Category Archives: Cassell

Burney Mountain Guest Ranch an oasis for PCT hikers

The Burney Mountain Guest Ranch is becoming a favorite stop for many Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

Main Lodge

The ranch is located just one fourth of a mile off the PCT at mile 1407.2 on the trail. It’s a great place to rest, resupply, and charge up the cell phone. Wi-Fi is available. There are laundry facilities and showers. Because it is so close to the trail, hikers can rise early, have a good breakfast and get off to an early start on their day’s hike.

Mike and Linda Morse bought the ranch in 2014. They did a lot of work renovating the lodge and cabins and installing shower and laundry facilities.

Mike and Linda Morse

Their timing was good. In December 2014, the movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon came out. The movie is based on the 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

After the release of the movie, traffic on the PCT increased more than three times from 3000-4000 hikers to as high as 14,000 hikers each year.

“The world comes to us at the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch,” owner Mike Morse said.

Packs on the porch

Two weeks ago, I had given three hikers a ride out to the ranch. Today, my wife Linda and I decided to drive out to learn more about it. When we arrived we saw packs on the porch.

Three friendly hikers were resting and chatting outside: Uncle Jesse from San Francisco, Sheagol from France, and Radio from Roseburg, Oregon.

Uncle Jesse from San Francisco

All three were thru-hikers who had hiked all the way from Campo, near the Mexican border, through the desert, over the Sierras, down into the Pit River Basin.

Sheagol and Radio had begun their hikes at the same time and had seen each other early on. Radio said he hikes about 25 miles a day and had taken about 10 zeros on the way. Sheagol likes to pace herself at 30 miles a day but had taken between 20 and 30 zeros. How interesting that after more than 2 months and 1400 miles hiking they ended up sitting together on the same bench at the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch.

Sheagol from France and Radio from Roseburg, Oregon

Radio works for a winery. He had time before the harvest and life was at an impasse. He had never done long distance hiking before, but he decided that he would give the PCT a try.

He said that the experience was both an exciting adventure, meeting the challenges of the trail and seeing new things every day, but also a chance to think about his life. He said that one of the ways in which the hike affected him was that he felt more comfortable meeting people in new situations.

This prompted a discussion about anxiety and fear. Many people are plagued by anxieties and fears which are groundless. When one faces them, one finds that there is “nothing to fear.”

Then Sheagol pointed out the difference between this kind of angst and healthy fear that one feels when there is a clear and present danger or a life-threatening situation. Sheagol is an adventurous young woman who exudes a sense of confidence. She has worked numerous different jobs in France. and she flew over from France to hike the trail by herself.

Hiking the PCT there are lots of times one experiences fear resulting from clear and present danger. They said that while hiking the 600 mile stretch through the high Sierras in late June and early July, about 150 miles of it were still packed with snow. Streams and rivers were high and raging with the waters of the melting snow. In many places the trail is precipitous.

Radio told the story of one girl who was frozen with fear as she was crossing an icy fast moving creek. She came to a point where she could not move. Panic had paralyzed her. Her legs would not move. She just fell down on all fours and was in danger of being swept downstream.

Fortunately, Radio and several other hikers were there to help her to the other side where after a period of time she was able to calm down and regain her composure.

I went inside the lodge and met Mike and Linda Morse. There is a beautiful dining area, a piano, a delightful lounge area. The ranch serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Outside, there is a nice pool on the veranda with a lovely view.

Hot Coffee from Finland in the dining area

Linda and Mike talked about the operation of the ranch.

“It’s half trail angel and half business,” she said.

Supplementing the amenities at the ranch, they are also trying to develop a network of trail angels to assist the hikers in various ways such as providing rides when needed.

Linda told of a young Irish hiker who had a severe tooth ache. She arranged a dental appointment with a local dentist and gave him a ride into town to see the dentist. The young man had a root infection. The dentist was able to prescribe needed medication. Linda later received a letter from the boy’s mother in Ireland saying, “Thank you for taking care of my son.”

In addition to providing services for PCT hikers, they also cater to fly fishermen and other vacationers. They offer a variety of family-friendly activities for guests, including games, horseshoes, a pool table, and a swimming pool.

Pool area with a lovely view

After chatting for a bit, Mike showed us the store they had built for the hikers. The shelves were stocked with goods that had been suggested and requested by hikers.

Store stocked with trail supples

As well as providing supplies, the store also has postal services. Hikers can have resupply packages sent to the store for them to pick up when they arrive, or they can ship packages.

Then Linda took us on a tour of the grounds and cabins. There is plenty of room for camping.

Plenty of camping area

There is a small building with laundry facilities and showers for the hikers.

As we walked, Linda explained  that the guest ranch is not for everyone. Alcoholic beverages and drugs are not allowed. She said that she has nothing against people partying but this is not the place for it. Their mission and passion is to provide guests with a welcoming, inspiring experience. There are several quiet areas set aside for reflection.

Mike and Linda are also starting a non-profit organization called Rapha Healing. Rapha is the Hebrew word for healing. Linda has a background in counseling and the mission of the organization will be to host leadership seminars and retreats for women’s groups, men’s groups, churches, and other organizations. She wants to have programs for veterans. Already they have hosted one group from Warrior Expeditions, an organization that provides veterans with everything they need to complete a long distance outdoor expedition at no cost to the veteran.

One of the cabins

She showed us two cabins, each of which have one bunk bed room

One of the bunk rooms

and one very nice private room.

One of the private rooms

So hikers have a choice of simply camping outside overnight, sleeping in a bunk, or having a nice sleep in a big bed. Rates vary and the ranch offers several PCT specials that include a meal, laundry, pool use along with whatever lodging they choose.

After the tour, my wife and I enjoyed a delicious hamburger. While I ate I had a chance to talk with Hot Coffee, a hiker from Finland. Hot Coffee had hiked the mountains in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Wanting to try a longer hike, he chose the PCT.

Beginning in the south, he hiked through the desert and then took a four day break to fly back to Finland because there was a special occasion to celebrate with his 15 year old son.

When he returned he went to Dunsmuir and hiked to Ashland, then went back to Dunsmuir and hiked south through Burney Falls Park and then to the guest ranch. He planned to continue south over Hat Creek Ridge and Lassen.

He wasn’t planning to hike the Sierras yet. His whole family was coming over to the US to visit for 10-12 days and they were going together to Washington state, where he hoped to hike in the Cascades for 2 or 3 days with his son.

When his family returned to Finland, he would continue hiking in Washington and then if he had time, return south to hike the Sierras.

Hot Coffee began his PCT adventure on April 12. He was planning to continue hiking until he had to return home on October 31.

After we finished lunch, we went out to say goodbye to the hikers on the porch and met one more hiker from Denver named Snoop.

Snoop from Denver

Friendliness, hospitality, peace and serenity in a beautiful scenic setting. The Burney Mountain Guest Ranch is indeed an inspiring oasis on the trail of life.

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Filed under Burney, Cassell, Fishing, Hiking, Pacific Crest Trail

PCT Season Coming

In late May, a trickle of trekkers begins to flow through the Intermountain area. This is the beginning of a stream of hikers making their way on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

PCT sign in Burney Falls Park

The PCT is a 2,659 mile long trail from the U.S. border with Mexico just south of Campo, California to the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia. It passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.

The PCT was conceived by Clinton Churchill Clarke in 1932 and received official status as a National Scenic Trail in 1968 under the National Trails System Act of 1968. The trail was officially completed in 1993.

Thru hikers are those who make the journey all the way from Campo to the Canadian border. One of the first things that they do as they join the PCT community is choose colorful trail names by which they will be known throughout their journey.

Tapafla, 1 Gear, 6 Tacos, and Lo Flo at Burney Falls Park

The journey takes about five months. Hikers generally begin the first part of their journey through the desert of Southern California in April. In order to make it to Canada by late September, they need to establish a steady pace. The pace varies with each hiker but generally averages between 20 and 25 miles a day. A few energetic hikers hike up to 30 miles a day. Sometimes the hikers take a “zero” day to rest. On “nero” days, the hikers take it easy and don’t hike the full pace that they have set.

One of the sayings of the trail is “It’s not the miles, but the smiles.”

But it’s not all smiles. Even in the spring, the first part of the journey through the desert is hot. Many suffer from blisters. People develop strategies to beat the heat, often resting during the hottest part of the day and hiking at night.

The next leg of the trek is through the Sierras. Depending on the snow pack, each year is different. During the drought, the trail was passable early. Last year, there was more snow, which caused a log jam in the southern Sierras as people waited for the snow to melt. Streams were high and perilous to cross. The early hikers had to cross miles of snow and camp in the cold.

Some hikers, like the Brit Family Robinson, decided to “skip hike,” renting a car to drive north.

Brit Family Robinson at 299 crossing

The Brit Family Robinson had two of the youngest hikers on the trail last year, Pippy Longstocking, age 12 and Captain Obvious, age 10. Their father Christopher is an international trail guide who has hiked in the Himalayas, Mongolia, Alaska, and the Andes.

Other hikers, waiting for the snow to melt, congregated in towns and camps to rest and socialize. One 63 year-0ld hiker, Desert Steve from Henderson, Nevada, took the opportunity to go home and rest for two weeks before continuing on.

Desert Steve from Henderson, NV

Once the trail becomes passable, the backlogged flow of hikers streams through the Sierras. The highest altitude on the trail is 13,153 feet as it passes though Forester Pass.

After passing over the Sierras, the trail meets the Cascade Mountain range near Chester, California. This is the midpoint of the journey. Crossing over Mt. Lassen the hikers enter the Pit River Watershed area as they descend to Hat Creek at Old Station. Old Station Post Office is one of the places that hikers can pick up resupply packages sent to them from friends and family.

The Family – Farwalker, Thunderfoot, Widowmaker, and Spinner

The flow of hikers through the Intermountain area reaches its crest in July and early August. By that time the summer heat has hit our area. From Old Station, hikers transverse a thirty mile waterless stretch across Hat Creek Ridge to Cassel lake. This is one of the hottest driest stretches of the PCT.

Last year during the hot spell, a trail angel, Coppertone, set up his trailer on top of the ridge, where the trail crosses Bidwell Road to supply the hikers with water, fresh fruit, and ice cream floats. Coppertone is well known for his “trail magic.” He takes his trailer and sets up at locations all the way to Canada to minister to the hikers.

Dilly Dally and Coppertone on Hat Creek Ridge

Trail angels are important benefactors of the PCT. Angels provide food and water stashes, camping sites and lodging, rides to and from the trail and other help.  Another saying is “The trail provides.”

After crossing Hat Creek Ridge, the hikers come to Baum Lake. They can rest and get water at the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery across the road.

Hikers rehydrating at Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery

Then the trail goes on to cross Hwy 299 where many hikers catch rides into Burney. Burney is a convenient place for hikers to rest, resupply, pick up packages, or even meet friends and relatives mid trail. Safeway, Dollar General, MacDonald’s, and Gepetto’s are some of the most popular stops. Some hikers like to take a day off to refresh and stay at local motels such as Burney Lodging.

Nancy Bobo with Sky Eyes at Burney Lodging

Burney has a lot of trail angels. People have learned to recognize the large packs that PCT hikers carry to differentiate them from other hitchhikers. From late July into early August not a day goes by that one doesn’t see hikers walking along the highway, frequenting the restaurants and stores, or sitting outside Burney lodging.

Many locals enjoy meeting the hikers and giving them rides. PCT season provides an opportunity to meet and talk with people from across the country and all around the world.

Jet Pack and Animal Style at the Alpine

One hiker from Israel named Animal Style left his Brooks Cascadia 11 Trail-Running shoes in a man named Bob’s truck when he got a ride into Burney. Animal Style was desperate. Good shoes are a necessity on a 2500 mile hike through rough terrain. After hours of searching, he was able to locate Bob and call him on the phone. Bob had returned home to Bieber but he drove all the way back to Burney to make sure that Animal Style had his shoes.

Ages of the hikers last year ranged from 9 years old to senior citizens. Most of the hikers are young college educated adventurers. Many have just finished school and are taking the opportunity to take the hike before beginning their careers or going on to graduate school.

One older hiker who came through last year was Donaju from Holywood, Northern Ireland. Donaju said he was a Royal Irish Ranger who had done eleven tours in Afghanistan. He had also served in a number of other hot spots. He was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for the Wounded Warriors.

Irish Ranger Donaju

Several families hiked the trail together last year. Some seniors are taking a break to reflect on their life. Some hike for the challenge. Some hike to experience the diverse natural beauty and wildlife. In addition to thru hikers there are also local hikers and section hikers.

Section hikers hike only one section of the hike in a year. Then another year they may hike another section until they have hiked the entire trail.

One hiker named Sky Eyes said, ““When you hike the trail, you become a part of the Pacific Crest Trail family,” he said. “You meet different people from all over the world. You hike together with some of them. You camp together. You share food. Relationships are deeper than in normal life because you’re free from all of the business of the world. Everybody has the same needs.”

Some couples have met on the trail and later gotten married.

Since 2014 traffic on the trail has grown tremendously. Sky Eyes said that over 14,000 people hiked the trail last year.  One of the reasons more people are hiking is the release of the movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon in December 2014. The movie is based on the 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

We are fortunate to have the world pass through Pit River country on the PCT. After crossing Hwy 299, the trail progresses though the woods to Lake Britton and Burney Falls Park. The park has a campground frequented by many hikers.

Leaving the Park, the trail goes for a ways down Pit River Canyon and up to Rock Creek Falls. Then the trail heads northwest to Dunsmuir and then north for many more adventures in the Oregon and Washington Cascades.

Get ready, PCT season is coming.

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Filed under Baum Lake, Bieber, Burney, Burney Falls, Cassell, Crystal Lake, Hiking, Lake Britton, Old Station, Pacific Crest Trail, Pit River

Meeting of mothers of military members at Burney Mountain Guest Ranch April 22

A message from Burney Mountain Guest Ranch:

On April 22, at 10:00 a.m., there will be a meeting of mothers of military members to get acquainted at Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, 22800 Guest Ranch Road in Cassel.

The agenda is to meet together for support and encouragement. Light refreshments will be provided.

If you have a child in the military, please join us.

For more information call 530-335-2544.

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Filed under Burney, Cassell, Fall River Mills, Hat Creek

Bike and Build bikers stop for night in Cassel

On May 24, thirty-one young dedicated young men and women gathered in Charleston, South Carolina to begin a 4200 mile bicycle ride across America to raise money for affordable housing. On August 1, they rode from Alturas to Cassel where they stopped for a night’s rest and recreation at the Cassel Volunteer Fire Hall. An reception was organized by Michael and Melanie Kerns.

On their way they also had a rest stop at Pitville Road hosted by Edna Eades, Glendra Tuller and Tracy Wintersteen. Eades, Tuller, and Wintersteen came for the dinner and program in Cassel.

Melanie and Michael Kerns with the 31 bikers

Melanie and Michael Kerns with the 31 bikers

The bikers were riding for Bike and Build, an organization that raises money for affordable housing. Most of the riders are college graduates, age 26-29. The group visiting Cassel is one of eight national rides. They started their journey from Charleston, South Carolina on May 24 and will end their ride on August 9 in Santa Cruz. Along the way, they spent 17 “Build Days” where they stopped to work on affordable housing projects. Work done included framing, painting, roofing, drywalling, and landscaping.

Before the trip each rider raises at least $4,500 and gets to choose what housing program the money they raise will benefit. This group of 31 young adults raised about $500,000 dollars. The top fundraiser in the group raised over $12,000. Altogether since the program began in 2003, Bike and Build has raised $5.2 million.

After riding from Alturas, the bikers were hot and tired, happy to take a shower before dinner. The Casssel Firehall was filled with bicycles packs, and sleeping bags.

Bikes and bags in the community senter

Bikes and bags in the community center

The Kerns and other volunteers had prepared a delicious spaghetti and meat ball dinner with root beer floats for desert. During the dinner, riders chatted freely with visitors and volunteers detailing the joys of their trip and their reasons for participating.

Nora Jane Montgomery

Nora Jane Montgomery

Nora Jane Montgomery from Louisville, Kentucky, one of the four leaders of the group said, “This is my first Bike and Build Trip and it has been both difficult and rewarding to be able to participate in this effort to raise awareness for affordable housing.”

With only eight days left before they finished their trip, a sense of accomplishment and confidence permeated the atmosphere.

Meg Howell from North Carolina

Meg Howell from North Carolina

Meg Howell, a charming young lady from Greenville, said that it was wonderful to “push myself and see the country at 15 miles an hour.”

After dinner, all thirty one cyclists introduced themselves, told where they were from, what college they attended, and what field they had majored in. The majors ranged from English and theology to environmental studies, public policy, and mechanical engineering. It was an amazing array of knowledge.

One pair of graduates from Annapolis, Maryland have been friends since childhood and were thrilled to be able to bike across country together.

Lifelong friends from Maryland biking together cross country

Lifelong friends from Maryland biking together cross country

One of the leaders of the group, John Daniel Acevedo had also served in the Marines for four years after graduating. He did two tours in the Southeast Pacific. He loves to travel, and hopes to explore Mexico City and tour the entire Mediterranean coast.

The other two leaders of the group were Hope Hart from Ellenboro, West Virginia, and Dylan Maguire. Participants in the ride came from 21 different states.

Six presenters explain various aspects of the trip

Six presenters explain various aspects of the trip

Six representatives of the group gave a very enjoyable and informative presentation. Each speaker explained a different aspect of the program.Topics included preparation for the trip, the build days, the grant program, a typical day, and safety.

After the presentations, the guests departed and bikers watched a Harry Potter movie before settling down for a good nights sleep. The next day they were planning to ride to Mt. Lassen and then hike to the top. On August 9, they will complete their journey to Santa Cruz.

 

 

 

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Filed under Cassell, Cycling

Fisher couldn’t catch a fish – at least not yet…

After attending the Hat Creek Volunteer Fire Department Deep Pit Barbeque, Linda and I decided to detour a bit on our way home. It was late in the afternoon, so I knew that many of early morning fishermen would have ended their day, but I was curious to see how the fishing was going in Cassel.

We turned off 89 onto Cassel Road. There were lots of cars parked by the property on the right side of the road at Rising River. I expected to see a lot of people down by the water, but the river scene was quiet and beautiful.

Rising River

Rising River

On the other side of the river, Clint Eastwood’s gate was open. Linda and I  had never seen that. It’s usually locked. That side of the river was beautiful too.

Rising River upstream

Rising River upstream

We drove on into Cassel and over the bridge. Two men were fishing on the ramp on the left side of the canal inside the gate. I’d never seen that before either. Where the new fence was by the post office one boy was holding his pole up over the fence fishing.

We turned right toward Cassel Forebay. A few people were fishing up by the campground. We continued toward Baum Lake to Cassel Forebay.

That’s where I met Bill Fisher. He was getting ready to load his fishing equipment into the back of his friend’s bright red pickup truck.

I pulled up and rolled down my window.

“How do you like the enhanced fencing?” I asked.

He said that this was his first time here. He had flown over from Hawaii to meet his friend Larry Thompson from Reno to come up to Cassel to fish. He asked if I fished. I told him that mostly I liked to drive around and take pictures because I write for Pit River Country.

He asked me if I would like to take a picture of the “worst fisherman in the world.” So I obliged him.

Bill Fisher from Hawaii

Bill Fisher from Hawaii

Now, this was where the story gets more interesting. Earlier in the afternoon, Bill and Larry had driven to the bridge in Cassel. It was crowded with fishermen. There was no place to fish. People were lined up and down the stream.

So apparently, people are undaunted by the new fence. Though some may be disgruntled, people adapt in various ways. Fences and regulations are one of the challenges that must be met in order to catch fish.

They came up to Cassel Forebay. Bill said that when they arrived there were 20 people fishing around the pond, both inside and outside of the fence. He and his friend Larry started out fishing on the bank by the parking area because the walkway was crowded.

They were using worms and salmon eggs for bait. They didn’t get any bites but they watched a couple up on the walkway pull out ten really big fish, probably five to seven pounders. Bill said they were pulling out a fish every two minutes.

So when the couple had caught their limit and were ready to leave, Bill and Larry went to take their spot. The man had used Powerbait. After he left, they tried their worms and salmon eggs – no bites.

Bills friend, Larry Thompson from Reno came and joined us. Bill and Larry met 43 years ago at the Marine Corps Drill Instructor School in San Diego. Both of them served as drill instructors in the Marines. Larry retired after 22 years in the Marines. Bill served 10 years in the Marines and then 12 years in the Air Force and retired as a captain. Through the years their friendship has remained intact.

“I’m going to get my picture in the newspaper!” Bill told him.

Larry was a very kind gentleman who said he had come up to Cassel numerous times. He liked to come here with his grandchildren to fish.

He was using a walker with a seat on it. One of the reasons he liked to come to Cassel was because of the easy access. However, he wasn’t disturbed by the new fences. In his opinion, it is a reasonable safety measure.

There is considerable discussion on this amongst people in the community who fish. Many people think that while it may be “reasonable” it doesn’t make sense.

Be that as it may, neither Bill nor Larry were perturbed in the least that they hadn’t caught a fish. They were enjoying the experience and the beauty.

Nor had they given up hope. They were planning on staying in Burney for two more days. The next morning they were going to get out earlier to try again.

So Sunday morning, on my way to the NorCal Road Gypsies car show, I stopped in at Burney Sporting goods. They told me that Bill Fisher and Larry Thompson had just been in to buy some green PowerBait eggs.

Then, on Monday at 11 a.m. I saw Larry parking his red truck in front of Ace Hardware. I pulled over to get an update.

Larry was all smiles. “I caught my limit!” he exclaimed.

They had gotten up at 4 a.m. and were out on the Forebay just after sunrise. Larry caught five fish and Bill caught two. Bill said that that was his personal best! Hooray!

The day before they had caught two fish using the PowerBait.

Bill also said that it was difficult for Larry to make his way through the gravel on the way to walkway and that it would be more accessible if there were a little paved pathway connecting the parking lot to the walkway.

They were planning to get up at 4 a.m. again on Tuesday for one more day of fishing.

As fate would have it, I ran into Bill and Larry again at Anna’s Country Kitchen on Tuesday morning. They had gotten out at 5:30 a.m. and were fishing just after sunrise. By 6 a.m. Bill had caught three fish. A new personal record. Before this fishing trip, he had never caught a trout.

After 6, Bill’s luck ran out and Larry’s began. By 8:30 Larry had caught 4 nice trout. This time they had a little trick. They used night crawlers, but injected the worms with a little bit of water using a syringe so that the worms would float.

Larry had found the process of infusing a worm amusing because he is also a nurse. After retiring from the military in the 1990’s, he had gone to the University of Texas to study nursing. Not only has he worked as a nurse in Oklahoma and Hawaii, he also spent fourteen months in the Philippines assisting in a birthing clinic.

I was amazed. I told Bill he should write a book.

The two fishermen finished their breakfast and didn’t want to keep the fish waiting. Since they hadn’t yet caught their limit they were off for one last fishing fling in Bridge Park.

On Wednesday, they will be headed back to Reno. Once there, Bill will get his truck and trailer and head to Oklahoma to visit family. On September 14, this dynamic duo will meet up again in San Diego to attend the 32nd Annual West Coast Drill Instructors Reunion.

It was an honor to meet these two wonderful men. I’m happy that they enjoyed themselves so much in Pit River Country.

 

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Filed under Cassell, Fishing

PG&E installs safety fencing in Cassel

PG&E has installed the first portion of new safety fencing by the Cassel bridge near the post office and at Cassel Forebay.

New fence by the Cassel bridge

New fence by the Cassel bridge

In May, PG&E announced that they would be installing 330 feet of railing and fencing near its Hat Creek hydroelectric canals and powerhouses near Cassel as well as at the McArthur Canal diversion at the Tule River fishing access point along the McArthur Swamp. The first phase of installation was completed in June.

Enhanced fencing at Cassel Forebay

Enhanced fencing at Cassel Forebay

The project is still ongoing and is expected to be completed by the end of July.

New fence across the pond at Cassel Forebay

New fence across the pond at Cassel Forebay

According to Paul Moreno, spokesman for PG&E, “This project is PG&E’s idea.  We are taking a proactive approach across our hydroelectric system in identifying areas of potential risk to operations and to the public. In areas identified, we use a suite of controls to decrease the risk.  In this case we are proactively installing railing and fencing at select points along our canals and diversions where there are steep slopes and embankments without decreasing fishing recreation.”

Fisherwoman from Redding fishing below Cassel Bridge on July 4

Fisherwoman from Redding fishing below Cassel bridge on July 4

The canal by the bridge in Cassel and Cassel Forebay are two of the most popular fishing spots in the Hat Creek area. Many people who come to fish enjoy the easy access. The areas are regularly stocked by Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery.

A hard copy version of this article also appeared in the Mountain Echo 7/19/16

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Filed under Cassell, Fishing, Hat Creek, PG&E

Thanksgiving Eve drive to Baum Lake

Thanksgiving is upon us and this year we can give thanks that more snow has been added in the higher elevations around Burney. Snow began just after 11 a.m. on Tuesday and continued on and off into Wednesday morning. Burney got 1-2 inches, enough that when I woke up, we had a beautiful wintry landscape.

Metal skiers enjoying the snow

Metal skiers enjoying the snow

Linda and I decided to take a drive out to Baum Lake. As we headed away from Burney past 4 corners there was a little bit less snow, but turning on to Cassel Road the ponderosas were still laden with snow.

Giraffe in the woods

Giraffe in the woods

The first place we stopped was at Packway. I always love to bring friends who visit Burney to see the collection of metal sculptures displayed beside the road. People are usually amazed to see such creatures out in the middle of the woods.

What is this?

What is this?

After shooting some pictures, we continued on to Baum Lake.

View of Crystal Lake Hatchery across Baum Lake

View of Crystal Lake Hatchery across Baum Lake

On Monday, I stopped into Burney Sporting Goods to see what was going on in outdoor activity. Not much. Waterfall season is still open, but there wasn’t a lot to report. Turkey and quail season are open. Shawn Lewis said that one person had gotten a hen, but that others had reported that they hadn’t seen many wild turkeys. There are pheasants in the Fall River area, but mostly on private ranches where they can’t be hunted.

Picnic Table at Baum Lake

Picnic Table at Baum Lake

As for fishing, most of the areas are closed. Lake Britton is pretty dead. Baum Lake is one area still open. Crystal Lake Hatchery usually stocks it around Thanksgiving but Lewis doesn’t think that they have done so yet this year. The Hatchery is closed to the public for improvements to the water supply.

Road to PGE campground in Cassel

Road to PGE campground in Cassel

Outdoor activities in Burney thrive from the beginning of fishing season into early November. As the weather gets colder the area teams with craft shows and bake sales.

But, as Robert Frost said, when the snow falls, the “woods are lovely, dark and deep.” Lovely for snowshoes, cross-country skiers, hikers, and just plain day-trippers like Linda and me.

We decided to take the road from Baum Lake over the hill to the PGE campground by Cassel. There were some beautiful views of the newly fallen snow across the countryside.

View from campground road

View from campground road

I got out to take a few shots of West Hat Creek by Cassel. There was still a lot of orange autumn foliage mixed in with the snow-laced evergreen.

Cassel forebay

Cassel forebay

When we left Cassel to follow Cassel Road back around to Highway 89, I said a little prayer that we might get a good picture of a deer. But our first encounter was with some friendly horses.

Friendly horses

Friendly horses

Linda had fun taking pictures of the horses. Look for some of her shots on her photocards.

Metal skiers enjoying the snow

Linda having fun

Then as we passed Rising River Ranch, I caught a glimpse of my deer out of the corner of my eye. My little prayer was answered. A nice buck in the woods.

Deer on Rising River Ranch

Deer on Rising River Ranch

Satisfied, we crossed rising river and headed home.

Ranch on rising river

Ranch on rising river

We need more snow. We can be grateful that this year we have already had as much snow as we got all of last year. More is expected next week and we still haven’t really begun winter yet so we can be hopeful that we get a good snowpack this year.

In any case, it is wonderful to be in a place where so much natural beauty surrounds us. Each time I go out to shoot photos with Linda is another day in paradise.

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Filed under Baum Lake, Burney, Cassell, Wildlife