Well, we made it. Our flight to Redding was delayed and we didn’t get off the ground until more than an hour later, but we touched down and cabbed over to the nearest motel and this morning we were up and away in our rental with our first stop to be the unfinished business of Castle Crags State Park.

Back in November of 2004 when we were up there for Thanksgiving, Susan and I got a late start hiking up the Castle Crags trail and were force to turn back about a mile in because of the falling of the night. Ever since I’ve been looking forward to the day we could return and finish the job and today was it.

It’s breathtakingly beautiful but it ain’t no easy stroll. At approximately three miles one way with an elevation gain of more than 2,000 feet you certainly have to work for it, but the gorgeous views of Mt. Shasta in the distance and the crags themselves upclose are well worth the effort. We even detoured to a side spot called Indian Springs where the mountain spring water literally comes pouring out of a fissure in this huge granite boulder. Amazing.

Anyway, here we are somewhere about 4,000 feet up in the crags:

[large version here]

We didn’t go absolutely positively all the way to the top, but where we turned around was fine with me in large part because it was hot and we were tired, but more importantly because we still had to drive hundreds of miles up to our destination tonight of Redmond in Oregon, which is where we are now safely ensconsed in our third-floor Motel 6 room that pleasantly surprised us a beautiful view of the sun setting over the Cascades — not to mention righteous and free high-speed wi-fi (thus this post).

Tomorrow, no hiking, but we are getting all backroady and expecting (fingers crossed) to end up in historic Baker City. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some internet with which to file my next report from there.