Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

We spent two awesome days in Lassen Volcanic National Park.  After driving about 4 1/2 hours from our home in Alamo, we arrived at Manzanita Lake, located in the Northern tip of the park, and quickly settled into our spot right in the park, playing track ball, football, building a fire, and grilling dinner outside.  It appeared that we were off and running.

At one point during our campfire time, Justin came inside to grab something from the fridge, quickly noticing that the refrigerator appeared that it wasn’t running. He quickly shifted into triage mode, trying to figure out why the fridge and inverter had not switched over to battery mode (we didn’t have any hookups in the campground at Manzanita Lake).  After an hour and a half of pouring through manuals (unfortunately, we didn’t have cell reception in the park, so that was out of the question for helping troubleshoot), he said he knew we had to move to a location with hookups, as our food would spoil by morning.  We packed up and left our campsite at 10:30pm, kids sleeping, and headed to a KOA about 30 miles outside the park, scoring the LAST site available (not quite sure how we lucked out there, but we took the win) for the night.  We crashed hard.

Waking up the next morning, we were able to get the names of a few RV repair men, all of which we called and who quickly told us that they were booked out through July.  We know we aren’t the only ones RV-ing this Summer...  Eventually, after several calls, Justin reached our RV dealer, who explained that we could bring it into their Sacramento location, meaning he’d be on the road ALL day that day.  I said that I would pack up for the day, and that he should leave the kids and I in the park, which I knew was risky with no cell reception, but we could agree to meet back at a designated spot that evening.  Plus, it was Quinn’s Birthday, and we both were so sad to think about that day spent apart. As we were backtracking for Justin to drop us off the park before departing back to Sacramento, we received a call on his phone from a mobile repairman (recommended to us by the KOA owner, as it was his neighbor) who we had called earlier that morning and not yet heard back from. This was serendipitous because we hadn’t had any luck with reception, and the call randomly came through.  After Justin spent a minute on the phone with Fred (pulled over on the side of the road so the call wouldn’t drop), Fred explained that he lived “a stone’s throw” from where we were pulled over.  Sure enough, 200 yards later, we pulled into Fred’s driveway, where his wife, Dana, came to let us in the gate to their property.  Fred was able to diagnose and fix the issue within about 30 minutes, while the kids and I played some games in the RV. We were back up and running.  God was SO with us at every turn.

Thanking Fred for his help and kindness, I explained to him that it was Quinn’s Birthday, and how grateful we were to have the day back in the park together as a family.  Fred and Dana were quick to chime in, “we have a present for the Birthday boy.  If you meet us at the Boat Launch on the lake at 6pm tonight we’ll take you for an evening kayak paddle.” We were beyond touched, and even a bit surprised that someone would do something so kind for people they had just met, but we agreed.

Our family departed to re-enter Lassen Volcanic National Park, hitting the Visitor Center briefly, and then heading to King’s Creek and Meadows for a hike.  We hiked 3 miles to the most gorgeous waterfalls, King’s Creek Falls, and saw a Mama and Baby Bear on our way.  It was spectacular.

After hiking, we returned to Manzanita Lake and, per Quinn’s request, we opened presents, played a game of family football, and track ball, before heading to meet Fred and Dana down at the lake.  

We had the most amazing kayak trip out on Manzanita Lake, at the most gorgeous time of day.  Fred and Dana had brought kayaks for each of us, including a small one for Quinn to have his own (he was SO excited), and we had the most beautiful views of Lassen peak from the lake.  It was so special. We still truly couldn’t believe we had been given this opportunity by mere strangers, but we were gracious and so enjoyed every second.

We grilled burgers, per the Birthday Boy’s request, and made an awesome campfire (Brady and Hayden did the whole thing themselves) that evening. Quinn told us he had the “Best Birthday.” God was clearly watching out for us in so many ways on this day, and we were so grateful.

The next morning, we woke up, and Justin and I enjoyed coffee outside under the pines before heading to Butte Lake.  We hadn’t planned our exact route for the day, but had gotten a recommendation for hiking Cinder Cone, a volcano outlet that first erupted in 1650.  We set out on the hike with the anticipation of just making it to the viewpoint of the cinder cone.  The kids, though ambivalent about the hike at first, came to life, and we crushed the hike, taking us to the base of the cone.  Upon arrival, Grace insisted, “I’m hiking to the top!”. We all set off the 500 ft climb to the top of the cinder cone. It was STEEP, and I am still not sure how we did it, sliding on lava and volcanic rock the whole way up.  Justin gave Quinn a ride halfway up, and it was BEYOND me how he did that.  Regardless, we all made it up (including Quinn, who was a TROOPER).  The view into the cinder cone was amazing, and the views all around (including to Mt. Lassen) were spectacular.  Hayden declared, “I will remember this as the day that I hike a volcano!”. Justin and I were SO proud of them.  Once we traveled across the rim, Justin, Grace, Brady, and I descended all the way into the cone. SO COOL!  We then set off for the RV, and for our trek to Crater Lake in Oregon.

Lassen Volcanic, you were so good to us.  


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