Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lassen from the South Side

Woke up this morning and asked Marcia, "Why do we want to move the motor home over to the other side of Lassen?"  Yes, we would be along Lake Almanor, but we would have to go down to 30 amp, no sewer hook-up, no cable TV, but probably better Internet (yesterday’s Internet was fine, but Monday’s really sucked big time.)  And the cost would be the same there as we decided to stay where we were and just take a long day trip over to the other side of Lassen in the HHR.

We left around 10 am, and headed south on highway 89.  It was such a clear, blue sky, my focus was on Lassen...and I missed the turn onto highway 44 to go around the east side of Lassen around to the south side of Lassen.  Here is why.... 
I realized the mistake as we came to the turn to the entrance to the north side of Lassen Park, so I pulled in and asked them about the western route around.  She said that the first paved road that went around the west side is at headed west to Shingletown.  It was much longer, but now we can say that we saw every side there is to Lassen that one can see from a car on paved roads.  Here is Lassen and surrounding peaks, all of which formed ancient Mount Tehema that I talked about a few days ago.
It is hard to imagine that once many centuries ago that  one large mountain stood where this group of mountains is at today.
Eventually we made it to south entrance, and we immediately went to the visitor’s center where we viewed their displays, and saw a 15 minute video about Lassen, which helped put things together for us.  It is a lovely visitor’s center.  Here’s two pictures of the area from the outside.
That's the visitor's center just beyond the tree in the center foreground above.  Below is just a sample of the many trees that surround the area.
They told us that we could continue another 7 miles or so before the road is closed for the removal of snow, as we ran into a few days ago as we traveled south on highway 89 within the park and got stopped at destruction point.  Our first turn out was at the Sulphur Works area.  Here one can see steam mist raising up from the pools of bubbling mud.  There is a small spring creek which flows along here.  Due to snow around the parking area, Marcia could not use the scooter, and I decided to stay in the car too.
 You can see the steam above, below is a view of the area from afar.
The road is blocked off at Bumpass Hell, named after a guide named Bumpass who fell through the crust over the earth in the area into hot water severely burning his leg back in the 1800's (it must have burned like Hell, hence the name).   Here are some pictures of the ride up to Bumpass Hell.
Parked on a turnout along a curve, the picture above is pointed to the northeast, while the picture below is pointing the other way, hence the snow below while the mountain above is relatively free of snow.
The picture below is the first time that I put two pictures together to show a more panoramic view.  As we came around a very sharp curve (nearly 180 degrees), this is the view that we saw.  That is Lassen Peak (Mount Lassen) to the left.

At Bumpass Hell, you can see why the road is closed beyond this point.  Here is a picture of one of the snow banks, and another of the same snow bank with our car parked in front of it (yes, that is Skruffy’s head sticking out the driver’s window)

However, you get a great view of Lassen Peak.  The southern exposed area has much less snow on it. 
Here the trail around the Bumpass Hell area is totally snowed in, but I did walk out on the snow a bit and took the below picture.
After driving back down to the visitor’s center area for lunch, we headed out of the park and around the east side of Lassen.  This took us right by where we thought we were going to be camping for two days, by Lake Almanor.

And we finally hooked up with highway 44, where we got this nice last shot of Lassen’s snowy north-eastern side.

Not sure what we will do tomorrow...perhaps rest up, perhaps find some place new to go to, or perhaps go to Burney Falls again which Marcia told me today was one of her new favorite places.  Tune in and find thing for sure is that we have to pull out of here and head back to Sacramento on Friday morning.  This park, and many others around here, are going to busy for the Memorial Day Weekend.

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