My wife grew up in Plumas County, California, so we did the annual drive to visit various family members who still live in the area, practicing COVID protocols as well as we could. I got permission to take a day off from kinship events and went up to Lassen for about a 10-mile wander to some of the thermal features in the Drakesbad area, just north of Chester.
It was 17 degrees at the Warner Valley Trailhead, but they haven’t had any precipitation since May. In a couple of places, the trail was icy from seeps. I passed by the biggest incense cedar that I’ve ever seen. My first destination was Boiling Springs Lake, off of the PCT, which has vents and bubbling mud holes creating various melodies around its shore.
Then it was on to Terminal Geyser, which isn’t a geyser at all but a spring that flows over a steam hole, constantly sending up a tall plume. In the ‘60s and again in the ‘70s, a geothermal prospecting bore was sunk 4,000 feet into the mantle here, but the apparatus had since been decommissioned.
I looped back on the PCT, passing through a vast mule’s ear meadow that must look stunning in the summer.
Then I took another trail across expansive meadows to the Devils Kitchen, where the steam vents and bubbling waters are extremely acidic and actually corrode the talus rocks. It’s summer almost all year long here, no matter what the outside temperatures, as the snow quickly melts off even when there are several feet in the surrounding forest.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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