Reflections on... Week One.
I started giggling as I drove away; leaving the Bay Area was an incredibly freeing decision and my body felt that immediately. After not sleeping well for a little over a week, I slept a solid eight hours in my tent in my last night in Northern California. The knot in my back that had been bothering me for the past two months is gone and my cheeks and arms are already filled with color, despite plenty of sunscreen.
I spent my first night at McArthur Burney State Park, a place I had been eagerly wanting to go to for the past three years. I was lucky to get there on the Tuesday after Memorial Day Weekend – while there were other visitors, the park was considerably emptier that it tends to be in the summer months and I got to experience its famous waterfalls mostly by myself. From there, I drove to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and hiked up to Heart Lake, a 3-mile there-and-back hike with outstanding views of Mt. Shasta and Castle Lake.
This was my first time driving on this part of the I-5, so a pit stop in Weed was an absolute must. The man at the tourist shop told me that there is nothing worth seeing here and told me to head to Ashland as soon as possible. So, I did.
Hannah and Eli live in a gorgeous house in the Ashland with sweeping views of the nearby hills. I had my own bedroom and bathroom and by the end of my four day visit, their two dogs, Tabor and Griffey, no longer barked when they saw me. Success. Highlights included a day at Emigrant Lake, a visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see Sense & Sensibility, breakfast at Morning Glory, and two homemade dinners on their porch.