Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lassen National Park

Back in our familiar little home on wheels after a great trip to Chicago and Massachusetts, we took two days to drive up to Lassen National Park.  We spent the night in Chico to grocery shop (filling up our new fridge), wash the truck and generally recharge after some grueling travel and the KU concert. We landed in a National Forest campground just outside of the entrance to Lassen and found a very nice spot in the woods.

Our first day we decided to drive the length of the park road from the South entrance to the North entrance and back.  No long hikes today, we just saw some of the easily accessible sights, spent some time at the visitor center and made a list of where we wanted to go later.

Lassen is a plug dome volcano (the largest in the world) that erupted in a big way between 1914 and 1921, similar to the Mt. St. Helens eruption some years ago.  Much of Lassen park is the crater of a much larger volcano that erupted thousands of years ago and still has the remnants of that eruption in the form of thermal features similar to--but on a much smaller scale than--Yellowstone.  It is a beautiful little mountain range that normally has snow on the peaks all year, but this year is bone dry due to the drought.  We look forward to exploring it more!

Scientists constantly monitor the Lassen area for warning signs of an eruption
We took a short hike to Lily Pond.  Unfortunately, the drought has taken its toll :-(
The now muddy Lily Pond was a great place to see animal tracks.  These looked to our untrained eyes like they could be from a bear.

Lynnae caught between a rock and a hard place.  This boulder was once a 1000 degree hunk of lava that was carried three miles by a river of ash and hot mud.
Hat Lake, formed by the 1915 eruption, is now filling in and becoming a meadow thanks to the beavers and natural sedimentation.
The high meadows that feed Kings Creek with Mt. Lassen in the background.
Sulphur Works, one of the thermal areas in the park, was a sulphur mine from the mid 1800's to the 1950's.  This pool of boiling mud is a key feature there.  We are going to visit Bumpass Hell, the largest thermal area in the park soon.

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