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