Yep, that's right -- for the first time in almost two years, we took a vacation together without the kids. On the last such trip, the two of us spent days poking around trails and backroads in the Colorado Rockies, hunting wildflowers. This time (mid-July 2001), we spent a long weekend in and around Lassen Volcanic National Park.
How did this happen? Well, with one set of grandparents (Grummy and Farfar) offering to watch the kids, and the other set (Gramma and Grandad) raving about their trip to Lassen before Kathy was born ... hey, who wants to argue with fate?
As the few people who visit Lassen know, it was an inspired choice. Unlike other, more well-known attractions -- Yosemite, for instance -- Lassen is refreshingly uncrowded, and nowhere near as remote as you might think. (Shhh! Don't tell anyone. It's a nice secret for those of us in the know.) We arrived in the area Saturday evening, staying at the Childs Meadow Resort. If you're hungry, be sure to have their chef, Bill, whip up something for you in the Cafe. When he's not cooking, try the mountain diner at the Mill Creek Resort instead. Both places only have a few tables, but it's not like the area is swarming with foodies. ;-)
Since we didn't have long to stay, we decided to get out on the trails, concentrating our efforts on seeing some of the unique wildflowers and geology of the Lassen area. Thus, we spent all day Sunday getting acclimated, hunting wildflowers on various trails, followed by a hike into the geothermal area at Bumpass Hell. (Oh, stop snickering. It's pronounced "Bumpuss", and named for a guy who lost his leg there over a century ago, so show a little respect, OK? Sheesh.)
On Monday we got ambitious, and climbed to the summit of Lassen Peak. Now we can say that we've stood on top of the world's largest plug dome volcano. The views weren't bad, either. :-) Unfortunately, we didn't get on the trail early enough, so we ran out of time (and energy) to do any more of the short hikes in the park we were considering. Kings Creek Falls, Paradise Meadows, and Cold Boiling Lake were all in the running, but none of them made it. Next time, perhaps? (That is, if we're not up too late at a public Star Party like the one we missed.)
Finally, before we left on Tuesday morning, we drove north of the park to explore Subway Cave, a lava tube in the neighboring Lassen National Forest, just north of Old Station. We have to admit that this was the only walk we did without finding wildflowers. But in the pitch black, what can you expect?
Click on any image below to start the slide show at that point:Bumpass Hell Peak Subway Cave
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