September 8th, 2006 (Day 5): From Santa Rosa to Mineral
|This little church in Santa Rosa has been built using the wood of one single redwood tree !|
Before we left Santa Rosa we stopped by the Charles M. Schulz Museum ( the author of the Peanuts lived here for 30 years ) which was closed in the morning and visited a small church in Julliard Park which was built with the wood of one single 85 meter high redwood tree having a diameter of 5.5 meter.
Highway 101 then took us north. Some miles behind Ukiah we turned right on highway 20 east. We stopped in Lucerne at Clear Lake for a lunch picnic and continued our journey up to Lassen Volcanic National Park and to the village of Mineral via Interstate 5 and Red Bluff.
Mineral is a little village with a population of around 90 located close to the south entrance of the National Park and a suitable place to stay close to the trail heads of hikes we had in mind for the next days. There is one post office and one small gas station and one lodge available in Mineral: the Lassen Mineral Lodge. I had pre-booked a room for three nights the day before by phone and was lucky to get their last room.
September 9th, 2006 (Day 6): Lassen Peak
|15 more minutes to reach the summit of Lassen Peak!|
Today was the day for our first hike. After entering the park and buying a National Park Pass we drove up to the trail head parking lot via Lake Helen. The hike from there was a 5 mile round trip with a steep 2000 foot elevation gain. Afer 1 hour and 30 minutes we reached a snow field just below the summit and 15 minutes later we had made it to the top. An incredible view down to the caldera in Lassen Volcanic National Park was awaiting us and we even could spot Mount Shasta peeking out of the dust caused by some wood fires.
Lassen Peak is the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range, a chain of volcanos in the Northwest of America and part of the Pacific Ring Of Fire, a ring of volcanos around the Pacific Ocean reaching out to Japan and New Zealand. Lassen’s last erruptions occured between 1914 and 1917.
After the hike there was sufficient time for a picnic at Lake Helen and a visit to one of the hydrothermally active areas in Lassen Volcanic National Park – the Sulphur Works, where we could see nice colored lava and fumaroles and enjoy the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfides.