Thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass, Clay and I managed to fly back to Seattle for a weekend in the middle of June to celebrate Jason's birthday! This year, Clay decided to gift Jason a set of fishing rods and take him on his first fishing trip to North Cascades National Park. The national park was so gorgeous during this time of the year with its snow-capped mountain ranges and turquoise-colored lakes formed by glacier melt. It offered such grand and majestic views of the North Cascades.
Our day trip started out with lunch at Hawks Nest Bar & Grill. We then checked out the Gorge Powerhouse, where we learned that North Cascades NP consisted of 3 lakes, 3 dams, and 3 powerhouses: Ross, Diablo, and Gorge. Together, these three powerhouses transform water pressure into electricity and are capable of producing about 40% of the total power supply generated by Seattle City Light, a public utility owned by the citizens of Seattle. So cool to learn that this national park generates so much electricity and power for the city of Seattle!
After stopping by a couple scenic views and overlooks, we spent the rest of the afternoon fishing at Diablo Lake, where we saw several campers and a fly fisherman. We stopped at a part of the lake with less people, which was really nice. I got a couple shots of Clay and Jason at our fishing spot (above). That afternoon, I got to learn from Clay how to cast a fishing line! Too bad I only reeled in a couple of sticks. Jason, however, was able to catch his first trout -- and we think he caught the same trout twice! Even though he was the only one that caught anything that day, it was truly an exciting moment for all three of us.
An evening fishing excursion at Hamilton Branch, a creek that flows into the northeast corner of Lake Almanor:
01 - A view of Hamilton Branch Creek from the bridge
02 - Peering down at our fishing spot, where we had to make our way down the trail to
03 - My happy angler fishing during the last hour of daylight
04 - Calling it a day at 8:28pm
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Clay and I finally made the trip out to Lassen, checking off our last national park in California! From Friday-Monday, we stayed at St. Bernard Lodge, a friendly Bed & Breakfast located about 20 minutes from the main park entrance. Each morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast buffet prepared for us by the B&B's owner.
On the first day, we visited the Kohm Yah-mah-nee (Snow Mountain) Visitor Center, where we watched a short film and learned that Lassen is one of the few places on earth where you can find all 4 types of volcanoes: shield, cinder cone, dome plug, and composite! Then we drove out to Sulfur Works, an easily accessible hydrothermal area where we were able to get a good look at some bubbling mudpots and steam vents. Since the main road of the park was still closed (we were very lucky it opened the day after), we decided to drive to the Warner Valley trailhead and hike 1.2 miles to Boiling Springs Lake. The hike was beautiful and the trail took us through a lush green meadow and across a bridge, leading us to a bubbling lake! I was quite mesmerized by all the different colors that the lake displayed and by the sight of the steam rising up from the water. Boiling Springs Lake was probably my favorite from the weekend! After the hike, Clay and I spent the rest of the day in the small town of Chester at the Lassen Gift Company & Soda Fountain (where we got an ice cream sundae) and The Locker Room (where we ate dinner and watched the NBA finals).
On the second day, we were able to drive through the main road of the park. We stopped by Emerald Lake and Lake Helen, which were both frozen and just starting to melt. At Lake Helen, we could see people hiking the snowcapped Lassen Peak. Other spots we stopped to see or drove by were: Kings Creek, Summit Lake, and Chaos Crags. We ended our drive at the northwest end of the park, where we visited the Loomis Museum and hiked the self-guided Lily Pond Trail (0.6 mile loop trail). We also hiked Reflection Lake (0.5 mile loop trail) and Manzanita Lake (1.8 mile loop trail). Clay ended up bringing his fishing pole so that he could stop and fish during our hike around the two lakes. Though we didn't have enough time to actually wait long enough for any fish to catch, all of the fishing spots we found around the lake provided beautiful views of Lassen Peak. Reflection and Manzanita Lake pretty much wrapped up our time at Lassen, but we did end up visiting another fishing spot at Hamilton Branch, which I'll cover in a separate post.
Next time we return to Lassen, hopefully we will be able to check out Bumpass Hell (closed this time) and hike Cinder Cone! For now, I feel very content with what we were able to see and will consider it a good preview to Yellowstone.
Just capturing as I go.