Wake up. Wake up! There be mountains to climb!
After breakfast, and waiting around for the space armada (rest of the meetup) to get ready, we drove 10 min to the base of the Mount Lassen peak trail.
Yea, that's the mountain behind us that we climbed. We were still so vibrant, and full of energy, eager to start our climb. Also, the top you're seeing is below the real peak. So it's taller than that.
0.1 miles and a few feet altitude gained, 2.5 miles and 2000 feet to go.
Debris field from eruption.
After hiking for a while (climbing more than hiking), were had even more beautiful views, and the trees started to thin out. We were also noticing how tiring it was. I blame this on the thin air, because then I don't have to blame it on being out of shape.
We started to pause for a few minutes at every switch back as it was harder to catch our breath and we started to feel a little light headed. We were slightly concerned that if either of us was to black out briefly we'd fall off the edge of the trail, which was a steep drop of rocks and no trees or bushes to get snagged in.
Seemingly twelve miles of switchbacks later, we got to the top of the volcano.
And it was worth it.
If you look closely you can see a person standing to the left of the notch.
Insert Colleen's Geological Nerd Ramblings
And now Colleen can finally geek out about Mount Lassen facts and geology that most of you will probably gloss over.
I mentioned previously that Mt. Shasta and what was Mt. Tehama are composite volcanoes. Mt Lassen is a different breed of volcano - a plug dome.
When most people think of volcanoes they think of ones that build up slowly from a series of eruptions. Mount Lassen however quite literally rose full grown from the earth. Road Side Geology of California states "It's a plug dome, a bulging protuberance of extremely viscous magma that pushed up through the surface as though it were an enormous puffball mushroom growing after a spring rain."
10,500 ft Makes for Thin Air and Chapped Lips
And air that eats like a meal!
The area has a combination of mudpots, fumaroles, hot springs, and boiling pools. The people on the right are actually on a path, there is a longer hiking trail that goes to Boiling Lake.
The area is mostly clay from the decaying volcano. And it stinks.
So stay on the path!
We learned that chipmunks have stripes that go all the way to their head. The west coast is weird sometimes, with their chipmunk-like squirrels.
Looks clear enough to swim in! If you don't mind swimming in acid water.
Our explorations complete we made our way back to our campsite with our group, campfired it up, and stayed up way too late considering we had a three hour drive to lava tube caves the next day.