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McCloud Trip, August 28, 2009

McCloud Lower Falls
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

We had a very nice trip to the McCloud house a few weekends ago for Lilli's birthday. Met my parents up there, and Madison and Catie joined us on Saturday morming.

Saturday afternoon we did a little driving tour of the falls. We started at the Lower Falls, which you can see here. The water is mostly Mt. Shasta run off, so it's really cold even in the summer. Even so, there's usually someone brave enough to jump off the lower falls into the deep pool below. That day was just us and a few fishermen, so nobody jumping this time.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

We met this little buddy at the Lower Falls scavenging for snacks. He hung out long enough to allow me to take this photo, then scurried away.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Mark is, as always, taking some beautiful nature photography as well. He got some great shots of the falls here, and some really neat panoramic shots later on in the trip.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The area around Mt. Shasta has traditionally been supported by logging. McCloud itself had its own mill. Occasionally you see downed trees, though it's not nearly as often as before.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's a pretty view of Mt. Shasta from the Middle Falls trail. Almost everywhere we go up here we can see the mountain. It's peaceful and majestic, and looks so vibrant in the fall. There's very little snow up there right now though, so it will be even more stunning in a few months.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the gang, hiking the short trail in to Middle falls. We brought Lilli's dog Sweetie with us, and she was having the best day ever!

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's middle falls, which we've visited before from a different angle. Last spring we hiked the half mile from lower falls to middle falls along the river, and we got some pictures of middle falls from the river level below it. Here we're above at the observation trail, and we got some great photos this time as well! Mark got the coolest of them with the nice camera though.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The bro and his lovely girlfriend Catie, who are absolutely 2 of my favorite people to spend time with. Cute as always.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Mom, Dad, Catie, and Madison getting a better look at the river along the trail.

We're not far from the area where I fell into a fire pit that was not completely extinguished and burned my hand when I was a child. The guy only covered his fire over with gravel, which is obviously very dangerous. You're required to fully extinguish camp fires in the mountains. The worst part was the guy was no more than 10 yards from the river, so getting water to pour on the fire was not a difficult task. Luckily, my parents thought fast and dunked my hand in the icy waters of the river, and wrapped my hand in fabric they kept soaked with cold water while they took me to the emergency room. If it weren't for this, my hand would have been badly scarred, but I've got almost none. There's just one tiny scar in the middle of my palm from this incident.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's mark snapping a shot at Upper Falls. It's so vivid and green out here that I always go home feeling filled up and refreshed. Plus, the air smells great up in the mountains, and especially near the moving water.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

The majestic size of the pine trees reminds me of how small I am. The trees reach straight up and stand so firm and still. Nothing like going to the woods for a little perspective.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Nature is good. <3 The Upper falls aren't as drastic a jump as the others, but there are several areas of movement and action. This area has quite a few little patches of falling water, like this one. The water almost looks pretend in the camera lens, but in person it encompasses the entire area. The sound is vibrant, bright, and crisp, but still soothing and relaxing. Droplets of water are caught on the breeze created by the force of movement and mist onto your skin. The sun reflects off a million facets of the river. It's breathtaking.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Sweetie was definitely having the best day ever! She loves to walk outside, and was so caught up in her surroundings that she kept running into our feet. Look at that big grin on such a little sausage.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

A little further up river is Lakin Dam, which has a completely different feel than just a few miles downhill. The water is still and smooth, which creates a feeling of calm along the back end of the dam.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I took this photo from off the top of the cement pathway along the edge of the dam. Let me tell you how focused I was on keeping my balance! I love the feeling of being close to the edge, but also don't enjoy the thought of falling several feet onto jagged rocks, then being soaking wet when I finally pull myself from the river. Being above the moving dam also makes you feel like the wall is constantly moving, so I only spent a few minutes up there. It was certainly worth it though!

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

My dad and brother were also atop the dam with me. Isn't the view great? They're looking off to the smooth side, but I also love the rushing water falling behind them.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Sweetie had a good hike, and so did we! But it was hot out. and we were all pretty tired. Time to go home!

Madison and I made dinner for everybody, Madison and Catie made dessert, we had a few drinks, and we all watched Benjamin Button. Such a nice mellow evening. :)

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here we are (except Mom and Dad) in front of the house on Sunday before starting our drives home. Thanks McCloud, we'll see you next time!

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