Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Mount Harkness Fire Lookout Trail Loop ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park ↔ Summer Hiking Series

www.vaughntheroadagain.com

Climbed any mountains lately? Well, after this hike, I can proudly say that I have!

mount harkness fire lookout

At just over 8,048 feet, Mount Harkness is my biggest hiking accomplishment yet. We opted to do the loop that took us by Juniper Lake on the way back. It added a couple miles to the 4 mile hike, but the lake was so pretty with wildflowers growing on the shore that it was worth the extra effort.

mt harkness fire lookout

Right away when we started the hike (in mid-July), there were huge snowbanks blocking the path and we almost turned back, fearing the trail was still covered in too much snow to traverse. I'm glad we forged ahead because the payoff on this hike was absolutely incredible. There were several times when we had to climb over huge mounds of snow and we actually lost the trail a few times and had to rely on GPS and tree markers to guide our way. At one point, I feared we might get completely lost and have to spend the night in the forest!

Mt. Harkness trail loop Lassen Volcanic National Park northern California

Miraculously, we prevailed and made it to the top of Mount Harkness where the views are 360 degrees of pure breathtaking beauty. As a writer, I can find inspiration in just about every location I visit, but the feeling of standing on top of the world and looking down at the trees was something I've never experienced before.

hiking trails northern california

From the fire lookout, you can see Lake Almanor, Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta, Juniper Lake, Cinder Cone, as far as Nevada to the east, the Coast Range to the west, and the Three Sisters to the north. This is a staffed fire lookout and we enjoyed visiting with the volunteer for a while, talking about birds and solitary life on the remote mountaintop. (We were the first visitors he'd had in 2 days!)

northern california travel blog

After experiencing panoramic views of this magnitude, I wonder if hiking Lassen Peak could possibly offer a comparable (or better) view. The couch potato in me says no way and the ambitious hiker says let's find out...



*Hike Highlight: Hubby saw a bear as it ran away after we must have startled it coming down the trail.

*Hike Downside: I did not see the bear and only felt the ground shake and heard the rumble as it ran away into the forest. (How it didn't hear my Darth Vader hiking breathing from miles away will forever remain a mystery to me.)


Here's the link to Lassen's page for more information about hiking Mount Harkness.


Let's go on an adventure!



Sunday, July 28, 2019

Moment of Zen ≈ Terrace Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park

All it takes is a moment to transport yourself to beautiful Terrace Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park...


For more info about my hike to Terrace Lake, click here.


Let's go on an adventure!


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

McCloud River ↔ McCloud, California

The sounds of McCloud River in McCloud, California...


Read about my hike to all 3 McCloud Waterfalls HERE.


Let's go on an adventure!



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Virtual Hike 👣 Ridge Lakes Trail in Lassen Volcanic National Park

An autumn sunrise hike to Ridge Lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California...


Read more about my hike to Ridge Lakes here.

Let's go on an adventure!


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Moment of Zen ≈ Butte Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park

The fish are jumpin' and the clouds are reflecting off the water of Butte Lake in beautiful Lassen Volcanic National Park...


Let's go on an adventure!



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Manzanita Lake ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park ↔ Summer Hiking Series


The trail around Manzanita Lake is one of the easiest and most pleasant walks in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Every step offers gorgeous views, birding opportunities, and the chance to spot some wonderful wildlife.

Take a walk around the beautiful lake with me and have a look at nature's paradise in northern California...



For more about the many birds found in the park, visit my birding channel Wings and Daydreams.


Let's go on an adventure!



Friday, July 12, 2019

Paradise Meadow Hiking Trail ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park ↔ Summer Hiking Series

northern california travel blog

The hike to Paradise Meadow in Lassen Volcanic National Park was so pleasant! We were a little early to catch wildflowers in bloom in the meadow, but we did see several along the trail and on the banks of the creek.

northern california travel adventures

There were some steep spots, but it was just enough to get your heart rate up. Even in the first week of July, there were still a couple of mounds of snow that we had to traverse.

northern california travel destinations

The trail follows Hat Creek and the water was rushing from all the snow melt, making for some beautiful little waterfalls. The round-trip was barely three miles and the perfect hike to start off the summer season with.

northern california hiking trails

I really enjoyed this hike and look forward to doing it again soon!


Let's go on an adventure!



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Moment of Zen ≈ Crystal Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Enjoy a moment of relaxation with the beautiful turquoise waters of Crystal Lake in northern California's Lassen Volcanic National Park...


Read about my hike to Crystal Lake here.


Let's go on an adventure!

Friday, July 5, 2019

5 Awesome Things About Hiking


I've got a feeling there are going to be plenty of add-ons to this list because I can think of dozens of things that I love about hiking.

For now, let's start off with five...


1. Nature is ever-changing. The scenery of a place can be drastically different from one season to the next. Wildflowers bloom and then wither and die off. The flow of waterfalls wax and wane depending on the time of year. Fall colors, as well as snow, can transform a place like magic.


2. A sense of freedom. When you're out in the middle of nowhere, you can enjoy the freedom of nature without anyone around. And the excitement of creating your own adventure is the best kind of freedom of all.


3. Getting out of your own head. Everyday stress, constant negativity and nagging problems are forgotten when you're inhaling breath after breath of fresh, clean air. Birds and wildlife--and even the plants and trees--are surviving, scrounging for food, competing for life while you're there to simply enjoy yourself. It's life or death for the wild things of nature and that realization can make your own problems seem that much smaller and insignificant. Hike the trail at your own pace and enjoy every second of it!


4. Opens your eyes to a whole new world. Up until now, you've only ever seen photos and social media posts of these wonderful natural wonders and travel destinations. And now you're out there walking to them on your own two feet and taking your own fabulous photos!


5. Hiking is addictive. Once you finish that first trail, you're already planning the next one! When you realize just how far you can push yourself, the possibilities are endless and you want to #AlwaysBeHiking.


If you're already a seasoned hiker, then this list is nothing new. You already know all about the health benefits of lacing up your hiking shoes and hitting the trail. If you're a newbie like I was last year, then what's stopping you from trying something new and challenging? Open up your search engine and find some hiking trails near you. Take it from me, you won't regret it!


Let's go on an adventure!



Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Look, Ma! No Guardrails! ↔ Driving Through Lassen Volcanic National Park


As soon as the road through Lassen Volcanic National Park opened up, we rushed over to get some photos and footage of all the beautiful snow before it all melted away!

Which probably won't take long, if the warm California sun has anything to do with it. There was so much snow runoff that little waterfalls had already begun forming on the side of the road!


Emerald Lake is still covered with ice and snow, and looking beautifully turquoise...

 Lassen Volcanic National Park northern California

The 30-mile highway through the park connects the northwest and southwest entrances of the park. There are no guardrails because of the snow removal requirements.


The park has become our summer oasis to escape the scorching temperatures in the valley, and I look forward to some more hiking adventures!


Here are some of the highlights from our drive through scenic Lassen VNP...


Let's go on an adventure!