Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lassen Volcanic National Park

We entered Lassen Volcanic National Park in northeastern California on Thursday, July 14, 2011.  Little did we know the road through the park was closed due to snow.  Our small camping group was able to go one third of the way through the park, then a closed gate at Bumpass Hell (a bubbling geological site) stopped vehicles from going further.  I didn't believe the website posting, from a week before we went camping, that stated a number of the popular hiking trails in the park were closed due to snow.
 This bubbling mudpot is clearly visible from the road, and one of the first thermo-geological sites one comes across from the southern entrance to the park.
A short hike up a hill, affords the view of this steaming, rapidly bubbling hot spring across the stream (the trail right up to this spring was closed due to danger of stepping through the thin crust between hiker and boiling water!).
Parking at Bumpass Hell trailhead (as far as we could go), we walked the road behind the closed gate to this view of Lake Helen.  We were awed by the beautiful frozen lake and the pretty icy blue color of its water.  Across the street from this lake was a 24' high wall of snow, it made an impression on us from the snowless part of California.
Lucky for us, the road all the way through Lassen National Park opened while we were still in the area.  We drove back through the park on Saturday, when we were sure that the road would be open.  Above is a picture of the back side of Lassen Peak, it shows the devastated area from Lassen's 1914 and 1915 volcanic eruptions (its last big eruption was in 1922).

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