Majestic Mount Shasta as it appears from Castle Crags State Park. Photo by author.
When the Outdoor Writers Association of California chose Siskiyou County as the site for this spring’s writers conference, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for this unspoiled land at the top of the state since I first discovered it fifty-three years ago.
In 1966, as a high school graduate about to enter college, I was fortunate to find a summer job at the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery—the oldest and probably the most beautiful operating fish hatchery in the western United States. The other seasonal aides and I found ourselves at the bottom of the proverbial food chain, so we spent most of the summer mucking fish waste out of the raceway ponds, cleaning fish troughs inside the hatchery buildings and loading fish planting trucks at six o’clock in the morning. Every Monday morning, I eagerly checked the weekly work schedule in hopes of being assigned to one of the trout planting details. Although I only planted trout once or twice that summer, I remember it as one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.