Day one: to Crater Butte
My dad and I settled on East Lassen Park for our yearly backpacking trip. I thought this would be easy, but it proved more challenging than anyone could have pecieved.
We drove to Juniper lake trailhead, donned our packs, and set off. My pack was actually a day pack, but it was, relative to my body size and weight, a greater weight than normal. We traveled to Horseshoe lake, where we rested, and pumped some water. The next portion of the trail, until we reached Crater Butte, was a steady grade, draining but unnoticable. It made the trail seem longer than it really was.
When we reached Crater Butte, My dad and I headed up a little Gully on the East side. This made the going much easier, the mountain was about 35 degrees. When we reached the plateau at the north side, we headed up and set up camp on the crater rim.
The long hike to Cinder cone, and back
The next morning, My dad and I ate breakfast, and left. Cinder cone was easily visible and very beautiful from the summit.
Cinder cone from Crater Butte
We descended to crater pool, and filled our water bottles. While my dad was pumping water, I was slapping miquitoes off both of us, and trying to cap the water bottles at one time.
We then hiked out of the crater, down the mountain, and onto the plateau on the North side of the Mountain. A forest fire had ravaged the plateau, so we were subjected to increased sun exposure and plenty of postholing in the ashes. We wandered all over the plateau, vastly increasing the distance, before we found the trail.
We walked along the trail to Rainblow lake, where we took a very
short swim. After that, we headed along the trail to the junction with the trail that led to cinder cone.
Once we reached the junction, we quickly walked through forsted terrain, just like the other trail, until we reached cinder. A large clearing with only one small gap that joined it to the rest of the cinder made us loose the trail, and we were not sure if we were still on track until we opened up into the cinder field.
There was a short descent to the talus field, and Cinder cone lay ahead.
. we descended and began the deceptively long trek to cinder cone. The Misquitoes were still insidious, but decreased.
We then made our way up the backside of cinder cone, which was much more interesting than the front. As the trail winded through the painted dunes and lava beds, the misquitoes lessened even more. When we got up onto the mountain's slopes, the miquitoes were gone. unfotunately, this meant alot of wind. When we got to the top of Cinder cone, I was pretty beat. We had hiked over seven miles, part of which had been spent lost on a plateau. It was my third time on CInder cone's summit.
We then hiked back. We made the smart choice to stay on the trail until the north-west side of the mountain and then head up. I beat my dad up the mountain, and walked along the rim to the camsite, where i crawled inside the tent and watied.
The hike back to Juniper lake the next day was rather uneventful. We walked along the trail with our packs, using up all but the last drop of our deet, which we had severely under used.
At the parking lot, I removed my still cold 1 liter Powerade from the cooler in my dad's SUV, and drank the whole thing in less than 30 minutes.