September 6, 2019 – Lassen Volcanic National Park

Our first stop in the morning was a back-track to the park entrance where I could get a photo of Mount Lassen reflected in Manzanita Lake. Maybe I didn’t walk around the lake far enough to get the whole mountain in. Even if I had, the ripples in the water were not going to allow the reflection I was after.

Our next stop was the ranger station, the home of Benjamin and Estella Loomis before the park’s existence. Loomis took a series of photographs of Mount Lassen’s eruption in 1914.  They became a sensation across the nation.  He then rallied for Mount Lassen to become a national park.  They maintained the right to stay in their home for life.

Loomis built a museum and gift shop to show and sell his photos. It is still a museum and park visitor center.

Loomis also bought a seismograph and housed it in this small building in front of the museum.  The U.S. Geological Survey still collects data from it. There are nine seismographs in the park monitoring Lassen’s activity.

What a drive.  The road is very good: a two-lane highway with diving lines painted on it.  There are white lines painted at the edge of the pavement.  Beyond the white lines, in many places, is nothing but air.  The scenery is breathtaking, even when there is no fear of falling off the edge.  I paused a few times to take a picture. We drove a good distance through the park when I saw a must-have photo opportunity.  I had already passed it.  Fortunately, it was not too much farther when we reached the parking lot for the summit trailhead.  So, I pulled in and head back to THE SPOT.

I used the zoom to get a better picture of the distant lake.

It was exciting to then make a U-turn to head back in the right direction.  The road was just wide enough with the pull-off to make a U-turn, only backing up once. I am happy to report that we did not roll down the hill.

This is Lake Helen.  The blue is just and blue and colorful around the shore as Crater Lake was.  I assumed it was just a shallow spot that gathered rain and snow and was surprised to read in our guide that it is one-hundred-ten feet deep.  It is named for the first white woman to climb to Lassen’s peak. I still haven’t learned to stitch two photos together, so here is Lake Helen to the left

and Lake Helen to the right.

This enormous rock sticking up out of a mountain caught my eye.  I didn’t see any sign identifying it, I think it is bigger than an office building.

This is an errant boulder placed here by a glacier. The photo does not really show how precariously it is perched at the edge. The woman under it told her party she was going to push it over. She is my scale model today.

I walked around and found a vantage point more to my liking.

Errant Boulder

This scene is above the boiling mud pots.

There are more in the park, but we only saw two at this stop. This mud pot was at a furious boil and little blobs of mud were going airborne. My picture did not capture the copious amount of steam rising from the pot. These are the same features seen in Yellowstone. Like Yellowstone, Lassen is an active volcano.

Boiling Mud Pot

This is the hillside just to the right of that mud pot. According to the sign, the colors are from the minerals in the water seeping from the ground uphill.

The second mud pot, across the road, was also boiling and steaming but farther away.

Lassen is not the only volcano show in town.  Many of the peaks here are volcanoes.  The park has all the four types of volcanoes: plug dome, composite or stratovolcanoes, shield, and cinder cone. The literature says that there was once a large mountain and these are just what is left of it. Lassen is the southern-most of the string of volcanoes starting with Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia.

There are many fascinating sights in the park that we did not see because of the long or strenuous, or long and strenuous hikes to get to them. We stopped in the visitor center near the park exit (for us).

Visitor Center

I saw the view out the back windows and then the café to my left with the same view.  It was lunchtime. That was one of the best veggie wraps I’ve ever eaten.

There was an excellent movie showing many of the sights we missed and a good explanation of volcanoes.

Andy decided to leave a day early and go on to the next stop in Provo, Utah. It was a long drive and I was tired and hungry – and cranky – by the time we got there. I seem to have lost the pictures I took of our nice campsite by the lake in Utah Lake State Park.

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