Lay of the land travel blog

Lassen Peak

The back of Lassen Peak

A boiling mudpot

The visitor center at Lassen Volcanic park

Wildfires are devestating parts of northern California, making the national news. Thankfully we have avoided the most dangerous areas.

As we drove from Klamath Falls, Ore., to Hat Creek, Calif., we passed an incident center where the fire service had set up a base camp for fighting the wildfires. We say a water helicopter fly overhead. We drove through the town of Adin, near where the firefighter from South Dakota was killed last week.

Through it all the sky was clear and there was no smell of smoke. It appears the fires in this corner of California have been extinguished.

We read about the wildfire in Glacier National Park. It seems the fire started there two days after we left Montana. There area that was evacuated was where we took our boat ride on St. Mary Lake. The boat tour guide side the area was ripe for a wildfire. How prophetic were his words.

Hat Creek, Calif., is in the midst of the Lassen National Forest. After setting up camp, there was time enough in the day to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, so off we went to the park.

Lassen Peak dominates the park. We discovered that Lassen Peak erupted 100 years ago in May 1915. To put that in perspective, Vivian's father was 2 years old and my dad was born the following year. Looking at it that way, it doesn't seem that long ago.

Lassen Peak looks a lot similar to Mt. St. Helens. In both cases the eruption blew out the side of the mountain, not straight up. You can see a similar shape in the side of Lassen Peak, although it has had several more decades to heal.

The most interesting aspect of Lassen park is the hydrothermal activity. Mudpots and sulphur springs similar to what you find at Yellowstone are foud in the park. Most are a distance off the road so we did not hike to see them, but a few are alongside the road that winds through the park.

Distance traveled: 150 miles

Tomorrow: Reno

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