Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak Trail
(5 miles, +2,000/-2,000 feet).

Today was another day intimately tied to my youth.  On one of my cross country trips in the early 1980s between Oklahoma and Oregon my family stopped at Lassen Peak and I climbed it with my dad.  I still remember how amazed I was by the experience.  I bought a souvenir t-shirt that said “Go Climb a Volcano!” and it was one of my favorites for years.

Now I get to climb Lassen Peak again.

But this time, I’m the dad.

At the trailhead there was a menacing sign that warned people not to climb the peak without crampons and ice axe.  We decided to proceed anyway knowing we could turn back at any time.  And that was a good decision because there were only a couple of snow fields and they were super easy to navigate.

No ice axe needed

Half cookie remarked on how lovely the trail was with its recently-rebuilt switchbacks supporting a consistent and very walkable path.

Easy peasey
Lake Helen
DoubleSub and Half Cookie take in the view
More up
The boys take a break
Time to climb again
How much further?
The view gets nicer

Pasta Jay scoffed at a sign that said it was 0.2 miles to the summit.  But that was before he realized that the nice flat area with the signs wasn’t the summit!

Pasta Jay races to (what he thinks is) the summit
Wait, this isn’t it?
Oh, it’s that thing over there!
Half Cookie finishes the snow field near the summit

At the top I snapped a photo of Pasta Jay that reminded me of the same photo my dad took of me so long ago.

Made it!

The views were spectacular with skies that were much clearer than we had for our Cinder Cone hike.

Beautiful devastation

We lingered a bit and then went to explore the caldera below.

Half Cookie and the caldera
Inside the caldera

Instead of going around the snow field, Pasta Jay and I climbed up it to get back across.

Sketchy at best?

We ate our summit sandwiches and then headed back down the mountain.

That wasn’t hard at all — I feel great!
Lovely lupines
Almost done

After the hike we piled into the car and headed down to Lake Helen where a spectacular mirrored view of the summit awaited.  It was almost as if Lassen Peak where whispering to us “see you again soon.”

Until we meet again

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