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Fred's Hiking Journal
December 2014
root creek

Root Creek
Root Creek

The first big storm of the season gave Mt. Shasta a fresh coat of snow and the creeks and rivers a fresh coat of much-needed water. When the rain finally stopped I went down to the Crags to see what things looked like after a good soaking.

For once I heard Root Creek long before I saw it. After walking through the silent woods for many months it was quite surprising to hear the sound that a large amount of rushing water makes. I didn't stray off the trail much because every time I bumped a tree branch even slightly it caused a shower of water to fall on me. Amazed yet again at all of the mushrooms I saw, there were still previously unseen varieties popping up here and there.

Root Creek Trail
Root Creek Trail

parks creek

Parks Creek Overflow after storm
Parks Creek Overflow after storm

Another windier and rainier storm followed, and at the first opportunity I walked over to see what the overflow for Parks Creek looked like before it emptied into the Shasta River. The last time I was here, in January, this section was almost completely dried up, except for large chunks of foot-thick ice marking the deepest pools.

root creek falls

Root Creek Falls
Root Creek Falls

Seeing how much water was flowing in Parks Creek, I had to hike up to the falls on Root Creek to see what they looked like. It had only been a little over a week since I'd been here last but now there was water flowing in spots that were relatively dry before. The trail up to the falls lookout was actually easier than in summer because the rain packed the dirt down considerably.

One thing a picture can't convey is the sound of the falls I would have had to shout to someone standing next to me to be heard in the canyon below the falls. The inviting pool at the bottom of the rocks had all of the summer time debris washed away and was as clear as any swimming pool could have been, but it wasn't a real great day for swimming, so I headed back down, enjoying yet another display of mushrooms along the way.

mushrooms along Root Creek Trail
mushrooms along Root Creek Trail

Another rain came and went, so I waited a few days then headed back to Root Creek to see if the water level was down enough for me to cross over and go up on the north side of the falls. Unfortunately, it wasn't, but I enjoyed the walk through the woods seeing everything with an even brighter coating of moss than last time.

trail to Root Creek Falls
trail to Root Creek Falls

I followed the climber's trail and scrambled over to another lookout point and thought about all the times my friends and I spent swimming in the pools below almost 40 years ago. The sunlight didn't last as long as I would have liked, and as I was driving home it began to rain again...

upper section of Root Creek Falls
upper section of Root Creek Falls

river trail

looking upstream on Upper Sacramento River from footbridge
looking upstream on Upper Sacramento River from footbridge

Needing an easy, short hike with only a morning free, I chose the River Trail. The only "down" side, apart from not having a full day to hike, was that in December the sun doesn't get down to the east side of the river until later in the day, and I walked along shivering while traffic above on the freeway enjoyed a bright, sunny day.

There was a surprising amount of greenery everywhere, along with the expected mushroom showing. The feeder creeks were going strong and the flow of the river was impressive after all the rain we've had in the last month. This is one trail that is crying out for a loop, but access certainly isn't a problem.

River Trail along Upper Sacramento River
River Trail along Upper Sacramento River

ney springs creek

Now in the grip of an "arctic blast" of weather, I awoke to a 13° morning and almost an inch of snow. For some reason, which I was to question later, I drove over to Ney Springs Creek to see how the falls were doing.

Again I found myself in a sun-less canyon with the ground frozen solid except for where the warmer soda water was seeping down to the creek. The falls were going like gangbusters, with much more water that I'd expected. Much more spray, too, and everything at the bottom of the falls rocks, trees, leaves... everything, had a coating of ice. In the time it took me to take the photo below the legs of my tripod had also received a coating of ice from the droplets of spray, and I had to wait until I walked back to my truck before the ice melted enough for me to fold them up.

Faery Falls
Faery Falls