Friday, December 28, 2007

The Afterthought Mine at Ingot

Take Highway 299 east to Ingot, about 16 miles east of Redding. When you get to the Ingot road sign, start looking for mine remains on the right side of the highway (when traveling east from Redding).

The remains of the Afterthought Mine: the stamp mill, collapsing houses, dilapidated mine outbuildings, sections of old railroad grade and remains of the smelter are visible from the highway and there are many places to safely pull off the road to take photos. Remember that all the remaining structures are on private property, meaning you cannot trespass. Also remember the dangers around old mines -- rattlesnakes, rusty nails, mercury and open mine shafts that you can fall into.

In 1873 Marcus Peck purchased the Copper Hill Mine group for $6,000. In 1876, Peck discovered copper ore in an adjoining ledge and patented it as the Afterthought, a mining term that means an adjoining claim located after the establishment of a major claim.

During its early years, it was mined for silver, gold, copper, lead and zinc, but eventually became one of the largest copper mines in Shasta County. It suffered many setbacks over the years.

To process ore, a small smelter was built in 1875, but it failed because of excess zinc in the ore. Another smelter was built to process the ore, and a small railroad system was established to haul the ore from the mine to the smelter. The railroad consisted of a small steam locomotive that pulled 20 five-ton ore cars. Portions of the railroad grade are still visible.

The smelter was shut down by legal action because of the damages caused from the poisonous toxic fumes released into the air from its chimney. An 8½-mile-long aerial tram was built to haul ore north to the smelter at Bully Hill. The tram was capable of carrying 140 2-ton buckets placed approximately 300 yards apart. A dramatic portion of the tramway spanned the Pit River.

In 1927, operations ended because of a steady decline in copper and zinc prices. The mine operated intermittently over the years; the last active owner was Coronado Copper & Zinc Co. which operated it until 1952. The mine contains nearly 20,000 feet of tunnels and shafts.

Today it is officially known as California Historic Landmark No. 9. However, there is no historic monument or plaque to let the many people who wonder what this interesting place was all about.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Last week's wanderings

Last week I had a chance to go up past Mount Shasta again and it was covered with some fresh snow.

I went all the way to Tulelake and the extensive waterfowl habitat was filled with many varieties of waterfowl and other birds. I saw several bald eagles but none were close enough to photograph.

I did see a tree with about 6-7 hawks close to the shore line. By the time I got the photo several had flown away. As always, click the image for a larger view.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The 460-foot Headtower.

The low lake level in Lake Shasta has exposed the remains of the 460-foot headtower used during the construction of the dam during the late 1930s and early ’40s. The tower was a key component in building the dam because concrete was placed with the use of a cableway radiating from the headtower.

Construction began on Shasta Dam in 1938, and the headtower was one of the first structures built. There were seven cableways, each connected to a separate tail tower at the outer ends and operating on five tracks that circled the headtower. A man worked inside the top of the headtower and single-handedly directed the entire cable system. He often wore a fedora, a white shirt and a tie. The concrete for the dam was placed in blocks, one at a time. The concrete was transported in 6-by-7-feet buckets on the cableways. The tower had four legs spaced 185 feet apart that were set 100 feet into the ground. Before Lake Shasta was filled, the headtower was cut down for safety reasons. When the water level gets low enough, the remaining part of the headtower reminds us it’s still there.

You can see the headtower from a number of locations — Fisherman’s Point (bring binoculars), Centimudi boat ramp (binoculars also needed here) and from the dam. Yes, you can walk out on the dam with permission from the guards. Walk a little more than halfway across the dam, look down and there it is — complete with fishing lines and weights tangled around the metal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Centimudi Boat Ramp and Shasta Dam

The Centimudi Boat Ramp is paved. It has three (3) ramps for varying lake levels; a four lane ramp with a courtesy dock is available when lake draw down is between 0 and 75 feet, a three lane ramp is available when lake draw down is between 76 and 95 feet, and two lanes are available up to 210 feet of draw down. If you look carefully toward the tree line (first picture) you can see where the floating docks are sitting on the paved ramp. Last year in November we were catching some trout by the middle of the paved ramp. The second picture is from the road above and is looking down at the exposed dirt and rock area where people are now parking their vehicles.
The picture of the three Shasta's (the Dam, the Lake and the Mountain) shows the overall "emptiness" of the Lake. At this time the lake level is about 123 down from the crest.

Click the pictures for a larger image.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Back to Lassen

I had a chance to get back up to Mount Lassen because of our beautiful fall weather. Almost 84 degrees today in Redding and was a little cooler in the mountains but very beautiful. We have had nice warm weather for a week now and it should stay this way for another week or so.

There are some nice large pines on the way up. They are beautiful in the sunlight with their mossy north side absorbing the fall sunlight.

Click images for a larger photo.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Climbing Mount Lassen

Yesterday my daughter and I drove to Mount Lassen to make our first climb. We had originally planned to do this two weeks ago but an early rain in the area brought snow to Mount Lassen and the roads were closed. With warmer weather returning to our area some of the snow had melted and the roads to the park were reopened.

We started our hike at the 8,500 foot elevation of the summit parking lot, (7 miles from SW. entrance, 22 miles from N. entrance) It is about a 2 mile (2,000 foot grade increase) uphill hike to reach the cratered summit of Lassen Peak at 10,457 Feet. The round trip distance is about 5 miles with a steady uphill grade of about 15%. During the winter, Lassen Park is well-known for having snow depths in excess of 50 feet, so this was a good time to climb.
The paths were covered with snow in only a few areas from the early snow storm. Only a few people were climbing today. The trail to the top of the mountain is maintained by the Park rangers and it’s comparable to a well established backpacking trail. The weather was warm and I was dressed in shorts. The weather was colder near the top and the winds were gusting about 25 miles an hour.

Lassen Peak (10, 456 feet), from the east, Lassen Volcanic Park, California. Lassen Peak, the southern-most volcano of the Cascade Range, is a volcanic dome formed of dacite. The sparsely-forested area in the foreground, called the Devastated Area, was destroyed by a lateral blast and ensuing large mudflow stemming during the 1915 eruptions. Lassen Peak last erupted in 1921.

Click pictures for a larger view. More pictures here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Raining now...

Shasta Lake's level was at 120 feet below the crest. First major rain storm of the season, should also bring snow. We ended up having rain most everyday this week with a couple of inches total.
This storm did bring snow to the higher elevations and both Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen got plenty of early snow.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sheep Killer

Coyotes can be a real problem for ranchers in most areas. They attack and kill the sheep grazing in the fields at night. Some ranchers deal with them this way. They kill them and hang them on the fence as a warning to other coyotes. I am not sure if the other coyotes understand the message. One thing is for sure. The coyote died a lot quicker than the sheep.
Click the image for a larger picture.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Olive Harvest

It is time for the olive harvest in northern California. The trees are loaded this year. Corning calls itself the "Olive City". Click the picture for a close up view of the branches heavy with olives. Olives are one of the few crops left that are picked by hand. California’s 2007 olive crop forecast is 112.0 thousand tons, more than 4 times larger than last year’s crop.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Camels in Red Bluff

I had an interesting sight today while delivering north of Red Bluff off of Jelly's Ferry Road. I saw a couple of camels and some water buffalo. Unfortunately the water buffalo were too far away to get a photo but I did catch a shot of one of the camels.
The dromedary camel is a large even-toed ungulate native to northern Africa and western Asia. It is often referred to as the one-humped camel, Arabian camel, or simply as the "dromedary".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Back to Platina

Today I journeyed back through the mountains to Platina for the second time this week. This time it was to the Wild Horse Ranch. R-Wild Horse Ranch is a family oriented recreational property. In this private facility you share with other owners in all that the outdoors has to offer at only a fraction of the cost of using comparable facilities.

A fully developed 14,080 acre recreational heaven in the center of Northern California's Shasta Cascade - 50 Mile Golden Circle of Recreation that you actually own and can use year around. R-Wild Horse Ranch is not a timeshare, membership, or vacation rental. It is open 365 days a year and available when owners want it - you may use R-Wild Horse Ranch as often as you wish, whenever you wish.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood

My route went up to Platina yesterday for a couple of deliveries. There was one that was much more interesting than the other though. I had to travel to the top of the mountain on a gravel road to get to the Brotherhood of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery. Beautiful scenery up there when you could see past the trees.

The Brotherhood was founded in 1963 in San Francisco, moving to Platina in 1969, by Fr. Seraphim Rose (+1982) and Fr. Herman. It received the blessing of St. John Maximovich (+1966). In 2000, the monastery was accepted into the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Brotherhood is self-supporting through the translation and publication of books on Orthodoxy. A periodical,The Orthodox Word is published bi-monthly. There are 22 monastics in residence.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fields of Rocks

In May 1914 Lassen Peak burst into eruption, beginning a seven-year cycle of sporadic volcanic outbursts. The climax of the episode took place in 1915, when the peak blew an enormous mushroom cloud some seven miles into the stratosphere. The reawakening of this volcano, which began as a vent on a larger extinct volcano known as Tehama, profoundly altered the surrounding landscape.

This field is on the way to Paynes Creek on Highway 36 out of Red Bluff. Miles and miles of acreage look like this surrounding Mount Lassen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


yes, buffalo. I was delivering up by Greenview, CA yesterday and passed a buffalo ranch. a couple and their calf were close enough to photograph. pretty interesting animals, also known as bison.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

End of Summer

Our weather has sure changed this past week. The few showers in Redding that whitened Lassen Peak and brought Redding its coolest temperatures since spring could double back on itself for an encore today, the last day of calendar summer. Snow levels dropped below Eskimo Hill (5933 ft) on Wednesday as the Canadian air moved over the north state. Redding escaped setting a record low maximum temperature for the date only because warmth from the day before carried over past midnight. On Friday, pre-dawn temperatures at the Redding Municipal Airport slipped below 50 degrees for the first time since early May.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mount Shasta

Yesterday I had some deliveries in the northern area. I went to a small farm in a rural area close to the city of Grenada. As I was unloading the packages I noticed their "back yard" view of Mount Shasta. It was quite beautiful and filled the horizon.

Coming home later that evening I got a nice shot of Mount Shasta still 'glowing' with the last of the sun's rays for the day. Not much snow left from this western view but a little remains on the north facing side. Larger pictures are available with the click of your mouse.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Almost Gone!

The level of Shasta Lake continues to drop and is now about 105 feet down from the crest.
Here are a few photos taken from the Jones Valley area and boat ramp on Labor Day,
September 3, 2007. You can see the water lines along the shore where the water should be. They have made a new boat launching facility way down near the water around the banks but it doesn't show in these pictures. Click the small pictures for a larger view.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oregon Coast

Lots of beautiful scenery along the Oregon coast. Plenty of light houses also.
The panographic shot was made of five images blended with a program called "autostitch". A must for photographers and hobbyists. Click images for a larger picture.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

The tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast at 93 feet, it is a sibling to Pigeon Point Lighthouse, California and Bodie Island Lighthouse, North Carolina. The light shines 162 feet above the ocean and can be seen 19 miles out to sea. The tower, made from 370,000 bricks from San Francisco, is double walled for insulation and dampness protection.
Ships passing close to Yaquina Head have reported their compasses going awry. While eerie, there is a simple explanation. There is a vein of magnetized iron in the outcropping on which the lighthouse sits. If a ship passes too close, a traditional compass will not give an accurate reading. A webcam is available here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oregon Vacation

Mount Hood (45.4N, 121.7W) is the tallest mountain in Oregon (11,237 feet, 3,426 m) and popular with skiers, hikers, and climbers. It is 45 miles (75 km) east-southeast of Portland, Oregon. Mount Hood is a stratovolcano made of lava flows, domes, and volcaniclastic deposits. The main cone of Mount Hood formed about 500,000 years ago. In the last 15,000 years the volcano has had four eruptive periods.

The lighthouse was commissioned on January 1, 1890. The tower stands 38 feet high and is the shortest lighthouse in the state. It is constructed of bricks (made right on site at a cost of $2,900) with iron plates (made in Portland and shipped by wagon) covering it. The original addition that now houses the interpretive shop was built in 1895 - the current interpretive shop replaced the original work room in 1978. The light was a five wick oil lamp with a reflector to increase the light. It was turned by a 200 pound lead weight that was wound by a system similar to a grandfather clock. It turned 2 ½ hours on one winding at a pace of 7 ½ revolutions per hour. The lens and iron housing weighed two tons complete. The two lamp oil houses held 3,240 gallons of oil in five gallon cans and were located east of the lighthouse. The walls were made 15 inches thick to protect the area from the danger of fire in the buildings.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Spending a little vacation time in Gig Harbor, Washington with some old friends. Has been dry here and sunny for a couple of weeks so we brought them some rain. Went to Seattle via the big ferry yesterday and did some downtown sight seeing. Will post some pictures later today.

Seattle's historic Pike Place Market is a popular destination for city residents and tourists alike, and it turns 100 years old this year! Located just off the waterfront, this multi-level building features dozens of artisans, vegetable growers, flower sellers, craftspeople and more. You can load up on organic produce or fresh seafood, or browse the unique gift and specialty shops.

There are also restaurants and brew pubs for your refreshment and dining pleasure. And right across the street is the first ever Starbucks Coffee Shop!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crater Lake - Like No Place Else on Earth

Crater Lake has inspired people for hundreds of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. The water is so blue that it looks like a velvet cloth instead of water.
Wizard Island is shown in the first picture.
Click the pictures to view a larger image.

Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, 100 miles (160 km) east of the Pacific Ocean. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot (3,660 meter) high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption.

Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches (1,354 cm) per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet (592 meters) deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Animals

I had several deliveries in the Yreka area today and saw some interesting sights. The alpaca ranch had some friendly critters and a couple of wonderful watch dog/caretakers. The dogs are raised as puppies with the alpacas and guard them and protect them from predators (and humans).

This house had two deer in the front yard as I drove up to make the delivery. I tried to be quiet, snapped a couple of photos, then quietly got out of the truck and the deer stayed around for another photo shoot.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Brush fire in Weed, CA. today.

Today on my way to Macdoel and Tulelake a 50 acre brush/forest fire started just south of the city of Weed, CA. Apparently no structures were threatened but it was moving close to the Roseburg Lumber Company's pile of logs. Tanker planes and helicopters were fighting the fire and I thought for a moment that highway 97 (the road I use going towards Oregon) would be closed. Mount Shasta is in the background.

The second picture shows the smoke and the view is entering Weed from the North on highway 97 on my way home late Monday afternoon.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Edge of the Storm

click on picture for larger image
My route extended all the way to Tulelake again on Thursday. I love the summer storms in the mountains. The rest of the sky is pure blue and the thunderclouds build up along the hill tops. There was even a little lightning but I was unable to capture it on film

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Strawberry Fields Forever

click picture for larger imageSounds like an old Beatles song doesn't it? My route went through Macdoel on Tuesday and I finally had the sun in the right position to get some shots of the strawberry fields. Lassen Canyon Nursery grows strawberry plants for both the commercial grower and the home gardener. Lassen Canyon Nursery grows plants for immediate sale at three high elevation locations. The proper latitude, topography and cultivation at high elevation assure LCN plants get optimum chilling and conditioning for transplanting. Short day varieties respond very well to the "treatment" that the high elevation gives them. Everbearing (day neutral) varieties are dug late October and stored for supplemental chilling and set in fruiting fields from mid to late November. The Macdoel ranch, on the southern end of Butte Valley, is the coldest spot suitable for farming in California.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Still going down...

It seems as I continue to write about the lower lake levels but I have been trying to get different views of the various boat ramps and docks to see where it is still possible to launch a boat.
Today I had a chance to get by the Centimudi Ramp and the water level today is down almost 80 feet.
Maybe it will be easier to catch fish as the water levels drop as they will be confined to less space.
ha ha ha
Maybe for some fisherman - I have a hard time catching them..