Our second day in Redding dawned overcast and cool, not nearly as nice as our first sunny afternoon in the city. But we wanted to do a longer ride, so we bundled up and headed out after breakfast.
Since it was a Sunday, the Sacramento River Trail was pretty busy with people walking, cycling, and running. We first headed down to the fascinating Sundial Bridge for a couple of photos. Amazingly, I managed to catch this one of Barry with no other people in it!
The greenish panels in bridge deck apparently have a natural luminescence at night, but we didn't get to see that, unfortunately.
We headed east to make sure we rode all of the trail, including a few spurs over to shops and a neighborhood.
This portion of the trail ran alongside the highway. We liked how they'd paid homage to bicycling in the artwork on the concrete wall separating trail and road.
Below is a portion of the trail that climbs way up high to a hilltop access point. Once you get to the top, you can see much of the city down below, and all the green trees near the Sacramento River. It was a difficult climb up with several switchbacks, but a fun, fast descent, which I'm enjoying in this photo. If you look closely, you can see that I peeled off my blue vest after the tough climb -- I got warm!
We discovered an arts and crafts show going on in a park alongside the river trail, but we didn't stop to look.
We continued on the river trail until we reached the connecting Sacramento Rail Trail portion at Keswick Dam. I discussed this portion of the trail in the previous post. I found a review by a frequent Traillink reviewer, TrailBear, of the first section of this trail involving a very steep climb. Here is the part of his review that made me laugh out loud. It is very accurate!
Start at the new trailhead at the base of what they call Heart Rate Hill. Apt name, that. If you time your ascent and measure your pulse at the upper sign, you can determine fitness. By that point, you probably knew: Could be better. If you cycle the Lower Rail Trail every other day for a month or two, you will be much fitter. It twists. It turns. It climbs. It descends. It repeats all the previous as it climbs up each ridge, descends the other side, crosses the creek and climbs again.
So, we did this climb for the second time in two days, and I was seriously wondering what we were thinking. But once we got through the tough part, we reached the former rail corridor and had a lovely, much easier ride up to the Shasta Dam and were rewarded with beautiful views. Just wish it had been sunnier.
The river was so green and smooth as glass -- no wind!
There was a small campground at the Shasta Dam Trailhead, along with hiking and dirt biking trails. Unfortunately, with it being Sunday, the dirt bikers were out in force. Vrooom-vrooom! Not very peaceful.
On the way back there are some climbs on the connector portion of the trail before reaching the steep downhill switchback portion. This is a serious workout!
Once back on the Sacramento River Trail, we headed along the other side of the river and took the Middle Creek Trail. This spur trail is approximately 3 miles long and mostly uphill on the way to the town of Old Shasta. It was a challenge but lots of fun once we got to the end and turned around!
Near the end it got really steep for a short ways -- and here I thought I was done with serious climbing for the day! But I was earning my food....
Coming back down was a lot more fun. I could breath easy!
Once back on the river trail, we needed to cross back over to the other side. We saw that the bridge was blocked by a truck with huge crane and asked someone what was going on. Turns out they were doing a "duck drop" for prizes to help out the schools. There were tons of spectators on the other side of the river hoping their duck would win the "race" and they'd win a prize. It was fun to watch but the actual drop kept getting delayed for reasons unknown to us.
At last, it was time, and down came the rubber duckies!
And they're off! It looked like they were going to take quite awhile to reach their final destination downstream. We didn't stick around to find out who won the prizes, since we didn't know anyone and didn't buy any ducks ourselves.
Because of all the spectators milling about and heading east to watch the ducks (just the direction we needed to go), it took a loooong time to pedal and walk the bikes around them all to get back to the arts and crafts fair. And we had to get back there because Barry had seen a pie stand on our way past in the morning, and well,
WE LOVE PIE.
These were mini-pies, although they look full-size in the photos. We bought FOUR! Cherry, pecan, boysenberry, and apricot. Yum!
Next stop was the fresh tamale stand, where we bought a dozen (smallest quantity they sold) chicken tamales. They were nice and hot!
I bet you can guess what we had for a very late lunch once we got back to the motel room. And yes, it was delicious! (Don't worry, we didn't eat all the pies at once; they kept for quite awhile.)
Stay tuned as we head to a very beautiful national park that we bet you've never heard of....
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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