Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Roger here.... We are in Redding, California for three nights, staying at a really nice RV Park, a Premier Resorts Property.  There is a lot to see and do in this appealing community, more than two full days will allow.  

There was a 50% chance of rain on this first day, so we opted to drive 48 miles through the mist to Lassen Volcanic National Park.  We figured that we would see some nice scenery even though the weather was less than perfect.  Wow, we have not seen rain and wet roads for months/years.  And look, trees!  Not desert trees (even though I like them), but REAL trees.  This was going to be a good day.   (Dianne here:  In the words of Mitt Romney, "The trees are the right height."  :-)

We intended to drive the length of the park, north to south, and then return.  About 30 miles from the park, we passed a road sign that indicated that the road through the park was closed ten miles from the entrance due to snow.  Snow!?  After 59 years in Indiana, we had hoped to never again drive through snow.    I guess if the road was closed before we got to the snow, it would be OK.  It was.  Our first view of the snow-covered base of the mountain from Manzanita Lake was scenic.  

The prolific green lichen growing from the trees in this area of the park was certainly eye-catching.  

The bare branches of the trees were literally smothered by the lichen.

Dianne liked the way that the lichen covered the tree nubbins where branches had broken off.

I loved the way that the bright, bright chartreuse color contrasted with the otherwise misty gray day.

The north visitor center was closed, a disappointment,  but the ten-mile drive up to 7000 feet was fun.

The wet, misty clouds limited some of the expansive views, but added a cool element to the scenery.  We are not in the desert anymore.  Up we went. 

On the way, we stopped to get a better look at this massive boulder.

During Mt. Lassen's last major eruption in 1915, it was blown from the top of the mountain and pushed five miles in an avalanche from the summit to its present location.  

When this picture was taken after the eruption, the boulder was still sizzling.

On we drove, still going up.  We were hoping to see the summit through the drifting etherial clouds, but it does not look like it is going to happen.  We reached the road closure.

There was a parking area there.  The trail-head for the half-mile Devastation Trail was situated at that parking lot.  The temperature was chilly (43 degrees), and it was damp, like being in a cloud, which we were, but we decided to ignore the discomfort and walk around the loop.

We are so glad we did.   As the clouds drifted by, the slightest opening appeared, and there was the summit of Mt. Lassen.  

We were able to snap a couple of other pictures (including the opening photo), before the clouds again blanketed the view.

I have to say....
Seeing Mt. Lassen unexpectedly through the clouds was probably more magical than it would have been to see it on a clear day.  Very cool.

Ok.  We enjoyed the short hike.  We gazed in amazement at the mountain.  It was time to drive back down the mountain, but not before a little frivolity on Dianne's part.  She wanted to have her picture taken next to a snow bank.  (Tiny, but snow nonetheless. -- D)

Since we were apparently the only people in the park, it was simple to pull the car to the side of the road, so Dianne could scramble down to the snow.

She wasted no time in fashioning a snowball, her first in many years.   In  my humble opinion, I think she looks pretty good in this cold weather.  However, it looks like she is getting ready to throw like a girl.

Look carefully below.  You can see her throwing arm on the right, and the snowball in midair in front of the small pine tree.  

After all this activity, snowball tossing and such, we were hungry.  On the way back to Redding, we passed through the small burg of Shingletown and stopped at this cafe --- a good decision.  We both had chili beans with cheese and onions.  It tasted great.  

Our waiter (who was also the cook and the cashier), then brought Dianne a piece of blackberry pie.  Yum.

Dianne here:  At the end of the day, after we returned from Lassen NP, we had just gotten back from taking the dogs to the dog run when the skies opened up and it RAINED.  HARD.  First rain we've been in since November!  Our poor motor home was washed and waxed just before we left Texas, but since that time we've been in desert sand and dust all the way through West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and most of California.  To say it was dirty doesn't describe it.  I had kicked back in my recliner and was watching TV when Roger asked where the poncho was.  Without a word, he went outside, and next thing I knew I saw the washing pole scrubbing the windows.  I leaned out the window to catch this photo of him (no way was I going out there), hard at work:
Yay!   We now have a reasonably-clean home!

The pet picture of the day shows Tequila enjoying the shade under our picnic table when we were at Black Butte Lake.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Definitely different scenery than the southwest:)

Bill and Nancy said...

It was a really big day...SNOW and RAIN;o)) It really is the little things in life!!

Kathy Detweiler said...

Love the photos of the trees!