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Posts tagged ‘Wildflower’

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

SEARCHING FOR SPRING, PART 4: Carrizo Plain National Monument

CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT

“Spring is Nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”   Robin Williams

“The day the Lord created Hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”  Bernard Williams

The first time I visited Carrizo Plain National Monument was in April 2016.  At that time, I was impressed by its vastness and stark views, and I enjoyed the occasional blossoms alongside the road.  The history and geology of the area are fascinating as well.  The park ranger advised I come back in March next time if I wanted to see more flowers.

She sure was right.

I visited the Carrizo Plain a couple times in March 2017, once with a friend.  (Our photos are intermixed a bit in this presentation.)  The flowers were absolutely tremendous. I drove in from the north, taking Highway 58 to Highway 33 into McKittrick.  Soda Lake Road runs through the park, eventually connecting to Highway 166 and the drive home.   Near and far, color was everywhere.  This year’s wildflower display is surely a Super Bloom!

The main road through the Carrizo Plain wanders back and forth between paved and unpaved, but—no matter what—flowers are strewn along the way adding color and variety.  Wind was a constant companion as well.  The breezes really kept the flowers and grasses dancing across the hills.

The hills, of course, are alive with color.  I especially like the occasional patches of pink and orange that popped out amidst the more typical yellow, green, and varying shades of blue and purple.

Soda Lake is at the heart of the Carrizo Plain, There is a hill that offers an overlook of the lake as well as a boardwalk that lets visitors stroll lakeside.

 

I have not identified all the flowers in bloom on my visits, but some of the main ones include Brittlebush, Blue Phacelia, Creosote Bush, Fiddleneck, Milk Vetch, Baby Blue Eyes, and then some sort of Daisy, something pink, and perhaps California Bluebell.  Lupine and California Poppies finally started to blossom along Highway 166.

Blue Phacelia

Brittlebrush

Fiddleneck

Baby Blue Eyes

Milk Vetch

Some Sort of Daisy? Maybe a Version of Desert Dandelion?

Juniper Berries

Creosote Bush

California Bluebells?

I Love the Grasses

These Lupine and California Poppies were captured on the steep curves of Highway 166.

If you have not yet visited Carrizo Plain National Monument, get there fast.  You might catch the end of this year’s Super Bloom.  Definitely add visiting here to your plan for next spring.

NOTE:  I am never 100% confident in my flower identifications.  If you can make corrections, please share your expertise in the comments.  Thanks.  Whether I can name them or not, these wildflowers are incredible!

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