Sunday, August 20, 2006

Part 2 A Day at Lassen Volcanic National Park

I started adding the pictures on Sunday and finally finished Wednesday night.

All of the pictures should be clickable to enlarge. I've put in as many pictures that Blogger will let me.

On to Lassen Volcanic National Park. First stop was the visitor center. Dd has a National Park Passbook, so she likes to get the stamp at each park we visit. She forgot her book though, so we used a piece of scrap paper to get the stamp. We also asked for specific sites, that were wheelchair or scooter friendly. (Dad has severe nerve-damage in his feet so uses a scooter to get around some places.)

One of the things we could do was to stick around the visitor center for a talk about old-growth forests. We decided that we would have a quick lunch at Manzanita Lake, nearby, then come back for the talk. We were late for the talk, but it was ok. The ranger doing it was showing us the difference between fir trees and pine trees. I don’t remember a lot of what she said, but once donned her “old-growth/snag tree suit”, it became more interesting. She told us how insects, fungi, bacteria, disease, fire, animals and birds help to destroy a tree before it becomes a snag. Did you know that some of our best forests have hundreds of fungi down in their roots, which make them very healthy? Apparently in Germany, there are some areas where there are only a couple of fungi, and the trees are not doing well at all. (That’s the one fact I can remember from it.)

Once we left the visitor center we headed up to Devastated Area Interpretive Trail. It is pretty devastated!! Actually it is amazing how much re-growth there has been over the years. We walked the trail there. I thought it was going to be a mile round-trip, but it was maybe ½ mile. It wasn’t bad at all. The scrubby trees help to shade a lot of the trail.

We continued on around and up the side of the mountain until we came to Upper Meadow. It was a beautiful alpine meadow with a creek running threw it. Dd had to stick her feet in the water. Goofball. It’s straight off the glaciers.

After the meadow you keep going up and around the mountain, to the highest point of 8,512 feet elevation. I was just amazed that we were at such a high elevation. Lassen Peak is 10,457 feet.

After the highest point, you start coming down the other side, where there are several lakes. The first one, Lake Helen, had cliffs of snow/glacier on each side of the road all the way to the lake and even under the lake. It was so blue!! The second one is Emerald Lake, very aptly named as it is green!! There was no place to stop at Emerald Lake.

Our last stop was Sulphur Works. You can imagine the smell there. Dh had a name for this place, but I don’t think I have it right. Mubbling Pudbots or something like that, instead of Bubbling Mudpots. It was actually pretty neat to see the steam rising from these holes, and you could hear the bubbling mud. Occasionally you would see a sploot of mud pop up.

There was one place we didn’t go, but ds really wanted to hike it. Bumpass Hell. I think it should be pronounced Bump Ass Hell. I mean really, that’s what it looks like. Apparently there was a guy with the last name of Bumpass, was walking through this area where there are geothermal vents. He fell through into one of them, losing a leg in the process. I did find some really good links when I googled it. One day, I am sure ds is going to go back to all these places we missed and hike the ones he wants to.

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