We left Monday morning from beautiful San Martin heading north on our way to Old Station, California, 5 1/2 hours away. It is understandable if you have never heard of Old Station-it is located on the north side of the national park and consists of a gas station, a general store, and an RV park and not much else. Our RV park was located on the banks of Hat Creek but calling it a resort is quite a stretch. I was sure glad we had packed a lot of groceries because we ended up eating in the trailer for the duration of our stay here. The RV park was very rustic but quiet and had a lot of shade which was important as it was around 90 degrees every day
Once settled in, we traveled to the entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park (LVNP) and used our “Senior Lifetime Pass” for only the second time! We set off on the scenic road through the main part of the park headed for the Kohm-Yah-mah-nee visitor center. One of the first things we noticed was the remnants of past fires from a long time ago. In this area the forest had already started growing back. However, the closer we got to the visitor center we began to see the damage from the Dixie Fire that happened last year. This fire started in July of 2021 and burned 963,000 acres and wasn’t fully contained until October 25, 2021. It was the largest single wildfire in recorded California history. It burned an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. The fire came up to the road we were traveling on and went all around the visitor center. It must have taken a huge effort to save what they saved.
Once inside the visitor center, Mike and I, learned a lot (As we usually do!) I had no idea that there were four different types of volcanos all within LVNP. There is an example of a shield volcano, cinder cone volcano, plug dome volcano, and composite. It is one of the few areas in the world were all four types of volcanos can be found. I’m not going to bore you with all the details of each type-you will have to look this up yourself 🙂 But Mike does have pictures of most of the types. We didn’t make it to the cinder cone area of the park and the entire southeastern portion of the park is closed due to fire damage. A couple more highlights from LVNP include a very cool hike called Bumpass Hell and a stop along the road called Sulphur Works. Both areas have hydrothermal activity. Sulphur Works has vents that emit steam, hot water, and sulfuric gas right next to the road! My kind of hike!! But seriously, the bubbling gray, thick mud is a sight to see. The Bumpass Hell hike got its name from Kendall Bumpass who in 1865 was leading a tour in the area and accidentally broke through the crust and into the hot water. His leg was severely burned, hence the name Bumpass Hell. 1/2 million people a year do this hike with a boardwalk at the bottom to keep you safe as you observe all the steam vents and beautiful colors.
The next day we headed past Old Station and found Subway Cave Lava Tubes. It was pretty awesome to walk through an actual place where lava flowed. Mike went further in than I did and was forced to turn around as his phone battery was almost dead and it is pitch black down there. If you go, you probably should bring a flashlight and your phone! Finally we stopped at the Hat Creek Rim scenic viewpoint. One the way we crossed over the Pacific Crest trail and saw a few hikers making their way to civilization, which was kind of cool. The viewpoint showed both Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak and an view of the entire valley below. It was amazing.
Next stop, Bend, Oregon. We are here for only a couple of days but hope to eat and drink our way through this great place. Two days is not near enough to enjoy but I’m sure we will be able to come back this way again. Between the beautiful mountain views and the river running through the middle of town, I’m not sure which is more of a highlight. It was so fun to stand on the bridge and watch all the inner tubers make their way over the “man-made” rapids and there were even surfers enjoying the river. Bend is unlike any city we have stayed in-it feels like a small town but has hundreds of restaurants and many breweries to go along with the wonderful outdoors! Everyone should come to Bend for a visit. Just make sure you stay long enough to do it all. Stayed tuned we are on our way to Pendleton and Joseph Oregon with more to see.