Friday, September 24, 2010

First Stop….Lassen

A chance remark to friends that I wanted to visit Carter Lake resulted in a great adventure and fun road trip last week.  P and I convoyed to Redding where we left her car, then stayed over nite in Anderson.  The next morning we headed east on Highway 36 out of Red Bluff to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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Lassen is a fascinating park of 106, 372 acres.  It has volcanoes, lava flows, fumaroles, boiling spring and boiling mud pots.

In the Visitor’s Center there is a big relief map of the park with those cool little lights that identify points of interest when you push a button.  A ring of little white lights with the Visitor’s Center in the middle was a spooky reminder that we were standing in the middle of the  very, very ancient (and huge) volcano….. Mount Tehama. Really it makes Lassen look like a baby volcano!

An excellent video tells about the four different kinds of volcanoes in the area.  And the fantastic story of B. F. Loomis who (with his wife!) photographed the last eruption of Mount Lassen in 1914..

Brokeoff Mountain looms over the Visitor Center.

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These steam vents and boiling mud pots are right along the edge of the main road that travels through the center of the park.

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Peak overlooks the entire park.  It’s a five mile hike to the top with a 2000 foot elevation gain. 

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We decided to hike to King Creek Falls instead.  It was so nice to see green grass again, and even some wild flowers.

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The first  1/2 mile or so followed the creek until it dropped of the side of the mountain.  The trail went through this little notch…….

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……and down this steep mountain.  P was waiting at the top and I soon turned back along with some other hikers.  This was a trail for a mountain goat, not me!

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So, instead of falls, we hiked back up the creek to the ‘cascades’.

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B.F. Loomis was instrumental in the establishment of Lassen as a National Park and he built a museum  at the north entrance to the park. The family residence next door is an an admin office.

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OK, so the eruption got off to a slow start and that gave  Loomis time to set up his photography equipment.  He and his wife waited a day or so for the main event that resulted in a series of spectacular photographs.  (I am awe of their dedication to stay this close to the volcano!)

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Loomis was so dedicated to educating the public that he installed a seismograph at the museum.

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A plague at the museum has a nice inscription for Mather. (I can’t read it on my tiny monitor, but I hope you can!)

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At Manzanita Lake on the northern boundary there is a campground, store, and new cabins.  It will be a great home base for future adventures in Lassen.

(Note….my auntie (and family) lived in Anderson at Bald’s Ferry on the Sacramento River in the mid 50s…..I stayed a couple weeks with them but remember little more than the trailer, the woods, and maybe the river! She was amazed to hear about the Factory Outlets there now.)

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