Mount Lassen, California
Time to head South and find somewhere dry and warm. Death Valley sounded good to us so we planned our route to Mono Lake, down the Eastern side of the Sierras. However, Mono Lake looked a bit far for a day’s journey so we decided to have one last look at the Cascades and visit Mount Lassen, the southernmost peak of the Cascade Range. We drove into the Lassen Volcanic National Park Manzanita Lake campground late afternoon and found it beautiful but completely deserted. Consulting the Ranger, we discovered that a snowstorm was forecast that night and the road through the park was now closed for the winter at ‘Devastated Area’. However the afternoon was sunny and Cheryl prepared the van for a chilly night while Colin took a walk around Manzanita and Reflection Lakes.
Mount Lassen (14,500 feet) and Mount St. Helens are the only two US volcanos to erupt in the 20th century. The Mount Lassen eruption happened in 1915 and devastated nearby areas, spreading ash over 200 miles to the East. The dramatic events during this period were visible from as far as Eureka on the Pacific Coast and were well documented and photographed using a camera purchased in 1898 by Benjamin Franklin Loomis who lived in the area. Some of his photographs can be seen in the NPS museum by Manzanita Lake. The area around the Peak was declared a National Park in 1916 to preserve its unique character.
Next morning, the snow hadn’t arrived so we drove up to ‘Devastated Area’ and braved the temperatures and wind to take the trail documenting the 1915 eruption and (for our friend Bill Fritz) took some photos of rocks dating from the eruption.
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Lassen Volcanic National Park