July 27-30, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

We left Tulelake on Wednesday morning and headed south towards Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Now that we are in California we can tow the Jeep behind the 5th wheel – it is nice to travel in the same vehicle again!  We drove by 14,162 ft. Mt. Shasta – another of our beautiful mountains.  Mt. Shasta has 5 glaciers and its most recent eruption occurred in 1786.

We stopped at McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park to see Burney Falls.  The Falls cascades 129 ft. over a cliff into a pool that is 22 ft. deep.  We ate lunch here and hiked down to the base of the waterfall.  Another spectacular falls – we have seen so many beautiful waterfalls this trip that we can’t pick our favorite!

Our campground is on the other side of Lassen Volcanic National Park so we drove through the park.  The ranger at the entrance station suggested that we unhitch the Jeep and drive it separately as the road is very curvy.  The 29 mile road starts at the northwest entrance (5,808 ft) and climbs to an elevation of 8,512 ft at its summit near Lassen Peak before it descends to the southwest entrance (6,656 ft).  The road traverses active hydrothermal areas, sub-alpine forests, mountain meadows, and lava fields.  It was a beautiful but slow drive with lots of hairpin curves.  We will come back tomorrow in the Jeep and tour it slower and stop at the many overlooks.  We are staying at the Childs Meadow Resort.  We think this was a very nice resort at one time with a motel, rental cabins, camper cabins, campground and a café, but it is pretty run down now.   At least our site is plenty long enough.

Thursday morning we ate a really good breakfast at the café here and then headed to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Congress named this area a national park in 1916.

Although there are numerous volcanos in the park, 10,475 ft Lassen Peak is the most prominent.  Lassen Peak last erupted in 1914-15 and a photographer, B. F. Loomis, who lived in the area took pictures of the eruption - the pictures were amazing to see.

We stopped at Sulphur Works, an active hydrothermal area.  Reminded us a little of Yellowstone.

Brokeoff Mountain is the 2nd highest point in the park and is part of the eroded rim of the ancient Brokeoff Volcano.

We stopped and hiked around this beautiful alpine lake called Summit Lake.  After our hike we ate our picnic lunch beside the lake.

The ice on Lake Helen is just starting to break up – we were amazed at how blue the ice was where it is breaking up.

We couldn’t find out how much snow they got here this past winter but they evidently got a lot.  They had only dug out the front half of these outhouses.

We were pleasantly surprised by Lassen Volcanic National Park – we didn’t know what to expect when we got here but WOW is it a beautiful park.  It reminded us of Rocky Mountain National Park with a little bit of Yellowstone thrown in.  We plan to come back tomorrow and do some hiking.

Friday, July 29th is our 22nd anniversary, it really doesn’t seem like we have been married that long – boy does time fly when you are having fun!

We spent the morning catching up on some chores, Nancy did some laundry and Rex vacuumed out the truck and jeep.  Nancy was sitting on the picnic table at our site when she heard a honk and saw a Canada Goose come walking around the back of the 5th wheel.  Camille and Cody were outside in their pen and the goose walked right up to them.  He was very interested in the dogs and would walk right up to the pen craning his neck and looking at the dogs.  When the dogs would bark and run towards the goose, he would back off but then come right back for another look.  This went on for about 10 minutes and we figured the dogs had barked enough so Rex shooed the goose away.

We were talking with the resort owner later and he told us the story of the goose.  Last year he was driving on the highway and just down from the resort entrance by Mill Creek he saw a yellow fluffy ball in the road.  He stopped to see what it was and it was a baby Canada Goose.  He wanted to get it off the highway but was afraid that if he walked towards it the goose would run into oncoming traffic.   He didn't know what to do so he made a peeping noise and the goose looked at him.  He squatted at the side of the highway and peeped some more and the goose came running to him.  He couldn't see a mother goose so he took the baby home.  He didn’t have time to take care of it so he gave the baby to one of his employees.  The employee took care of the goose and now it is the resort pet.  The goose follows the employee around and even sleeps in his camping trailer.  He puts down newspapers and has a nesting box for the goose to sleep in.  The goose will sit in his lap and likes to be petted.  We saw the employee spraying down the goose with a garden hose the other night.  The owner said the goose likes to tease dogs and knows how close he can get to a dog that is tied up.  He will even grab the dog by the nose if the dog gets too close.  It is great fun to see the employee walking around the resort with the goose following behind.

After lunch we went back to Lassen Volcanic National Park and hiked to a hydrothermal area called Bumpass Hell.  It is named after a guy named Bumpass who guided tourists to this area.  On one trip he broke through the crust and severly burned one leg. 

The trail starts off from the parking lot and immediately we have to hike across snow.  The trail is hard packed but the snow is melting and is slushy and slick.  After getting across this patch of snow we were hiking on a nice trail when we came to this sign.

As a number of people were hiking this trail in both directions, many with small children we felt it was safe for us to continue.  We were soon rewarded with this great view of Brokeoff Mountain.

We soon came to another large patch of snow that we had to negotiate.  It wasn’t too bad as long as we were going uphill or on the level.  The downhill portions were tricky as it was slick.

After wer negotiated the snow we hiked on dry ground for a short ways and then more snow.  We crested  a hill and got this view of the Bumpass Hell area.  Bumpass Hell occupies the old eroded vent of a dormant dome volcano – Bumpass Mountain.  More than 75 fumaroles, hot springs, and mudpots compose this 16-acre hydrothermal area. We think the hike down this slope was the reason for the warning sign at the beginning of our hike.  It was a long, steep hike down a snow covered slope and was slushy and slick.

After making it down the hill there was a boardwalk to walk on to see the fumeroles, hot springs, and mudpots.  Big Boiler is the hottest fumarole within a non-erupting volcano in the world.  The steam temperatures measured here reach as high as 322 degrees.

This hot springs was a beautiful blue color.

The hike back up the steep slope out of this area was easier than coming in as going uphill was not as slippery as going downhill.  It was a great hike and well worth the effort of hiking acorss the snow.

To celebrate our anniversary we had dinner in the resort café - some really good baby back ribs.  For dessert we had a great blueberry cobbler.  When we were walking back to our camp site we saw the employee with the pet goose leaving in his pickup.  The goose was sitting on top of his kayak in the back of the pickup – what a site!

Saturday we took a day off from sight seeing.  We discovered a flat tire on the 5th wheel so Rex changed it and found that we had another cracked rim.  We will need to contact the company again and get it replaced.   This is the second cracked rim we have found this summer and are glad that the company is standing behind them.  We drove into Chester and got the Jeep gassed up.  The rest of the day we relaxed, read and enjoyed watching the goose.

We are leaving here in the morning.  This might not be the nicest campground we have stayed in but it certainly has character.  We enjoyed our meals in the great little café and, of course, enjoyed the goose.


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