The very first time I dipped my paddle into Ahjumawi Lava Springs, in May 2010, I was just a beginner. You see, it was only my second time paddling. The group I was with was going to boat-in camp, it was Memorial Day weekend, and it just started raining! We loaded our gear, hit the water and went in search of our camp sites. All camp sites (9 in all) are boat-in accessible only. There are no public roads to any of the camp sites.
After we paddled what felt like hours in wind, rain and waves, we finally found our spot located in Crystal Springs. As a newbie I didn’t bring my camera, it wasn’t waterproof, so I’ve nothing visual to share. However, you’re in luck as my longing to come back here, with a camera, brought me here again three more times.
The pictures that follow were taking on one of three additional trips here. Different paddlers joined me, different weather was experienced and each time I was awestruck by the majestic beauty.
To launch, you’ll need to scout out the PG&E launch, known as Rat Farm. Why is it called Rat Farm you may ask; there was a muskrat farm here until 1930. You can still see this furry creatures swimming along the shoreline from time to time.
Off in the distance you’ll see Mount Shasta. This mountain will be a cameo many of my pictures.
We started in the fog on this particular paddle, but the wind was non existent. Oh look, there’s Shasta again!
My dear friend Nancy has paddled here with and without me. I’m glad she was along for this trip. The rain clouds in the background would hold back until the next day.
We had a foggy start and Etsuko was bundled up, but where are her gloves!?! Brrrr!!
Then, there are the birds; Osprey, White Pelicans, Terns…just to name a few. Depending on timing, you can see migratory birds as they make their way South.
One of my favorite shots from our May 2016 trip. This Great Blue Heron just took off, with Shasta as a backdrop.
Foggy or cloudy, if you start early to avoid afternoon winds, you’ll be rewarded with views like this.
There’s a bridge where Ja-She Springs flows into the upper part of the “Ahj”. You can walk on the bridge. OR, you can remain in your kayak and go under the bridge? Yes, that’s just what a few of our paddlers did. Gina is giving us a ‘thumbs-up’ as she disappears.
If you read about the history here, you’ll learn this is one of the nation’s largest systems of underwater streams. When you paddle here, you’ll fully understand what this means. Pristine, crystal clean water. As you paddle into hidden coves, you’ll discover different colors of aqua, blue and green.
At first glance you may not recognize what this is. It’s an ancient Fish Trap built by the Achomawi Indians. Believe it or not, but sucker fish and trout were on the menu.
As you paddle along the shoreline, you will see turtles, muskrats, and possibly a deer. Or, you’ll just see the clouds and trees reflected in the water as you soak in all the beauty here.
A rare shot of me in my Tampico as we paddled towards the backside of the park.
Teri was having fun as we started back after a lunch break.
This was Vicky’s first paddle here. You can see Mount Lassen in the background.
Here’s a shot of some of the ladies I was with as we got out for a short hike, stretch and bio break. Some have returned with me again for a new adventure.
Until I return again, I’ve great memories and photos to look back at.