2020 Trail Challenge — Get Your Passport Now

The Mount Shasta Trail Association invites you to participate in the 2020 Trail Challenge. This year’s challenge features 10 trails that highlight the beauty and uniqueness of our area.

It is an excellent opportunity to participate in an event that naturally socially distances participants while being part of a larger group event.  This is a great opportunity for families to have many outdoor experiences together.

You have until Aug. 31st to complete 8 of the hikes listed on the passport. The first 70 people to complete their will receive a Hydro Flask tumbler!   For more details and links to individual trail guides visit our 2020 Trail Challenge page, or download and print out your passport here.

Take the Challenge!

Trail Challenge Appreciation at MSTA Annual Meeting

Congratulations go out to those that completed all of the trails included in the 2019 Trail Challenge!

The Mount Shasta Trail Association wants to celebrate these accomplishments during our annual meeting on April 2, from 6:00-8:30. The evening will begin with a social hour of appetizers and drinks. It’s a great opportunity to meet other trail enthusiasts and find out more about current and future projects.  Then, near the beginning of our meeting we will have a drawing to determine the special prize winner. The location will be announced soon.

John Harch New MSTA President

John at Castle Crags, 2019

The Mount Shasta Trail Association (MSTA) is very pleased to announce that John Harch was recently elected as the association’s new president.  John has been active on MSTA’s board of directors since 2013 – serving as its vice president for the past three years.  He was elected president at a recent board meeting, assuming the reins that Barry Price held for over three years.

A retired general surgeon, Harch brought a good mix of humor and energy to the MSTA.  John has been very successful in getting volunteers and other organizations out on the ground to cut brush, dig trail tread, build rock walls and install trail signs.  His core of hard workers has been nick-named the “crazy old men,” but under John’s leadership they’re the hardest working bunch of guys and gals you’ll ever meet.

John earned a degree in biology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, before going on to medical school at UCLA.  He completed his surgical internship and residency at LA County/USC Medical Center.  Before landing in Siskiyou County, John practiced surgery in the Bay Area and southern California.  John is board certified in general surgery and critical care medicine.

Don’t be surprised to run into John on an area trail, hiking, riding his mountain bike or leading a group of volunteers working a trail.  With surgical precision, John will use his skills and passion to lead the MSTA into the future!

New MSTA Website

Our site has a new look!

If you’re a frequent visitor to the MSTA website, you may notice some things have changed today. Besides a new look and feel, we are revamping pages and updating our content.

Today’s update includes changes to:

Look forward to more updates in the near future. Check out the site and please Contact Us with any feedback or bugs you encounter.

John Thomson Joins MSTA Board of Directors

John maintaining trails

The Mount Shasta Trail Association is pleased to announce that John Thomson has joined its Board of Directors.

John has spent a good portion of his entire life in Mt Shasta.  As a descendant of a true 49er, he has continued a family tradition of loving the California mountains (his great grandfather was photographing them before Ansel Adams).  He learned to ski in the Old Ski Bowl, has climbed THE MOUNTAIN 4 times, and picked up his Dad’s love of exploring and navigating.

Back in 1967 John helped build a family cabin on Hill Rd.  More recently, he and his wife Eugenie have remade the cabin into their home and have been true Mt. Shasta full-timers since 2017.

John followed his passion for public transit by getting both an BS and MS in Civil Engineering at Stanford. His career was entirely spent working as a consultant to public transportation agencies, generally in project management or related roles.

His favorite activities are hiking, bike riding, skiing, snow shoeing, photography, exploring and improving his home. Before an old neck injury stopped him, he was a champion sailor.

You can find John leading a hike (or other “wander”) somewhere in our area just about every week as Scribe for the Siskiyou Wanderers.

John Harch and his “crazy old men”

If you missed it, below is an article from the Mount Shasta Herald newspaper by Tim Hold and published on December 5, 2018.

John Harch, inset, and a photo of Paul Schwartz cutting up a tree that fell on a Mt. Shasta area trail

A volunteer crew of the Mount Shasta Trail Association, they give up part of their weekends to clear brush, chainsaw fallen trees, and build water diversions to curb trail erosion.

The next time you’re out hiking in our region, maybe around Lake Siskiyou or up on the slopes of Mount Shasta, you might want to say a quiet thank you to John Harch and his crew of “crazy old men.” They’re the ones who give up part of their weekends to clear brush, chainsaw fallen trees, and build water diversions to curb trail erosion. They’re the volunteer crew of the Mount Shasta Trail Association, led by Harch, 62, a retired general surgeon.

He’s a man whose intense energy is leavened by a generous dollop of humor. “He’s got a magnetic personality,” adds trail volunteer Glenn Harvey, who’s 64. “He’s really good at getting people to come out and do all that hard work.”
Harch is also good at getting other organizations to come out and help with the trail work. At the Mount Shasta City Park in the spring of 2017 Harch and his “crazy old men” were joined by 20 volunteers from Wholesale Solar to spread chips on a trail. Harch and his Trail Association volunteers work with a local organization called Clean And Safe Mount Shasta to remove trash from abandoned transient camps and other litter dump sites in the region.

Last spring in Dunsmuir Harch led an effort to fix a portion of the river trail leading to the city park. Erosion had narrowed two portions of a trail carved out of a steep slope above the river, making it potentially dangerous for hikers. Harch’s crew, joined by several Dunsmuir residents, widened the trail at both locations and built rock steps at the steepest part, where it wound past the roots of a large tree.

Longtime trail crew member Mark Telegin, 70, takes pride in the work done that day, in what he calls “a beautiful blending of rock, roots and dirt.”

Volunteers like Telegin take their trail work seriously, spending a lot of time and thought in the placement of rocks for water diversions and steps so they’ll be there for years to come. Telegin himself has taken classes on trail maintenance by the Pacific Crest Trail Association in Ashland. He’s read manuals on the subject and gotten tips from park rangers at Castle Crags State Park, where he recently helped build a bridge over a small creek.

Telegin admits to being something of a trail fix fanatic, someone who can’t take a leisurely hike without at least picking up some litter or clearing some brush. He’s been a volunteer with the Trail Association since he retired as a railroad engineer eight years ago.

For big jobs, like the building of a new, 45-mile addition to the Gateway Trail on the lower slopes of Mount Shasta, the Trail Association uses contractors who come in with heavy equipment to carve out and clear hiking paths. But after that the volunteer crews are there year after year to make sure the trail stays clear, safe, and enjoyable to hike.
Looking to the future, Harch says, “I just want to remind folks that these ‘crazy old guys’ aren’t going to last forever, so if anyone is interested in joining our crew I encourage them to get in touch with me.” His email address is john@harchms.com.

Donate to the Trail Association As You Cyber-Shop This Holiday Season

For those of you that shop online at the Amazon website, here’s a way to make a portion of your purchase a donation to the Mount Shasta Trail Association.  What a deal!

Instead of logging on the the regular Amazon website, log on to the smile.amazon.com site and register the Mount Shasta Trail Association as your chosen charity and bookmark the smile page.  Then as you shop, 0.5% of your purchases will go towards trails in the Mount Shasta Area.

Fine print:  this is not an endorsement of Amazon by MSTA, but simply an opportunity worth sharing.