Wednesday, October 2, 2013


My garden friend Pam Penick, invites us to share our stories of visits to National Parks during the month of October. The link is here If you would like to share your trip to a National Park leave a comment on her posting and a link to the park you have visited. Your visit will  be added to the original list of parks. This would be your only opportunity to visit  the parks today because they are all closed. Foreign visitors must be as disappointed as I was the first time I went to Paris and the Louvre was closed for a strike.

During the early 80s, traveling in our VW camper, our family visited almost every National Park in the west. Now with a larger and more comfortable vehicle we find ourselves retracing our footsteps. Two years ago on our return from the Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling, we crossed into Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was one of the parks we had never visited. We settled ourselves on the campsite for a couple of days and prepared for some hiking and wildflower spotting. I knew it was going to be good because we were at altitude and it had been a very late summer as you will soon see.

 You might think we were in Texas with these pretty bluebonnets but they are a lot taller than the ones that grow in my part of Texas. (Did you know that Texas has 6 bluebonnets and they are all considered the State flower).

It is a surprise to see this yellow one, although I have seen ones with mixed yellow and blue flowers.

Our first hike took us up to the place where we could see volcanic activity, with fumaroles and mud pots and stinky sulphurous air are reminiscent of Yellowstone National Park. The land laid to waste by unfavorable growing conditions.

But first we had to cross snowfields with deep snow and well worn packed trails. I sure am glad I had my hiking boots, poles and sun glasses. It is a warm day and it isn't long before I take off my jacket.

Later we pass semi-frozen lakes. Sorry David, no fly fishing today!

This is one of the lesser known National Parks situated in Northeastern California and boasting the largest plug dome volcano in the world, Lassen Peak. It last erupted in 1915.

We spent 2 days in the park, hiking the trails and enjoying the clear mountain air and the cool nights. Here are a few photos in celebration one of our great National Parks.

Mountain goat!

This boulder was moved here by the action of a glacier.

There were plenty of scenic hikes from windblown mountain tops.

to forests with rushing streams.

False hellebore.

Rock penstemon

Early morning views of Mount Lassen from Manzanita Lake.

I enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I hope you did too. Let's hope the parks will soon be open again for all to enjoy.


  1. It must have been really interesting to see all that volcanic activity. I really should put a post together for this on my recent trip to the Olympic peninsula here in Washington state. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think that's Death Camas, it looks more like False Hellebore/Veratrum viride. Death Camas has strappy leaves like a daylily. I sure do hope the parks open soon.

  2. Thanks for the id correction of the false hellebore. I'm not sure where I got my original id from 2 years ago. We also visited the Olympic Peninsula this year but it was just a brief visit.

  3. What a beautiful place, and in a park I'd never heard of. I love your national park posts, Jenny. You are quite an intrepid explorer.

  4. Thanks for this! Just the thing for a day here in Texas that is quickly reminding me that summer is barely (perhaps not completely?) gone. I was excited to see the image of the rock penstemon - I just put one in the ground here at my house yesterday and I can't wait for it to be similarly covered in blooms (eventually...). It won't be part of such a gorgeous view overall, but it certainly improves the area it is in!

    1. I also bought the rock penstemon this past spring. It doesn't look as good as the one in the picture though. Maybe next year.

  5. That's totally what I want to do when we retire. I'd like to buy a trailer and travel to all the parks. I wanted to backpack like we used to when we were younger, but R has informed me that his backpacking days are over. That's okay, day hiking is fine by me. Look at all you get to see! It's so beautiful! We'll definitely have to chat some time. I'd love to hear about your travels and which parks have been your favorites.

    1. I t really is the only way to visit the parks. We visited 12 this summer. I shall be so sad when our camping days end.

  6. We've been visiting..and REvisiting... some national parks, the last couple years.
    I've never heard of this one, though. We'll put it on our list.

    Thanks for sharing....

  7. Beautiful! Thanks for taking us along.