Earlier this week, I promised to spill the details of my recent camping ordeal trip. That post is now up over at 50-Something Moms Blog and Los Angeles Moms Blog. (If you do mosey over to the read post, you must click on the photo taken by my niece... you will see my sister and me sitting by the campfire, with the crankiest looking faces ever. We were cold.)
The post is a pretty accurate description of our weekend in the mountains -- but it misses a key component: That aside from all that pesky nature, Lassen Volcanic National Park is a really cool place to visit... especially if you are a professional geologist, like my husband.
Just note the park's name: It's an active volcano, folks... the only one in the lower 48 states (aside from Mt. St. Helens) to have erupted in the last century.It was also one of the first areas to be designated in the legislation that created the National Park Service back in 1916 - while the volcano was still smoldering.
Scientists don't expect the mountain to erupt again any time soon, but the USGS keeps a close eye on it, just in case. There is still plenty of volcanic activity to observe among the park's hydrothermal areas, including one with the poetic name of Bumpass Hell (pronounced "bumpus" and named for a 19th century mountain guide who lost his leg after falling into the hot mud).
This particular volcano is the southernmost member of the Cascades range, which we became quite familiar with on our 2005 trek through the Pacific Northwest (including visits to Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake, and a pass by Mt. Shasta).
Did I mention that this place was like heaven to my husband?
The park itself is beautiful - well-maintained and not at all crowded. I was surprised to learn that no reservation was needed for our campground. My brother-in-law said that Lassen is not a very well known national park and is kind of under-utilized. I think that's a shame.
All the while I was there, I thought back to the PBS fall TV preview I attended earlier this month, where famed documentarian Ken Burns gave us a sneak peek of his next epic series: "The National Parks - America's Best Idea."
|We did not receive a screener DVD on this one, but judging from the short teaser reel we viewed at the event, this is going to be fascinating. In fact, I think watching that and listening to Burns, writer Dayton Duncan and park ranger Shelton Johnson talk about the project probably influenced my decision to stop fighting the camping idea and just go with it. I am anticipating this more than anything I can remember on PBS. The first episode airs September 27.|