When we left Napa, we had a choice of directions to take and opted to go towards Grants Pass/Medford, Oregon. On the way we spent the night in Red Bluff and while there decided to spend an additional day so that we could visit this lesser visited national park.
The park centers around Lassen Peak, a 10,457′ volcano which erupted in 1915 producing an immense cloud which caused deep mud to cover the area, which is still visible today in what is called the Devastated Area. The boulders ejected during this eruption are massive in size and the volcanic ashes rained over 200 miles to the east.
The snowpack usually exceeds 20′ in Lassen and hence why it takes a long time to clear the roads. The day we visited was the first day the road had opened, yet the boardwalks and trails were still covered in snow and mostly impassabe, so we drove and marveled at the landscape which included hot springs, and bubbling mud pots. There were so many areas I wish we could have seen, but we were not willing to fight the snow.
I did climb a snowy, partly icy mound because I wanted to see Lake Helen, as it was beginning to thaw and it’s not visible from the road. When thawed these lakes are crystal-clear as it was evident along its shore. As I was climbing all I kept thinking was “I have the camera and I just cannot slip and fall. I’m not wearing the proper shoes, I’m not wearing a jacket, then, oh dear what if I do slip and fall, oh please at least let me slip toward the road and not the lake. It would be a very steep climb back, and for sure not a good experience.” Oh my, did I overthink. Upon reaching the top of the mound, the view of Lake Helen was beautiful and I could not help but imagine the entire lake in this sky blue color.
This entire area is very interesting. To know that the earth’s surface is forever changing is amazing. We drove unto roads that were barely passable and the amount of snowpack is incredible. It was higher the truck and that is after some serious snowmelt. Half of the trees were covered in snow still.
Finally, we drove to Manzanita Lake
This is a park that definitely warrants being seen in the summer months. So more gets put back in the bucket list.