Tag: Drakesbad

Sneaking a Peek at Lassen Peak

Sneaking a Peek at Lassen Peak

Although at 10,457’ Lassen Peak is both the highest and most prominent feature in Lassen Volcanic National Park, getting a glimpse of it isn’t always that easy.

After viewing it from the shore of Manzanita Lake on the northwest corner of the park, there are only a few opportunities to see it while driving along the park’s through-road. And in the Warner Valley and other parts of the park’s southwest section—about two to three thousand feet below the trailhead to Lassen Peak—intervening ridges mostly block views of the mountain.

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But here a few photos of the now-dormant volcano that I was able to take during my trip at the end of July.

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The REI Camp Bed: Sleeping on Thick Air

The REI Camp Bed: Sleeping on Thick Air

At the end of July I had an opportunity to “camp” in a cabin at Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The cabins have platform beds, which the park concessionaire’s Website described as being

“… a firm, three-inch mattress on a bed frame or platform. They come as double, single or bunk beds. The beds are quite firm, so if you prefer something soft, we recommend you bring an air mattress or pad to place atop the platform bed’s mattress to add a cushioning. No bedding is included. Bring sleeping bags or bedding, or rent the Camper’s Package which includes sleeping bags.”

Added cushioning made a lot of sense to me, but presented a night-time dilemma: Although I still had a sleeping bag, I had long ago given away the Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad I bought many years ago.

Here’s how I solved my need for a cushy bed.

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“Disconnected” in Lassen Volcanic National Park

“Disconnected” in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Thirty years ago when I had a real “day job,” I often vacationed in western U.S. national parks for a simple reason: It was difficult, if not impossible, to reach me by phone.
Unlike city motels and hotels, national park lodgings generally did not have in-room telephones. A phone message left at the front desk might not be delivered. And even if it was, the call could only be returned if there was a pay phone available.

Mobile phones wouldn’t be in the hands of the average traveler for a decade or more, and when they first became available they weren’t portable enough to carry in a pocket, purse, or on a belt. And they didn’t work in the mountains.

But that was then, and this is now, when owning a smartphone—many times “smarter” than Captain James T. Kirk’s communicator or Dick Tracy’s wrist radio—makes it more difficult to remain “disconnected” when traveling.

But as I discovered last week in Lassen Volcanic National Park, you can still enjoy being “out of touch.”

“Connections” are important to travel writers like myself. We need Internet access to send and receive e-mail, check out Websites, and post to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and our blogs. And, if you followed my “Live Updates from ‘The Road to Lassen’” story last week, you saw that when I had an Internet connection during the trip, I could send live streaming video to my Website.

Having “connections” during the drive up I-80 and I-5 wasn’t a problem. I had a strong 4G or LTE signal over AT&T’s data network all the way from my San Francisco Bay Area home to Redding.

But sometime after I turned east onto a two-lane highway for the final 45 minute drive to the Manzanita Lake entrance station on the west side of Lassen, the digital umbilical cord linking me to the modern, outside world was almost completely severed.

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