Wednesday, July 20, 2011


     The 10 thousand foot Mt Lassen Peak, still showing signs of the devastation brought on by the eruption in 1915, is a rugged visage.  This southern most volcano in the Cascade Range that runs into Canada, is the center piece of the beautiful Lassen Volcanic National Park.
      Tucked in valleys on the slopes of Lassen and neighboring mountains are pockets of green, Alpine meadows and pastures.
       I find mountain meadows to be almost hypnotically tranquilizing.  They are peaceful, serene and exude a quiet relaxation that seems to suspend time.
       Tucked in the south east entrance to the park is a jewel, Drakesbad.  Edward Drake
settled in the valley in 1880 offering hospitality to campers including hot springs baths.
The Alexander Sifford family camped there, got to know Drake and convinced him to make the area a rustic spa.  Eventually the Sifford family owned and operated what they called
Drakesbad until the 1960's.  It is still a guest ranch, in the national park and offers
one of the most serene and beautiful meadows in the mountains.  Hiking trails abound.
     In some of the meadows you can see large rocks, placed there by volcanic activity.
      Some of the meadow scenes seem to define the word idyllic. 

     I was surprised to Cama Lilly or wild Hyacinthe in bloom.  In the Midwest local tribes would sometimes fight over the tuber.  They were a special medicine and/or a food. In the Lassen area mountain Maidu made their summer camps in these meadows.  I wonder if they too valued the beautiful spring bloom?

         Another healthy "crop" in the Drakesbad area is Corn Lilly.  Spring is still blooming even in July in the Lassen area and no where is it more vibrant than in the mountain meadows.
If you get to Lassen, make a point to spend time at Drakesbad. Some of the
guest ranch patrons are veterans of annual trips. 
At least, have a meal and enjoy the beautiful meadows.
See you down the trail.

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