Water Levels High Around Mount Shasta
By hikemtshasta.com, 01/20/2016
The North State has seen a strong series of storms pass through the region, dropping lots of snow and rain along the way. Not only has snow fallen on the higher elevations but it has come in abundance at the lower elevations as well. This is an enormous blessing for the entire state since the water that falls up here is, through the agency of federal Central Valley Project, distributed throughout the rest of California. Up until the last few days, most of the precipitation has fallen as snow. Then, on Sunday, the temperature rose and a hard, sustained rain began to fall. Though there were breaks in the storm, this continued for three days. Other than a hot day, nothing melts snow like a warm rain and melt the snow has. While the high elevation areas still have plenty of snow, the lower areas have seen a significant decrease in the amount of accumulated snow. Here are two images of my backyard as an example. The first is from last Friday, the 15th. The second is from this morning, the 20th.
The gullies, streams, creeks and rivers are all swollen with run off at this time. Whether or not it is still raining, now is a great time to get out and hike along one of the trails that flank a creek or river. The allure of raging water is difficult to deny. Those along the Sacramento River are particularly dramatic and none may be more so than the short trail along Hedge Creek. The falls are engorged, with numerous secondary cataracts cascading over the columnar basalt. The trail behind the falls is still passable and the creek below the falls is a swirling monster of fast moving water. The overlook above the river gives an excellent perspective on the Sacramento River.
The fury of the water is humbling. The pounding as it hits the rocks, the thunder of the impact and the spray thrown from the falls is quite impressive. Getting closer to the Sacramento River is also a worthy experience. Where the falls are kinetic and loud, the river is surging and almost quiet in its enormous power. It is almost understated, but standing next to it, feeling the pulsing drive of the water is exhilarating.
Despite the hard rain, there have been times over the last couple days when the clouds cleared and Mount Shasta was visible again. That was the time to get out, carry on, and enjoy the white mountain once again.