I used to think I have visited most of the beautiful places of Northern California if not the whole of California but it was wrong when two years ago I first visited Redding to attend a Lions Clubs International Multiple District convention where I first glanced one of the stunning view of Mt. Shasta but at that time it was not in my schedule and had to return the next day so thought soon I will be visiting this place with my family. It took us two years to plan and visit the place which is one of Northern California’s fastest-growing new destinations for Hiking and wilderness camping.
A Story of Adventure- Heart Lake
During Covid-19 most of the outdoor activities are limited with a group of people but as a family member, we can visit maintaining physical or social distance. we were looking for safest place to visit during this pandemic . We checked various places to visit with a restricted goal to find the safest place. After checking our list of places to be visited we shorted out few of them and finally we unanimously decided to visit Mt. Shasta as most of us have not been to the place though most of us had been to Redding the nearest town. Here in this blog I am not describing the whole trip but a short hike to Heart Lake. we had rented a house(Airbnb) in the small lonely beautiful town of Mt. Shasta from where we can easily visit the different attractions of the place we were close to Lake Siskiyou and it was just as little as 7 miles to Castle Lake from where we were planning to go for a a day hike to Heart Lake which is situated just at the top of the Castle Lake.
Climbing high above the castle lake with a narrow path and lots of rocks and the small confusing trail was not easy for most of us as we had one child of less than 6 years who curious to hike with us. Just walking a few minutes we realized its an amazing hiking trail of approximately 3 miles distance with an elevation of 1175 feet with astonishing views of Mount Shasta, surrounding with green and deserted mixed trees with a stunning view of the Castle lake which is one of the three largest in the Klamath Mountains. we were altogether ten in our group but had an opportunity to meet a few more from Bay area that made the hike more exciting with a six-year baby girl who climbed to the top of Heart lake without any disturbance. It was so fascinating that we all made it without any difficulties; hats off to the little courageous baby girl for your strong will power to hike with us. you made your parents so proud.
As we crossed the Castle lake area which is surrounded by large trees open ups with rocking trails and desserts like wildflowers and shrubs with extreme heat and we started sweating and grasping with heavy breath as there is hardly any sheds to rest. As we climbed near to the top we realized that the trees thin out and the trail becomes rockier and more tough and stiff. but the mesmerizing views that we can witness from the trail made us feel cool and motivated us to walk further high up the hill of almost d3 miles long to view the Mt. Shasta, surrounding hills and of course the beautiful lake Castle just above from the Hear LakeOnce we were close to the heart Lake we lost our way and confused to locate . There was no signal to view the map from our smartphone. I thought the time when people had to find out their way without any navigation or map. But now we are so dependent to the GPS and the smart phone if we lost our way just for a second we get panic and loss our way of thinking, we have become so much dependent to the technology . Suddenly I realized the survival lesson I had learnt in my High school when I had an opportunity to attend 29 days track in Sikkim a small Hill states of India. We were taught a simple acronym STOP, which means Sit for a while, think rationally, obverse the surroundings and plan ahead with a cool mind. Just think in that situation you are not lost you are right there everything is right there just need to concentrate and focus to find a way out. We just had to rely on the track followed by other hikers and there was no one coming toward us. but finally, we found the footsteps of previous hikers that lead us to the Heart lake.
On our way I noticed the small trail heads toward a notch between the cliffs of Castle Peak and a small rocky hillock. meantime there were few hikers returning from the same trail and they told us we were almost there just need to cross that huge rock and you can see the Lake. That means we were almost there and looking desperately in the other direction. just ascending few minutes we found on the far side of the rock, the trail descends slightly to Heart Lake and the beautiful view of the surrounding including Mt. Shasta and Castle Lake. Finally, we were there where we wanted to be with a baby girl of six-year. https://youtu.be/rOreyLQC51A
After reaching there I realized that the Lake is small and one side with rocky hills, another side with wildflowers and from the open side we can see the Mt Shasta and Castle lake with extremely beautiful scenic trails that lead you to the best and finest views of Mt. Shasta one of the most spectacular mountains of California and its a rewarding hike to the Lake. If you are nearby or planning to the area don’t miss this short but one of the most mesmerizing spectacular lakes just above the Castle lake surrounded by rocky knoll, wildflowers, and lots of open space to view smaller peaks of the Mt Tehama as well as crater peak and Burney Mountain from this small lake.