A northern California adventure with Kawasaki
Getting outdoors and exploring the wilderness is something ingrained in most off-road enthusiasts. While our home trails have provided untold hours of enjoyment, it’s always a treat to explore a new area. When our friends at Kawasaki called to see if we could come out and play in their backyard, it was an invitation we couldn’t pass up. Just outside the town of Redding, Calif. is a place called Chappie-Shasta OHV, which would serve as our playground for the day.
We headed across the United States from the east to the west coast and met up with Agata, Jon and Luis from Kawasaki, as well as the great guys from the Blue Ribbon Coalition to take a day off and enjoy some of Mother Nature’s finest.
The elevation at Chappie-Shasta rises upward to around 4,500 feet on the trails and we were warned to prepare for all kinds of weather. As we loaded up a small fleet of Kawasaki machines with gear, Don Amador of the Blue ribbon Coalition explained to us the importance of trail preservation as well as the need to continually support those who work so hard to keep the ability to ride freely an option. We all have to do our part to keep our rights to ride available to us as well as to those who will come after we are gone. Don works hard to get the word out about the awesome ride locations in the state of California and he would be our guide for the day. So with everything packed and ready, the time to get on the trail was at hand.
We had staged everything at the base of the Lake Shasta Dam and from here it was all pretty much uphill for half the day. Slipping into the seat of our Camo Kawasaki Teryx4, we knew we’d be comfortable all day. We love the high back seats in this unit and with the new style doors on the Teryx4 closed and everything secured inside we headed out to the trails.
Riding up through a small stretch of Coram Rd. gave us a chance to see the valley right below the dam. The huge Sacramento River that flows out of the dam runs out and down through the town of Redding, Calif. As we headed up just a little further we took the time to pull off and look back at the Lake Shasta Dam. This was a great vantage point and at around 2,500 feet above sea level we could tell the chill was rolling in.
The trail system at Chappie-Shasta has over 200 miles to ride on and it is made up of wide track for full sized vehicles such as trucks or jeeps down to narrow tight trails fit for UTV and ATV use. The terrain is mostly a sandy type soil with many rocks and boulders as well. We gently crossed several streams and climbed even higher into the Sierra Nevada Mountains that surrounded us. We made our way to the lunch spot at almost 4235 feet and that’s when our warnings of changing weather would be fulfilled. The temperature dropped from somewhere in the 70s to feeling like 40° when the wind picked up. As we enjoyed our sandwiches we had a chance to look around from what would be the second highest part of our ride. Mount Shasta came up from the rows of hills in front of it and shot up through the clouds and out of site. This was a perfect plan by the folks at Kawasaki as we had a beautiful mountainside lunch.
Climbing into higher elevations like this you would think that any machine would have trouble sticking on the trail. The Kawasaki Teryx4 we were driving kept us very comfortable and safe inside. The rocky climbs proved even more just how stable the machine is and the 750 V-Twin four stroke pushed the chariot right along without fail. The exposed framework kept the rocks at bay by allowing the machine to slide past them and the super tough Maxxis Bighorn tires took no grief from the trail debris.
After our lunch we headed on down the trail past Bohemotash Mountain, which would actually be our highest elevation of the day of over 4,300 feet. We even were treated to a little leftover snow on the trip up.
Unfortunately, our adventure was coming to a close, but not before stopping one more time for photo opportunities at the Shasta Dam overlook. The remnants of the original cable stations used to build the dam made a great place to climb up and stand to get a great view of the lake and dam. We even spotted a Bald Eagle flying around way out in front of us. We recorded our every move on my Garmin Rino 655T, so if we go back we can retrace my steps!
This trip was one we’ll never forget and with Kawasaki taking time out to allow us to enjoy our great land in some awesome products, it will go down as one of our favorites.
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