What time is it? Summer time — it’s our vacation! That’s right, you nostalgic “High School Musical” enthusiasts, summer is here, and the first place all of us academically burned-out souls wanna be is in some refreshing H20.
Lake Shasta provides the perfect opportunity to live out this dream, and it’s only a mere three-and-a-half-hour drive away from our beloved Berk-town. This past weekend I broke out my Jeep and made the trek up to Lake Shasta. The car ride, I must say, felt more like 40 hours than close to four, but throwing down some bangers and singing along with some groovy pals always aids with that. Pro tip: the “Rock of Ages” soundtrack is perfect for pumping up the party, doing car karaoke and getting hyped for a weekend of turning up in the water. Additionally, there is a Chick-fil-A on the way, so morale can be easily boosted.
Once we arrived at the lake, we hopped on our boat and started our first night. Houseboats are notorious for providing a wild ride, and this weekend certainly didn’t disappoint. From the second we hit the boats, there was music blasting and drinking games in full swing, setting the precedent that this weekend would be one for the books.
On Saturday morning we set sail and cruised around the lake. Lake Shasta is unbelievably beautiful, with sparkling water and lush, green forests. The fellow boats are incredibly friendly and honk and wave as they pass one another. Sitting on the front of the boat was amazing. Experiencing the wind on my face while my best friend was behind me as we belted “My Heart Will Go On” and channeled our best Jack and Rose “Titanic” impressions was such a fun release from the week of finals we had just completed.
After cruising around for a few hours, we anchored and threw on our floaties and hopped in the lake. The water was a lot colder then I expected, but after a few minutes and a solid liquor jacket, everyone was having a grand ol’ time. Post-plunge, all of us hungry swimmers hit the grills and made more cheeseburgers than any group of humans should ever consume. Houseboats are a time for grilling and meat. And by meat I mean burgers, burgers, burgers, oh and hot dogs and more burgers. The sheer amount of processed meat I consumed this weekend is alarming, but in that moment those cheeseburgers, with the occasional egg (oh yes), were out of this world.
Ah, nighttime struck at last and here comes my favorite part of the trip, the solid jacuzzi and stars duo. On our houseboat, there was a exciting cuzz’ that provided a nice escape from the frost of the lake and the even bigger chill of lake nights. Pro tip: even though the lake is nice and toasty during the day, nighttime in Shasta is freezing, so make sure to pack up some Patagonias and North Faces that I know all of us bougie Berkeley kiddos keep around.
Now for the stars. Call me an LA girl but I must say I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many beautiful stars in all of my days. Looking out at the night sky in the middle of the lake is an unreal experience. Seeing all of the constellations that went over my head at camp as a kid — or more recently in Astronomy C10 — was really healing and reminded me of the elegance of our world and how important it is to take some time to be in the great outdoors.
The grand finale was on Sunday. As we pulled back into the dock, we had the privilege of witnessing the golden hour. That’s right Golden Bears, pink sky and everything. This sunset was one of the most beautiful things I’ve witnessed, casting a rose-gold shadow over the entire lake. Sitting on the top of the boat with the wind blowing in my face while the sun softly warmed my cheeks made me instantly smile. After this sunset, Bay Area sundowns definitely have some competition.
Overall, I highly encourage any NorCal resident or Berkeley summer kid to check out Lake Shasta this season. This vacation spot covers it all, allowing you to turn up, stay cool and experience nature all in one shot.
Nichole Bloom is the blog editor. Contact Nichole Bloom at [email protected].