Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lassen, part 4 - Cinder Cone and Fantastic Lava Beds

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!

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