Lassen Peak as viewed from Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park. First stop on our recent week long road trip, and oh what an awesome trip it was!
While it seems my blogging mojo has gone completely missing this summer, I was determined to post about this trip before it fell into that ever-growing backlog of fun things I have yet to post about. So here we go…
By the way, Lassen Peak is one of numerous volcanoes in the park, its most recent eruption having been in 1915.
Our campsite at Manzanita Lake had a big boulder that made a perfect stage on which Clover danced around amidst the campfire smoke.
I’ll tell you what, if you’re looking for an easy way to make friends with fellow campers, get yourself a teardrop trailer! People are constantly wanting to check it out. Here’s Lucas giving one of his tours of our cozy little abode on wheels. Oddly enough, this group happened to be from our very own town.
With a tank full of gas and The Wind in the Willows audio book on heavy rotation, we were off to our next destination…
The high desert beauty of Lava Beds National Monument. With the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America, this park is full of amazing places to explore and adventures to be had.
We began at the visitor’s center, soaking in some knowledge about the area’s native peoples, the Modoc.
From the visitor center we embarked onto cave loop road and decided to check out Hercules Leg, a lava tube cave that appeared easy enough to explore with Clover.
That is until she realized that, even with a flashlight, it got pretty dark in there, and went running back out into daylight.
Lucas and I took turns venturing around the dark bend which pretty quickly led out into the light at the other end of the tunnel (where two other smaller openings could be entered).
We tried convincing Clover to go all the way through, but she was having none of it, so back out into the sunshine we went.
As I was photographing it, a friendly ranger happened by, which is how I came to know what it was. He said they had just recently begun to bloom. We were to see many more, along with so many other beautiful wildflowers, most of which I never did catch their names.
As we started off down the trail, it held the sinking sun in its branches and appeared very much rooted in magic.
High desert lands, rich in turbulent history, both geologically and with regard to native culture. Lava Beds has the same sort of intensity that one experiences in the Southwest. Which it very much reminded me of!
Our hike to Symbol Bridge ended up being a bit of a scorcher so we decided to take a detour on our way back to the campground. 24 miles down a small mostly dirt and gravel road, and we arrived at Medicine Lake, where we were greeted with a nice cool breeze and a shady spot to relax.
Our water baby loved it and she and I had a great time playing catch and release with the many resident tadpoles.
Where we settled in for the night. A night that would bring one of the most amazing star-filled skies I have ever seen. Not a city light for miles upon miles and the Milky Way stretching across the heavens in all its shimmering glory.
On our way out of the park we stopped at Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a trail through the historic battlefield site of the Modoc War.
I had tweaked my lower back while doing breakfast dishes earlier that morning and was hobbling around barely able to walk upright. So Clover and I hung out at the little rest area at the trailhead while Lucas ventured off to do the hike.
While we waited (with the strap carefully secured ;) I let her try out my camera for the first time. While it was big and unwieldy in her tiny hands and probably weighs about as much as her head, she was so determined to do it on her own and so excited when she did. She wanted to take more and more pictures, so to pass the time we took pics of each other.
Those first three I didn’t even crop at all. I was pretty impressed with how she did!
This rock formation was once an island within the then much larger Tule Lake. The lake was drained to create farmland and auctioned off to white settlers :(
The island was the center of a Modoc creation story and generations of native people traveled to it by canoe, where they carved images into the soft sandstone rock face. The heights of the images vary along with the changes in water level throughout the years.
We spent each night of our trip at a new place we’d never visited before. It ended up being like a sampler trip. We got a quick taste of what each place was like.
Lava Beds was definitely one that we’d love to return to one day with more time to explore. There were so many cool caves to see and trails to hike. Perhaps when Clover is a bit older and more into cave adventures ;)
Next stop, Crater Lake, Oregon! Astoundingly beautiful to behold. With the bluest of blue waters, this volcanic lake is (at 1,943 ft) the deepest in the United States.
View of Wizard Island. Not even my wide angle lens could capture this entire lake in all its glory. It was visually quite impressive.
We attempted to make the loop drive all the way around the Lake, but the road was closed off about half way, forcing us to head back the way we came. Notice the dark storm clouds building overhead.
Those storm clouds did end up dumping rain with thunder and the whole bit, but not before we were able to make our way to Vidae Falls. Just off the road as you head around the lake in the other direction, this breathtaking spring-fed waterfall cascades 100 ft down the rocky cliff face.
While absorbing this spectacular scene, I thought of our lovely Heather, whose baby due date had come and gone just before we set off on our adventure. I even sent her a little birth blessing as it felt like the right time and place to do so.
Little did I know that she had been laboring throughout the day and precious Lucinda Violet would be entering the world that very night! Talk about the sweetest little family ever, I’m so happy to see Heather and Darin basking in their new baby bliss!
In other fun summertime news, last weekend involved seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, Fiona Apple at the Fox Theater in Oakland (!!!!!!!!!), and a Woody Guthrie 100th Birthday Jubilee down in Railroad Square :D