Call it a bucket list, things to do before you die or just plain whimsical..whatever the reason, I decided that as someone who loves the outdoors and nature, it would be a great personal goal to visit two national parks (at least) every year.
This year’s chosen two were Arches National Park in Utah and Lassen National Park in CA
Everyone’s heard of Utah and its numerous parks; many of which are featured prominently in western classics (picture monument valley).
I am not sure if it’s such a well-known fact but CA boasts the largest number of national parks with a total of nine.
This wiki site lists them all in alphabetic order
Lassen National Park is not that well-known as its cousins: Yosemite and Redwood. I guess because of that it may have been a little more enjoyable as it wasn’t that crowded. It’s named after one of the immigrants, a Danish blacksmith named Peter Lassen.
My friend and I didn’t know about this history but during the day were educated on it through a wonderful medium available to all park attendees.
It was a re-enactment (with live baking and biscuits we know because we sampled it!) where two park rangers gave us an Oscar worthy performance of how pioneers traveled from different parts of the west in search of gold, food and just a better life. We lucked as we were the only two visitors who showed up for the show. That would have been very sad but we were assured by the park ranger that in peak tourist season, it’s always packed to capacity.
The uniqueness of Lassen park comes from the fact that besides geysers (hot springs), it is one of the rare places in the world that has a variety/almost all known geothermal activities. Some of the commonly known ones are sulfurous rocks (smell like rotten eggs and have a lot of smoke), mud pots (boiling mud) and fumaroles (opening in earth’s crust that emits steam).
We hiked to Bumpass Hell; a very beautiful spot with a boardwalk and a fence preventing any further accidents. As one can guess from the name; it does refer to one person’s ‘hell’ when they slipped and for a few moments lost their leg to the hot steam coming from the earth.
The hike was supposed to take 30 minutes one way but took us three times as much because of the various photo stops we made. What was most delightful about the hike (and the park in general) was to see the variety of people hiking. We saw senior citizens determined to make the moderately strenuous hike as well as little kids dragging behind their parents; tired but happy.
We ended the day taking a hike around lake Manzanita and saw beautiful reflections of the much present Lassen peak.
Definitely add this place to your own bucket list and enjoy what truly is America’s best kept secrets – the national parks.
Here is a link to the complete album.