Lassen Volcanic National Park, Day One

Here are some pictures from my recent camping trip to Lassen, with my friends Ben, Kamin, and Naveen. It was a three day trip, backcountry style.

We left at 6 am. It was a four hour drive, mostly north, and to the park’s elevation of 7000+ ft. We saw some pretty cool stuff just driving through the south end of the park, including some fumaroles.

Our next stop was a collection of boiling hot (or hotter) sulfur pools. Pretty surreal stuff. The silt in one stream that was cool enough to touch was so fine that you couldn’t even feel it when you dipped your hand in! (Also, there’s the obligatory scare sign for Wing.) After that we had lunch next to a gorgeous lake. Kamin had organized quite the luxurious menu for the weekend, and of course it was front-loaded with the best, freshest stuff (since there was no way we were going to carry tomatoes, mozzarella, and baguettes through to day three). Anyway, this meal was sweet.

That afternoon, we climbed up Mount Lassen (thankfully leaving our packs in Ben’s car at the base). It was about a 2000 ft climb, but the altitude and steep, unforgiving trail straight up a ridge to the peak made the climb a bit harder. The ridge was so steep (see the last picture, which shows a 1500 ft drop) that there was virtually nothing to stop you the whole way down if you slipped.

We met a very cute and friendly chipmunk on the way. After I sat still watching him for a while, he came over and jumped up on my shoe! He seemed ready to investigate further, but the thought of getting rabies on a mountainside didn’t sound appealing so I sadly nudged him off. In the fourth picture, we think that’s Mt. Shasta in the background. The fifth picture is from the very top.

That night, we hiked down to Paradise Meadow to set up camp. It wasn’t even on the park’s official map (although it was on our topo map), so it was pleasantly deserted. We had a great meal of burritos and watched the residual sunlight turn the clouds red long after the sun itself had set. We were so pooped, though, that we were out by 8:30 pm. The temperature that night was, literally, freezing. We all woke up several times during the night due to the frigid cold, and in the morning our packs were covered with frost. We made some breakfast burritos, and I took some more pictures (including that last one of Mount Lassen) before we started the hike back up to base altitude.

Stay tuned for Days Two and Three… in one deluxe entry!

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4 Responses to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Day One

  1. green518 says:

    Beautiful pictures, as always. And those sandwiches look so good!

  2. wingerz says:

    glad you managed to avoid the severe burning.

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