Monday, September 7, 2009

Lassen Volanic National Park, CA

Sunday 9/6/09 Because of the Labor Day weekend we have decided to stay home & take it easy. Of course the first order of business is find a grocery store. With no Super Wal Mart in the area we locate a Winco, good enough so off we go. After a few wrong turns we finally found it...we had no address to give the girlfriend/GPS, so we were on our own. This Winco was located in a gigantic shopping center with Costco, Wal Mart & everything else...a good place to go back to!!

With that chore done, lunch over we decide to go & see what the Redding Big League Dreams Sport Complex was all about. This time we have an address & girlfriend takes us right to it. Unfortunately, it was closed for the holiday but still our lucky day. We met the head caretaker of the place, who was just closing up but invited us in & then took us on a personal guided tour. What an amazing place, first off they have three baseball parks that are 3/4-scale replicas of Boston's Fenway Park, Wrigley Field & my beloved New York Yankee Stadium. In the middle of the 3 ball fields is a restaurant with views of each stadium, so you can have dinner or "stadium food" sit inside & watch any or all games. They also have TVs inside that are tuned to current baseball games playing. In addition to these fields they have 2 other baseball fields plus soccer fields. It is a city park and cost $3.00 to get in but they give you a $1.00 token back towards food. Actually, there are 11 of these parks around the country and owned by Mike Garvey (ex Dodger player) & group. Of course we learned all about this on our personal tour. We are going to go back on Thursday evening for dinner & a baseball game....hopefully!

That evening we invited our neighbors LaVar & Lonnie from St George, Utah over to have watermelon with us on our outside picnic table. They are a wonderful couple, LaVar is 88 & you should see him...amazing. Lonnie is (age unknown) but a native of Redding & knows everything there is to know about this area. We so enjoyed our time with them and loved all the interesting stories they told us. They usually spend 3 months or so at this campsite so we will have them for our neighbors the whole time. Lucky for us!

Monday 9/7/09 Happy Labor Day to everyone...of course this is Wills' & my job....sightseeing so of course we will be working today. On the recommendation of Lonnie & LaVar we are going to see Lassen Volcanic National Park . It is about 50 miles from Redding on Hwy 44 but they said it was worth the drive & we shouldn't miss it. Of course we have our National Park Pass so it's free to us & off we go with our packed picnic lunch.

The area is so much like the Fresno area as you leave Redding, the brown dry hills with oak trees, then as the elevation starts you get the green pines like Shaver. Now the elevation is climbing fast & the highest point on the park road will be 8,753 ft. When we arrive & "flash" our pass we head to the Visitors Center for more information on what to see and of course buy postcards. We are told if we don't stop it takes one hour to complete the drive but of course we have lots of planned stops. We stop at several look out points to see the lava beds mixed with many old growth trees (I just love that term, old sounds like US!) The landscape is beautiful and so varied. We stop at Summit Lake North for lunch, a beautiful small lake & have our picnic at one of the tables. A very peaceful and beautiful view until some pit bull (off leash) comes snarling at us, fortunately the owner came forward & said to the dog, "be nice" and with that they put the leash on him.

We continue on our drive with our destination to see Bumpass Hell which is where the concentration of sulphur fields are & they have build a raised boardwalk that you can walk along and see the boiling pots, as they are called. Before arriving there we have taken a 1/2 mile walk on Devastated Area that shows the eruption that took place in 1916 & the boulders that came down with an avalanche. The power of that eruption is not comprehendable. We continue on & see Kings Creek, an absolutely beautiful meadow with purple flowers & a creek running through it.

Finally we arrive at Bumpass Hell, it seems Mr. Bumpass (I forgot his first name) discovered this area of sulphur fields & they named it after him....Bumpass Hell, go figure. They tell you that the walk is round trip 3 miles and I'm fearful Will might have trouble but he wants to push on. We see all types of people, old, fat & whatever have done he is game to give it a try. We set out & it is a pretty good trail but a gradual one...always going up. We stop many times along the way to rest, I keep asking him, "how he's doing" and the answer is always good so we push on. We keep asking the people coming down....are we close and most answers were, about half way...maybe still a mile or so & it feels we like we shoud be there. Finally, we smell the "rotten egg smell" and know we must be close. At this point we reach the top and we can see the boardwalk, the sulphur pots, a small, incredibly blue lake & discover the trail down is a very steep grade down to the bottom. We start to go a short way when Will realizes he won't make it bacj out and says he will go back to the top of this trail, sit on the bench & wait for me. He insists I should go on down there and I do. All I could think of going down & coming back up....was Thank God Will didn't try was really rugged. People carrying kids on their backs, wearing thongs, I honestly don't know how they did it. We both thought (after it was done) they should have a better warning for that trail. Anyway, I headed on down and walked the boardwalk, saw the sulphur streams & pots. One of the boiling pots was shooting/bubbling at least 4 ft up into the air, it was something to see. I didn't want to stay to long as I knew I had that walk straight up & out & didn't want Will worrying if I made it. So off I went, resting at many spots along the trail and finally I got to the top. After a short rest for me we headed down the trail which of course went very quickly....gosh it's so much easier going back down the hill than up!!!!! It was a great hike and we both enjoyed the day. Back in the car we continued on our way to the Southwest entrance & out of the park. The ranger at the visitors center had given us a short cut back to Redding so we didn't have to drive into Red Bluff on I-5. The short cut was a real country road, winding & in some places only wide enough for one car. Fortunately, we never saw another car on this road. Finally, back on Hwy 44 and heading for Redding...only 17 miles at this point to go. We make it home dead tired and I mean dead tired. We eat our lunch watermelon for dinner & then I jump on the blog because if I take a shower first & get my "jammies" on .... it's all over. It was a fun day & we can cross this National Park off our list. Tomorrow is Lake Shasta for a tour of the dam & go see the caverns. Signing off with much love to family & friends.

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