Sunday, May 22, 2016

Susanville and Lassen Volcanic National Park

May 14 - 17, 2016:

It was mostly a straight shot from Carson City, Nevada to Susanville, California on route 580 and 395.  We arrived at Walmart in early afternoon, found a good parking spot and then explored downtown.  This is our first Walmart stay for the year, not a big fan of them, but since we are just doing an overnighter in Susanville it will do.  We spent a few days in Susanville back in October of 2013. A couple of the main street buildings with great neon signs remain favorites of mine.  The “Pioneer”  is a nice restaurant and brew pub in the tastefully restored old saloon and the “Sierra” Theater and both have great old neon signs.  There are also several excellent nice murals in town.  We had a good time browsing in “Margie’s Book Nook” which has literally tons of used books.

Susanville sidewalk view

The Sierra Theater

Mural depicts Susanville founder Isaac Roop who
named the town for his daughter Susan

Another bright colorful mural in town

Twinkles wanted to go to a quilt shop a couple of miles outside of town that was recommended by the bookshop.  I saw a sign for the Peter Lassen Monument on the same road, so I dropped her off and took a look at the monument.  It is located right on the edge of the valley.  It was quite scenic with a flock of sheep in the green meadow.  Lassen Volcanic National Monument and National Forest are named after Peter Lassen who did much trail blazing there.  He came from Denmark, traveled across the country, became a prospector, then a guide and somewhat of a trail builder.  He somehow was able to become a Mexican citizen and buy a sizable Mexican land grant which became his ranch.  He also promoted the Lassen cutoff of the California Trail for people headed to California which proved to be a terrible route.  He was shot and killed on a trip with two other men and there remains much controversy about who was his assailant.  This is his  actual burial site with a badly deteriorated grave marker.  The most impressive thing is this enormous tree stump. I found a photo of the tree on the internet which was reputed to be one of the largest Ponderosa Pine trees in the country.

The Tree stump with grave on left and monument on right

On May 15th, we left Susanville for the “Cave Campground” in Old Station, California.  This is in the Lassen National Forest with beautiful Hat Creek running right through the campground.  Needless to say, many fishermen were there, I feel like I am really missing something.  I need to look into getting some fishing gear ?

A great road view

I had to stop for this lake view

   We came through here back in early October of 2013, but had to leave early due to the National Park shutdown.  We had noted this campground as being a potential site if we ever returned and now here we are.  

It is another beauty of a campsite, no hookups, but a water spigot is nearby and a dump station is within a mile.  We use very little electrical power and the solar panels are working great, never have to run the generator unless we have a totally cloudy day.  We have had a series of spectacular campsites recently, in fact we are getting a little jaded,  just a nice one is almost disappointing.  

We drove into Lassen Volcanic National Park knowing it wouldn’t be fully open, the higher elevations of the park remain snowbound.  We were able to go 10 miles into the park to what they call the “devastated area”.  It is the area that was covered by the landslide resulting from the latest eruption of Mount Lassen in May of 1916 almost exactly 100 years ago.  Amazingly this eruption was caught on camera by a B. F. Loomis.  We took the short but informative loop trail through the area and then walked through the barriers and down the road for a while.  Mount Lassen is 10,457 foot in elevation has heavy snow cover, is quite a spectacular sight.  We are really getting into the trees and the fast flowing mountain streams again, you don’t see them in the desert southwest !

Mt Lassen was blindingly white in the sun

Another view from the devastated area

Tree lichens on a huge old tree stump

A forest fire area

Another great hike is around beautiful “Manzanita Lake” which was unusual because of the lack of people.  It’s nice being at a National Park when you have it to yourself.  After the lake hike, we went practically across the road and did the “Lily Pond” trail.  We had been seeing a few scattered bright red “Snow flowers”, but along this trail they were popping out all over.  They are a strange plant the grows from an underground bulb.  The trail skirts past the “Reflection Pond” at the beginning then veers off and passes several small ponds.  The “Lilly Pond” is the largest and we were sort of surprised to see it covered in Lilly's

View from Manzanita Lake

The Lilly Pond

Lilly Pads

Snow Flowers are crazy !

Twinkles wants to get in 20,000 steps today so off we go to the “Spattercone” loop trail followed by a few miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.  We ended up with 9 1/2 miles and 21,000 steps for the day.

Hat Creek area is red hot

Remnants of past volcanic eruptions are everywhere

Tree lichens are beautiful up close

The Hat Creek is a raging creek this time of year, very beautiful and there are several campgrounds along it, all good.  Unfortunately, the area north of the Cave campground suffered a huge forest fire a few years ago and is charred for a few miles.

A big snake sunning on a river rock, I left it alone

Hat Creek

A Dipper bird, they dive underwater for flies

A Swallowtail butterfly

Loved the coloration and texture of this old stump

The Subway Cave is located across the road from the campground, it is a short but interesting large lava tube that you can walk through, but have a good flashlight.  It is pitch dark inside and the floor is rough and bumpy.

Twinkles entering the Subway Cave

Next stop is Weed, California,
Twinkles and Slick

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