Many travelers have a roadtrip through California in the USA high on the wish list. Logical, because California has so much beauty to offer! Known for its megacities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, beautiful beaches and even a piece of legendary Route 66. Also the national parks, such as Sequoia and Yosemite National Park attract millions of visitors each year. But a little further up, in the northern part of California, lies a hidden gem: Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
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Shasta Trinity National Forest
In the very northern part of California, near the state line with Oregon, is California's largest national forest: Shasta Trinity National Forest (Google Maps location here ).
With its almost 900.000 hectares, hundreds of lakes and 5 wilderness areas, it is a true nature experience! This area is a paradise for anyone who enjoys fishing, horseback riding, hunting, climbing or hiking. Because of the many walks we also ended up here on our roadtrip by the US.
In October 2021 my friend Ryan and I (Ilse) left on a roadtrip by America. We started walking the Pacific Crest Trail, but severe wildfires in California made it impossible to continue hiking. In September 2021, it was announced that all national parks in California will be closed due to the Dixie Fire. In fact, this seat of fire became the second largest fire in US history!
Out of necessity, we made a plan B: We rent a car and drive to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We were due to arrive there in mid-November to celebrate Thanksgiving with Ryan's family. We rented a white Toyota 4-Runner, built a bed in the back of the car and left with the horizon: On the road!
Natural Disasters in the US – The wildfires in the US are getting worse and worse every year. Unfortunately, wildfires are no exception in the US: The West Coast – and in fact the entire west – often suffers from wildfires during the summer months. But according to locals, the fires start earlier and earlier, last longer and are difficult to fight.
California especially suffers from this, with its extreme droughts. Keep this in mind when you visit California: You may have to change your plans because of the extreme natural conditions.
The Mystery of Mount Shasta
Fortunately, the fires in Shasta-Trinity were under control at the time. The first days of our roadtrip we spent here. In Shasta's City Park we took some time to rest, stretch and play some Frisbee – being in a car is pretty hard on the muscles!
Here you can also drink delicious fresh spring water, flowing straight from the mountain. Many believe that this spring water has magical powers. We saw some people fill their cars with dozens of large water bottles.
This park is also a meeting place for artists, yogis, hippies and other like-minded souls. Shasta is an absolute spiritual attraction! But as beautiful as the forest and lakes are, most tourists are here for the dominant Mount Shasta. This mountain is the absolute icing on the cake and is more than worth a visit…
At night we slept at the foot of Mount shasta† We found a beautiful camping spot in the woods in a clearing. On the way Ryan told me more about this mysterious mountain. Native Americans have worshiped this place for centuries.
Different indigenous tribes and cultures have legends and myths about this mountain. So would the great mind Shell made this mountain. He lives on top of the mountain and oversees earthly life.
The mountain is the symbol for creation and life. Therefore, many honor the mountain with rituals and sacrifices, to this day. But not only the indigenous tribes attach importance to the mountain: also fans of the spiritual and the extraterrestrial come to visit this mountain.
The mountain and its many inhabitants
While cooking on our new stove – long live Walmart! – we listened to a radio show about the mountain range. They spoke of the legend of the Lemurians, an ancient people whose land sank into the ocean. The Lemurians decided to build a new city under, yes, Mount Shasta. This underground city, called Telos, is said to still exist today.
Every year eyewitnesses emerge who made contact with the Lemurians: large, elf-like beings with spiritual powers. So it will come as no surprise that the area is bursting with gemstone shops, yoga retreats, psychics and palm readers.
If that wasn't enough, stories about UFOs and Bigfoot are also circulating. I'm open to a lot, but as a semi-sober Belgian I didn't quite know what to make of all this.
After dinner we crawled into our sleeping bags and admired the starry sky until we fell into a deep sleep. When I woke up at night to pee, I was extra wary, but everything went peacefully!
The next morning we woke up gently and looked up at the mountain top. When I saw this dormant volcano in the early morning, with some rosy clouds hovering around the top… I almost believed the stories.
Also read: Overland in America and Canada | The ultimate roadtrip prepare route
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