Went up to visit Franklin’s folks in Shasta City a few weekends ago. Hadn’t taken a drive up the 5 in a while and with the warm air whipping it in almost felt like summertime.
Not at all unpleasant, as far as highway driving goes. The highlight? A trip to Shasta Dam.
I had no idea how big Shasta Dam is and even hearing that its the second largest dam in the U.S. (second only to the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington) doesn’t really have an effect until you see all that concrete. Built between 1938 and 1945, its not nearly as ornate as the Hoover Dam but still pretty damn impressive in sheer size and especially when you think about what its actually doing.
The lower end of the dam leaves the Sacramento River looking like a trickle.
Old mining towns and highways were flooded with the stopping of the river and now lay under Shasta Lake.
The next day Franklin and I drove around the lake a bit to see if anything had emerged with the lowness of the water. I’d read about old railroad trestles and bridges being seen by boaters last year, but nothing poked its head our way.
Squirrels are always awesome though.
Dam! Whether you agree with the toying with of waterways and surrounding areas (or not) I think it has to be said that the whole idea of a giant dam holding back thousands of tons of water is pretty incredible. Plus, I just think arched gravity dams like Shasta and Hoover look so amazing with that smooth curve of concrete in between craggy hills. It always reminds me of that old 1914 poster of a man holding open the walls of the Panama Canal. Anyhow, if you’re driving up the 5 and need a break somewhere around Redding, get off on Shasta Dam Blvd and take a nice little detour out to the dam.