Day 9 – Driving across Northern California – Visiting Lassen

Thursday August 14 (Muriel)

After breakfast with the Salibas, we drove east along Highway 299. As Gil suggested, we drove through the mountains with the air conditioning on and in recycle mode. For miles and miles we drove through smoke. At Junction City, a small town west of Weaverville, we saw a dozen fire trucks and a bunch of Forestry Service vehicles. Some of the fire trucks were staged at outlying homes, others waited at a staging area.

The smoke cleared somewhere between Weaverville and Redding. We had not felt threatened by fire, but saw extensive although fortunately patchy areas of burnt forest. The drive brought thoughts of apocalypse: climate change from human-caused release of greenhouse gases causing increase of fires causing increased release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

After lunch in Redding, we drove through clear skies to Lassen National Park.

Lassen Peak from Lake Helen

Lassen Peak from Lake Helen

After stops at the Visitors Center and several interesting viewpoints, Bumpass Hell was our only major walk. Although only about a three mile walk, it felt like more, starting at over 8400 feet elevation in 90 degree plus temperatures. The trail took us up at least another 200 feet through green forest before descending into the “Hell.” There an extensive boardwalk took us past boiling pools of water and steaming vents. Near some we could feel blasts of hot air. Near others we smelled what seemed like 1000 rotten eggs.

A Part of "Hell" in the Midst of a Forest

A Part of "Hell" in the Midst of a ForestMuriel on Boardwalk in Hell

The Colors of "Hell"

The Colors of Hell
Fortunately there was more shade and the temperatures were cooling somewhat as we hiked back to the car. It was early evening. We drove to Susanville, where we spent the night in that small town.
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