The town that Lucas and I live in, Dunsmuir, California, is located about 7 miles south of Mt. Shasta City on the I-5 corridor, about an hour south of Oregon. Dunsmuir is an interesting town, quirky yet surrounded by beauty. The town's population is around 1900, and the elevation is around 2300 feet. While this area has been populated for over 5000 years, white folks have only been able to lay claim to it for a mere 160 years, when they took the land from the natives to lay the railroad and mine gold.
The town itself is long, not wide, running north to south and nestled in a narrow valley between two mountain ridges. I-5, a railroad, and the Sacramento River also run through this narrow area. No matter where you live in this town, you are bound to be able to hear at least two of these three throughways.
Our little abode is located at the southern end of Dunsmuir, just north of the Siskiyou County (which is ours) and Shasta County line. We are about a mile away from the main downtown area of Dunsmuir, a one minute walk to the Sacramento River, a two minute walk to the railroad, and a 10 minute walk to I-5. There are only 2 ways to get to the northern edge of Dunsmuir, I-5 or a long winding road along the river. And from our home, we can certainly hear the train as it thunders through blaring it's whistle, and we can also hear the big trucks on the highway. It seems that a lot of these sounds echo off of the walls of the mountains on either side of the valley, intensifying the sound depending on where you are standing.
It is quiet in our neighborhood. Peaceful. We love walking along the rushing river, viewing the snowy mountaintops across the valley while we eat breakfast at the front window, and ignoring the several close-at-hand trailers as we gaze up into the tall treetops swaying in the drizzle.
Dunsmuir apparently has "the best water in the world" and it is therefore untreated. We still filter the water, as we don't trust the local pipes as much as the water. Our drinking water, however, we collect from the head of the Sacramento River at the city park in Mt. Shasta. This is a popular activity among local residents, some even claim to stay here solely because of this water. It is delicious spring water that has it's source from high up on Mt. Shasta itself. We love it...we can taste the clean alpine snowmelt, the fresh air, and the earthen minerals. Thank you Mt. Shasta!
Dunsmuir's water is also known for it's trout fishing and fly-fishing, attracting avid fishers year round. Unfortunately, the town's economy doesn't reflect this draw of tourists. The economy here is pretty darn bad. Most of the store fronts on the main streets downtown are vacant. The buisnesses that remain are seldom open. Several houses in the town have been on the market for a really long time, and have been steadily decreasing in their asking prices. Our home was originally put on the market for $20,000. Less than a year later, we got it for $6,000! What a deal for us, but not for the previous owners!
Apparently, this town was a pretty sketchy area not that long ago. Over the past handfull of years, it seems that a lot of young artistic folks like ourselves have moved to the town. And so it seems that the culture here is at least safer than before. I feel safe, anyway, though we do see the occassional sketchy home...where the accumulation of stuff overflows from the house into the driveway and into the yard. But for the most part, Dunsmuir has many cute little houses and gardens, yard art and all. We are excited for spring to spring, so that we can see all that grows in these gardens.
This month has been unseasonably rainy. It has been hard, reminiscent of my days in Portland. Rain was, after all, one of the main reasons I left Portland! And the weather has made us almost regret leaving Texas when we did, for they have been having 70 degree sunny days! But, yesterday was an unexpected gloriously sunny and warm day. Lucas and I took a break from pounding the pavement to explore our neighborhood a little bit more. With 15 waterfalls within 15 miles of our home, we had lots of options. We decided to go to one of the closest, Mossbrae Falls, which is just a short 2-3 miles from our home. We drove to the northern part of Dunsmuir, parked our car, and hiked along the railroad tracks that nestled between the tight mountains. In half an hour, this is what we found:
(I'm doing yoga here, the crow pose, not trying to stick my butt in the camera!)
We are so excited to have this in our neighborhood!!!