Lassen National Park is located in Northern California, east of the I-5 freeway. This year saw record rain and snow in the Sierras. The snow pack was about 200% of normal. No wonder that when we got to the park, we were greeted with solid ice packed 10-15 feet high. This would have been okay if it were January, but this was on the July 4th weekend. One might wonder if they were in the southern hemisphere.
If you enter via the southwest entrance (via 89), it's natural to make your way to Bumpass Hell, one of the largest areas of hydrothermal activity in the area. Bumpass is named after a settler who had the misfortune of falling into a boiling pool in the area, severely burning his leg. The ice had yet to clear and the trail was closed. Instead we got to see this helmet like structure at the trailhead.
Turns out it was a EarthScope. It's a GPS based network system to study the earth's plate movements and other seismic issues. Seemed to be completely solar powered.
The trail to Bumpass Hell was closed. So was the main park road at this point. Instead we decided to tackle the 10,462 ft Lassen Peak. It's about a mile walk to the trailhead from the Bumpass Hell parking lot. As we walked, thick ice walls towered over us on either side, cooling us down before we began the hike up to the peak that would take us up 2000 feet in 2.5 miles.
Pretty much all the way up to the peak, the trail was covered by ice. Not the soft, inviting kind that you see in TV commercials floating around in a glass of juice or alcohol, but the tough-as-a-stone kind. Though, if you had good hiking boots with good grooves, it wasn't too difficult. One had to be careful not to lose footing, especially when the views were so vast and beautiful.
As the morning turned into afternoon, the temperatures rose up. A frozen lake that we passed by on our way in the morning had started to melt by then. Below you can see the blue rings of the water melting in the lake. It's a beautiful sight.
Once you get to the top of Lassen Peak, you are at 10,462 feet. Amazing, spectacular, and panoramic views all around you. This one below is Mt.Shasta - a 14,000+ ft mountain that rises up abruptly from its surrounding, standing nearly 10,000 feet above the rest of the terrain. Imagine a 7-foot basketball player standing among a group of normal people.
A group of fearless skiers also hiked up to the peak. Watching them ski down that steep slope in itself was pretty exciting. Even more amazing was that after they finished a run, they hiked back up in order to do it all over again.
Soon, the late afternoon clouds started moving in and the temperature started dipping gradually, prompting us to bid farewell to Mt.Shasta. A good hike accomplished, we started on our way down.
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This is a part of Foto-Friday, a feature of the Newsvine Photographers group.