It was Saturday, August 10th after my “Day of Weird.” I was rested and ready to go. The plan was to go to Mt. Shasta and see what this mystery mountain offered. However, due to severe thunderstorms, I played it safe. After all, for a mountain 14,000 ft. high it was probably a bad idea to journey there in the middle of thunder and lightning. Instead, I elected to check out what’s called the McArthur-Burney Falls in Burney, CA. It toted a 129 foot waterfall and, well, yes please.
I began my journey by driving downtown and checking out a coffee shop called Evergreen! I had a fruit waffle and a pina colada coffee. It was fantastic. Delicious. Heavenly.
Also, I bought two Pokemon stickers there because… gotta catch em’ all, right? Right. Anyway, the hour drive began and, well, it was cloudy and rainy. The Burney falls was going to be much wetter than usual.
After almost hitting a gray fox that found it acceptable to dash in front of my rental car (rude!), and a perilous journey where I’m very certain I drove through a raincloud, I made it.
Fun fact: You have to pay $10 to get into the park. Good thing I had cash!
Anyway, I put on my Marvel rain jacket a student gave me and made my journey to the falls.
Listen. I feel like I should have the proper adjectives to describe what awaited me. I am an English teacher, after all. But words simply cannot capture the sight of these falls. Pictures may try. There’s a lot. I have no shame. Love the pictures. Please take note the last one. You can see the falls and a very tiny me. It puts things in perspective, that’s for sure.
There was just something stunningly magical hearing the pounding roar of the falls, watching the white columns of water crash into the blue pool beneath it, feeling the cool mist kiss your face. It was absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t help but stand there and stare in absolute reverence. Again, how is California this beautiful?
Surprising myself, I climbed down at least 20 feet of rocks to get close to the freezing water. I mean, obviously I had to have a selfie in front of the falls. When a kind stranger offered to take my picture from afar, I was happy to race back down the rocks to pose. Could there have been snakes under the rocks? Probably. However, I’m trying not to let my fear of these legless demons control my experience. I am, after all, on an adventure.
This adventure also tempted me to play with the waterproof features of my camera and some of the macro settings too. Check out my experiments with foliage and pictures taken under water. Pretty nifty, if you ask me. You probably didn’t, but too bad. You’re getting the pictures anyway.
Once I was done admiring the falls, I walked the trail all around the falls. I paused at one point to try my hand at sketching the falls in my travel journal. An elderly woman sauntered up to me and said, “Oh! You’re sketching? Let me see.”
Ashamed, I said, “Well, I’m trying. I’m really not an artist. Like, at all.”
Nevertheless, she peered at my sketch. Her smile faltered and she said, “Oh, okay.” That was the last I ever heard from her. As I said, I’m no artist.
Anyway, the trail was beautiful, even though a lot of it evidenced storm damage. Actually, one path was closed to erosion and damage. Interesting, right?
I pushed myself to journey off trail for a little bit. Not too much, but enough to push past my fear of snakes. Yeah, I know. You’re probably reading this and muttering, “Uh, Josh, you should probably be more afraid of the mountain lions and the bears.” I mean you wouldn’t be wrong, I guess.
Yeah… you’re getting a lot of pictures in this post. That’s not likely to change anytime soon!
Anyway, once I completed my beautiful hike, I stopped at the visitor center and bought a hiking stick (which will make a guest appearance in Episode 8!).
The rest of the day hit another weird spot. I was literally super exhausted on the hour drive home. I drove through yet another rain cloud, which is not fun on twisty roads, might I add. I had to wonder if the waterfall put a sleeping spell on me. I was unexpectedly tired to the point where I was really struggling to stay awake while driving. It’s a miracle I made it back okay.
I’m not sure what hit me, but I told myself I was going to take a 2-3 hour nap and then go to a brewery.
I slept until 6AM the next day. Between my previous day and this unexpected sleepiness, I’m not sure what’s going on with my body. Let’s hope it’s done playing these tricks on me because, thanks, I hate it.
Well, next episode (which I hope to post later tonight/early tomorrow morning) will finally tell the tale of my first visit to Mt. Shasta (with my walking stick!). I don’t mean to overhype or anything, but I simply cannot wait for you all to read Episode 8. It. Is. Awesome.