It was an incredibly full day today. We saw the "heights" and "depths" of Lassen - and both were incredible. In the morning we did a 3 mile hike to "Bumpass Hell" and yes that is the real name. It is a large geothermal system that is still active and part of what powered the volcanoes in this area. It looked like we were walking on the moon - but I hope the moon doesn't stink like this did. If you were downwind of any of the large steam vents, it was gagging! The photo at the bottom of this post was from Bumpass Hell.
In the afternoon we did an 8 mile hike (up and back) to the summit of the second largest mountain in the park. We gained 2500 feet of elevation on the hike and the summit was at 9,250 feet. We walked through large pine forests, alongside streams and meadows, and climbed up above the tree line before reaching the summit. At the summit, we were greeted with this view of several peaks in the park. If you look closely, you can see how they all formed the ring of a larger extinct volcano. We enjoyed a 20 minute nap at the summit and then it took a full two hours just to hike down. As I write this, I have a hard time thinking about putting on my hiking boots tomorrow morning - my feet are just killing me!
Hopefully you enjoy "heaven" and "hell" as much as we did.