With temperatures expected to hit the 90s this coming weekend, it’s finally starting to feel like summer. Bring it on!
If you’ve lived in the Redding or Red Bluff areas for any length of time, then you’ve heard the same anecdote over and over from people who reside in cooler climes. The story goes something like this: “I stopped there to get gas one time on my way to Ashland, and it must have been 120. It was so hot I thought I was going to melt right there at the Shell station. How do you stand it?”
Well, I stand it just fine, thank you. I’m one of those whackos who actually enjoys our sweltering summers – especially the pleasantly warm mornings and evenings. So I got to thinking about what I love about summertime in the Redding area. I cooked up a long list, but I narrowed it down to five, which I present here in no particular order. Feel free to chime in below with your favorites. And don’t forget the sunscreen.
• Free music. Wednesday nights offer Mosquito Serenade at Anderson River Park; the concert series began this week. MarketFest, starting next week, goes every Thursday afternoon and evening in downtown Redding. Friday, it’s off to Clair Engle Park in Shasta Lake for the Friday Night in the Park series, which opens its run today. For the next couple months, you may take in music al fresco three nights a week without spending a dime. I’m partial to Mosquito Serenade because of the delightful setting next to the Sacramento River and the mellow BYOB atmosphere. The Redding and Shasta Lake music nights come with a farmers’ market and cold beer on tap. Really, you can’t go wrong.
• Summer camp. I’m not talking about kids playing capture the flag and having food fights in the cafeteria. I’m talking about football. Summer camps for NFL teams open in late July, and local kids playing high school or community college ball will start making the pads pop in August. Actually, plenty of youth players will be on the gridiron even earlier for football skills camps. In the summer, every football team is undefeated, every football player has hope and sky-high enthusiasm. Tap into this energy if you need motivation to get your exercise program in gear. Spend only half an hour watching the young men at your local high school running drills and slamming into the blocking sled, and you’ll feel like a wimp.
• Cooling off at the lake. Plenty of people around here own boats they keep on Shasta Lake. Some people swear by the less-crowded Trinity Lake. Some go all the way to Lake Almanor, where the weather is always cooler. Personally, I favor Whiskeytown Lake because it’s just over the hill, it’s always full, and it offers countless beaches and swimming holes where you may literally go jump in the lake.
• Getting outside at odd hours. Because the sun tends to be so intense during the summer, the best time to get out for a hike, run or bicycle ride is often before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Sometimes way before 10 or way after 7. Last year, I wrote about a group run around Whiskeytown Lake that started at 5:45 in the morning, and I know a guy who begins his summertime runs as early as 4 a.m. I’m not a morning person, but there’s something satisfying about watching the sun rise while you’re pushing hard up a trail. Likewise, I find walking, running or riding the Sacramento River bike path or the rail trail along Keswick Reservoir after the sun drops behind the mountains to be a perfect cap on the day.
• Tomatoes. Some people equate summer with roasting ears and barbecue. I can’t argue with that, but what I truly love are honest-to-goodness tomatoes. The best tomatoes come right from the backyard. I’ve been known to walk out to our garden, saltshaker in hand, and just start eating warm, sweet tomatoes plucked right from the vine. If you can’t keep anything other than yellow starthistle and puncturevine alive during a Redding summertime, consider taking a hot weather gardening during class at the Shasta College Community Teaching Garden. Classes are scheduled for Sunday, June 13, and June 20. Click here to learn more and register for the classes. The second best place to get a real summertime tomato is the farmer’s market. For a good list of farmers markets, check the Shasta Growers Association website. Remember, delicious tomatoes aren’t necessarily red.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and has had enough rain for a while. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.