Tag: Manzanita Lake

Travel Photo Thursday: “On Golden Pond” Sunset Shots

Travel Photo Thursday: “On Golden Pond” Sunset Shots

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A late afternoon arrival at Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park left me just enough time to haul my gear from my car into the “camping cabin” I would spend the night in, and then take a brief stroll down to the lake, before sitting down to near at the picnic table outside of my cabin.

I was so focused on my meal—and on trying out the “Gourmet” food scene shooting mode on my new Sony RX-100 point-and-shoot camera—that I almost missed the sinking sun turn the lake into an “On Golden Pond” photo op.

I quickly dumped the chicken bones, paper plate and plastic fork into the trash, and ran down to the lake to shoot trees and ducks in silhouette as the sun turned from orange to red as it set beyond the western shore of the lake.

Here’s how the sunset aura over Manzanita Lake changed as dusk fell.

The skies continued to become a deeper red as the sun dipped behind the trees.

Shadows lengthened as nightfall came closer.

When the sun had gone to bed, only a faint reminder of it remained on the lake surface.


(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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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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Lassen: Off-The-Beaten National Park Path

Lassen: Off-The-Beaten National Park Path

(Read our June 10, 2014 story, “Lassen an Undiscovered National Park Gem” about our July, 2013 trip to get even more information about planning your Lassen vacation.)


NPS symbolYellowstone and Glacier.

Yosemite and Sequoia.

Grand Canyon North Rim, Grand Canyon South Rim.

Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches.

Name virtually any national park in the Western U.S. and I’d say “Been there, done that.”

So which is my hands-down favorite? Lassen, in north central California, miles away from Interstate 5 chock-a-block with cars and big rigs, off the well-trodden national park path, and far from the madding crowd of tourists you’ll encounter in those better known parks I just mentioned.

Lassen From Eagle Peak

Here’s what Lassen is all about.

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