Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shasta Lake Camping Trip Part 2

What a wonderful way to wake up each morning.  Our tent allows us either the option to have a cover (for rain) or to have a mesh "sun roof" to keep it cool during the day and to see the stars at night without the threat of mosquitoes.  Now for years, the Shasta Lake map as well as the other tourist information would tell us there are no mosquitoes on the lake.  Yea right!!!  
So as mentioned in the previous post, it was pretty hot (100-degree plus).  This means that the lake is normally warm and you know that the fishing will be sketchy but the swimming is going to be awesome.  And swim and fished we did.
Our first day of swimming and fishing started at the Gooseneck.  Mind you we haven't been up this far on the Sacramento Arm since we used to go on Margus  Houseboats out of Sugarloaf Marina. 
 This picture kind of puts perspective though on how high the water was in July.  When we went, the lake level was 15 feet from the spillway.  In this picture, if you look closely, you will see a little island (a patch of rock that doesn't fit against the shore).  When we would go on the houseboat in May when I was younger, this little island was much bigger and was sometimes attached to a peninsula. 
This location is part of a campground where people can camp on the shore.  There are pit toilets, but that is it.  It is pretty rustic.  The problem with this location was that the shore was pretty muddy and pretty shallow. 
So we decided to go up the arm a bit, to Sugarloaf area.  Here the water was perfect.  The water dropped off pretty quickly so, the water was warm up to 10 feet from the shore and cooled down the farther you went.  Mt. Shasta had a lot of snow still on it, so the lake water was not too warm and was very refreshing.
This ended up being our favorite swimming area, easy shore access and very little issue from ski boats since we were close to a wake zone. 

Also we got to see a couple of eagles fishing in the lake.  One dove into the lake, caught something big, and ended up swimming to the shore with the fish in tow. 

So this trip was about camping and relaxing and I kind of figured we wouldn't catch much if anything.  We did fish in the early evening and we also went to Packers Bay where I knew had great shore access and at least we could stare at the fish we were not catching.  And they stared back.  But the kids had fun.  Sophie was a bit disappointed though.  She had gotten spoiled last year when we went fishing in Eastern Washington.  She limited as well as got a hold of a "whopper" that broke free close to shore.  At least she could see the fish.

What I like most about this lake is that you can go anywhere on the lake and see some beautiful country.  Each arm of the lake is different.  The last day on the lake we went fishing next to a railroad bridge.  It was gorgeous.

We began this trip not having taken a camping trip with the kids and a bit apprehensive on the the length of time we had booked our site.  We quickly found that it was not quick enough.  The kids, Beth, and I  truly had a wonderful time.

What made this trip even special was that I was able to talk to my grandfather about the trip when we got back.  I talked with him about the lake level, that we didn't catch any fish but how that was OK. How the kids swam and about I talked with him about how special the lake is to the family and especially to me and thanked him for taking us on the lake. 

My grandfather died the following week and I will miss him very much.  However, every time I go to Shasta Lake I will continue to think about him and what this place meant to him.  I am happy that he exposed me to a place that I can now share with my family and create new memories for them to share  and a place they knew was very special to their great grandpa.

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