Once we got our fill of hanging out in the Lake Tahoe area, it was on to our first national park in quite a while: Lassen Volcanic National Park. This northern California beauty had been on Andy’s list for a long time, and we were both excited for a night in a campground. It’s funny, but sometimes going to a campground feels more like camping that being out in the middle of the woods…
Like most national park campgrounds, Lassen fills up pretty quick, so we arrived early Saturday to scope out a spot. While Andy waited with the RV, I scouted ahead on foot to creep on whomever was leaving that day. Luckily, a nice man with a Fleetwood Tioga 31M, AKA our EXACT SAME RV, was outside and informed me that they were heading out soon. We waved as we watched them drive off and slid into our home for the night.
At this point, we were quickly reminded of how crazy campgrounds can get the month before school starts again. I don’t think a “full campground” begins to describe what we experienced- almost every site had multiple families, multiple tents, multiple cars, you name it. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a big chance of pace from our normally quiet life.
Lassen Volcanic National Park isn’t the most RV friendly when it comes to driving around, so we decided to focus our exploration on things close to the campground- with a mental note to get back for more exploring, of course. The park itself is at the confluence of three areas: the Cascade range, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Great Basin desert. This means that the park has everything from sprawling wildflower meadows to active geothermal mud pots.
Since we were sticking close to the campground, we spent the day reading about the park in the visitor center and hiking around Manzanita Lake. Normally, we opt for longer, more challenging hikes, but with Andy’s ankle bothering him and our stationary RV, we were a bit limited in what we could do. Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed meandering around the lake and the commanding view of Lassen Peak that it provided.
By far, one of the coolest things about Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lassen Peak is just how well-documented the eruption was. Benjamin Loomis was a photographer and local homesteader when the eruption happened, and prior to the massive spectacle the Loomises built a seismograph so they could track the event. This resulted in them capturing photos of the entire eruption, and the photos are displayed in the Loomis Museum in the park.
Originally, we thought we’d have a campfire that night, but with all the activity in the campground- and the bathroom path right next to our fire ring- we decided to relax instead. We only stayed the night, and in the morning made our way to Lake Shastina for a week on the shore.
While at Lake Shastina, we happened to meet fellow northeastern full-timers. Tim & Amanda, or “TheAluminumLife” on Instagram, are from New Hampshire and just started RVing a few months ago. We enjoyed chatting with them about getting out on the road, the learning curve, and the interestingly eclectic neighbors we shared.
One morning, we decide to wake up early to hike the nearby trail for views of the lake and Mt. Shasta in the distance. We rolled out of bed at 6am, threw on our boots, and headed out to watch the sun rise. As we climbed to the top, the sun began to peak around the mountain, and the hazy morning air was thick with dew. Finding the hidden labyrinth at the top felt like the perfect cap to the climb.