Greetings to all,
Another eventful month has flashed by and it may have been our best month this year. We got a lot of work done and had fun doing it. However, it didn't start out on a great note. While in Red Bluff, CA for their July 4th celebrations, Fred came down with a miserable cold (a very rare event for him) and Dani developed something the vet called "garbage gut". A day in the puppy hospital hooked up to IVs took care of Dani but Fred's recovery took a little longer. The outdoor temperatures in Red Bluff didn't help. You have heard about 100-degree plus temperatures in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ but they ain't got nothing on the miserable heat of Red Bluff. We were thrilled to pack-up and head for the cooler temps in Lassen National Forest.
When we think about the Lassen National Forest, we will recall not only beautiful lakes and the constant presence of Lassen Peak, the volcano center piece of the Lassen Volcanic National Park, but also the rich colors found throughout the forest. Lakes of deep blue water reflecting fluffy snowy white clouds, brick red of volcanic cinders lining the highway, and fields with chunky black lava rock in healthy green forests are the techno-colored memories we retain from our visit to Lassen National Forest.
We spent almost two weeks in Lassen National Forest and exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park. Two of our "discoveries" were the Roxie Peconom and Domingo Springs campgrounds. The Native people in Northern California seem to have a great deal of political influence and Roxie Peconom illustrates this observation. It is a beautiful campground in a stand of large old fir trees with an adjacent area constructed for the local tribe's use in their annual Spring celebration. The adjacent area has a large level
"dance floor" with a huge grill next to it. We could almost see church groups, Scout troops and others using and enjoying this sweet little campground.
Domingo Springs is apparently a little known National Forest campground on the southern edge of the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Huge fir trees line a broad but shallow creek, full of various plants hiding pockets of ducks. From a rocky hillside, a spring leaks snow-melt from Lassen Peak to feed the creek. Tucked in among these fir trees are the campground's large quiet campsites. One common trait of both campgrounds is the wonderful solitude found at each.
Solitude was not found at either of the Lassen's big lakes. The enormous Lake Almanor is surrounded with resorts, communities, summer cabins, and campgrounds. Eagle Lake, Lassen's other huge lake, is more to our taste but it too doesn't feature much solitude. One reason for a lack of solitude is the Lake's outstanding fishing. Eagle Lake has high alkali levels and a unique trout, appropriately named Eagle Lake trout, that evolved there. It a "big" trout that apparently is a great fighter. But the Eagle Lake trout also illustrates a conundrum in the Endangered Species act. You see, at the turn of the 20th century, Eagle Lake was used to irrigate nearby fields. To keep the Eagle Lake trout population viable, the State's fishery people built fish ladders on feeder streams, the trout's natural
spawning areas, and harvested some of the trout for a hatchery. Decades ago the practice of using the Lake for irrigation was stopped but they continue to harvest fish for breeding and maintain the fish ladders. Well, it seems these actions qualify the Eagle Lake trout as an Endangered Species and there is a discussion to discontinue fishing in the lake. Not stopping the harvesting and artificial breeding the fish but stopping fishing in the Lake! Where is the logic???
After we completed the Lassen, we headed for the Modoc National Forest. Suzi found the geology of the Modoc amazing. The land is built up on about 60 feet of lava and dotted with mountains of volcanic ash capped with another layer of volcanic basalt rock and covered with centuries of dust size dirt. (The result is Ralf become a tan colored puppy.) Fred found the vast open spaces amazing. It is different from the rest of Northern California. Tucked away in the mountains that separated wide level valleys are some of the prettiest campgrounds we have seen this summer. Probably the best camp site we had for the month (BTW, we camped in the forest with no hook-ups 20 of July's 31 days) was at Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake was formed when a volcano collapsed onto itself forming a bowl which filled with water and gave us this magnificent wonder. A Forest Service person says it is Crater Lake without Wizard Island but we think
it is more like Lake Tahoe without the people. From Medicine Lake we visited the Lava Beds National Monument, explored one of the Monument's 300-plus lava tubes and learned about lava flows and such. Yes, we enjoyed our stay at Medicine Lake. Well, all of us but Ralf enjoyed the place.
Somewhere in our travels, Ralf picked up a foxtail (a very nasty grass seed) in his paw and wasn't a very happy camper until we reached Klamath Falls, OR and a vet. (The Modoc National Forest is a rather desolate area, communities are few and far between with populations smaller than Fred's High School Graduating class, so medical attention had to wait until the "big" city.)
But we end the month with everyone now healthy and happy, the Pacific Southwest (a.k.a California) Region completed, and looking forward to a busy month of working on Winema (pronounced why-me-ah), Rogue River, Siskiyou, and Umpqua National Forests, all in Oregon. Unfortunately, the wildfires have started so we may be making some adjustments. We'll keep you posted.
Hope your summer is going well and you are having as much fun as we are in our experiences and adventures.
Suzi and Fred