Friday, December 2, 2011

Lake Siskiyou Recreation Trail

Lake Siskiyou Recreation Trail is in northern California, near the town of Mt. Shasta, and winds its way around the body of water with the same name. According to Wikipedia, there is no certain origin of the unusual-sounding word (pronounced SISS-kew), but one version says that it is a Chinook Indian jargon for "bob-tailed horse"; another version says it is from the two French words "SixCailloux" meaning "six stones", because six large stones were used by early settlers to cross one of the rivers of that region.

Last year, the trail received a wonderful amenity, with the completion of the Wagon Creek Bridge, shown in this photo. The bridge came with a price tag of $2.8 million. According to news releases, the bridge was funded from several sources, including a $600,000 grant to the county, from the Redding-based McConnell Foundation. The majority of the funding came from $1 million of state alternate transportation funds, and $1.2 million of federal stimulus cash.

It is very appealing to go out over the water on this sturdily-built structure, and officials hope it will draw tourists from all over to enjoy it.

When crossing over the water, I was able to get photographs of folks enjoying another one of Lake Siskiyou's recreational benefits---fishing and boating. Lake Siskiyou is also known for its brilliant reflections of Mt. Shasta, especially on calm mornings. I did not get to witness that scene, which is a very good reason to return another time!

The bridge was designed to accommodate bicyclists, hikers, runners, and horseback riders. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the bridge or on the trail. We saw several bicyclists enjoy the smooth, wooden surface of the bridge when we were there.

There are numerous places to sit along the trail, both in the form of large boulders, as well as wooden benches. This gives you an opportunity to rest, meditate, or pose for a photo, as we are doing in this snapshot.

We saw lots of people walking, running, and biking with their dogs along the trail. It seems the trail is just as popular with the "canine clan" as it is with the two-legged clan. The lake provides a place for dogs to practice their swimming/retrieving skills, or just enjoy cooling off, after working up a sweat. It is also a great place for humans to swim on hot summer days.

The water marks on the grasses shows that the reservoir is doing its job of helping provide flood control. With the coming of snow, followed by spring melting, the lake level needs to be low at this time of year, so that it can accommodate the winter/spring water basin drainage from the surrounding Cascade Mountain Range. The low water levels of fall enable the south shore segment of the trail to be combined with the north shore segment of the trail, to make a continuous loop around the lake.

Parts of the trail have alternate routes, depending on whether the user wants to be next to the water, or further up the hillside through meadows and forests. The trail can be used year-round---it can be used in the winter months with and without snowshoes or cross-country skis.

One gets such a feeling of serenity when passing through the pine-needle carpeted path that meanders through the tall evergreen trees adjacent to the lake.

My daughter-in-law, Stacy, is shown in this photo with her special dog, Sadie. I felt extremely fortunate and very thankful to have Stacy as my guide, showing me the "ins and outs" of the Lake Siskiyou Recreation Trail. With Stacy as my guide, I was able to see points of interest along the trail that I might otherwise have missed, and I didn't get confused as to which way to go, when I came to crossroads along the trail. Being a good guide, she had also told me in advance that there were toilets along the trail, so I did not have to be concerned about "elimination" issues! The word "guide" reminded me of the verse in the twenty-third Psalm that says "He guides me in paths of righteousness", so I am likewise thankful to God for His guidance through His Word, guiding me through the "ins and outs" of the "trail of life", and keeping me from getting confused as to which way to go, when I come to crossroads along life's trail. If you would like to learn more about outdoor activities in this part of the country, log on to and review the abundance of information provided on their website. Since I volunteer some with the trail patrol of the Arkansas Master Naturalists ( ), I have an abundance of appreciation and gratitude to the Mount Shasta Trail Association for the volunteer work that they do to build trails, advocate for more access to trails/trail protection, and their work to conserve the natural beauty of the area. It's a great big beautiful world out there, so get out and enjoy it!! Miles of smiles! Tricia

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