Saturday, September 12, 2015

Photo Friday!

Well, that was a week! My post is late today, because not only was there no flash fiction prompt from Chuck Wendig, but Friday snuck up on me. So instead of a story, we have photos. Last weekend, we visited Mt. Lassen National Park--by bicycle. So not a very thorough visit in some ways, but what I rode through I saw inch by inch! Not a hint of snow in the park, of course, which makes Mt. Lassen look a whole lot less impressive.

A few stats: Mt. Lassen (10,463') is located in northern California, and is the southernmost volcano of the Cascade range (the same one that has Mt. Rainier and the explosive Mt. St. Helens). The park is currently celebrating the centennial of the mountain's last eruptive cycle, which probably tells you most of what you need to know about volcanic activity! Definitely not a dead volcano. The park has areas of impressive thermal activity (not in Yellowstone quantities, but still good). Most of that requires a walk to get to it, so we didn't visit--too hard to walk in our bike shoes. Ironically, touring by bike turned us into the worst sort of "windshield tourist" who never leaves the pavement.

Our ride started outside the Park, so the entrance sign was a good excuse to stop.
I love the wisp of steam from the mountain in the picture on the sign.
 We went on to the Visitor's Center and had lunch, then began the real climb up towards the mountain.
The road got a serious case of the wiggles. This was actually good--it really was never terribly steep. It just kept going.
As we got closer to the mountain, we reached the one road-side thermal feature, the Sulfur Works (I think there is more there than what is visible from the road, but that's what we checked out).
Yes, that is boiling mud.
I shot this on the way back down when the light was better. Sunlight through the steam over the bubbling mud pot.
Mid-afternoon, and I finally reached the high point on the road (despite the sign, it is only the "summit" of the pass, not of the peak! You have to hike to get up there--a trip I have never done, and would definitely not care to do at this time of year--too hot and dry).
Sadly, this wasn't the turn-around. I had to go down the other side a few miles--and climb back up!
I dropped down to Kings Meadow, which was painfully dry (as was everything in the park--there were slopes of plants that were completely brown, plants that should have had green leaves all summer). The meadow has a lovely stream, though, and a view straight back to the peak itself.
Kings Creek and random tourists
What would an epic ride be without a treat? I made it back to the Visitor's Center cafe just in time to get our ice cream before they closed.
Usually I'd snoot this sort of ice cream. After 40+ miles, with 10 or more to go, it was delicious :)
Lassen is a cool park practically in our back yard. One of these days we need to go spend more time there and explore all the thermal features!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2015
Photos shot on my new IPhone 5, which doesn't do too badly for a phone.

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