When I first arrived in California back in early July, the first thing I did was meet up with my friend Evan and drive over to Yosemite National Park for a breathtaking weekend. When we first drove down into the valley, our jaws came unhinged as we gaped at the spectacular granite monoliths rising up from the valley floor to touch the sky. I remember thinking to myself, “There can be nothing as spectacular as Yosemite.” At least, nothing I would set eyes on for many years, if ever.
Which is why I was surprised, when, driving into Lassen Volcanic National Park just two months later, I found myself thinking that the ragged mountains dipping down into lush green valleys were just as amazing as Yosemite. And knowing about Lassen’s fascinating past (and present) as an active volcanic region made it even more stunning. The park ranger at the visitor center told me that they would be capable of knowing about Lassen Peak’s next eruption about a week in advance.
Miraculously, despite its splendor, I felt like I practically had the whole park to myself. The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center felt like a cozy, small-town café compared to Yosemite Valley’s bustling tourist metropolis. And on the second day, as I hiked up to the summit of Brokeoff Mountain, I was the only human on the trail for hours. It wasn’t until I was right below the summit that other people began to catch up and pass me on the trail, and even then, there were only about 10 of us total on the trail for the whole day. The first time someone passed me, I jumped in surprise. I had almost forgotten that other people existed.
If you are an outdoorsperson, a nomad, a road-tripper, a photographer, or anyone with an attraction to nature, you must add Lassen to your list!
I will let my video and photos tell the rest of the story. Click on the photo collages to open a slideshow. Enjoy!