The California forest fires have taken over the news. We have camped in Santa Rosa when we visited vineyards. It was a gorgeous part of the country and the suddenness and total loss of the residents there is horrifying. We keep studying the maps at calfire.gov, which make it look like nearly the whole state is on fire, but except for some haze caused by particulates floating by in the wind, we have no personal knowledge that all this is happening. Fingers crossed.
We headed to a rarely visited corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Warner Valley. To do so, we drove 25 miles down the highway, twelve miles down an ever narrowing 2-lane road, and then three miles of gravel. It felt like we were totally off the grid, but every so often we came to a cabin or a lovely home. There were no power lines so we assume everyone had their own generator and well. A septic field on this rocky, lava filled ground could be a real challenge so every so often we noticed an outhouse. A few of the houses had mail boxes, but for the most part these home looked like summer places, a refuge of peace and quiet away from urban life.
We hiked to Boiling Springs Lake, a thermal area that must have been a real shock to the first folks who came upon it in the middle of the piney woods. Parts of the walk were on marshy ground and a boardwalk was generally in the low spots, keeping our feet dry. Our trail overlapped the Pacific Crest Trail which we have been near a number of times the last few weeks. We met a woman our age, who was hiking the trail all alone. She stopped to wash her face in some warm water run-off near the board walk and we could tell how good it felt. There was another feature in the valley called Devil's Kitchen, but it was twice as far as we had walked and once again the altitude wiped me out whenever we had to climb, so we called it a day.