We embarked on a little Labor Day adventure this past weekend, away from the house and Operation: Kick the Yard’s Ass (don’t worry, the yard kicked our ass plenty upon returning). We took the new car (name: still TBD) up to Trent’s parents’ on Lake Almanor, in Northeastern California. Our friends, Scott and Kristen, drove up from Fresno and met us there, and we spent a day hiking in nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park.
We also enjoyed a myriad of other outdoorsy Labor Day weekend activities, including swimming in the lake with Sammy and bargain hunting in the bustling downtown of Chester. Stoplights = 0 (correct me if I’m wrong)…
I loved our Lassen adventure. We set out from the Drakesbad Guest Ranch at the eastern end of the park: a lovely little rustic hideaway with horses for rent, flanked by some volcanic hot springs and a series of well-marked trailheads. From there, we hiked in to a thermal area called Devil’s Kitchen. Incredibly scenic, and unbelievably stinky.
Mudpots and steam everywhere, and it all smelled like rotten eggs. But totally awe-inspiring. And not just because the earth can produce some foul, foul stank. Just imagine if we could figure out how to harness all this stinky steam to heat our homes and light our cities! Damn…
The whole hike also reminded me of another hike long ago, about ten years ago now… I can’t believe it was that long ago, but I’m really getting that old. Anna and I drove from Michigan to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to visit Ellen (who had moved there post-college). We took an awesome hike somewhere (obviously, can’t remember where exactly now), and wound up at a beautiful hot spring in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Another place where the earth was cracking under its own stress, and we simmered in its sizzle.
We visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs a few more times on subsequent visits over the next few years. I don’t know that Trent and Scott and I will need to smell Devil’s Kitchen again, but we’ll undoubtedly always love Mt. Lassen.
It was a good time to be reminded of her beauty, too, as we came home and turned on the Democratic National Convention.
Don’t forget to re-elect Obama, friends — because “Drill, Baby Drill!” Mittens and Co. will wipe places like Mt. Lassen and Strawberry Park clean off this country’s map just as soon as they’re given the chance.
Don’t give it to them.