We loved Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. Not very heavily visited, it is a hidden jewel of a park and we are very glad we chose to include it on our tour.
Mount Lassen last blew 100 years ago, and you can still see the dead trees that blast left behind. The park has all four kinds of volcanos in it, and now we can tell which kind of volcano something is by just looking at its shape. I also learned that this is the south end of the Cascade range, which was all created volcanically, and not part of the Sierras to the south, which were form by plates smashing into each other.
There are bubbling mud pits as well as putrid smelling sulphur springs here, showing it to still be an alive volcano. There is also major evidence of past glacier activity, which you can see in some of the photographs; huge rocks are oddly deposited places, and other rocks were scrapped and compressed. There are exquisite mountain lakes, pristine in clarity and marvelous in their intense color. We wished we had stayed longer, for there were more things we wanted to do than our time allowed for. Next time I would like to rent a kayak on Manzanita Lake in the evening to further bask in the splendor of the sunsets here (which I’ll feature in a future post.)
Laura actually climbed to the top of Lassen peak (10,483 feet tall) on her own. Not wanting to slow her down trekking so much elevation gain, I dropped her off at the trailhead and picked her up later, painting the glorious scenery meanwhile. She said it was freezing on top, but with spectacular views. She summed up the experience as “excruciating fun,” and says this is one park she wants to return to.