Karen's Blog

Let's take a walk through a brand new day.

A very memorable day

Do you remember when you were young and often said, “I can’t wait till I get old enough to….”. Well, today, I had an “I’m finally old enough” moment. I drove my car to the entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park and announced to the park ranger that I would like to purchase a Senior Citizen Lifetime National Park Pass. I said, “I am so excited to be old enough to get one!” He laughed and said, “I’m happy for you”. His comment was very anticlimactic for an event I have waited 63 years for!

After driving from Lodi, California where I had a very pleasant lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years, I made my way Mineral Pass.

Mineral Pass has Highlands Ranch Lodge and the Village at Children’s Meadow as an option for lodging. The lodge is beautiful but the Village was practical so I’m sure you know which I chose. The meadow was very inviting with wide open spaces and beautiful horses.

I had an overwhelming sense that I needed to invite Laura Ingalls and Anne of Green Gables to picnic with me.

Upon entering the park, from the Southwest side, I realized again that the park was going to be fairly void of visitors. But, a nice lady stopped behind me and asked if she could take my picture.

The Kohm Ya-mah-nee Visitor Center was closed due to Covid-19, but a masked Park Ranger was available toanswer questions.

The first point of interest in the park is the Sulphuric Works area where mud pots send steam into the air along with a very stinky sulphuric smell. NASA is working with Lassen NP to study microorganisms that can survive in the thermal mud pots. They may also explain life in other universes such as Mars. I learned that this study is called astrobiology. A new term for me.

Leaving the mud pots, the roads snake and wind as the altitude increases. Then, comes a nice surprise of gorgeous snow!

Even Emerald Lake still looks emerald in its frozen state. And yes, that is a fisherman trying to get a bite under the ice.

Driving around the mountain brought more and more beautiful views. Upon arriving at Kings Creek, I got the perfect shot of Lassen Peak.

Driving further down the mountain, I came upon Summit Lake and found a couple in a blow up raft who had the entire lake to themselves.

At this point, my homemade cranberry walnut bread and turkey sandwich laden with cream cheese and cranberry sauce was calling my name. Manzanita Lake seemed the perfect spot to have a picnic lunch with the ducks, the fish and the HUGE blue jays.

After lunch, I wanted to check out the Manzanita Lake Cabins. These are camping cabins with no water or electricity. They looked nice though. This is one of two places that you can stay in the park. The other is at Drakesbad Guest Ranch.

Exiting the park, I couldn’t help but think about what a beautiful walk David was going to have when he arrives in Lassen sometime in August. Neither was it lost on me that I had driven to Lassen in 3 days and it would take him 3 months to walk there!

As I entered the town of Old Station, I had been told that the PCT was just .03 off the highway. I just had to go take a look! The first picture is where David will be coming FROM and the 2nd photo is where he will be walking TO when he arrives in Old Station. So, I walked a bit on both sides so that I could tease him about my hiking the PCT in Lassen National Forest before he did!😜

It was time to be back on the road again to head to my next destination: Mt. Shasta. Hwy. 89 took me right to it. The view was fabulous!

When I opened the door to my hotel room, this is the view from my window.

It has been a good day.


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