The first part of our journey to the caverns.
We had a lot of fun taking a ride over the lake, and while it is over 38 miles long, we did not need to ride quite as far to get to the other side, because we took the short way across.
On our journey to the cavern we saw numerous house boats; and we were unsurprised to hear that shasta lake is the houseboat capital of the world.
We were told that at the base of the dam itself, shasta lake is over 500 feet deep. That is the max depth, but in other places it is mostly shallower.
We also heard that shasta lake also took over several abandoned mining towns that still remain at the bottom to this day. Very creepy!
On our journey, we saw some amazing sights. It was a long way to the caverns, but luckily there was a lot to see on the way, so we were never bored. We took a lot of pictures on the lake, of both the scenery, and each other, and thankfully no one got sick on the way over!
Part two had some incredible sights- and the main tour had not even started yet.
One of the most notable sights- to some, at least- had to have been our tour guide, Colton. He not only followed us up the side of the mountain, but he also guided us through the caverns, and let us know he was single when asked.
On our way up to the cavern entrance, Colton let us know about the variety of wildlife that can be found on the mountain. Everything from squirrels, to bald eagles, mountain lions and bears! Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any of these, though.
There was a diverse variety of plant life to be found, as well, including california laurel, live oaks, and black oaks.
At the tour entrance to the caverns, we were about 800 feet above shasta lake, and some of the views from the vista points were very beautiful.
While on the bus, we got to listen to our tour guide rattle off facts about the area, including things about the lake, the surrounding forest, and the discovery of the caverns. He told us that there were lots of animals in the surrounding forests, and that there had even been a black bear spotted earlier that morning. He also commented on the growth of poison oak in the area, and warned us from wandering where we weren't supposed to be.
It was a literal door to another world.
“My favorite part was that everyone was interested in Colton- it was very interesting situation.”
“Rocks are rad.”
“All of the different shapes, and forms inside of the caverns were so cool.”
Inside of the cave, we learned that a great way to remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites is the saying that stalactites cling tightly to the wall, and that stalagmites might reach the ceiling.
During our tour, someone asked if rock formations fell often, as we could see places where stalactites had obviously fallen. We were told that any fallen formations were likely a cause of vandals, looking for a souvenir.
The cavern contained many different kinds of rock formations, from the most common flowstone and cave drapery, to the gorgeous helictites.
The very last room we got to see contained a ton of bats- so many that we could hear them before we even entered the room. They live in the last room, and enter and exit through a natural entrance in the cave.
Inside of the Cavern we walked up over 600 steps in total. They were divided up into different "rooms", each with one or two features that defined them. Overall, despite all of the beautiful sights outside, the best part of the tour by far was still the caverns, with its sparkling, gravity defying rock formations and rich history.
Lake Shasta's caverns are a national natural landmark valued statewide for their historical and geological importance. It is a great place to go only once, or a hundred times!
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