Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lassen Volcanic National Park

On June 20th my brother Erik, our buddy Nic and I went backpacking in Lassen Volcanic National Park. This is about 4 hours north east of San Francisco. We arrived at the park around 12 and stopped at the Lassen Peak parking lot to climb the mountain. The trailhead was at 8,400 ft and the climb was a well worn, mellow trail the led up 2,ooo feet to the summit (10,462 ft). There was still a little snow of the trail which we climbed through. After an hour and a half we reached the summit to take in beautiful views of the park. We got back down to the trailhead around 4 and headed to the summit ranger station where we hiked in 5 miles to Rainbow lake where we set up our camp for 2 nights. Rainbow lake was a great place to camp. We had the place all to ourselves.

The next morning we headed to cinder cone peak, painted sand dunes and the fantastic lava beds. It was an absolutely beautiful hike there, unlike any terrain I have seen in my life. My pictures don't do justice to what it looked like in person. The dunes were a grey color with yellow and red sand strewn across them. In the background there was a large section of black lava beds that starkly contrasted the dunes. We hiked up half way up Cinder Cone ( which is an odd, 600 foot mound of volcanic sand and rocks, see pic below) and had lunch. Nic (our swiss friend) brought salami, avocado, cheese and bread for lunch. That was definitely a nice change of pace compared to my normal back country lunch of luna bars and trail mix. Thanks Nic! After lunch we headed up to the top of the Cinder Cone. We took alot of pictures and admired the view of Mt. Lassen which was peaking through the clouds. On our way back down we hiked near Snag lake on our way back to our campsite. We hardly saw anyone that day. I was blown away by how many downed trees there were due to lightning strikes.

The next morning we packed up and headed back to our car. We drove through the national park and stopped at Bumpess Hell trailhead where we hiked to this fumarole/hot spring phenomenon. This was an easy 3 mile round trip stroll. There was still a little snow on the ground but nothing to deter us from going. When we got there we snapped some photos and toured the place via the wood slat trail. After an hour or so we headed back to the car and left the national park.

All in all the backpacking trip was great. I could easily have spent another 3 or 4 days photographing the original landscape of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The park has something for everyone, fumaroles/hotsprings, 10k fooot peak, lakes, sand dunes, lava beds and much more. And a special thanks to Erik and Nic for scouting and planning such an awesome trip. I had a fabulous time.

Mt. Lassen (10,462 ft): 4.4 mi round trip. 2K elevation gain.
Bumpess Hell: 3 mi round trip
Backpacking: 19 mi round trip (5 mi to rainbow lake & 3.5 mi to cinder cone)

*** Thanks to Nic for "donating" the 2 pictures above with Erik/Me and the three of us in front of the lake

My Google Map for Lassen is not working right now. Below is a screen shot of the map for now.


Erik said...

Nice snaps, excellent write-up, and of course a great trip. Next photo tour we'll have to schedule more time @ desirable subjects when the lighting is just right. Thanks for the post!

vontetzel said...

I say you and nic come over to bali and we can do our next shooting trip there! melis can be our tour guide:-)

Holly said...

Awesome shots - Lassen Park has the most diversified and varied geography, weather, flora and fauna of all the national parks (per a documentary on PBS) - definitely a great place to visit. You didn't make any mention of a thunder & lightening storm. hmmm....
What a great trip!

CalBadger said...

Great info on Lassen Volcanic NP--until now I barely knew it existed! By the way: Who's the guy wearing the white hat and has a beard?!

vontetzel said...

Holly - Interesting, I did not know that but it makes sense.

CalBadger- That guy signed up for my photo clinic so I took him along with me. haha :-)

Nico said...

I look forward to our next trek in the Swiss Alps!