This past year has been an incredible year of travel and I was excited to set out on a 12-day trip to discover Northern California in October. I have been to southern California many times, so I was very acquainted with the typical view most have of the California life; the beach, sunshine and of course, the heat! To my surprise, Northern California offers a completely different side I had never seen and to be honest, I was blown away at the vast landscape and beauty that I found. Over 12 days I would travel and discover The Redwoods, Mount Shasta, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and San Francisco. To anyone looking at making a trip out this way, I hope that these next few blogs serve as a helpful guide to discovering the overwhelming beauty that is Northern California.
I flew into Medford Oregon where I met my friend Jared who would join me for the first few days of travel. We jumped into our rental, a Ford Exhibition and can I tell you this thing moves like a beast! After the first mandatory stop at In and Out Burger, we made our way to Eureka California, which would place us near our first stop, The Redwood Forest! We checked in at the Red Lion Inn at Midnight and prepared ourselves for our big day of adventure in the morning.
Upon waking up, we met up with a local Joel Faust who knew the area well and we made our way out to the forest. Hitting the 101, our first stop was at Patricks’ Point State Park. This epic lookout is where you can find Wedding Rock adequately named for the amount of couples that each year exchange their vows with the Pacific ocean as their backdrop.
We would then go to drive through the Redwood Forest. We were surrounded by the largest, most epic trees I had ever seen. This terrain instantly amazed me. I wasn’t prepared to see these sights in California. The air was fresh and the smell of the trees was so inviting. I still can’t believe this is California! It felt more like Jurassic World to me!
The next day we would drive a few hours to our next stop, Mount Shasta. As we drove in, I took instant notice of the fall trees and the amazing colours. One thing that was so inviting to Northern California was that it truly experienced four seasons. My perception of just sunny beaches had quickly dissipated and I was discovering that a life in Northern California offered so much variety within its seasons! Jared and checked into The Best Western in Mount Shasta and we dropped our stuff in our room that has the perfect view of the great mountain itself. We made our way out to hike up to Heart Lake to catch sunrise. It took us about 30 minutes to get to Heart Lake from the Parking lot, and while the hike wasn’t too difficult it broke into various directions at the top. We followed the green markers that would lead us to the epic and breathtaking view of Mount Shasta that would be reflecting in the perfectly still waters of the lake.
On the way down, we stopped to overlook Castle Lake as the sky began to be filled with beautiful hues of pink and blue. Mount Shasta had not disappointed!
The next day we were ready to start our day with a massive breakfast. We stopped in at the famous Black Bear Diner(which we didn’t know was famous at the time). This diner was had the aesthetic of a comfortable wood cabin with a huge hearty breakfast. After tweeting about it, I had quickly learned that this was a loved spot. This stop is a must for travelers, families and anyone who loved breakfast!!
We hit the road to Redding where I would drop Jared off at the airport and we he would return to his home in Portland. In Redding, we met up with some great friends who are a part of Bethel Music. They gave us a tour of the music studio and even had me over to their house for some dinner. It was here that my friend, Chris Cruz pulled out their massive state flag. Its size was appropriate as I was quickly discovering the vastness and extensive landscape that makes up California!
I drove back to Shasta that night with an early morning start to Reno where I would be picking up my friend, Tanner Stewart. Tanner would be joining me for the next leg of the trip where together we would be exploring Lake Tahoe and Yosemite!
An entrepreneur, creator, father & husband from Calgary, Scott Bakken is inspiring a generation of creatives to live their best life.