Lassen 4 Me

It only took me 69 years to discover the great Lassen National Park.  A milestone.  Ever since I watched a Hugh Howell segment on PBS, I have longed for Lassen.  And it did not disappoint.  Below please Rayman posing in front of Lake Helen.  I had an Aunt named Helen so we stopped to honor her.  And then the photo below is me somewhere at Lassen.  

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Because it has been hot in the Sierras this summer, today was like all others.  Hot.  We packed up early, turned on the AC for Beau, and jumped in the Fit to drive to the park from Eagle Lake.  While the distances are not great, the trip takes time because it is all 2 lane roads with plenty of twists and turns.  Sort of like life in your 20s.  And while the sky was blue, it was hazy made that way either by forrest fires or smog?  or dust?  Don’t know the derivation.  Just know that there  were particulates in the air.

Last night we decided to get an early start so that we could indulge in breakfast at a diner.  It’s been a while since we have eaten out for the first meal of the day.  We figured we could dine half way to the park and eat a big breakfast, therefore avoiding lunch all together.  So, before we left TDH, I took shrimp out of the freezer for an easy dinner tonight…barbies on the grill.  And I was moved to do this because months ago, I downloaded a sample of a cookbook Ruhlman’s 20 Techniques because I had given it as a gift to my good friend, Nancy Cleland of the blog [email protected] and I wanted to see if I wanted the cookbook too.  Well, I had never reviewed the sample so this a.m. I read a chapter on salting.  Wow.  Great stuff here.   As I recalled, he recommends pre-salting fish about 10 minutes before cooking for amazing results.  So, naturally, I must try this.  Just hope it applies to shrimp (shellfish).  I also learned that I have been under salting  pasta water my whole life.

But I digress.

Anyway.  Breakfast was fabulous.  A little cafe/bakery in Chester.  It sat about 20 people, maybe.  I’d give you the name of the place but we don’t have an internet connection owing to the fact that we are in the middle of a valley with lots a trees and lake.  No signal here.

Lassen is a volcanic park and it has many bubbling pools that will kill you if you fall in.  They smell of sulfur and bubble like crazy.  There are geysers.  Waterfalls, huge mountains.  Vistas galore.  We entered from the south and drove to the north gate.  This was a fortuitous decision because it put us on the outside lane so we had a great view looking down into the chasm.  And no guardrails to get the way of a view.  This might terrify some of you…but I loved it.  Here’s are some more of the shots we took.  Lassen erupted in 1915.  And those bubbling pools are a sharp remember that there is plenty of activity in the area and the volcano is not dead.  Dodododo, dododo.

All the hikes to the really interesting bubbling pools took 1 to 4 hours.  We didn’t have this kind of time because we left Beauzer back at TDH.  So, we decided after much deliberation that we would return on our way home from Oregon in late August.  And we would find a campground just outside the park so that we could drive in, hike, and drive out in time for the doggie to get his meal on time.  This would also give us a couple of days to do a couple of hikes.  And it should be cooler.  Even at 8000 ft. it was fairly hot.  And it would be mid-week so less people should be there.  The literature also advises to hike early before afternoon thunderheads pop up.  Thunderheads equal lightening and rain or snow.   And bring lots of water.  etc. etc.  Here is some additional information about Lassen for your information.

So that’s the plan.

We are so lucky to live in CA.  It truly is California’s Gold.  My Hugh rest in peace.

Incidentally, I finished the book about Lewis and Clark.  OMG.  Undaunted Courage by Ambrose.  It was a wonderful read.  Whenever I read it, I was so captivated that I would give Rayman a recap.  He seems to have enjoyed the book too.  When they returned from their trip, Lewis was in charge of getting all his collected information into book form.  His plan was to publish 3 volumes.  Remember, he was schooled in botany, in astronomy, geology, map drawing, zoology.  While not a scholar in any of these areas of study, he knew a great deal.   He was also a military man, a hunter, a marksman, an explorer since an early age.  Anyway, he arranged for illustrators, botanists to verify findings (he discovered a goodly amount of animals never before known), scientists to calculate longitude and latitude readings that he took.  Yet he never hired an editor.  The long and short of it is that he never published his volumes of critically important information.  And I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling you why.  You must read it if you are interested.  It is so good.  Thank you Larry J. for recommending it to me.



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