Sunday, August 5, 2012

Aug 5th - Lassen Volcanic National Park

Great breakfast at Drakesbad then back to the trail around 11am.  After an initial climb the trail climbed onto the Lava Plateau.  I took a six and a half mile loop off the PCT to Rainbow Lake and over to the Cinder Cone that Flagman had recommended.  Ground was very loose gravelly cinders for most of the trail.  Like walking on shifting beach sand.  Climbed up, over, around, and down the Cinder Cone with great views of the Painted Dunes, Fantastic Lava Beds, Snag Lake, and Butte Lake.  I difficult climb with a full backpack but great fun.  Could see the Chips Fire and another fire burning right behind me.  While watching I saw a helicopter drop water on another small fire in front of that one.  (I would later learn that they closed the trail from Belden all the way through Lassen behind us)

Sunny but with lots of wind on the top of the Cinder Cone.  You could look down into the cone to the very bottom.  I passed up the opportunity to climb down which looked like it just had a pile of rocks at the base and then you would have to climb all the way back out that soft cinder sand.  Very nice side hike.

After rejoining the PCT it was very flat and I made good time.  Ran into the Drakesbad PCT hiker group but it was getting dark so I speeded up to make it to water before dark.  Camped near Baboon and Spins and Snowhite and Mr. C.  Lots of views of Lassen Peak as we entered the southern end of the Cascade Range - the chain of volcanoes we will follow north.   
Cinder Cone

Painted Dunes in forground, Fantastic Lava Beds in Background

Top Rim of Cinder Cone

Looking into the belly of the Cinder Cone

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