Heading north on I-5, just as Mt. Shasta comes into view, there is something that looks a bit like a massive pile of dirt in comparison.
Turns out, this pile of dirt (which also happens to be a volcano that last erupted an estimated 10,000 years ago) has a trail that leads to its summit, from which you are awarded with fantastic views of both Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy. Mr. Petite Peaker and I chose this less-traveled hike for the tail end of our trip to the northeastern part of the state. (I'm doing circles around Mt. Shasta. Some day, I'll do the magnificent fourteener itself.)
This a short but steep trail, kept in the moderate range because it is only about 2.5 miles each way. For the first 1.5 miles or so, it will seem like you are slowly winding your way around the mountain, almost making an uphill spiral. Once Shasta is behind you, Eddy will come into view. Just as you start to wind back around, the trail turns steeply and becomes a series of switchbacks on the Shasta side of the mountain for the last mile or so. There are parts of this portion of the trail that could be called a class 2 rock scramble, though for the most part I'd label this hike "class 1 annoying." Make sure your ankles are strong and your footing is sure! (Also: avoid if you are an arachnophobe.)
|One of the smoother parts of the trail, with a snow-covered Mt. Eddy in the background|
(and a shorter peak on Black Butte)
At the summit, there is the foundation of what used to be a more complete fire lookout tower, long since airlifted away. The views are breathtaking, though the graffiti made me a bit sad. Leave only footprints, people. Leave only footprints.
|The final approach with Mr. Petite Peaker ahead of me|
|Yes, that's a 420 smiley face with a joint - we missed the memo|