McCloud Travel Journal

McCloud, California (population 1,101)

1. McCloud Hotel 2. A pile of firewood outside a house 3. Train tracks, long out of use 4.Mt. Shasta sits at the edge of town

McCloud is a quiet town nestled among the roots of Mt. Shasta.  There is only one restaurant, and it is only open for breakfast.  There are three hotels, all within sight of each other on the main street (named without irony; Main Street).  You can do a loop around town, on foot, in under thirty minutes.

The houses are pale blue, the same weathered color as shells washed ashore and then forgotten.  Yards aren't parceled up by fences; instead, properties are made distinct by the various objects on porches, visible through windows, leaning out of open doors.  The people are friendly and unassuming.  Everything is reminiscent of an American long since passed.  

Although the town might suggest that time had stopped, the rusting train cars sitting just outside the town perimeter indicate otherwise.  The cars bear names and destinations visited in another lifetime, when wealthy passengers gazed through curtained windows to see mountains and trees passing by.  The passengers have all arrived at their destinations, thousands of miles away from McCloud, but the trains linger on, forgotten by even those who live within the town limits.