On the Road in the U.S. – Lassen Volcanic National Park

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After our stint at South Lake Tahoe, California  we drove out towards Nevada, passing through Carson City and Reno. The landscape was dry and arid again but we noticed how marshy it was by the Carson river, with the banks spilling over, despite the heat. I did not note anything else down about the journey, except that we headed into a densely forested area of evergreens as we approached our destination of the next three nights; Shingletown, California.

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Our house in Shingletown was just perfect. Set in a beautiful wooded area, it had all the amenities you could imagine (including a working can opener – that was a first for us!!)

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The outside space had a grassy area (albeit artificial grass) with a hammock to lounge on and the porch wrapped around half of the house.

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There was also a gas fire set in the middle of a round table; just perfect for warm evenings sitting outside toasting marshmallows 🙂 When we arrived at the cabin, we found a basket of goodies, including all the ingredients for making s’mores, so we felt it only right and proper to make some 🙂

We also toasted bread and pancake mix on skewers over the fire. We decided that Hersheys chocolate wasn’t really a treat for us, so changed to Lindt chocolate on our second session and that was a treat! We don’t really eat many sugary foods in our family, so this was quite an event for the children!

Our evenings by the fire, playing games and chatting were a highlight of our stay.

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We spent the first day at the house playing and resting. We were still feeling a bit travel weary at that point and tried to give each other space. I spent some time reading and knitting on the porch which I really appreciated.

In the afternoon, we did some tie dyeing, which I mentioned in a previous post. That was a lot of fun, if a little messy! There was certainly a lot of space around us in which to shake the bottles of dye (vigorously!) and do the dyeing process and there was a great washing machine and dryer too. Hurrah!

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The materials were really easy to use and the girls were so pleased with the effects.

They enjoyed setting up their own DIY tie-dye shop upstairs later on, tying their clothes up in rubber bands and offering tie-dye demonstrations for a good price 🙂
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On the second day, as was our rhythm on this trip, we went for an outing to the Lassen Volcanic National Park  which had been recommended to us by friends. We had no expectations about the Park and were very pleasantly surprised by what we found!

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The rocky landscape of the Park originates from centuries worth of volcanic activity. The area was made a National Park in 1916 after a local businessman, Benjamin F Lomis, took photographs of the massive explosion on Lassen Peak on May 22nd 1915. Lassen Peak is one of world’s largest plug dome volcanoes – it last erupted in 1921.

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We entered from the South side. The cost for a seven day pass is $20 in the summer months (April-December). Our first stop was the Visitor Centre where there was information about the area and plenty of photos and in depth detail about the volcanic activity in the area.

There are over 150 miles of hiking trails in the Park. Unfortunately our eldest daughter had blisters on the back of her heels, so she was unable to walk far. We would have loved to have hiked the trail to Boiling Springs Lake – it would have been great to have swum in the lake with its constant temperature of 125 F (51C), but it wasn’t to be. The trail is only a three mile round trip from the Warner Valley Campground.

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But we had fun nonetheless, especially when we found snow in the middle of summer (more than we had last winter here in the UK!) from the Kings Creek area upwards – the girls were astounded!

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We enjoyed snowball fights and the girls loved running up and down the snowy banks near the Summit Lake trailhead.

It was so special being there and we had such fun! We were totally unprepared, so we all ended up with soaking wet footwear, but it was well worth it!

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More surprises were in store of us as we drove back down. Apart from the magnificent views, the carpets of meadow flowers and the sparkling clear lakes, like Lake Helen and the aptly named Emerald Lake, we also stopped off at The Sulphur Works where we saw a boiling mudpot.

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and several smoking fumaroles (indicating that the area still has volcanic activity underground).

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It was rather smelly (think rotten eggs), but so amazing to see the bubbling cauldrons. Both of my daughters were really impressed (not an easy feat!)

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The Lassen Volcanic National Park has so many good walking trails, we really wish we could have spent more days in the area to explore it further.  It felt so peaceful  next to many of the National Parks we had visited thus far with a lot less tourists. A real find!

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We were also delighted to spot plenty of wildlife including chipmunks (which we hadn’t seen since our stay in Grand Lake, Colorado), chickarees and plenty of mother deer and their fawns

In the evening we decided to go out for a meal at the only eaterie in town Pioneer Hillside Pizza .The order took a while – we did not realise they only had one pizza oven! – but the wait was worth it as the food was very good.

Considering how small the Shingletown area was, we were delighted to find a good coffee shop there too. The Higher Ground Coffee Shop has a good selection of food and beverages and friendly owners.  I would certainly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

I will be back soon to fill you in on our next stop  Eureka, California  where we visited the Redwood National Park. Only three more travel posts to go. 🙂

 

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