I hate the I-5 corridor. Driving from the SF Bay area to Portland, it’s hard to avoid. Thankfully, along its route some surprising respits await. One occurs as you climb the Dunsmuir Grade toward Mt. Shasta; leave behind the sun-bleached grasses of the Sacramento Valley and breathe deep the mountain air. Take a glimpse over your left shoulder and you’ll see the dramatic pluton that gives its name to a campground, hiking, and climbing area: Castle Crags State Park.
If you exit the freeway here, exit at sunset and climb to Vista Point. From that vista you can see alpine-glow on Mt. Shasta,the most massive volcano in the Cascade Range; or watch the day’s last rays select granite spires on the Castle Crags and spin them into gold. Or, you can watch the western horizon and the developing sunset, shadows, and the silhouette of a distant serpentine peak in the southern Siskiyou Mountains.
One of life’s more difficult choices, indeed.