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.
Some glimpses from our Tahoe Ski Trip 2018:
01 - Golden hour in Tahoe (taken as we were driving to our cabin)
02 - On the slopes at Heavenly with a view of Lake Tahoe behind us!
03 - Quick photo break as we were skiing to Lakeview Lodge for lunch
04 - Our lunch view from Booyah's at Lakeview Lodge
Christmas 2017 Highlights:
01 - Celebrating the marriage of our dear friends Joyce and David
02 - Christmas Eve in our cozy little home with The One That Started It All
03 - Christmas in the Park with a cup of Snowman Hot Chocolate
04 - Hotpot dinner with Kim's family followed by Christmas gifts & Meet Me in St. Louis
Thanksgiving 2017 Highlights:
01 - Afternoon walk at Lake Boren Park with Clay's family
02 - Continuing the Yan Thanksgiving turkey baking tradition
03 - Making shakshuka and French onion soup with Jason
04 - Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle
Back in April, Clay and I managed to book the last campsite available at Mendocino Grove, a campground offering a modern camping experience. I had been wanting to plan a trip to the Mendocino and Fort Bragg area for a while now, so I was really excited that we could try out glamping for the first time while we were at it!
When we arrived Saturday afternoon, the self check-in was very straight forward. It was basically just a bulletin board with general campground information (e.g., wifi usage, breakfast hours) and a map with our name on it indicating where our designated parking spot and campsite was. Our safari tent (Navarro 2) was in its own little corner a fair distance away from the other two neighboring tents. Right outside our tent, we had our own picnic table, a set of chairs on the deck, and a fire pit. (Firewood was available self-serve at the campground for about $10 or so.) Inside the tent, there was a comfortable bed, a couple of dressers that served as night stands, a large lantern, a couple of extra blankets, and an awesome s'mores kit! We enjoyed the s'mores kit very much on our last night :)
Even though we still prefer camping and pitching up our own tents, we had a really nice experience during our stay at the Mendocino Grove...and we would happily do it again! Packing was SUPER easy and convenient. Next time, I'd probably bring more layers, a warmer jacket, a beanie, and my own water bladder. The campground was very thoughtful and actually had a couple wooden crates of water bladders for campers to use, but unfortunately it wasn't enough for everyone...so we didn't get to use one. There were also no outlets inside the safari tents, so I'd suggest bringing a portable charger. Though I believe the campground also has chargers available for checkout.
Overall, everything about the campground was pretty wonderful! The bathrooms were very new, clean, and well-maintained. There were outlets in there, so I was thankfully, able to use my hair dryer (didn't want to risk catching a cold!). They provided plenty of organic bath products and fresh towels for showering and for face-washing. The shower experience was for sure the best that I've had at a campground. In addition, just around the bathhouse, there was an area where they served drinks (coffee, hot water, & tea), as well as breakfast (fresh fruits, yogurt, & bars). Another amenity that Clay and I enjoyed were their giant hammocks spread out in the middle of the grove and campground. Now, just a couple more notes: 1) I would personally recommend booking for the summertime for warmer, more camping-friendly weather, especially since the campground is located near the coast. 2) Mendocino Grove is very family and dog-friendly; they have different safari tents that accommodate both groups! They also have Airstream options available for rent.
Finally, one of the best parts of our glamping experience was having the small coastal town of Mendocino be just a 5-minute drive away. Fort Bragg, a larger city along the coast, is also not too far away - just a quick and scenic 20-minute drive up north. If you're wondering what other activities there are to do or places to go eat, feel free to ask me. I have a whole list that I compiled!
Just capturing as I go.