How long do you give plans a chance to work before you decide… meh, maybe it’s not happening? I mean, I’m a pretty stubborn person, but even I have my limits.
Over the past few years my medium son, Michael, has been going to a summer camp devoted to learning all about the art of fly-fishing. Michael got turned on to the sport by his 7th grade science teacher and joined a local fly-fisherman’s club that his teacher belonged to. My dad has also been a fan of the sport, and so it worked out perfectly that he could take my son to the meetings. It was through this club that Michael learned about the summer camp, and was even granted scholarships to attend.
The problem is that the camp is seven hours of driving away. The thought of driving him up then coming back home, then doing it again just a few days later held zero appeal for me. As it turns out, Lassen Volcanic National Park is relatively close. Relatively, as in we would still be driving 2-4 hours one way from fish camp to get to whatever campground in the park we chose to stay at. Other parks are closer, but due to elevation and terrain, are just too danged hot to stay at. I already live in a hot place, but my house has air conditioning, my tent does not. So Lassen it was.
Lassen is an awesome place. The volcano is an active one, though it is currently dormant, and there are multiple places that show signs of that volcanic activity. Bubbling mud pits, steam vents, geysers, etc. can all be witnessed. There is also a trail to the top of the volcano that can be hiked in just a few hours. This is the plan that keeps eluding me. Three times now. I thought the third time was supposed to be the charm?
The first trip to fish camp and Lassen was in 2017. It had been a good year for snow in the mountains. So good that the road that leads to the trail head to hike up to the top of Lassen Peak was still closed because it was buried in snow even in the summer. Strike one.
The second trip was in 2018. No snow, but lots of smoke. The day we drove up to camp happened to also be the day the Carr Fire started just outside of Redding. We could get to the trail, but didn’t want to breath in ashes. Strike two.
The third trip was just last week. We missed a couple of years due to other plans and that nasty “C-word” that I’m sure the whole world is ready to have go away. The plan was to leave on Saturday morning. There were already fires burning near the park so I had been keeping my eye on the smoke maps and evacuation areas that could impact which campground we decided to stay at. I checked again Saturday morning. It wasn’t good. In fact it was so bad that we completely changed our plans and didn’t even stay in Lassen at all. Strike three.
Not only did the destination change, but even the day of departure. We left the following day, instead, to work better with our new plans. So where did we go? This wonderful, little known place called Oregon Caves National Monument. Small in size but big on beauty. No volcano on top, but amazing cave networks down below.
This may not have been the trip I had hoped for, but I can’t say that I was disappointed. I may try again to reach the summit of Lassen Peak at some point in the future. We’ll see. Maybe the Big Guy Upstairs is trying to tell me something. Who knows? As for the trip to Oregon Caves, stay tuned for more details and pictures to come! (Update: here they are!)
(By the way, there are currently several fires burning across the western United States, as well as across the Mediterranean Sea region, including Athens, Greece. There are multiple agencies that provide relief to the victims of these fires, which often includes providing aid and shelter to livestock and pets belonging to residents in the affected areas. Please consider donating in any way you can to the charity of your choice to help those in need. Thank you.)