Day 287 – Mount Shasta – Cascade Loop (Part 5)

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Day 287 – Mount Shasta – Cascade Loop, September 30, 2011

Another park that was closed due to snow in May when I was
in the northern California area was Lassen Volcanic National Park so as I head to
south to Texas, I have revisited the park, this time on a beautiful day at the
end of September.

The landscape in the park is extremely varied.  As I passed through the northern entrance of
the park, I passed by beds of pumice which looked like rocks from the
moon.  I made a few quick stops before I
finally settled on taking a hike to Kings Creek Falls.  Judging by the cars, it looked like a popular
destination.  Having said that, given
summer is over and it was a Thursday, there weren’t that many.

The hike was lovely.
The three mile roundtrip passed through a meadow, crossed several dry
creeks, and then descended rather steeply to the falls area.  Hikers were routed via the horse trail as the
cascades trail was considered too dangerous.
I was still able to turn up river to admire the tumbling waters before
turning downriver to see the waters spill over the steep cliff.

As I was headed toward the falls, I met Ron, Sylvia, and
Teresa from Redding who were finishing up for the day.  Upon my return to the car, I caught up with
them again as they had just finished exploring a side trail.  They found a very rare wildflower which I
can’t recall its name while trying to snap a photo of some deer.  Sylvia had been wanting to see the flower for
years.  She was so excited that she took
me to see it.  Knowing how I feel when I
see elusive wildlife, I commented, “This must have made your day”.  She responded, “It made my year!”  It was a very small white flower with green
lines running up the petals.  I would
have never known it was something so special.

After my hike, we made a few more scenic stops at Bumpass
Hell, Emerald Lake and Sulphur Works.  At
Bumpass Hell, I met a couple from Palo Alto who talked me out taking a three
mile walk along a boardwalk to an active hydrothermal basin to view mudspots and
fumaroles.  I wasn’t that gung ho and
when they commented, “We’ve been to Yellowstone enough”, I thought the same
thing.  I’m glad I didn’t take the hike
given Sulphur Works which was roadside had a few.

Emerald Lake, so named for its color was also roadside and
simply gorgeous.  It used to be home to
the Cascade frog, a species whose population has declined dramatically.  In the 1920s, there was a frog for  nearly every yard around the lake.  Now
the lake is devoid of the species.
Researchers are asking citizens to inform them any time one is located
so that they may determine what is causing the decline.

From Lassen, I headed south to Reno where I stayed for the
evening.  Tomorrow, I plan on visiting
the parts of Yosemite that were closed due to snow in May.  ETB


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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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