When you plan to travel 2,000 miles to many new places, it doesn’t hurt to stop first at a familiar place.
The dynamic Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge across the Sacramento River in Redding, CA is a ‘must see.’ But, it was a little warm. The lack of people – I’d normally say is just fine – now seemed odd.
From the Turtle Bay Museum parking lot, we crossed the bridge hoping for a cool breeze. Not much chance. The Sacramento River is huge here coming from nearby Whiskeytown Lake. It was not offering much relief from the heat.
We turned left towards the McConnell Gardens trapped by the offer of ‘free flavored ice’ and then a more sizable chunk not-for-free.
We sprawled in the shade and discussed with another travelling couple, the merits of a well-placed business and our respective travel plans. They were coming from Portland heading to San Jose. We were going the other way – but thought we might meet again along the Oregon Coast on the way home.
The McConnell Gardens have been thriving since 2005 – we happened to be at Opening Day. Today, we choose a path by the amount of shade. We had the place to ourselves, except for the sculptures and these intrepid gardeners.
Later, we learned the temperature was 103°. The locals thought that much better than the normal 118°, but they weren’t out for a walk.
Early the next morning, we headed back to the Sundial Bridge to get in a walk before the real heat arrived. Past the famous bridge is a small bridge across Sulphur Creek. This leads to a loop trail around the 200 acres of McConnell Arboretum on the Hanson-Standt Trail. It is a wide, paved path with interpretive signs about the plants, animals and history of the area.
The landscape is oak savannah and chaparral. Besides the oaks, there are cottonwood, grey pine and manzanita. After the land was taken from the native people, the land was farmed, ranched, mined for gold and then restored. A perfect setting, flat land, river nearby and mountains in the distance.
Many trails follow the Sacramento River. For more places and resources please follow these links.
Specific trails – we added our walk to this online treasure and phone app: Eveytrail.
Words by Lynn Millar, copyright 2013 and Photos by Mike Millar, copyright 2013. Pictures available upon by request.
The Sundial bridge is more than a sundial or a footbridge, it’s a landmark to find your way.