Day 15: Lassen Volcanic

It wasn’t a bad day by any means, but it won’t go down as the best day of rtxix. We had heard that there was too much snow to backpack, but I wasn’t expecting to not do any hiking. Our plans changes a bunched of time and each time we were let down.When we walked into the Visitors Center they had a board with a list of all the things visitors could do today.

  1. Snowshoe.
  2. Walk on the portion of the road that was already plowed.
  3. Look at the exhibits in the Visitor’s Center.
  4. Watch the 20 minute film about the park.

Our options were fairly limited. We started with options 3 and 4, then got in our car to see if maybe, just maybe all the snow had melted while we were viewing the movie. Turns out it didn’t, but we were able to pull into a couple of observation pull offs.

At the first one, we were hoping we’d be able to hike to some geothermal activity. Nope. Too much snow in the way to even have an inkling as to where the trail was or where it led to. We did catch Ranger Cole as he was finishing up a ranger chat. He let Ellie use the infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the mudpots. She really enjoyed it and it was interesting to learn that the mud isn’t actually boiling, but the gasses are escaping from under the crust of the Earth.

We played around with the idea of doing option 2 on the list and drove to the end of the open road. Each side was lined with snow banks that were at least 30 feet tall. I’m sure it would have been a lovely stroll, but it didn’t appeal to us when we had planned on backpacking in the back country.

That only leaves option 1 and I really wished the park had offered snowshoe rentals, since we forgot ours at home. I thought it would have been a fun adventure. Until we pulled into a pull off and spotted three individuals snowshoeing straight up the side of a gigantic snow covered hill/small mountain. Our jaws dropped as we watched them struggling to take each step. It seemed like legit hell. I don’t know how they did it without falling right back down the hundreds of feet they had gone up. I immediately was thankful that we had forgotten our snowshoes at home. It looked so hard.

After crossing off or eliminating all the available options, we headed back to the Visitor’s Center for the girls to be sworn in as Junior Rangers and for Ellie to interview Ranger Cole and Ranger Kristine for the newest episode of Ellie Elevates Your National Parks. The episode is now available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Both rangers were so nice to Ellie and I know she learned a lot from them.

And that was Lassen Volcanic. I love volcanoes and the impact they have on geological history, so I’m really hoping we can get back when there isn’t snow.

The rest of the day was spent with swimming at the hotel and laundry. We binge watched Food Network and ordered salad and pizza again. Super low key day.

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