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A trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park

The long weekend that comes after a long long time every year came and went. We HAD to go somewhere on a long drive to relieve all that pent up stress of the routine between January to the end of May. 

We decided to visit Lassen National park after a six year gap with the cousin family. We had a ton of fun over the two day trip. 

The weather was perfect. There was lots of snow in the ground at 7000-8000+ feet altitudes. There was plenty of water gushing down the cascades and waterfalls. It was just perfect!

Ice had started melting and it created caves that had a nice bluish glow with the light reflecting from the other side!

Last time we visited this park, it was mostly snowed out and we could not go on any trails as they were all closed. We drove through the loop and came back. This time though, things were different. 

There were snowball fights, adventurous trekking, the kids all grown up and at an age where watching them interact and play is a joy in itself. Even the driving to and from the park was pleasant compared to the usual because we decided to put the younger kids in one vehicle and the older kids in the other vehicle!

We could clearly see the hot sulfur springs for a change!

and watch the sulfur meet the water which makes for some amazing hues..

We made one mistake, or rather the park authorities did. While trying to get to the Kings Creek falls, there was a trail that was closed. Given all the snow, we were off the trail walking in snow. Two families we crossed in the opposite direction told us "just follow the footsteps on the snow".. turns out we wandered off on a closed trail that was very dangerous. We made it in one piece to the falls and back where a rock slide had recently crossed the trail. It was quite and adventure with the kids. 

What were we thinking!

For some strange reason, I did not haul my tripod on the trip. So fancy falls pictures to show. Did get a few shots by placing camera on a rock tripod I built at the base of the falls.. 

Here are the only decent shots of the different falls I managed to get.. Did get a lot of pictures of the kids in action.. but they go on other Social Media!

That last shot almost cost me the camera! 

On day two we visited all the "vista points" and let the kids play in the snow some more. We also went on a beautiful trail around Manzanita lake and around the Lily pond. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are some pictures from those two hikes.

That we learned is Lichens.. not moss! It gave the giant trees a flourescent hue that was fantastic.

Lake Helen, although frozen provided other entertainment .. like me doing Triangle pose on snow/ice in front of the family! 

The beautiful Manzanita lake..

There were a lot of ripples.. but given my tripodlessness, opted to take the shot at a very high shutter speed to avoid the ripples.. this was taken with a 1/4000 or 1/8000 speed with ISO at 400. While driving back I realized that to get the entire reflection, a better idea would have been to use the full ND filter instead of the graduated ND filter and go a good 1/2 a second or 1 second at f22 with ISO 100. That experiment will be for the next trip or next reflection shot that comes our way!

The famous standing boulder at Bumpass hell..

Now for some pictures with the kids in action to add more beauty to the scenery..

and last but not least, the ghost cat.. 

and one of our best outdoor family portaits in recent memory (thanks to BB for the click)!

Strongly recommend Lassen as a weekend trip from the bay area, if.. IF it is not snowed out and you can get accomodation last minute at Red Bluff, which is 45 minutes away from park entrance. This is a lot less crowded than Yosemite and a lot more fun in our opinion!

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