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Mount Shasta

Car Camping

Fowler Campground

Julia luxuriating at the campground

Five and one-half hours of driving 288 miles in our Toyota Prius Prime, and we had certainly had enough driving for one day. The Prime is a great car to take on a long trip as it’s comfortable and only consumes one gallon of gas for every 80 miles traveled. But, driving is driving and we were more than glad when we’d arrived at the Fowler Campground just off CA-89 and just south of Mount Shasta before night fall. It would have been much more difficult to set up camp in the dark, and it certainly got very dark, very fast.

Black Butte

Black Butte

Next day we were up and on the road again in search of hikes. Last year we hiked the hell out of Shasta National Forest and so we were looking for something new. This led us off the main roads and onto many a dusty, rocky, and unpaved track. As the car slowly got covered in dust and we found no sign of published trailheads, we both became more and more apprehensive. Eventually, we turn-tail and returned to paved roads without finding one trailhead.

We were discouraged, but decided to try and find the trailhead for the Black Butte summit hike. Black Butte is a cluster of overlapping dacite lava domes formed into a butte. It is a parasitic satellite cone of the Mount Shasta volcano. The lava domes were extruded at the foot of the cone of Mount Shasta following the period of its major eruptions about 9,000–10,000 years ago.

We once again left paved roads and bumped around for an hour or so on more dirt fire trails to no avail. We couldn’t find the trailhead for this hike either and returned to our camp very weary, discouraged, and disheartened.

Panther Meadows

This day we were more determined than ever to find a good hike and drove to the very highest point, one can drive to, on Mount Shasta: Albatross car park. From here we did indeed find the Panther Meadows trailhead and spent the day hiking the high ground just below the 14,000-foot summit of the majestic and snowcapped Mount Shasta. Along with the towering Mount Shasta peak we were surrounded by Black, Gray, and Green Buttes. The high meadows were alive with tiny desert flowers, riddled with bubbling brooks, and beautiful beyond belief.

This was the hike and the day we wanted. All our trials and tribulations were worth it to experience this grand day of hiking.


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