Thursday, October 24, 2013

A trail across Lassen

In the very end of August, I set out with a friend from work (Dave) to hike on the PCT from one end of Lassen Volcanic National Park to the other.  Susanna and Jasper met up with Kristen and Madeline (Dave's family) to car camp in the park and help with rides too and from the trailhead. 

We began on a small dirt road north of the park and hiked south.  With increasingly beautiful views, we entered in to the park and stopped for the night at Badger Flat (above photo).  We watched dusk settle on a wild scene.  Soon, an ancient sky of stars hung like diamonds above.  Occasional stars would streak across the black sky.  

The next day, we continued our hike south through recent burn areas, past sparkling lakes, along meadows, canyons and old growth trees.  We swam in Swan Lake.  Our campsite was just south of the park at a spectacular little rocky outcropping with views of Lassen Peak, Terminal Geyser and Willow Lake way below.  As dusk settled, several Sandhill Cranes began to call, the sound echoing across the silent valley.  Once again, the stars lit up a black, ancient sky.  The scene was so utterly perfect it is hard to describe. 

On our final day, we continued our hike south along ridges and valleys, past flowing rivers and mountains, to our final destination of highway 36, nearly 40 miles from the start.  What a trip!
Dave and I about to begin our adventure...

Some of our first views of Lassen Peak just north of the park

One of the Cluster Lakes with the charred forest surrounding it

Lower Twin Lake

Dropping in to Warner Valley

A dramatic view of the Boiling Springs Lake with Lassen Peak to the north

Dawn light from Rocky Knob, our second campsite

Sweeping views of Lassen Peak and the surrounding mountains on day 3

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