Sunday, August 08, 2010

Spiritual Renewal and Mount Lassen

Yesterday, my oldest grandson and I hiked up Mount Lassen in Northeastern California.   The hike is a five mile round trip that starts at about 8500' and goes to 10500'.   The Parks Service calls it "strenuous" but if you take your time it is actually very doable.  There are no technical parts to the climb and some spectacular heights and views, when it is clear.  Yesterday was hazy - so the thrill that is often there in August when you can often see Mount Shasta (which is about 100 miles away) and the coast mountains.

I remember when I was small going up the mountain for the first time.  It gave me a sense of accomplishment.  But I also remember the views.  As you climb there are constant views of the lake at the base (called Lake Helen).   The photo is from last year because the 200 photos I took this year, when we could not climb because the trail was closed, did not download properly to my home computer. Part of the attraction of this for me is the physical challenge but part is also the stark scenery.  The destructive power of a volcano has been softened in the last 95 years but it is still there.  The altitude also makes for some of the scenery.  You go above the timberline and the trees and flowers that are near the top have to be hearty.

As I started this time up the mountain (I am not sure how many times I have been up this particular mountain) I thought about three things;  the thrill of going up the first time (I think my grandson who is 8 had the same experience); the coming opportunity to try this again with my other grandchildren as they get a little older (I think 8 is about the minimum for a stress free hike); and the true grandeur of this part of the country.

The first time I climbed I was awed by the volcanic activity in the area and the photos and movies of the last time Lassen blew its stack (1915).  Last year, when the trail was closed, we did the Bumpus Hell (of Mark Twain fame) hike - which is shorter and very easy.   If you decide to go - you should check to see if the trail is open - it often closes early in the year and can have 50' of snow on it in the winter.

I will post some more pictures of the spectacular scenery we saw yesterday - which seems eternal - when I figure out how to solve the problem of downloads.

No comments: