In these short winter days and long winter nights, an overwhelming feeling of cabin fever can overtake even the wildest soul, luckily the Sacramento River exists.
With activities ranging from fishing to rafting, horseback riding to just sitting and soaking in the rays and silence, the Sacramento River can relieve even the most cooped up individual.
Snaking through the beautiful California wild for 375 miles, the river originates deep in the molten shadow of Mount Shasta and not until heading off toward the Central Valley and the Delta does it break out of its carved path and empty into the San Francisco Bay.
Rich in historical value, this river offers its visitors a treat for all senses. If you come with younger children, offer the kids a list of commonly seen mammals living near the banks (beaver, black-tail deer, river otter, gray squirrel and ring-tail cat, and if they are extra observant, they may spy a coyote, gray fox, bobcat, or even a mountain lion) or some of the 200 different species of birds (including bald eagles) to kick-start a day of unforgettable exploration.
For more adventurous individuals, who own a boat or know someone who owns a boat, the 21-mile stretch from Redding to Balls Ferry is ideal for scenic tours and shorter trips, and for those in search of something to take your breath away the 33-mile stretch between Balls Ferry and Red Bluff is where you want to go.
If you happen to be an avid fly-fisher, the rushing waters almost seem to twinkle from scales glistening in the early morning sun, and with January nearing its end so too is the perfect fishing season for the winter-run chinook salmon.
More of a doer than a seer? The banks of the river feed into plenty of upland terrain and acres of trails, which ramble through both forests and more developed locations for bikers or runners. With plenty of delicious restaurants along or very close to the river it is easy to sate those growing stomach growls in Sacramento after a perfect day of enjoying nature.
And whether you are sitting on the deck of a chosen restaurant or on the bow of a boat or on the shore digging your toes through the pebbly sand, you cannot help but stay for the evening concert of Pacific frogs and bullfrogs while mapping out the winter sky, snuggled close to family or friends or that special someone.
The next time you are in search of adventure or maybe stories to share the following day at work or school, take a trip to the sun-soaked sands next to ebbing waters within walking, biking, or driving distance of your home and let the rhythmic sway of the Sacramento River's crisp blue tides float you through an escape into nature's calm, cool silence.