Did you notice that this post didn’t start with a “Day #”? Yeah, I am done with that. This is no race to Canada. Right now I am just in the moment, and these next handful of moments will be spent exploring in Lassen National Park.
My dad met me in Buck’s Lake for a late lunch. I was happy that he got the chance to meet my temporary trail family. From there, we drove the 3 or so hours to Lassen.
Here is a funny story: A few members of the angel family were getting ready for a short hike themselves. They did not have enough fuel, and after checking Buck’s Lake and Quincy, they could not find any fuel – everywhere was out. I offered my fuel canister because I figured my dad could just bring me one from his house. We got to the park, and started discussing our plans – both for the night and for the next couple days. I double checked the fuel he brought – it was the wrong canister! We drove to Mineral about 15 miles away in hopes that they would have the fuel we needed – no luck. Another wrench, no fires are allowed in the backcountry. We wouldn’t be able to cook any food. So instead of doing a short backpacking trip, we had to adjust our plans to accommodate fire building in established rings and just do a few day hikes. Adaptability, right? Ha.
The next morning, we started off with a drive up to the Northwest corner of the park in hopes that the campground store would have fuel. Again, no luck – but we found a delicious breakfast cookie (I wish I could remember the name)! We warmed up with a 2 mile walk around Manzanita Lake and the famous picturesque view of Mt. Lassen.
We headed back to camp to pack up and moved it to Summit Lake Campground and trailhead for the day’s hike. After -resetting up camp we got a bit of a late start and had to be prepared to alter our plans again. We probably wouldn’t have time to do the 10 mile loop to the Cluster Lakes that we were hoping. We started toward Upper and Lower Twin Lakes around noon. The hike started off rough – exposed to the sun and just incline. My hip was screaming and I stopped frequently. We finally started to descend until we reached beautiful Echo Lake en route, where we stopped for a snack break. I also refilled my water bottle, which took a good 30 minutes (at least that is what it felt like) for a liter. My dad brought a Sawyer Mini that had a major flow problem. After filling up, we continued on to Upper Twin Lake for lunch. Beautiful for sure. After a good hour long break, we continued a bit further to Lower Twin Lake – I personally preferred the Upper Lake and I am glad we stopped early for lunch. Don’t get me wrong, they were both amazing. I was very tempted to jump in for a swim. We decided to not continue on with the loop as we both over estimated our stamina and time for the day. We headed back the same way we came. On our return we were rewarded with amazing views of Mt. Lassen again. We ended the night with a Ranger Program.
The next morning, we packed up our camp and headed to the trailheads. My dad would tackle Mt Lasssen (about a 2000 ft elevation gain over 2.5 miles one way). I was not about the try that. Instead I hiked to Kings Creek Falls and then came back to Lassen to see if my dad returned early or continued on. The main footpath to the falls was closed, so I had to take the extra mile detour. On my hike, I only passed one other lady. We had the trail and falls all to ourselves! When I returned to check on my dad’s progress, I stopped a middle aged couple coming down from the trail. They had only gone about a tenth of a mile, so hadn’t seen my dad. Instead we chatted a bit about what I was doing on the PCT. They were very kind and in awe of what I was doing. Meeting people never gets old! And with no sight of my dad and his bright orange RTHT shirt, I headed to another trail head. This time I hiked to Cold Boiling Springs. With a name like that, had to explore and see what it was all about. Not the prettiest site, but interesting none the less. I headed back to Lassen and within 10-15 minutes my dad appeared – he had made it to the top!
With peaks bagged and sights seen, it was time to head back to his house.
I’m not sure when, but I can’t wait to return to Lassen via the PCT and explore a whole other portion of the park!