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31 July 2011 @ 12:51 am
I started loading up vacation pictures on Tuesday, and then LJ went haywire for days. :(

We had a very nice vacation in Oregon, with a California coda. We visited my parents in Eugene, then my sisters and nieces in Portland. I was also able to get together with desertport for a bit, which was lovely!

It rained nearly the entire time we were in Portland, which has never happened before. It sure made planning hard. We made it to the Saturday Market between rainy periods one day, and to the zoo another. I only got to run once at Tryon Creek. *sadness*

We returned to Eugene for two days, saw the Harry Potter movie, hung around and mourned being too early for blackberry season yet again, and then headed to Crater Lake. Have a picture!

Crater Lake:

After staying overnight in Klamath Falls, we drove to Lassen Volcanic Park via Modoc National Forest. We'd planned to hike the 3-mile Bumpass Hell trail, which usually looks like this. Imagine our surprise to find this at the trailhead instead:

Bumpass Hell:

!!! That meant Christopher's hopes of doing the Lassen Peak hike were out, too. But it also resulted in some unusual scenery:

Emerald Lake:

The glacier-blue color under the snow was gorgeous.

So, Christopher and I hiked Cinder Cone the next day instead. It's a short but strenuous trail (that final ascent up the side is murder, with a surface like deep sand), but the view is fantastic.

Cinder Cone:

The tiny, antlike figures on the trail are people...

You can hike around the top of the cone, and then there's an inner loop as well.

This is the view north, which includes a jagged lava flow, residual ash (notice the bands of color in some areas), and some tenacious trees.

When we returned to the motel in Susanville that night, there was a group of Amish or Mennonites staying there, too. It was an extended family, where one man had organized a month-long trip through the Western United States to see various natural wonders. They hadn't heard about Lassen Park at all, and I persuaded them to make a minor detour through Lassen on the way to Eureka. They'd planned to visit the redwoods near Eureka, then drive up the Oregon Coast, then the Columbia Gorge on the way to Montana. They apparently had seen Yellowstone already, but were not planning to go to Yosemite (much farther away). The organizer was an S.F. Giants fan, in an area of Reds fans, so HalfshellHusband gave him his Giants baseball cap. I hope they're all enjoying the rest of their trip, and that their bus carries them safely home.

Our final Lassen hike was to Devil's Kitchen and Boiling Springs lake.

Devil's Kitchen:

This was a particularly energetic vent. The whole shebang is right next to a creek, with vaguely poisonous-looking stuff oozing down. It smells fairly evil, and you can hear boiling/venting/burbling sounds. There are occasional wafts of hot air, which are never welcome out in the open sun.

Boiling Springs Lake:

This lake looks fairly placid, but there are boiling/steamy areas along the edges, and a seasonal creek bed drains out of there that is presently white-washed and dry. It's a wonder the animals around there survive whatever is in the water. :0

After that, home to our own beds and non-restaurant food and too much in the way of chores and laundry. But it was fun while it lasted!

devon99 on July 31st, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Ooh, how awesome are the snow filled pics? Beautiful. Isn't the natural world amazing? Your whole trip looks like a lesson in geology!!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: heh-hehhalfshellvenus on August 2nd, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
Aren't they pretty? My husband helped me see that as not, "Thwarted! The kids have missed Bumpass Hell!", and instead as "Wow. How often are you ever going to see Lassen looking like that?"

It's funny, but both Crater Lake and Lassen are the result of volcanic activity. Crater Lake was what was left when a huge mountain lost its top, and Lassen has a lot of current volcanic side-effects. Fortunately, it's releasing pressure on a continual basis instead of building up a huge and dangerous quantity of resentment steam. ;)
Clair de Lune: divers - roadclair_de_lune on August 2nd, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, beautiful. The colors are awesome, so vivid in the first three pics, and more subtle but as pretty in the other one. Looks like it was a great trip.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Lovehalfshellvenus on August 2nd, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
The Cinder Cone itself is mainly volcanic ash, which mutes things quit a bit. The extended lava flows tend to be grayish black along there (for some volcanoes, they are reddish, gray, orange, or yellow-brown).

I don't know why the lake color in that last one looks so washed out- maybe because there are areas of mysterious gray sediment along with the light-green lake. :0

It's hard to believe I don't have any pictures from Portland, but endless rain will do that. Usually, I take pictures of "Kids at Zoo!" or "Kids at Oaks' Amusement Park!", but this year... pictures of a bookstore or coffee shop or indoor jungle-gym just don't have the same appeal. ;)