July 4th- July 6th
On Monday morning, the 4th of July, after breakfast and saying our good-byes to our wonderful hosts, we took the scenic highway 89 three hours north to Lassen Volcanic Park. We were expecting hot weather and lots of mosquitoes, so to our surprise we arrived late in the afternoon in a campground still covered in snow. In fact the road was only open several miles into the park- they were still plowing the road near the summit for summer visitors. It was too late in the day to change our plan, so we set up camp (the air temperature was reasonable- around 70 degrees.) I took a spill trying to climb a small snow bank with the ice chest and skinned up my knees- that’s what you get for wearing shorts and sandals in the snow and then we spent a cozy night in the shadow of Lassen Peak. On this end of the park, there were a couple of interesting things to visit, including the Sulphur Works, where you find smoking fumaroles and bubbling puddles of mud. We also hiked up the closed road for a view of a 20ft snow bank and Lake Helen which was just starting to melt. The melting water was a breathtaking light turquoise color.
As our options were limited on that side of the park, we drove to the western entrance at Manzanita Lake on Tuesday. It was warming, and the campground was in a pleasant location next to the lake. After visiting the small visitor center, which had some fascinating pictures taken of Lassen Volcano’s last eruption in 1915, we took the scenic road to views of the Desolated Area, the area that had been wiped out after the eruption. There were numerous “hot rocks,” or rocks that had been scattered for miles throughout the recovering forests. Later in the afternoon, we took our kayaks out on to Manzanita Lake. We saw lots of geese and a muskrat in the lake along with some incredible views of Lassen Peak. It was actually warm enough to go for a little swim. We finished this beautiful day with a nature walk around another nearby lake and lagoon area where we finally found the mosquitoes we’d been expecting.
I woke up early on Wednesday morning feeling refreshed and motivated, so I went for a run around the lake. It was a great way to start the morning- with a couple of deer sightings. I got back to camp where Fabien had breakfast waiting. Then I took advantage of the pa y shower before we finished packing up and left the park for our next destination…Redwoods National Park.
Tags: BIG TRIP 2011, California, In English 2005-2006