Dan and I scheduled time at Toad Hollow so we could make some progress on the laundry room project. Over a year ago, we started the remodel of this room, installing a new washing machine, dryer, larger electric water heater, and added a sink. This trip, it was our ambitious plan to finish the walls and ceiling, but as it turns out, we made far less progress on the room than we expected. The beadboard is now on the walls, the window is trimmed in, but the paint and ceiling will have to wait.
The end of May turned out to be ideal weather for hiking and exploring the beautiful Shasta Cascades. On our first day here, we decided that finding Cliff Lake was far more important than any project, so we ate a quick breakfast, packed a lunch, and headed out. With Steve’s directions, finding the right dirt road turned out to be easy. The promised “painted spot” on the road wasn’t there, but once we turned in, his description of the rough spot before seeing the wide spot that looked like a parking lot, matched what we were seeing. Steve had explained that this was the worst part of the road, so once our trusty Subaru bounced over the big boulders, we breathed a sigh of relief. That is, until the next boulders, then (ditches) stood before us. As it turns out, Steve described the road from the perspective of driving a jeep in. When we reached Cedar Lake and spotted the Dam, we made the wise decision to park the car, and walk the rest of the way in. The dam consisted of about 100 yards of very large boulders, that even a jeep would have to have an experienced driver. The walk in to Cliff Lake was quiet and peaceful, and after the bumpy ride to Cedar Lake, it felt great to have our feet on the ground.
Before long, we found ourselves at Lower Cliff Lake, then after taking in the beauty that only a high mountain lake can provide. Eventually, we continued our hike up to Cliff Lake. It was not quite warm enough for swimming, but we soaked up the absolute quiet and fresh air, and captured some of the beauty with the camera. After our perfect little lunch of carrots, almond butter, and apples, we walked back to the car, stopping along the way so I could very carefully choose the perfect rock to remember the hike by.
It was still early in the day when we got back to the paved road, and not being ones to pass up beautiful mountain lakes, we decided to add Heart Lake to the days events. It wasn’t until about half way up, that I remembered what a difficult hike it is, but since I was already about half way, it made more sense to continue on, than to turn around. I have to admit that I wondered if that was the right decision a few times before making it to the top, but once we arrived, any regrets were soon forgotten.
Climbing the ridge that overlooks the lake, it was obvious that we had the place to ourselves. While Dan and Duke explored the area, I chose to spend my afternoon in the sun, relaxing on the large rock, soaking up the sun. Heart Lake was not as beautiful as I had remembered from my first time of going there. It was even more beautiful!
Since had the entire place to ourselves, Duke and I napped on the rock, while Dan wandered around and took photos of the beautiful views and flowers. Nearly asleep, a sound caused me to open my eyes, only to see two Bald Eagles gliding in the breeze overhead.
This is a difficult hike, but if you are up to it, there is nothing else like it.