Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hat Creek, CA

September 29 - October 2, 2013;

It was a short 25 miles on route 89 from Burney, CA to Hat's Creek, CA.  It was a very unsettled weather day, wind and light rain overnight, then sprinkles intermittently all morning followed by mixed heavy clouds and sun.  We arrived at Hat's Creek RV Resort just after noon, it's an old campground, with a motel, cabins, small store/deli and RV spaces amongst the forest next to the Hat's Creek. The town of Hat Creek, if really a town, seems to be the RV Park with it's small store/deli and post office, that's it. 

View of the Campground
Hat's Creek runs for about 48 miles from Lassen Peak to Lake Britton near Burney and is a beautiful fast flowing stream that is a popular fly fishing stream for trout.

After setting up we started driving north towards Lassen Park, it became really windy and stormy as we traveled higher in elevation, so we turned around and went back near our campground to the  Lassen State Forest  campground. It was much clearer, 10 degrees warmer and even some sun at the lower elevation.  We found a hiking trail there along Hat's Creek that went through a burned forest area, most of the trees were still alive and the Creek was beautiful.  All the rocks in this area are of volcanic origin and there was an ancient lava flow adjacent to this trail.  The wind in the trees, the sound of the fast flowing creek and the immense Jeffery Pine and Ponderosa Pine trees were a sensory overload.  The Jeffery Pine is a huge beautiful tree with reddish bark that resembles puzzle pieces and smells like butterscotch.  It doesn't have the same grandeur as the old growth Sequoia or Redwood forest, but it's pretty special.  Twinkles is collecting a large bag of pine cones for a winter craft project.

Hat's Creek

Nice swift current

Pretty !

Volcanic lava is all over, the hill was a lava flow area 

Hollowed out Tree trunk

Jeffery Pine Trees

Wolf Lichens are everywhere, so green and delicate

Jeffery Pine Cone, those points are knife sharp

Rain again Monday morning, but again off and on, we make a break for it when the sun broke through and went a few miles away to the Subway Cave.  It is a short 1/4 mile trail to a cave that is actually an open Lava tube.  It is large enough to stand up inside and is 1/3 of a mile long.  It is totally dark, you need to bring your own light to see.  It is a bit spooky but very interesting.  

Rainbow on trail to the Subway Cave

Entrance to Subway Cave

Interior of the Cave, this was a lava tube in which the molten lava ran for miles,
these tubes are all over in this area 

The next stop was the "Spatter Cones Trail" which was about a 2 mile hike.  Of course it started to rain as we started the hike, but it was very light so we kept going.  We came to a trail intersection with the "Pacific Crest Trail" and the trail map kind of lead us astray, so we ended up doing another 1/2 mile before we realized we had taken the wrong trail. In the west, trails do not have much in the way of trail markers or blazes, as they do in the East.  Anyway, we back tracked, it was now raining lightly and continued on.  The trail was great, nothing but volcanic rock, lava flows, spatter cones, vents and mountain views. The rain cut down visibility somewhat to hide the scenic views, but it was still a great hike in spite of getting almost soaked.

Open area along trail with lush green Manzanita's growing
Looking down into a Volcanic Vent

Lava flow along trail

After a change of clothes back at the RV, we returned to Lassen Volcanic Park museum to check out their exhibits.  The museum was established and built by Benjamin F. Loomis to showcase his historic photos of the 1914-1915 Lassen Peak eruptions.  He donated the building and 40 acres to the Park Service in 1927. 

The Loomis Museum

Photo of Lassen Peak eruption from 1914

We then did a mile hike around the perimeter of Manzanita Lake that was very scenic, lots of ducks, great views of Lassen Peak.  The sky cleared enough to give us a few great views of Lassen Peak and surrounding mountains.

View from Lake Manzanita

Another trail view

Lassen Peak in the distance

Duck in the lake, love the water in this scene

Tuesday and it's a beautiful clear, nothing but blue sky day.  The plan was to return to Lassen Volcanic National Park today to see more of the thermal attractions and do another hike.  Well, that didn't happen, the Park gates were closed due to the ridiculous government shutdown. I know the republicans don't have much use for the Sierra Club, but I thought their message today was great.  

Why You Can't Visit Yosemite on Its Birthday 

Today is Yosemite National Park's 123rd birthday, but due to the federal government shutdown that commenced today, no one will be attending the party. Visitors already there are being ushered out of Yosemite -- and every other national park, national monument, and national seashore. 

But the fallout doesn't stop there. The EPA will furlough 9 out of every 10 employees, and communities around our parks could lose up to $30 million in business for every day of the shutdown. Rather than make the American people pay the cost, the U.S. House of Representatives needs to ditch the political posturing and fulfill the most basic aspect of its job: keeping the government open and working for American families. 

So, Instead it was a ride to the Hat Creek Rim Overlook (with locked gates), parking outside and walking in to get the view from the overlook.  They had a big forest fire here caused by lightning strikes a few years ago.  The dead trees have been removed and new seedling have been planted.  The Rim is a popular Hang gliding location and a festival is held there in September. 

View of burned forest area that was cleared and re-seeded

A burned Tree that was cut
View from the Rim, it's much higher than the photo shows

We then returned to the "Spatter Cones Trail" to repeat it in the sunlight.  It was a much different hike today, better in that we could see the surrounding beautiful mountain views with nice cloud formations and good blue sky.  However, worse as far as the color of the rocks and vegetation.  A rainy or a cloudy day day is the best for photography to get the colors to "Pop".

View of Lassen Peak

There were great clouds along the trail

Tomorrow we are making another short move to Susanville, California for two days.  

Happy Trails,
Twinkles and Slick

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