Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Waterfall Winner Is: Burney Falls, Burney CA

Tuesday 9/8/09 In recapping our sightseeing day...not much went RIGHT. Our first plan of the day was to go and explore Lake Shasta Caverns The literature says the tour starts off with a catamaran ride across Lake Shasta, followed by a bus trip to the caverns and then they take you on a tour through the caverns. We showed up about a half hour before the 11 am tour & the sign on the door said, if you have bad knees or a bad back....tell us! So of course we told them about Will & asked what problems were involved and they said.......... 700 steps! My gosh, even if you didn't have bad knees or a bad back 700 steps were just too many for us. We said thank you and turned around and left. As we were getting into the car I couldn't help but notice some of the people waiting for the tour to start and God Bless them....if they made it.

Oh well, second on our list for the day was take the Shasta Lake Dam tour that they offer 4 times a day for free. The literature says you must be there 1/2 hour before the tour starts and we missed the 11 am tour so will now go on the 1 pm our lunch there & take the tour. On our way there we took the "scenic route" where you can stop at a lookout point an see the "three Shasta's"...Mt Shasta, Lake Shasta and Shasta Dam. What an impressive sight that was, I bought the postcard of that one.

When we arrived at the Dam we were told by the visitors center that due to "problems" with the generators all tours have been cancelled until further notice. We looked at each other & said, "your kidding" but he wasn't. They said we could watch a movie that SHOWED a dam tour which actually turned out to be an episode of California Gold. It was well done but we of course would have rather taken the tour as they take you down an elevator 43 floors below the dam. After the movie, we had our lunch at their picnic tables and then took a walk (no cars allowed but you can walk out there) across the dam to the spillway. This is really an awesome the literature they said, the concrete used in this dam would build a 3 ft wide sidewalk around the world...that's a lot of cement. The lake is very low (aren't they all?) and it was very quiet on the lake as it was the day after the Labor Day holiday. A beautiful and very impressive sight.

We decide to move on to the third item of the day...Wiskeytown, CA which boasts they have 4 waterfalls. Will remembers visiting this place in the early 70's and wants to go back. Because Redding has the same temperature range as Fresno it is now pretty warm & pushing 100 degrees. It's not to far and we soon arrive at the Visitors Center for Wiskeytown only to discover that Wiskeytown is now underwater due to the construction of a dam & lake in the area. And the waterfalls.....3 of them are rated difficult and the mileage of the trails are 3 to 5 miles. There is only one waterfall that has a fairly easy trail to it. We take the literature, get back in the car and say the "hell with it, let's go home & turn the A/C on & call it a day...which we did. I must say this was the first time in this entire trip we have been shut down on everything...which is probably incredibly lucky. Home we went to feed the ducks & Canadian Geese that live in the Sacramento River where we are parked. We sat our with our neighbors, LaVar & Lonnie, a very nice evening.

Wednesday 09/09/09 Today we are headed for McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, Burney, CA. Will says he has also visited this waterfall & just remembers that it's spectacular. Now this will be a long driving day as you head out east on hwy 299, north on hwy 89 then back south on hwy 89 pass Hat Creek and Old Station, swing by Lassen Volcanic Park & back to Redding on hwy 44...Will estimates it will be 150 miles round trip....but they say Burney Falls is worth it. We pack up our trusty picnic lunch and head off about 10 am, for whatever reason we just can't seem to get going any earlier than that. The country is amazing here, in Redding it is so hot and just outside you start climbing in elevation and it cools off. It takes nothing to be in the "trees" and manzanita around here.

Finally we arrive at the State Park which cost $7 for our "senior car" to enter the park. Of course Will says nothing is the same, he doesn't remember it being a State Park or having to just drove up to the Falls & saw it. He was right about that....the Falls are located a very short distance from the entry point of the park. We parked our car at the closed Visitors Center and headed to the lookout point. I was not ready for this incredible sight...but hands down Burney Falls is the Waterfall Winner of the Great Adventure Trip of 2009...... Absolutely beautiful, it is incredibly unique and they say the most popular waterfall in northern California. This waterfall is spring fed and 100 million gallons of water per day flow over the 129 ft falls. We estimated the width was at least a football field which included 2 very strong waterfalls (the main ones) then halfway up there is seepage from the basaltic rock which creates its own waterfall. More amazing is that one half mile upstream, is dry during the summer months. All this water is flowing into a gorgeous pool at the bottom that I can only describe as the "turquoise color of Hawaii water." It then flows into a stream that empties into Lake Britton some ways down.

They have a beautiful 1.2 miles round trip trail that loops around the falls but is very steep at the end so we decide to walk down by the falls pool. From the top of the falls to the bottom the temperature changed enough that we had to put our sweatshirts was that much cooler plus spray at the bottom. As you follow the path away from the falls, along the stream it gets warmer again. We walk aways until we come to a bridge that crosses the stream & the trail started uphill....we then turn round and go back. Actually, just being down at the bottom of the falls is really "the very best!" We then returned to the car, drove through the tents & RV campsites, drove down to the lake which had a nice sandy beach and then headed out of the park.

Continuing on hwy 89 we stop at Hat Creek RV Park & Campground. In visiting with our neighbors LaVar & Lonnie, Lonnie told us she grew up in Hat Creek & her mom & dad owned the store, the RV park & I'm sure other property around there and actually she stills retains ownership of it today. So we enjoyed visiting the RV Park which was quite nice, we saw the post office where her mother was postmistress & the store they owned. We then headed back through Old Station, Shingletown and back to Redding. A full day but Burney Falls was certainly worth the drive....if ever you get a chance to see this waterfall.....don't miss it!!!!

Well we are home, and it has cooled off, LaVar is feeding the ducks day old popcorn, Will is down in the hot tub at the pool & I'm finishing up the blog for the day. Another good day in our great adventure. Much love to all family and friends. Nancy update: I received one picture of the gorgeous view from their room and the calendar says they have been to Ravello, Praiano & Sorrento...that's all I know.

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