Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lassen 2010

When I first came to Bakersfield, I made it a sort-of goal to hike around all the places that I had lab assignments for my physical geology class. One of the less accessible, but more spectacular (in my opinion), locations on the list was Lassen Park - including: Bathtub Lake, Mt Lassen, Prospect Peak, Cinder Cone and the Fantastic Lava Beds. On my 2008 visit, I got around some of these places and a whole lot of others. This year, I was getting up Prospect Peak (a shield volcano), thus completing the circuit of the 3 different types of volcanoes one can hike up in the park.

Unfortunately, I somehow forgot about this year's unbelievable (but welcome) quantity of precipitation, and was not expecting my route through the park to be under 15-30 feet of snow. This caused some detours, WAY more driving, but did not hinder the Prospect Peak plan.

I first went to Warner Valley, a not-so-easily-accessible part of this already not accessible park, and hiked around Devil's Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake.

The view of Mt. Lassen from Boiling Springs Lake.

A blond bear cub on my hike to Devil's Kitchen, this was a quick snap as I promptly kept walking (trotting) along the trail... only truly moronic idiots linger by bear cubs.

North of Lassen Park is Burney Falls State Park, so on my detour I went up to see the falls. The falls are pretty cool because there's a cap layer of volcanic rock on top, which the river flows over, but the main aquifer rock (vesicular basalt) is below the recent volcanic flow, and so loads of spring water from the perched water table gush out the wall of the waterfall too.

Then I went up Soldier Mountain to have a look at the surrounding area. Mt Shasta looked back at me tauntingly, and I could almost hear on the wind "haha you didn't summit me". Curse you Mt. Shasta. I'll be back. Just you wait.

And finally, on my last day, in a minor thunderstorm, I hiked up Prospect Peak.

The problem with Prospect Peak as a hike is that it is basically a forest on top of the shield volcano. So you're in dense trees hiking straight uphill for 3 or so miles with no reprieve OR VIEW until you actually get to the top. Once at the top you can see Mt. Lassen (behind me), Mt Shasta, and all other wonderful things - like in my case: giant thunderheads, lightening... Of course since I was also ascending in the high humidity of a storm, the atmospheric composition was something like 80% mosquitoes. Arrrgh. Well, the ONLY plus of the mosquitoes was that it prevented me from stopping and resting at all on the hike up, and pushing myself to hike at top speed (thank goodness I decided to bring my camelback this time), and reached the summit half an hour sooner than expected.


Heather said...

Nat, only truly moronic idiots summit during a thunderstorm ;)

gnat said...

Shhhhh! I was wondering who would be first to catch that...

Missy said...

You lawbreaker you...