09 November 2009

Ridge Lakes

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Locate the trailhead.

I headed up to Lassen to see what I could see. I have not been for quite some time. Being a wintry time, the mountain was covered with snow.

Bump in the land rising high and covered in white.
The southernmost mountain of the Cascades, Mt. Lassen, viewed from the road on the way up to the park but still quite a ways off.

Hanging ice and a little flowing water.
A dribble of water along the roadside in the park has turned into a frozen waterfall with some water still flowing.

They weren't going to let me go up the mountain looking like that. In fact, they didn't want me to go much of anywhere. The road was closed a mile up from the entrance station at the Sulphur Works.

A boiling pool of mud by the road.
Bubbling mud by the side of the road and a steaming hole behind it (not in picture) are the most obvious feature among the Sulphur Works.

A smoking hole in a yellow mound.
On the other side of the road, funny mounds of yellow dirt spew forth steam from various holes.

The road closure left me with a rather limited choice of hiking areas which didn't include my planned loop out from Summit Lake. It was short and should leave me enough time to go around to the other side of the park. The trail starts off going past some more smoking ground.

More smoking holes in the ground.
Up a minor creek there is more thermal activity.

The trail itself was variously muddy and icy and snowy. Some of the snow had iced over to a very smooth and slippery surface, but the mud was the slickest and most difficult surface. I quickly became quite happy to find the spots where it was frozen even if that meant the hiking was quite cold too.

Ice forming from the mud on the ground.
Ice crystals growing from the muddy ground.

Snow came up quickly as I walked. Further up, there was more snow to be seen. Still, there was a bit of water flowing here and there.

A trickle of water still flows, breaking a hole in the snow.
A small stream of water cuts a crack in the snow while it still flows.

Snow on the mainly south facing bits of rock.
A generally southerly facing hillside along the way, although some little bit of northerly slope can be seen behind the trees.

Snowy trail just before the crest and the lake.
Almost there! One last stroll over snow and the trail comes out to a level and a lake.

A frozen lake a short way below a ridgeline.
Ridge Lakes are two lakes with a wide but shallow waterway connecting the two which aren't quite at the same level. It is difficult to see that they are two from most angles. The lakes are almost completely frozen over.

At first the lake appeared to be all ice. It's grown up in segments leaving very different looking sections of ice here and there. I walked around the edge of the lake.

The lake ice.
Some of the lake ice is full of bubbles so very opaque. Ripples have frozen around the rocks.

More lake ice.
Patterns in the bubbles in the lake ice.

A bit of water that can still be gotten to without breaking through the ice.
One last bit of water remains open. Also visible are the edges of a few freezes and the nearby ridge.

A litter of lumber from a long fallen tree.
Snow upon a litter of lumber that was once, many years ago, a tree. Most of what is visible were the branches.

Water still feeding the lakes and leaving trails in the snow.
Trails of ice mark where small streams feed the lakes.

Some ice structures with water underneath.
Under the ice covering the little streams feeding the lake, a little water still flowing can be found still feeding them.

The ice encased streamlet.
The iced over stream.

After walking around the edge of one side of the lake, I climbed up onto the ridge behind it.

Snow on far trees to varying amounts.
Snow covered trees on a far ridge turn to rock grey with the snow upon them. At least near the top of the peak and ridge line.

Animal paths marked out in snow on the mountain side.
Animal paths are marked out by the snow on the mountain side.

Top of the ridge, looking north.
Up on the ridge, taking a look along it to the north(ish) direction.

Looking back over the lakes and the landscape.
The lakes and the view.

More off to the north.
Taking another look to the north.

The view away from the lakes.
Once over the edge of the ridge, there's a whole new view on the other side. The roundness of this valley is quite interesting. Below, some smoke from the 'prescribed burn', which was cut fallen wood stacked up into piles away from the trees and set alight along the road, can be seen.

Footsteps in the snow.
It's lonely up here.

Rabbit prints in snow.
Okay, someone else has been here. I found many of these prints that look a lot like rabbit around one spot.

Up on the ridge, the wind was blowing very very chilly even though it wasn't all that strong. My knit cap didn't prove to be enough and the ear on the wind side was starting to hurt a bit. So I got out my large cotton scarf which cut the wind fairly well even though it isn't very thick at all. Then I climbed back down to the lake by a slightly different route.

Looking back up as I come down.
Trees and rocks along the route downward.

Once down to the lake level again, I walked right along the edge of the lake. I took a lot more photographs of the different ice structures along the way.

A bit of vegetation.
A bit of snowy forest on the way back and a larger stream flowing along to wherever it may go.

Road and Sulphur Works.
Back to the road, almost. The Sulphur Works are still steaming away.

Afterwards, I went down to the Visitor Center to ask the best way around to see the other side of the park. They didn't direct me along the route marked as a 'recommended route' on my Lassen Nation Forest map with a $1 price tag still on it (also marked as 'unspecified surface') but along a longer route further down the mountain.

©2009 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 November 2009

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