I arrived in Mount Shasta in April of 1981. I came here with a deep love of nature and wild places, but more I came as a photographer. Though Mount Shasta lies just east of Interstate 5–the main artery of the west–it is surprising how many people have no idea where it is located. We are situated 60 miles south of the Oregon border and, along with Lassen Peak, form the southern extremity of the Cascade Range. With its volcanic origins and incredible diversity, the photographic opportunities here are limitless. Mount Shasta, at 14,179 feet, dominates the landscape for hundreds of miles in every direction. Lassen Volcanic National Park, which erupted violently in 1915, is a reminder that the Cascades are very much alive and active. Castle Crags, a few miles south of Mount Shasta City, offers a little piece of Yosemite-like grandeur, while the Klamath National Wildlife Refuges to the northeast see the migration of millions of birds every Spring and Fall.
Siskiyou (pronounced Sis-Q) County, in which Mount Shasta resides, boasts 7 wilderness areas–including the Mount Shasta, Castle Crags, Trinity-Alps, and Marble Mountain Wilderness Areas. Towering peaks, pure, rushing streams, and a California climate make living here ideal. We recently celebrated Fourth of July all across America, and in the interest of celebrating our nation’s independence several years back, I spent three days skiing solo on Mount Shasta’s northeast side. Aside from the backcountry ranger who skied up to my tent to say hello, I didn’t speak to another human being for three days–and this, on the busiest holiday of the season. It’s that kind of place–relatively uncrowded and wide open.
All the seasons offer their reasons to visit the Mount Shasta area. As a skier and photographer, Winter is my personal favorite. Few things in life are more beautiful than the natural world freshly cloaked in snow. And that Winter light! But it’s Summer now and the livin’ is easy. The meadows are lush and vibrant with wildflowers, and the backcountry lakes are accessible.
I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.
Until next time, happy image-making…