I was up early. After eating everything I could get my hands on at the Complimentary breakfast, I headed out to Lassen National park
Lassen National Park is a study in the geology of Plate Tectonics. Here is an excerpt
“Lassen Peak is the southernmost in the chain of eighteen large volcanic peaks that stretch from southwestern British Columbia to northern California. These peaks were formed during the past 35 million years while the large Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and the much smaller Gorda plate to its south have been pushed underneath the overriding North American plate. While the oceanic crust in the Juan de Fuca plate melts under the subterranean pressure, this creates pools of molten lava that have uplifted the Cascade Range and created volcanic eruptions from time to time.”
In 1915, an explosive eruption at Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east. Things have been pretty quiet since then, but the feature of the park is the bubbling pools of hydrothermal vents.
On the way into the park I was a bit concerned by all the snow.
Actually the above picture is the trailhead I was going to climb. Guess I should have rented some snowshoes for this one.
I eventually made it to the official entrance to the park and found it closed!
I decided to hike up the road for a couple hours to see if there was anything of interest. No far from the entrance I found this cauldron of mud bubbling up like Texas Tea
I continued on and grabbed a few shots from the road. It turns out the road through the park was not to open for another couple weeks. This also meant I would have to do a huge backtrack on the road to continue my itinerary
I got back to Route 5 and stopped at the crystal blue waters of Lake Shasta and the mountain of the same name.
I followed the road up to the top and was amazed to find people sunbathing
If you are able to open the picture below I took of the map at the trail station then you will see that I was located at a place along the bottom called Bunny Flat. That is far as the road was open to this point. I was 0 for 2 on the hiking thus far, but that was ok because I knew I was going to have to cut some corners to get this whole trip done.
Next stop was Lava Beds National Monument. Leading up to the lava caves was the Klamath Nature Preserve, which was a number of grass wetlands with various water fowl. I am not much of a birder so I carried on.
Here is the park website for Lava Beds
The area has a great deal of history relating to the Native Americans, but is also visited for the Lava Tubes that have formed over millions of years. Basically the park looks like the surface of Mars with various spots where you can climb down into natural tubes ranging from 60ft in diameter to about 10ft. I decided to choose one of each
The above is a shot of me in the small 10ft diameter cave, with the picture above being of the cave ceiling. My headlight sucked, so I was immersed in complete darkness and solitude just waiting for something to jump out and eat me. It was cold and painful to be bent over the whole time, coupled with my dislike of confined spaces. All I could think about was that if I lost my car keys down here I would be screwed. I got out pretty fast and headed over to larger cave
This was more my style, complete with ladders and a floor composed of ice. There were people walking around with helmets on getting off on this stuff. I hung out about 10 minutes and decided it was time to move on. Not sure what the fascination is with caves, but I know I do not possess that desire.
I was in a bit of a hurry as I was trying to make Crater Lake by sundown. I snapped this shot on way out of Lava Beds so I guess it wasn’t a total bust
I made my way up to Crater Lake. Crater is the deepest lake in the US at 1,949 feet it is actually called a Caldera because it formed from the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama.
My view changed from picture 1 to 2 in a matter of a mile
Another couple shots along the windy road to the top. This park is only completely open for a couple months each year. I would be able to get to the volcano rim but not circumnavigate it.
Here is the Park map where, if you expand, you can see the road leading to the rim and the one that circles the top
Here is the main lodge at the top along with a few other shots of the lake
There were only 2 other people on the mountain and both were yelling into their cell phones. I saw an observation platform that was covered in snow. I followed this path to get on top of it due to the deep packed snow
I got out my stove and had dinner up there watching as the sun set on the lake. By that point I was all alone and able to appreciate the beauty of the setting. After a couple hours I climbed back into my mobile home and raced down the mountain. I followed it around the north end and arrived in Bend OR around 11pm. Bend is known for always ranking high in the outdoor friendly cities to live in. I stopped for a beer and decided to drive a few more hours to get to the town of Blue River where I planned on Mountain Biking the following day.
I passed through the quant little town of Sisters Oregon
I was trying to get to McKenzie River Mountain Resort, the outfitter that was going to rent me a bike and transport me to the top of the trail. I took the direct road and about a mile outside of town I saw a sign that said “Road closed – winter conditions” I figured it was just left up by mistake and the road was open and there was no snow. 20 miles later I run into a bar across the road and had no choice but to backtrack and go a different direction. This happened on multiple occasions. My only advice is that when they say that the road is closed ahead, even if it is 90 degrees, trust them. I eventually made it to the resort around 4am and just slept in my car for a few hours
Link to Entire Pacific Northwest Trip otherwise by clicking "Next" below you will be linked to the next section containing California, that is if you came to this page by click in "California" in the left hand toolbar. Clear as Mud?