Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chico and a return to Texas

And now for a bit of randomness to move us forward in time...

After hearing good things about Chico, we decided to spend a night there, which also gave us a chance to take the Sierra Nevada brewery tour.

We were lucky to get to see their locally-grown hops, a small crop that they grow on site for a limited release, that's pretty cool:

A photo of the hops being harvested:

The lab at the brewery - not a bad gig if one were a chemistry major:

Lots of solar on the roof:

The bottling and kegging plant:

My favorite part - the tasting portion of the tour:

Love the bike racks here:

Oh look, that's where the hops were grown:

We continued on from Chico down to San Jose, settled in, and then flew to Texas.  Just a few quick scenes from the Lone Star State.

Thanks, Waffle House!

I ran a 50K at Tyler State Park, fun one!  Here's the start:

3rd place, pretty excited about that:

Let's do!  (at Cafe Brazil, our new favorite place to eat in Dallas/Fort Worth)

Out on a walk in the woods with our friend Suzanne and her 5 dogs, somehow none of them ended up in the picture she took:

Yay Danny!

Fun sign at our favorite tamale place, Tamale Addiction:

John's dad got roped into being the grand marshal for a parade, so our sister-in-law made him a hat (thanks Kathy!):

Lots of fun visits with family and friends in Texas!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Lassen, part 5 - Warner Valley

Our last day exploring Lassen!  We headed over to Warner Valley in the southeast corner.  It required a bit of a drive, but we couldn't pass up another chance to see geothermal features, and a bonus jaunt along the Pacific Crest Trail.

There's a lot of good stuff listed on this sign - Boiling Springs Lake, Devil's Kitchen, Terminal Geyser.  Let's get started.

Hot Springs Creek that runs next to the parking lot:

Hello PCT!

Boardwalk shadow selfie:

Note the distance of the PCT on this sign:

The color of Boiling Springs Lake just ain't normal:

We had to wonder about the animal tracks in the mud.  Maybe they were just keeping warm, because you surely can't drink this.

Lots of little holes with bubbling, hissing water venting to the surface - and somehow, trees grow in the middle of it:

Continuing on to Terminal Geyser - not exactly a geyser with water spewing forth, but it sure looks like it could.  Any minute now.

Loud steaming rocks, I bet this would be neat to see in the winter:

Yep, it's warm:

Enjoying our little walk along the PCT:

Stepping off the trail for a train of horses - one of the guides asked us to watch for a radio he'd dropped somewhere on the trail behind them:

Double rootstock canyon!  We don't see this very often, that's for sure:

Hey look, there's the radio!  We accomplished something useful today, returning it to the nearby ranch:

The lone horse waiting at the ranch for his friends to come back from the ride, hello pretty horse:

An interesting paddlewheel in a little creek, quite creative:

And another one:

And the best part of the day - Devil's Kitchen.  Another extensive display of volcanic-ness:

Milky-white water, that's kind of disgusting looking:

Hot water dribbling down from vents in the side of the hill:

Sulphur smell and green rocks:

A large otherworldly pool:

It's a super fun trail through here, with new things to see around every corner:

Awesome!  Obviously we enjoyed Lassen immensely, glad we had to time to explore so many parts of it.  Time to go downhill, into the heat, back to civilization and "real life".  Thanks for coming along with us on our summer journey!

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!