Time for a drive around to the northeast corner of the park. And a yummy breakfast stop at JJ's Cafe in Old Station. On the way up the hill we saw a sign for a scenic overlook and figured that might be worth a stop. It was a nice view over the river valley, and a bonus - a piece of the Pacific Crest Trail. I likely won't ever plan to walk an entire long-distance trail, but I do enjoy seeing parts of them (they're kind of famous):
We headed in on the dirt road to Butte Lake and trekked along a sandy trail through the pretty trees:
That's a real jumble!
Must have been quite the lightning strike:
Ah ha! The Cinder Cone! One of those things that we see in a photo and say "We have to go there, can we go there?"
Yes, we can go there, we just have to dig in our toes and climb some loose dirt/pebbles:
Quite the cinder ramp:
Nice view of Lassen Peak:
This was super cool - from the outer rim of the cone, you see an inner ring, with trails around both:
And from the inner ring, you can see down into the cone. This is probably one of the youngest cones we've climbed (naked cinders and little vegetation):
Well, of course we're going down there:
John pretending to be a volcano, spitting out a couple cinders. Yes, he put rocks in his mouth. No, I did not get a video. It was kind of subtle. And let's not encourage him...
Strong pumice lifter!
It's not every day you just hang out inside a cinder cone. Awesome.
The climb back up wasn't quite as strenuous as expected.
Hey, a bit of vegetation - these trees didn't quite get the choicest place to grow:
A slightly-hazy view of the Fantastic Lava Beds between us and the lake:
Either a close-up view of a pine tree or a 3D topo map:
Looking toward the interior of the park. Someday we'll come back and do some longer hiking here:
The steep trail down the backside of the cone toward more lava beds - good for a bit of scree sliding practice:
John had guessed this trail (because it was longer) wouldn't be as steep as the one we came up. Uh, not quite right.
Sandy cinder trail:
I'm starting to sense that lightning is a thing around here:
We brought our inflatable boat to explore Butte Lake, and that turned out to be an excellent idea.
Paddling Sunny on a beautiful day:
The coolest part - floating right next to the lava flow:
It's an excellent little lake for exploring lava islands and a bunch of coves.
Squeezing through a narrow gap between lava rocks (flashbacks to Cowboy Tough):
John asked if I'd drop him off so he could go walk-about across the lava field. Sure, why not?
Bye John, see you in a couple hours!
Paddling leisurely back, checking out the little islands:
I was wondering if anyone noticed the lack of a husband in the boat when I returned...
John had a fun little adventure and did eventually return to the parking lot. To see proof of that, stay tuned for one last Lassen post!