Summer 2013: Sierras, Cascades & Rockies travel blog

Olive tree 1

Olive tree 2

Olive tree 3

Sculpture and bridge - a monument to Park & Arboretum founders; looking...

Sculpture is a gnomon or sundial pointer; looking west

Sculpture - looking south

Sculpture looking east from Arboretum

Sculpture - a Monument to Water

Inscription at base of Sculpture

Water Sculpture detail - a spring

Water Sculpture detail - stream

Garden sculpture 1

Garden sculpture 2

Statue of bird

Statue of toad

Tree with spiny needles for leaves

Fungus on live tree


Water lilies

Mt Lassen


Glacial erratic boulder (moved and deposited by glacier)

The eye

White pines in clusters

Dying white pine

Water melon algae is source of red color on the snow


It was raining when we went to bed on June 24th and it was still raining when we got up June 25th. It rained while I prepared the trailer for the move to Shingletown and it rained intermittently from Shingle Springs until we were heading north from Sacramento on I-5. The rain stopped and the clouds began lifting as we continued north and we had brief sunshine when we reached Redding where we turned east toward Shingletown.

An agricultural area between Sacramento and Redding produces olives. There were large orchards of olive trees along the highway for 40 miles or more. There were some very old olive trees at a rest stop in this area. The size and shapes of these trees was fascinating.

And, of course, it was raining hard when we arrived at the Mt Lassen KOA at Shingletown – so on with the rain coat to unhook and setup. The rain stopped about an hour after I finished setup, and it was clear the next morning. But the rain started again by midmorning and lasted most of the day.

At least it was cool at Shingletown at an elevation of 3800 ft. On the other hand, the weather forecast for Redding was increasing temperatures, from upper 80s to upper 90s and above. (Redding is about 3000 ft lower than Shingletown). With the intent of avoiding the higher temperatures, we decided to visit the Arboretum in Redding on June 27th.

The Arboretum is part of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park along the Sacramento River. The source of the name “Turtle Bay” for the Park is uncertain; except that once a saw mill with the name “Turtle Bay” was located on the site. The 300 acre property was purchased by the Carl and Leah McConnell Foundation in 1993 and dedicated to the city.

The entrance to the park is located on the south side of the river which includes a museum and animal displays. The Arboretum is located across the river and is reached by a special bridge gifted to the city by the designer. At the north end of the bridge is a tall memorial sculpture by the same designer honoring the McConnell’s.

The memorial sculpture, a gnomon (or sun dial pointer), is spectacular.

We spent about two hours in the Arboretum which also had some interesting sculptures and statues. The largest and most impressive was a monument to fresh water. The inscription at its base reads “WE USE 70% OF OUR FRESH WATER FOR AGRICULTURE”,

There were a series of “garden” sculptures by a Japanese artist but we were only able to get usable pictures of two as they were in the deep shade.

There were a number of statues as well and we especially liked the bird and the toad.

The Arboretum is a work in progress but we did see several interesting items: a tree with spiny leaves, a mushroom, and a fungus growth on a tree limb.

We also visited the museum and found it to be a hands-on science exhibit for the most part. There is a play ground and day camp area for children adjacent to the museum.

We walked out to the animal exhibit but we missed the scheduled show. The walkway was elevated over a swampy area that was mostly dry. We did see a family of wild skunks though; there were six little skunks. We were glad to be above them on the walkway.

June 28th was the day we toured Mt Lassen National Park. Mt Lassen is the volcano at the south end of the Cascade Mountain Range. The Cascades are a range of volcanoes extending some 700 miles from Mt Lassen northward into southern British Columbia.

Most of the taller volcanoes will be visible during the remainder of our trip north. Mt Rainer is the tallest, but not as spectacular as others, at least to us. We prefer the cone shape and symmetry of Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood in Oregon.

The northern Cascades have steep, rugged peaks of granite similar to the Sierra’s and Rockies. Later in our trip we will be visiting North Cascades National Park located along the border with Canada.

July 2nd, our next stop will be at Diamond Lake, which is near Crater Lake NP, an extinct volcano. We pass Mt Shasta along the way.

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