Weekend at Lassen NP

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I spent Labor Day weekend at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northeast California. In the forecast was clouds and perhaps a bit of rain, so it seemed a good time to visit the park, which, in the summer months at least when the main road through the park is not covered in a thick blanket of snow, tends to be dominated by sunny, cloudless, boring skies.

My first day there was all sunny. I explored the northernmost part of the park in an area known as Butte Lake, which is actually the first part of the park to join the national park system (as a national monument). Here we find not only Butte Lake, but Cinder Cone. The picture below is Butte Lake on my second day at the park, when clouds had formed into actual rain:

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But on that first day, the park was a dry and cloudless as a bone bleached by the sun. I trotted out to Cinder Cone to photograph the Painted Dunes. Cinder Cone is large, flat cone of volcanic ash and pebbles:

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From the top of Cinder Cone I hoped to photograph the Painted Dunes in the waning sunlight. It was windy up there and I didn’t couldn’t get images as sharp as I would have prefered:

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The next morning I emerged from my tent-lair an hour before sunrise and made the long drive back to main section of the park to photograph Bumphass Hell, with all it’s steam vents and bubbling mud pots:

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I also got a quick snap of Brokeoff Mountain:

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By the time I got around to photographing Helen Lake and Mount Lassen, clouds had formed over almost the entire sky:

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I hence made my way back toward Butte Lake, getting various snaps as the light would permit. First, Reading Peak:

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And Chaos Crags:

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On the way to Butte Lake I stopped at Hat Creek Overlook, which provides some nice vistas of local scenery in this section of the Cascades:

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The following morning, the scenery was just as intriguing at the overlook, as we see in this image of cloud engorged Mount Lassen, with the morning sun bathing the flanks of Chaos Crags:

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On that last morning at the park, the area around the base of Mount Lassen was shrouded in fog. I could only get a few snaps of Mill Creek:

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But further north, around Hat Lake, the sun was breaking through amongst the clouds:

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When the clouds finally broke and the skies shone blue and clear, it was time to take the four hour trip home, back to the northcoast.