Tuesday, September 24, 2013

9/24 Lassen Volcanic National Park

I rented a car for two days, so took advantage of it to drive the 50 miles to Lassen Volcanic National Park.  In fact, you can see Mount Lassen from Red Bluff.  Like Mount Shasta, it is very impressive even from 50 miles away. 

The scenery gets interesting even ten miles from Red Bluff.  This whole area of northern California is volcanic and has been for hundreds of thousands of years.  There have been many dozens on volcanos and cinder cones formed and worn down over time, so it is hard to tell exactly where all of this rock came from, but as I drove past I imagined what it must have been like to have such large boulders flying through the air during an eruption!  These boulder fields literally went on for 20+ miles.  Some boulders were small, but others were the size of small cars.  I did not see any cows grazing in these fields, but I would think they would have to watch their footing!


The entrance to the park is at about 4,000', but the road keeps climbing through the ponderosa pine forests.

You can see some of the volcanic peaks in the distance.

This is called sulfur works as it is still producing mudpots and sulfur flows.



Ah, finally we can see Mount Lassen.

This is Emerald Lake, obviously named for its color.

The peaks in the distance are part of a very old collapsed volcano that was 12 miles wide at its base.  It disappeared a hundred thousand or so years ago, way before the glaciers flowed over this area.  This rock, called a glacial anomaly, was brought here by the glacier and left perched in this strange place when it melted.

What other evidence is there that the glaciers were here?  I enlarged this to show you how the grain of the rock at the top of this hill goes vertically, but you can see the horizontal grooves made by a glacier.

Another lake--Lake Helen, I think.

This is called Bumpass Hell.  It is a field of rocks that looks like it might have come from a collapsed cliff as a result of an earthquake or something.  There is a trail near here to some active vents, but it was too cold and too far for me to walk.

Here is the base of the trail that goes to the summit of Mount Lassen.  A little more than I can handle, especially since the summit is over 10,000'.

A view from the other side of Mount Lassen.


B.F. Loomis was a photographer who documented the 1915 eruption of Mount Lassen.  He and his wife owned property here and donated 40 acres to the National Park Service, but continued to live in the house they built until their deaths.  He had built this seismograph and the museum in the next picture, supporting themselves with the sales of post cards and photographs he had taken.



Overall, a very nice day, but a long drive to and through the park, and then back home.  Tomorrow I return the rental car and wash my motorhome! 

9/20 Mount Shasta and Leaving Oregon

This was a 266 miles drive today, from Crater Lake, Oregon, to Red Bluff, California.  This may not sound like a long drive, but it is in a motorhome where you have to manhandle it wherever you go.  The route was mostly two-lane, and it takes a lot of concentration to stay in your lane and let people pass when possible.  At least the weather was much better than it had been in Oregon, mostly because I was driving downhill into lower elevations, and thus warmer temps. 

I was VERY disappointed that there were not falls in Klamath Falls.  Apparently, there used to be falls but they were buried under Klamath Lake when it was dammed up. 

So, not much to see on the way, except one very big mountain--Mount Shasta--when I got into California.  It certainly makes an impression from a very long way away.




It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

One thing I do appreciate on Oregon and California roads through mountains is the number of pullovers to let faster traffic pass and places to park and enjoy the scenery. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

9/19 Crater Lake, Oregon

No photos, but I spent two nights at a nice wooded campground at Diamond Lake, about 15 miles north of Crater Lake.  The campground at Crater Lake does not have electric, and I am getting fussier about where I stay so I can have satellite TV.  It was a good thing, anyway, because I really needed to keep both my front furnace going and my electric heater facing the bedroom because it got down to almost freezing at 6,500 feet.  Brrrr.  In fact, it was pouring rain when I drove in and set up camp.  I even saw snow for a couple of minutes.  My furnaces will run on my house batteries, but the rear one is not igniting, meaning it gets pretty cold without the help of the electric heater!

The drive in had these big treeless areas that looked like meadows, but without grass.  They were actually areas of cinders where there was not enough soil to grow trees.  They remind me a lot of the Forest Service campground I stayed at north of Flagstaff, except the cinders there were black.


The crater rim is even higher, up to 8,400 feet.  This is a patch of frost or snow near a parking area on the rim of the crater.

This first photo shows a windswept tree on the edge of the crater rim. 

The water in the crater is amazingly blue, much like it was at Santorini in the Mediterranean, which is also a collapsed volcano.  Beautiful!

 
And another section of the crater rim. This one looks like it might also have been a side vent or slightly later volcano.

The road going around the crater was narrow and scary because of the drop offs on the outside.  Lesson learned is to drive around it clockwise, not counter-clockwise as I did, so that you are driving on the inside.  I was running out of gas, so took the shortest road to the Crater Lake Village where I knew they had gas.  Price was not unreasonable, also.   This section of the road had a small stone edge, but most places did not have even that bit of protection, not that it would stop by big vehicle. The road over Rocky Mountain National Park will be a piece of cake from now on!

This photo shows how the volcano must have looked before it collapsed.  Very big, although not as big as Santorini or Yellowstone.

 
This is a peak in the distance that looks volcanic.  Actually, all of the mountains in this region were originally volcanos.


Here's a cute guy who was begging for food.

When I saw these white things along the shore of the cinder cone in Crater Lake, I thought they were boats, but I could not see well. Obviously, these are docks and there are also boathouses.  There are tour boats during the summer, but I do not know where they go in the lake. You can also take your canoe or kayak.  No powerboats.


I stopped at the historic Crater Lake Lodge for some photos.  Notice that the walls in the distance are covered by half logs with the bark still on.  I was told these were Ponderosa pine.


And some of the supports holding up the ceiling also still have the bark on them.  I have not seen that in any other national park lodges.


 
Last two photos:  an interesting tree and a funny sign.
 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9/16 The Cove Palisades State Park, OR

I am slowly working my way south, so this was a logical stopping place for a couple of days.  The state park encompasses Lake Billy Chinook, which resulted from the damming of the Crooked River. The "cove" part of the name apparently came from a rock that is now covered by water.  However, the "palisades" part of the name comes from the volcanic rock formations that look like a curtain.  They resulted from molten rock forming columns as it cooled.

Here is a cliff showing these on the main highway.


You'd have to see this from an airplane, but the lake is in the shape of a sort of very fat Y.  The road down from my campground was very steep, but there was almost no traffic.

You can see the many layers of lava that flowed and how it bent and was folded over the eons.  I've enlarged these photos so you can see the patterns better.

Notice how in this one, the lava flowed over a sandstone hill on the left.

I decided that since I had nothing better to do, I would explore the park.  So down the hill.  Can I make this bridge? 

No weight or size restrictions, so I gave it a try.

The only really tricky part was the sharp curves at the ends.

After checking out the second campground and a day-use area, I did a double take.  Didn't I just drive over that bridge?  I thought for a minute I had driven in a circle.


 
Nope.  This was a one-lane bridge, but with the same sharp turns at the beginning and end.


Piece of cake!  I drove out of the park, turned around and did it all over again!  Passed the Fed-Ex truck twice, so obviously these two bridges are on his delivery route! 

I drove up to the top of the canyon and found a very nice place to sit and get some good cell service for a few hours so I could get some work done.  Nice views!

 
This last photos shows the volcanic Mount Jefferson in the distance.  It was very pleasant and cool outside so I was able to sit with my windows open in comfort.