Sunday, October 2, 2011

Over the Peak

Yep! That time again... the annual-over-the-mountain (that would be Lassen ;) drive. Yesterday, Papa and I decided to take the tour and beat the first snow of the season that's predicted to dust the Peak this week. Too soon! Too soon! Can't it be summer until at least Thanksgiving?!?

After a gorgeously warm week the weather had turned cool enough that I had to forgo shorts, but refusing to break down and wear jeans I wore long janes with my skirt and socks with my sandals :) Papa was brave and spent one last day in shorts and sandals but traded his signature summer wear of a Hawaiian shirt for a flannel one... and then, away we went!

First stop was to drop off some home grown goodies and chow for Ben at his cabin. Peggie had picked him a big bunch of pear and sungold cherry tomatoes from her garden and I had some enchilada casserole and toppings to share.  Stepping out of the car we immediately noticed the colder 10 degree temperature difference from back at the house 25 minutes and a 2500' elevation drop away. Still, the sun was sending some warmth through the big ol' Jeffrey pines, which were also helping block any windchill factor.

Traveling on up the road we stopped at the Park entrance, purchased our new annual pass, and saw that the surface of our fave kayaking lake was looking pretty rumpled due to the breeze. Good day to be driving instead of paddling!

The trees around the museum and lake, and actually clear up to Hot Rock and the Devastated Area, were turning Autumn colors. By Kings Creek, though, there was almost an abrupt change back to Springtime. The meadows were a beautiful green and wildflowers, such as lupine, were still in full bloom.

Papa's eagle eye for all things 'nature' discovered a small brook trout in the crystal clear pool at a bend of Kings Creek. I saw him just as he darted off downstream; too late for a photo shot, but here's a pic, anyway, showing the awesome clarity of the water (be sure to click to enlarge for an even better image):

Traveling on up towards the Peak we paused at one of our familiar stops to check out the view across hill and dale clear to Lake Almanor (in direct center when you click the pic below). I just love that loopty-loop, roundy-round part of the road in the foreground.

As we continue the climb the landscape becomes more rugged and barren. Though this next picture doesn't show it well, I've always liked the layout of the rocks, ridges and trees here. Maybe it's the symmetry; or perhaps the way it looks as if someone drew a few sweeping lines across part of a page and then sketched in the rocks and trees :

...we're rounding the bend when suddenly There's The Top! Quite dramatic when unexpectedly it's looming right in front of you.(click on it now to get an idea of the Peak's sheer magnitude we experienced!)

Coming down now on the other side the landscape changes. More colorful bluffs and ridges are the norm signifying geographical & mineral changes in the soil.. and then we catch the distinctive odor of the Sulphur Works locale: 

Didn't get to hike Bumpass Hell this year (one of my personal favorites) but definitely will get one of you kids to go with me next year - please, oh please?!

Stopped at the southern-most Park entrance where Papa snapped a pic of me indulging in our standard Lassen treat before heading on towards Chester for lunch know the saying 'Life's uncertain, eat dessert first' :) Gotta be vanilla for me, chocolate swirl for the Papa bear...

Remember your birthday last year, Abby, when some of your Park work-compadres and all the family met for dinner at the Happy Garden? Well, that's where we'd decided to go and had the yummy General Tao chicken you introduced us to.

Afterwards we went to that little fruit stand down the street and got some of the last of their summer produce on their last day of the season.. some sweet and juicy white nectarines and white peaches. It's a cash-only business, and we had none on us, but the lady said get whatever we wanted and we could bring her the money next summer! Amazing! Instead, I had her give me her address so I could send a check immediately in the mail..

Additional fun was when we stopped at the Sierra Hospice's Forget-Me-Not second hand shop. Found some nice, rustic baskets for the pantry and to use for Christmas baskets, as well as Papa's great find of a large old bathroom scale.. it's mechanical, not a battery-operated digital model!

Know what else he found us? One of the original Presto bread slicers to replace ours that is so well-worn and falling apart. They stopped making these models over a decade or so ago so it was pretty darn nice to find this one.. and for only a buck! Better even than our old guide, it's more solid & heavy-duty, an essential since bread making is a constant here & we like even slices! I've already washed and put it to use since making a loaf each today of my locally famous Whole Wheat Buttermilk Flax Seed bread and Cinnamon Raisin bread.

This coming Saturday we're hoping the weather is nice for another outing; this time for the Rails to Trails festival over in S-ville. Stay tuned!


  1. YA!!! another post! Summer should definitely wait til Thanksgiving. Here is the plan: Leaves start to turn mid October but it will still stay warm like Indian summer. Then about the week of Thanksgiving it gets almost chilly (just enough to light a small fire in the evenings). Then about mid December we get our fist snowfall, have a white Christmas and the thaw and spring starts Jan 1st! Yes, they should make me in charge of the weather ;)
    I'm so glad you went to Happy Garden, I've been missing them for over a year! Lassen looks beautiful. I'm going to miss it in Hawaii. Listening to the tales of snow to come will make it less missed however :)

  2. ..makes me happy my posting makes YOU happy =)

    Ha! so get this: coincidentally Papa has been complaining for the past 2 days how YOU haven't been making new posts (he doesn't yet know I've just put up this Peak one last night). Just now he reiterated, 'Ya Abby. You can't get all excited about making a blog and then not post to it anymore!' Apparently he checks all week every week to see what's new with yours. I'll have to show him you at least posted a comment on ours ;)

    And I'll vote for you for new Weather Goddess! I'm all for your re-definition of the local fall and winter seasons =)

  3. Ya really! ...Papa

  4. haha ya I'm in a down phase of blogging I will be posting something on Richard and my crafty skills here soon :)