All-Time Favorites – A Debut Drive On The Wild Side = Highway 89

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I almost choked on my coffee this morning. I had to read the latest post published at WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge twice. They casually announced that this is the last challenge. I can see that it would be a lot of work hosting a challenge of this size, hundreds of participants weekly, but it’s WordPress we’re talking about. They should be able to handle that? Or is it about stopping leaving us wanting more? Get a huge debate going, so that their challenge get even more attention?

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This weekly photo challenge have followed me through several blogs, until I finally found my niche. I’ve posted an entry almost every week, and made many new friends through the challenge. I even mentioned it in my Purpose page for this blog. I hope they will reconsider ending this challenge. If not, Thank you WordPress for hosting it for so long. I really enjoyed it!

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Last Sunday was the first day of the season that the scenic Highway 89, through Lassen Volcanic National Park was open. Its was a grand opening. I expected nothing less. We drove up to the northern entrance, in the morning. There was a traffic jam there! It took about 30 min to get in. I’ve never experienced that before. It was well worth the wait.

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The first drive through the park for the year is always spectacular. It’s like getting reacquainted with a special, old friend. Even though I’ve been snowshoeing in the park during the winter months, I have not seen all the majestic beauty there is. I rephrase that, it is not possible to ever see it all. It would take several lifetimes.

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Sulphur Works; Lassen Volcanic National Park’s most easily accessed hydrothermal area. It features boiling mudpots and steam vents. It smells a little, but not too bad right now. Last time I passed Sulphur Works (in the photo,) everything was covered in snow. That was about a month ago.

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My daughter have a love-hate relationship to this place. She always wants to go here. She is fascinated, and disgusted at the same time. It doesn’t exactly smell like our rose garden. Lol.

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Nature is blooming right above the hydrothermal area. We decided to take a hike towards Ridge Lakes, above Sulphur Works.

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This hike is rated as hard, and it starts out going straight uphill, right from the beginning. The landscape was extremely beautiful. Like something from another galaxy.

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In the beginning it was reasonably easy to follow the trail, even though it completely lacked any kind of markers. The trail was supposed to follow the creek, so we followed the creek. There was more and more snow on the trail. After a while we took a wrong turn, and ended up hiking up to the ridge to the left, of the ridge that we were supposed to take, if we wanted to see Ridge Lakes. It might not look very steep in this photo, but believe me, it was. You had to dig your boots into the snow, and make your own stairs to get a grip, and climb up. ..and we’re talking about an elevation about 8000ft. The air is thin, and you have to take it slow. I helped my five year old quiet a bit during this stretch. Since we gotten this far, we really wanted to get to the top of that ridge above us. I can be very stubborn..and I used it to get us all up. I know for sure that the rest would of turned around if it wasn’t for me. It’s Thursday today, and I can still feel the climb in my whole body. I love that!

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On the top of the world! I love feeling alive like this. The tracks we made kind of disappears in the photo, that is how steep it was. Half of the hillside beneath me is out of the picture, even though it’s right under me. What do you say about that view?

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It was very windy at the top. I estimate it to around 25-30 mph winds. The baseball cap I was wearing to protect myself from the strong sun, blowed away. I found it later. My daughter took her off. (I know.. she’s the smart one.)

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Some more vistas from the top of this unnamed ridge.

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The grand opening of highway 89 for the season of 2018, was a day to remember a lifetime. Are you tempted to take a drive on the wild side? Conquer this stretch of highway 89? Even if you just follow the highway, and stop at the different, well marked, vista points, you’ll have an incredible experience.

Cheers to a mind-blowing last episode of The Weekly Photo Challenge!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

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We went on a couple shorter hikes in Lassen Volcanic National Park earlier today. It was very peaceful. I thought I’d brighten your Saturday with some of the photos. Above is Reflection Lake with Chaos Crags, and Lassen Peak in the background.

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Does anyone know what this is? I would love to know! It looks kind of like a fungi, or mushroom? It grew in abundance around Reflection Lake.

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Lassen Peak seen from the devastated area.

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Lily Pond

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Chaos Crags, with rain clouds almost touching the peak.

The highway is still closed through the park. It’s expected to open next weekend. Fingers crossed 🙂 I can’t wait! Those trails, and views, that’s been hidden by snow over the winter, is like a long time lost friend, that I’m about to see very soon.

This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge; Liquid. I hope that your weekend got of to an amazing start!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

 

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Place in the World – Lassen Volcanic National Park

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Where do you belong? In the hustle and bustle of a big city or amongst friendly faces in a small town? For this week’s challenge, show us your place in the world.

The weekly photo challenge this week is Place in the World. I could take the challenge literally and say that my favorite city is (take a pick); Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Reno, Seattle, Anchorage, Honolulu, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Madrid, Rome, Prague, London, Oslo, Paris, or a number of other perfectly marvelous cities I’ve enjoyed, but I know that artistic freedom is encourage here (that’s what I like about this weekly challenge.) To tell you the truth, I do enjoy visit these places..for a few hours at a time. After a few hours I wish that I was up in the mountains. Almost any mountain. The mountains are my place in the world. They give me peace of mind. I feel good. I have everything I need, when I breath fresh mountain air.

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I’m blessed to live close to Mt.Lassen. I go there as often as I can. I could spend the rest of my life exploring that park, and still not see everything. The photos in this post is from last weekend. Only a fraction of the park is open now, there’s massive amounts of snow covering the road that passes through the park (Highway 89.) The areas closest to the two entrances are open, and you can hike/snowshoe/ski out from there.

The park has two entrances, and we entered by the northwest entrance last weekend, and drove all the way to the road closure, some 9 miles into the park. Our first hike was on Highway 89, right after the road closure. I took the snow covered photo above during that hike.

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After my daughter had her fill of playing in the snow, we drove back to the entrance, and Manzanita Lake. It’s a super easy 1,5 mile stroll around the lake. The views are spectacular the whole way, and it was a great way to end our day.

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Manzanita Lake is surrounded by Jeffrey and Ponderosa Pine.

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During our visit it hit me, that it was exactly 5 years ago since my very first visit in the park, Mother’s Day 2013. My daughter was less than a year old, and experienced snow for the first time.

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Since Manzanita Lake is so easily accessible all year round, it’s a very popular place. I have not visited the park one time without seeing fishermen enjoy this place. The biggest campground, and picnic area, in the park is located at the beach furthest back, in the middle of this photo. We ate our lunch in the picnic area there, before walking around the lake.

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Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. – Mary Schmich

I’m afraid that the beauty here already soften my sharp edges a bit. It kind of put everything else in life in another perspective. It’s the effect of seeing the world through northern California glasses. When I think of our beautiful state, especially the northern part where I spend most of my time, I think about freedom. I think about the wilderness areas. The beauty of all the Western States, to me, is taking the backroads, climbing the mountains, hiking in the National Parks, creating a beautiful garden, enjoying the best nature has to offer. It makes me humble, and grateful.

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Manzanita Lake, with Chaos Crags, and Lassen Peak in the background. 

I hope you enjoy the visit to my neck of the woods. I’ve written many posts, and shared hundreds of photos from Lassen Volcanic National Park. You can see my favorite photos in my gallery.

I often participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post, as a way of interacting with photographers around the world. I enjoy that very much. I’m looking forward to explore your place in the world. 

Love,

Ms Zen