Sierra Cascades Day 4: Mineral to Lassen Volcanic National Park to Burney
Climbing from Mineral and back up Morgan Summit ended up not being as daunting as I imagined. Knowing that Lassen Volcanic National Park awaited us around the bend inspired us forward, too.
Our friends and Instagram buddies told us Lassen would be an eye popping ride, and we took our time pedaling through it. This was also because our leaden legs couldn’t go much faster, but I prefer to attribute our pace to the park’s beauty.
I’m sure many can write about Lassen more poetically than I, so I’ll keep my comments about it short and sweet. Verdant green and yellow gradually gives way to volcanic rock and snow patches. Mountain lakes intersperse the landscape.
Tourists, while told to stick to paths and other marked areas, find themselves irresistibly drawn to the snow. They touch it, walk on it, slide down it. They are like children, awestruck by a new phenomenon.
It is also surreal to be riding through volcanic landscape. Soon after entering the park, we rode through gurgling sulphur springs. Their acrid odor filled the nostrils.
Rounding toward the highest point in Lassen, the volcano looks back at you. For now it is calm, but still alive. I don’t fully trust it
After miles of descending, we left the park and headed toward Burney. Thirty miles out from Lassen and we were still seeing volcanic rock that had been expelled during the volcano’s eruption in 1915.
The final miles to our hotel in Burney were a bit hectic, with a slog of a climb on a busy road with minimal shoulder and ridden during the hour when many people are leaving work. Oh that’s right. Not everybody is on vacation right now.
Hopefully we’ll find a quieter back road out of town tomorrow. 81 miles for the day. I’m grateful we spent the day in this gorgeous place.