California’s Northern Mountains

After having explored the entire California Coastline it was time to go inland, up the mountains. The Northern Mountains are a great place to visit if you want to avoid crowds and cherish nature. I loosely followed Lonely Planet’s “California’s Best Trips” recommendation of the Volcanic Legacy Byway, adjusting it to my schedule.

Lassen National Forest

Lassen was stunning. It was incredible to see how little people were visiting this place on such wonderful sunny days. I was fortunate enough to have my sister Tania visiting during this trip-sharing all this magic and beauty.

After dinner we drove on the 32 from Chico, where we got our provisions for the trip at Chico Natural Foods Cooperative. We spent the night in my camper on a beautiful spot not very far away from the highway… amazing to wake up to.

That morning we headed up to Lassen Volcanic National Park, stopping by the visitor center. Driving up the gorgeous scenic byway we checked out Sulphur Works and hiked up a steep slope to a beautiful, quiet lake. Top sights were Mt. and Lake Helen and a sunset hike around Manzanita Lake to appreciate Lassen Peak. Don’t give up when you start this hike, you will only see the spectacular views when you’re on the opposite side of the parking (halfway) across the lake.

As the sun was setting, we kept driving north through Old Station and eventually west towards Mount Shasta. As we were reaching McCloud, where we planned on spending the night, my car started making a horrible noise so we pulled over. I turned the engine off and waited a little bit. When I turned it back on, the noise was worse than ever. Luckily I was able to find a tiny bit of signal and called AAA who came to the rescue an hour later. It was 8:00pm, so we made dinner while waiting. The advantage of having your home (and kitchen) on wheels.

We did not get to explore the McCloud area since getting to a mechanic the following morning was going to be easier in Shasta. Unfortunately we had to skip some sights like McCloud Waterfalls.

Mt. Shasta

At Shasta City, formely known as Berryvalle, we were able to get my car fixed-luckily it was nothing serious, just the belt tensioner pulley flying off and getting lost amidst the dark highway. So I got it replaced.

There is a very mellow and friendly vibe in Shasta. This is a go-to place for holistic healing. I found a fantastic store, Soul Connections, filled with all kinds of crystals, spiritual and healing tools. If you’re into this realm, you will (and should) easily spend a few hours in here.

Berryvalle Grocery was our go to market. They have a delicious juice bar and make fresh food daily with a comfortable seating area.

After my truck was ready to keep climbing mountians, we went up Mt. Shasta for some incredible hikes: Panther Meadows where we found a Garden of Edenesque area with a natural spring, and Grey Butte for a great steep hike and killer view of Mt Shasta. I encourage everyone to be a responsible hiker and leave no trace. Don’t leave anything that didn’t grow there and stay on designated trails to protect fragile ecosystems. Always do your best to contribute to preserving our amazing planet earth.

Down the mountain, there is another great little hike at Spring Hill, with extraordinary views of Mt. Shasta. Every angle you view Mt. Shasta from adds to the magic…

At Mt Shasta City Park, you can collect Shasta drinking water from the spring. This spring feeds many lakes on its way down to the Sacramento River.

The next day we headed north to visit Belcampo Farms. I first visited a Belcampo shop in Los Angeles during my last trip and learned they raise their livestock at the foothills of Mt. Shasta. Belcampo makes, in my opinion, the tastiest medicinal bone broth I’ve ever tried. As I sipped it, I could feel it nourishing and regenerating my intestinal tract… It’s pretty serious. Belcampo uses organic and sustainable methods feeding and treating their livestock. They rotate the livestock frequently across their lands in order give both the land and the animals the best possible environment. James, the farm director, was very kind to give us a tour of the beautiful farm and teach us about these methods. Some livestock are fed with highly nourishing grasses like alfalfa and clover in order to give the meat excellent taste and nutritional value.

A lot of people advocate for vegan or vegetarian diets and I respect everyone’s decision as we all have different needs. I am a Nutritarian, eat a plant based diet and am in tune enough with my body to understand what it needs (including animal products) at any given moment. There is no right or wrong diet, just listen to your body and nourish it accordingly. I suggest you always find the best quality food possible, whatever it is. If you get to visit the farm or source and see where what you are consuming is coming from, even better. This applies to anything you put in or on your body: Know your nourishment.

This basically sums up my trip to the Northern Mountains-it was an awesome experience and particular vibe in this side of the state. If you’ve also visited and have any great tips, please comment below. If you are planning a visit and have any questions, feel free to ask for relevant advice.

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