temperatures fell and the heat kicked on we realized we were at altitude again. 6700 feet and cold. Forgot what that felt like…we had a bed full of cats..all under the covers..the gas heater worked for awhile but the heat dissipates almost as soon as it comes out of the vent..Sunset Trails…you lied about your R values;)..snuggle time!
The following morning I was hell bent on getting that sunrise reflected of off the lake, but MAN, it was cold..see your breath cold..below freezing cold..but hell, I have a toque ( Canadian for hat aye..;) and mitts so I dragged my sorry behind out of that warm bed and down to the lakeside for a spectacular show. The colours started a deep red and slowly changed to a shocking pink…worth every shiver.
but..I could only convince Mike to a two night stay…warmth he cried! I acquiesced…sadly..but I’d had my pine tree fix.
We packed up and started down the road-the 49-It was a stunning sight as the road zigged and zagged across an ancient lava flow. The 49 was a road that Ranger Craig said was passable down to the 89, and Shasta, but whoa…not with a 35 foot trailer. The road routinely went down to a single lane,very narrow single lanes with oncoming traffic at times, lot’s of bumps, enormous potholes and meowing (they HATE bumps) and at the end..oncoming logging trucks driven by drivers under the influence of Red Bull no doubt..harrowing I might add, but hell, we made it to the 89..sigh of relief and as we finished our journey Mt. Shasta poked her pretty face onto our horizon.
Our destination-McCloud, but that, is another story for tomorrow, so stay tuned as the adventure continues with waterfalls and eclipses:)
Saludos to you all:)