September 6, 2005

camping at lassen

me and ronda spent the three day weekend camping at lassen volcanic national park.

lassen is located about 45 miles east of redding, ca. for a detailed map of the park look here.

we drove up on saturday morning to the south west entrance of the park and got a campsite at southwest camp just inside the park. after setting up our tent we went to the "bumpass hell" trail. (pronounced bump-ass, bum-pass, or bumpus depending on who you ask.) the bumpass trail is pretty stinky since it leads to a bunch of steam vents, boiling springs, sulfur pits, and mud pits. we also hiked a little ways past bumpass towards cold boiling lake. after returning to the trailhead we drove the sulphur works to take in more boiling mud and fumes. after returning to our camp site ronda gathered up a bunch of firewood, we had dinner, started up a good fire, enjoyed a six pack, admired the stars, and went to bed.

sunday, after fixing some breakfast and packing up camp, we headed over to lassen peak and hiked to the top. it's a short trail (only about 5 miles) but it goes winding a mountain up the whole way, starting at an elevation of about 8,500 ft and ending at 10,457 ft. once at the top we wandered around the peaks and crater for about an hour and a half. the view was pretty gorgeous and we could even see mt. shasta off in the distance. after snacking some we headed back down the mountain. the climb up took us about 1.5 hours and the goung down only took us an hour. after taking some advil to ease our sore legs we decided to go to butte lake (pronounced butt or bute, depending on who you ask.) since there are no roads going across the park this meant we had to drive along the 89 out the north west entrance of the park and then take the 89 east to the 44 east and to reenter the park from the north east side. while driving the 89 north through the park we saw great views of lassen peak from almost every side. eventually we found the turnoff for butte lake, which was 7 mile long dirt road with a camp ground at the end. we pitched our tent here and headed down to the lake for the sunset. after sunset we fixed some dinner, started up a fire, polished off another six-pack, and went to sleep.

monday morning we fixed up some scrambled eggs and got swarmed by bees, so we ended up eating breakfast in the car. after packing up our camp site we went to hike up the cinder cone trail. it was a pretty short trail (only 4 miles), the first 1.5 miles of the trail was flat but very fine and sandy, so it took some self discipline to stay on the trail and not wander off between the trees where the ground looked more solid. then the last 0.5 miles was a brutal 800 ft climb strait up (as in no switchbacks) the cinder cone. to make the final climb a little extra difficult, the entire cinder cone is basically composed of sand, gravel, and small rocks. so for every two steps up that you take you slide one down. needless to say it was a long and painful walk up, and a short and fun run down. the view from the top was great and we could see butte lake, the fantastic lava beds, the painted dunes, lots of forest, and lassen peak off in the distance.

our drive home went surprisingly well. we were expecting to hit traffic from people returning from camping and burningman, but we never did and we made it back home by 8pm. i'll try to get the pictures from the trip online soon.

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