Our wakeup call was 4:30am today and we left the room at 5am for the first full day of our Lassen NP trip. There is no finer way to see the sunrise than from a mountaintop and the image above is a view of Mount Harkness from the Park Highway.
We had a 17 hour day today... leaving the room at 5am and returning at 10pm - after having dinner at one of only two open restaurants in the town of Chester. These places really do need to stay open past 9pm for people who like to take photos until it gets dark.
We hiked up Mount Harkness in the morning through a beautiful tall pine forest and at the top we were rewarded with a 360 degree view of the the mountains - we could even see Mount Shasta (14,000 ft) in the distance. On the way to our next destination I may have lost my driving privileges. Driving on a dirt road, we went past a photo opportunity and I was backing up the car to get to the spot to take a picture. I must have focused more on the photo opportunity than the road - we came about 6 inches from sliding the car down a 6 foot embankment. In my defense, they really should have wider gravel roads and proper shoulders!
In the afternoon we hiked through Drake Meadow and out to Devil's Kitchen where we saw lots of steaming vents from the geothermal formations in the park. So it was a great first day - sunrise on the mountain, tall pine forest, 360 degree views of the mountaintops, meadows, and steaming geothermal scenes. Pretty good day!