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Winter Trip Stop 1: LAKE TAHOE

Last week, a friend and I started out on a driving trip.  Our plan was to follow scenic routes everyday and stop occasionally looking for birds.  Since a major storm was supposed to arrive in the state about two days after we hit the road, we knew that we might be held up by rain or snow at some point.  But as one of my aunts used to say, “We would play it by ear.”

We were so lucky!  The storm hit as expected, but all around us rather than on us.  Our first scenic drive was to leave Sacramento, taking U. S. Route 50 up to South Lake Tahoe and then along the lake for a bit, heading back to Sacramento via I-80.  We knew we would see snow in the area from earlier storms—and we did.  The drive was gorgeous!  The day after we visited, a major snowstorm hit the area, creating white-out conditions and closing roads.

It was a sunny day with a bright blue sky punctuated by fluffy white clouds.

Our drive-up U. S. Route 50 to Lake Tahoe was spectacular.

As we neared the lake, some smoke was evident in the skies from controlled burns.

Lake Tahoe is always impressive.

Lake Tahoe sits at 6,225 feet, straddling the border between California and Nevada.  It is the largest alpine lake in North America, coming in sixth behind the Great Lakes for the largest lake by volume (122,160,280 acre-feet).  Its depth is 1,645 feet, second only to Oregon’s Crater Lake (1,949 feet).  Besides all that detail, it is simply breath-taking.

This bear seemed to be the official greeter at South Lake Tahoe, waving us on as we headed back to the hotel.

Heading home to the hotel, the sky was still blue.

By the end of the day, the clouds were starting to darken a bit.

It was a terrific day!

 

LANDSCAPES

I love landscapes.

Most of my posts are about my travels out into nature—and those trips give me many opportunities to admire vast and beautiful landscapes.  This past week, I was out traveling but not to any well known, impressive locations.  The landscapes I saw were nothing like my favorite views from places like Yosemite, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon or even Bryce Canyon National Park.

But last week’s landscapes were glorious, even if they were more muted, subtle.  My trip took me into Northern California and a bit into Southern Oregon.  The plan was to scout out some birds and travel some scenic routes.  I will share more details about my trip over the next several weeks.  But here are some landscapes that show the desolation and splendor of some of the mountain roads and open marsh lands I traveled along.

Not living in the mountains, I always enjoy a snowy landscape.

Anytime of year, Lake Tahoe is a wondrous sight.

This marsh was near Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.

Along I-5, I was able to see Priscilla, Dragon Queen of the Sierras.  I’ve shared about her and the talented artist who created her before.  On this trip—although still a bit cloudy and dreary—Mt. Shasta can be seen in the distance.

A better view of the top of Mt. Shasta.

The Tulelake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges offered views of some great marshland.

This is my entry for the Lens Artist Photo Challenge 31 Landscape.

Giving Thanks Every Day

The other day Americans celebrated Thanksgiving.  It is a great holiday devoted to family and gratitude and—more and more—football and the start of the race to the stores to buy way too much for Christmas.  Still, it is nice to take the time to voice our gratitude and appreciation for all we have.

Gratitude is the key, one that can help make life better in so many ways.  If one appreciates life and all its messy details—and better yet—voices that appreciation, then it is hard to remain sad or grumpy or resentful of others.  And, as Jospeh B. Wirthlin explains, noticing all the little things that make life worth living, often, means we will not ever truly take them for granted, an accident of life that is too easy to happen in the hecticness of day-to-day living:

“The more often we see the things around us—even the beautiful and wonderful things—the more they become invisible to us.  That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds—even those we love.  Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”

I enjoyed the holiday and all the memories it awakens. Mom and Dad are always with me in spirit on that day.  I make a pork roast (my tradition) in part because it was a favorite of Mom and Dad too.  I also take some time to reflect on my life and what all I appreciate these days.  It is another habit of mine, associated with the holiday.

Here are a few of things I am appreciative of today:

I appreciate family and friends.  The holidays are a good reminder to tell those special people how you feel.  It is not wise to make them read your mind. My sister Barbara routinely shares Mary Engelbreit’s delightful art with me.  How great is that?

I am retired, a fact that still surprises me most days.  But I am grateful that I have funds enough to live a good life.  I can buy pretty much what I want and keep myself well stocked with books and movies to enjoy as I relax.  The most recent book by Barbara Kingsolver is at the top of my list:  Unsheltered.

I am basically healthy, although I am not able to walk as I used to.  But I still travel and am thrilled to find scenic routes that help me enjoy glorious Nature wherever I travel.

I love Nature.  Autumn especially is such a glorious time of year—the beauty is almost overwhelming! The photos here are from my most recent trip to enjoy the fall colors.

I appreciate that the recent elections are over, so the dreaded political advertising is over for a bit.  I also like the election results. Having the elected representatives more closely matching what seems to be the ideological split in the country seems wise.  Maybe those elected politicians (I cannot call them “leaders” on either side of the aisle) will finally start working together to better the country.  I am hopeful, although not optimistic.

I appreciate all the fire fighters and first responders who come to help, no matter what tragedy they are called to.  And I am so grateful for the charities that come forward to help survivors try to reclaim their lives.  The fires most recently in California are horrible, so small victories are applauded.  One of the three fires is contained and another almost so.  The rains have not caused mudslides.  I feel I must add “yet,” but I am still appreciative today for the good news.

I appreciate that my apartment complex allows residents to have pets.  I get to see and greet dogs as they head out with owners.  Cats are around too.  A couple take afternoon naps on my patio, occasionally noticing me through the sliding glass door and giving me that why-did-you-disturb-me look.  I love it!

I love that colder weather has finally arrived.  I realize that is relative, and if I lived where it snowed and regularly dropped below freezing and stayed there, I might reassess.  But in California, I now get to snuggle under an extra blanket and pull out my sweaters. And it rained a bit yesterday in my area—yeah!

I love the anticipation of Christmas. Not the commercials and sales or even the every-hour-on-the-hour movies about the cheerful Christmas spirit, but the memories that surface of past holidays, the plans for gifts that will be just right for loved ones, the favorite movies and songs that are nostalgic as well as bittersweet at times, and even the traditional sweets and goodies that are served throughout the holidays.  It is a great time to remind others of the joy and wonder of Christmas.

Every day is a miracle.  We need to consciously look for the wonder around us on a daily basis.  Of what are you most appreciative today?

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Quotes about Appreciation & Gratitude

“If you have the opportunity to play this game of life you need to appreciate every moment. A lot of people don’t appreciate the moment until it’s passed.”   Kanye West

“There’s so much to appreciate about my life every single day, and I make a big point of taking time to smell the roses and noticing how lucky I am. I never want to take that for granted.”   Josie Maran

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”   Brene Brown

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”   Albert Schweitzer

“What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it—would you be likely to give them another?  Life if the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.”   Ralph Marston

“We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in different things. You want the vegetables—the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers—to retain their identity. You appreciate differences.”   Jane Elliot

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”   Melody Beattie

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”   William Arthur Ward

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness if the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”   Denis Waitley

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”   Dalai Lama

“Once we discover how to appreciate the timeless values in our daily experiences, we can enjoy the best things in life.”   Jerome K. Jerome

“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say.  I say that one a lot.  Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”   Alice Walker

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”   Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.”   Mary Kay Ash

“Really appreciate the sunset as you’re driving home, cursing all the terrible drivers on the road.  Be where you are when you’re there rather than out there in the future or back there in the past.”  Valerie Harper

“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the times when we may pick up the fruit.”   Anton Chekhov

“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.”   Eckhart Tolle

“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.”  Elie Wisesel

“Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.”   Louie Schwartzberg

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”   Voltaire

“People will never forget how you made them feel.”   Maya Angelou

“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”   Vincent Van Gogh

“If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation would be in all the hearts to behold the miraculous change.”   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”   Anne Frank

“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you.  Go outside and turn attention to the many miracles around you.  This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.”   Wayne Dyer

“Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us—it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children.”   Joyce Brothers

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The world will never starve for wonder, but only for want of wonder.”   G. K. Chesterson

 

Fall Colors Along Highway 120 (Tioga Road, Yosemite)

This year, while on my Nature Trek to find some autumn colors, I decided I would drive Highway 120, east to west.  It is one of my favorite roads, taking me over the Tioga Pass and into Yosemite National Park.  I was not expecting much color given the elevations, but the views are gorgeous regardless.  But some pretty fall foliage did jump out on display.

There is a little service station set up at the juncture of Highway 395 and Highway 120.  This area had some pretty trees.

Some side roads before reaching Yosemite National Park entrance also showed some color.

Tioga Lake is always inviting, sitting just east of the entrance to Yosemite.

Entering Yosemite National Park, color is not real evident.

Tenaya Lake sits right by the road.

Olmsted Point always shows some spectacular views.

But fall colors did start showing themselves, the further west I drove.

It was a beautiful drive!  To see the same drive in the summer, visit this post.  Highway 120 is impressive in every season.

Scenic U.S. Highway 395: Fall Colors around Bishop, CA

The first time I drove to Bishop, California, to look for fall colors was years ago with my dad.  We had a lot of fun wandering on some of the country roads. Now, whenever I go on this trek, I think of Dad.  I figure he is with me on these drives, enjoying the fall colors once again.  Last year on my trek, there was limited color; it was apparent I was a bit too late for the best viewing.

This year, I opted to go on this Nature Trek the third week in October rather than the first week in November.  Just a little change in timing, but the color was much more impressive.  My main goal was to drive the June Lake Scenic Loop, but I also traveled some other country rounds along Highway 395 near Bishop.

It was a beautiful, colorful autumn day!

JUNE LAKE SCENIC LOOP (Highway 158)

Views of June Lake

 

Quick View of Silver Lake

Along side Grant Lake

Back at Highway 395 with a View of Mono Lake

CROWLEY LAKE ROAD

STRETCH OF LOWER ROCK CREEK ROAD

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN: A Couple Movie Suggestions

A couple days ago, I was flipping channels looking for something fun to watch with a Halloween theme.  I could not find a Twilight Zone marathon—that would have been great. And no channel was showing all the epic Halloween episodes from the old Roseanne show.  The Great Pumpkin was not even on.  I did stumble upon a movie: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.  It was fun.

I decided that I would find some movies on my own to watch for Halloween.  Of course, that is not as easy as it sounds since I avoid the classics like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and Child’s Play. I am not crazy about blood, gore, zombies, maniacs wielding hatchets and knives—all that fun stuff.  I like scary movies that are more like Twilight Zone episodes.  Movies that make you think, creep you out, explore the supernatural as part of everyday life.  Humor would be nice too.

The first movie I thought of was Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).  It replicates one of my favorite episodes from the television show: “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”  The original episode starred William Shatner while the movie version stars John Lithgow.  There are three more episodes in the movie. The opening and closing sequences of the movie are fun too. Here is a shortened version of the movie’s opening for your enjoyment!

Of course, if you want to be really scared, just watch the news lately.  Or pay attention to all the political ads for the upcoming midterm election. Instead, I suggest you relax with a good movie. Here are the rest of the movies I suggest you could watch to celebrate Halloween, in no special order. I expect you have probably seen most of these already.  Most can be rented on Amazon.

The Thing (1982, this remake is better than the original): Basically, it is an alien invasion movie set in a cold, cold, cold science station.  The alien was buried in the ice for 100,000 years and (once thawed) starts taking over people one at a time.

Misery (1990):  A woman who loves to read meets her favorite author, helping him when he is in a terrible accident near her home.  Then things go a little crazy.  She really, really wants him to not kill off his main character.  Stephen King is the author.  The main character seems normal, mostly. Until she doesn’t.

Poltergeist (1982): A typical middle-class family living in suburbia starts experiencing some odd behaviors around the house that at first are fascinating: chairs move, the dog responds to no one there, stuff like that.  Then things go really wrong and supernatural experts are called in to save the day.  They are not altogether successful.  (A minor message is to be wary of what messages come through the television.)

Arachnophobia (1990):  Does anybody really like spiders?  I find them fascinating but still do not want them crawling all over me.  This movie looks at the invasion of killer spiders in a calm country town.  Experts are called in when deaths start mounting up.  Cool photography. Great bit part by John Goodman.

Ghost (1990):  A couple in love keeps the relationship going, even after he dies.  Well, he tries to contact her anyway with the help of a psychic.  Murder and mayhem as part of a love story. Plus it stars Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg.

The Sixth Sense (1999):  Whether you have seen this movie or not, you have probably heard the tagline:  “I see dead people.”  A young boy has the ability to see the departed (yes, ghosts) who really just need his help.  A psychologist helps him deal with his “gift.”  Of course, the doctor needs some help too.  It stars Bruce Willis, but there are no guns or car chases.

Signs (2002):  This movie is set in Anywhere, USA in a farming community.  The family is grieving the loss of the wife/mother.  Then some strange things start happening, expanding the questions about life and faith and finding a way to deal with odd happenings, like a space invasion.  It is ultimately a life-affirming movie.

Young Frankenstein (1974):  This is a great re-telling of the original story with scenes reminiscent of some of the classic movies. It is a Mel Brooks’ movie—what else can I say? Other than that, there are some great musical numbers too.

Coco (2017):  This cartoon is a great family-oriented movie that celebrates family, living and dead.  It really focuses on the Day of the Dead celebration, but it works for me as a movie for my list.  If you have not watched this one yet, it really is incredible.

That’s my list.  Maybe you will watch one of these while you hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Or watch one while you ignore trick-or-treaters.  I don’t ignore the kids, but none come to my door anymore.  [Not because of anything I have done!  They just do not come anymore.] Oh, don’t forget to eat some candy.  Any kind will do, even candy corn.  But I would always suggest anything chocolate.

Finally, I want to share these two videos with you as a Halloween treat. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

What are you doing to celebrate this odd candy-filled holiday?

NATIONAL ELEPHANT APPRECIATION DAY

Today is National Elephant Appreciation Day.  The day was started in 1996 mainly because Wayne Hepburn—owner of Mission Media—was really, really, really fascinated by elephants.  Makes sense to me!  I have always loved elephants.  One great day years ago, I was even able to take a walk with Nellie—a movie and television performer—out in the hills near Lancaster.

I’ve written about elephants several times in the past.  They truly are magnificent.  Large, of course, but also intelligent, curious, and creative.  They live in a matriarchal society and are very communicative, demonstrating actions that show caring, supportive, nurturing behavior towards one another.

These two relatively short videos (about 20 and almost 10 minutes) share some fascinating details about elephants, showing them in action in the wild.

As a society, we would do well to take much better care of them than we do.  I am in total agreement with Peter Matthiessen:  “Of all the African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing—if this must come—seems the most tragic of all.  I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush.  There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, an ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.”  

Today, of course, is a day to celebrate their greatness.  You could always visit the zoo nearest you, or you could spend a little time watching the elephants at San Diego Zoo Safari Park via an Elephant Cam.

Zoo in Florida in the 1940s taken by my Uncle Bob

 

Family at San Diego Zoo via Photo from Website

You can also read about them—as there are lots of books out there about elephants in all their glory.  I always suggest reading some books about elephants to kids. Two great options are Rudyard Kipling’s The Elephants Child or Graeme Base’s Little Elephants.

A good recommendation for adults is Vicki Constantine Croke’s Elephant Company.  It tells the story of how elephants helped save lives during World War II.  As Sara Gruen, in the New York Times Book Review, explains:  “I have to confess—my love of elephants made me apprehensive to review a book about their role in World War II.  But as soon as I began to read Elephant Company, I realized that not only was my heart safe, but that this book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants.   This is a story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species.” 

Me? Tonight I am going to watch the classic cartoon movie Dumbo.  It is always a delight for young and old.  Just have fun doing something fun to celebrate the grandeur, wonder and beauty of elephants.

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A FEW QUOTES ABOUT ELEPHANTS

“Mkhava’s herd is a good-sized group—sixteen in all, counting the calves—and even though they are the largest land mammals on earth, they are not always easy to find.  Elephants, it turns out, are surprisingly stealthy.”  Thomas French, Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives

“Elephants are quite enough.”  Agatha Christie, Elephants Can Remember

“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of the herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realise they are big in more ways than one.”  Lt. Col J. H. Williams, Elephant Bill

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”  John Donne

“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except on a picture book?”  David Attenborough

“Words are cheap.  The biggest thing you can say is ‘elephant.’”  Charlie Chaplin

“People are so difficult. Give me an elephant any day.”  Mark Shand

“When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.”  Abraham Lincoln

“No one in the world needs an elephant tusk but an elephant.”  Thomas Schmidt

“If anyone wants to know what elephants are like, they are like people only more so.”  Peter Corneille

“We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits:  empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.”  Graydon Carter

NOTE:  I know zoos are not the ideal place for animals since they still hold animals in captivity even if the animals are (hopefully) treated humanely.  But zoos exist and allow us to see these great animals in action and to help keep the world animal populations growing.

Patterns: Nature Up Close

“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”  Albert Einstein

Patterns fascinate me.  Always have. Somehow the symmetry and repetition are both soothing and engaging. These patterns can be easily seen in Nature. Consider rows in a cultivated field or the rhythm of the ocean’s waves. Tree upon tree in a forest or the many cells of a honeycomb.

I especially enjoy the patterns evident in flowers, leaves, ferns and grasses.  They are beautiful and mesmerizing. Each detail a part of the pattern, but–at the same time–each can be a bit different and unique. Teh patterns of Nature are such a great metaphor for celebrating diversity in all life, since we are all really part of the same big pattern.

“The natural world is built upon common motifs and patterns. Recognizing patterns in nature creates a map for locating yourself in change, and anticipating what is yet to come.”  Sharon Weil

“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.”  Junichiro Tanizaki

“Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”  Richard P. Fenyman

“There is no better designer than nature.” Alexander McQueen

This post is my response to the Artist Lens Photo Challenge Patterns. As others who have responded have noted, Nature is a great response to this challenge.

The Softness of Clouds

“You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.”  Henry David Thoreau

Soft.

When I think of SOFT, various things come to mind.  A whisper.  The glow of a full moon. Spring rain dancing on the roof.  A breeze through the trees.  The tinkling of wind chimes. Even the luxurious coat of such animals as buffalo and mountain goats.

Of course, most of those things are not the easiest to photograph, or—if photographed—not something I could easily reach out and touch. As much as I would love to.

Of course, when I think of SOFT, clouds also come to mind.  True, I cannot touch the clouds.  But I am certain they must be soft and billowy.  As well as impressive, ever present but always changing, and a powerful part of the cycle of nature.  No wonder they have always delighted me.  Thus, these photos of clouds are my response to the Lens Artists Photo Challenge–Soft.

“How sweet to be a Cloud. Floating in the Blue!”  A. A. Milne

“Be comforted, dear soul!  There is always light behind the clouds.”  Louisa May Alcott

“Behind the clouds is the sun, still shining.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We talk of sunshine and moonshine, but not of cloud-shine, which is yet one of the illuminations of our skies.  A shining cloud is one of the most majestic of all secondary lights.”  Alice Meynell

“Let’s build us a happy, little cloud that floats around the sky.” Bob Ross

“He who seeks eternity should look at the sky, he who seeks the moment, should look at the cloud.”  Mia Couto

“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is better to have your head in the clouds and know where you are. . . than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them and think that you are in paradise.”  Henry David Thoreau

 “I see trees of green, red roses too.  I see them bloom for me and you.  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.  I see skies of blue and clouds of white.  The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.”  Louis Armstrong

Memories of Summer: Lassen Volcanic National Park (2017)

Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments in 1907: Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument.  The areas were merged into the Lassen Volcanic National Park in August 1916.  This shift in designation occurred after a major volcanic eruption occurred in 1915 with other minor and major eruptions continuing through 1921. The park can be reached via Highways 89 and 36.

Mt. Lassen (10,457 feet) is the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southern most volcano in the Cascade Range. The park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcanoes can be found (plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and strato). The first time I visited Lassen Volcanic National Park was in October 2016.  I figured it was early enough in the season that the road through the park would still be open.  I was wrong.  I entered through the north entrance, but I was stopped after going only a few miles.  I did see a view of Mt. Lassen as well as Lake Manzanita.

I returned to Lassen Volcanic National Park in August 2017.  On that trip, I entered through the south entrance and took the 29-mile scenic road through the park, ending at Lake Manzanita. Construction on the road was completed in 1931. Near Mt. Lassen, the road reaches 8,512 feet, making it the highest road in the Cascade Mountains.  It is not unusual for 40 feet of snow to accumulate along the road, especially near Lake Helen. Patches of snow often remain until July and August.

Lassen Peak

It was a beautiful day, and the drive offered impressive vistas, incredible roadside details, and beautiful wildflowers.

Along Highway 36 heading toward Lassen Volcanic National Park

Near the South Entrance

Lassen Peak

Emerald Lake

Lake Helen

Meadows & King Creek

Summit Lake

Chaos Crags is the youngest group of lava domes in the park.  The six dacite domes were created roughly 1,000 years ago.

Chaos Jumbles are the remnants of a rock avalanche from about 300 years ago. The rocks traveled up to 100 miles per hour, settled near the base of Chaos Crags, and eventually dammed Manzanota Creek, forming Manzanita Lake.

 

Hot Rocks: On May 19/20, 1915, Mt. Lassen erupted, shooting out hot boulders that started an avalanche of rocks and snow. The eruption devastated the area, depositing large, hot boulders across the landscape.  One boulder is marked in the park as Hot Rock.  It is a 300-ton rock that traveled five miles.  It is a good example of dacite lava. Big boulders are common across the park’s landscape.

Manzanita Lake

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