HIKED LASSEN PEAK TRAIL Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 11, 2022

This was one tough 4-mile trek. Mt. Lassen Peak, at 10,457 feet was one of the world’s largest plug dome volcanoes. Our trailhead began at 8,500 feet. The first 100 yards was quite formidable as it was almost a straight up incline. I was winded already. No wonder the trail was rated difficult. I could see large rocks way above on the bald tundra and hoped they would not avalanche down on us. The trail continued up via loose rock switchbacks or rounded curves with no protection from the sun. We passed smaller rocks, and some scrub brush, patches of wildflowers and a few twisted hemlock and white bark pine trees but not much else was growing this high up. I had to stop often to catch my breath at this altitude, but Rosie seemed unfazed. At the higher points we encountered big patches of snow. At one location, Rosie lay down and made snow angels. We talked to a few hikers who had made it to the top and were returning. They said it took about 4 to 5 hours. We made it up to 9,950 feet, four out of the five miles, and then turned around. I considered this a success. As we descended, we saw a furry, small mouse looking mammal called a pika run across our trail. Pika’s only live above 8,000 feet. We took many panoramic photos from our high elevation. We returned to the campsite and did some serious stretching after that tough hike.

HIKED BUMPASS HELL TRAIL Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 11, 2022

This was a great 3.5-mile moderate trail. Elevation was 8,400 at the trailhead and descended about 300 feet along a narrow rocky semi-wooded trail giving us outstanding views of the park, Bumpass Mountain and valley looking east.  We passed beautiful Lake Helen with Mt. Lassen Peak in the background. About 1.5 miles later, the trail forked and as we trekked down switchbacks to the basin to the biggest hydrothermal area in the park. The trail changed to a boardwalk and the terrain opened to many fumaroles (steam and volcanic gas vents), mud pots and boiling hot springs. The sandy ground was multi-colored, the hydrothermal pits (at a scalding 240 degrees) spewing steam. Ascending back up the trail in the 95-degree weather, we saw several deer. As we drove to the southwest visitor center the steam from another pit area blew across the road.

HIKED MANZANITA LAKE TRAIL Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 9, 2022

After entering the northwest park entrance, we hiked a 2.6-mile trail around Manzanita Lake which began at an elevation of 5,800 feet. This was one of the most beautiful trails on the entire trip, and we were able to take outstanding pictures of the lake and all five volcanoes including Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags. The dirt trail along the lake shore had some tree roots and exposed rocks in places but was wooded, had lots of wildflowers and we saw geese, ducks, lizards, squirrels, and eagles. The trail went by the park campground and by the Loomis Museum which doubled as a small visitor center.  After the hike we ate delicious veggie pizza at the only restaurant nearby after stopping for gas – a whopping $6.60 per gallon, the highest price we paid on the 9,000-mile trip.

HIKED LASSEN NATIONAL FOREST TRAIL   California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 12, 2022

As we left the KOA Campground to head to Nevada, I checked that the campfire was out and saw a head stick out of a hole next to the firepit. Out came a good-sized lizard. As I drove on SR 44 just west of Lassen Volcanic National Park, I pulled over and we hiked the .6-mile Interpretive Reforestation Trail. At this site after all the trees had been cut down in 1994, 135,000 ponderosa pine trees were planted and will be cut down in 2042. This was a planned restoration site to replenish the trees previously removed. The kiosk signage explains the process. The trail was quiet, flat, and shady as the Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine trees were not near mature height. I found lots of giant pinecones.  

LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK  Shingletown, California

Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 9, 10, 11, 2022

This national park was one of our favorites on the 43-day trip. Often described as “Yosemite without the crowds”, this national park had it all from a combination of lakes, high mountain trails, scenic overlooks, to hydrothermal features. This park is one of the few places in the world that contains all four types of volcanoes: plug dome, shield, cinder dome and stratovolcano. We did four hikes total reaching 9,950 feet elevation on the last hike just shy of the summit on Lassen Peak. The views were incredible.

Driving through the east half of the park, parts were devastated by the 2021 Dixie Fire which burned over 960,000 acres. We stopped at one trail where the fire burned. We also stopped at Chaos Crags Rocks where a rockslide racing 100 miles an hour down the slopes of the volcanoes occurred long ago.  Hot Rock was a huge several ton rock, where during the massive 1915 eruption a photographer, stood and said this rock was too hot to touch after it was ejected from the crater.  Although the national park rangers said we couldn’t carry bear spray because it is considered a weapon in California, we carried it anyway on the hiking trails as the rangers told us there were about 60 black bears living in the park.

We camped at the award-winning Shingletown KOA which was about 15 miles from the park entrance. We sat around the campfire and enjoyed a beautiful blue sky and green mountain scenery. We hung Rosie’s hammock in the woods, enjoyed riding the local bike trail and attended mass at Mary Queen of Peace Church, a small church in the forest which had room for only about 15 parishioners.

HIKING NICKERSON RANCH TRAIL Redwoods National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 8, 2022

This trail, just past the Boy Scout Trail off of Howland Hill Road, also is an area where the Star Wars movie with the Ewok Village was filmed. This was also in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park section of the joint national park. This area is a primeval redwood forest, and the trail was heavily overgrown with ferns and green vegetation.

HIKING BOY SCOUT TREE TRAIL Redwoods National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 8, 2022

In the Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest state park section, which contains 7% of all old growth Redwoods left in the world, we drove about 5 miles on a bumpy unpaved road. We hiked 3.5 miles of the famous trail to Stout Grove where several Star Wars scenes involving the Ewoks planet Endor were filmed by George Lucas in 1983 in “Return of the Jedi”. The first part of the trail were old-growth redwood trees followed by a forest of hemlock trees. The trail led to Fern Falls and a stream that went under the trail bridge. The forest trail had several steep grades and switchbacks. We also stopped at a large hollow tree and took photos looking up. After the hike we stopped a second time to eat at the yummy Good Harvest Café where I ordered a delicious tuna salad sandwich and more clam chowder. We noticed in downtown Crescent City a large cement dolo. Normally the dolos are at the end of the jetty along the west side of the harbor. This one dolo was pushed off its location by the incredibly strong tsunami wave surge in 1964.

HIKING HIGH BLUFF OVERLOOK TRAIL Redwoods National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 6, 2022

Near Klamath, we exited HWY 101 and took Alder Camp Road to the trailhead. The short .5 trail took us to a windy bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. On each side of the trail were beautiful wildflowers. To the north was an old WWII radar station cabin. The trail crossed the Coastal Trail that we hiked much further south the following day. As we drove back to HWY 101, we picked up two hikers who somehow got lost on the coastal trail. We had them hop in the back of the pickup to protect us if they had Covid 19 or if they were serial killers. Miraculously, we drove them seven miles south onto another park road and returned them to their car.

HIKING COASTAL TRAIL Redwoods National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 7, 2022

Just off famous Pacific Coast HWY 101 along the Pacific Ocean, we hiked 3.2 miles of the long Coastal Trail. Near the trailhead was a sandy beach with both tide pools and a rushing stream cut in the sand. I picked up a couple of small starfish in the tide pool. Sea stacks and other enormous rocks were just offshore. The trail paralleled the ocean coast just inland and the pine trees offered us some shade. The trail occasionally opened to waist high to chest high prairie grass and wildflowers giving us beautiful views of the coast looking south. Twice snakes crossed our path along with squirrels and the sounds of sea gulls. Similar to the other trails in this park, the isolation in the wooded areas just made us uneasy.  

HIKING BROWN CREEK TRAIL Redwoods National Park, California

Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller

Date: July 6, 2022

This 2.6 trail off Newton Drury Parkway, the main road through the park, snaked through old growth redwood, pine, and conifer forest. We then crossed and headed north a bit on the Rhododendron Trail before circling back. A small steam paralleled the trail in some areas. The forest had the feel of a “rain forest” as besides the giant redwood trees the lush area was green with ferns, shamrocks, and moss. The forest was so deadly quiet, broken only by a rare bird sound, the whistle of a marmot or the gentle rush of the stream. Very peaceful but very ominous.