In scorching 90-degree heat, climbing over 8,500 feet in elevation, Mt. Lassen really took us for a ride. The uphill climb was immensely brutal, but the spectacular view and sulfur pools were enough to climb it several times over.
As our third time there, and with less practiced hikers, we opted not to do Lassen Peak, which boasts 10,000+ feet; even higher than Half Dome in Yosemite. Instead, we indulged in the 5 mile round trip to Sulphur works, one of the five geothermal areas in the park. The other fumaroles include Bumpass Hell, Little Hot Springs Valley, Boiling Springs Lake and Devil’s Kitchen. Each thermal area generally is close to the boiling temperature of water at the altitude of each particular spring or fumarole, with record temperatures reaching 230 °F (110 °C).
Though the hike itself was striking, we couldn’t help but consider the radiating stench from the pools, especially with the sweltering temperature. However smelly though, we were indefinitely amazed at how enigmatic our earth is in all its variations.
In addition to the smoking fumaroles, the Nimbus squad also ventured the Lassen’s mountain lakes including Emerald Lake and Lake Helen. Glittering with the tenacity of a natural-born beauty, Emerald Lake blew us away with its glassy magnificence. Framed by trees and mirroring the sky, we knew we were lucky to have been able to experience this place. Lake Helen rivaled Emerald in its beauty but with a wilder demeanor—canvassed against a patched landscape, speckled with trees.
A land of mystery in constant flux, Lassen Volcanic National Park tells stories of the past in peaks from volcanic eruptions jutting into the clouds, while hot waters meld the terrain, crafting future explorations. Staying a total of 3 nights and booking 2 campsites since our original group outgrew the one, we were consistently staggered by the park’s raw splendor.