My visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park on a trip south to visit family.

Lassen_Volcanic_National_Park_map

I left Vancouver for southern California and my first overnight stop was Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. As the name implies it’s major features are volcanic in origin. Being the southern most volcano of the Cascade Range the prominent features of the park are the largest plug volcano in the world, Lassen Peak and it’s sulfur – thermal hot springs.

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Originally two separate National Monuments dedicated in 1907 by Theodore Roosevelt, Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak National Monuments were declared Lassen Volcanic National Park in 1916.

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I arrived late in the afternoon after an 8 1/2 hour drive and set up camp at Manzanita Lake Campground located in the northern section of the park. Then I proceeded to walk the loop trail around Manzanita Lake, ate dinner and enjoyed a nice campfire before retiring to my tent to read and fall asleep.

 

Accessible by five vehicle entrances the majority of visitors enter either from the north or south along State Route 89, named the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway or Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway, off State route 44 in the north and 89 from the south. Three unpaved roads enter the park but do not connect with the main road through the park, Highway 89.

The north-south 29-mile (46.6k) road, Highway 89, was constructed between 1925 and 1931. The road summit is the highest in the Cascades topping at 8,512 feet (2,594 m). This road is closed in the winter months due to snow, which can reach 40 feet (12.2m) deep.

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Early morning along the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway

 

I got up early, had a quick breakfast and packed up to head south along Route 89 to visit the sites of the park. It was very interesting stopping at the many informative signs along the road to read the history of the park.

 

The last minor to major eruption started in 1914 and lasted until 1921 creating a new crater on Lassen Peak. Releasing ash and lava it fortunately did not kill anyone. This eruption covered many miles of forestlands with landslides and the new growth forest today stands many feet above the old forest floor. These landslides also created Manzanita Lake as it damned Manzanita Creek.

The first blast was on May 19, 1915 and was said to be a night to remember with it’s steam explosion and subsequent mudflows. Had it not been for Elmer Sorahan many people might have died but he ran 3 miles (4.8k) to warn others after escaping the explosion.

 

Three days later on May 22, 1915 another explosion on Lassen Peak threw ash, pumice, rock and gas into the air that was more devastating to the area than the first. The pressure in the mountain built up like a lid on a boiling pot of water and finally blew. You can now explore this area on a ½ mile (0.8k) loop trail or take the strenuous 2,000 foot (609.6m) 5 mile (8k) round trip hike to the top of 10,457 foot (3,187m) Lassen Peak. Many other hiking opportunities exist in the park along with backpacking, auto-touring, bird watching, camping skiing, skiing, snow play, and snowshoeing.

There are 5 hydrothermal areas to explore within the park. Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell, Devils Kitchen, Boiling Springs Lake and Thermal Geyser. I am limiting myself to 2 for this trip.

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My first hydrothermal area would have been the hike out to Bumpass Hell Hydrothermal Area, a moderate 3 mile (4.8k) round trip hike. This is the largest hydrothermal area of the park with temperatures of up to 322 degrees F (161 degrees C). I had done this hike with my kids back in the early 1990’s although I found the trail closed this season for maintenance of the trail and boardwalk through the 2018 season.

My next stop was Sulphur Works, a formation of mudpots, steam vents and boiling springs located right off the main road. This hydrothermal area in near the center of a massive composite volcano that collapsed many thousands of years ago. Mount Tehama or Brokeoff Mountain was estimated to be 1,000 feet (304m) higher than Lassen Peak. Active 400,000 to 600,000 years ago it is estimated to be nearly 11 miles (17.7k) across and had towered to 11,500 feet (3,505k).

 

My final stop was the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at the south entry of the park to visit the small museum learning the history of the park, peoples and area and had a nice talk with the Rangers.

Now for the long 8 hour drive down the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains along State highway 395 to the BLM area of Alabama Hills outside of Lone Pine, CA.

Postponement of the adventure to the Great White North

Well plans have totally changed, during the last part of July right before I was to leave on my Northern Adventure. My daughter, my grandson, 13 and granddaughter, 10 were going to move out of the house so I decided to sell my home of 27 years and move north. She really wanted and loved the family home so it was agreed she would buy the home and the transaction was a go without the house ever going on the market.

That changed my plans drastically.

I reviewed my future and decided to move up the relocation to the Pacific Northwest to be by my son, daughter-in-law, 3 YO grandson and the new addition that was due in a couple of weeks. Well, going on this travel adventure and relocating 1,000 miles (1,610 k) away within a couple of months was too much for me to handle. So the Adventure would have to wait a year.

Leaving the beginning of August I traveled north to stay with my son and family while waiting on the new little one to be born. I started looking for homes and exploring the area the day after I arrived.

My daughter-in-laws family wanted to go out with kayaks on Lacamas Lake the next day, so off we went. It was a wonderful morning paddling around on this 3-mile (4.8k) long lake.

 

Next up was a loop walk down to the Columbia River then exploring Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. I will cover this walk in my next post as it deserves it’s own post.

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BarraParade Grounds, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Later in the week I went for a pleasant morning 4-mile (6.4k) walk around Round Lake, a wonderful area with many hiking trails, trees, waterfalls and streams. I went home to relax and in the afternoon started looking at homes in the area.

 

One day out of the blue we visited this wonderful home located in a pocket of pines, I really loved this place and it reminded me of a cabin that I had once owned in Lake Arrowhead, CA. My son and daughter-in-law basically said I should put an offer in right away or they might buy it, LOL. The next day I put my offer in and after a little negotiating it was to be mine.

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A few days later a beautiful baby boy was born.

 

What an exciting and unexpected time I had in those few weeks. Instead of  heading into the great white north after the birth of my grandson, the plans suddenly changed with the selling my home, exploring some beautiful areas, buying a new home and being there for my forth grandchild’s birth.

Well now to make the drive back south and start packing up for the move. That’s going to be a massive amount of work.

This Lonely Old House

It has been an empty house for 2 years since I lost my best friend, my love. It is hard to perform even the simplest tasks such as getting the mail, cleaning, picking up the phone, or just being happy. I keep the house dark and rattle around through ti’s rooms. Being all that’s left of 2 that lived as one has been difficult, I hardly care about anything anymore. Her spirit has been with me since that night, I feel her everyday although I am now just an empty shell of a man.

One night as I sat in the Living Room I see a shadow down the hall and go to investigate.  Finding nothing, I feel a presence, the air gets cold and the hairs on the back of my neck are electrified. Walking past this spot the feeling dissipates but does not go away. I find nothing in any of the rooms I explore.

Going into the last room, our Bedroom, I feel the sensation once again. What is this, it is stronger this time, more intense. I say her name and it gets colder and the hairs on my neck are at attention. I say, “I love you, and always will”. The feeling slowly goes fully away.

Later in the year I feel lethargic, tired, achy, I eat to satisfy the requirement for nourishment but do not enjoy the taste anymore. Even the simplest tasks are getting more difficult.

One evening going to bed early I find sleep difficult, my body aches more this night. I finally fall asleep very late and find I have fallen into a very deep sleep with vivid dreams.

1 A quiet path to the light-1Finally waking I find myself standing in a forest with tall trees and a beautiful path leading away in front of me. I feel refreshed, energized, and younger than I have felt in years. Looking at my arms they look like a much younger version I remember from long ago.

Following the path in front of me for what feels like a very long time I notice I am not tired or hungry. Finally coming to a steam crossing the path I sit down on the near bank listening to the trickling water trying to understand what is happening and where I am going.

unnamedSoon walking toward me on the opposite bank along the path a younger healthier version of my love is approaching. Nothing is said as she crosses the stream, she bends over, resting her hands on my knees, giving me gentle kiss. This has been a strange dream, I smell the forest, feel the path under my feet, feel her hands on my knees, feel her hair in my hands and her soft lips on mine.

Reaching for my hands she stands motioning me to rise to my feet. I stand and she lets go with one hand and we start across the small stream. I follow and when we reach the other side, her first words are spoken since the meeting, “I am so glad you are here”.

We walk along the path side by side. Not much is said except for small talk just as we have always had.

On we walk with the forest starting to thin and finally around a bend we come to a meadow. In the meadow below is a lovely small village with thatched cottages and homes built into the hillsides.

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 8.07.44 PMWe walk through the village with its stores open, their wares displayed proudly on tables along the path, cafes with outside seating under small trees. Everyone smiles and says hello as we pass.

On the other side of the town we come to a small cottage and pass through its gate to the front door. She opens the door and walks in still holding my hand. As I cross the threshold she says, “Welcome home”.

My eyes adjust to the change of light and the rooms I am able to see feel familiar but new to me. She slowly closes the door behind us and I am frightened.  Will this end this dream for me to awake in that lonely house or become the beginning of a new reality?

When You Say Nothing At All

I heard this song and it just makes you think of all the unnecessary words spoken between people and lovers. Everyone please have a Happy Valentines Day.

It has been almost a year since I lost my love but this reminds me how much our unspoken words and our actual actions showed us both the caring and love we had for one another. I shall never forget her, Jodi is in my heart to stay. We did not need to say I love you it was given in the smiles, in our touch and through our eyes. But we never parted for any time without saying “I Love You” as we walk out the door.

When You Say Nothing At All [LINK]
Alison Krauss, Alison Krauss & Union Station

It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark
Try as I may, I could never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking out loud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
Old Mr. Webster could never define
What’s being said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

Songwriters: DON SCHLITZ, PAUL OVERSTREET

Somewhere over the Rainbow beauty will find you.

Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole

I heard this song in a mix I was listening to today at work and this gentleman’s voice just made me want to look and see it who it was. Although I have not been fortunate enough to capture a rainbow photo yet, these were as close as I could find for this beautiful song.

PLEASE ENJOY – Mahalo

Morning PanoGlacier Bay

The gardens of the Canada Pavilion

The gardens of the Canada Pavilion

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Country Lane

Geiranger Fjord Seven Sisters Waterfall

Seven Sisters Waterfall

Valley Community along Flam RR

Valley Community